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What exactly is Nu Disco? We talk to Disco Milk Records about the emergence of the genre, vinyl only releases and working with hardware production techniques

Posted 23/7/19 in

Within the ever expanding of crossing realms of dance music, the eager public is always looking to find the next big thing. Within the bass and grime scenes we have spent years seeing numerous fusions of sounds, with bass, garage and funky all currently intertwining wonderfully and 140bpm speeding towards one large hybrid genre.

Today however we are taking a short leap away from bass and 140bpm to take a look at a label who go by the name of Disco Milk. Through a selection of well received releases and a strong internal mantra, the project has become seen as one of the champion outlets for the aptly named ‘Nu Disco‘ genre.

From what we have been able to gather, we can see that as a genre (or at least for Disco Milk) the sound is heavily weighted on hardware production techniques, primarily we assume to encapsulate some of that early, charming imperfection that added so much groove and life to the original disco classics of the past.

We are lucky enough to catch an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes At Disco Milk HQ as we host the brand new video ‘An Evening At The Disco Milk Studios With Super Paolo:

Below have added a link to the latest, vinyl only release from the London based label, who have spent a number of years now delving into this exciting sound and pushing it forward, showcasing some seriously exciting talent. The release below comes to us from Disco Milk head honcho Super Paolo, who sits atop a pile of fantastic remixes from LTJ Xperience, David Agrella and the J&M Brothers:

We can hear just how vibrant and full of colour the genre has become, taking in house and tech influences but never quite losing the delight and charm of original disco. We couldn’t wait to learn more about Nu Disco‘s inner workings, roots and future, so we decided to get in contact with the Super Paolo himself for an interview discussing all of the above and more:

So first of all, what for you guys is the key to making a new school hit?

Probably not thinking about it, just making music continuously has the effect to create music which is quite a hit and other musics which is not. In essence not thinking at all to make a new school hit, but persevering with the activity of composing, orchestrating and arranging.

How do you think the introduction of digital hardware replicators has affected the quality of music being produced?

Massively, I am writing a book on this topic and I cannot summarise such a complex answer here. I can only say that the influence has changed the course of music production, it’s output, the perception of music, of the public and of the professional, the perception and the practices of musicians, arrangers, singers and many more. In addition it has created many new places for new producers and placed several producer from the precedent eras, out of jobs.

How would you define Nu Disco as a genre?

Well, there are various definitions and interpretation of this genre. The most popular and traditional definition incorporate house music and disco elements with some music parts and sounds which are typical of disco (octave walking bass, fast glissandos, acoustic or electronic vintage claps and percussions/disco-soul vocals and many more). However there are many styles and sub-genres, most notably what I call ‘nu-boogie‘ which is more close to boogie than to nu-disco but that many consider as Nu-disco. Further, also cosmic music and other styles can contribute to the aesthetic shaping of this genre of music. There is much more to say about nu-disco and I am currently writing a book which attempts a reconstruction of the history of this genre.

The promo video for the new project shows a lot of live musicians. What percentage of the music you release would you say is created outside a DAW?

I’d say 70%. I record myself (external keyboards, drum machines and percussions) and then add some internal DAW virtual instruments and some licensed samples. It’s second-nature as in the beginning of my career I started (1986) with an Atari ST with Cubase and I had three midi keyboards and 6 non-midi keyboards, it was fun and I kept working that way.

I have also worked as a DJ in clubs where a band was playing before me and I have befriended many musicians that I brought in studio during the end of the eighties and the nineties.

Talk to us about the new project in general, are you excited to get it out there?

The real excitement for me is to make music as it is a constant process of experimentation with many different music devices, it is an endless game as you can tweak compressors, effects, mod wheels and many other control parameters forever.

Having the music out is totally a big reward and I love watching my releases listed on Discogs and Traxsource.

Why Strictly vinyl on the new release?

From time to time, I maintain a tradition which came from the 90’s, I publish a vinyl in limited edition with tracks that will never be on digital. It is something I have started in 1996 with Africanis and I have continued. For the future, there are plans to publish at least one only-vinyl release a year.

How do you find the dipping between the producer and label manager mindsets, especially in such a new niche area? 

I am a lawyer and this has became second-nature: to divide purely logical and business tasks from the creative and the experimentation process. For example when I have drafted the contracts for my label I was into a specific pragmatical mindset. In the same day, in the evening I have worked on some recordings and the mindset was different. During the mornings I am rational and logical, during the evenings I am creative and totally illogical.

Is there one piece of hardware you would recommend to anyone? 

Not particularly because it depends on the use. For example for some disco-house producers I would recommend trying the Juno 60 or the Prophet 5 (and its remake) but for other electronic genres, I would definitely recommend the Waldorf Quantum (a new fantastic synth) the John Bowen solaris, the new edition of the Mini-Moog.

Here are machines that sound good to me and that I would recommend to a colleague or friend:

Korg KingKorg

Waldorf Quantum

MicroFreak – Arturia

Flame MÄANDER 4-Voice Desktop Synthesizer

Sonic LAB: Dreadbox Erebus 3 Synthesizer

Craft Synth 2  Modal Electronics

Modal Skulpt – 4 Voice Virtual Analog Synthesizer

Audiothingies P6

Mopho x4

Radikal Delta CEP A Semi Modular Synth

Medusa Hybrid Synth Review 

Korg Minilogue GBP 565

Grandmother Moog

What do we have to look forward to in the future from the label and yourself?

I am planning a Disco Milk party with some friends and colleagues, I am also working on a new vinyl release and a new video. I am also planning to open an internet radio and I am writing a book on African-American music. For the moment it’s just a work-in-progress but some of these projects might be out earlier than expected.

Disco Milk on Discogs:

https://www.discogs.com/label/167686-Disco-Milk

Disco Milk on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/discomilk

Disco Milk on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/DiscomilkRecords/

Disco Milk onInstagram:

https://www.instagram.com/discomilkrecords/

Words: KXVU

 

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