A new voice in the realm of intelligent electronic music production is PALLADIAN -- an Italian duo based in Barcelona, Spain.
The breakout element transmit an immersive sound built on flow state and thoughtfully-constructed arrangements, which they perform live in their latest track "Fur". As is common in the IDM (intelligent dance music) scene, these guys emit a solid nerd factor through their arsenal of controllers, drum machines, and synthesizers.
They're the latest addition to artist-led collective and label Future Archive Recordings who works with and among artists to push creative-centric endeavors. Check out our interview with them below and watch their latest single "Fur" performed live on a picturesque European rooftop.
Hey guys, thanks for joining us. First, how are you guys doing these days?
Hi guys, thank you for having us! We're good, considering that 2020 has been a tough year for everybody. These days we’re always very busy, but we don’t complain at all because it means things are going pretty well. Luckily, music can't be stopped by a pandemic.
You guys have been producing separately and came together in 2019. What’s the story of PALLADIAN?
It all came together by chance but with a series of coincidences. In 2017, we both moved to Barcelona around the same time and, without having met yet, we were living a few hundred meters from each other. After we first met, via common friends, we found out soon enough that we have the same passion for music and a similar background in architecture. With all this in common, it was the most natural consequence to try to do something together. We started to share our ideas and after some time we reached the sound we were looking for. In early 2019 our production process improved and we found our workflow: Gabriele has a good eye (or ear in this case) in finding and manipulating samples and Salvatore has solid technical skills to develop the initial draft into a more structured song. In other words, we complete each other.
Your music is a hybrid of genres and seems to draw from many sources. What are your sources of inspiration?
It mostly comes from sounds and samples that have a melancholic and nostalgic vibe which is a key aspect of our work. These could be excerpts from movies, field recordings, old tapes or vinyls, weird exotic clips and such. Most certainly the underground Hip Hop of the late 90's was a great inspiration: there was something about those rough, chopped samples that made it all more genuine.
Starting from these warm organic textures, we blend them with crisp electronic sounds that result in a hybrid creation with the goal of creating a peculiar sound made by a fusion of genres. This is why we look up to Bonobo and other Ninja Tune artists as well as Four Tet and Kiasmos. The hybrid style is what makes these musicians unique. Being so specific is the real strength of these artists and we are looking for the same type of authenticity.
You guys are both architects by trade and you “create songs as if they are a building”. What elements of your productions correspond to which part of a piece of architecture?
Approaching the production of a new song for us is as motivating as the designing of a building. The harmonious alternation between solids and voids is the key of a balanced song structure as well as in the architecture.
To start, we would have a sketch, a drawing that puts the building into a context: in our case, it comes from looping a sample. At this point, to really stand, the building needs proper foundations and a solid structure: a bold bassline will do the job. Then it’s time to define spaces and rooms: musically speaking this is up to the drums. In addition, without pleasant and surprising details the architecture would be barren: synth arpeggios, extra bells, and mallets define the facade and the colours of the spaces.
What’s your favorite type of architecture and what genre of music would it be personified as?
Tricky question… We're definitely into contemporary architecture, but we appreciate more the works that clearly have their roots in classical images, with a modern touch. When we come across a building like this we often translate its shape and elements into a visual representation of electronic music.
If we have to choose an architect who best represents our music at the moment that would be Ricardo Bofill. Designed through plasticity and Mediterranean influences, his Muralla Roja is the building that best mirrors PALLADIAN songs: deeply geometric but at the same time truly organic.
You guys just released a new live video and your set up looks amazing. For the gear heads, what hardware are you using and who is doing what?
We don't have a fixed set-up: every time we get together we arrange our instruments in a slightly different way. Usually, Gabriele takes care of the beat with a Roland MC-101 and plays the bassline with an Arturia Minibrute (love this machine!). On the other hand, Salvatore is more focused on melodies with a couple of MIDI controllers: Novation Launchkey 25 for chords and arpeggios, Akai APC40 for scenes and automations.
Everybody knows that nowadays it's easier and faster to produce directly from a computer, but musically speaking we love to get our hands dirty. Physical controllers and analog synths are a necessary input for our process and in some sessions we ended up producing on the floor: our first single Carpets was named after that.
You guys being based in Barcelona, how are you handling the lockdown measures?
Barcelona is a city that lives off outdoor activities, so not being able to enjoy social activities as much as before is odd for everybody. We are taking advantage of these times by pushing a bit more on the production of new songs and new material, also remotely if needed. This is a complicated historical moment and the Covid-situation is difficult for everybody in the world, but seeing the doors closed of clubs such as Sala Apolo or Razzmatazz can only make us sad. Anyway, we’re optimistic about the future and for sure we’ll be dancing all together soon!
Guys, it was great to have you. What are the coming months looking like for PALLADIAN?
Very exciting actually! This week we’ll release a new song called Fur, second single with Future Archive Recordings including a lovely edit by Edamame. In December will be releasing a remix for another big artist of Future Archive Recordings. Can you guess who?
Plus, we have a couple of streaming sets scheduled by the end of year, waiting for better time to play live again!
We’re very looking forward to 2021: we have many collaborations planned with a bunch of great artists (one of these is a remix for MÒZÂMBÎQÚE) and we also have a lot of our songs that will see the light.
Thanks and stay safe!
Stream PALLADIAN's latest single "Fur" via Future Archive here.