DigiExclusive: VCO InterviewAugust 14th, 2012 ⋅ News ⋅ by Digi Moses
Two creative minds are always better than one, so when two DJ’s decide to combine their skills into producing tracks together, the only thing you can expect 100% of the time is tracks that will blow the crowd away. Enter Bais Haus and Matzerath, who have come together as VCO, killing show after show with their remixes of Autoerotique’s “WTF”, Delta Spirit’s “California”, and more.
We got a chance to catch up with the duo at Dim Mak Studios to get to know them a little bit more and find out what really makes them tick:
Hi guys! Good to have you here. So tell us a little bit about yourselves; what are your musical backgrounds? And what artists have been the biggest influences for you guys?
M: Hi I’m Matzerath and I’m a big fan of dance music!
B: I’m Bais Haus. Music always ran in my family, and a lot of my influence comes from my dad who is a jazz musician. During high school, I listened to a lot of Aphex Twins, Square Pusher, Boards of Canada. In terms of dance music, MSTRKRFT was the first group I was into; they were fucking sick back in the day.
M: My dad is an investment banker (laughs)
How did your current production set -up evolve from where it was when you first started creating music?
B: I used to buy and sell synthesizers and repair them too. I studied circuitry in community college. I’ve had every keyboard from the 80’s that you can think of, all these keyboards these guys are using. I realized “Fuck, I should learn how to use them myself!”. I hooked them all up and once I got into computer programming, it was time to make dance tracks. I used to just press buttons and dick around, but there was no builds and drops or anything.
M: For me, I used to play drums for 15 years, prior to that I played guitar. I liked anything that was rhythmic, so dance music was the best thing for me in that aspect because everything was all percussive. I had a lot of digital analog synths, stuff you find in guitar center. I used to fuck around with a Korg Triton in my early days of high school. I played with orchestra, crescendo things, and played on my drums to see how many thing I could loop together. I got serious around 3 years ago and a I messed around with a program on my computer and I slowly I started building my collection of synths, and now it’s put me in debt (Laughs). It’s an addiction.
What are you guys’ synthesizers of choice?
M: Virus TI
B: I recently tried playing with it, and it’s fucking amazing. Before that, the Roland SH-101 or Sequential Prophet 5 are good keyboards.
M: A Prophet 5 search…comes up really short.
B: When you get into the analog synth market, you start reading these endlessly long blogs complaining about different years and different models and we start becoming really critical
M: We’ll sit there everyday and talk on iChat about “this one” or “how this filter is different” and it gets a to a point where we get nowhere and we’re like “Fuck it, let’s just buy this one”
B: Now we hear everything made on a computer, it either sounds like massive or any other VST
M: The texture becomes very programmed, everything is the same dimension.
B: We do everything by hand. There is a lot of love in the knob-turning! When we are recording it takes 5-10 times to get it right
Which track has been your favorite to work on so far?
B: We’re doing a remix of Proxy and we’ve gone through 4 versions now and each version sounds completely different. We would get to the very end of the track and we’ll be like “You know what? I fucking hate this shit” and we’d start over
M: We’re on phase 5 right now, but overall the outcome of the Proxy one is the one of my favorites.
B: It’s really fuckin bass heavy!
M: A lot of our songs start out from something like pop music to something eratic and heavy in a very weird way.
How did you guys get together to form VCO?
B: I went to community college, dropped out, discovered Dim Mak like 2 months later and interned and met Steve Aoki. I got hired as his Tour manager, which is around the time Eric [Matzerath] started working. I’d be gone for months after I came back we’d always hang out. I think it was after I saw his synth collection. I went to his studio one time, saw all his synths and was like “Let’s be in a band!” (Laughs)
M: We had prior conversation about like doing stuff and we both have the same direction on how things should be. After high school, I got into music more seriously. I was actually in a lot into metal bands, and I played every instrument in every band. I got sick of how nothing was ever serious and went anywhere, and a part of me always wanted to go into dance. It never clicked, so I started my own company importing motorsport products Japanese cars for track racing. I got miserable after 4 years and I realized I wanted to go back to music production. Three months later I sold it, I got a job at Dim Mak and been there ever since.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
M: Funny you say that, my dad is hard of hearing (laughs). I try to explain it to him all time. Um…”I make dance music dad”
B: Techno? I don’t know how I’d describe it though….Music to trip out on! Techno is not electro house with its constant bangers. Techno is minimal, every sound you’re using has to be on point. You can’t be slamming distortion in people’s faces, but Techno it’s more like honing on a unique atmosphere, where every drum sound has to be crisp with the right amount of reverb…because you’re playing on empty space
M: What people do with VSTs compared to what we do in our realm of production is that every little piece and every little track is processed over 4 or 5 times just to make it perfect. Especially With techno music, you’re leaving a lot of elements bare, where the ear can hear it for what its worth and you want to make it rich, perfect and everything has to flow.
Do you have any shows or new new tunes coming up?
M: We have a few things scheduled here and there. We have stuff tentative for Toronto and Canada. We’re working on a few remixes for Turbo and Proxy, and all these releases are coming out in the new few months.
B: Tommy Trash too. Sébastien Tellier as well. I love Sébastien and I love French music!
M: We have a few collabs coming up, like Casino Golds. They’re a local artist we’re a big fan off. It’s one of those things were we clicked really well over the business side of things and then we decided to write music together. We’ve got a lot of other friends of ours like Hot Mouth who we’re working with, so the list is growing
How do you guys usually get prepared for a show?
M: Get drunk!
B: I need to take it easy on that one (Laughs) I closed out for Mustard Pimp a few months ago and I don’t remember playing.
M: You played the Delta Spirit remix. It was a few days after we finished it and I wanted to test it out on a functional sound system. And he was black. out. drunk.
B: I don’t remember, so I’m not embarrassed by it. So I didn’t get to see myself play too terribly (Laughs)
M: The remix sounded good!
B: And that’s how I realized I need to eat a big meal before!
M: That’s what we love about working for Dim Mak; we get the outlet to debut song and play for big people right here right at Dim Mak Studios, it’s definitely a fun thing to do. It’s always a great crowd. Out of everywhere we played, it’s, at least, one of my favorite places to play. Best sound system, best crowd, and its fun!
Before we finish up, tell us a little piece of trivia about you guys!
M: We both love P.F Changs
B: I definitely love it way more!
VCO is one duo you definitely want to keep your eyes and ears on, so be sure to catch a show of their soon! Listen to their remix of Autoerotique’s “WTF” and connect with them over on Twitter, Facebook, and Soundcloud