Interview with Dubit from March 2015 with stream of his Fragmenti LP. —
Fragments, moments, continuity, memory. These are some of the key words of the concept behing Dubit’s new album, Fragmenti. On his debut long-player, the Italian producer examines the particles of our everyday reality in relation to time, space, our inner experiences and primordial fears that hold us back. You can listen to Fragmenti exclusively here at DJBroadcast one week before general release.
Being the chief of Berlin-based Several Reasons Recordings and the Soluxion netlabel, Dubit has achieved a significant level of success as an experimental techno artist. Dubit also founded Soluxion Lab, where he focuses on sound design, psychoacoustics and sound engineering. On his debut LP, Dubit has created a sonic timeline layering field recordings, electronic gear, acoustic instruments and experiences from travelling across Europe.
You made a trailer for a Fragmenti film which features music from the album. Could you reveal some more information about the movie, and how are you involved in the visual project Kanaka?
It actually started from the “Fragmenti-Micro” project in the metro station. It’s about moments, the instant now and the reasons why we miss opportunities – because of fear coming from past experiences and the research of stability of our future life. I often collaborate with Andrea Maioli (visual) and Matteo Martignoni (sound designer) from Kanaka project; we all share a really common view of sound, visual arts and life. Recently while in Rome, Andrea, Ermanno Bonazzi and I had a brainstorm meeting in their studio where the concept and the scenography of the movie took shape. The connection was our primordial fear.
Using memories and experiences, we collected a vision of the relations between the unknown (represented by an identity) and the ego of the three characters. The significance of the pictures and the soundtrack will give the viewer more answers. However, the production process for this piece was reversed, we started from a sound dialogue and then the visual contest took place. Considering words are part of a pre-conceptual limit, we rely on sounds, emotions and pictures with a natural and primordial suspension of verbalization.
There’s also a video teaser for your XXX EP you made with Reggy Van Oers, for the and Instinct, your collaboration with Scalameriya. And just few days ago you uploaded the video Dryice. How important is the visual part of your art for you? Are you in charge of the creation of those visuals and if so, what do you base your ideas on?
The visual is a quite important part of what I do, because the content of my music and my sound design are made of field recordings most of the time. I catch the sounds and print their images myself, this way I can use all my information in post-production and arrangement in my studio. Especially regarding the production, my will is to interpret places I discovered as faithfully as possible, I want to visit them via the exploration of the sounds. Somehow it is something that keeps me solid on Earth. The visual part defines a position, a face and a picture of what I’m composing. It is really hard for me to explain what my idea is based on. I just filter information that comes to me naturally, and then share it with whom I collaborate with, and we develop a mutual vision. I know the way they process ideas and this means I can trust whatever they create, being free and creative, letting their minds open and give more freedom to the visual artist to express their vision. Nowadays there are many conditioning factors in the artistic contest and I’d like to avoid them.
In the description of the album, you talk about memory, relationships, and field recordings made in Berlin. Would you say the album also examines the relations between the outer world that surrounds us and the subjective reality we live in our minds?
Yes. The album examines our past created by memories, relationships and experiences and the interaction between the world where we live and our minds. It is a documentary as it is my documentation of what, where, and who I am – now and yesterday. As we are all here together, I feel this is our story.
You wrote that ‘Fragmenti is an exploration process of a daily system‘. Where did this exploration lead you? What does the everyday reality mean to you as a person as well as artist? For example: Are you bothered by the obligatory everyday activities, or do you feel like in these activities we often overlook fragments of the day that are worth paying attention to?
The album was conceived as a course of a day, and I want it to represent my preferred evolution of a daily process of activities and their intensity during these hours, in this period that by now is yesterday. I like the simple frames of our life, those simple magic sparks, the most intense and overwhelming ones, as I like the meaning of freedom. Stemming from the meaning of “obligatory”, I worship these primary everyday activities, but I know also that our frenetic life and our compressed time, lets say in the “occidental civilized countries”, make us overlook moments of our days that are worth paying attention to. We are unable to catch the instantaneous beauty of our lives, which may be needed for our psychological and physical health. I have to say the creation of Fragmenti made me grow as a person and as an artist.
In the booklet of the CD, you repeatedly mention silence and you also work with silence in your new tracks. What does silence mean to you from the artistic point of view?
“The intent is the opposite of confusion.” This was the perception I had during production time, I needed to express something in a silent state of mind, so that frequency would hold to one another. In my usual activities, silence is really important, as well as just listening to places where I go and the situations and the environment where I feel comfortable.
Compared to your other productions, the new album is way more eclectic and steps away from techno to more experimental or even a cinematic direction. For example, ‘Puteji’ lacks any kind of drums or percussion and is divided in two parts, one with meditative vocals by Alessandra Franco and the other with melancholic synthesizer. ‚Cardial‘ is an experimental electroacoustic song through and through. Could you detail the background of these tracks?
Yes, true, it was the evolution of the production work. I wanted to create a completely new atmosphere, but the style came out alone spontaneously. I used to produce different things all the time, to express myself in many different ways, which is how the project Dubit started years ago. My first releases were experimental, electroacoustic, IDM, tech, already containing complex beats, but in a really bad and confused quality and probably hard to understand for their complexity. But the first real productions before Dubit were under another alias. I liked the concept behind this at that time, my identity has always split into two activities: dance floor and experimentation, always with the will to experiment, enjoy, and go over the limit. After years of DJing and producing IDM, my own and faithful vision took a more defined form as UNC, my new alias, with whom I will continue performing and being part of the techno or a club scene. Keep an eye on this project, as there are some really interesting collaborations soon ready to be released.
