All the way from Austria, DJ/producer double act alllone sit down to spill the tea. Mathis [M] and Stefan [S] breakdown the background of their label debut Bad Tuesday, and fill us in on their story, sound, shows and secrets...
"We really hate to have BPM borders"
We talk money laundering, their inclusive collective GreyNote and how to properly pronounce UK rapper's names. This is an in-depth insight into the minds of our newest signees, whose creativity channels ADHD inspiration. Tune in.
For the uninitiated, what's alllone's story?
M: "We started making hardcore and breakcore 10 or 15 years ago and it was super brutal stuff - very dark and crazy. We just didn't feel it over the years because it was super hard and it almost gave me a psychosis. I was really out of my mind because of the music so we kept making it smoother and smoother. I had another project with another friend and we made super smooth stuff - dubstep and garage kinda things. In the end, we just wanted to mesh all these projects together into one so we didn't have genre borders. Now we can just do whatever we like and whatever we feel."
Was that Solo Premium and KVNSH!N?
M: "Yeah, so me and another friend called Stefan aka Inkwire were Solo Premium and us two we were KVNSH!N. Then we meshed everything into alllone."
In our Dabbla interview he said: "alllone love to flip their beats halfway through so you get like two songs in one!” How true is that for this project?
S: "I can only agree with Dabbla here. I think it's our aim to try to put all of our interests and genre preferences in a track. So, we take our inspiration from hip-hop, footwork, jungle or jazz and then we just start with a project. We try to not get bored during a production. So, we always have the feeling to combine all these influences. Now it's a kind of signature move and at the same time it's just a nice and easy way to keep our projects exciting. Luckily it fits pretty good into the overall concept of our tracks."
M: "I think it's this... in English it's ADHD... that's like the style of how we produce our music, because if we get bored after like five seconds we just have to make a completely different switch-up so it never gets boring and keeps being a journey in one track."
Do you have a particular example on this EP?
S: "On the EP with Dabbla, 'Bad Tuesday' would be the perfect example for this. The other tracks would be more hip-hop-ish and straight beat-ish, but 'Bad Tuesday' is definitely a good example. Another good example of this process would be our second EP named Dualism. Especially on there we combined many different genres and had a lot of those mad switches. We always started with a beat and then the tracks developed into something completely different like footwork or garage."
Your live sets also move through many different genres. Do you like to show that 'ADHD' style in your sets as well as songs?
M: "We really hate to have these BPM borders, like playing drum and bass and always keeping the same BPM. We hated it. There are so many great tunes in the weirdest BPM spectrum so we just wanted to play them out. We started playing 100-200 BPM, or the other way around, so we can sort of play everything. The most important thing for our live sets is that most of the time we don't even know what the other one is going to play, so it's just like we're improvising and just like playing at home. And that's the biggest part of why we enjoy our sets, probably the most [laughs]. Because they aren't perfect but we just find really strange combinations of tunes while we are playing there live."
S: "When we play a gig we always take turns during the set. So it´s like Mathis plays one track then I play one track and so on. Most of the time, in a classic B2B one person plays three tracks then the other one is playing three or four tracks, but we're switching all the time. It seems to me that it makes the whole DJ thing a lot more interesting. Besides, improvising is a lot of fun for us. Sometimes, I'm playing a tune and then Mathis is playing over it with a completely crazy sound and I think, 'Oh man! This fits so perfect right now!' - I'm feeling so happy in those moments."
M: "That's why together we're so much better at DJing. I'm always dropping such strange and unquantized tunes and he's a genius at playing tracks over weird stuff [laughs]."
S: "Oh thanks man - pretty cute from you [laughs]. I also want to say that it also depends on where we're playing our live gig . There's an upcoming Halloween rave in Graz and we know the people just want to go full on, having the time of their lives. We prefer to play crazy, weird beats, but we know that in Graz not all the parties are so open for that sound. So we will definitely go with more jungle and more danceable stuff at this rave. You see it's always depending a little bit on where we're playing."
That sounds similar to how I heard you make tunes with your ‘ten minute rule’ for switching between you both. Is that fair to say?
