Ahead of their album release “Angoor” for Archipel, out on 22.02.16. Mohit and Alex gave us an exclusive interview. Coming from 2 different regions of the world these 2 friends somehow managed to merge their culture together and the result has been this boundary pushing album, redefining an aesthetic of minimal electronic music, with a twist of ambient and dub. This interview profiles Bare & Kind in the light of their debut album, all the essential questions that you want to ask after listening to the beauty
Archipel: Hi! How are you? Tell me about yourself!
Alex & Mohit:
Namaste! Ciao! We are Bare & Kind. Alex (Alexander Folonari) is from Italy and Mo (Mohit Maini) is from India. We are constantly working on developing our sound. Working with musicians from different backgrounds, experimenting with machines and softwares and the list goes on. Besides that, we recently relocated to Berlin, Germany and are loving it
A: What’s your spare time outside music?
A: I’m usually out in the streets…skateboarding that is, really love to skate. Besides that, food is a big aspect of my life, understanding the chemistry behind what we eat and how it interacts with our bodies is very important to me, as well as cooking and eating!
M: I don’t have many hobbies anymore. Its mostly working on music for me and working my job. I like to be at home or in a quiet environment, where conversations can take place. I like to read things about our history and how we, each one of us, reached this point of time, our present existence and how we all are similar, I try to find facts and philosophies that unify us. And I like to eat the food Alex cooks…that I could categorise as a hobby for sure.
“We try to use controlled randomisation. In a way that it stays musical and fits the mood of the track. The texture is also very important in the process, textural diversity can really create a sense of reality within music, giving it an incredible sonic depth and volume to the track“
A: Tell me about the experimental scenes you have grown up with?
A: Well up too two years ago we were living in the United States. There the music scene is definitely different. There are some cities like New York, Detroit, Chicago etc which have always had a small niche scene for quality dance and experimental music. But yes, moving to Berlin was huge for me, as here there is a much broader interest in not so standard music. But experimental music is a big word, as there are many different shades of experimentation in music. There is really interesting music coming from all parts of the world, and Berlin is one of those places where i feel that if you have talent and love for what your doing you can be as experimental as you feel and people will be open minded about it, i mean it has to be the right environment of course!
M: In a country that has an ancient connection with music, India is very rooted in its traditions in music. Indian music, specially folk music has been my inspiration growing up and it still is. India has given a lot to the musical world! However, when it comes to experimental music…there is almost none. Even classical and folk music are dead. Now you hear the generic electro infused pop music from Bollywood movies. Music has died due to piracy and now the only music you get is music that is released with a movie. So the individual artist, or their uniques ideas are a thing of the past. In the Indian society, music is now considered just a mere hobby. Nobody takes it seriously. The ones who do are forced to conform to what sells. Experimentation only alienates them from the micro music scene in India. I personally have a few friends who are trying to step out of the norm, but they are handicapped due to many reasons, including technological ones. For example, the price of most music equipment is almost twice as much as in the US or EU. This is due to customs, etc. Availability and support for music equipment, specially electronic is nearly non existent. So to sum it up, sadly, India is not a place for experimentation in music at the moment. In the recent past, there has been no major development of Indian music. Even music that is from other parts of the world that gets popular is watered down, generic, happy ‘clap your hands’ music. But there are people in India, like my childhood friend Roby (ThatBoyRoby), that are working against many odds to experiment with their music. This gives me hope that soon there will be an experimental music scene in India.
A: You have a very particular signature to your productions. What is your approach to sound design?
Alex & Mohit: We are usually trying out new techniques, mainly to do with “modular” synthesis, sampling and drum machines. In the sense that it is very important for us to be able to manually sculpt the sounds from scratch. Most of our most inspired creations come from extended and at times randomised modulation to many parameters, with interrelated rhythmic variations. We try to use controlled randomisation. In a way that it stays musical and fits the mood of the track. The texture is also very important in the process, textural diversity can really create a sense of reality within music, giving it an incredible sonic depth and volume to the track. A favourite of ours is the tape machine and the tube psychoacoustic enhancer; tape and tube saturation/distortion, really is magic when trying to change the overall texture and sonic character of a sound! With abstract sounds, you can create fictional worlds of sounds, and that is at times hard to mix with the more concretised perception of music which is in melody and harmony, which are also very fundamental for creating emotional tonalities in music. Its really interesting to use very strict musical ideas and then take them out of their ordinary context and include them into a more abstract and surreal world of sound.
