We’ve stepped into a music party at OHM, the Berlin venue constructed from a power plant battery room. And it’s clear that the label behind the event, Italian imprint Out-ER, is something out of the ordinary.
For one thing, instead of a normal DJ set, we’re treated to what’s described as a “workshop.” And there are regular pauses that announce the link between tracks and the feelings that inspired them.
But then, Out-ER’s Simone Gatto (seen, top) is not your typical label chief. Gatto is a philosophy graduate who has researched emotions and empathy, linking them to music and perception. He draws on the work of Swiss composer/educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze – the man behind Eurythmics (the 19th century movement-based music pedadgogy, not the 80s duo with Annie Lennox).
And Gatto is also researching how musicians emotionally engage with their audience when they play. He’s interested in how DJs can intentionally trigger specific emotions.
With Gatto at the helm, Out-ER defies predictable categorization. The label’s music ranges from energetic techno to ambient depths – eschewing the darkness that’s all the rage these days for more playful twists. That includes jazzier and more percussive notes from collaborators like Marieu (The Analogue Cops) and Christopher Rau (as Colours of Obseration), plus outings by Orlando Voorn, Mirror1, Andrea Santoro, and Regen. If that didn’t catch your attention, bigger names Legowelt and Conforce have authored remixes. This is a label on the rise.
Next: “Nuove Sessioni” (“new sessions”), a four-track EP out on December 10th with three contributions by Alessandro Stefanio (aka Buck) and a remix from Ed Davenport as Inland, Inland’s only remix this year.
Listen in its entirety:
Having staged the oddball debut event earlier this year, Out-ER is returning to Berlin to celebrate that release with a party and panel at OHM. On the eve of the event, Gatto and Buck talk to CDM about what motivates them.
CDM: Where exactly is based your label, when and with who have you founded it?
Simone Gatto: I founded Out-ER in 2011 together with Andrea Santoro, Buck, and other friends. We were a group of Italian producers based in Berlin. We spent every single day together in the studio making music and sharing a common vision, trying to define a new sound — our sound. In 2013, we’ve moved back to Lecce, Italy, but we often are in Berlin because we have to take care of label-related activities.
How would someone grasp the musical direction of your label – can you put it in few words/sentences?
Out-ER music is an uncommon platform extending through various declinations of electronic music (house, techno, ambient). We try to keep a creative imprint in short and long terms because our goal is to release music including everything in between mellow and deep sounds and supporting the artists’ ample inspirations.
How do you choose new artists and collaborators for remixes?
I’ve always chosen artists mostly considering the strong emotions I felt by listening to their productions and performances.
Recently, you joined a conference in Amsterdam, where you talked about how to emotionally manage having a record label. Is owning a label emotionally difficult and what are the main helpers, which conclusions did you get to?
Since 2013, I’ve been running research together with some experts from the University of Lecce about the relationship between music and emotions. In Amsterdam, I talked about this topic explaining various aspects – the relationship between sounds and sensations, the empathic process linking performances and audience, specific notes and chords stimulating specific neural areas. It will convey into a book to be published in 2017 and these findings are my main helpers for my personal career and for Out-ER.
Managing a record label in the right way requires dedication and knowledge of the aspects just mentioned plus many others, everything needs to convey in the concept of the sound that express the platform at its best. Pressing plant, promotion, distribution, all needs to be coordinated. Press and communication might have a strong role for a right push to the label in long term and that’s why I decided to have a dedicated professional who cares about it all. This way I can focus on my music, on the artist relation and on the management of the bureaucracy questions.
You’ve organized two parties in Berlin before. What’s special about the event on 26th November?
This time from 10 pm, I’ll introduce the label’s previous and future activities, releases and researches linked to the topic “Music & Emotions”, kicking off a panel discussion together with all the artists. I’ll ask the artists some specific questions which will let them to expose their emotional side of music. Buck will introduce his second EP on Out-ER and will play an experimental jam session with LIMO (head of Transition LAB and part of Fachwerk Records) in order to gently start the party with Marieu, Aubrey and myself.
CDM: Your newest EP is very energetic and has a positive vibe. Yet comparing to your older work, which I find more minimal, Nuove Sessioni sounds richer and mixes together many different elements (vocal samples, strings, acid bass and synth pads all at the same beat). What was your approach of making it and how do you think you’ve evolved as a producer?
Buck: My earlier work turned out to be more minimal really because at that point, my skills of using the analogue machine were more basic. If the results obtained in producing the tracks on the “Nuove Sessioni” EP feel more complete and full of energy, I am happy because I tried very hard to improve this aspect. The energy you feel is produced by giving vent to my strong desire to experiment and to be able to succeed, to improve and develop myself and my intuitions and become more effective.
Do you have some favorite instruments (real or virtual) you like to use in your music?
It’s true I do have particular ties to some instruments and effects but to be honest I really enjoy myself with all instruments. But more with the ones real than the virtual ones because I’m a little bit fed up a mouse and I prefer to touch the knob to feel the sensations and to have direct physical contact with the instruments.
I read you are an analog enthusiast. Which equipment do you use for music making and performing live?
Yes I have really been in love with the analog machines for some time now and I know how to extract from them my ideas and my enthusiasm. I use the drum machine, synth and external sound effects both live and in the studio.
On the party on the 26th, you will play a new live set with Limo. Is it the first time you will be playing together? How will you approach it?
Yes. It is the first time that Limo and I will do a live set together. We’ve shared a lot up till now as friends, DJs, and producers and now we’ve decided to do a live show together because we work really well together and understand each other very quickly in the studio. Limo similarly really understands my approach and passion for analogue machines, and, in my opinion, he is a real talent in the studio. In fact, Limo will be the first release on my new label.
And before the party, there will be a release presentation and panel with you. What can we be looking forward to?
I really like the idea of being able to share, together with my colleagues and those who will be present on the panel, our different points of view on the sounds we create and on the different types of approach in the studio. Thank you very much indeed, Simone and Out-ER, for giving me this possibility. See you in Berlin.
From January, Mørk display their live chops:
Live in Berlin Thursday, Buck and Limo (Fachwerk) will premiere a new live set together. (Watch for this combo in 2016 as they work together on a release on Substrato, Stefanio’s new label.)
also on Resident Advisor
Author Zuzana Friday Přikrylová is CDM’s editorial assistant and has been covering the underground electronic music scene for many years, starting in her native Czech. Apart from CDM, that includes contributions to Secret Thirteen, HIS Voice, and Artalk, as well as her own SkyWireBlog. She’s also booking manager for Bükko Tapes.
For more of her recent underground label finds on CDM: