Name: Samuel Grawe
Occupations: Editor-in-chief at Dwell Magazine / Musician in Windsurf & Hatchback
So, you started Dwell Magazine in Oct. 2000 but your first full length as Hatchback was put out in Sept. 2008, I have a feeling you’ve had this album in you for awhile now but i’m sure Dwell takes up most of your day?
Right. Being the editor-in-chief of any magazine is time consuming, but with Dwell, I’m also working on our website, our conference, various brand extensions, and so on, so that keeps me fairly busy. Hatchback and Windsurf are what I like to do in my down time—mostly weekends, late nights. Sometimes I wish I could have a little more flexibility, for instance, I could wake up and say, ok, this morning I want to play Rhodes for an hour and then record a drum track, and then I’ll go to work. That would be ideal.
Can you list off 3 of your favorite pieces of furniture and 3 favorite instruments and one of each that you personally own?
This list is pretty arbitrary, it would probably change tomorrow, but here:
Ultima Thule by Tapio Wirkkala, a 30 meter long sculpture of laminated plywood carved to look like a wind-blown glacial ice field made for the Finnish Pavilion of Expo 67.
The Sausage Chair by Nana Ditzel, mmm… sausage.
High Back Alcove Sofa by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec, this piece has an Empire Strikes Back quality which I admire.
Roland Jupiter 8, they don’t make synths this sexy anymore.
Synthi AKS, I got to play with one of these once, I had no idea what I was doing, but it sure was fun.
Fender Rhodes, the creamy keys. Every song I really dig tends to have some Rhodes on it.
My favorite furniture I own is probably my Bertoia Bird Chair and my favorite instrument is the Korg MS-20
Does Dwell ever feature or use music on any level?
Not really. Every now and then we’ll feature a home where the resident is a musician. I was able to include a rhythm ace drum machine in a caption once.
Who did the Hatchback album cover? Do you feel like the cover best describes your sound and does it seep into a design style that you like as well?
The design firm Non-Format did the cover for my album, and most of the Lo Catalog. They’re really talented graphic designers and certainly great typographers. I had envisioned something a little more handmade originally, and perhaps inspired by folk art from India or Mexico or pornographic sci-fi like Boris Vallejo, but ultimately I really dig what they did.
I think your sound is the future of slower tempo music with depth that can be listened to by a broad crowd, could you share who got you into this type of music? And maybe suggest a few records to ease someone new to your sound into it.
I’m not really sure what style my music is honestly. Maybe I’m not a good marketer, but I tend not to think in genres or that I should make a slower trac or faster trackk. That said, I tend to listen to older albums and soundtracks—I’m usually the last to know about really good new music.
I think Vangelis’ Bladerunner soundtrack continues to have a huge influence one me. The synthesizers on that are so on point, and the songs have a really emotive quality. Its pretty much as genius as it comes. You should also check out the Bilitis soundtrack by Francis Lai and La Planete Sauvage by Alain Goraguer.
Can you go thru for us a busy day that would have you working on both Hatchback and Dwell?
Dwell: 9 am – 7:30 pm Hatchback: 10pm-4am
If I had a best songs of 21st century list going i’d seriously include “Everything Is New”, do you ever share any of the music at the Dwell offices?
Wow. Thanks! Yeah, the designers have all my older jams and keep threatening to release a bootleg one of these days.
What plans do you have for Dwell in 2009? Any style architecture that we should be looking into?
We try not to espouse style per se. We’re more interested in the timeless quality of modern design and the relationship between a building and its context—how does a place influence the architecture and how does architecture influence a place. Right now, green design is coming of age and really becoming mainstream—but the best green ideas are often timeless notions of building that have either been maligned or ignored by trends of the last 100 years, things like solar orientation and natural ventilation. These are things we need to re-learn fast, and couple with emerging technologies. Buildings, not cars or anything else, are the biggest contributor to green house gases and consume roughly 70% of the energy in this country, so its going to be critical that architecture addresses the environment above all else.
