Lean’s pick – Transit by Slow Res

This song was released yesterday, but it immediately caught my attention. Normally we only add tracks to the list that are submitted by the artists themselves, but I’ve made an exception for this one.

Slow Res is the alias for Dutch artist Nicky Hustinx. He is mostly known for playing drums on tour with Fink, a band that I have seen live quite a few times. This song is completely different from what you might expect from a drummer. Instead of showing off his drumming skills, he makes electronic mellow synth music. This song is perfect for a relaxed Saturday like today.


Padre Toxico – Summer in LA | Ambient Encounter

Padre Toxico comes from as he describes it “a small country in Europe, where law is being broken by the government on daily basis and where freedom is being taken away everyday from innocent people. Where tolerance is only a word in a dictionary, it’s Poland.”

If music was his main source of income, he would starve to death. It probably applies to a lot of the independent musicians. Then what drives you into music? Padre Toxico: “As far as I remember music was with me every single day since my primary school. But for a long time I was only a passive music consumer. Time was passing by and I was starting to listen to new genres, I started experiencing music on different level, listening to each track many times to get out of it all I can with my ears. I wanted to make music for as long as I can remember. I tried 2 times in the past when I had all the time I could wish for, but I was not ready. Finally in November last year my good friend talked me into getting music gear. I was telling her how I have this urge to create something and to give back the music community at least a part of what I got out of listening to music consciously. And here I am”.

Even connecting the hardware to my laptop and getting any sound out of it was a blast

Padre Toxico has no experience in music at all. He calls himself a ‘total noob’. “I just read the manual for my maschine mk3. Even connecting the hardware to my laptop and getting any sound ouf of it was a blast”. But now that he has mastered these skills, he creates his music all by himself. Only exception is the vocal version of „Summer in LA” which was blessed with Pri’s beautiful voice. “She made that track, that was released as an instrumental track, complete and made it sound like it should sound from the beginning.”

Padre Toxico is now busy working on the release of his new LP which is called ‘Mandala’. It drops 24.08.2020. “I am really excited to see if people will like it”.

In the future he would love to get some features from rappers as hip-hop is his first love. “I always wanted to make my ‘Life Supplement’ a vocal album”. There is another project on the side, but he doesn’t want to jinx it, so we will have to wait for more about this. It may take some time because he also feels he needs to rest a while as the last months were very exhausting.

“I would like to thank all my listeners, I was not expecting such support in my wildest dreams. Music is fantastic journey, and if you want to try your skills in dropping some killer tunes – DO IT. We live only once, and we regret the things which we didnt do.”

How did you come up with the name Padre Toxico? “Hey. it is a complex story, don’t want to bore anyone. Good thing is that there is only one Padre Toxico in music :)”.

You can find his handles below. Give him a follow!

Chart Update 2021 wk38

New Release – Cold Coffee by Blake Sonnet

Singer-songwriter Blake Sonnet who releases a new track every month, released ‘Cold Coffee’ yesterday.

“It’s about a character who is waking up to the world around them, to the cosmic, the political and the mundane. And he is desperately trying to find the truth of what is happening in the world.”

“The film ‘Network’ , George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ inspired me to write this song.”

“The lyrics are meant to be pretty direct.’Zero hour contract arrives, boom, at your door’. I saw a few years ago on TV two guys from Halifax who were unemployed telling a news reporter that the then new Boris Johnson would help them get off zero hour contracts. And it hit me that these people, politician and the man on the street, are so polarised in there version of the world that they can never understand each other. But sometimes the spin works and people are convinced. Also the lyrics ‘You are it all’ if we agree for a moment that the big bang theory is true then we are a fundimental part of that explosion. We are it. The whole thing pretending to be little old me.”

In the spotlight: Alvinos Zavlis

Electronic music producer Alvinos Zavlis writes, records, produces, mixes and masters songs for himself and the artists he develop. Alvinos grew up in Cyprus, but is currently living in Bristol (UK).

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

“Hey! So, my real name is Alvinos and I’m born and raised in Cyprus. I’ve been producing music for just over 8 years and I currently live and create in Bristol, UK.”

