| Dynamix Interviews - Page Two
THE REVOLUTION EPISODE 1.12 DYNAMIX
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: May 12, 2004
Gregory T. Angelo: This is Gregory T. Angelo thanking you for joining Mike Apotheosis and I for this latest edition of “The Revolution” on Metro Mix Radio. Tonight, “The Revolution” welcomes a pair of production perfectionists: Eddie Cumana and Beppe Savoni. Together, they’ve created a string of underground hits starting with the indelible mark they made on the New York club scene with 2000’s breakout smash “Don’t Want Another Man.” It was a success followed up by Nina Eve’s “Never Get Me” and Inda Matrix’s “Love Dominates (No Man Can Tame Me),” all produced and pressed under the watch of the legendary Kult Records. Their latest single, a follow-up to the aforementioned “Love Dominates” called “Bodyfly,” is awash in all the big-room drama and high-energy synth work that have come to categorize the group’s one-of-a-kind sound. And, if you didn’t already know, the boys are sharing the wealth tonight: keep listening to obtain a special code exclusively for listeners of this broadcast that allows you to access the “DJ-only” section of Kult’s website. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight Dynamix joins “The Revolution.” Hey there, guys. How are you doing tonight?
Beppe Savoni: Good. Hi!
Eddie Cumana: What’s up?
GTA: Eddie, Beppe. You have been producing music together for well-near five years, though you were both in the business of production long before you met. How did the Dynamix partnership initially come about? Eddie, do you want to take this one?
EC: Yeah. Basically it was something that I have to mention Leila—this is way before we even thought of Dynamix—
GTA:Leila [Vietri], the head of Kult Records.
EC: The head of Kult. She was listening to my production and she was like, “We need to marry this to something that’s musical, deep, pop—you know, just “commercial.” So she had the idea of pretty much teaming up a DJ with a songwriter. So the concept of that came and took place at that point.
GTA: At that point, Beppe had Lilla already met you?
Beppe Savoni: Yes, actually. We met a little bit after that Leila and Eddie met.
EC: Yeah, “Don’t Want Another Man” was produced actually by me and Jeremy—
EC: Jeremy Skaller.
GTA: From the Orange Factory.
EC: From the Orange Factory. And Beppe was actually part of the remix packages that came out with the record. At the time, we had the singer of “Don’t Want Another Man,” Adrienne—the original singer—who couldn’t follow through with the project’s demands, and so we had to find someone new to take her place. And at the same time, Beppe was actually the one that actually brought Tina Ann to the project. From there, we ended up doing a remix package and then after that we went on to “Never Get Me” with Nina Eve.
GTA: So the first time you sat down in the studio together was to re-record “Don’t Want Another Man” with Tina Ann, is that correct?
EC: No, we recorded Tina Ann—Tina Ann came out. At that point, it wasn’t a formulated thing yet, so we worked on some other material apart from remixes for “Don’t Want Another Man.” And from that, that’s what came out to present.
GTA: Both Kult Records—and really Dynamix in particular—are notorious for unearthing these undiscovered talents and building these gargantuan dance productions around their voices. As you just mentioned, Tina Ann—she can probably credit her rise to clubland stardom to you guys and your production of “Don’t Want Another Man.” And Nina Eve’s “You’ll Never Get Me” took an unheard voice and turned it into a dance music hit. How do you guys go about scouting new talent? Beppe?
BS: I believe in fate. I think things are meant to happen and people are meant to cross their paths. Actually, the people that we’ve met so far that we have produced, we have just met by chance—Tina Ann and Nina Eve. Nina was coming to college with me, so I spotted her at a college show. She was singing—she didn’t even want to be a singer, but I saw—with the eye of the producer—I saw that she had very good potential. So I said, “Well, we are auditioning for new singers if you want to come along.” And she was good; she was really good.
GTA:Are you guys constantly on the lookout for new talent, though? Do you guys go out individually and scout new talent, see new performers, listen to demos?
EC: Yeah, we do. Basically, we hang out. Like Beppe said, it just happens. I don’t think you can do talented stuff forcefully.
BS: And being in New York helps a lot.
BS: Hanging out and—
EC: —and we try to produce really kick-ass stuff.
GTA: And you do. You just mentioned a second ago that Tina Ann, of course, was not the original singer of “Don’t Want Another Man,” and even “Bodyfly”—which I’m going to get to in a couple of minutes—is a track that even though Inda Matrix sings it as it is out now in its final commercial version, it’s not a track that she originally sang. I’m wondering with all of these new vocalists that you find, do you guys have a back-log of tracks that you have written and that are produced and all you are waiting for is the perfect singer? Or do you find the perfect singer first, and then go on to produce a track around them? Beppe?
