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5 Minutes With... Calmos & Berzingue



Introducing Calmos & Berzingue, after being operating for the past few years under the name ALVA, with debut releases on Pont Neuf, Chez Damier's sub-label Inner Balance or on Dansu Discs, the Parisian duo Calmos & Berzingue has decided to get back to the roots of a more percussive and mental deep house universe. With their new EP “Belleville”, they pay tribute to those years which saw them immerse themselves in the production of their first tracks, in the famous Parisian district. 'Belleville' EP dropped February 12th via Pont Neuf Records


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Check out some of the music below and see what the duo had to say when we caught up with them...




1. Give us the lowdown on this release...


"Belleville" is our first vinyl EP for the Calmos & Berzingue project. After a bunch of

releases under "ALVA", we felt like we wanted to take a slightly different path, towards a

more live and analog-oriented percussive deep/tech house.

Also, this name change is a way for us to have individual aliases that we'll use for solo

releases. 


In this new EP, we release 4 tracks that have each a specific context related to them. We

used a wide array of instruments at the studio Berzingue co rents with other members of

Pont Neuf Records. Calmos used to rent it too before going back to Dijon one year ago. 

That is why this release feels special to us: its a tribute to the neighbourhood where we met

in architecture school 7 years ago, hence to the times where we'd skip classes together to

go beatmaking. It's our personal ode at being together, reminiscing of our musical evolution

in the last years.


Each track title evokes an important place to us in Belleville district, in the North-East of

Paris. 


First comes, a powerful house roller driven by evolving stabs and FM synth licks. 

After the stabs and bass build up, a moog lead slowly makes its way to the foreground.

It is named after La Java, a popular disco in Belleville where we had lots of parties and are

yearning to go back to... 


Then, Piat, refers to a place on top of Belleville park. It opens with a filtered pad chord

progression slowly building up like the park's haze in the morning and that evolves throughout the track.


We then tried to have a balance between organic and synthetic

sounds, mixing samples of acoustic instruments with studio recordings of analog gear, to

have this idea of a place that is both very urban and organic at the same time, a bit like an

escape from the city inside the city. There's also a vocal from one of us recorded raw on a

phone, that we eventually kept in place because we liked it.  


Take down the stairs of the park and you'll be in 'Pali Kao' street, a name that had an exotic

dimension to us, a kind of mystical aura.  


We had this jam in which we'd use an oriental scale, taking us to some scapes we

found exciting, but we did not really know how to arrange it. We made a lot of live versions

before arranging it (one of which is viewable on Traxsource's Instagram), using the Waldorf

Streichfett for the melodies, the moog grandmother for some leads and pretty much all

drum machines we had. 


'Burnouf' is the street by the backyard of the school, and somehow the antechambre of our

feelings, an introspective place for both our hopes and our fears. At some times it was

cheerful talks in perfectly sunny afternoons, at other times it was anxious growth at the

middle of the night relentlessly working on our architecture models. The track was made

between 2018 and now, using both digital and analogue worlds, and the vibe tries to convey

all these mixed feelings.



2. If you had to pick one, what would be your biggest career highlight to date?


One year ago, Elrow asked Pont Neuf to mix for their festival at Barcelona. Our 4 year

compilation 'Hexagonal' was just released and came with it a bunch of other european

dates for summer, which sadly were eventually cancelled. But Elrow barcelona was taking

place one month before all the restrictions began, and the covid impact was

underestimated at that time. So it took place, and it's the last club memory we have. But

what a memory !


The place was on the outskirts of Barcelona. We took a big cab all together, had some

quite intense conversations inside while driving by the sea on a perfect sunny day. When we

arrived, the vibes were just good. People with all kind of funny outfits (it was carnaval), with

a perfect mixed up smell of lime, weed and good food.   


At 3 pm the crew was behind the desks and all the guys killed it. KX9000 did a super groovy

warm up, madcat threw some funky joints so everybody was dancing, then Tour-Maubourg

took them on a housey 909's trip before Cosmonection would put el fuego en la casa ! 