After this album, Dubit will experiment without giving himself any obligations and allow concepts to develop in a cinematic direction and whatever explorations may take shape in electronic music.
‚Cardial‘ can be explained through my electroacoustic and IDM background. When I listen to it I feel like my system of activity slows down, it’s like it would be following the beat of my heart, it is difficult to explain, is like puppies playing together or pets of my past floating in blurred memories. If you filter all the high and mid frequencies of the track, you will hear my cardiac beat. And speaking of ‚Putejil‘, there’s a story I have to share with you. It was an incredible experience. While staying at a friend’s place in Italy for a collaboration together, Daniele Guidazzi and I met Alessandra Franco with her lovely one year-old daughter. I was on my laptop checking emails, when she asked me if she could play the piano which was in the room and I agreed. When she began to play, my brain just stopped, I dropped everything and ran to my room to grab a portable microphone and came back to that beauty. She had her daughter propped on her legs while playing and singing a song in an improvised language. It was her first time playing since giving a birth to her daughter who closes the track with her only word spoken that day, “Puteji.” Who knows what it means…
What I see fundamental in all my projects is the creativity, keeping it alive and enjoying the creation process behind it.
Apart from field recordings, there are also unusual f string, percussions and keyboard sounds. Are they digitally created or did you record with acoustic instruments as well?
I try to find the right balance between what is concrete and digital, as this is my identity. My studio is full of instruments and objects I built myself, like a small guitar which I used in Fragmenti song, pinched or played with fiddlestick. I also have a cymbal and audio-midi controllers like my Contact Dark Tablet. I play everything that is around me, it doesn’t matter what it is, I just have to love it, it can be everything, even a plant. The other job is done by machines, analogue and digital, for the post-production of the recordings or for the generative sound to blend. I plan to add a Charleston snare drum to my set-up. In the future I would love to start collecting pieces for a customized analog modular system. The quantity and brand names are not what matters; it is how you use what you have. But digital can also offer you a lot. I like to use Max-MSP patches, which I think have a really interesting approach, you can really do everything; or Reaktor, other plug-in for post-production, and other different crazy software.
You are the founder of two recording labels: Several Reasons Recordings and Soluxion Records. How do they differ from each other and how do you choose who to release?
This is an evolution of my journey. Several Reasons Recordings, started between Mynude and myself, is now three years old and Berlin-based. It is SLXR’s evolution in time regarding my experience; this is why they have a complementary logo. We basically produce music on physical mediums, vinyl and CD, and this is the reason why it is divided, because it has costs. SRR is a project that deals with the music-system and music-industry on a daily basis, without loosing the contact between what we love and what we are. It is really a big and complex project that includes a lot of facets in different contexts. Soluxion Records was born five years ago, in Bologna, Italy from Soluxion Movement (a DJ collective) and is a Netlabel, which means releasing music content for free or “name your price” under Creative Commons.
For me, being part of a netlabel project where I released my own work is a big experience. The world of netlabels is huge and it helped me a lot in my carrier: releasing, learning about label management, interacting with artists and playing free protected contents when there weren’t possibilities to buy music. It is a scene where there is no profit and people release all kinds of quality music. For me, Soluxion was and is a solution for being part of the electronic music network, although there isn’t any financial reward possible. Both projects have a unique sense and the people involved are like a family and a network. Some artists even released music on both of my labels. Those who work with us are aware of our concept, what we spread and the fact that we love what we do. It is a complete project and identity in evolution: Several Reasons Recordings, Soluxion Lab and Soluxion Records. Perhaps something will change in the future, who knows?
You also run a mastering and mixdown studio Soluxion Lab, yet your new LP was mastered by Artefacts Mastering. What lead you to this decision?
This is an understandable question. I usually master my tracks myself, but this time I couldn’t. As I heard the unmastered version of the album so many times, I wasn’t sure I could put my hands on it again. The whole process took more than a year, both working on it and listening to it. However, in the past, I had several chances to meet Dadub, the guys behind Artefacts Mastering, and I respect and love what they do. I felt I could trust them regarding this job because I knew we share similar perceptions of sounds and mastering. Giovanni Conti and I were together for the complete mastering process in their studio in Berlin, which was an incredible experience. He really perfected my work.
Apart from sound engineering or design, you are also working with psychoacoustics; the human perception of sound. How did you work with this phenomena while creating Fragmenti?
I’ve always been interested in the interaction of sounds with our brain; perhaps this is why I fell in love with physical acoustics in middle school. I participated in a workshop of Psychoacoustics as well, and felt extremely in tune with the theories. While creating Fragmenti I wanted to develop a story spanning 24 hours, studying the changes of the state of mind; using frequencies, dynamics and intensity. My intent was to reach a direct communication with the listener, who is inside his or her bubble, transferring the perception of feelings and languages as well as the conflict between light and darkness, dreams and nightmares. Creating a principal yet comprehensible message and relating it to many harmonies, Fragmenti is a world that you can discover with time and with different exposure to the music.