Interview: End Train & Flaminia
As 5th Dayers will be aware, on September 1st we're joining forces with Metempsychosis Records which will take over Corsica's room two for a very special label showcase.
Ahead of that, we're honoured to bring you an exclusive interview and podcast (listen here) with Flaminia and End Train, the beautiful minds behind the label, both of whom will be performing live on the night.
Their rock solid friendship, shared love for music and art and their belief in both as powerful tools for transformation - of ourselves and the world around us - all fuels the imprint and we know they have something very special in store for us on the night.
For now, you can learn more about their friendship, what inspires their creative endeavours and about their plans for the future here, as well as immersing yourself in a very special sonic journey through techno and experimental created just for us by the duo, for us capturing their contagious energy and spirit really perfectly.
Photo: Benas Bar
Take us back to the beginning - what's the story of Joseph and Flam?
(F+J) We met almost six years ago in our hometown, Rome. Joe was running an event at Maxxi, a museum of contemporary arts, when we started talking. We figured out we were both about to finish our BAs and about to move to London. But most importantly, we were both into music and DJing techno. We clicked straight away. We built a connection very fast and Joseph (half)joking even proposed to Flam on the spot! A few months later, here we were in London, ready to make things happen!
So how did your two labels - Ways to Die and Metempsychosis - come about? What was the dream when you decided to take the leap?
(F+J) It's August 2015 and we are at Berlin Atonal where we find a hidden room with a stroboscopic installation and the inspiration kicks in: how about we start our own platform to share music and art we like? So we came up with the vision of creating a label that inspires others with music, experiences, art and stories.
(F) We knew it was going to take some time, so when back in London, Joseph with his hyperactivity, decided he could not really wait and started Ways To Die almost overnight, to start testing stuff out while we were preparing for the other label.
(J) And of course, as a good friend, Flam helped me to make sure I did not mess it up (you should have seen my first disastrous attempt at doing a website).
We were fortunate enough to attend the first Metempsychosis experience to present Tapefeed's "Dawn on the Eclipse" EP back in 2017... a really stunning night that captured and communicated the story behind the release and the vision for the label really beautifully. For those that couldn't be there, can you describe how this, and the other experiences you've create come together? What's the creative process and what are the ingredients that make a successful label experience?
(F+J) Thanks! We call these ‘experiences’ rather than events as we aim for people to feel something new that will eventually stay with them. We always start from the message that we think can inspire others. Then we pick music, other art, and a story that communicates this message.
For Dawn On The Eclipse we did a guided meditation, then Tapefeed started playing an experimental set while a recorded voice and visuals were telling the story. When the energy was at its peak, we gave a small shaker to each person and ended up having a room full of people shaking rattles along with the music for 10 minutes. Incredible energy! (http://www.voluntasmusic.com/experience-001-dawn-on-the-eclipse)
This approach also gives us the opportunity to experiment and work closely with other artists such as Hila Angelica Mazzocco, our designer, Jose who did the projections for Dawn On The Eclipse and Le.Blue who hand-painted 64 canvases for our showcase in Tresor last December (http://www.voluntasmusic.com/tresor)
You're both pursuing your own individual journeys as artists... how long have you been following your passions? Where did it all start for each of you?
(F+J) Both of us have been into electronic music since a very young age, with Flam going to her first raves at age 13 and Joe starting his 'PR career' when 12 in Rome’s Saturday afternoon clubs. Flam started DJing in 2012 but things really picked up when she moved to London and started focusing on live performance. Joseph was already DJing (hardcore industrial!) in 2008 and eventually started producing techno a few years later. And its seems we are still here!
Boiler Room Berlin 2017
Where do you both gather inspiration for your music?
(F) If your mind is open, you can draw inspiration from anything. You can look at clouds and find a good idea for a track for example. If sometimes I find it hard to focus and to get into that open mindset, I do something out of my ordinary routine, such as a long trip to South America.
(J) My most inspiring time is the week before I am about to play a good gig, when my mind gets into a state of flow. I also think that you can't always wait for inspiration. Think about athletes: they can't really afford to wait for inspiration, they just do it! So in music or anything you like, you can train yourself to be in a positive mindset so that you can make stuff happen at any time.
Flam, massive congratulations on your Illusion in Fire release on Metempsychosis. Can you tell us more about the journey you went on, where inspiration for these tracks came from and why you picked Headless Horseman and Ancestral Voices as remixers?
(F) I wrote these tracks in a time when I was reading a lot about fears and how they can influence human behaviour. I learned how to become aware of my own fears and to use my perception to work on them. I wanted to translate what I was learning into music and explain this process with a story. After quite a lot of research I found the ancient Indian legend of Agni - the Fire, which tells that according to perception, fire can be seen as destroyer of things but also as one of the greatest tools that humans have.
