Published by Alessandro Violante on May 6, 2017
Approximately one year ago, after having reviewed Succubus‘ soundtrack, directed by Cosmotropia De Xam (Mater Suspiria Vision), we discovered one song composed by D4RK3R Side, based near Milan, in Italy. Talking with him, we discovered the existence of a new collective, named EK4T3, living also out of the spotlights of the so called underground music scene, in front of our eyes. After having reviewed their first release, D4RK3R Side first EP, we thought to plan an interview with them. EK4T3 has certainly been influenced by witch house music and Mater Suspiria Vision, but having a rave culture background, showing it in their further releases. Their music can be described as dark electronic music, covering different styles, and that’s only one side of their work. During only one year, EK4T3 have released ten digital / physical mixtapes, EP, compilations, and so on, also promoting foreigner musicians. EK4T3 is still an hidden creature in the underground music scenario, and it is one of the most interesting Italian projects, with a similar vision to that had by ’60s and ’70s artistic collectives. In the following “interview”, held sitting in front of Macao’ stairs, located in Milan, some months ago, and finally published, we’ve talked with them about their music, their idea and the scenario in which they live. Enjoy the collective and discover them!
Alessandro: Hi guys! Finally we’ve been able to make this interview! It’s a pleasure to have organized it. Let’s begin explaining to the readers what EK4T3 is, and tell us your story.
Davide: Do I have to speak? I’m Davide. I manage EK4T3’ music, Soundcloud and Bandcamp profiles, every video on Youtube. I would say that, as in each story, everything started by a joke, and that’s what happened. I was with friends of mine now living abroad around the world, all of us linked by obscurity, each of us having a different background, people listening to different music. We used to meet in the same place, a squat in Saronno, sharing parties, alcool, company and other things, and what began to take shape was something that would have become what EK4T3 is. The idea behind the collective is based on several people, coming from different artistic backgrounds, that otherwise wouldn’t have met themselves. Thanks to this squat in Saronno, they’ve succeeded in expressing what they had inside of them.
I don’t know, for me it’s a great honour to manage this container named EK4T3, all these different people. For example, PSYKEDÆDALUM VOL.1, the compilation produced by us, has twenty songs made by twenty different artists: Greeks, Americans, Italians and Polish artists, something happening now. I wouldn’t have thought it could have worked as, being a spectator and organizer of techno and eletronic music parties, it was difficult for me to be really in contact with other people, to make them understand what you wanted to do. With EK4T3 this is happening, because I used to organize these parties and to gain some money from them, but not to have the same passion, what I wanted to have. There was only people going to the parties, dancing, not being in contact with anyone. The difference, what’s good about EK4T3, is that each of us adds something, its heart.
For example, we have a photographer, uploading his photos on cloud. There are musicians who compose their songs, other musicians catching sounds around, as well as you’re doing right now (with our recorder). When we want to share something with others, we take it and we put it on cloud. It’s made by D4RK3R Side, by Hek4tOnk3ir, by Αριάδνη. Everything’s free, it can be used by the collective to make something together. For example, one song composed by Αριάδνη had been made with something recorded by Hek4tOnk3ir while walking in Bergamo and then sent to Greece, and then, there, Αριάδνη made an ambient track. These things can be made with a click. According to me, we’re using Internet in the right way. Creating these connections is what I adore the most about this project: when I come back home, I see the messages and I, not playing anything, don’t do anything. It marvelous to see how it works, and there’s a mechanism self-fed by the collective itself.
Alessandro: How a collective like yours is founded?
Davide: Everything’s started with ☾H▲N K▲L▲GON☽, now living in England, born in Italy. In this squat, there was this friend of us playing electronic music, and he says to me “listen to this song”. I’ve listened to it and it made me go nuts, titled Drums from the abyss, and it was the first song uploaded to the Soundcloud profile. Everything’s started in this way. I’ve made a profile titled EK4T3, uploading that song, only to pay my homage to those Wednesdays into the squat in Saronno, and then we received a lot of contacts and positive feedbacks, and we said ourselves: “let’s upload there another one”, and D4RK3R Side put there another one. Things started working, I’ve started to receive comments and messages, and I used to come back to that squat in Saronno, saying: “Guys, I’ve received ten messages sent by artists who want to collaborate. What do we want to make? Do we want to make something, or not? And so, people started to enjoy this.
