Sound Colour Vibration interviews Salva of Friends of Friends / Frite Nite
West coast electronic producer and owner of Frite Nite Paul Salva has been in our rotation pool of artists we have been going back to for multiple listens. With tons of recommendations from so many different types of people I know for over a year now, I knew something good was happening every time I kept feeling the buzz around him. To summarize his background would be a hard task, as his trail of work extends from Mary Ann Hobbs exclusive track features on her very influential radio show to bass heavy and mind liberating sets at the infamous Low End Theory curated weekly by The Gaslamp Killer, DJ Nobody, D-Styles, Nocando and Daddy Kev. As of last year, Salva is a proud member of the Red Bull Music Academy alumni and has been proving his stability in the touring world with constant guest appearances in all the right spots for his type of sound. With his first official full length album Complex Housing released on Tall Corn Music and the Los Angeles based imprint Friends of Friends in 2011, everyone at Sound Colour Vibration was really taken by the sheer beauty and presentation of it all. Atmospheric nuances, west coast electronic funk, experimental sections and some of the most tasteful house music we have heard in years sprawl all over this record, never dwelling in one place or genre setting and always pulling from the electronic foundations that are so wide and vast now. Salva quickly left the world with another release late last year called Yellobone. Prepared as a limited edition vinyl, Yellobone comes in a lavish format that is a must own record visually and sonically. The mastering is superb and the record hits on every perfect level because of it. The track ‘Komodo’ has to be one of the best things we have ever heard from Salva and makes us anticipate his future material even more.
With Salva heading out to Europe this February with Friends of Friends label mate Shlohmo, we contacted Salva to ask him about the recent EP release Yellobone, his tour coming up and more. We really believe this producer is going to emerge in a very huge way in the coming years as his catalog expands and his concepts and techniques do the same. If you are in Europe, don’t miss one of the performances on the 2012 Friends of Friends European Tour. Enjoy this exclusive interview Sound Colour Vibration held with Salva this last week.
Sound Colour Vibration Interviews Salva
Conducted by Erik Otis
‘Komodo’ by Salva off Yellobone
Before we dive into the interview, we wanted to say thanks for your time and that we are really enjoying your latest EP Yellobone. What were the deciding factors to doing an EP over a full length and how did you come up with the name?
Salva: Well I just released an album Complex Housing on Friends of Friends earlier in the year (we’re talking 2011 now) so really the label and myself wanted to just follow up with a 12″, sort of extending where the album left off. The name Yellobone is a play on “yellow bone” — here in the states its southern slang for a light skin black girl — for which I had sampled many of fine black women in my records, hahaha. That was the name of the first tune the label liked so I went with it.
Did you build your tracks over long periods of time for Yellobone, periodically going to tracks for more production while finding the right remixes or was the EP shaped in a small window?
Salva: No it was all written in the late spring and early summer of 2011, released in November. For remixes, I’ve always wanted one from my label mate Shlohmo, and the LOL Boys started coming into the FoF fold and I always play their stuff when I play dance music…so we just kept it in the family.
The artwork for Yellobone is lovely, who did the art and how much time do you put into molding the designs and overall vision of how the finished package will come out?
Salva: You know, I feel it goes the same with the art as the music. You can’t force it. I tried a ton of different designs that didn’t work, and finally I asked a designer/photographer named Oliver Kish who’s part of the FoF-affiliated Young Adults crew in LA, and a good friend of the FoF label owner Leeor Brown. Once Oli got involved it sort of took shape very easily. It looks really nice on the vinyl.
I really love the remix work Shlohmo did on Yellobone. How did you guys link up and is there any other people you are linking up with for collaborations or remixes that most might know about yet?
Salva: Shlohmo is family. I’ve known him I think before he was even old enough to get into the clubs…and I’ve always loved his music. Now as he’s on his way to becoming a household name, him and I are a part of the same label (FoF, LA) and we’ll be touring together in February. I’ve remixed lot of of artists over the past year or two that I definitely plan on tapping them for return favors! I’m collaborating with a slew of my close friends and new friends I’ve met on the road….but keeping it all secrets for now.
Your collaboration with B. Bravo on Yellobone is a lot different than anything on the EP, a lot more Dâm Funk influenced from what I can hear. How did the piece come together in terms of composition and was there anything else completed by the two of you outside of ‘Obsession’?
Salva: We have some demos in the can for sure. B. Bravo is one of my best friends and one of the reasons I started and continued my own label — Frite Nite, of which he’ll be dropping a new record this spring. I wanted to make sure to drop a west coast funk joint on here because again I wanted it to be a mini extension of Complex Housing, which had some dark grime and garage stuff, as well as shimmery funk and beat stuff. Much of my music that sort of carries that funk aesthetic is thanks to lots of work and shows with B. Bravo and another one of my funk mentors J. Todd.
The LOL Boys present the final remix of Yellobone and brings the EP to a close. What was your first introduction to LOL Boys and do you plan to work with LOL Boys again?
Salva: Yeah I hope to work with them again for sure. They’re a dual-country act, one lives in Montreal and one lives here in LA, but I’ve been fortunate enough to play with both of them in their respective cities — great people, great DJs. I had them do one of the most recent podcasts for my label Frite Nite as well, and I know they they have some special things in the works that are really going to put them on the map this year.
