INTERVIEW: R34L

Hi guys! Welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Cason: Hey! We’re doing ok. We’re about to move part of our studio upstairs, currently packing. Everything is a bit crazy in the world but we’re very grateful to be sharing music and hope it helps lift people up.

Can you talk to us more about your single, Wake Up?

C: Wake up was actually the first track we started together right when we met. The original song had a bit of latin influence which we kind of expanded on in the remix as a dance track. In the remix, we played with a lot with samplers and deep delays to create this latin house psychedelic groove.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Sarah: The original song was written where we were both at a sort of crossroads in life, both in work and relationships and other bands. I had just moved to the city and was in a band with my friends and boyfriend at the time.  After we met, we both put our current endeavors aside to make an album. We recorded & produced the original song side by side and our workflow on that track was really the catalyst to starting R34L. The remix feels like an evolution of the original, as we’ve grown so much together and our workflow has bloomed in a lot of ways.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

C: Assuming you are asking about the Undone music video–We worked with our good friend Mike who is the creative force behind Great Eye Films, our friend Liam who is a production manager, our vj Zpacely, and our friend Ian who played the protagonist. We collectively wrote this abstract story for the video inspired in part by the location, which was this abandoned psych ward that our friend Cait showed us. She used to smoke weed there in high school. The whole place is decaying and buried in the woods–it was really eerie being there at night. Quite a vibe!

What made you guys want to do a remix version of your album?

S: Initially, we had the intention of making a couple of dance versions of our songs to perform live at shows. We found new inspiration in the sounds from the tracks and had some friends who wanted to do remixes as well. So we couldn’t help but put together an album at that point—in a weird way, it felt like the original album demanded it, in concept. We wanted to dig into the whole idea of taking something apart and reassembling it in a new form.

How was the recording and re-writing process?

S: It was really cool to revisit sounds that we had been so precious with, and play with them in a new context. Almost like diving into memories and then re-imagining them from a parallel world. Or like entering a fractal of your experience. Kind of drove me nuts for a minute too…heh.

How did you go about picking the team that would pay their own tribute to the original songs?

C: We reached out to producer friends in Chicago and San Francisco. We knew they would do justice to original songs and bring their own unique vibe to the tracks. And it made putting the album together extra special because we have a personal relationship with all of the artists. We were also excited to have a really diverse group of artists involved, which ended up a journey in genres (quite a tongue twister..hah), very much a quality of the original album too.

Were you guys seeking any particular element or did you let everyone have freedom to explore?

S: We gave everyone freedom to do their thing. We weren’t really sure what kind of outcome to expect from anyone, but had a lot of confidence in all of the artists to make something really dope. The coolest part was the surprise when we first heard them one by one. We cried.

Did you find inspiration somewhere else this time around for the songs and lyrics?

S: That is a really cool question. Honestly, even with the genres turned on their heads, I feel like the remixes are all in the same vein as their parent tracks, conceptually. Even with lyrics rearranged like a collage, to me, their meaning feels more like an extension/embodiment rather than a different inspiration completely. Lately I’ve been very inspired by composing with modular synths & testing little sonic “experiments” where I’m trying new weird ways to inject dynamics in a mix, so my work on these remixes was a playground for this a bit.

C: When it came time to finalize the remix album, we had one last song that wasn’t remixed so I started one last minute under my solo alias. Are You Real drew imagery for me that was pretty different from the original. Visually, I imagined a shy person who has a tough time connecting, breaking out of their shell. Musically, I felt like it has heavy Kraftwerk influence with a mix of Erlend Oye and Noisia. It’s an odd mix of influences, but somehow they came through together in this final remix.

What else is happening next in R34L’s world?

C: We are looking forward to releasing an EP we have been working on with Mark Pistel (of Consolidated, PDF, Hercules and Love Affair, original member of Meat Beat Manifesto). Mark remixed Anim8 and also did the mastering for the remix album and final mixing on the original album. We visited him last year in San Francisco and jammed out for three days in his studio. He has an amazing collection of synthesizers. We were really productive together and ended up with two finished songs over those days together. We’ve been collaborating over the web over the web this year to write the rest of the EP from our recorded jams.  It is a dream to be collaborating with Mark. He is one of our musical heroes! We can’t wait to share. Thanks again for chatting with us!

Sarah Hartman & Cason Trager

R34Lmusic.com

soundcloud.com/whatisR34L

instagram.com/whatisR34L

Listen on Spotify

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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