 

At that time there were like two thousand smiling faces in front of the speakers, and it was

our turn to play. Never had we felt such an energy.


What was awesome, was the vibe of the trip. We were just having good times between

friends, from sharing great local tapas to going in one of these Barcelona's special social

clubs..!


We were all so enthusiastic, willing to do this everywhere in the world, accompanied by

Thomas who takes care of all things Pont Neuf, and Fabian (Saudade/TAOS) who

unfortunately could not be there. 


Then we had to take the flight back... We both were so hungover that we decided to take

some air outside after the cab to the airport. We lost all the other brothers and went to the

wrong terminal, sprinting back to the good one when we'd realised. Our glassy eyes and

tequila smell had to meet those of dozens of passengers as we had to ask them to let us

pass before them, then Calmos was suspected to have dangerous materials at the security

checkpoint... We almost missed the plane and spent one of our craziest hours to date

together.


3. If we were allowed to be out partying, what current records would you be playing out at every set?


Now this is a good vocal garage/deep house club classic! Instrumental of the remix has got

a pretty dope UK atmosphère and 4/4 groove is tight. We probably played this one in half

our sets, and put it in other selections, but we just love so much the energy on this cut.



This whole vinyl sounds so good ! When the second subs kicks in, just mental. Berzingue

stumbled across it by chance at "I, International records" (now Bigwax) which was our

meeting point at Belleville, as Calmos lived on the record shop's street for years. 

If deep and dubby grooves are your thing, be sure to check the whole EP !



A track from brother madcat - whom we produced with under our "Paris Groove" alias - that

has got quite dope sampling work going on. The groove is infectious and the tone is really

warm and pleasant : perfect for warming up the place or just casually groove at a before.

We also could have chosen "Heard it" from him on Virage, which has more than 1,5M views

on youtube via Houseum. 

One love Guilou!



Staying in a close circle, we met Thomas a.k.a Nephase a few years ago and quickly got along

well with him. He sent us some demos, which we loved, and "Lather" is one of them.  

He'll be featured on the next Virage compilation with a new track, alongside Mohdee, Paawl

and ourselves.



Where do we start with Theos? He was a friend of Adrien (Cosmonection) and enjoyed our

productions so we got in contact. We listened to his demos and were quite amazed by his

skills and sound design. "White Bird" had this really groovy bassline on jazzy chords which

we loved, so we released it on Virage, and it was uploaded by Slav on youtube.  

He spent a bit of time in the studio with Berzingue and they'll soon release the track they

made on a vinyl compilation. Now he's releasing banger after banger and seems ready for a

big 2021. 


If he can remember to always keep experimenting and not to fall in doing the same recipes,

he'll be one of the producers to watch in the next decade.



4. What's coming up next for you?


"Virage Airways Vol. III" will be sent soon to mastering with a new track of ours.

We will also each have a track on an upcoming Pont Neuf compilation, and Berzingue will

release some solo tracks soon. 


But our main focus is to play live with our hardware and build a liveset for the clubs when

they'll reopen!   


We are now able to work remotely, and we meet twice a month in the studio to jam. 

Calmos takes Care of the drums and percs, and Berzingue does the harmonic parts : bass,

chords, mélodies etc.. Arranging is mainly going back and forth between both our ideas.

Calmos uses an Elektron digitakt and an Elektron Model samples, and some occasional other

drum machines (606, 808...)


Berzingue uses an MPC live and an Elektron Model Cycles, and some occasional other synths

(Minilogue, 303, Streichfett...)



5. If you could spend 5 minutes with anyone, who would it be and why?

We both miss seeing each other every day like we used to...  So we'd spend 5 mins together

because we would like to jam more and we have that live set to shape!

BELLEVILLE EP

CALMOS & BERZINGUE

PONT NEUF RECORDS

RELEASED: 12th February

BUY LINK




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