You will be headed to Europe in February with Shlohmo and I recently saw a list of 9 dates in the UK, Poland, Germany, Denmark, France, Romania and Italy. What type of rehearsal schedule are on right now and what type of equipment set up will you bring on this tour?
Salva: Have to keep it light…I’ve broken some important pieces of gear going through airport security, and going through international customs I don’t like to risk it. I have more of a mobile setup with includes most midi stuff and I use Touch OSC on my iPad to control ableton Live. I also will probably pop in and do turntable style DJ sets if its more of a dance club instead of a concert venue…I love DJing on turntables.
As this tour approaches, have you set out time for yourself to see the cities as much as possible or will the press responsibilities and a tight travel schedule prohibit enjoying the cities on your own terms?
Salva: A little bit of time for play on this run, but really we have a ton of press stuff to do and also visiting the Red Bull Music Academy offices and I’ll be doing some lectures actually too. I’m lucky to be an RBMA alumni from this past session — so I hope to visit as much staff and participants as I can that I shared the experience with since a lot of the crew is based in various countries around Europe, specifically Cologne, Germany.
For this tour of Europe, will there be a visual team involved? Do you see that as an essential element for a live performer in your field of music?
Salva: I’m on my way to building a true live show that will be festival stage ready, in which case yes I think visuals could be crucial. It’s obviously become a staple in many of the big touring acts, and it’s an undeniable point of energy and entertainment for the show..especially for an electronic act that many times is just sitting behind a laptop. It happens to be crazy costly though! So I’m hoping to do my own visuals, been working on it for a while — the technology in Ableton for meshing A/V is almost there.
Are you a producer that tries to balance out the use of hardware and programs with studio recordings and your live presentation or do you sway to one side more heavily?
Salva: I feel my best records have always had a combination of samples, outboard synths and yes I sequence everything in Logic. It all depends track by track, especially when I tread through completely different genres and styles. ie., for like a straight House or Techno track I won’t be noodling funk synths on top of it, I’d want everything real tight on the grid…as where with Hip Hop and Boogie, everything has to be nice and free, so a lot of real recording takes are what makes those feel right.
Do you compose new songs with headphones and studio monitors or do you try to place yourself in a situation closer to a live performance with a full sound system?
Salva: Yeah studio monitors and headphones for sure, but I love testing out my mixes in my car. I have a decent stock system so it’s a good indicator. Of course for any system-heavy music though — only one way to be sure, test it out at your shows. I love testing my stuff out at places I’ve played and frequented a lot like Low End Theory here in LA…I know that system well so even during sound check I sneak in a ton of tunes and hear how they pump.
I have always been intrigued by the culmination of human energy in a club or performance hall, especially with a situation where large waves of people are dancing and taking part with the experience, including myself. What have been some of the most intense states of energy exchange between an audience and yourself while in performance?
Salva: I go back and forth. Sometimes I think nothing can top DJing in a real club with a proper dance floor, big sound system and people that really want to DANCE, not pump fists, not stand around and observe. Especially with 4×4 music that a lot of beat kids don’t understand and find even find boring — it’s actually really interactive, we’re all in the groove together. But some of my live performances last year where some fans (to my delight!) actually knew my material and would go crazy for a track, it feels so humbling and incredible for people to actually cheer for music you’ve put your heart into.
Out of all the work you have done, remixes and all, is there one track in particular that you are proud of the most?
Salva: I think one of my most celebrated remixes and my personal favorite is of Om Unit’s “Prawn Cocktail” that came out early last year on a Civil Music 12″. It just speaks to everything I love — it takes from his original which is old school Electro influenced, it’s very 808, it’s foortwerky, dark, and even has elements of deep Dub. For originals I think “Wake Ups” and “Obsession” are always the tracks I get the most love on…I’m proud of those.
With a new year here and the Yellobone EP so new, what are some of your biggest goals for the future?
Salva: Lots of collabs. Continuing to build my own label Frite Nite. Touring as much as possible, and overall I want to step my game up musically. I really just want to impress my peers and myself really, do things I haven’t done before. All I hope for is longevity. I will never stop making music, but hopefully I can keep doing it as a career for the rest of my life in some form…I can’t really see myself being in any other industry, I love the game.
Thanks for your time Salva, we wish you the best of luck on your tour coming up with Shlohmo this February.
Salva: Thanks very much!!! My pleasure.
2012 Friends of Friends European Tour w/ Schlohmo & Salva
- Feb 01 Donky Pitch, The Green Door Store, Brighton (UK)
- Feb 02 Ernest Endevours, Camp Basement, London (UK)
- Feb 03 Zak Club, Gdansk (Poland)
- Feb 04 Gretchen, Berlin (Germany)
- Feb 06 KB18, Copenhagen (Denmark)
- Feb 08 Subway, Cologne (Germany)
- Feb 09 Le Social Club, Paris (France)
- Feb 10 Popa Nan, Bucharest (Romania)
- Feb 11 Mattatoio Culture Club, Modena (Italy)
’40 KARATS’ by Salva feat. Zackey Force Funk from Complex Housing