As you’re going into your 9th year with Dwell, what directions have you taken the company that you never thought you’d be doing but your glad you did?
Well, when I started as the editorial assistant (a job I found on craigslist in 2000) I never dreamed that 7 years later I’d be the editor-in-chief. I’m really proud of the magazine we make and just want to keep the quality level high and the content interesting while having it be an entertaining read.
Is Hatchback available for a Tycho remix? I’m sure we’d all love to hear that.
I’m up for it. I just might have to take the day off.
Hatchback on Myspace
4 stunning and steady tracks for a monday afternoon, i’ve included more Studio which I re-fell in love with over the weekend and some recent purchases of tracks that I only had on vinyl. The Underground Resistance track is a must listen if you want to get a taste of the melodic side Detroit Techno.
Múm – Flow Not So Fast Old Mountain Radio
Studio – Origin
Aeroplane – Aeroplane
UR – Abandoned Building In Mono
First of all, i’m going over this Deodato(which is the cover art above) live version of Do It Again and I realized I heard the best thing ever which is just ONE guy whistling really loud in the middle a key solo like it was the only record he had at home. These 4 tracks have something in common other than just being old, you can file them all under Yacht Rock which is an amazing genre of music if you like your brass section epic, your bass guitar lines soft and smooth, your keys saturated like off white stage light glare and most importantly strings being played like your in a 70’s spy movie chase scene in speedboats. It’s an easy genre to rip on i’m sure for people that don’t dork out on the certain instruments that I mentioned before but if you take all the labels off of it or any bad memories then this music has a lot to offer in my opinion.
Stephen Bishop – Save It for a Rainy Day
Deodato – Do It Again
Starbuck – Moonlight Feels Right
Chuck Mangione – Give It All You Got
We have written about this release before here with the Tycho free single and here with a bit more information about the project, now after the free download its officially out in digital retail stores with an exclusive Solvent track and available in physical CD format. Here is what Ghostly International had to say about the release thats #5 on iTunes Electronic charts – “Cartoon Network’s genre-defying [Adult Swim] programming rearranges comedy’s basic building blocks into oddities like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!; Ghostly International’s artists scramble the language of dance and pop music into something strange and artful. It was only a matter of time before the two found each other and made adorably freakish babies.
The Ghostly Swim compilation is a collaboration between Ghostly International and [Adult Swim], a 20-track mix (curated by label founder Sam Valenti IV) of tracks from Ghostly’s avant-pop mainstays like Matthew Dear, Michna, and School of Seven Bells, alongside kindred spirits like Milosh, FLYamSAM, and Mux Mool. Ghostly Swim’s best tracks embody the label’s trademark mix of playful darkness and irreverence – Deastro’s lurching robot-rock anthem “Light Powered,” The Chap’s bizarro-world pop hit “Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley,” Michna’s slinky-smooth “Triple Chrome Dipped” – making them an ideal accompaniment to, say, pissing in your pants over Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.
Ghostly Swim was initially released in early 2008 as an exclusive free download on [Adult Swim]’s website. Now, the groundbreaking compilation is available both on iTunes and as a limited-edition CD (available only through the Ghostly Store, free with a purchase of $20 or more), and includes a bonus track: Solvent’s banging cover of Madonna’s “Hung Up.””
FLYamSAM – The Offbeat
Deastro – Light Powered
Mux Mool – Night Court
Michna – Triple Chrome Dipped
I’m really impressed by Warp’s new signing Hudson Mohawke, I’ve had this song Monde on repeat for days now and it deserves the love its getting and has been competing with Animal Collective on my iTunes this week. Fun little fact, did you know that the new Animal Collective LP debuted in the Top 10 in the Billboard charts? I’m loving 2009 more and more.
Mux Mool sent me this track by Erobique which is on iTunes Indie Spotlight this month. The record label looks like it has some raccoon dog on it that’s wearing a hat, which I kinda love. I’d love to know what he sampled for the vocal though, its epic and comes in like a J Dilla track vocal, dare I say this might be what Dilla would of sounded like if he had to make one disco cut.