How did growing up in Cyprus shape you?

“Life in Cyprus is fundamentally different than any other European country I’ve visited or lived in, so, growing up there gave me the chance to experience a myriad of different music genres and culture. Growing up in Cyprus shaped me into an artist who isn’t concerned with fitting into a specific genre or sound, since Cyprus for me doesn’t fit into a single box culturally; there’s obviously Greek culture, but also Turkish, Arabic, Lebanese and African too. Being exposed to all these growing up made me approach music from an ‘aesthetic’ point of view rather than focusing on genres.”

“Aside from music, Cyprus taught me the values of positivity, especially when things don’t go my way. Living in an island with a very troubled history hasn’t stopped me and my people from always living in the moment and having a care-free spirit, something I brought with me to all my travels so far!”

How did you end up living in the UK?

“I first moved in the UK in 2016 to study Music Technology. After I graduated, I decided that the wisest choice for my future as an artist would be to stay in the UK for the foreseeable future. As much as I love Cyprus, our electronic music scene is still very underdeveloped, something I hope can change in the future. Hopefully I get to help in that.”

You were also studying for a Master’s degree in Sound Art. Have you finished your studies?

“Yes, I just handed in my final project about two weeks ago! I think I did good and I definitely learned a lot and met a bunch of interesting artists that I hope to work with sometime in the future!”

Let’s go back to the beginning. When were you first introduced to music? Who or what made you want to pursue a career in music?

“The first music I was introduced to was traditional Greek music (Laiko, Rebetiko, Smyrneika), something that my parents would listen to a lot, as well as something we were taught in school. Eventually in my teen years, I discovered hip hop and became obsessed with Eminem, 50 Cent and the Roots. But up to that point the idea of a music career didn’t occur to me since I didn’t know how to play any musical instruments or sing. It all changed when I went to a night club for the first time when I was 16. That was the first time I heard House music and, on the next morning I started listening obsessively to David Guetta, Avicii, David Morales and Laidback Luke. Seeing all these idols DJ, made me want to try it as well, so I started Djing on a small controller I bought on eBay and, eventually at 17 years old decided to start producing music. The idea of a career in music only became a thing when I turned 20 and finished my military service; that’s when I decided to move to the UK to study music.”

You make music in different genres. ‘Wampakacha’ with Young Smart was latin pop, ‘When I Think About You’ was lofi/chill, your album ‘We All Float…’ was moody electronic. Do you have a favourite genre?

“I don’t really! I mainly listen to hip hop and most of its subgenres, but I consume music in so many genres that it just feels like a shame to only commit to one. I find interesting nuances and characteristics in every genre and I love to study them and try to figure out how I could flip, Latin for example, into something different and fresh that has my own sensibilities as a musician, you know?”

Regarding musical styles and genres, is there anything different that you would like to explore?

“I would love to produce a singer/songwriter acoustic album – for a different artist, not me – and add to it abstract textures, electronic ambient noises and things like that! That seems like a cool aesthetic to me but I lack the singer/songwriter aspect of it for now!”

“Also, I’ve always wanted to work with an orchestra and just twist and bend classical music into something experimental that would fit one of my albums. I sort of flirted with this idea on my album ‘Time Travels’ but not with a full orchestra.”

Of your own songs, do you have a favourite? Which one and why?

“I don’t know, it feels weird to separate them like this but I find that I always resonate more with whatever it is I’m working on at the moment, which makes sense since that’s what usually reflects more my current state of mind. I guess my new single ‘Darkness’ is the one I currently really enjoy/listen to non-stop, and it’s the one I got the most positive feedback on in my so far career.”

“I also still love/obsess over ‘Falling’ from ‘Time Travels’. I love that ambient-glitch combination, as well as how much of a journey that song is.”

You just mentioned your song ‘Darkness’ which is out today. What’s it about?

“This is the fourth single from my upcoming untitled album. ‘Darkness’ is about embracing the darkness inside you and finding comfort in it. Your darkness and your sorrow are what make you unique. A dark, moody banger with experimental, yet contemporary production.”