BS: Well, it’s a little bit of both, because sometimes we create songs just because we are inspired and it’s the right mood, it’s the right time, and then later on the singer comes along and she’s perfect for that song. Or we meet somebody and we hear the voice and we see the persona—
EC: —and we create something for them.
BS: —and we tailor something exactly for her—
EC: —kind of like Inda Matrix.
GTA: “Love Dominates”—that was a track written expressly for her, right?
EC: It was kind of like the thought of—kind of like a “dominatrix” type of hint. But it was kind of like, you know, the woman being in power—just something for the girls, just an empowering type of thing. You can either take it that way or you can take it as, “You want to dominate me? Bend me over!” You know? [Laughs.]
EC: It’s whatever!
GTA: Something for everyone! [Laughs.]
EC: “Bodyfly” is a funny story. This is, you know, Beppe’s journey of being out and about.
BS: Five years ago I went out for the first time to a big New York City club and...
GTA: Which one?
BS: [Laughs.] It was Roxy, it was Roxy. And I was there and I was so overwhelmed by—you know, I had just moved from Italy, so being in such a situation was a very, very powerful experience. And the day after, I went to the beach and was thinking of the night and was thinking of the people that I saw there, thinking of the music and everything—the whole experience—and I wrote “Bodyfly,” which is a very dark love song, I would say. It can be both addressed to drugs or to a lover, you know—they’re both addictive. So that’s how it came out. But I wrote the track at that time and then it came out actually a few years later because we found the right person, the right artist. What was great is that I was inspired by that situation at Roxy, and then Inda Matrix [eventually] performed at Roxy—the song “Bodyfly.” So it was like a circle—
GTA: Full-circle, yeah.
BS: Yes, very nice.
GTA: Beppe, can you tell me a little bit more about how you go about writing songs like this? It’s rather difficult to find fresh, new material—especially for the dance music genre. What is your inspiration for new tracks? And how do you go about writing and coming up with your ideas?
BS: Actually, I wouldn’t be able to explain it because it’s something very—it comes from within. There is not a process. There are moments of the day or there are just situations that inspire you—lyrics or melody. There is not a particular process. But we like to blend in different elements, different cultures. We try to bring into the dance music culture what there is not. So we bring in elements from different cultures like Yasmine, this Indian singer, which is actually the first track that we produced together. We try to bring in thematics, words, themes that haven’t been heard before.
EC: Right. Also using, like, sitars and tympanis, you know? More, like, traditional classical instruments—tablas and stuff like that—as opposed to just using regular synthesized sounds. Programming those sounds into the mix added a lot to the song itself.
GTA: In contrast to some of the other more cooperative production teams out there, the roles each of you play in the whole Dynamix machine are very compartmentalized, correct?
GTA: Eddie, can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
EC: It’s pretty much a split between songwriting, keyboards, programming, mixing—I think it’s pretty much split up into those four components. And sometimes we would do a little bit of all together. Beppe does the songwriting, keyboards. I do the drum programming, arrangement. Kind of—we work arrangement together, in a sense, either following a vocal or following a concept.
GTA: So it’s compartmentalized to a point.
EC: To a point.
GTA: You two will do your own thing until the track reaches its final stages.
EC: Yeah. And lately, because of Beppe’s traveling, we’ve been doing a lot of stuff apart where, because of the age now that we’re so hooked up to the net, we’re sending files across the world and we’re able to work without having to be in the same room a lot of the time. So it’s pretty cool.
GTA: Let’s talk for a moment about the fact that you guys are separated at times and this is a production duo that has to work apart from each other. Beppe, one of the things that makes the whole Dynamix dynamic so interesting is the fact that you are still a student and you spend much of your time overseas in Italy, correct?
GTA: How does that affect things when you’re working on a track with Eddie who’s here in New York City and deadlines have to be made and things have to be approved and listened to and your contribution is required just as much as his production?
BS: Well, for the first three years—three or four years, I would say—we’ve been very, very close and we’ve been everyday together working in the studio. So we sort of know each other very, very well. We know—when Eddie probably does something, he knows that I’m going to like and vice versa. So even being so far away, I still know what he is looking for, and so—
EC: Yeah, it’s kind of like working still together—
BS: —still together. But you know, I guess because there is this connection—
BS:—this brain connection. So we could really be anywhere in the world and still know what the other part wants.