M: "Yeah pretty much, it's really quite the same. Most of the time, we use a timer for ten minutes each so we switch all the time. I think it makes a strange outcome in the end because there are so many ideas one guy wants to make and then he can't because the other one is having his ten minutes, but in the end something unintentionally dope is coming out. It's our style to produce."
Where does GreyNote come from and what's your aim for the movement? Is it to fill that gap?
M: "Pretty much that I think. It was always the goal to not use those borders. Every part of the GreyNote crew is coming from a pretty different direction so everybody plays different styles. That was the core thing for GreyNote because we knew that it would be this super niche thing and it's a combination of our niche things."
S: "You have to know that over here in Graz you have those classic dnb and techno parties, but we've already had enough of this. So, we had the idea of making something on our own. We were already in a crew, the Noise Collage crew, but that was more hardcore and breakcore. We are now a bit more on the softer side. Together with the artists Aplot and Dotworks, and the sound engineer Andre Kerschhaggl we started our own collective back in 2017 and yeah, it's definitely growing.
For example, the DJs/producers Ome, silkties, D:enimga and KanFun joined our crew a year ago. We already have an extension of our parties too. We organize workshops as well where the women of our crew (sowie, Paris. H, pulp kitchen, ja.ku and silly bangs) are teaching other women how to DJ, most of the time for actually not a lot of money. Also, we are releasing another GreyNote compilation pretty soon. It will be a crazy mix of dubstep, beats, footwork and jungle, so pretty much everything that GreyNote is standing for. I think all in all GreyNote is just our way to be independent."
Your collabs are typically with producers. How've you found the process of making an EP with an MC?
M: "There are a few Austrian MCs and rappers we've collaborated with. Everything in Austria is kinda smaller but not less dope. With P.tah and Kinetical we made a few tunes and now with Fate, but this was definitely our first step into working with MCs. We had lots of fun and the releases are big! With Dabbla it's also the same kinda workflow because it's really a collaboration in every part of this project, (not sending beats to someone and waiting until they have some bars). The thing is, we really, really want to collaborate with more rappers and MCs because we have so many beats to give to rappers, but it's kinda hard to find the right one for us. Most of the rappers, it seems like they can't rap over our beats because the beats are kinda weird."
M: "Most of the time it doesn't fit perfectly and we always wanted to get this bridge to the UK, because we really think most of the UK rappers would fit pretty good on our stuff, like with the vocals and accent, but most of the time with their flow. So we would really love to make more with rappers but we didn't have the connections yet. But hopefully now..."
The obvious question then is, who would you love to work with?
S: "It's funny, the first one I've thought of now is GEAR. Definitely like his voice, his flow and that kinda darkness."
M: "I'd love to collab with, and I don't even know how to pronounce his name, but Clbrks."
Ah C L Brooks!
Both: "Oh OK! [Laughs]"
M: "Do you know what it stands for though?"
Pretty sure it's from his name, Conrad Louis Brooks.
S: "[Laughs] Oh! I thought it was something like 'Cool breaks'."
M: "Yeah or 'Club breaks' [laughs]. But I really love his voice and his flow. It would be so fun to make something with him in the future. He's crazy. We mostly got to know him through Morriarchi's beats."
To not get kicked out, Dabbz slipped the laundrette owner £50 when filming the 'Adept' video. What’s the price for [money] laundering in Graz?
S: "As privileged as Austria is, everybody’s got their own washing machine for their money [laughs]. But I'm pretty sure there are some laundries here that would let us film for free, as most of them seem to be transformed into hipster meeting-points with no effort to get their clothes or money washed. Although, that’s probably not the same atmosphere so I guess that £50 was a good investment here."
Your tunes were first pressed on vinyl for Shifting Frames. With some of Bad Tuesday forming an AA-side, how important are physicals to you?
