Him Self Her - Death on the Balcony

Death on the Balcony are a duo based in the English city of Leeds consisting of Mark Caramelli and Paul Hargreaves. Along with past releases on Anjunadeep, Pets Recordings, Kindisch plus Akbal Music, they have finished 2018 with an EP on All Day I Dream run by Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay.

We caught up with Death On The Balcony to chat about their most recent EP and their plans for 2019…

> For the people reading this who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your style and the key elements that define it?

We would describe our music as simply Deep Melodic House & Techno aimed at the dance floor.

We always try to establish a connection with the listeners which invokes an emotive reaction and feeling beyond making people dance, this of course is equally our focus as well though…..

With different shades of melody wrapped around a tight groove when its balanced well in our opinion creates a trippy beautiful place which appeals to your feet and equally your conscious mind! This is a main theme that runs throughout our tracks, as a whole mix or spontaneously as a club set creating such a vibe…

> Your next EP I forthcoming on All Day I Dream, could you tell me a little bit about the release?

It’s really everything and anything around us, each other…..

Life, love, loss, connections, reflections, story telling, art, films, music, scores, listening, you, them, everyone! The inspiration can come from random places at any moment. It sometimes comes and finds you rather than you finding it from our experience over the years. You can apply that to a lot of things in life to be honest….

There is an overall message within the melody, groove & warmth of half of this EP which is very much a positive one of bringing down barriers & prejudices. Also being conscious, consistent with a sense of kindness when coming and living together as humans. In what can seem at times a somewhat troubled climate and world, trying to be ‘self aware’ of this and with others day to day as best as we can. None of us are perfect, but to just to be your authentic self, good & bad is important!

This seems to be of real relevance at the moment, so it became a relevant theme which then continued to inspire the flow, creation of the whole release. Its also part of why we do what we do in general as well as musically. Says it all in the title really ‘Shift The Perspective EP’….

> The release on All Day I Dream is you last of 2018 and also the only full EP you have released this year. Was it a conscious decision to do just solo tracks and remixes, and what’s your release schedule for 2019 looking like?

We had a conversation maybe a year ago that we hadn’t done a remix in quite a while and then almost as soon as that was said we ended up doing 10+ over the course of the next year till now with one then leading to another continually! This industry works in mysterious ways and unless you are running and releasing solely on your own imprint a lot of it is out of your control. That said we made a conscious decision between us to be more selective who we are releasing our original material with. It’s very important to us that it is heard and gets the proper release and through our 10+ years of working together we have learnt through our mistakes. We now take careful consideration before agreeing to originals on labels. We have to feel that they suit our ethos and we have managed to get it down to a list that ideally if we could stick to those few labels we would be happy. Of course releasing the only original EP of the year with our All Day I Dream family makes a lot of sense to us and seemed only fitting as much as there was no or is no master plan! 😉

Yes the ADID EP was a last full release but the last track released of 2018 actually was ‘Our Origins’ just recently on Kindisch! Going into 2019 we have a few EP’s coming another on Kindisch, Seven Villas, Earthly Delights, Sag & Tre + remixes of Savvas on Crossings, George X on Ready Mix & Seve J on Midnight Socials. Besides that we will be planning on starting our own label and output in spring/summer (Memories of the Future).

Also as always focusing on creating & producing more music and follow up EP’s on labels we have already & continue to release with All Day I Dream, Anjunadeep and Akbal. It’s an ongoing (enjoyable and cathartic) process, but we never forget the hustle is real!..TBC ——> 2019

> Could you talk us through the creative process of putting a track together, and list any specific equipment used to bring your sound to life?

We make our music using Ableton, live synths (Microkorg, Yamaha DX100, Moog little fatty, novation, Roland JU-06), Sampling and VST’s etc… Ableton is our favourite as it enables us to respectfully manipulate our played keys, samples, ideas and redesign everything we source to make what you hear.. also in quite a quick way with the initial ideas & loop stage (a bit like a sketch book say).

Then next onto the structuring process and whole composition, the beginning, middle & the end on any given track (this can also be very efficient with ableton) this is another reason we like it too with our creative process and style! There is no real set way we go about making a track as it all depends where the inspiration comes from. That could really be anywhere or anyone so you have to take each track on its own merit!

> I understand you guys are from Leeds in the UK, how would you describe the music scene in the city at the moment, and what part of the world do you currently get most your DJ bookings?