EC: And it also helps influence-wise where one is being influenced by this side of the hemisphere and what’s happening here, and Beppe, being Europe a lot, being exposed to stuff over there and those influences over there and what’s happening over there. So I think Dynamix is more international now.
GTA: Eddie, as the guy turning the knobs in the studio, how do you manage to get those booming basslines and hard-hitting synth stabs that are such a trademark of the Dynamix sound so consistently?
EC: Really good vintage gear. Just spending time processing things, playing with a certain sound for endless hours if needed. It’s not something that you just pop out of your machine, you know? Sometimes you can make a record in eight hours. I mean, “Don’t Want Another Man” was done in under 16 hours, you know? By the time, you know, the sun came up the next day it was done. But sometimes you have to spend quite a lot of time processing the sound. Beppe would agree, too. Sometimes picking sounds—whether it be drums or synth—you spend time with it, you know? Sometimes it just comes out magically, sometimes it happens by mistake, sometimes you have to really spend time with it.
GTA: Do you have some favorite sounds or drum-loops that you’ve come up with that still recur in Dynamix productions? Or every time you make a new song is it a matter of coming up with new sounds?
EC: Take whatever is hitting at the time, I guess, and try to make it something of your own.
GTA: Let’s talk about “Bodyfly.” First, let’s take a moment and have a listen to this kick-ass track. [. . .] Just a reminder to our listeners to stay tuned as we’ll be giving them a code at the end of the show that allows them to download a free and legal copy of “Bodyfly” for themselves. Now, back to the track: This single has really been a long-time coming. Junior Vasquez first debuted the track at Twilo circa 2000. It is now 2004. Can you tell our listening audience why “Bodyfly” took so long to find its way from Junior’s turntables to the rest of the world?
EC: Finding the right voice, finding the right characteristics and who was going to execute the performance on stage, I guess, because a lot of the times we envision the performance. So I think “Bodyfly” just took awhile because it needed someone that could really, you know, hit it right.
GTA: Who did you originally record the track with? Beppe?
BS:We originally recorded with Micky Braiden. I met her in a club, she was performing there. And I had this track and I thought she would be great. And she recorded the original demo. And then later on we started with Inda Matrix and, actually, Inda Matrix was more available in doing the shows and performing it around the United States. And also what I wanted to say about finding the right time for the track is because also sometimes people are not ready for that track. They were not ready, probably, when we did Yasmine, which had these Indian elements and features to it. Probably they are ready now since now there is this big fashion—
EC: — fashionable Indian-type stuff.
GTA: Yeah, South-Asian culture is fashionable and hip right now.
BS: It’s also about people being ready for something.
GTA: You didn’t just change the vocalist of “Bodyfly.” The song itself has grown from its original demo form now to the final version. What kind of accents and accoutrements did you guys add in the time since Junior debuted it at Twilo to the way it sounds now?
BS: It’s much stronger. It’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by the power of the track. It’s very, very intense; it has very strong synths and drums—it’s a very powerful track. It has sort of gained strength in time instead of losing it.
EC: Right. And Inda just—she rides the music like a surfer would a wave, you know? It’s smooth, you know? Like she’s married to it.
GTA: As you just mentioned, “Bodyfly” features the vocals of Inda Matrix. Let’s talk a little bit more about her. She’s certainly no newbie to this whole scene. She has also recorded under the name Zhana, singing underground tracks for years going back to the Strictly Rhythm days. How did she end up on the doorstep of Kult Records? Beppe, you keep talking about fate and how these singers keep crossing your paths. Can you tell me a little bit about how Zhana—or Inda Matrix, I should say—crossed your path?
EC: It was primarily our business affairs who really kind of hooked it up. And from there we met and—
GTA: —everything fell into place.
EC: Yeah, yeah. Pretty much.
GTA: Just talking a little bit more about new sounds and how sounds have evolved and how those sounds have found their way into “Bodyfly,” there are several times in the track where there are these zooming electric guitar riffs that come screaming into the mix. What inspired you guys to introduce the rock ’n’ roll element into “Bodyfly”? Eddie?
EC: It was something of a friend coming over, hearing the track—he was blown away by it—boom!—light bulb! The guy came in, freestyled over the whole track and from then it was just, you know, picking the right points to put in the record to give it that feel.
