Born as the first civilized beings on planet earth, the Sauroid were intelligent and mysterious. Reminding of the shape of a crocodile walking on its legs, it’s rumored that they lived for around 250 years and that they were also in contact with aliens. In 2010 Sauroid the label was born thanks to DJ Gio MC-505 and Mr. Technium. They wanted to create a new musical platform where you could find different kinds of electronic music. Every release has a color code and so you have: red for Nu Rave, yellow for Italo Disco and Electro Disco, green for Acid House and Techno, orange for Nu Disco, blue for Electro and last, but not the least, fuchsia for Chiptune. They started as a digital and CD-R label, but Sauroid is moving forward and will soon release its first two vinyls, re-issuing five songs from Gabe Catanzaro’s EP and five out of eight tracks from Noisebrigade’s EP “Roboto” (full disclosure: Noisebrigade is my own musical project). The label’s first release has a yellow code and it’s a seven tracks EP By Gabe Catanzaro. Known as the U.S. king of Italo Disco, in 2000 he had a release out on International Deejay Gigolo and after that he joined Mental Groove and Viking Music. He released his first album “La Febbre Dell’Italo Disco” on Laboraudio in 2007. After few years of hiatus he’s back on Sauroid with “Long Long Way From Home” EP. The EP opens with a nice 80es electro instrumental called “Polyphonic” just to get you dancing and is then quickly followed by “Monster in the dark”, a great Italo disco tune with Tobias Bernstrup on guest vocals. Jon Autry is on vocals on “Long Way from Home”, a bouncing tune with house and synthpop influences. “Music Machine” is a nice mid-tempo dance instrumental. “Never Let Me Go” has Jon Autry on vocals again and reminds me of some of the best Gary Low songs. “Two For the Night” and “The Metal Man” are two more instrumental that are able to create an intimate atmosphere with catchy melodies. So… welcome back Gabe!
The label’s second release has a blue code and it is an EP by Noisebrigade titled “Roboto”. Here’s what Madden Wachsenhoff of City of Bass wrote for Chain D.L.K.: Fading doppler echoes. Ghost whispers. The onset of paranoia. Ducking around the corners to escape the ever watchful eyes that are placed everywhere. This is the sound of Noisebrigade’s new “Roboto” EP released on Sauroid Records. Noisebrigade has this knack for weaving melodies and drum patterns that individually you’d never think would meld together – under his excellent guidance and sharp eye you wind up with a dense soundtrack that manages to never sound cluttered, with elements catching your attention, popping out at you. Reaching into your brain. Electro purists will gravitate towards “Inside Trader” but it’s all the slower tempo tunes here that really stand out for me. The brilliance of the original “I, Robot” is taken to new depths with the Exaltics’ remix version. “Production Chain” sounds reminiscent of some of the best slower groovers from the album cuts released by Dynamix II and Techmaster P.E.B back in the day – cuts to burn one to, cuts to lay back and work out your rack of 18″ subwoofers… this is deep cavernous electronic music. Finally, I’d be remiss to wrap up the review without mentioning the intense energetic “Inside Trader” remix by Faceless Mind – mixing the best of Miss Kitten and Dopplereffekt vibes, this one will definitely be getting club play and heads on the dancefloor. I’m fast becoming a fan of the Noisebrigade sound – once you get this one on your system or headphones, I think you will too.
The third release has a red code and is the “Gamma Ray Burst” EP by Buskerdroid. This Rome-based project released eight EPs and two albums in the last four years alone (available on digital format or CD-R), two of which on their own label Coucou Netlabel. The EP on Sauroid has six new tracks based around distorted bass lines, 8 bit sounds (Buskerdroid used the “Little Sound Dj” on Gameboy, the “Nanoloop” and “Korg DS-10” on Nintendo DS and the CYnthcard on the Commodore 64), vocal samples and other hardware and VST gear. Buskerdroid focus their sound on obsessive 4/4 rhythms but they don’t forgot melody: just check out “Come On Come On!” or the hip hop flavored “Feel da Bass” and you’ll realize that even under the most grinding bass sounds you can find some catchy melodies too. On this release you’ll also find a distorted electro remix of “Come On Come On” by Cute Heels (I recommend you check out their “Love and Hate” album out on Black Montanas).
Just released and fourth in line, we have a yellow code again with Antoni Maiovvi and his EP “The Divine Invasion”. The EP contains four cool songs that are somewhere between Italo disco, synthpop, electro and a cinematic soundtrack a la John Carpenter. Every one of them has character, catchy melodies, deep bass lines and upbeat rhythms. If you love analog sounds you’ll just love “The Variable Man”, “Fingerprints”, “VHS” and “Many Machines on Ix, New Machines”. If you already own the latest CD/2LP by Maiovvi “The Thorns of Love”, you’ll want to know that on this release Anton Maiov further enhanced his ’80es dance influences and removed those melancholic atmospheres you’ve heard on previous songs. “The Divine Invasion” also contains three good remixes. The first one is by Hyboid. Sebastian gave “Fingerprints” his characteristic spacey sounds, rich of arpeggios and wobbling sounds. Keen K reworked “VHS” turning it into an atmospheric electro wave tune, really intriguing. Vast & Bulbous wrap up the EP with their version of “Many Machines on Ix, New Machines”, which now sounds mysterious, tribal and still ’80es, withnice melodic synth leads.
