PLAYY. Mix #159 – das SPEZIAL
Das SPEZIAL is difficult to define. More so a collective than a project, the brainchild of UK producer Shahab Notghi & Lloyd Miles is breaking down the convention of ‘the artist.’ Their work is grounded in powerful, brooding electronica, but is designed to encompass a range of creative expressions. As a label and platform for artists, the collective thrives on collaboration. They’ve drawn on a rich pool of talent including Massive Attack collaborator Stew Jackson, The Chemical Brothers engineer Steve Dub, Radiohead’s Clive Deamer, and celebrated producer Ewan Pearson. With their ongoing Kids series, the collective looks to collaborate with new artists, further diversifying their creative potential. We spoke with Notghi and Miles about the collective, and das SPEZIAL provide us with an exclusive mix. Read and listen below.
Set the tone for us. How would you describe the collective identity of das SPEZIAL?
There is no specific identity for the collective other than the output has to be the maximum the sum of all its parts is capable of and you must have no ego. This helps us keep things agile and gives us scope to work in a variety of ways with different combinations.
How would you describe the collective’s sound, and who would you say have been the biggest influences on this direction?
The sound over the past two records has matured. The dance floor has temporarily been left behind with a switch of focus on reaching a much wider audience through a modern take on trip-hop and indie. Bands like Portishead and Massive Attack have clearly influenced the sound and the introduction of the latter’s very own Stew Jackson to the collective has been a big factor in our recent success and change in sound. Kids #1 & #2 still stay true to the roots of the das SPEZIAL sound as you can hear the heavy use of hardware synths, fx pedals etc that we are known for alongside Stew’s expert instrumentation.
Much of this project is rooted in collaboration. How do new collaborators grow or evolve what das SPEZIAL could be with each release?
Shahab in particular puts a lot of energy into finding new talent that fits our ethos. Everyone that comes into the studio has to add a different flavour. This helps the sound of das SPEZIAL to keep evolving. When the music is static we know it’s not right and we are not afraid to stop everything and explore a new approach with a new collaborator. Fortunately so far 95% of the artists we have worked with we have hit it off with from the first bar laid down.
How does this mix speak toward where the collective currently is creatively?
It doesn’t. We decided to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the great Matthew Herbert after he kindly agreed to remix Kids #2. This mix is 100% vinyl of our favorite Herbert tracks and only scratched the surface of the output of one the very best to do it.
What’s next? Any exciting projects that you’re working on?
Kids #3 is on the way. Then there is another release not far behind that one which will feature multiple new collaborators each with a different style. There are a few bangers Shahab has made along the recent production journey which will likely land under the Paradise Circus alias at some point. and finally, there is another Dot. album coming in early 2024. So plenty dropping over the next 6 months or so.