Leeds over many years has always had a strong music scene & night life with an abundance of promoters, clubs bringing international talent through there every weekend, not to mention the talent which has been born out of there. It’s certainly been a breeding grown for talent for some time now and that shows no signs of changing. It’s sad to see places like Mint Club close it’s doors for good as anyone who has been will surely agree many a good memory has been made between those walls and it will not be easily forgotten!

In recent years we have been playing regularly all around the world & a lot over the pond in the states. The deeper melodic sound has been prominent over there for many years as a result of Lee’s All Day I Dream parties and of course Burning Man. We have found ourselves returning to places like New York, LA, San Francisco, Miami regularly in recent times. In terms of the melodic sound filtering back to the UK there has been a surge recently in good quality parties booking melodic acts and supporting this sound with brands in London like Lost In Sound, Boneca, Everything Will be OK & Warm Up leading the way which is a great thing to see.

> Talking of DJ’ing, what’s your current setup for playing out, as I understand your All Day I Dream EP is being pressed to vinyl… do you guys still buy much vinyl for your own sets?

We usually use 2×1210’s and ask for 4 CDJ’s. This enables both formats to be supported and also for acapellas to be layered over. It also enables the other person to be able to prepare better with the spare CDJ rather than with a more limited set up. That would be the ideal scenario, booth permitting!

Mark:- Vinyl wise yeah… More so these days theres a solid amount of amazing vinyl only labels putting out quality music so always find myself picking up bits & digging as well as digitally! I always have done since 1992 to now so you can imagine I have a fair old collection & archive these days from disco, house to deeper techno! I also love the physical, tangible relationship & interaction I have with playing & collecting vinyl, to me its important in a digital age as much as I happily play both formats as in the end it comes down to the music in the moment format aside!

> Could you give some advice or words of wisdom to any aspiring producers who might look to your music for inspiration?

Work hard on “your” sound. Try to find what works for you rather than emulating another. Don’t force it, let it flow. Believe in yourself (as cliche and hard as is at times). Don’t be afraid to get honest feedback & take it on board. Grown thick skin. Build a body of work. Aim high. Be patient, take your time. Be in it for the long run. Don’t expect or think the world owes you anything. Its not a given. Try not to over think. Listen to lots of types of music. Get on the dance floor. Be humble and consistent as a person as well as an artist. Respect your elders. Don’t take yourself to seriously. Remember to laugh & smile. (last but not least) Manners don’t cost a thing!… Breathe!

> We like to finish our interviews with a couple of questions that are a little bit light hearted… without getting to personal, could you tell us something many don’t know about you?

Mark:- I’m a professionally trained photographer & designer. A major 80s throwback for most music, films & subculture from that era. Also love the golden age of hollywood too. I have a massive penchant for trainers, vinyl & t-shirts (I could open a shop). I like one and half sugars in my cup of tea and randomly I love having (mr freeze) ice pops / popsicles all year round!

Paul:- I’m a big fan of the band, KISS! (who I’m actually lucky enough to be going to see for the first time on their farewell tour, thanks to my lovely girlfriend) also i’ll have to say my thumbs are double jointed and can pretty much bend 180 degrees!

> You don’t need to mention names, but what’s the most “outrageous” thing you have ever seen happen in a club… was it something outrageously brilliant, like a blindfolded DJ mixing seamlessly and scratching with his elbows, or something outrageously cringe-worthy, like some embarrassing drunk person urinating on the dancefloor?

Something that springs to mind which was pretty funny & random from our early days was the time we DJ’ed for the Mayor of Blackpool at an Arts Council event at the Towers Empress Ballroom where BBC’S Strictly (come dancing) has been filmed there & still continues to be with part of its annual yearly contest!

We were booked by a friends mother to play and we were set to play initially during the food (what the hell do you play to the Mayor of Blackpool and friends while they eat!?) and then play at the end for ‘the dancing’.

There was other entertainment on the night including someone playing the infamous Wurlitzer organ and some other cabaret dance act. During this time we retired to the dressing room we were assigned which is where Bruce Forsyth would have also retired to during Strictly!

Just before the meal was about to be served and we were due to play, to our dismay we were asked to get on the microphone and say “Can everyone please take their seats, the food is about to be served & the music about to begin” to be followed by us pressing play to begin our set! It’s the first time (and probably last) time we have ever had to ask people to sit down before playing! ‘Ridiculous’

> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, is there anything extra you want to add before we wrap up the conversation?

In the words of Bill&Ted…..
Be excellent to each other & party on dudes! 😉

> You can buy Death On The Balcony tracks on Beatport from …HERE…