The clue lies within the name and make no mistake about it, The Analogue Cops are militant when it comes to their music: it has to be analogue. As DJs they play only vinyl, as producers they strictly use analogue equipment, and when they play live it is the same. Hailing from a small town in the north east of Italy, Lucretio and Marieu met as teenagers, then formed stronger musical bonds after both living in Barcelona. Disillusioned with the easy-fix role that digital platforms were providing in music, they decided to set up their own record label and start producing, adhering to a strict analogue policy. Now based in Berlin, since 2007, Restoration Records has been an outlet for their uncompromising take on purist techno and house. Also known as Xenogears and OCP, the duo have been steadily upping their work rate to the point now where they both have their own subsidiary labels and have been collaborating with the likes of Ryan Elliot, Blawan and Steffi, the latter project under the name Third Side. Little White Earbuds got in touch with the prolific pair to talk about the Third Side début album, how they got turned on to proper techno in Padua, and to find out more about their stance on all things analogue. Instead of a usual DJ mix we have been treated to a special live PA jam by The Analogue Cops for our 141st exclusive podcast; the result of one day in their studio and all material created solely for our listening pleasure.
First of all how did the two of you meet?
We come from the same little town, Cadoneghe, in the suburbs of Padua. We were living in two different neighborhoods, but we know each other since our teenage days. We have a lot of friends in common. Then we lived together in Barcelona because of one of these common friends; and in Barcelona we shared two turntables and a lot of records. And now we are living in Berlin and running more than a label together.
It seems like you both had similar backgrounds in terms of being interested in proper techno. Was that a part of growing up in Padua? What was the music scene like there?
There was a little scene in Padua, a scene that has grown in the last years. Even if the town is really small, you can now find international artists almost every week. Back in the days, there were not so many international artists coming to our city, and the Internet was not what it is now. But some very good Italian artists were playing cutting edge European and American electronic music. Lucretio was more into techno while Marieu was more into house. But then in Barcelona we were exposed to a heavy amount of techno. We were listening regularly to people such as Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Surgeon, Ben Sims, Scan X. But house music is a part of our background and our music is a mixture of techno and house. Always. Techno comes from house, we never forget that.
What prompted both of you to move to Barcelona?
Lucretio got an Erasmus scholarship in Barcelona in 2002 and then he stayed there. After one year Marieu went to visit him for holiday and decided that it was a good place to stay.
At what stage did you both decide to get serious about music, to start producing and have your own label?
It was around 2005. We were really disappointed about the new records in the shop. We were disappointed by the scene. We were disappointed by all the Serato/Traktor. We were buying a lot of records, but most of them were records of the past. So the idea of Restoration came as the idea of a restoration of the kingdom of the analogue music, being that it is produced mostly with machines and played with vinyls.
Had either of you been producing on your own before you started your Xenogears project?
Lucretio took a degree of electronic music producer at the Sae Institute of Barcelona. When Marieu moved to Berlin they started to share their knowledge of the machines and they started the Xenogears project and the Restoration label.
Your first releases came out on your own label Restoration. Was it a decision right from the start to have your own label? Had you tried to shop your tracks around to other labels before this?
We decided that we wanted to press our own music on our own label because we didn’t want to deal with anybody’s decision. The most important thing for us was (and will always be) to decide what music we want to put out. It was risky, but we wanted to press techno music.
The first seven releases on Restoration all featured tracks by Eduardo de la Calle. How did you meet Eduardo? Was it his shared philosophy on analogue vs digital that made you interested in working with him?
We met Eduardo in Barcelona, he was working in a record shop. We liked the same music. He moved to Berlin before us, and then we were making music in the studio he built up. He was the first artist we met to insist in the necessity of analogue processing.
Have you discussed the idea of producing music with Eduardo as well?
It was hard for us to make music together with Eduardo because we have two work methodologies that do not fit together.
You’ve been working with Steffi for a few years as Third Side. How did this project start?