“I’m used to sleep on my own and not feel alone”.

What’s Darkness to you?

“Darkness is singular; it’s unique to all of us. We all have a dark side, qualities we don’t dare reveal to others, traits we deem shameful because society has rejected them. The song is about accepting and embracing the darkness as something that’s part of you but doesn’t necessarily define you. I’m still trying to get this right, making a song about it doesn’t fix anything but definitely helps at my pursuit of happiness!”

What song represents who you are best?

“Well, if I had to play just one song to someone who doesn’t know me or my music, either ‘Falling’ or ‘Sexy pasta and Korean film’ is enough to tell you all about my taste, aesthetics and sensibilities as an artist. As far representing who I am as a person, there is a song on my upcoming album that does that. It’s called ‘Not U’ and I’m still trying to get it right before the album is done!”

What can you tell me about your creative process?

“It’s very fluid and ever changing. For the past year, I’ve been trying more and more to sing and incorporate my voice in various ways in my music. What I’ve been doing for my upcoming album is collecting 10-15 sounds that would serve as the basis to a song. I would spend an hour trying to arrange these sounds, which could be singular synth notes, drum samples, break beats or just noises, into a soundscape that I would loop and try to capture a vibe with. I would then spend a lot of time humming melodies over this rough soundscape and come up with themes and lyrics that fit that vibe. Then record vocals and go through the soundscape, which is very much the back bone of what would eventually be the instrumental of the finished song, and try to fully flesh it into an arrangement.”

“I also find mixing music for other artists – something I started doing as a freelance job recently – a very creative process. It’s another way for me to discover new music, research it and learn from other artists’ creative process. I love to start mixing drums, then the bass and spend a lot of time mixing vocals and getting them to sound unique and complimentary to whatever the instrumental is. I get really into it!”

What’s your favourite part of creating music?

“I guess sharing it with the world, or the first time someone hears a new song and I get to see their expression or get a positive reaction/comment on something I didn’t think was that special but for some reason resonated with them. I still love the creative process, especially whenever I get to work with other artists! But the part of finally sharing a piece of me I’ve been working on for months always feels liberating.”

Do you have any hobbies that contribute to your musicality? You’ve mentioned in Release Talks you’ve made artwork for some of your releases.

“Yes, I think all creative endeavours are connected and each helps enrich the other, so I try to stay busy with as many as I can. I draw and a lot of what I draw becomes art for my songs. I also shoot and edit videos, whether it’s cover songs for Instagram, music videos and visualisers to accompany my songs or even cooking videos. I’m trying to start a cooking channel too! And I also cook too; my song ‘Sexy pasta and Korean film’, as well as its video and artwork, is very much a product of my cooking. See how it’s all connected?”

(Follow Alvinos on Instagram and learn his recipe for mango chili sauce.)

On your Instagram page you posted a video of the process of making visuals for your music using water, oil and food colouring. How do you come up with the ideas for your visuals?

”I think it’s all about studying your influences, and their influences and so on! Once I do that, I try to emulate what they did, but with whatever equipment/means are available to me, and this is where innovation happens.”

“That specific one with food colouring happened after I studied the liquid light show trend that started in the early 60’s to accompany psychedelic music live shows. Basically, the artist/band would perform on stage and a light artist would mix in a big glass bowl, water, oil and coloured mineral oils, while an overhead projector would project behind the band the light show. By moving the bowl and blowing air in it, the light artist could create trippy patterns with vibrant colours that made for an interesting live show. The way I flipped that was by adding food colouring, which is cheaper that mineral colour oils, and by using a microscope camera to film inside the glass bowl, since I didn’t have the space or resources to get an overhead projector. The idea of a microscope camera came when I was researching something else (I think it was alternative type of lenses). So, I believe it all has to do with always researching and studying how the greats created. Eventually you find your own voice.”

Do you think music education in schools is important?

“I think it’s important and very much underrated. I believe that music and arts in general, open up certain parts of our personality that can bring us more in touch with our emotions. This is definitely an endeavour worth fighting for.”