“For us this journey represents our growth as sonic explorers“
Another important aspect of our sound design is based around the idea of ‘organic synthesis’. Trying to make synthesisers sound acoustic or organic. We try to achieve the complex textures and richness of acoustic/ organic instruments while having the in your face, bold synthesis sound. This balance really excites us! The Dave Smith Instruments Tempest deserves a mention here. It is supposed to be a drum machine. But, the sounds that come out of the machines are incredible! So organic and simple sometimes and crazy and other worldly at times. Thinking of it as a drum machine is just scratching the surface.
A: Please tell us a few words about your album?
Alex & Mohit: Angoor, in Hindi, “Grape(s).” Or the essential building block to a good wine. We felt the tracks as a whole were like grapes and when mixed and listened to in various ways they can yield different results. Angoor is the name of our collaborative international platform and we are honored to first present this concept on Archipel.
The album as a whole is how we saw the world of contemporary electro acoustic music back when we lived in the Netherlands. Many tracks are original composition of a dear friend of ours, Krists Auznieks, who composed and orchestrated about 10 pieces which were given to us with the freedom to manipulate and to interpret in our point of view. The album was produced in our apartment studio, in India, in Italy and in Germany, in about a year of time. For us this journey represents our growth as sonic explorers. A big part of this growth came with the introduction of electro acoustic improvisational music. The ability to both express clear and concrete musical ideas and contrast that with abstract micro-organismic sound structures.
Krists Auznieks (Primary composer)
That boy Roby (Guitar)
Juliette Froissart (Cello and composition)
Ruben Brovida (Sound designer)
Marcello Spagnolo (Jazz drums)
A: How do you get that spirit that, cinematic emotion?
M: Its what sounds good to us, mostly. I am a professional Film Audio Post Production engineer and have worked on 25 films as a Foley Engineer/ Artist. Right now I am working with a prestigious post production studio in Berlin. So I use some of the techniques I have learned in my working experience. Using certain techniques can really bring a cinematic feel and unexpected emotions that musical sounds can’t achieve. Sounds that can take you back in time, trigger memories and engulf you in a sonic world which in that moment, seems real. We are constantly going around field recording when and where we can. We have hard drives filled with thousands of recordings, most of them we haven’t used yet. Its a personal collection that keeps growing. People take pictures when they travel and see something beautiful, we like to record the sound of it, sonic pictures.
Different spaces have their own sound. The human ear is very sensitive to reverb. So if you can convince the listener about the space your sounds are in with your sound design, there is something very special that happens.
A: Who and why are your biggest influences?
A: When it comes to dance oriented sounds, Ion Ludwig, Edward, Pepe Bradock, Melchior and Ford of course, those guys just got something special you know? Cleymoore and the Pluie/Noir Collective I find always to have a fresh output. Shcaa, The Marx Trukker, Isherwood, Really love that style of experimental house music! Pheek and Archipel Musique has been an inspiration for me for a long time as well!
M: My influences start from my childhood. Chamkila, Kuldeep Manak, Asa Singh Mastana and other folk artists really influenced me. Then oldies like The Chemical Brothers also have had a great impact on the development of my musical ear. But for ‘dance’ music and sound design, my greatest influence and inspiration is Ricardo Villalobos. There is so much I can say about his ideas and his sound design. His sound quality. Its unbelievable. The labels Sharingtones and Shahr Farang have a very distinctive and stimulating sound; very inspirational.
Also, living in 4 different countries in the past 10 years has really influenced us in our sound.
A: What are your views on music and technology and what it enables us to do nowadays?
A & M: Today technology allows us to do what was once very hard and near impossible, very easily. We can now blend not only the synthetic and acoustic worlds, but seamlessly blend any style of music into another. Its mind blowing. It gives us child like excitement. So we try to work with as many musicians as we can. From different parts of the world, from different styles of music and from different walks of life, they all bring something irreplaceable and unique along with them. We try to work with as many styles as possible, but we hope to develop our sound enough to one day work with some Indian music. To melt together styles that have thousands of years in between them.
A: Anything else you would like to add?
A & M: Thank you Pierre and Pheek for inviting us to do this interview! We highly appreciate the support and are super happy to be associated with such amazing people. And of course, we would like to thank all the amazing musicians, friends and family for helping us and working with us!
Interview by PH Paradis.
Portrait Photos by: Omar Jaimes.