M: "I would say a lot because we've been collecting vinyl since forever. I think I've got 3K vinyls here in my room and I just can't stop collecting. We played with vinyl for years but it's just pretty inconvenient [laughs] in comparison to USB sticks. So at some point we started to use CDJs. There's already these borders in playing with vinyl because you can't play really fast and we really dig tunes that are like one minute long and you just can't play that with vinyl because you're way too slow, even with two guys."
S: "Unless you go crazy fast searching for it in the record."
M: "So, now it's more a collector thing and we're just enjoying listening to them, but we don't play them live, but it's important."
S: "And a lot of tracks and beats are not even on vinyl to get anyway. I can remember we had this thing going on with trying to mix them together, like playing with a USB stick and vinyl, but it was more uncomfortable than enriching. But it's definitely a good feeling to release on vinyl. I was so happy when I saw the Shifting Frames album in my hands. I thought, 'Oh damn. It's our thing. We pressed vinyl'. It was incredible. I can't even describe it really. Crazy.
‘Gappin’, the beat for ‘Mountain Goat (Ft. Illaman)’ first featured on Bedroom Files Vol. 1, a project made of missing files. Earlier you mentioned the power of randomness in creation, but does creativity also rely on repurposing and remaking?
M: "I mean, we're producing hip-hop so I think that pretty much answers everything, because hip-hop isn't hip-hop without sampling and sampling is definitely a big thing for us. But, it's always really important for us to fuck up the sample so much that nobody would ever know what it is."
S: "That's actually a small goal every time we are sampling that we're trying to make our own thing out of the sound which we are using. To be honest, I don't actually know where the inspiration is coming from. Sometimes I'm sitting in front of the laptop for four or five hours just fooling around and pretty much nothing really spectacular is happening. And sometimes I'm sitting in front of the laptop for just five minutes, and there's one sound that I can get really into, then suddenly, in two hours there's a whole track. I'm still searching for this reason to be honest [laughs]. Always a big surprise where inspiration comes from."
The vocal sample in that production; do you know where it came from?
S: "I can remember the sample [laughs]. The vocal sample right?"
Both: [Laughing, low voice rendition]
M: "I really don't know where that's from actually. I got a huge folder of 80s/90s hip-hop acappellas (shout out Ausland666) from a friend a few years ago. And yeah, that folder is like the go-to whenever we need some vocals and stuff, but it's a mystery."
What's next for alllone?
S: "We have these new EPs coming up: a collaboration with two Austrian guys. One guy is called Fate and the other one is called P.tah. I think you've already heard one collaboration with P.tah, the 'Blud' track - a collaboration with P.tah, Kinetical and us. So there's definitely those two EPs coming: one with P.tah [out now] and one with Fate [out now]. And we actually thought about doing another Bedroom Files, because we have a lot of almost finished tracks and sometimes we just go through our hard drives searching for tunes to release."
M: "Hopefully get more gigs, like international ones, that would be awesome."
S: "Ah, that would be great!"
M: "Yeah and Dabbla offered that we could release instrumental stuff on Potent Funk so we're thinking about that... cos we always had in mind a crazy concept album because we have collected tunes that are pretty much undanceable but really crazy and nice to listen to - like, really strange journeys of tracks."
S: "A little bit like Shifting Frames."
M: "Yeah kind of, and we thought that if they're down then we could make this happen and this would be a really nice goal for us. Aww!"
S: "Another goal would be to play our Ableton live set somewhere else again too. It was quite a big thing: we played on a 360° soundsystem in collaboration with two special sound engineers named Michael Romanov and Martin Schachner. It was so much fun to work on and yeah, it was so sad that we just played it once at the Elevate Festival in Graz and then yeah, Corona came up so..."
M: "Yeah that festival was like two days before the first lockdown so we had a crazy era. I think we tried to set a few months just for practicing in that huge room there. Then it became nearer, then suddenly it was Corona and it was pretty obvious that the whole festival would probably be cancelled. It was two days after when everything was closed. But it was crazy because playing this live set was really, really intense and a special thing for us and we really hope to do that more often in the future."
You guys wanna give any shouts and final messages?
S: "Damn yeah. Definitely thanks to Matt Frost, Dabbla and the whole Potent Funk fam."