This week’s mix comes courtesy of DJ and production duo Bondax, who have put together a collection old school disco beats to celebrate the launch of their newest album. Packed full of hip-swinging funk and
glammed-up disco from Don Blackman, Teddy Pendergrass, Willie Hutch and other lesser known OG’s of the era. We caught up with the pair to discuss their inspiration, orchestrating their new album and more.
Thanks for joining us for this week with your ‘Love, Peace & Disco Mix’. What inspired the theme?
Thanks for having us! Well, we’re both big disco fans and given the political context of Trump/Brett Kavanaugh/Brexit and the like, it felt like we really needed to let our hair down and dance our blues away!
How would say your own sound has developed since starting out together, especially ahead of your new album dropping today?
Our sound has changed dramatically. As old as it makes us seem, we’ve been making music together for around 8 years now and our tastes have changed a lot since the start of our project. We started out in our bedrooms making music purely on our laptops and along the way we’ve started to incorporate live instrumentation and attempted to make many of different styles of music. We’ve evolved from ‘making tunes’ to writing songs. We like to think our sound has matured, or maybe its become convoluted, it’s up to you to decide.
I understand you’ve recorded the album with a full orchestra, was that quite hard to adjust to coming from an electronic music background?
It was honestly the most incredible experience. It was definitely a learning curve taking what we had written in MIDI and applying it to an actual orchestra. We had to consider little things that we rarely had done before, like making sure the number of notes in each chord are the same. We really had to picture what it would sound like with real players; adding in transitions and dynamics, Crescendo/Diminuendo that sort of thing. We’re very grateful to Simon Whiteside who helped us score it all out into a proper arrangement. Reading and writing music has never been our strong suit and it’s crazy how important the score is, all the players locked in immediately and started playing it exactly how it sounded in our heads, something that seemed mad to us!
The album’s got everything from hip-hop, jazz, Latin and African rhythms, neo-soul and disco in there. Was that a conscious choice – to draw on all sorts of musical styles &mndash; or is something that you feel comes naturally?
We always get bored if we’re constrained to making one thing, so we always naturally make music that sounds quite different from track to track. It must be due to our own listening habits as we enjoy many different genres. It can’t be said enough how important context is to music or any type of art for that matter and we don’t like to sit on planes/trains and listen to house music. There’s just too much amazing music in the world that fits the soundtrack to every specific moment in life. We like to make music with a specific place or time in mind as a form of escapism.
What sort of music was in your record bag growing up, and how much has it had an influence on your now?
Growing up we were listening to Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Foals, Bon Iver that sort of thing. Then we got into Hip Hop, older Kanye stuff, Common, Dilla, then into soul D’Angelo, Bilal, Curtis Mayfield. When we were 15 we started developing a love for electronic music Dark Sky, Mount Kimbie, Bonobo and that was also when we started making music together so that was a big inspiration for us. I think that all these people mixed together plus what we’ve listened to in our 20s is a pretty apt description for our sound now.
Now the albums out, what’s next? More music, touring, or some time off to relax?
FINALLY! We’re elated to get this record off our chest, it’s been a long time coming. We’re always making more music and hope to not have such a long time until our next release. We’re going on tour this October in the UK and we’re gonna be heading around the world playing shows next year to celebrate the release of the album, so no relaxing just yet!
What are your plans heading into winter? Are there any shows you’re looking forward to, both performing in and going to yourself?
We’re very excited about our October tour! Had a great first night in Sheffield the other day, probably looking forward to Manchester and London the most, Leeds should be a big one too as its the last show we’ll ever play at Canal Mills. Gigs wise we’re hyped to see our friends Maribou State tour their amazing new record, also got tickets to Matthew Halsall, Puma Blue, Joey Dosik and Ezra Collective this Oct/Nov, so it should be a very fun couple of months.
Be sure to listen to Bondax’s new album, streaming on Spotify and SoundCloud now
Listen to oki-ni’s mix series