Carhartt WIP is pleased to present a mix by Melbourne’s Butter Sessions. Initially launched as a blog, it has since transformed into one of Australia’s most interesting labels for electronic music, supporting talented new local artists like Mos Howieson and Ewan Jansen, as well as friends from overseas such as DJ Fett Burger, Jayda G and Villa Åbo.
The label’s managers, Corey Kikos and Maryos Syawish, are also known as Sleep D – a duo famed for their masterful house, techno, disco, ambient and experimental productions, in addition to thrilling live sets and heavy-hitting DJ shows. Not ones to take a formulaic approach, their output is informed by a variety of sounds and an open-minded spirit, which is also mirrored in the graphic accompaniments to each release.
Although Sleep D have already played numerous European shows, including a couple of appearances at Panorama Bar, the pair, originally from a suburb of Melbourne called Frankston, are still based in Australia, supporting and helping the local music scene to grow, and still surprising with forward-thinking sounds. For Carhartt WIP Radio they put together a sublime downtempo mix including upcoming label material and answered some questions about their work and more.
Hey Sleep D, what exciting stuff do you have in the pipeline at present?
Sleep D: We’ve been recording a lot of music that was played in live sets over the summer months in Australia that we hope to get out by the end of 2018. Other then that, keeping the label going… We just had a release by Melbourne techno producer Mosam Howieson, have the next house bomb by Mousse dropping in a couple of weeks as well as the first LP release on Butter Sessions by long time conspirator Cale Sexton coming a bit later! We also have our 8th birthday coming up August but more about that soon...
And how important are surroundings and settings for your music, especially when playing live? Do you have to feel a certain energy to be able to deliver “properly” or does playing live feel the same to you as jamming in the studio on your own?
Sleep D: Besides having the basics like good monitors, we need a certain crowd energy to deliver 100%. We approach it similar to how we approach our DJ sets in that certain aspects of the set can change depending on what’s happening in the crowd. However on some larger stages you’ve really got to channel that energy from within. Other times when we are playing at places like The Fairfield amphitheatre or doing a more ambient set it is more indulgent, we are probably feeding more off the environment and the sonics of hearing what we’ve been writing in the studio much louder.
You guys stand for a very distinctive, analog and psychedelic sound of electronic music. How important is a label’s trademark sound nowadays, do you think?
Sleep D: We think it's important to have a distinct sound or feeling from a label, but it’s a good thing when a label can step outside of its comfort zone and reveal a new sound to a listener.
Do you think the large amount of new labels has changed the label’s position, and it is more about the artist and the release today, especially with smaller labels?
Sleep D: In part this is true, but we also believe a label has an important role in providing support and motivation to the artist, who, for whatever reason, may not be able to release the music they’re spending the precious time creating.
Music-sharing sites and -blogs, as well as a flood of releases in general, are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?
Sleep D: We don’t think the value of music has changed. Yes there is way more output these days, but music is still just as important. You just need a filter to find the good stuff.
You are releasing music by a lot of Melbourne locals like Dan White, Mousse, Turner Street Sound or Mosam Howieson. How important is it to you to work with friends and to support the local scene?
Sleep D: It kind of happened by accident really, but supporting Australian music and the scenes around it has become one of the focal points of the label. Originally we started the label to release our own music and then more and more friends were starting to produce amazing stuff. They were unsure of their musics strength and we wanted to give them an outlet to share it around the world. When we started the label side of Butter Sessions, around 2013, there weren’t many, if any, record labels pushing this sound in Australia. It’s also super important for us to have a connection with the artist to work with them on a release, whether they are Australian or not. For example we’ve put out records with DJ Fett Burger and Frak as we’ve been in cahoots with them for some years now.
Do you guys buy records regularly? And if so, where?
Sleep D: We still buy records regularly – in Melbourne usually from Alley Tunes, Licorice Pie, Skydiver, HUB 301 and where Maryos works, Wax Museum Records. We’ve also gone around Europe and Japan annually the past few years so we stock up on goods there.
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt Radio show?
Sleep D: We decided to show the more sublime and downtempo tunes from our label. Most of it is coming out soon!
What’s the most surreal moment you’ve ever had during a set?
Sleep D: One of the most surreal moments was earlier this year at Rainbow Serpent festival in West Victoria. We had the opening set on one of the stages and just before we started lighting struck the grass field about 200-300 meters away from the stage and campsites, causing a fire to erupt! Chaos and confusion followed with people hurrying to try and contain this wild fire. Next minute a massive downpour of rain started and extinguished the flame. Meanwhile the crowd in front of us had grown, everyone eager for the music to begin and excitement levels very high from witnessing nature take control of things.
You are based in Melbourne. Are you connected with Melbourne people that today live out of town like Kris Baha or Izabel Caligiore of Lullabies For Insomniacs? If so, would you also move out of the country to boost you musical career one day or do you think Melbourne and its environment is enough inspiration and that the phrase “stay small, be true” bears some truth?
Sleep D: We actually bought our studio desk from Kris right before he left Melbourne so you could say we’re somewhat connected to his ghost in the wood of the desk. We’ve toyed with the idea of moving but we feel the scenes in Australia are really just taking off these past couple of years and it would be a shame to leave now. There’s more than enough inspiring things happening in Australia from the new producers, dope parties, world class record stores etc to keep us excited for now.