You can get all these CD-R’s at Juno and other stores (check http://www.sauroid.com/shop.html) and the digital releases at all the major digital download stores.
Now, here is a chit chat with them:
Chain D.L.K.: Since you two have a rich musical background as musicians as well as journalists, I’d like to start from that. Can you talk about your previous experiences?
Sauroid: I’ve started “it’s Giosuè Impellizzeri talking” to write music reviews in 1996, it was a paper fanzine. After some years I founded with “Mousemix” (a friend of mine) a music webzine (it was during the summer of 2000). Since that moment I’ve started many collaborations with a tons of magazines (on paper and on the Internet). I’ve done more than 250 interviews around the world, I was a reporter for important events like Time Warp or Popkomm (Germany). My mission always is to discover new talents who are able to create interesting music. At the moment I’m still active as a journalist for Technodisco.it (for reviews) and for DJ Mag Italia (for interviews and special reportages).
Chain D.L.K.: What convinced you to start with the Sauroid experience?
Sauroid: It was a natural step. More than a decade ago some Italian labels asked me for remix “recommendations”. Between 2002 and 2004 I’ve played a ton of unreleased tracks on my radio shows on RIN (Radio Italia Network). In 2005 I’ve started the c ollaboration with Francesco Passantino and Francesco Zappalà for Tractorecords and Laboraudio (one of the results of our collaboration was the “Italoamerica” EP by Steve Stoll). Many friends asked me for suggestions on labels that would release their music. I was tired of creating connections between artists and labels, so I decide to create a personal label with the
precious help of Mr. Technium, my label partner. The concept of Sauroid was born in June 2010 and after some months the 1st release by Gabe Catanzaro was out. For me Sauroid is a way to say to the world: “hey guys, pay attention to this artist, they could be a future star!”
Chain D.L.K.: From your point of view, how has the market changed in the last ten years and what is the best way for a label to get exposure?
Sauroid: What market? The music business is dead, and I don’t believe it when someone likes to say the contrary. The major labels with international artists still can earn money, but for the underground scene things are completely different. People once needed to buy vinyl to listen to music, today the internet generation doesn’t believe music is a “thing that must be payed for” and so most people listen to music on YouTube or download from eMule. They don’t care about the quality of audio (low bitrate): music is only a way to spend spare time in a car. If we are talking about underground labels, the customers are basically the collectors, fans, people who really understand what it means to create music. The best way to create a buzz is the Internet. Internet is the password to the future. The bad use of the Internet has killed the music business but, on the other side, it helped a lot of the music scene to create a net without any limits. The world seems much smaller than it was in the past!
Chain D.L.K.: I think that with tons of digital labels the only way to make the difference is to invest on quality and on marketing. Do you agree? Is this what you did?
Sauroid: In the latest 5 years many people have decided to become A&R without really knowing how to do that. Many digital retailers opened their doors to these people, and released a zillion tracks that don’t make any sense. In my opinion, this is the reason why today there are still people (especially some DJs) who believe that digital labels are all shitty. Also in the ’90es, when the music for DJs was basically only on 12″, there were a ton of shitty labels. Today there is a lot more music than in the past and that’s why some people think they can find more bad music than in the past decades. Sauroid started releasing music in digital and CD-R formats (limited edition, hand numbered, artwork on photographic paper and cd in layout version), but in my opinion the music lovers easily recognize a label without concept or with little artistic content. Art doesn’t need a format. Art is art and remains the same in every format.
Chain D.L.K.: I know that you decided to jump the fence and to print vinyl as well. Will this make a difference in the market and with DJs?
Sauroid: I’m a big vinyl lover, but I don’t want to be one of the old DJs who said “vinyl is better”. Vinyl is a format, the first format for DJs, it’s part of the history of DJing, but we live in 2011 now. Only those who work in this world can understand how is difficult to find a distributor. It’s very easy to say “hey, press the vinyl!”, but most people don’t know about the details that go into doing it. Some music lovers frequently asked us to release music also on 12″, but in my opinion vinyl won’t become the biggest or most important element in the scene. At last the most important thing is the music. Vinyl can be an item for collectors, music lovers, but a great track remains great even if pressed on CD or available as digital. On the 12″ we will only release some of the tracks from the CD-R and digital releases. Every Sauroid release has a lot of tracks, it’s impossible to press all of them on vinyl. We’ll see what happens in the future.
Chain D.L.K.: Since day one you decided to focus your attention on different kinds of electronic music. Can you tell us more about this?
Sauroid: Music no has frontiers. Music has no limits or nationality, so I think that in every kind of music there are good points. We decide to used different colors of our brand to market the different style. The listener can recognize the style of the release from the color of the logo. It’s a nice way to create a relationship between color and music.
Chain D.L.K.: Can you tell us something about your future plans? Are there any interesting musical projects you’d like to point out to us?
Sauroid: Sauroid doesn’t announce any news before the right time. It’s our way of creating a buzz and using the “surprise effect”. We have a lot of new releases, with many more remixes and artists. If you like Sauroid, check out our website www.sauroid.com for news.
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