March 01 2016

Under RINSED's Umbrella

New York-Le Bain
On Sunday, March 6th, NYC party RINSED's Blacky II and Dan Wender celebrate their brand new label. We sat down under their umbrella.
LE BAIN: You've previously said, "Our mission with The Umbrella is to close the gap between eternal records and fleeting temporal events." What if the records were short-lived?
BLACKY II: That would be a very interesting scenario! I've often played with the idea of having a song that wore out after a couple of listens. I think certain mediums do that in a way, like the cassette tape or the vinyl record. Alternatively, if the whole record in all its forms disappeared after a few weeks or months, it would absolutely change the way we interact with them. 
"Is it raining or what?" —Dan Wender of RINSED

"Is it raining or what?" —Dan Wender of RINSED

And what if the events were eternal?
BLACKY II: The eternal event is a really intriguing concept as well. When I was younger, it was one of my dreams to own or run a club where the party never stopped. There would be different rooms for your different moods and needs, but you would always have the option of going hard or taking it easy. I don't think it's beyond the scope of possibility to pull it off in a tasteful and sustainable way, although as George Harrison once said it would take "a whole lot of spending money," and "a whole lot of precious time.” Ultimately, it wouldn't change anything for us. There would still be a gap, and we would still be bridging it.
"Art is more than just data."
About Kanye’s latest album, The New York Times wrote, "Thanks to Mr. West’s living, breathing creative process, the album is no longer just a snapshot, but an unending data stream.” Do you agree with that vision? 
BLACKY II: I appreciate that, and I appreciate Kanye's process. The Internet is definitely a great place to share data, but art is more than just data. I find that a certain sincerity is often lost in digital translation, similar to the way we sometimes misunderstand each other over text message. Creating art is a magical process to me, and if you're making art specifically for the Internet that's one thing, but if you aren't, it's like each time you try to talk about it, or post about it, or explain it away, a little bit of that magic is lost. It's ultimately up to the artist. A true expression is beautiful, no matter how it's presented.
"Goods On Delivery (Teaser Mix)" from the first compilation of RINSED's label The Umbrella 

Dan, can you tell us a story behind one of the tracks on the first compilation?

DAN WENDER: Braille aka Praveen is one of the first guest DJs we had at RINSED. When we started throwing the party, he invited us over to Percussion Lab radio sessions at his apartment. That experience sort of helped me realize that the artists who we really loved—Falty DL, Shigeto, and Praveen's own project Sepalcure—were just normal guys. I also realized that the dream of putting out music that influences people was super attainable. You just need to do it. When we started reaching out to people, he was one of the first artists to send stuff over. "A Tune Of Circumstance," which starts the album, is one of my favorites. Where a lot of dance music feels sort of two-dimensional, Praveen has a really keen ability to breathe depth into his tracks and make you feel like you're inside the song. 
"The artists who we really loved were just normal guys."
Blacky, same question. Pick one track and tell us a backstory about it. 
BLACKY II: I wrote and produced the track "I Don’t." You might recognize the vocal sample. When I'm listening to music, I sometimes hear an isolated element that I find really inspiring, and that's pretty much the story here. I made this song a few years ago actually when I was working a lot more with vocal samples and really trying to strip tracks down to the bare bones to make maximum impact with minimal elements. I took this vocal sample that resonated with me and really tried to feel out the arrangement of the other pieces around it as intuitively as I could and channel the energy of the vocal without thinking about it too much.
<blockquote><i>Blacky II of RINSED playing with Dan.</i></blockquote>

Blacky II of RINSED playing with Dan.

RINSED is a NYC thing, isn’t it? If you look outside of NY, what are your main sources of inspiration in terms of the party and label?
BLACKY II: Fabric, the mix series and the club itself, has always been a huge inspiration. I think that's definitely the closest thing to achieving the sort of vision we're going for here. It's what introduced me to many of my favorite DJs, and I've always appreciated their multi-room, multi-vibe format. Numbers Records, Border Community, Ed Banger, Phantasy, Night Slugs, Clek Clek Boom, I'm a Cliché, LdDlm, Sound Pellegrino—those are some of the bigger ones in Europe. Modeselektor of course with their 50 weapons (R.I.P.) and Monkeytown are doing really amazing things and pushing boundaries. 

And in the U.S.?
BLACKY II: In America, Chicago and Detroit of course have such rich histories in this as well. The Smart Bar Record Label, Northside '82 run by The Black Madonna and Steve Mizek in Chicago, Omar S. with FXHE in Detroit, Los Angeles more recently with labels like Body High and L.A. Club Resource—   there are so many to name! We can't forget about our Canadian or South American neighbors either—Turbo Records, Matias Aguayo's Cómeme Label, and Infinite Machine. Ugh! I wish you hadn't asked this one. I could go on for days...
<blockquote><i>"Experience the rain [without getting] wet."&nbsp;</i></blockquote>

"Experience the rain [without getting] wet." 

What will be The Umbrella’s motto? "Let it rain, I hydroplane into fame?”
BLACKY II: [Laughs.] We'll have to keep that one in our back pocket for a rainy day. Our website currently has a sort of mission statement that I think could certainly double as our motto. It goes like this: "The Umbrella is dedicated to bringing together the familiar and the foreign. An outward extension of the body simultaneously both joining and dividing ourselves from our environment. It provides the ability to experience the rain and not get wet."

On Sunday, March 6th, RINSED celebrates The Umbrella at Le Bain with Dan Wender, Blacky II, and some surprises. Party starts at 9pm. The Standard, High Line.