RA.811 Sound Metaphors

  • Published
    19 Dec 2021
  • Filesize
    211 MB
  • Length
  • A joyful party set.
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  • Look beyond the Top 100 DJ hype and you'll find that underground dance music is still populated with small crews that work tirelessly in service of a simple goal: to build a joyful society of music lovers around a clear set of aesthetic principles. Nemo Ripoll and Castro Moore, this week's RA Podcast guests, have gone further than most to achieve these ends. The physical headquarters for these efforts is the Sound Metaphors record shop in Kreuzberg, Berlin. In non-lockdown times, the small, impeccably-curated store is a hang out for a certain strand of Berlin record heads—those interested in the scruffier side of house, Balearic, disco and other genres, but perhaps more drawn to the fun, laid-back social scene that has sprung up around the store and other related ventures. This mix of nerdiness and insouciance comes through full force in the HAVE A NICE DAY (H.A.N.D.) parties thrown by Nemo and Castro, a roving affair in which the likes of Chee Shimizu and Idjut Boys throw down in clandestine lofts on a custom soundsystem. Then there's the family of Sound Metaphors imprint, including sub-labels like Missyou, Thankyou and Blessyou, serving up everything from cheeky edits to obscure and essential Detroit house with a wink and a smile. This cluster of underground activities truly comes together in Nemo & Castro's DJ sets, which feel like proselytizing missions for the joy of diva house, hi-NRG and other oft-discussed but rarely-rinsed genres. Their classic approach, fueled by an avid study of legendary US gay clubs in the past, has made them sure-shot bookings at Panorama Bar, Berlin Atonal and any other setting where you need a DJ set that follows in the true spirit of excess and hedonism that all of this was built on. This historically reverent exuberance is palpable on their RA Podcast, which sees the duo string together a series of big moments through the arpeggiated DNA of the past. What are you grateful for these days? Being alive in the conditions we are in during the times we've gone through. Being part of the insanely privileged tiny bit of humanity (and human history) that can enjoy everything we do enjoy. Having a roof over our heads while still being able to pursue a personal passion of ours. Somewhat clean air. Tap water. Hospitals, it's insane… we're so lucky, and on top of that we can (sometimes) gather in dark places and listen to really loud music with people we love—it's crazy if you think about it. This represents 0.0001 percent of human existence on this planet and here we are. How and where was the mix recorded? And can you tell us the idea behind it? It was recorded in Castro's living room, mainly using turntables but also digital input for some new edits. I guess the idea is to feature some of the stuff we've been into lately, but also celebrate the dance floor. We're believers in contrast in the sense that you can truly expose the qualities of a track and its genre by juxtaposing it with something of opposing "flavor" to make it stand out more, be more accented, for example contrasting organic with synthetic, hi-NRG with techno, romance with aggression, etc. There's a bit of that happening. We wanted this to be something that would induce more body movement and less self introspection, maybe make the listener forget about the present a bit. Something for getting lost in during a jog, or intense frisbee playing. We also wanted to celebrate some of the great and forever irreplaceable divas of our recent past who've been instrumental in shaping the foundations of our appreciation for dance floor music. We don't want to talk about it too much though, better to listen! Your record shop Sound Metaphors is brick-and-mortar HQ for your labels, parties and DJing. Can you run us through some of the highs and lows of running a specialist shop in this day and age? The main low is really navigating throughout Covid-19 times, and the endless tease of wave restrictions coming and going, mega-vibe killer. We were supposed to close one of the floors in Berghain for New Year's Eve and that just got cancelled, along with a huge anniversary party we had planned for the shop—that's probably as low as it gets for us, (we hope). Most of what we do (or did) was very much based on human interaction, so not being able to organize parties and in-stores is quite a hit. Along with all the implications that come with closing down clubs of course, meaning less people coming into Berlin and to the shop. But on the other hand, after six years of this we really feel like we've been able to build a small community around a love for music and the dance floor, that feels very special. It's also very pleasantly surprising to hear that people in other parts of the planet appreciate some of the things we do, quite reassuring to hear of someone wearing a H.A.N.D T-shirt in Mexico or hear that people know of our releases in Japan. You're both avid preservationists of dance movements like hi-NRG that were tied to a specific time and place. If you were given a time machine that allowed you to dance (or DJ) at a few legendary dance floors of yore, what would they be and why? Quite a few places! Hard to choose, but on the topic of hi-NRG I guess first stop would be The Saint in New York, to see what might have been the most sophisticated club of its time in terms of lights and sound system, ideally on a night where someone like Grace Jones might have descended through the center of the giant planetarium dome that sheltered the entire dance floor. It would be pretty spectacular to see someone like Warren Gluck, Roy Thode, Shawn Buchanan or any of the residents curate the music at a space like that. Another place would have to be the Muzic Box in Chicago, to see Ron Hardy, that would be really special too. Listening to some recordings it just seems like Ron Hardy had such an unprecedented aesthetic to DJing, just makes you feel like you'd have so many questions for him. Would have loved to hang out with that guy… Would also like to check out an earlier Loft party, the Paradise Garage, maybe also some clubs in Italy, Discoteca Ciak, Baia Degli Angeli in the early '80s. What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to? This is such a vast topic to answer in one question…so many issues need so much more attention… humanity is just nuts. If we had to pick one cause though, maybe the abolition of shameless greed, that one seems to be at the root of many problems, not only is there no shame in greed today, it's actually celebrated, especially in the West, people seem to be idolized for wanting more for the sake of having more. What are you looking forward to in the near future? Putting out and sharing more beautiful music from the past (and present) on our labels. Seeing an end to Covid-19, being on a safe dance floor again. Building more soundsystems!