October 26, 2014

Blonde Ambition: Blond:ish on Festivals & Remixing Depeche Mode

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AtlantaHailing from Montreal before settling in London, Blond:ish—the tech-house duo comprised of Anstascia D’elene and Vivie-Ann Bakos—has played all over the world and remixed the underground’s hottest names, from Maya Jane Coles to Luca C & Brigante. The eclectic pair is currently in the midst of a hot streak, with slots at 2013’s TomorrowWorld and this year’s Ultra Music Festival, in addition to a high-profile remix of Depeche Mode in the pipeline. We caught up with Blond:ish’s Viv, who talked about their recent success and temporary studio located in Tulum, Mexico.

DJ Times: How did Blond:ish form?
Viv: We met in Montreal but became friends at Winter Music Conference in 2007 after Anstascia almost ran over me with her car while I was crossing the street outside of Space at 8 a.m. I was already DJing at the time and Anstascia was promoting in the scene, in addition to DJing all her afterparties at her house. In 2008, there wasn’t much going on in the house scene at the time, so we hijacked Wednesday nights at a spot called Cherry. The night was actually called Blond:ish so eventually everyone just started calling us Blond:ish.

DJ Times: You started in Montreal, but moved to London. How did the decision to move come about and how has it affected your output?
Viv: We always wanted to move to Europe and we felt as though London would be the best move, as it’s pretty much the center of the electronic-music industry. We figured that we would be about one degree of separation from every important person in the scene. It was the best move we ever made! However, we just moved away from London and are officially gypsies for an undetermined amount of time!

DJ Times: How did your remix of Depeche Mode’s “Should Be Higher” come to be?
Viv: We’ve both been longtime fans of Depeche Mode and our management hooked up an opportunity to remix their track on spec. We got word that they had rejected the first eight submitted remixes, so we jumped at the challenge.

DJ Times: What differences do you notice between playing festival and club crowds?
Viv: An obvious fact is the amount of people attending; for festivals, we usually play a bit faster BPM with more epic hands-in-the-air-type songs that stay true to our sound. Not to generalize, but the age group at festivals is usually a lot younger than clubs, so they demand more energy.

DJ Times: What hardware and software are you using in the studio?
Viv: We’ve got a makeshift studio in Tulum, Mexico, right now just to get rough demos down. We worry about the “analities” and mixing when we get back to Europe. We’re using Logic Pro X, Ableton 9, a Mac Mini, MOTU MK2 Traveller soundcard, the UAD satellites, and a Roland sampling pad to bang some sticks on. I think the most important piece of gear we have with us is the Zoom9 recorder; we’ve been spotted running after Mexican salesmen on the street driving around beeping and yodelling about their products! We’ve also been spotted stalking the town for singers and musicians, but I think the best outing was to a cave cenote where we recorded many instruments with surprisingly favorable acoustics.

Preview Blond:ish’s remix of Depeche Mode’s “Should Be Higher” remix below, and go to Blond-ish.com for more information. Buy tickets to see the pair on tour here.

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