ELECTROWEEN 2015: An Exploration of the Self

In Music

Matt and I are excited to announce that we have released our ELECTROWEEN 2015 mixes to passionately celebrate the Halloween season at hand. These releases mark six years of Halloween productions for the series, which we’re pretty stoked about. After countless hours of listening, conceptualization, sampling, production work and mastering, the mixes have finally arrived just in time to get your booties bouncing for Halloween!

ELECTROWEEN 2015 pumpkin carved by VII
ELECTROWEEN 2015 pumpkin. Can you tell we are excited?!?

Arguably our biggest and most ambitious creative project of the year, ELECTROWEEN 2015 loosely (and somewhat abstractly) explores the archetypal character that is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, created by French author Robert Louis Stevenson in his culturally renowned 1886 novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The first mix dives into Dr. Jekyll’s personal transformation and explores the character’s emotional depth, while the second mix represents Mr. Hyde’s endless pursuit of pleasure and debauchery. The Jekyll & Hyde Mix combines the individual mixes together to form one massive, continuous two hour megamix.

Download The Mixes Right Here, Right Now!

We were unable to successfully upload our mixes to Mixcloud this year, thus we encourage you to download our ELECTROWEEN 2015 master archive directly from Dropbox. From there, you can listen to the mixes at your own leisure. You can also check out our past ELECTROWEEN releases on my Souldier VII Mixcloud page, which will eventually be taken down and all mixes will be hosted here at GAIA BROS.

Where It All Began: Reconnecting With The Past

It all started with my recent rediscovery of The Timewriter, an internationally-praised German house DJ known for his signature atmospherically dense sounds and soulful vocals. Back in my college DJing days, his tracks made up a large selection of my deep house mixes, making frequent appearances in my Chillout Sessions series, circa 2007-2009. His work possesses a colorful depth and aesthetic unlike any other artist I’ve ever listened to. Even after eight years, my feelings still stand.

The Timewriter’s influence on my musical taste and interest in DJing is endless. For me, he is the embodiment of the classic, quality-driven and ever-attentive deep house sound. His music is generally a good ten years ahead of its time. The Timewriter is a figure like Daft Punk or Michael Jackson; he is someone others aspire to be throughout their careers. Someone who is timeless and refined. The UK Muzik Magazine said it best with the following statement: “This is real 21st century soul music, overflowing with magic.”

Over the past three months I’ve been obsessively researching Discogs to learn about his releases and hunt down vinyl copies of his records from collectors in Germany, Spain, France, and Canada. His label, Plastic City, was not well publicized in the states (go figure, it’s fucking electronic dance music) and the only way I knew about him originally was through my typical Beatport meanderings back in 2006. Reconnecting with The Timewriter essentially created a black hole for me which led to the creation of this dark, spiritual tale of Jekyll and Hyde. What became an obsession ultimately turned into a celebration of life, self-identity, self-reflection and spiritual rejuvenation.

In Vino Veritas: The Birth of a Concept

You may be wondering where the Jekyll and Hyde concept came from. Here’s the story. My wife Lindsey and I were in Sonoma wine country in late September for the 2015 Crush weekend. We were leaving wine country to return to the East Bay when I told her that I was searching for a flexible concept for the upcoming ELECTROWEEN 2015 mixes that would integrate the deep house sounds of The Timewriter. She immediately suggested Jekyll and Hyde, and from that moment on, it all fell into place inside my mind. I’d weave the emotional fabric of Dr. Jekyll with deep house as my toolkit, while Matt would inevitably kill it with sick electro and progressive beats while delving into the character of Mr. Hyde.

The following night I told Matt about the concept, and he was digging it. We hashed out the details of our game plan in late September and got to work on our ideas. With the concept out of the way, we were able to dive into our characters’ minds and create our interpretations of a single man with two distinctly contrasting personalities. Throughout our endeavors, we’ve felt grateful to have the opportunity to closely reflect on what it means to be good and evil, and question if a distinction truly exists. We’ll let you be the judge.

Jekyll, or the Repercussions of Curiosity and Desire

Jekyll Mix By VII

From VII (Scott): With this mix, I wanted to break my own formula that I’ve been following for the past six years (and even before that). This sixth release is very different. It’s 18 minutes longer than my past mixes on average and succeeds where previous mixes didn’t. That is, it establishes an emotionally intelligent framework that encompasses you like smoke from a nostalgic campfire. You can’t shake it, because you are Jekyll experiencing this active transformation. It’s like drinking straight from Dr. Jekyll’s vial to seek out and learn the secrets of life for yourself. You are literally part of the voyage.

The Jekyll mix is a patient production showcasing sentimental depth and psychological detail, with lots of feelings to explore from start to finish. It pairs well with sinking into your favorite chair, or while driving around town at night. Ideally its perfect for a lights out type of listening experience. I also left the ending somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation. I hope this encourages fans of the series to revisit it often.

I can honestly say that this is my most ambitious mix released to date. This was exactly the mix I wanted to make this year. I’ve put all of my heart and soul into bringing Jekyll to life, along with showing A LOT of love for the Metal Gear Solid series, and of course, the Japanese cult classic Sweet Home released by Capcom in 1989. Both spoke to me in a very mature and emotionally-developed tone. I borrowed audio clips from these games to establish a self-reflective and introspective atmosphere curated to fit the theme of Dr. Jekyll.

Hyde, or the Consequences of Lust and Self-Indulgence

Hyde Mix By Loveless

From Loveless (Matt): My initial inspiration for the Hyde Mix isn’t featured anywhere in the final version. It was the opening theme song to the game Bully by Rockstar Games that caught my fancy. This is a PlayStation 2 era game brought to you by the makers of Grand Theft Auto series. I haven’t played the game, but the music immediately stood out to me when a host of a podcast I frequently listened to recommended it. The beautiful whimsy of the song combined with the unique Halloween type sound blew me away. It reminded me of something you would hear from a pit orchestra in a high school production. Simple rock guitar combined with timpani drums, a bass, and a rocking xylophone.

When Scott put forth the Jekyll and Hyde idea it made a lot of sense. Both of us were thinking about two different styles. Jekyll and Hyde fit right in with the aforementioned high school play sound. It was perfect. However, as I revisited the concept the opening for Persona 3 won my favor. The entire Persona series is focused on identity and discovery of self. I couldn’t ignore it once we decided to go with Jekyll and Hyde.

At the start of the mix, a withdrawn narrator introduces the character to his new “friend.” The narrator simply calls attention to this metamorphosis, allowing the character to play out his part in the story. What follows is a mix full of power and lust. I hope your feet ache after dancing so hard. I wanted this mix to have a lot of quick transitions to keep the intensity up while showing the transient and violent nature of unbridled desires. There are brief periods of reprieve when you hear the sensible side fighting back. In the end, I view Hyde and Jekyll as agreeing to coexist rather than to not exist at all. I hope you enjoy their struggle.

Jekyll and Hyde, Two Sides Of The Same Coin

The Jekyll and Hyde Mix cover art showcases both mixes coming together in a vibrant, contrasting way. It was designed specifically for the 2 hour mega mix.

Jekyll and Hyde Mix by VII and Loveless

Pssst…. Spread The Word

If you enjoy our mixes, please do not hesitate to share them with your friends. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below too, so don’t be shy!

Thanks for listening, and we hope that you have a personally transformative Halloween. It’s time to crack open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate after all this hard work!

VII (Scott) & Loveless (Matt)