I won’t pretend I’m objective in my interviews. Moreover my priority is to track down my favourite artists and groups and convince them to have a little chat with me about music (and… life, in general :)). Mr Velcro Fastener is no exception to the rule. One of the most influential duos in the modern electrofunk scene, Tatu Metsätähti (aka Mesak) and Tatu Peltonen (aka Paltazar), originated from Turku, Finland, they built up their reputation at the turn of the millennium with a couple of classic albums and some unique live shows over Europe. Currently, after a rather long hiatus during which they seemed to be more focused to their personal projects, they’re back working together on fresh MRVF material. Let’s go find out more!
Chain D.L.K.: Hi guys, thank you very much for accepting my call to do this little interview. Let me begin by asking you what many people (including myself of course) are waiting anxiously to find out: is there any new material by Mr Velcro Fastener on the way? If yes when do you think you’ll be ready to release it?
Paltazar: One thing we have learnt during the years is to keep our mouth shut until it happens.
Chain D.L.K.: Ok then, I won’t insist (at least for today-lol). So, last year you did “We Don’t Need Roads”, a really great track which was included in the “Electro Domesticos 3” compilation. However it seemed to me more like a break from your personal work rather than a MRVF comeback, am I right?
Mesak: In fact this is a pretty old song that we started a few years back but finished only when we started to work on new stuff. I guess it might have slightly different drift by the fact that it was done this way, but it still has the classic Velcro touch in my opinion.
Paltazar: I would say the track is a bridge between two MRVF eras… And now we are back to the future.
Chain D.L.K.: I was listening again to your first 2 albums which you have recently re-released enhanced with bonus tracks on your Bandcamp page. For me this is electrofunk at its best, these albums are pure classics. Considering that your last album, 2006’s “Telemacho”, was more techno-house oriented and that “We Don’t Need Roads” may be a 100% electro track, but, as you stated above it is rather an old affair, what should we expect from you in the future at least as far as it concerns your next full length offering? Rother has gone techno and he never came back…-lol
Mesak: Actually the bandcamp bonus tracks were already released on a Telemacho 2CD special version. What you can expect to hear next is… electro. We have no strict plan, we rather let it flow and see what happens but as we are doing it as a duo it will become pure MRVF sound rather automatically.
Paltazar: Of course it’s electro, but like Mesak said we don’t have any strict plan. We had a pause, but now we have found again the enjoyable way to make music.
Chain D.L.K.: Since Mesak is currently residing in Berlin and Paltazar is in Turku, MRVF is now an online collaboration?
Mesak: Doing it online can make stuff happen faster but we still meet every now and then…
Paltazar: In these busy times this new method works better. We know each other so well that it dosen’t matter if we are in the same studio.
Mesak: That´s right, I think that during the first 3 Velcro albums we have learnt pretty well our common work routine, so it really makes no difference anymore how we do it… But a session together once in a while is refreshing.
Chain D.L.K.: In less than 10 years technology has changed music so much that now it’s easy for almost everyone “armed” with a computer and a couple of programs to produce and release tracks. There are hundreds of digital releases every day and the people complain about the low quality of the vast majority of them. In my opinion it was always like that, you always had to scratch the surface and dig deeper to find the real gem no matter the era in which you were a listener or a collector. What do you think about that? Do you keep yourselves updated in music, listen to new stuff, buy some maybe?
Mesak: Well I see it pretty much like that aswell. It was not easy to find the best stuff either back in the day, but looking for music was more challenging and maybe more interesting. I try to keep myself somehow up to date but it´s just impossible. I´ve been mostly buying old/used records the last years.
Paltazar: Exactly the same words from me too.
Chain D.L.K.: What inspires you to write and produce music? And what are your influences, at least in electronic music?
Mesak: Shit, tuff question! I’m a synth freak, so that´s one thing that pulls me to produce. But there are many reasons I guess, I like other creative stuff too, not just music production. And there are too many influences for me, don’t want to pick out any in particular right now, might wanna say some others tomorrow you know…
Paltazar: It depends, but usually for me it’s just some kind of energy overflow that you have to spit out in the form of music. Biggest influences come from Detroit and early Warp releases, but I really like 80s stuff too.
Chain D.L.K.: Let us know about your personal projects. Most recent release by Mesak was the “Cycle Of 12” album on croatian label Ghost Technology, definitely one of my favourite electro works of 2011 (“Data Minor 1” is such a brilliant track, epic, to say the least!). There’s also the Harmönia label, home of the Skweee, with constant presence in the modern electronic scene since 2006.
Mesak: Yes, there’s also some experimental sounds, hip hop production and more straight 4/4 techno/house material that I’ve been on during last years. Harmönia for sure has been taking most of my time. Possibly I couldn’t stand with strictly one sound for all the time, I wonder if anyone could. But the scale is pretty wide anyways.
Paltazar: Not that much buzz. Some unfinished personal projects, nothing to mention now. Mr Velcro is the main project and I’m also a member of Acid Symphony Orchestra.
Chain D.L.K.: As a Greek I’m… itching to ask you why did you call your studio Miletos (and thus your 2003 compilation “Thales Of Miletos”)! Are you passionate with mathematics or/and with ancient Greece?
Mesak: Huh, that goes way back.. I wonder even if I remember why…
Paltazar: Before MRVF our band name was Thales. Can’t remember why, but that’s the reason.
Chain D.L.K.: Could you make us a list of the current MRVF studio & live equipment?
Mesak: For the live shows we´ve always gone with hardware. Today, instead of bringing all synths and drum machines on stage like we did 13 years ago when we started touring as MRVF, we use pretty much samples, and in theory I guess the way we use the MPC’s on stage is kinda close to the way you would do it with a laptop and Ableton… It gives us the right velcro feeling to go with hardware. Of course at the end of the day it makes no difference how you do it if the shit sounds right.
As for the studio equipment, I don´t have too much modern gear except of the modular system which isn´t that modern thing anyway, hehe…
Paltazar: Old school way… 808 drums, bass from SH-7 and Oberheim strings 🙂
Chain D.L.K.: Your “desert island” top-10 please 😉
Mesak: Ok, this is pretty much the same for me as all the “inspirations” lists, hehe. But i can give you my top 10 of today (not in particular order):
Pavan: Holy Volt
Duke Slammer: Bonus 005 (white label 7″)
Mono Junk: Time After Time
Pekka Airaksinen: Other Power whitelabel
DJ Sotofett: Acido 009
Richard H Kirk: Detonate Re-works
Anaalivaihe: Kolme tutkielmää nälästä
ADR: Solitary Pursuits
Claws Costeau: Cissy Fu K (white label)
Chain D.L.K.: Thank you very much for your time guys!
Mesak: No problem and sorry for the delay…
Paltazar: Thank you and all the best!