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Whether you went out last weekend to check out an uber-geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious musical talents rocking around the Dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we talk to remarkable artists about their music and their inspirations.
Aron Friedman and Eric de Man are no strangers to the Dutch scene, to say the least. They both had an impressive solo career and you might know them as Musclefarm. Spaceandtime is their new project. Their first EP will be released and they already have gigs coming up at Welcome to the Future and in New York. Reason enough for a chat!
Why did you start a new project instead of continuing Musclefarm?
Aron: “The name didn’t quite cover the music we were making anymore. Musclefarm started as an occasional thing and didn’t come across as well as Spaceandtime would. We realized that there was a certain hidden irony that we had outgrown, it’s easy to hide behind irony and it can work against you.”
Eric: “Musclefarm was an inside joke that not everybody got. We want to be open. It was a mask to hide behind. Spaceandtime is what we truly are.”
Did you change musically?
E: “What Musclefarm didn’t have was focus, we just played everything. We realized that we were going in a certain direction in the studio and then all the records we played in out sets started to match that direction and everything came together.”
Spaceandtime. Sounds like there’s a philosophy behind the name.
A: “It’s all-embracing. We couldn’t make it any bigger. The sonic aspect comes from a vision Eric had. He came into the studio with this eureka-look in his eyes.”
E: “There’s this image in my head of a desert with a sunset that colors everything orange. Everyone’s dancing and with every step you take a little dust stirs. It’s warm and you’re there for a reason. All the music we’ve made fits into this desert vibe. It has become our mood board. All our music is very atmospheric, wide and a little dusty.”
A: “I feel as if I’ve gotten a deeper understanding of what we are making. The music now feels as if it’s all around us. When it just comes from the speakers, it’s not good enough. There’s literally an extra dimension.”
E: “The same thing goes for the music we select for our sets.”
Aron, you were the Dutch editor for THUMP. Was it a hard decision to fully focus on making music?
A: “When you want to reach the right people you should really live music, Eric taught me that. He lives music like a madman. I used to do a bit of everything; I organized things, made music and wrote about music. In dark days, I even did some hand modeling.”
E: “Some people are just lucky. Look at these hands, I should be the hand model!”
A: “I didn’t know if I was a writer or a musician. It was a dilemma for me until I had a desert moment as well. I realized that what drives me is communicating emotions with people. This could be by making and playing music or interviewing someone.”
But that didn’t solve your dilemma.
A: “I love writing and I’m not bad at it. It gives me the opportunity to bring attention to the things I love. But music journalism is a vicarious art form: it can only exist because of another one, making music. This can be frustrating if you want to make music yourself, but can’t find the time, because you’re too busy writing about it. This was the only way to break out of that.”
E: “I’ve a lot of respect for his decision. It’s not a steady job and you dedicate your entire life to your creative outings.”
A:”I feel as if my decision makes people take us more serious. This shows I’m going for it for 100%.”
Eric, did you have to convince Aron a little?
E: “Oh I had to stop him. Haha no, I never had a conversation with him about it like that. It was something that we had to do and I felt that we both experienced this.”
A: “I really appreciate that you gave me the space to come to the decision in my own time, even if it was clear it was something I needed to do for a while.”
E: “You can’t rush music. You can’t push people into a certain direction. That doesn’t work and isn’t the way.”
You’re releasing your first EP on KROOKS. How did this collaboration come to be?
E: “We had a dinner party at our new booking agency We Are E with all the other artists. I sat next to Satori and our visions just matched really well.”
A: “I knew Satori in a ‘hi-bye’ kind of way. When I interviewed him for Thump I was really impressed and felt a connection. Everything happened really organic after that.”
E: “There were other labels in the game, but first impressions count so we went with out gut. Satori and the rest of the KROOKS family just felt right. It’s all about working with people who inspire you.”
Your focus hasn’t been on releasing in the past. Did it take a long time to finish the EP?
E: “I guess we both haven’t been Beatport cannons. But my first record was released in 1993, and Aron’s in 2006. Even though we’ve been making music together for over three years now we didn’t spend that many hours actually.”
A: “We didn’t have a lot of studio time. That’s also why I stopped with VICE. Now we can speed up the process. There are endless possibilities in producing. For the first time I feel like I’m working on a project where there’s a lot to discover which is really exiting.”
You haven’t had that many gigs, and yet you’re already playing in New York, in Toulouse and on Fusion Festival this coming month. That’s pretty impressive.
A: “We’ve basically played at every pop venue in the Netherlands throughout the years, and we hope we can keep doing that. The world’s big however, and we would love to do more.”
E: “This is our third gig and the EP isn’t even released yet. We’ve got two other international gigs coming up as well. It’s like we got the karma credit bonus card.”
A: “We’ve been saving credits for a while. But we’ve also used up plenty, haha.”
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