There have been a handful of essential boundary-pushing dance full lengths this year – Africa Hitech, Machinedrum and Instra:mental have all turned in stunning records – but bang for buck, Salva’s Complex Housing is standing shoulder to shoulder with that healthy company. It’s a record that synthesizes much of what makes the post-everything dance continuum so exciting, especially funk. Slava’s penchant for neon synths & warm analog tones keep his futuristic tendencies grounded in the past.
Alongside an impressive team, Salva runs Frite Nite, a collective responsible for some of California’s most colourful floorshakers, from B. Bravo’s modern funk to NastyNasty’s warped grime. While everyone has a crew/squad/team these days, the Frite Nite collective show that it pays to be as diverse as possible.
Longshanks managed to have a yack with Salva. They chatted about Complex Housing, Salva’s amazing year so far & what we can expect from his Bass Coast performance…
For many electronic fans, you’re a shiny new face in 2011 – what is the Salva story up until this year? How did you get into producing?
I’ve been at it for a pretty long time, I’ve just been all over the place stylistically. I started as a turntablist when I was 15, I was really into scratching… studied Q-Bert’s Turntable TV VHS tapes for days & days. At the beginning of the 00s I moved from the midwest to Miami where I got hip to 808/bass culture, that’s where I got my start promoting, DJing and producing. I did my time with hip-hop, house, IDM, was into drum & bass (although never DJed it!) and everything in between. Along the way I’ve had a few mentors and made a lot of good homies that influenced my current style.
You’ve had a fantastic 2011 with the release of Complex Housing - has the response to the record fallen in line with what you were trying to accomplish?
Honestly I’m just humbled and excited that it came together, and its always a thrill when I hear that somebody digs it. I sort of view that as the beginners guide to what I do… I tried to fit all my influences into one record, and tried to make it a cohesive modern sound. For all the years I’ve been at it, this was finally like the focused effort of me as an instrumental artist.
What are some of the fundamental things you’re hoping your music does, both on the dancefloor & in the headphones?
I do strive to make things dancefloor, but just a pinch more left-field than the pop big room sounds. Really I’m just trying to write effective melodies, hit good rhythms and invoke a feeling.
You’re part of the Frite Nite collective based out of San Francisco. Between Eprom, NastyNasty, B. Bravo and yourself, the crew is packin some serious heat – how did the crew start?
I started the brand shortly after I moved to San Francisco. I didn’t know anybody out west and I kind of just got sick of waiting to be put on by another label, so I started doing parties and hap-hazardly putting out some records. I’ve known Epcot since we were kids, but other than that its all friends I’ve met along the way. We’ve become a pretty tight crew. I think the defining moment label-wise was B. Bravo’s first record Analog Starship and NastyNasty’s The Reef, both totally different sounds that started pulling in audiences from different places.
You, along with B. Bravo, have been mentioned in the same breath as Dam-Funk when critics address the rise of a West Coast funk vibe within underground dance music. Is funk something that you’re channeling literally or is it more of a subconscious influence from your past that produces all that warm West Coast haze?
I used to work with a mentor of mine named J. Todd in Milwaukee… I leared about jazz and funk from him. But really B. Bravo put me on that early west coast sound, the boogie, the soul. He kind of opened me up to why analog synths are important and got me hungry to learn; I started studying piano and composition. I feel in the same respect, I opened him up a bit to some different electronic stuff, which equally you can hear that influence in his music too.
You just found out that you got into the Red Bull Music Academy – what are you hoping to gain from that amazing experience?
I really have no idea what to expect! I’m hoping to make some new friends from other countries, maybe meet a hero during the lectures, and make as much music and learn as much as possible. Going to Spain will be a treat in itself, I’ve never been.
You’re lucky enough to have left North America to perform – how was that experience?
AMAZING. You know everybody is like “its different over there” (meaning Europe). Even in my hip-hop days, the underground rap groups or punk bands would have big fan bases over there and say that was the mecca, that crowds were just more hype there. When I played in Romania it was one of the most rewarding show experiences to date.
How do you feel about the current climate of underground dance music in North America compared with abroad?
Undoubtedly the sounds I gravitate to are simply more syndicated in Europe – the UK especially. Primarily it’s because that’s where it’s being made, but also culture is just different there. Electronic music has always been bigger there. But it’s growing exponentially on this side of the pond.
What can Bass Coast expect from your set? Will you be playing live? Any new tunes for us?
As much as I love being behind turntables, for Bass Coast I’ll be doing more of a live set, playing some of my more catchy melodies from Complex Housing and definitely unleashing a ton of new stuff. : )
Finally, music-wise, what’s got you amped over the last year?
Been studying old school records more than anything! But for new stuff, Machinedrum is my top at the moment. His new record Room(s) is incredible. Same with the Sepalcure stuff. All the juke/footwerk joints on Planet Mu for sure. Shlohmo’s new record about to drop on Friends Of Friends is amazing too! Oh yes and of course all things Mark Pritchard.