Interviews: Black Sun Empire

If you are not familiar with the name Black Sun Empire, formed by Rene Verdult and the brothers Milan and Micha Heyboer,  you are either very new to the drum’n’bass genre or you are simply not into this kind of music at all. The trio from Utrecht, Netherlands, is famous for their explosive hard and heavy productions, their intense DJ sets and, not to forget, their Blackout events, held all over Europe and beyond. Traditionally the Gretchen is the home for the Blackout events in Berlin and the next one is close, May 13. After such a long time of working together our relationship to these guys became a friendship and so we thought it would be nice to sit down with a cup of tea and some cookies and ask some questions.

Jamie: Black Sun was a criminal syndicate that came into prominence during the Clone Wars as the Jedi Order focused more on military affairs and less on law enforcement. How did you came up with the name? Are you guys “Trekkies”?

BSE: We grew up watching Star Wars and by the time we really needed a name Milan was actually reading one of the books. While flicking through we stumbled upon ‘Black Sun’ and that sounded real good to us, but it needed something else. So by adding another iconic Star wars name ‘The Emperor’ we found our destiny 😛

Continue reading “Black Sun Empire”

Features: Autograf

This up & coming Thursday, May 4, the trio Autograf, from Chicago, will perform live at Gretchen. The sound of the band is often described as electronic pop or future house. With more than 139,000 Soundcloud fans and almost 90,000 Facebook likes, the group’s fan base is more than established, but the bands focus is not only on the music but also on the whole presentation. What that means? Well, let me give you a clearer view on what these guys are all about.

The three members of Autograf, Mikul Wing, Louis Kha and Jake Carpenter began not as the enigmatic and dreamy house group it is today, but as a visual art outlet for creatives who wanted to return to their roots. They all come from visual art or design backgrounds, but during the years before the formation of the group, in 2013, they found greater success as solo artists and in groups like Midnight Conspiracy. Right from the start Autograf’s plan was to provide something different. Their first show was an event at the House of Blues, titled “Warhol’s Factory.” At this event, the group transformed the venue into an art installation. This included a massive re-creation of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup piece, which the group continues to use, and Brillo boxes. After that first successful event, Autograf continued with a serie of events at Chop Shop & 1st Ward (former auto body shop and now butcher-deli-restaurant and bar with a 6,000 square foot event space) with Collaboraction, a local mixed media theater and arts company. Just like the first event at the House of Blues, these Chop Shop & 1st Ward spectacles had a theme and transformed the location Continue reading “Autograf”

Features: Mndsgn & Kingdom

This up and coming Saturday, April 29, we will take you on a trip to the stars. Two very inspiring musicians will jump in their spaceship to showcase their talent at Gretchen. Both are based in Los Angeles and have made a name for themselves during the last few years with their unorthodox productions. You would like to know who are these two astronauts that we are talking about? Ringgo Ancheta and Ezra Rubin of course! Oh, you still do not have a clue? Well, let us get more into detail then.

Ringgo Ancheta, better known by his stage name Mndsgn, pronounced “mind design”, was born in San Diego to former members of the Philippine arm of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult, a doomsday cult that was originally founded in Japan in 1984 and gained international notoriety when it carried out the deadly Tokyo subway sarin terror attack in 1995. His parents were granted political asylum in the U.S.A., otherwise his life probably would have taken a different route. Spending his childhood on the edge of a commune with no electricity and mostly no technology, he did not had access to any kind of modern music until he sneaked out and hitchhiked to Philadelphia where he got in contact with the sound of hip-hop for the very first time and immediately fell in love with the art form. A Philly resident, who explained the art of sampling and beat making to him, inspired him so much that he acquired some equipment within the same day and started to work on his own productions. From then on he went more and more often to “The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection” (author’s note: common American nickname for the city of Philadelphia.) which finally led to a move to Los Angeles to be a full time musician. Continue reading “Mndsgn & Kingdom”