Before their final performance of the semester, writer Lily Belk sat down with eclectic and talented St Andrean DJ duo Soulpatch. Read on for a chat about vinyl, facial hair, and clubbing across the world.
Lily Belk: I’m sitting down with an electronic music duos made up of two fourth year St Andrews students. Why don’t you tell us about yourselves?
Andrés Zambrano Bravo: I’m from New York, born and raised.
Braden Harris: I’m from the Philadelphia area.
LB: What is the name of your group?
BH: We are Soulpatch!
LB: How did you acquire such a name considering how little facial hair there is between the two of you?
BH: We were crunched for time, and it got to the point where every time I heard a funny phrase I would say how that would be a great band name. So basically I had a series of random, totally irreverent, bullshit names. Until one day, I suggested Soulpatch as a joke.
LB: How would you describe what you guys do for those that are unfamiliar?
ZB: We don’t produce – we’re DJs. We play records and MP3s, mostly house music with emphasis on elements of soul and disco and more techno recently.
LB: How would you compare playing vinyl to MP3s?
ZB: I would say for us playing vinyl fits with what we want to do more. Every record we have we have for a reason, whereas with MP3s it’s harder to sort through them and sometimes you get capricious when it comes to choosing a song. So I think that vinyl has been the most fulfilling experience.
BH: Plus there is something to be said for the process of finding new music when you’re looking at vinyl. I wouldn’t say that I prefer one or the other in terms of when I’m mixing, but in general using vinyl has opened new doors to finding new types of music. It’s a lot more of an active process.
LB: What’s been your favourite or most memorable gig?
BH: I really love the Moodroom after parties. People funnel into my house and it’s just this big steamy, dark party where we play whatever we want. We usually have my room upstairs and then Minimood plays downstairs.
ZB: We bring the funk upstairs. Besides that I would add that Fishbowl was great.
LB: What would you say has been your biggest musical influence?
ZB: People like Floating Points and Four Tet come to mind – the kind of people that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with house.
BH: My current interests come directly from my love of hip hop and producers like Dilla and DJ Shadow, who show not only the creative aspect of finding old tracks to reinterpret in fresh ways, but also show how ‘electronic music’ itself crosses several categories that are a lot broader than ‘EDM’.
LB: What’s a current artist that PressPlay readers should be peeping right now?
ZB: Max Graef, for sure. The way he samples and uses analogue instruments is unbelievable, besides that, Omar S and Detroit Swindle, the people over at Heist Recordings.
BH: I really love all the releases that Panthera Krausse has put out. Ames Henry is another good one. So is Mike Huckaby.
LB: What is your favourite nightclub right now?
BH: We just went to Berlin, and the clubs there are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s hard to keep anything else in the same ballpark, but if I were to go overall it would be a split choice between Sub Club in Glasgow and Output in New York.
ZB: For me it would be Sub Club. What’s amazing about it is that you only have this contained time where the energy just rises.
LB: What is your go-to banger at the moment?
BH: The problem a lot of the time is that you don’t have much time to work with the music. So it’s nice to work with a non-house track and progress into the faster BPMs later in the night. In order to build up that energy it’s nice to, at the risk of sounding like a douche, take the audience on a trip – have some sort of music across different genres.
ZB: Bangers shift all the time. But one we’ve played all the time, almost every set, is probably Four Tet – Percussions KHLHI. One of my current favourites, a bit more under the radar, is probably a song called Dexter Kane – Work That, which is just a really funky, well-done track. Besides that is another track I’ve got is Agnes – Who Cares – this really funky, repetitive, thick-ass bass track that just reverberates.
BH: One that we’ve consistently played in most sets is Mad Rey – Quartier Sex.
LB: Do you guys have any upcoming gigs?
BH: We’re doing the Stereoscope after party at The Byre on Thursday night. People obviously have divided attentions on May Dip, but The Byre is such an incredible space that is underutilized and it’s got the best soundsystem in town, so hopefully people will come by. We’re doing a three-hour all vinyl set.
LB: Do you guys have any long-term plans or goals for Soulpatch?
BH: He’s probably going to stay in the UK, which is devastating for me. But I’m going to be moving out to California so I’ll probably be trying to get some gigs around there, nothing too big.
ZB: DJing has kept me sane this year and it’s the kind of thing that I realize I should have been doing earlier. But in many ways I don’t think it would have been the same if we had started earlier – we’ve come so far in just a year and it’s been an absolute pleasure.
ZB: Also we have a gig in Thailand coming up. We’re going on a grad trip, and a friend that will remained unnamed had intimate relations with a club promoter who has hooked us up at a club called the Nine Bar. So if you’re in Bangkok, swing on by.