When choosing the remixers, I just followed my gut and reached out to those that I have always admired. My work has been deeply inspired by the music of Liam (Ancestral Voices) and Bill (Headless Horseman). They both liked the music and said yes!
Flam, in your MOTZ interview you mentioned that your earlier experiences showed you that "techno can have many shades and is influenced by the culture of different cities." How are you finding life in London and how is this environment influencing your music now?
(F) I think any music can be profoundly influenced by the environment the artists associate themselves with. London is a unique spot as there is such a great variety of art. But it is also a quite hard city to live in, which forces to push your limits and commit yourself because the bar is very high. I feel this combination can pull out the best of you.
I love clubbing and the techno scene here is like a family, very welcoming, respectful and open. I am lucky enough to hang out with a bunch of other good producers and DJs and we really support each other with feedback, help and sharing those moments behind the decks.
Joe, we recently saw you perform live at London's cherished Kaos. We loved your set - amazing energy throughout and there was clearly a lot of love for you in the crowd. How do you prepare for your live performances?
(J) I enjoyed it a lot and it means the world to me to hear that there was love in the crowd. I felt it and hopefully I gave it back too. Kaos it’s a great place as the energy of the crowd is very intense and people go nuts!
For the live, I always think about what the context of the performance is going to be and pick tracks from my repertoire accordingly. Then rehearsing can be a tedious process, but also the part where many new ideas arise.
My intention is to connect with and inspire people, so hopefully they take something useful back with them. Music is this extremely powerful tool that makes you forget about your worries and let your mind run wild, so you can go home and apply the new ideas to your own life.
How are you both finding London's scene in general at the moment? What are your thoughts on where it currently is and where it's going?
(F+J) The scene is buzzing and the best thing is that when you throw a party, the first people who turn up and the last ones to leave are the other promoters and artists. The real value of having such a thriving scene is that you connect with likeminded people who can become your best friends in life.
What we would like to see more and more is parties as spaces where these connections happen rather than momentary situations to escape the rest of the week.
To create an even stronger network we set up a Youtube playlist to promote techno labels from London called The Sound Of London. ( http://bit.ly/TSoLondon )
This is a biggy but we're curious... what are some of the biggest lessons life in London OR your creative journeys have taught you both so far? (Massive question I know - thought you might like to share something particularly special but up to you entirely how to manage this one).
(F) Living in London I learned how to live a life in my own terms: I make music every day and live with people that support me. You don't need to adapt to whatever lifestyle is prepackaged for you and rather you can make your life the way you want. Just need to be bold and try stuff out until you get it.
(J) You need to believe that what you want is possible for you to find opportunities that will help you get there. And this is what I feel is happening in my life in London. I do exactly what I love: I play gigs in the weekends, do music every day, work with entrepreneurs to build new products with technology and spend the rest of my time with people who inspire me.
What's been a gig highlight for each of you more recently? What made it so special.
(F) My live at Superstition a few months ago was a very special moment as I got to perform on the same stage as Karenn who had inspired me to play live just few years back. Plus it was in Village Underground where I hold a residency and which is like home for me. I felt extremely supported by many of my close friends who were there and by an incredibly warm crowd dancing together with me.
(J) My live at Judgement Hall almost a year ago was one I will always remember. This party was a secret one and to get to the actual place, you had to take a boat and cross a river. Yes you read well, a boat! Everyone was very excited and the whole night was kind of supernatural; when I played I felt this warmth and connection with the rest of the crowd like if we were one thing altogether.
There's no denying that pursuing creativity involves putting ourselves out there and pushing beyond our fears, being vulnerable, managing self doubt and so on... Do you encounter these same struggles and if so, how do you deal with them? Any advice for others?
(F+J) We both face these exact challenges on a daily basis... and we are extremely lucky that we are here to be like coaches and psychotherapists for each other. The most important thing is to get out of your own head and not be afraid of asking for help. You will certainly face creative blocks like anyone else, but guess what? There is plenty of people around you to support and inspire you.
They say that you are the average of the 5 people you associate with the most. Thus, you want to surround yourself with the right people that will be there for you and support you even when you get stuck.
What do you have in store for Corsica on 1st September?
Ah, some magical stuff! We are both playing live and our good friends Ossa Di Mare are joining us in room two. Aside from this, we’ll still try to bring the Metempsychosis atmosphere in the room... ;)
What's next for both of you and the label?
(F+J) We are finally doing music together after over a year of break and we are happy to announce we are kicking things off with a remix for Burden and DLTN, to be released at the end of September on their imprint Aurea as well as preparing a new live project. Separately we have both few releases that are due soon, but still TBA.
And of course, Metempsychosis continues moving forward with new records, VAs, more stories and experiences. Now the very next thing we are focusing on is the showcase for On The 5th Day. We are really happy about this and looking forward to seeing you there!