Written by StrangeFlow…
David Mårtenson is the Swedish EDM funkateer who hails by the moniker, Vudvuzela, and has recently released a glitch hoppy neuro-bass-heavy album on Adapted Records called, ‘Zombi EP,’ – and you’re definitely going to want to check it out! It’s as exciting as a KOAN Sound release, except… uh… shreddier?
What I mean is, David plays in a metal band, and comes to electronic music from a different perspective than some. You can definitely hear it in his electronic compositions; his tunes are funky, bouncy, extremely easy to dance to – and yet they lean, here and there, on some very intense and hardcore sounds and noises.
Vudvuzela: “Yeah that’s right about metal music. I enjoy ‘shredding’ and more progressive stuff like Periphery, Animals As Leaders, The Dillinger Escape Plan to mention a few.”
I’m not personally a sports fan – European or American – but I thought Vudvuzela sounded familiar, so I asked David if that’s what they call those horns people blow in Futbol games…
“Nah,” he said, “that’s a ‘Vuvuzela.’ So my name is more like a pun or mixture. I’m sometimes called ‘Davud.’ Vud is also Hebrew or something for the word, ‘crazy/mad,’ I believe I’ve read that somewhere.”
Ok, well, my mistake. I told ya I wasn’t much of a sports fan…
V: “No worries, man. I hate fotball/soccer. So it’s a bit ironic that my name is what it is.”
Anyway, I love that the track “silly,” has a fun swinging funky neuro sound, are you going more into that direction with your new one?
V: “Thank you. Silly is my favorite track from that EP. I guess some of the tracks is a little bit more to that direction. The most important part for me with my songs is that they have some sense of playfulness to them, if you know what I mean?”
Yea definitely, they seem playful and fun.
V: “It’s supposed to sound fun, interesting and colorful. Also preferably with a sense of “hit music” since I come from that background a bit.”
Hit music? You a top 40 supastaaaaa?
V: “I’ve been playing guitar in a radio friendly metal band. Also built with a lot of layers and stuff, so it’s pretty closely connected to each other. I enjoy the “science” behind top 40 music, hahah.”
So I was wondering about the sound of the really punchy synth that keeps showing up in the mix, are you sidechaining to a kick, or is it just a secret ultra-punchy synth ? …and that snare, too. Any hints for producers trying to make fun, punchy colorful tunes in the Vudvuzela tradition – as far as types of drum machine used, fx/automation?
V: “I do a lot of sidechaining and volume automations on everything usually… Hmm… Tips for making punchy colorful tunes? I don’t know, really. I try to keep it interesting by doing small variations on bounced basslines using Ableton’s Warp Engine, using a lot of different filtering automations. Mostly Sugar Bytes Wow. Macros is also great. I usually have about five automation lanes for every bass/synth-track. But as far as getting it colorful and fun I guess it’s mostly about finding what works best for you! Do a lot experimenting and keep trying new things is my advice.”
So what is your setup, your DAW, etc?
V: “I only use my old Macbook Pro from ‘09 and a pair of bad Sony headphones. I think that in these days when you can do so much with plugins, that’s pretty much all you need. Look at Koan Sound and Skrillex. That’s only laptop and headphones. Or at least it used to be. I hear they are both building proper studios on their own now. But there’s still a lot you can do with a simple setup like that. The most important thing is just to know what you’re doing with the things you have.”
How long have you been making electronic music – and music in general?
V: “I’ve been making music all my life in different forms. But I guess my more serious attempts started in 7th grade when I started to do hiphop and downtempo ambient stuff. That ended up in two full length albums. But they were really shit, to be honest . Just found the cd’s a few weeks ago when I moved. After that I started playing in more serious bands and my focus was more on metal and stuff like that. But I still did different forms of EDM on the side.”
Ah.. Yea, I think we’ve all got some shitty hip hop from 7th grade we can’t believe we made..
V: “Hehe yeah. It’s pretty classic. But I also did a lot of drum and bass back then. That was my biggest fascination. But it was a lot more difficult to make than hiphop.”
So making music is a passion of yours – do you gig, or go for strictly releasing music?
V: “yes it’s definitely my passion in life. I haven’t played out much with Vudvuzela yet. Just some local smaller club gigs as a regular DJ. But Im planning on making it a live show. I’ve done a whole lot of gigs with my band though. Over a 100 shows, so that’s a situation Im more used to.”
So, what are your favorite artists right now, if you could bump anyone’s music?
V: “Hmm let’s see… In EDM music, Savant is definitely one of my favorites right now. Truly inspiring guy and talented as fuck at everything he does (you’ll love him. He’s the next big thing. Released four full length albums and five EP’s last year. All of them great.) Justice and Daft Punk are my all-time favorites, though.”
Hmm.. I’ll have to look that guy up.
V: “Yea, he’s awesome… (talking about Savant, I mean, not DP and Justice…)”
V: “Hehe… I’ve also been listening to a lot of trap recently. It’s fun with “new” genres. I know some people feel it’s just an evolution from southern hip hop, but as long as it feels fresh and interesting it’s always nice. I enjoy everything by Hudson Mohawke. And his new project TNGHT is fucking awesome!”
Fuck yea man, TNGHT is the shit!!
V: “I’ve actually remixed ‘Higher Ground’ by them, so that’s available right now.”
It just came out a few hours before this posting, so I figured I’d post a video of it, as it REALLY does show how David gave TNGHT a sonic workout.
It really is a remix in a much grander sense than what we’ve seen so much of in the last few years – namely, some moombah beat thrown atop a tune, “remixing,” it, or adding a couple of wobbles and a drop, dumbstepping it out…. Vudvuzela’s remix of ‘Higher Ground’ by TNGHT really adds Vud’s characteristic bouncy but thrashy (and tripped out) aesthetic, and sucks up Lunice and HudMo like a goddamn vacuum, spitting out their material in a whirlwind of funk and controlled chaos. Spectacular!
So you think you might be going in a trappy direction then?
V: “I’ve been experimenting some with trap lately. Not sure how Vudvuzela-related it’s gonna be though. But I have a few remixes coming out under that genre. I released a trappy/hiphop-remix of Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools a few days ago. It’s up on youtube. Im also working on a more proper trap remix of a Die Antwoord song.”
Nice. So, I wanted to ask you about the cover graphic for your last EP – I love the cartoon graphics! Are you going for the same style with your new release as that cartoon city you had – and did you do that graphic work yourself?
V: “No, I have a few friends who does that for me. But the new EP is gonna be in the same cartoonish-style. Also introducing a new character to the Vudvuzela-Universe. I feel that cartoons really fit my music; the playfulness of it, and all the colors.”
Oooh a new character! Nice. Those cartoon images remind of Parliament Funkadelic . I’ve been hearing that funky sound more and more lately too, which I’m excited about.
V: “Yeah it’s really growing.”
So, here’s, ‘Silly,’ off of ‘Zombi EP,’ by Vudvuzela. It’ll give you an idea about what I’m talking about when I say it’s grindy and thrasy – but that it’s also a bouncy, funky ravey groove.
Alright, so, here are some of the places you can go to find Vud’s tunes:
Thanks for the interview, man! It was great!