Alessandro: Davide, did you know about this situation in Saronno?
Davide: Unfortunately not, honestly I would have liked to known about it.
Davide: The echo of TeLOS should have been quite strong in Caronno Pertusella, but in that period there was the second occupation in Saronno, a branch of TeLOS, so, if you were not one of them, you wouldn’t have known about it. We didn’t use to make parties, we did nothing, but we were creating something now having a name.
Davide: Why EK4T3? I think about the godess of darkness already cited by you, about magic…
Davide: That’s the correct answer, the most banal, the simplest it can be given, thanks to its magic power. Everything has started one Wednesday, during an insane night. We had this name, EK4T3, we had a book, I don’t remember which one, it had illustrations, we fell in love for this idea of the “three moons”.
Davide: For magic, for witches, for witch house music too…
Davide: I’ve started to listen to witch house music thanks to D4RK3R Side. I had this song made by ☾H▲N K▲L▲GON☽, that was an idea of what a collaboration with him could have been. It could be defined as dark electronic, or witch house. It was my dream, and now it’s becoming reality thanks to the help of everyone.
Davide: It could also be said that there’s a linkage with the mystical side of art
Davide: Yes, yes, definitely. We have let ourselves being enchanted by this goddess of magic, and…
Davide: This is linked to the idea of a collective, as often happened in the art world, an instictive process, as your project wasn’t the result of a plan. You’ve met into this house, and something happened there, then developed in time.
Davide: EK4T3 already existed in each of us and, when we met, it took the shape we know now.
Davide: The most instinctive aspect of art, indeed…
Davide: The purest thing you can do, you take it and you share it with the other members of the collective, and that’s what is interesting.
Alessandro: The cool thing is that, besides the collective and your releases, you’re promoting what made by other musicians, such as the EP made by that French guy (R.organic).
Davide: Yes. Starting from what said above, the idea behind the collective worked, and then we extended it to whoever wanted to do something well, then EK4T3 became EK4T3 Collective, and when people saw it, they sent messages, asking if our label took demos. Which label? We ask ourselves. (laughs). I’ve thought about that, I’ve talked with the other guys, and then we decided to release the first D4RK3R Side release, as he’s been our collaborator since a lot of time, and it was the best thing to do.
Alessandro: I own the first copy of the D4RK3R Side EP!
Davide: You own the first copy, and after twenty years you’ll be able to sell it for a lot of money! (laughs).
Alessandro: What’s your background?
D4RK3R Side: Well, my background is in Black Metal, above all Depressive Black Metal, then I started to listen to EBM and 8-bit music, but it was too much happy for my tastes, maybe.
Alessandro: In fact, the compilation contains also an album belonging to this genre (8-bit)
Davide: It’s N.S. Trittico (made by H3k4tOnk3ir). It’s fantastic, but my judgment is partial.
D4RK3R Side: There was this need to come back to sad, dark things, witch house. It was 2010, I’ve seen a Mater Suspiria Vision video on Youtube, and I didn’t understand anything anymore. It all started in that moment. I needed it.
Davide: There’s also a linkage, according to me, between witch house, shoegaze, black metal. There’s something common to all these genres, although someone could kill me for what I’m saying (laughs).
Davide: I think, one should be open-minded, and admit that there’s an obscure element linking all these genres.
Davide: I think black metal is the most beautiful genre in heavy metal history, as it is the most contradictory one, although it’s often conceived as the purest and uncompromising genre. Since its early days, it contaminated itself with everything. Usually, who plays black metal listens to all, and that’s contradictory.
