– What was growing up in Chicago like? A great place for electronic music I guess?
Growing up in Chicago was great. The city has so much to offer. So much goes on in a place like Chicago, especially musically. From early on both of us were exposed to really great music and a wealth of different artistic outlets. Electronic music, specifically house, has been a big deal here since the very beginning. We’re just trying to live up to the legacy that has been laid out.
– Can you tell a bit about your alias, The Architects? Where does it come from?
The Architects is a name that took us a while to finally come to. When we started working together on music, we knew that eventually we had to come up with a name. We both had our own aliases, Artek and Aslan, and The Architects seemed to be a natural step to consolidate the two. Also, it allows us many opportunities to sprinkle in “House” puns…
– So what did you study in college then? Any music theory?
Artur went to Columbia College Chicago where he studied Music Business and Music Production. Alan is still studying at the University of Missouri where he’s pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. We both studied a bit of music theory in high school while playing in jazz bands, but that is a subject that we’re always improving on.
– So how did you guys meet up then?
We were brought together through a mutual friend, Greg Banek, who studies at the University of Missouri as well. Artur and Greg have been best friends since their early teens. The summer after freshman year of college, Alan needed a third roommate for a summer rental and Greg needed a place to stay. It was when Artur visited that summer that we met. That’s when we started exchanging musical tastes. It was then that Artur introduced Alan to deep house, and now here we are!
– How did you influence one another’s tastes?
We’re constantly bouncing tracks off of each other and we almost always share the same opinion about them. We influence each other a great deal. We think that’s how great duos have to be, open to each other’s ideas, even if it means being completely honest sometimes and saying “this really sucks”.
– And what’s the biggest production lesson you’ve learned since you started out?
Time. In the beginning, there was a steep learning curve to Ableton. Once we became better at using the software however, it became easier to put the pen to paper. A lot of times we realize that our best music comes out at once, and it’s important that it can be created in a timely manner, or else you lose what inspiration you had at that moment for that specific song. There are many nights that we spontaneously feel inspired, and stay up all night and just get whatever we’re feeling out. Then we’ll take a look at it the next morning and chisel away at it until a song emerges.
– So what piece of advice would you give to up-and-coming DJs and producers?
Be persistent and disciplined. Put in the time. With enough work anything is possible. It’s not overnight that you can learn to properly use all the production tools available, but if you have enough discipline and don’t get lazy, eventually it will come. It takes a while to hone in any artistic craft, and any up and coming producer that thinks it’s easy should just stop right now.
– You’ve just done an EP for HWML – can you tell us a bit about how that worked and talk us through some of the tracks on it?
The EP is called The Blueprint. We’re incredibly happy that we are able to put it out with HMWL because they’re just like us, music first. This is our freshman release, so it’s important that it landed in the right hands. There are three tracks: Movin’ On, Glow, and Wildside. Each track is it’s own beast. Movin’ On is heavily influenced by house, Glow is influenced by UK Garage, and Wildside is our take at a real Techno banger. They are versatile, and yet, similar in their own ways.
– What’s it like to work in the studio together? How do you influence one another?
We’ve come up with a really good workflow together in the studio. Artur is sort of the brains of the operation, and most of our tracks start with something that Artur has come up with. That’s when Alan comes in. He’s very detail oriented and has the ability to take Artur out of a rut, and vice versa. We trade off sitting at the project, we both add our own elements, and we’re our system of checks and balances. As they say, two minds are better than one and we would not be able to do it without each other.
– What made you opt for the three tracks for the EP?
We decided on these three specifically because they show our range. We don’t want to get pigeon holed in one specific genre or sound, since we both love multiple different sounds. You never know what you’ll hear when it comes to us, and we think that keeps it exciting.
– Have you played them out yet? If so, how was the reaction?
Definitely. The tracks get a great response. Hearing them on a big system is much different that lets say your laptop speakers or headphones. Each track has its place in a set though, which is how we like to think about them. Movin’ On is definitely where you’d start, and then bring the energy up a bit with Glow, and finally hit them with Wildside when everyone’s already moving on the floor.
– What are the good places to go clubbing in Chicago these days? Is house still the dominant sound there?
There definitely are great clubs in Chicago where you can hear and see some of the world’s best house music. Our top three in Chicago are definitely SmartBar, Primary, and SpyBar. It’s impossible not to find a great show between those three almost any night of the week.
– Is this your first release? How would you describe the experience?
Yes this is our first release, and we’re extremely happy with the experience. We’ve learned a ton along the way, and we couldn’t be happier with what HMWL has done for us. We can’t wait to show what we have up our sleeve next.
– What’s your favourite thing about Chicago away from the clubs?
There are so many things that are great in Chicago, but outside of the clubs we absolutely love the food. Chicago’s turned into such a foodie city recently and there are constantly new places and cuisines to try. Oh, and also the beach. Our beaches are awesome, with a skyline view that probably no other city can offer. You’d be fooled into thinking Lake Michigan was an ocean, easy!
– And what more can we look forward to from you guys this summer?
We’ve got a bunch of our signature “Re-Models” planned for this summer as well as the start of our mix series “Architextures”. All of which can be found on our soundcloud page.
Interview by Ian Fleming
The Architects’ The Blueprint is out now on HMWL