Electronic music fans in Moscow are in for a treat Friday, as FunkinEven and Brassfoot, two producers from cult electronic music label Apron Records, will make their Russian debut at the British Council's Selector After Dark sessions at the Science and Art club (NII).
London-based Steven Julien has released tracks under the moniker FunkinEven since his 2009 debut Kleer, and as FunkinEvil in his collaborations with Detroit producer Kyle Hall. Julien's music spans techno, funk, acid. His music is nostalgic, and takes its cues from early Detroit house music. It's sparse, dirty, raw and made for late nights.
He is also the man behind Apron Records, which counts producers Seven Davis Jr. and Jay Davis among its roster of artists.
"I guess I was quite blessed growing up in the '90s. A lot of great things happened then with hip hop, electronic music, house. So I'm quite educated on those aspects, and it helps me a lot. I kind of know what to look out for now in music." Julien said in a telephone interview with The Moscow Times.
Julien founded the Apron imprint almost by accident, after the label he was on, Eglo Records, passed on releasing a boogie-disco edit that was sample-based to avoid getting into trouble. "In the beginning, it wasn't supposed to be a record label. They suggested I make a couple of white-label copies and do it myself. I thought maybe, if this is the first release I'm doing myself, I should do a non-sample, non-edit release and do it properly," Julien said about the first record he put out, Apron EP in 2011.
He followed this with Chips / Sweets, the edit he originally intended to put out, which was released on pink vinyl and came packaged in a candy wrapper. "It sold really fast and then it really took off and got recognized. … I think from then, people got the label a lot more," Julien said.
Soon after, Julien was releasing singles by like-minded artists like Greg Beato, with whom he struck up a friendship online, on his label. "He was following me on SoundCloud and was always commenting on my mixes, and something told me to check out his stuff on his SoundCloud, and it just blew me away," Julien said. Despite Apron's popularity, Julien still handles everything related to the label himself, he said.
Another producer whose work is released on Apron, Brassfoot, will also play at NII on Friday. "I would just describe his music as completely honest. I mean, all of the Apron Records titles have honesty in their production, It's not polished, and it's not about having something that is well groomed. It just an honest message and feeling. You have to feel an emotion with every release, whether it is sad, happy or whatever else, and Brassfoot definitely has that," Julien said about the house/techno producer whose tracks are a mix of acid house, dancehall and proto-house.
Julien's next release, A16, is expected later this month under the name St. Julien, an alter ego he uses to explore more left-field ideas. "In the beginning, I never said it was supposed to be me, but I guess the press have spoilt that," he said. The first track from A16, "Evenbud," a collaboration with hip hop producer Budgie, is classic machine funk and coldwave, and has already garnered positive reviews.
Homegrown DJs Buttechno, Low Bob, RRRthia and Shumopeleng, as well as media artists Alisa Taezhnaya, Roman Mokrov, Nikolai Onishchenko and Polina Kanis round out the bill for the show on Friday.
Selector After Dark is on Fri. at 11 p.m. Science and Art club (NII), Nastavinchesky Pereulok 13-15, entrance 3. Metro Kurskaya. Check Facebook for more details.