“I also think that a more modern approach in music education is long overdue! I hope that one day kids have, even a period a week, music production classes or after-school DJ sessions where they share music and culture with each other. It’s definitely up to my generation to make a fresh start and, with music consumption and creation more available than ever, I’m very hopeful that we can elevate music education in schools.”

Where would you like to be in 10 years?

“I would like to have my own studio (you know, a separate room, not inside my bedroom!), as well as be financially stable through music. I hope that I would have travelled and played shows in different countries, met great artists and got to visit Cyprus more and more often. I mostly though want to be happy, secure in who I am and with a group of people around me that I love and care for (and vice versa). This to me is more important, even if everything else doesn’t come true.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20?

“‘They should be terrified of you’ by Manic Pixie. I just love her vibe, the visual aesthetic and her unique voice, all of which comes through in that song. I listened to a bunch of her other stuff and I’m definitely a fan now!”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“‘ETA’ by Nic Soze ft. Babebee. I’ve been a fan of Babebee for a while now and I wasn’t familiar with Nic’s music before. This song came my way because my friend Antshay played strings on it (quite beautifully may I add) and I just love the whole vibe of it. It’s super chill so I can see me listening to it in the car, in my headphones on the bus or just walking down the street. Plus, they both killed the vocals on this tune!”

New Release – An Empty Place (EP) by DrEw

DrEw is an independent musician from Manchester (UK), who now resides on the southeast coast of the UK. After releasing 6 home produced singles since May 2020, ‘An Empty Place’ is his first EP. ‘An Empty Place’ will be out 24th September.

“This is my first release recorded in a studio proper, with a producer – the incredible Michael Smith at RYP Recordings in London. The time in the studio with Michael was amazing from beginning to end, and his vast musical knowledge and production skills are all over this EP. Loved every minute of my time in the studio with him and the brilliant musicians he brought in to play on the tracks.”

“The EP is a collection of 4 songs, all about life, love, and music. Each song is also a love song, in part to my partner of 23 years, but also they are love songs to this crazy thing we call life, and to the unconditional love we can all be and all deserve to receive from the unfolding of the universe itself! If we can just get out of our own way and find that Empty Place that is our true reality, free from worries and hang ups, our pains and sorrows, then both our individual lives and the world could be a much better place!”

“People can decide for themselves, but my favourite track on the EP is the second track ‘My Turn’, which is a final dedication my life partner, who has led the way for me from the moment I met her. If I get the chance, it is now my turn to lead the way!”

Favourite Five: Lyon Tide

Let’s do another round of Favourite Five, this time of your own music…

What’s your favourite song?

“Aah, one we haven’t released yet. However, out of the tracks we have released so far, it would have to be ‘Gold’, track 6 from our album.”

What’s your favourite album?

“The one we haven’t made yet.”

What are your favourite lyrics?

“Again, probably ‘Gold’ out of the tracks we have released so far, but there are some new tracks yet to be released that we are very proud of in terms of lyrics plus the upcoming collaboration track, written by us and sang by our guest singer, Julia Faulks, has some really nice, deep and meaningful lyrics to it too.”

What’s your favourite artwork?

“So far, probably the artwork for our debut single, ‘Closure’.”

What’s your favourite music video?

“So far, it has to be the video to ‘Someone’, it’s quite cinematic and tells a story relevant to the track’s lyrics.”

New Release – Orla the Octopus by Vix20

Vix 20 are Mills and CJ, two music industry veterans who grew disillusioned with the music industry walking away vowing not to return. In 2019 they returned with first release in ten years ‘Digital Age‘. They have released several successful singles since.

Vix20 will release a new track ‘Orla the Octopus’ on 24th September. CJ is the lead vocalist on this track and he told us the following:

“‘Orla The Octopus’ is the tale of a lost soul and their day at the beach.”

“The song is an outrageously hyperbolic, ghost written account of a friends attempt at doing ‘something silly’. You’ve got to laugh.”

“As is the way with Vix20 the aim is to have the listener think ‘What in god’s name is that?…I need to hear that again’. We hope someone enjoys it.”

