I have always been interested in the process, often more than the result, when it comes to electronic music.
Dioxide is a new project driven by the creative spirit of two electronic veterans and talented sound makers. This is a meeting between Andrea Belluci (Red Sector A) and Andrew Lagowski (Lagowski, S.E.T.I. ). The album Specular Mirrors reveals a fascinating and IDM orientated sound. The opus has been released on Space Race Records, which is a rather unexpected move from this Italian label, mainly devoted to body-pop productions. Dioxide clearly enlarges the sound spectrum of the label and will ravish lovers of intelligent electronics.
How did you guys meet and start with the project Dioxide?
Andrea: A couple of years ago now, I got in touch with Andrew for a possible track collaboration on my Red Sector A “Transients”-album. I hae always been a fan of his works since the early nineties when he released some awesome 12” on Minus Habens, such as Artificial (as Lagowski or the S.E.T.I. moniker). I discovered a great guy, very humble, who loves taking a number of risks and trying out different things. After this collaboration, we promised to consider doing an album together, which could reflect our common passion for rhythms and sounds. We found the right time in the spring of 2014, and we started to write material, very quickly, I have to say.
So, what kind of sound did you have in mind when you started Dioxide and how did the compositional and recording process go?
Andrea: From the beginning our goal was very clear; this project had to be ‘modern’, and the choice of sounds and rhythmic parts could reflect this idea. It wasn’t a question of being ‘innovative’ at all cost (I think It’s quite impossible nowadays, to be honest), but trying to be recognizable and different from others by joining our tastes and different experiences. We have tried to do our best to achieve that result, and I have to say, I’m very proud about it. The writing sessions were easy; we use the same software, so with Internet and files exchange it was a very quick process. Our affinities helped us to understand how things can work out or not. We had no discussions about sounds or arrangements, so in a short time we realized that the album was ready.
Andrew L: To be honest, I just knew we both had lots of gear, software (mostly Andrea’s!) and ideas… I made some sounds, sequences and beats and Andrea absorbed me like in “The Thing” and added his overall production and leveling… then a new creature was born, with Andrea’s form, but with some of my DNA.
What is Specular Mirrors about and tell us a bit more about your sources of inspiration?
Andrea: Specular Mirrors is Andrew and me, two different persons, born in different countries, with different backgrounds, but close in age and with the same passion for electronic music and electronic gear. First of all, I’m a music ‘listener’ and right after that a ‘musician’. I try to listen to a lot of music, just to catch and understand the sounds, the moods which reflect the time in which we live. I do not agree with people that there is only garbage released nowadays or that the music of the past i better. I have found great albums and intriguing Ideas. With the new technologies and software, we can be extremely creative and original, there’s a lot of great stuff outside. A great source of inspiration for me were some acts such as Akkord or The Haxan Cloak, which have some ‘obscure’ moods; then Autechre, which I consider to be one of the most original bands ever concerning rhythmic approach; some Ant Zen/Hands stuff regarding the use of ‘distortion’ applied to the sounds, or some ambient masters such as Lustmord, or more recently Ben Frost. And I don’t forget to mention some German labels such as Prologue Music and Raster Noton, which work with great producers such as Mike Parker and Cassegrain, Alva Noto (a great source of inspiration for me) and Atom TM (one of my favorites ever).
Andrew L: I’m using my past and current musical inspirations and also everyone I meet and every situation I encounter. All of this feeds my mindset. Then I start making noises and rhythms.
The album reveals a real huge fascination for sound creation, which I think is an aspect you both share throughout your multiple projects and compositions. Tell us a bit more about your perception of electronic music?
Andrea: You’re right, definitely, everyone nowadays, in his studio, has the same stuff. The only thing that can differentiate a musician from another is the sound creation, there’s no doubt about it. I realize it is not the easiest way, but if you want to make electronic music, you have to be quite original. To be original means to spend some time creating sounds, samples or loops, and manipulate them until they will sound ‘different’ from the beginning. For me, it is the beauty of the modern technologies and the most funny thing.
In the past, I was used to sample stuff from other records, but nowadays, I have left this practice and I try to create my own sounds, sometimes using some ‘field recordings’ and sometimes modifying existing sound libraries. My perception of electronic music nowadays is ‘do it yourself, try to be different’. When I’m in my own studio, thinking about a new track, I often think by myself: ‘and If I do this?’. I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes and that’s a great advantage.
Andrew L: I have always been interested in the process, often more than in the result, when it comes to electronic music. When I was at school, I used to read this book called “Art & the Future” which featured pictures of John Cage and his table full of boxes and I thought ‘OK, I need various boxes to plug together, to see what the result is.’ Then I saw pictures of Throbbing Gristle with all of the effect pedals and devices, and I was vindicated and spent what I could on pedals and strange boxes. I used up a large amount of time experimenting with sounds and software; sometimes not getting anywhere, but sometimes getting too many good results, so I have to start recording all of the output for future use. You never know when that weird sound will be useful..
Do you have yofurther plans for Dioxide and other personal projects?
Andrea: I hope to make a second Dioxide album the next year, somewhere in the middle of May. Final Muzik will release my project with Andrea Gastaldello/Mingle named ‘Nerva’. I’m very happy about the result and I hope it will be well received. Next, I’m planning to record and release a new Red Sector A album, which will be different from the recent one.
Andrew L: As Andrea said, we hope to work together again later on this year (and I would like to take it live, if possible). Apart from that, I have several S.E.T.I. albums ready to release, along with a couple of live events and I am working on the outline for the next Lagowski beat-laden Meisterwerk!
Andrea: Thanks a lot for your questions!! Cheers.