So you have bought all the Gas and Burger/Ink LPs, now what else is there? well Kompakt reissued Wolfgang Voigt’s Studio 1 alias on CD which grabs up some tracks that we’re vinyl only for awhile. It’s very minimal and straight forward dubby techno on a regular house system but when DJ’s play these tracks out I always flip for them.
I know its Caribou now since the forced name change but i’ll always think of Manitoba when I pull out his Up In Flames LP to listen to. Who can hate this Hendrix With Ko song? no one thats who because Its got something for everyone. Anyone know what synth that is at 2:40? is it just digital replica? because I want it following me around everyday.
Hudson Mohawke – Monde
Erobique – Endorphinmachine
Mike Ink. – Light Blue
Manitoba Feat Koushika – Hendrix with Ko
Before Justice and when Daft Punk was starting off there were some big names in the house(vinyl only) world like Bob Sinclar, Doc Martin, and Louie Vega. None of them besides Doc Martin are worth checking out now since they’ve failed in my opinion especially if you compare recent work to old. Those 3 guys though back then had catchy hooks without the flash and trendy effects over them, this Supreme track by Mogi Grumbles feels like the perfect bridge to get all this distortion house back to a enjoyable level for all the different fans on the dancefloor.
I saw Eliot Lipp play the other night with Laser Sword, Glitch Mob, and a few others. The man is very impressive live especially when he’s on the Moog playing the songs. Looks like he’ll be touring the US more in the coming month, he’s definitely worth checking out.
Sam Valenti posted this Peter Schilling song on Facebook the other day and I haven’t heard a catchier chorus in a song like this since Simple Minds I think, also you can’t ask for more than a repeating chorus at the end of a song that goes into a fade out.
If you watch TV at all you’ve probably seen the Nike LeBron James commercial with this song by Cornershop, the song is perfect for the video, I hope to see more commercial licensings as good as this in 2009. *throws chalk up in the air*
Mogi Grumbles – Supreme
Eliot Lipp – P.L.W.3-D
Peter Schilling – Major Tom
Cornershop – Candyman
I talked about the new Junior Boys a little bit here last week and now a couple days later they have shared a few tracks from their forthcoming album Begone Dull Care. Seems like a very promising LP, hopefully some remixes and limited vinyl pop up soon after the album drops.
1 Parallel Lines
3 Bits and Pieces
4 Dull to Pause
6 Sneak a Picture
7 The Animator
8 What It’s For
Junior Boys – Parallel Lines
Junior Boys – Hazel
Anytime I start hating on living in Brooklyn it totally redeems itself within days. The other night I was searching for music to listen to and stumbled upon a post that said Beirut free show in Brooklyn and I looked at the clock and just grabbed a taxi and got there right on time for the first song. Beirut live is worth $30+ in my mind, the man has my full support, his voice was exactly what I wanted to hear after listening to a ton of instrumentals all day long.
I got into Sun Ra probably later than most people, every time someone tells me a story about him playing live its always really absurd which is great to hear.
Mike Dykehouse had an LP that come out a few years back that he attempted to make shoegaze via only using his computer and a guitar plugged into it. The LP came with a couple of these short interludes all the way thru that I really loved, maybe one day he’ll revisit them and make epic longer versions? I can only hope. The artwork for the Midrange LP was done by Deanne Cheuk which many of you may already know.
I saw Keith Kenniff play live a few months back as Goldmund hoping he’d maybe sneak in some of his Helios work in as well but there was no need, he did all these slower piano pieces that I really enjoyed. This track Evelyn off his new LP The Malady of Elegance I recommend as a nice introduction into his work.
Beirut – The Concubine
Sun Ra – Saga Of Resistance (Theo Parrish mix)
Dykehouse – Garden
Goldmund – Evelyn