“No Octopus were harmed during this song, although our trousers did get wet.”


New Release – Silver Lines by Lucy Dreams

Lucy Dreams is a sci-fi-pop trio hailing from the cultural metropolis Vienna consisting of David Reiterer and Philipp Prückl. Wait, trio? That is correct, because the essence of this band arises from a crystal ball that is seemingly enthroned above all their output. Lucy is an independent system of digital and analogue effects, which was developed by David and Philipp specifically for music production. Lucy can be understood as an A.I. – however, the connection between her and the two musicians of human lineage is a far more intimate one, as Lucy is deeply involved in the songwriting process.

Lucy Dreams have a new track ‘Silver Lines‘ out on September 24th.

“’Silver Lines’ explores the space between black and white, describing the silver line between reality and beyond. Everybody has a silver line, as not everything is black and white. Whether that be between our conscious and unconscious thoughts or our varied perceptions of reality.”

“For us, Lucy is that silver line, not quite human but also not a thoughtless machine as she has the ability to connect with people on an emotional level through music. And as such, a mirror for our own heart and mind.

“We believe that there is a space beyond reality. Another dimension, an unknown universe in our own mind. And that we have to leave reality again and again in order to find yourself in this dimension. Our medium to find this super reality is making music. We lose track of everything around us and lose ourselves in the creative process. The silver line leads to this place and inspired us to write this song.”

“We created a music video together with the Viennese artist Esther Stocker. She has given us in her unique style a completely new complexion and put us into a showroom of hers for the video. A clip shot by creative buero butter. Our faces were painted by drag queen Dutzi IJsenhower. As a team we tried to create a visual representation of the meaning of the song.”

“Collaborations are super important, especially if they are cross-/multidisciplinary. A great way to broaden and look beyond your horizon.”

New Release – Mellow Moon (EP) by Fisj

Fisj is a one-man-band from Melle near Ghent in Flanders (Belgium). He used to play in various local bands, gigging in clubs and cafes across the country and doing some small-scale homemade and studio recordings. After the break-up he continued to make music on his own.

Fisj released his first single ‘Mellow Moon’ in 2020. On 22nd September he will release his first EP, which is also called ‘Mellow Moon’.

How would you describe the EP?

“I’d say this is very much a ‘McCartney I (1970)’ type of EP – without assuming to match any of the brilliant songs on there. A thorough DIY approach, very homely also. I very much like going through all the steps of writing, composing, building an arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering myself. I feel a good vibe and atmosphere make up for technical shortcomings.”

“The songs on this EP are all about love, family and friends. So it’s very homely in that respect as well. I like writing about people and things that are close and nearby. The title track ‘Mellow Moon’ for example recalls a family holiday in France. ‘A Call Came’ is about my father passing away. ‘Beautiful Girl’ is a little ode to my darling daughter. ‘Boy In Blue’ is about a friendship during my childhood years.”

“One might consider this EP as the A side of an entire album in the making. The next five songs are already written and in the process of being recorded, with a love song for my lovely wife, one for my exploring son, and – because she’s such a sweetheart – one for our aging golden retriever as well. But I guess all that’s for some next time.”

What movie should feature your music and why?

“Perhaps ‘Beautiful Girl’ could have a place in the movie ‘Juno’. This film – about a girl getting pregnant at 16 and a couple adopting her baby – has a really warm feel about it. With all – or most – characters meaning well in a difficult and challenging situation, the strong-willed young woman herself, her clumsy but adorable boyfriend, her supportive parents, the sympathetic adopting couple, etc. It’s the kind of movie that leaves you feeling good inside. I even dare say it restores or confirms one’s faith in humanity. So I’d say, do check it out!”

Is there a story behind the art work?

“The cover photo is from a holiday in Burgundy, which served as the inspiration for the title song ‘Mellow Moon’. Being there together with my wife, the kids and my parents – warm loving company, that faint waning moon somehow spoke to me on that particular day. Nature can be so wondrous to enjoy. And it’s everywhere!”

Chart Update 2021 wk37