Like other local electronic artists such as Simon Flower
and Bevan Smith
, aka Barton
and Hayden Strom
, have, at least initially, achieved more success overseas than in New Zealand. However the title of their just released sophomore album, 'Twin Coast Discovery', taken from a street sign that can be found all over Auckland, tells you that home is where the Grey Lynn-based brothers' hearts are.
"You're always tossing up ideas because the album was coming up and we had to think of a name," explains Barton when I meet him and Hayden at a K. Road pub.
"I was driving home one night and just saw the sign 'Twin Coast Discovery'. I see it every night but it kind of worked because we're brothers. It's the twin thing, although we're not twins. We're discovering new sounds and we like the coast. It gives a New Zealand vibe to the album, which is cool because it's going overseas. The album cover (featuring flowers contrasted with seaweed) is quite New Zealand-ish, so it is a good representation of where we're at and I guess a good representation of New Zealand as well."
And while they first discovered electronic music here, the Stroms embarked upon their first musical forays together in Japan.
"I basically started getting into Orb
-like (ambient) styles around '94/'95 and then a good friend gave me a tape of some good trance music," recalls Barton. "I got into it from there and got quite addicted to trance basically. I knew I wanted to do something more with it and wanted to buy some equipment. Some friends were over in Japan and they said there was heaps of cheap equipment and the trance scene was pretty big there, so I went over."
"I was in the States snowboarding and was looking to do something after that as I didn't want to go home," continues Hayden. "Then Bar said 'Come to Japan. It's pretty cool here'. So I went over and we started tooting around on a few machines."
Antix's debut album 'lull', which was released in 2003 through Danish label Iboga, was rooted firmly in traditional trance sounds. 'Twin Coast Discovery' finds the brothers venturing into more progressive house territory.
"Our sound has evolved," says Barton. "It's gone more into a housey space. The last album was more progressive trance but within that genre, it was considered housey trance. But now we've moved away from that. (Auckland DJ) Rob Salmon
is playing our stuff out, and we fit more into the progressive house box."
'Twin Coast Discovery' has sold an impressive 2000 copies since being released in Europe and Asia in April by Iboga. The brothers' domestic market expectations are considerably lower - they have imported 100 copies themselves for distribution here through Border Music.
"The first label we released on was a German label Plastic Park and we've done heaps of 12 inches since then on various labels, but mostly Plastic Park," explains Hayden. "Then we randomly met these Danish guys when we went to Denmark. We just got on really well with them and they said 'Do you want to do an album with us?' We originally planned to do it with Plastic Park but we weren't that close to them. There wasn't the personal touch/relationship there so we ended up going with Iboga."
And while 'lull' was never actually released in this country, the brothers are hoping that they can, slowly but surely, build up a reputation at home by having 'Twin Coast Discovery' available locally and playing out on a regular basis.
"We've been under the radar and it's mostly been overseas," admits Barton. "We travel a lot and the music that we make just goes straight there. We've always kept a pretty low profile here but that's partly because the opportunities here haven't arisen before. Now that they have, we've jumped on them. We play out with our mates and at some of the local parties round here, like at Galatos. So now is probably a good time to start something. It was nice to come home."
Like Pitch Black
, Antix use revolutionary new software Ableton Live when they play out live, although the brothers' set-up is not as complex.
"Pitch Black's live rig is pretty well set up and they have to bring a van in to unload it all," says Barton. "But when we're just playing around Europe, we basically have to put it all in a bag and jump on the next plane, so it has to be a lot more compact. We just play off a lappy and use a mini controller keyboard to trigger loops and samples and twiddle effects. And in the technical rider at our gigs, we ask for a mixer and some external effects so we can jam stuff out and if we get really freaky, we may get a vocoder and some extra keys."
o Mac G5 1.8.dual running Logic 6 pro.
o UAD project pack plug-ins
o Hammerfall DSP multi face sound card
o Nord Lead 1
o Novation K station
o Novation Nova
o Waldorf Pulse
o SH 101
o TR 606
o Jomox Xbase
o Lexicon Mpx100
o Zoom 1201
o E Magic AMT8
o Spirit LX7 24 mixer
o ADAM P22 monitors
o Alesis Monitor ones
o B&W A6 subwoofer
o Mac G4 400 running Ableton live
o eMagic emi 2/6 sound card
o Mackie 1402 VLZ mixer
o Novation K station with vocoder
o Audix F50 mic