We knew Steffi for her excellent work as label boss of Klakson. We listened to one of her sets at Panorama Bar back in the days and we were really, really enjoying her music. So we brought a bunch of promos to her. She loved our music, so the following week she came to our place with a bunch of her promos. She saw our studio… and as she loves machines as much as we do, we decided that we had to meet to do music together. And then Third Side was born.
And you’ve just released a Third Side album. Where was this recorded and how did the recording process work?
The album was written, mixed and produced at our studio in the Restoration headquarters. As usual, all the music was produced without the auxiliary of any computer and recorded at the first take on magnetic tape. We were meeting one or two times a week for a couple of months. Nd_baumecker and Virginia also joined us in two studio sessions. We wanted to do a techno album, dance floor oriented. So, it is what it is. You can play in a club all the tracks you have in the album. And as everything was recorded on the first take, it has a strong live feeling; it is something that you cannot (re)create, it is a moment in time fixed on a groove.
You guys collaborate with a number of other people (Steffi, Blawan, Ryan Elliot, Alex Picone to name a few). When you make music with them is the analogue stance maintained throughout? Are any of the people you collaborate with using software in their own studios?
When we collaborate to other people we want to record the music on tape on the first take, and we want to use machines to get the sound. And we want an analogue desk and analogue processing. When they work alone they can do what they want
What gear do you bring out for your live shows?
We always bring a sampler, an analogue drum machine, a groovebox, an analogue synth for the bass line, and a bunch of noisy, heavy stomp-boxes. Sometimes we bring an additional hardware sequencer. We prefer small machines because they are easier to carry around, and they can do a lot of damage even if they are very tiny.
You guys are playing as Third Side live at the Hydra Bleep party in London soon. Have you done a Third Side live PA before or will this be the first one?>
We already have done two, one at the TanzHaus West in Frankfurt, and one at the Panorama Bar in Berlin. Both in August. We are going to play live for the Boiler Room in Berlin on October 24th.
The two of you also work as OCP, having released the excellent Delta City EP on Aim. Can we expect to see more OCP releases in the future? And what does OCP stand for?
Of course you can expect more OCP releases in the future. OCP stands for Omni Consumer Products, it was the fictional police corporation manufacturing Robocop. The OCP project is oriented to the manufacturing of raw dub techno with a strong minimalistic approach.
You each have your own labels now for your own material. Will these be used for all solo work by each of you or do you have a particular music policy that you want the labels to reflect?
At the moment, Machines State is a platform for Lucretio’s own work. On the third release of Enlightened Wax, Marieu is releasing two cuts of two young Italian talented producers whose name is Hinode. Both labels are focused on our own personal vision of electronic music, while Restoration is a common ground on which our two tendencies interact.
So far all of the releases on Restoration have either been your own or collaborations with other people. Are we likely to see any other artists have their own releases on Restoration?
At the beginning of 2013 we will release the second single extract from the Third Side album, “Shit On Me” featuring Virginia’s vocals with a couple of new remixes. One should be our friend Morphosis.
You guys have an almost militant stance on using analogue gear. When it comes to remixing other artists, do you take on remix work from artists who have produced their tracks digitally?
We are radical and deployed but we have not any kind of prejudice and we respect everybody’s work when it is done with passion, knowledge, and effort. So we can make remixes of artists that have produced their tracks digitally if we like the music.
What can you tell us about the set you put together for us?
It is a raw minimalistic and live assembled with a bunch of machines at the Restoration headquarters in one single day. All has been done from scratch and nothing has been saved, so it is unique.
With your incredibly prolific output I’m sure you must have lots of things on the go. What can we expect from each of you and all your various projects over the next year?
In the following months we will have the third releases of Machines State and Enlightened Wax, the seventh Appointment, a Parassela EP on Vae Victiss in November, and a split EP as Hands Up/The Analogue Cops + Ryan Elliott planned to be released at the beginning of next year for Bass Culture. But this is just the tip of the iceberg We have a bunch of secret/ unannounced projects that will be released in the following months. Then we will have an album as The Analogue Cops coming out on Restoration in April 2013. Thanks very much. Thank you. Support the scene, support vinyls.