Alessandro: Maybe because I knew the wrong people, I remember there was an elitist atmosphere.
Davide: Only perceived by fans, not by musicians. Who played black metal in its early days, such as Burzum, participated in techno parties.
Alessandro: At the same time, its fans often used to say the early demos are the best records for an artist.
Davide: It’s like the difference between soccer fans and players. Their way of thinking is different. Black metal musicians have always been the most open-minded in the heavy metal world.
Alessandro: The perception of the artist is always different from that of the musician. If you had to bring your collective live, assuming its made of a lot of different artists, how would you imagine your live performance or, anyway, how would you organize it?
Davide: It’s a good question, because we’ve thought about it for a long time, and the first thing we’ve thought about is that we want to make the French guy play live (R.organic). Besides the French artist, going a bit backwards and thinking about the most influent artists of this collective, I would say that L1NKZ is an artist who produced only one song, who never has a Soundcloud profile, but that, at the same time, makes electronic music which makes me go nuts, a track titled ekate00001 and, even if it could sound strange, is the less popular artist of the collective, but the artist playing more than others at home. The most introvert person, the most “hidden”, an artist having an hard disk full of songs but only one song released. These are the artists I like to engage, those having a lot to say, living out of the spotlights, producing very good stuff. I would like to bring L1NKZ live, it could be the first of us to astonish the audience, but I don’t want to say too much, I want to keep the secret. Now we’re talking, soon we’ll have the opportunity to play live regularly, we’re preparing for it, but we still don’t know where, we don’t know anything at the moment. (In the meanwhile, Lorenzo joins the conversation).
Alessandro: Hi Lorenzo, how are you? Is everything fine?
Lorenzo: We’ve just eaten a kebab pizza…
Alessandro: We would like to talk a bit with Lorenzo too
Lorenzo: Lorenzo has worked too much, recently.
Alessandro: Which feedbacks have you received until now?
Lorenzo: The funniest thing we’ve recently done is having opened a Flickr gallery with images we’ve begun to select as screenshots of our videos, and other works we’ve made for the artworks, and then there’s N#27, who manages the situation. He makes mirrors upon the images we give him, or he search images, and similar things. This Flickr gallery has grown, until it has become a group called HypnosisWave, made by people that, following the aesthetics we have proposed, became a group, and then we have artworks uploaded by people who like this visual imagery, and these people propose their images continously. Everything started as a report of our things, but now they also give us suggestions.
Davide: It can be said that now the collective is a network
Lorenzo: Yes, we’re going towards that direction. If you’re a fan, you can also become a collaborator.
Davide: Besides this, it seems to me this is an international network.
Lorenzo: I want to say that friends and followers are linked by an interest for obscurity.
Alessandro: In fact, according to me, it’s important to be in contact with people sharing the same tastes and interests
Lorenzo: It’s what I’m interested to. It’s beautiful when you become in real contact with passionates, you’re working for them and you’re making something for the humankind.
Davide: I think this is the modern and, at the same time, atavistic aspect of EK4T3. Although the modern technology and the world we live which allows you to know in a second what happens in USA or Germany, EK4T3 which we could define an artistic collective, just like the ones founded in the ‘70s or in the ‘80s, does exist.
Lorenzo: But it’s global. Maybe today you live a dissolute or particular existence…
Davide: (Talking about R.organic), the idea of “you already were part of our group, and now we’ve only met” is beautiful. It’s a meeting point.
Davide: With the last song we’ve uploaded, Philip K. Decker, alias 209 SINS, an artist who has tons of profiles, who produces, trap music also liked by witch house passionates, contacted us, and told us he was looking forward to collaborate with us, to make something together. When you receive a feedback from a young French guy (R.organic) who makes techno music, telling you he’s searching for someone who could release his music, is beautiful, but when you receive it from someone being much older than you, having the double of your “likes”, a greater experience than yours, asking to collaborate with you, it’s wonderful. I should have contacted him, and not the opposite! I’m no one, but it’s something that makes me feel very good.
