Monday, March 13, 2006

Ashbury & Haight: Making the Quantum Leap

From Resident Advisor:

Ashbury & Haight: Making the Quantum Leap

In the mid-sixties the intersection of 'Haight and Ashbury' was a popular meeting spot in San Francisco during the rise of the hippie counterculture. At one time, the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia even lived on Ashbury Street itself.Fast forward, or in this case, take a quantum leap, to the year 2006 where Ashbury and Haight is also the production moniker used by Toby Holguin and Oliver Berger. The pair have just released their debut album 'Quantum Leap' on Bass Walk, the Miami-based label and studios also owned and operated by Holguin. Inspired by the pyschedelic rock of the sixties and seventies and early nineties electronica, the long player 'Quantum Leap' is an album full of tightly-produced, driving progressive house and has already spawned the single 'Another Day' featuring a remix by Holland's Erick

E. This week also sees the release of Ashbury and Haight's 'Constant Rhythm', which comes with a remix from Bedrock's Pole Folder.The pair deejay as well as perform live using Ableton Live and the fast-approaching Winter Music Conference in Miami will see them host two events at the Whitelaw Hotel :
Bass Walk presents Quantum Leap (on March 24th) and Bass Walk presents Remixed (on March 25th).

We met up with Ashbury and Haight to find out how they're making the quantum leap in the progressive house scene in 2006.

First up, I'd like to ask you both about your artist name. Does it have any relation to the intersection in San Francisco, Haight St & Ashbury St (where the Grateful Dead lived), which became quite famous in the mid-sixties? If so, how does that relate to the music you produce?

Toby: Ashbury & Haight St. is a musical landmark in psychedelic history. Jerry [Garcia] and I share the same birthday, August 1st. The album embodies a journey.

Toby, you're from Colombia. Oliver, you're from France. Tell us, how do a Colombian and a Frenchman end up producing music together?

Toby & Oliver: We started working together 2003, when we did the “Bocarriba” remix for Carlinhos Brown & Dj Dero. I think France is best known for its wine and Colombia is best known for its...well, you know!

Can you tell us another export from each of your countries which RA's readers should check out?

T: The coffee, flowers, and cotton are good, but soccer is better and Colombia has a lot of fine chicks. But watch out you might get punk’d.

Importing yourself to Colombia is also very interesting; Cartagena, Sta. Marta, the Amazon Jungle, San Andres/Old Providence Island and our fabulous food, people, and culture, to be more specific.

O: Everything France has to offer except for French people. You perform live with a laptop, Ableton Live and a guitarist. What kind of musical background do you each have?

Do you play any instruments or were you previously in any bands or other live acts?

T: I been singing since age 15 in Colombia. I later came to the US to study at Miami Dade College for Music Education and Music Business. My mother plays guitar and my father was a music lover.

O: My uncle Patrick. My background is deejaying for the past 15 years or so before turning to programming 8 years ago. Producing is mandatory to fully explore the spectrum of dance music.

Can you tell us some of your biggest musical influences (both electronic and non-electronic)?

T: There are so many. Off the top of my head; Soda Stereo, Charly Garcia, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Pink Floyd, U2, Janis Joplin, J. S. Bach, Debussy, Sibelius, Chopin, Stravinsky, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Carlos Vives, Aterciopelados, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Israel Vibration, Alpha Blondie, Nirvana, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Metallica, Joan Jett, Prince, Billy Idol, David Bowie, Billie Holiday, Midnight Oil, Inxs, NIN, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Estados Alterados, Mano Negra, Fania All Stars, Grupo Niche, Manu Chau – Carl Cox, Sasha, Jay D, B.B.E., Human Mesh Dance, Spacetime Continuum, Artificial Intelligence, B12, Tony de Vit, Keoki, Underworld, The Orb, Daniel Melero, and Plan V.

O: Will only name a few here but definetely very eclectic from Miles Davis to Herbie Hancock, Ella Fitzgerald, Astrud Gilberto to Ray Barreto,Tito Puente to Alan Vega, Mike Oldfield , The Sparks, Kraftwerk of course and most likely Mozart. Joy Division, and New Order, The Cure. Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Orbital, Dead can Dance, Serge Gainsbourg, Bjork, Massive Attack. Prokoviev, Jean Michel Jarre, U2, Nine Inch Nail, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, James Brown, Bo Diddley, Maceo Parker, Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith, Dave Brubeck. Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Queens and so many more, I’ll spare you.

What's your studio set up like? What did you use to produce your new album 'Quantum Leap'?

T: Ros Alexander designed the
studio. The album was produced mainly with Logic and Live.

O: Logic as the main platform but anything goes.The title of the album also reminds me of a physics lecture.

Do you think producing electronic music is a science or an art?

Toby: Art.

Olivier: Music is music.

How long did it take to make the album and what's your personal favourite track on the album?

T: Like 4 months, but then retouching it took like a year. I cannot choose a favorite; “December”, “Constant Rhythm”, “Songtek” and “Another Day”.

O:.That’s about right..I would say “Holding On” and check out the sick remix from Habersham. Holy S…

The album is described as an 'audio visual journey'. Do you have any plans to introduce a visual or multimedia element to your live performances?

T: Maybe, however thanks for the idea.

O: Visuals all the way. Absolutely. It is in the process.I am introducing my 3D Animation work slowly. Talking about Science and Art you’re served.

A lot of progressive house DJs and producers seem to be incorporating an electro house sound into their sets or productions. What do you think young producers or DJs can do to ensure their tracks sound fresh and interesting?

T: Creating a sound that identifies them, reflecting there personality and keeping it simple. A master by
Don Grossinger can really help.

O: Whatever you listen to will influence your production no doubt. Keeping it fresh, that’s all that matters, we want to be surprised. I think that’s what the electro element has introduced lately in many styles.

Who do you think are some progressive house DJs and producers really pushing the envelope and bringing new ideas to the sound?

T: Not reducing it to progressive, but in general, Habersham, Liam Shachar, Schmuel Flash, Pole Folder, Rodrigo Vieira, and Mason.

O: James Holden, Habersham, Robag Wruhme, Vitalic, and Trentemoller.

What are some upcoming Ashbury & Haight releases or remixes coming out on Bass Walk or other labels later in 2006?

T: All the tracks on the album will come out remixed on vinyl through Bass Walk. “Ashbury & Haight - REmixed” is due out on Bass Walk/Universal, in summer time this year. The Miami Winter Music Conference is just around the corner. Where can RA readers catch Ashbury & Haight playing this year? At the
Whitelaw Hotel on Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of March.

Finally, some of our readers have asked us where they can get a copy of the new Ashbury & Haight album 'Quantum Leap'. Who is looking after the international distribution of the album? Is the album available as a digital download somewhere?

T: The album is available at
Mix Up,Grooveman Music, or Tower Records (Mexico). For digital downloads at iTunes, Napster, Real Rhapsody, Audio Lunch Box, Future Trax, E Music, AOL Music Now, Beatport, Karma Download, MSN, Music Net, Liquid, Digirama, Destra Music, Track It Down. It is distributed by Universal.

RA: Thank you for your time.

T&O: Peace.

Record Label : Bass Walk


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