Saturday, May 24, 2014

Artist Interview: Norman Andretti a.k.a Quarill

Two weeks ago on CrossTempos we spotlighted the February 10th, 2014 release of the Hungarian Allstars EP. Today, it is my pleasure to release the transcript interview with Norman Andretti better known as Quarill.

Cross Tempos: From your bio I’ve read your early influences stem from some of the harder styles of Techno & House music. My knowledge of those genres tends to be high energy, high beats per minute. If I recall correctly Nation of Sheep was produced at 128 BPM, which happens to be a very versatile range. What was the deciding factor on the BPM?

Norman: It is a tricky question though. Every time I start a project, there is no particular concept behind of it, unless it is a remix of course. Nevertheless, it always depends on my mood whether if I work on a slower, more modern sounding track or if I go for speedier stuff. I reckon every producer works the same way. Speaking of “Nation of Sheep” the main factor of choosing a 128 BPM must have been the fact that the other artists’ tracks appearing on the same EP have the same sort of speed, and if I would’ve come up with something faster, it would have lolled out from the rest, hence it may have failed to deliver the overall message to the audience we’ve planned getting to. 

Cross Tempos: Tell us about your next releases, I’ve heard it will be harder and faster. Might this be a tribute to your earlier influences, or could we anticipate a flurry of hard banging track releases?

Norman: Thankfully I’ve got a lot of releases coming up this year on several known labels, so I really don’t know which one to mention. It is a bit off the subject, but as you may have noticed, my artist name includes two aliases which I run parallel, hence requires even more effort. When I’m producing as Norman Andretti, the result will be around 137-140 BPM including a variety of heavy kicks, complex tribal loops, artificial stabs, melodies and so on. Sometimes I’m not afraid to bring elements of e.g. Tech-Trance to Hardgroove or Funkytechno. But my “Quarill” projects are totally the opposite of what I just said. Their tempo doesn’t go beyond 130 BPM for House related stuffs. I often use samples from classic funk tunes from the 70’s, 80’s, and I like to combine them with jackin’ [house] loops and sometimes lively slapped guitar basslines. When the time/weather/mood is right for modern Techno, I must say I have to forget about everything of any other styles, because that is the most fragile from all. Speaking of which, nowadays the Techno profession is very thin, everyone seems to find it the best path towards fame, but on the other hand it’s very difficult to make something outstanding…and that’s what I’m working on hard. To sum it all up, if you look back to any of my previously released tracks, one track is always completely different from another.

Cross Tempos: Focusing onto your role of Management and A&R, tell us a bit about what you may looking for in terms of style and direction of your label Corrupted Data Recordings.

Norman: Corrupted Data is a traditional label, and was established in 2006. Since then the Techno [genre] has gone through several alterations. My partners and I in management are still trying to keep this faster, more old-school sound alive, including the Funk and Groove based styles. Despite what whatever happens to popular today in the current market, we believe that there is still remains many highly talented [producers] out there. On the other hand, we refuse to sit and watch while this genre fades away. This is what we've grown with, and has influenced us, so this is where we belong. There are only a few labels left releasing this type of Techno, and we are proud to be one of them. Although we feel this way, we are aware that we may not get far by keeping things the same. If we as a label want to stay on the market, at some points we have to start following the newer generations interests and taste. To answer your question, our profile is Hardgroove and Funkytechno at least for the rest of the year. Then we will see.

Cross Tempos: I see you that your workstation of choice is FL Studio. It’s mine too! What words of wisdom would you give aspiring producers looking to make their first label release?

Norman: First rule is not to start producing right away just because you think you can do it. Of course you need a big portion of courage but that comes in later. A few years of research is mandatory to define yourself and discover what artists you want to model yourself after, I'm not saying copy, but to rather find inspiration into your music. [Today] there are way too many DJs and producers doing exactly that [imitating one another], especially in Techno. Just being another one of them is pointless. All to often, I have that Facepalm moment when listening to new [track] releases. I'm shifting and sorting through a hundred tracks just to spot maybe 5 playable ones…that's ridiculous. My other advice is to watch several tutorials (released by proper studios) to achieve that certain sound and quality you're looking for. Also some good luck…you'll need that too. ;)


Cross Tempos: I have to ask, what are your thoughts about Techno/Tech-House scene in Hungary in regards to growth, movement, and influences? Is it something that is growing or still in the underground, or is there crossover into other genres like Electro House, Trance, and Hardstyle.


Norman: The current status in Hungary is disastrous, and not just because mainstream [EDM] is storming. The Hungarian [Techno] community and scene is poor at supporting each-other or even sometimes just tolerating one another. Envy and selfishness has grown enormously. Promoters are no longer interested in giving a chance to new talents, caring only about profits (although that is somewhat understandable). Promoters line up the same big names weekend after weekend, simply to draw in large audiences and play for the masses. Venue owners seem either oblivious or indifferent about which big name is playing. Let alone care about who may be the best. It seems there is a growing trend in Hungary, where you face the possibility of having more DJs than the crowd very soon…and I'm not even joking. Personally, I would rather go play live beyond Hungary's borders like I have in the past. There are clear agreements and expectations between the promoter and the artist and things like expenses and compensation are defined. Additionally while being abroad as an artist, you stand a good probability the people in the crowd will recognize you, because they admire you and acknowledge of what you have already put on the table, which seems unlikely in Hungary. I believe these negatives contribute to the existing Hungarian club scene's opinion in terms of what demanding music is. Considering how small this country is, the peoples view on it, is very diversified. I do eagerly hope that it will change eventually and I am happy do whatever needs to be done to make it happen.

Cross Tempos: Thank you Norman for your time and input, we look forward to your upcoming releases on Beatport and TrackitDown.

You may catch Quarill/Norman Andretti's previews and latest track releases at his SoundCloud page.