Alessandro: It isn’t about experience, but about mentality, and that’s the most beautiful thing.
Davide: Because, anyway, we’re talking about an artist that, regardless, is still in the underground, writing things with spaces, making glitches, using Paint… these are the most beautiful things.
Alessandro: We already know it, but our readers would be interested in knowing how your artworks are made. We know they’re drawn by hand.
Davide: Yes. As well as with music, the idea of the collective was expanded to graphics, and then a Flickr group was born. Marta draws artworks, who made on artistic school and who, lately, got in contact with us. Very often, the artworks are edited by N#27, adding the logo of the collective and changing something, always keeping in contact with the artist.
Lorenzo: The tools of work are truly these, such as Paint. It’s important to have a clear aesthetics, it doesn’t matter how one reaches it. You see a beautiful thing and you say it’s been made with a hoe, but the tool used is not important, the only important thing is the result. According to me, HyposisWave is very beautiful, there are tons of contents made by people having our same interest. Then, there’s a moderator who always controls what is delivered. Once a clear aesthetic idea exist, it is possible to make a selection of the best things. There are people having the same interest, and this gives you strength. It’s undoubtful that making things together gives you more energy and strength, and we create connections with other people. There are very beautiful Italian projects. All of us feel that this scene can have a true development, besides those purely virtual.
Davide: The goal is to succeed in giving once again to the real world the most modern aspects. In this way, one is a bit freed from the coldness of the virtual world.
Lorenzo: What can start also from, let’s say, an amateur distribution, is very beautiful. Then, in time, skills emerge. Some of us work in similar fields, linked to what we do with EK4T3. What you learn working can be used in a more alternative way. Internet is an instrument generally used to gain profit, but it can be also used in a different way.
Davide: Here, in EK4T3, something new is created, a collective with its ideas, in an instinctive way. You haven’t thought about what was made before. Things began spontaneously. The interesting thing about art is that some mechanisms emerge cyclically spontaneously.
Lorenzo: I care about the discourse about witch house, but we also make other music. We don’t have these kind of limits, we’re opened to different things. It would be beautiful to transform this experience into something “real”, because, according to me, we have a lot of things we would like to make. I already work with visuals in different contexts, and I like to use my skills with EK4T3. Recently, we’ve got in contact also with one juggler, people working with fire, making performance art, and this evening, while we were eating, we’ve been talking about this. Now we start to have a small budget that can be used, thanks to some drum‘n’bass parties I organize, then I’m able to get in contact this kind of people.
We have friends making street art, prints, and so on. I don’t want to overrate me, but we like all these things. Each of us is interested in a specific area, has his / her friends and things. The obscure background can be felt everywhere, and that’s what ties us. As well as on the Internet it’s possible to share a passion for the obscure, in real life it’s possible too. In this way, face-to-face connections area created, and I have a certain experience about this.
Davide: According to me, this is a great strength of this project, because nowadays the problem is that a lot of these projects remain in the virtual dimension. You send me a track and everything ends there. EK4T3 is truly an artistic collective at full spectrum, as it should be. Today, we have more media than in the past, but often projects stay just as netlabels. I don’t know anything about who you are and what’s behind the project, I only release your music.
Lorenzo: The aesthetics used by netlabels is radically different from that adopted by witch house and vaporwave. This last one is itself aside from its contents, and it’s absent in genres such as dubstep, that is only about music, it doesn’t have its specific aesthetic. Witch house and vaporwave have elements such as T-Rex, videogames effects…both sonic and visual elements, then. Every artist, of course, has a personal approach. These music trademarks aren’t strict, the only common trait is obscurity.
Davide: The obscurity of witch house, of dark techno of a vaporwave project…
Lorenzo: Nope, not vaporwave. That aesthetic is not what we were talking about. The idea is that it should be something obscure. Vaporwave is too much “funny”.