GTA: Sweeten it up a bit. Presently, the shelf-life of new dance tracks tends to be rather short. A new track will drop, people will live for it for a few months—if that—and then will move on to the next flavor of the week. This is a rule that is especially true here in New York City: We’re really spoiled; Manhattan is a mecca of dance music. DJs have always come here to test out their latest cuts. So by the time a dance single sees a commercial release, most people in the tri-state are already over it. But Dynamix is different. You guys stick with a dance track—adding things, taking away others—until you’re finally satisfied with the final product. Beppe, can you elaborate a little bit more on this Dynamix philosophy—specifically about what you were talking about a moment ago in terms of waiting for the right time?
BS: Yes. I think the first rule that we follow for this is that we always stay true to what we like. We don’t like to follow trends. I mean, we sort of keep an eye on what’s happening out there, but we don’t follow what everybody else does. So we always try to do stuff that we really, really like and we really believe in and we work on that. Unfortunately, as you said, that’s the nature of the market now that tracks burn very quickly. But we also, as producers, grow very quickly and we have an evolution. So I think our music also follows that path.
GTA: Eddie, you’re also the label manager of Kult Records and you follow-through considerably with support for Dynamix productions and other tracks released under the auspices of the Kult Record house. But, as Beppe just said, you can have a mentality and a philosophy where you don’t like to follow trends, but does that become financially difficult when you’re trying to maintain a commercial record label?
EC: It sure does. I mean, you try to comply with certain standards because you have to, because if not, you’re not in business. And at the same time, I guess, we add our uniqueness to it.
GTA: But something, for example, like “Love Dominates”—that’s a track that could’ve had a shelf-life for two months, probably, if it was on any other label other than Kult. But you guys have consistently followed-through: you have Inda Matrix out there performing it over the course of basically a year-plus; she goes out and she performs it at all these circuit parties, these leather balls and things like that and it’s something that people are still into. Are there rewards to be reaped when you consistently focus all the efforts of a label on a particular track as opposed to 10 at one time, let’s say?
EC: Absolutely. I mean, Kult—going back to Kult’s roots where we were doing maybe two, three records—whether they were track EPs or whether they were vocals—a month down to sometimes one, two records a year. The records are basically being worked until there is no more. It’s not like taking a record and working it for a month and then people remember it for a month. It’s taking a record and working it for six months to a year and people can remember it for a couple of years and then so on, and at the same time get the rewards of getting gigs and people wanting to book it and the popularity and the record will do well.
GTA: Do you think that’s a problem with the dance music industry today? The fact that labels are so quick to dump off singles and move on to the next hot thing rather than support these fledgling tracks?
EC: Sure. It’s McDonald’s! That’s what the music industry is! It’s McDonald’s! The fries always taste consistent! Sometime that’s why, you know, we would work a record for six months as [opposed] to—it’s not pumping it out so fast. It’s dedicating a little more time and effort and tweaking the sound and calling the 10 extra people and, you know, getting that right gig for [Inda Matrix] at that right place at the right moment. And that’s the label: Leila, us, all our staff, interns, everyone, Beppe—everyone that is involved in making the magic happen.
GTA: And it is, in the end, magic, like you said.
EC: You’re remembered a lot longer—you have more of a stamp, I believe.
BS: And your work is also more rewarded artistically.
EC: Yeah, yeah.
BS: I mean, sometimes you put a lot of time into producing a song—
BS: — and you want the song to last.
GTA: Right—more than a month, more than 30 days, yeah! Exactly. Eddie, you have a satellite radio show, correct?
GTA: Where and when can our listeners catch you?
EC: It’s bi-weekly—two Saturdays a month. It’s OutletRadio.com and you can check me out. It’s every other Saturday at 9pm—from 9 to 11pm.
GTA: What do you guys have going on in the studio right now, both on the original tip and on the remix end of things?
EC: We’re working on picking the really finest stuff that we got to compile our album to be released later this year. And we’re working on Deborah Cooper’s “Sweet Sensation,” and still promoting what we have going on right now which is, like, “Bodyfly,” and still working the hell out of everything else.
GTA: Alright. Eddie, Beppe: I want to thank both of you once again for taking the time to speak with us this evening.
BS: You’re welcome.
EC: Thank you.
GTA: We hope you enjoyed tonight’s interview. Thanks to everyone who took the time to join in “The Revolution” tonight. As always, if you like what you hear, you can get more dance music news, interviews, 12-inch reviews and DJ charts by reading my SoundSystem column in HX Magazine, or by logging on to hx.com. On behalf of Dynamix, my producer Mike Apotheosis, Christopher Saylor and everyone at Metro Mix Radio, I’m Gregory T. Angelo thanking you for logging on, tuning in, and listening up. Remember, “The Revolution” begins with you. Until next time…
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