Blending house and techno elements, Belgian duo Cactus Twisters garnered a bit of attention recently with the Temporada EP.
The title track seamlessly transcends subgenre boundaries, adding a bit of a deep house groove to a minimalist techno foundation.
Over the course of their career, members Jey and Ka have put out releases on Nell Records, Be One Records, Qilla Records, Juicebox Music, Tulipa Recordings, Tigereye Recordings, and MB Electronics. As well, their tracks have received support from Richie Hawtin, John Digweed, Dubfire, Nic Fanciolli, and many others.
As their career continues to build momentum, Crossfadr caught up with Cactus Twisters by email.
Tell me about how you both started producing individually
As many DJs, it is a logical follow-up. The desire to make his own music was stronger than anything. The discovering of Ableton Live contributed pretty well start learning and experimenting with sound. We were impressed by the usability and the intuitive interface.
When did you decide to work together as a group?
Previously, we were a part of a DJ group in our city, a great friendship was born. From then, we started our duo as DJs and few years later we decided to make music together. In fact, it’s been natural for us as we have a lot of similar tastes that we can bring to each other in different ways.
How would you describe your sound together?
It took several years to know more precisely what we really wanted and specially to find our complementarity. It represents a very hard work in the studio, to build a musical identity. We can say that our sound is a melting pot of techno, tech house and minimal sonorities with a preference for dark moods, and we love that our music tells a story. It’s a question of feeling. Actually, our sound evolves constantly, but we keep this approach.
What was your approach when putting together “Temporada”?
It’s the star track of this release on refused. “Temporada” is made for the dance floor, nothing more. “Sorcium” and “Sumatra” are more personal tracks. We like to create an intense atmosphere and tell an emotion or feeling to the listener. That’s what we love the most.
Your tracks like “Temporada” have found some success and support from other DJs. How does this make you feel?
Feels good! Of course, like everybody, we want our music to be played. We had massive support from DJs like Dubfire, Arjun Vagale, Joran Van Pol, Gaga, Shubert, Justin James, Matt Sassari, Stacey Pullen, Saso Recyd, Jorge Ciccioli, Ante Ujevic, A++, Nuno Lisboa, Sonate, and many more.
What plans do you have to follow up this EP?
Actually we started some EP’s for Nell Records and refused. It is not simply a one-shot. We have a lot in common with these two labels and we love the way they are working, with serious and professionalism. We also have programmed other releases, which we will talk about in time.
When putting tracks together in the studio, what do you use for equipment?
Our home studio is what we can call really basic. Mainly we work into Ableton, and every time we exploit more and more the potential of it. Native Instruments and MaxForLive softwares are also some of our favorite tools to new a few… There are so many ways to produce electronic music. The issue for us is to explore, experiment, transform and deconstruct sounds. If we use samples, we always go into remodeling of it to create something new and interesting. In our view, creativity is the most important gear we need in the studio.
For DJing, what do you prefer to use?
We enjoyed playing vinyls for many years, but naturally we evolved towards digital technology like Traktor. We use X1 controllers and some external delays. We are also big fans of the Allen & Heath Xone 92 mixer. Recently, we added an F1 controller, especially to have both more fun and giving more characters in our mixes. Our set-up changes constantly, depend of the venue and the people.
In terms of the mainstream vs. underground dance music debate, where do you stand?
No debate for us. Music is a matter of taste and is so subjective, there is music for everyone in this planet. But for our part, we have always been in the underground side, because it’s the kind of influence fitting for our mind.