Alessandro: Before, we were also talking about 8-bit music.
Davide: As far as its conceptual side is concerned, it’s difficult to include 8-bit in the obscure realm, it is more a “neutral” genre.
Lorenzo: Well, there’s a lot of obscure 8-bit.
Davide: N.S. Trittico, for example, is a valid name.
Lorenzo: Talking specifically about music projects and situations, for example in Milan there is Milano Live Coding. You know, those artists playing music via Game Boy, as Pablito El Drito and Fabio Kenobit. They promote this kind of parties, they’re called Milano Chiptune Underground, I’ve made a party with them. That’s the 8-bit sounding like… (shouts).
Alessandro: We’ve also gained help from the sandwich seller, who uses his pedals. We’ve been listening to his industrial noise performance for two hours.
Lorenzo: Also all the music released under Venetian Snares label, I don’t remember its name. A lot of really dark 8-bit is released. Then, after this party, we make an after. We enjoy the party and then we go to a rave, I mount my computer and I play visuals.
Alessandro: One thing I like a lot about this interview is that is very spontaneous. It’s a more a discourse than an interview.
Davide: You’re what, according to me, Milano needs now. Something that, besides you, unfortunately doesn’t exist here.
Lorenzo: Each of us has a personal story, but none of us was born in Milan. We all come from the hinterland. The collective was born immediately close to Milan, but not there. We are spreaded on the territory. Some of us are based in Saronno. Unfortunately or not, there are pros and cons, we’re spreaded on the territory.
Anyway, I’ve seen Milan and, being a great Metropolis, it offers you some artistic opportunities and, according to me, this thing offers you a real dimension in which expressing yourselves, because Internet is good, but you also need physical places in which people can gather. According to me, this can happen only in Milan. There are more chances.
Some of us have a background in the rave scene, have made parties. This evening I’ll play visuals at a rave. There, there’s the idea, the tribe. In the dub scene, there the massive. There’s a scene going to everywhere there’s a party, following those parties which are part of their world. Often, they are organized in the countryside, and people go to them anyway. This means there are a lot of ways to move from a place to another, surely the big city is a good option. On the other hand, a place not so well organized forces you to search contacts on Internet and in other ways and, paradoxically, this phenomenon is more part of our contemporaneity.
Alessandro: One interesting thing is that, developing this thing out of the so called “official” scenarios makes it possible to creare situations that couldn’t be easily created otherwise in a great city, because there are already established parties, scenes, interest about some music styles and not others.
Lorenzo: That’s sure because, however, often, when a city offers a lot of entertainment, this reduces the desire, for people, to create new situations, while, on the contrary, when there’s few entertainment, sometimes the creativity of people emerge more.
Alessandro: That’s also the reason why I’ve been a bit amazed when, talking with Cosmotropia De Xam (Mater Suspiria Vision), he told me that there was someone in Milan making witch house music, and that was the first time I’ve heard about it here.
Lorenzo: And it’s good, it’s the same thing we would like to know, it’s beautiful you got in contact with this collective, and we have esteem for you.
Davide: Truly, I don’t have any words to thank you.
Lorenzo: If this thing exist, it’s thanks to the 90% percent of the passion of Davide for that kind of context, the inspiration comes from him. I, personally, got in contact with this thing thanks to Davide, who is the catalyst. We’re yet living the phase of “we hope it will work”. We’re ambitious and we hope to be able to do good things.
Alessandro: The beautiful thing is that, inside the collective, there are a lot of different artists with different backgrounds and skills.
Davide: I’m a drummer, I wasn’t abel to manage a group of four people, while now I’m managing an international collective, and that’s paradoxical.
Davide: Because you have luck, will, dedication, and chance…
Davide: Before closing this interview, I care about say one last thing. The next remix will be that of “Alla fiera dell’est”. We’ll do it for two coins.
Alessandro: Ok guys, we go on with the party and we close the interview! Greet the readers, if you want to…
EK4T3: Hi guys!