In last year’s IOM x Warehouse Project talent search, Paul and Tom of PSTW stood out with their blend of house and minimal. They kindly agreed to take on warm up-duties for Daniel Avery’s pre-party, superbly setting the tone of the evening prior to Avery hosting the heavyweights Blawan, Call Super, Dr. Rubinstein, Skee Mask, Anastasia Kristensen, HAAi, Peach, IDA, RE:NI, John Loveless and Means&3rd.
We caught up with the DJ duo after their gig at Eastern Bloc to learn a bit more about their musical style and what lies ahead for them in 2019.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
We're two best mates (24 and 25) from Cheshire that have been DJing as a duo now for just under two and a half years. Our musical style varies across the house and minimal spectrum, but all of our sets are aimed to be a continuous groove that keep people energised. Some go-to names that often pop up in our sets are the likes of Janeret, iO Mulen, Romar, S.A.M (and the Mandar guys), Djebali and Diego Krause.
Your selections have a pretty consistent theme of airiness to them. Is there anything that stands out for you when selecting tracks?
We can't get enough of the mystical/dreamy sounding pads and leads that many of these artists will have sat behind a solid drum groove and bassline within their productions. This tends to be the stand out factor to us whilst selecting tracks. For us, S.A.M is probably our biggest influence.
What’s on the horizon for you in 2019?
We've recently signed 2 releases with rEJEKT Music and have an EP coming out with Incepto Music, Ukraine. We've also launched our own label, Lacuna Recordings. This came as a result of our own party. We wanted to showcase the sounds which made it, by both very talented upcoming producers and established ones too. That's a big buzz for us. We've spent years admiring everyone else's work, so we thought 2019 would be a good time to showcase our own.
Do you have any intentions when entering the studio?
We've found when aiming for a particular sound/type of track that it ends in complete mind block. So we've produced all sorts, but we've learnt it's best to see a track through and finish it to 70% of what we feel is our best, including a basic mix down, even if we don't feel it's going to be a big 'hit'. It gets us into the habit of actually finishing a piece of music and not having a bank of 25 projects all half finished, which we used to have and it was pretty frustrating. We learnt this philosophy from an online course we're currently taking called FMM. It’s brilliant.
What software/hardware are you using as the basis of your productions?
For us it's more a case of just opening up Ableton and starting to jam. We use the Ableton Push 2 at the moment as a MIDI controller and love it, as well as a Roland TR-8. There's endless things that can be done with what we have, and at this stage we don't want to overwhelm ourselves with too many plugins/kits. We’re familiarising ourselves with a select few elements, and trying to get as much as we can out of them. The fact there's two of us means we can both push each other and there's always ideas bouncing around.
What does your production process look like?
We tend to start with our drums (we've got some go-to sounds that we usually stick to), then it’s either the pad, lead or bass and working out how to make these elements complementary. It all depends on the mood we're in, I guess! Tom tends to be the bassline writer. He's got a good ear for it and can really drive a track, whereas I love getting into the synths/pads and try to manipulate these to get them moving. A lot of it is just trial and error and happens by luck! We've still got a tonne to learn though. We also find getting into the studio with others is always good for development; bouncing techniques and ideas off other people and learning from each other.
What are you trying to achieve in your productions to make your style unique?
I think the main thing with our productions is that we just want to make music that fits the vibe of our sets. Expect plenty of euphoric/mystic pads and a nice driving bass.