Following their 3-month apprenticeship with Levon Vincent in Berlin, Irish born production duo Terriers have released their 3-track ‘Octagon EP‘ offering a glimpse into their time spent with the Novel Sound boss. We caught up with Terriers to find out more about their time spent with Levon in Mitte, what they’ve learnt from their experience and how it has affected their approach to production. Their mix is a live recording.
Starting with the obvious, much has been made of the time you spent working with Levon Vincent. How did this come about and what were those three months like?
We sent Levon an email with demos when we saw his post on Facebook. He got in touch, asked us for more music, and some info about ourselves. We were surprised when he got back to us. He invited us over to Berlin for the day; we had some lunch, rooted through records and planned out the summer.
We came back three weeks later and he had an apartment set up, and a studio in Mitte, which his friend Mike had just built. We spent a lot of time there, and Levon being the dude that he is, loaned us some gear. We had a lot of fun, made some music, made new friends. We liked it so much, that we moved to Berlin.
"We are not trying to emulate any particular sound or style. Our stuff comes together in the moment - when we jam with a drum machine and synthesizer. That's usually how it starts."
Press releases and features – including this one – often have his name as a leading note. Do you feel this is something you are proud of or is it a case that you wish people focused more on the music and your intentions?
We are so grateful for everything that happened. Levon is probably the nicest dude we know. His work ethic, passion for music and view on life was really great to be around. Being brought into his world for a few months really got us pumped to put our heads down. It has been a great platform. We think that as we release more music, people will start to focus on that.
Your style is lush and deep, sitting in the misty grey area between deep house and techno. Who and what are your influences would you say? Or is it a case of finding your own sound rather than aping your idols?
We are not trying to emulate any particular sound or style. Our stuff comes together in the moment – when we jam with a drum machine and synthesizer. That’s usually how it starts.
I’ve noted you are fans of some kooky instruments, from Korg’s Monotribe to properly crusty looking tape machines. What little surprises have you got hidden away in your studio that you really love?
Yeah, that’s a Volca, not a Monotribe and it’s not ours! Ronan picked up this pretty old Tascam 8 channel mixer for a steal. It’s completely broken, heavy and if your planning to use it correctly it’s probably useless, but there’s something about its preamps and the fucked channels that makes a lot of stuff sound amazing.
Guess also the Tascam Porta Tape. Big fans of the old Tascam stuff in general. We’d usually put out percussion through the tape then drive it through the Moog low pass filter for extra grit. Muy bueno!
Also all that MFB stuff we love, everything on the Rhythm Nation release and forthcoming Major Problems release has the 522 and Nanozwerg all over it.
Were you always hardware heads or did you reach a point where you wanted to abandon working with virtual synths?
When we started, we gravitated towards hardware, rather than using synths in Logic. We just like the way there’s more spontaneity and in terms of the way we work and trying to jam things out its easier to work off each other this way. Being able to twist physical knobs and press buttons is way better than being hunched over the laptop. We’d still use the computer a lot for mixing; EQing and all them cool plug-ins.
From what I’ve seen, your studio is the antithesis of those viral-bait studio selfies that you get on Facebook. Is it really that chaotic? And at what point did you think, “I know, fairy lights and upside-down umbrellas!” as a course of action? (For what it’s worth, fairy lights are always vital)
Every studio we’ve worked in has been in an unusual spot. In Dublin, it was the top floor of a glass storage factory. Peter had the keys so we could use it after-hours. The lighting wasn’t great so we had to improvise.
In Berlin, the walkway up was littered with old mannequins, harsh lighting and weird shit in general. Freaked ourselves out a few times in there. So is it really chaotic? Not always, but yes.
My one and only trip to Dublin was in 2001. It was mostly spent shut in a hotel room having decided to abstain from my companions ferocious desire to go to strip joints, wishing for a clue of a good place to go to and shake down to some beats. – Can you blow this image away in an Alan Partridge “dere’s more to Oirland den dis” fashion by letting us know how is the scene nowadays? Do you have any fond memories and tales of parties past?
Yeah, Dublin can be a hard place to find the good music. Same as other cities. Our main good time spots would be Pacino’s, The Shaw and Twisted Pepper, where we had our first gig.
There’s lots of new stuff popping up, parties and artists. There’s a great bunch of lads – Lumigraph, Sias (check out podcast), Bong Goz, Morgan, Olmo and more doing really great things. A downside to things is the licensing laws. Everything has to close pretty early, it can be a bummer but there’s usually a schauldy rave going on somewhere.
Recent parties? Fettburger in Sweeney’s. Crazy spinbacks and everyone on a great vibe. And the first Out To Lunch with Traxx in Tengu. It’s a nice lil spot to throw a party and that’s what it was.
What’s next on the schedule for you both with your latest release fresh out of the doors?
Excited to have Octagon out. Second Labour Of Hercules is coming on Major Problems in July. And just working on some new some stuff, and working on the live show.TerriersRhythm Nation RecordingsDeep HouseTechno