Skudge make raw stripped down techno for dark warehouses. They’ve taken the dance world by storm and Phantom makes for their highly anticipated debut album. Elias & Gustaf took some time to talk about the album and the aesthetic behind their project.
How & when did the production partnership come about?
First time we met was through Gustaf''s cousin, that is a friend of Elias; we didn't speak much then but later on we caught up when Gustaf booked Elias for a gig at his club at a bar in Stockholm. We changed our MSN addresses. We started to chat, discussed music and shared tracks that we had made, and g[ave] feedback on them. We found out we had a common taste in electronic music and decided that we should make some stuff together in Elias' studio, just for fun.
Was there a music scene there in Stockholm that you grew up in and informed you?
Elias: I grew up with techno with in the 90's and used to go to a warehouse club called Docklands and a lot of raves in the forests and industrial areas.
Gustaf: There w[ere] not a lot of good parties in Stockholm when I discovered electronic music, so of course, I got interested in arranging clubs/parties.
There is mysteriousness behind Skudge. Is this intentional?
No, it's not; we want people to focus on the music.
There seems to be a strict analog approach both in music production and artwork, etc. Explain your philosophy in regards to both.
It sounds and looks better.
There is a diy aesthetic which seems necessary for electronic music today when it comes to releasing vinyl. Can you explain? Do you control every aspect of the process?
We have control of the whole process and Rush Hour helps us with the distribution.
Who does record design and production of hand made jackets?
We make the design together and Elias does the artwork for the records and other stuff.
How did the relationship with Rush Hour come about?
We mailed them and asked and they were up for it.
How does your production time work? What's the studio set up consist of?
We try out different sounds, melodies and rhythms until it sounds good and then we arrange it. A lot of synths, drum machines, effects and a computer.
Explain your recording process, I know you record to tape, right?
We record everything to the computer and then we do a pre-mastering on the tape recorder.
When you write a track do you have preconceived ideas about how you want it to sound or does it naturally progress?
A combination of them.
Do you usually spend a session working on one thing, or do your ideas jump around?
We jump around from time to time, but mostly we concentrate on trying to finish what we started, but if we can't then we put it aside and start on something else.
Some artists have a palette of sounds that they use with each record before they move on. Was Phantom intentionally designed this way?
No, but sometimes we use samples/presets from older tracks that we have made.
Phantom sees the debut of some non dancefloor tracks such as the opener "Ursa_Major" and the acid grower "Blackout." Is this an area you think you will explore more?
Yes, it's always fun to try new things.
When do you work best? Late at night? Mornings?
You have been playing some live shows, upcoming Fabric date even... Do you bring a lot of equipment with you?
No, we have a special live equipment that we use.
Do you both DJ?
Not a lot, but we are thinking about starting to do it more.
First record you ever bought? The last?
Gustaf: First: Gez Varley - Shon and last: DJ Rush - Mind Games.
Elias: First techno vinyl was from a Swedish label called Loop Records and the last was Joy Orbison-Wade In.
SKUDGE004R, SKUDGE005, remixes, 12" record for the Danish label Echochord, a track to Marcel Fengler's Berghain mix and doing the album tour.
Current top 10?
In no particular order:
Instra:mental - "vicodin" (Skudge's warhouse mix)
ADDISON GROOVE - "Work It"
MORPHOLOGY - "Zircon Affair"
CONFORCE - "State of Mind"
DATA - "Burning Paradise"
The ABSTRACT EYE - Cool Warm Divine EP
COSMIN TRG - "Separat Ars"
LARSON - "1 8"
BURIAL/FOUR TET/THOM YORKE - "Ego"
Joe SEVEN - "Restionaire"
Purchase Skudge - Phantom here!