We first met Archie P around this time a year ago, meddling down in BedStuy for an all-too-early spring edition of Percussion Lab Radio at 1LS. It wasn't long before their talent would catch our ears, and we'd bring them in for a special Monday in August. Since last summer, the trio has been busy at work, with a remix on Tectonic, collaborations with DJ G, and having their tracks played by the Real Queen of England.
Hirshi, Kroba and Comso D make Archie Pelago, and have graced us with a unique mix that glides between genres, tempos and moments in time. What emerges is a delicate take at the group's influences and history, and gives us a little more insight into the talented threesome's amalgamated brain.
You can catch the trio live at this weekend's Mister Saturday Night. Tickets are still available for purchase. We can't wait to see you there.
To get you a little more intimate, here's a few words from the guests:
Percussion Lab: Can you give us a little background on the mix? How did you piece it together?
Kroba - this was a special mix for the Archie boys..it is an “influence” mix and showcases the music that we each have been inspired by through the years.
Hirshi - The three of us each selected our own personal picks which comprise the mix.
PL: How was the mix recorded?
Kroba - the mix was recorded in one take in the heart of Archie HQ
Cosmo D - We were harnessing our full Archie live setup. There were several moments in the process where I was like ‘do we really want to go there? maybe we should just do it over.’ Walking a tight-rope vibe.
PL: There's many influences on here, from Sasha's "Dremples" to Paul Simon. Can you pick two songs and describe your relationship with them?
Kroba - A few of my picks are in homage to my dad’s fabulous musical taste. He would play John Fahey on Christmas mornings, and when I first started getting into jazz, he also recommended that I check out Pharaoh Sanders’ “Karma” LP.
Hirshi - Nujabes’ “Aruarian Dance” encapsulates a lot of what I love about music-- simultaneously smooth, jazzy and rugged, it’s such a balanced and effective juxtaposition of vibes. I have even deeper emotional connections with Boards of Canada’s “Dayvan Cowboy”, which has such a richly evocative progression, it still gets me every time!
Cosmo D - my dad had the Paul Simon ‘Rhythm of the Saints’ cassette when I was young. ‘Can’t Run But’ in particular caught my ear with its marimba line even as a child and I was keen on re-introducing it into the mix, (along w it’s sick rhythm section).
PL: I've always admired your dedication to classical/orchestral music, as we've discussed in the past. Are there any particular instrumental works that have changed the way you view, play and create music? What can the current dance scene take away from classical leanings?
Kroba - The music of Igor Stravinsky was a big eye-opener for me. His use of folk melodies alongside multi-tonal harmonies and mixed-meter rhythms paved a path for a lot of my compositions. I think that the current dance scene could benefit from the incorporation of the use of extreme dynamics, as well as the use of silence.
Hirshi - One of the most powerful pieces of music I was able to play in an orchestra was probably Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Expanding my studies through the 5 movements and into Berlioz’s personal life was as inspiring as it was entertaining. Though he was a complete nutcase, his program symphony was so graphic and dramatic for a piece of instrumental music. I particularly loved the concept of idée fixe, which I think to an extent exemplifies some of my favorite and most effective electronic artists of late: Scuba, Objekt, and Distal (for a small example) have a tendency to weave a larger picture with powerful reoccurring themes.
Cosmo D - I played a lot of classical chamber music in college - Brahms B-Major Piano Trio in B, Schubert’s Double Cello Quintet in C and Schumann’s A Minor Quartet are examples 19th Century chamber music I found myself immersed in at college. The biggest thing I took away from this music was group cohesion- making eye contact, listening to one another for cues, breathing together, collectively committing ourselves wholly to the the epic musical arcs of each piece. I think dance and electronic music performances could benefit from this kind of lively group interplay and intensity - just to show the audience that they’re pushing themselves and really digging into the material.
PL: Who is the Doomsday Cult? Who are the Sinners Named? Is there no hope for us heathens?
Cosmo D: The opening recording is from a cult in the 80s known as the Church Universal and Triumphant, led by Claire Prophet, that sang these unbelievably tight monophonic chants during their sermons. The cult would have faded into total obscurity if not for these chants captured on tape! After the chants were done, they’d read of a litany of names of ‘sinners’, seemingly the Billboard Top 40 or the MTV top 40 videos played at the time. REO Speedwagon, John Mellancamp, Bananarama, Duran Duran, and Stevie Wonder are just a few of the sinners named.
PL: Which one of you is going to hell first?
Archie Pelago: We have all cut a deal with the devil. 2113 is our year.
PL: Tell us a little about your setup for this weekend's Mister Saturday Night show.
Cosmo D: We’ll be deploying the standard turntable / sax / cello setup, which will be special for MSN as they’ve never featured a live ensemble. We’ll be warming up the night early, setting the stage for our hosts, Eamon and Justin. Then, later in the night we’ll take the stage again to basically weave in and out of their selections, reacting to them and them to us. Fluidly integrating musically with our hosts is our aim.
PL: What's next for Archie Pelago?
Archie Pelago: A release on the Well Rounded Record label, a mix for Mary Anne Hobbs, our gig for Mister Saturday Night coming up on St. Patrick’s Day.
PL: Who makes the best Seltzer?
Kroba: The fizzle of the Smoothe Moose variety stands alone, but Vintage was always the company that my parents bought.
Hirshi: DIY seltzer champ has to be Cosmo or DJ Rodan. Boylan killing the distro-game.
Cosmo D: I make my own seltzer and Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola is my favorite of the ‘artisan colas’. Shout outs to Red Bull for also making an unusually good cola... but mysteriously pulling it from New York City bodegas. :(
We're thrilled our friends have composed such a beautiful blend of their influences. Enjoy the mix.