The weekend has landed and all that matters now is clubs, drugs, pubs and parties. You've got 48 hours off the 9-5, it's time to unbutton your hustle and breathe vigor back into life. Whether it be through losing your soul on the dance floor or grooving to it, we have your soundtrack covered. The EARMILK Weekend Selector, an exclusive guest mix series where we invite the latest budding talent from behind the booth to usher you through all the boozie and jam. From your morning bedside to tonight's evening formal, your weekend selector is here to fill a void of good taste and allow fresh connections to flow vicariously.
Casting off into the low end of the dance register, London's downtempo darling Second Date sits poised in his addition to the Weekend Selector series. Not that the fresh faced producer has perched himself against a single genre, the virtuoso wanders amongst electronic sonatas and R&B slow jams. Pigeonholed by beats per minute not by sound. Giving him the freedom to embody a palette of styles like disco, house, chillwave, blues, and even "post-dubstep" in his works. Regardless of the colours, his aptness to paint lush padded atmospheres and gloomy basslines have instilled a tint of warmth on any canvas he touches. Making for a portfolio of lively tracks sought after by tenants of serene socials and balmy relationships. No where do these tunes settle perfectly than in the careful collection of remixes and originals by the foreign inspirations of Second Date's tracklist. Opening with a sedative moan in the chemical inspired "Rohyp-hop", the tape features a hypnotic intro. Shifting into a Drake ft. Omarion edit transposed well below a few octaves down and clearing the pouty vibes with his latest remix for "Uncomfortable" by fellow Parisian collaborator DJ Cam.
There's no doubt that Toronto heartthrob The Weeknd comes to mind before Second Date even cues up his world debute "What You Need". Yes it's been about 12 months since its release, but don't write this pick off as a case of bottled taste. Note the way the sob is mixed, initially emitting from the sampled Aaliyah acapella the transition is keen and exclusive. A testament to clever crate digging, the vocals undergo an echoing metamorphosis into the eerie abyss of chords and heartbreak. Bringing back those goosebumps that came to a head the first time you heard it. Other highlights include a sappy edit of Bon Iver's "Babys", giving the hyped single even more blissful overtones and a re rub of Washed Out's "You'll See It" that intoxicates the listener on another level of daziness. A change of heart to the series as each minute leans upon an infatuating message and comforting emotion. We had a word with the love doctor himself, uncovering hidden inspirations and the definition of what it truly means to play "live" in our interview below.
EARMILK: First I want to ask about how you started out – did you play any instruments prior to getting your hands on drum machines and synthesizers? What made you fall into creating electronic music and did you have any preexisting bands or side projects?
Second Date: I started out playing piano a little as a kid, but my first foray into electronic music came when I was about 13, with MTV Music Generator. So I guess my first real instrument was a video game?
I played bass as a teenager but spent the whole time teaching myself the piano and learning to produce drumbeats in various computer programs. So electronic music was my entry into music in general – I loved that you could create all the parts of a song, not just one element. Anyone who has played bass by themselves for 30 minutes will tell you it gets kind of boring!
I've never been in a proper "band" but I have had lots of side projects, the main one being Royal Native. I teamed up with an acoustic singer-songwriter who wanted to go electric, and we wrote music together for a couple of years, experimenting with different styles and genres. Actually, Second Date started out as a side project for Royal Native, which allowed me to do more electronic remixes. But I love producing more analogue stuff too.
EM: Your music has a lot of elements from dance genres, but the slow tempo makes everything tip toward experimental and more on the indie side of things. Where do you see yourself between all of this? Are your tracks geared more towards the dancefloor first or rather self expression?
SD: I've always liked dance music, but I am a producer first and foremost, not a DJ. I sort of fell into making dance music by accident, and it was exciting to get involved with the genre more, and learn how it works, but at the same time some of its most celebrated musicians spend six nights a week in the club and that's never really been my thing.
Dance music for me has always been "headphone" music. I think that's because I first got into house music when I lived in the US, I was 14 at the time. I was way too young to be going out to clubs and getting hammered but dance music was played on the radio in the UK when I visited relatives during the holidays, so I guess it sounded like home. Also I lived in suburbia in the US, so I liked being the only 8th grader who was into house music when everyone else was listening to Sean Paul and Ja Rule.
EM: Not that you have anything against hip hip though, I see a lot of it in this mixtape like Ludacris, Azealia Banks, and even R&B from The Weeknd and Aaliyah. Given that you like to lounge in this BPM let me ask, have you ever produced any hip hop beats or plan to?
SD: Yeah I started out making hip hop beats more than dance stuff. Some of my favourite producers are hip hop producers and I'm also really into "abstract hip hop", all the Brainfeeder stuff and post-trip-hop or whatever you want to call it. I've been working with a few other artists on non-dance projects, and the results are much closer to hip hop than house music.
EM: I know that you've lived in New York and Paris so tell me what city have you found to be the most inspiring when it comes to writing new music and which one do you feel has a better thriving music scene?
SD: It's as much about time as it is about the place, I think. My interaction with the New York music scene was as a teenager, so I went to a lot of indie gigs and got really into live music. Paris has a great image but the music scene can be a little closed-off. It's smaller, which is cool but even the more "laid-back" scenes can be a little exclusive. At least in my experience, it involved a fair amount of name-dropping. I live in London now and the music scene here is vast; there really is something for everyone. It takes a little longer to get immersed in (I still definitely haven't) but as time goes by you start to figure out which parts you like, and you will always find like-minded people.
EM: What gear do you use when you play out, and do you dream of putting together a live show sometime in the future?
SD: At the moment I use an Ableton rig with an APC40 controller, and hope to incorporate an iPad too. It seemed the most practical way to incorporate a bit of live production to a DJ set – I break down my remixes into stems and have a bit more control over them. I would love to put on more of a complete show – at the moment I'm limited by resources mainly, and probably musical ability. I have a great respect for musicians – electronic or otherwise – who can recreate their sounds in front of a crowd; as a producer that's sort of the final frontier for me.
Also there is something awesome about seeing electronic music being reinterpreted through live instruments (when it works!). But then you also hear people shit-talking laptop performances, and I don't really see what the issue is. Just pressing "play" is one thing, but if you make computer-based music, the computer is probably the best way to recreate that sound. Just because one dude can't afford to have 3 keyboardists, 2 percussionists and a steel pan onstage, doesn't mean it's less authentic. I don't know, it's the 21st century, get over it.
EM: Congratulations on your DJ Cam remix by the way, do you have any more remixes and EPs in the pipeline?
SD: Yes, plenty more remixes in the pipeline. I spent the second half of 2011 in a cottage in the Scottish countryside writing music and remixing, so things should get released over the next few months. Collateral's debut EP is forthcoming, which I did a remix for. It's a bit faster than my usual stuff so excited to see what people think of that. And hopefully an EP or two are on the horizon as well!
EM: And lastly I want to say thank you for making this mixtape, it's very different from anything that's been featured in this series so I think our readers will really find something to enjoy here.
SD: No problem, I love Earmilk so I'm glad you like it!
01. Sculptures – Rohyp-hop (Original Mix): CDR
02. Drake ft. Omarion – Bria's Interlude (Screwed edit): CDR
03. DJ CAM – Uncomfortable (Second Date Remix): Inflammable / !K7
04. Aaliyah – Rock the Boat (Acapella): Virgin
05. The Weeknd – What You Need (Original Mix): XO
06. Jolie Cherie – Insomnie (Second Date Remix): Kitsuné
07. James Holden – Idiot (Original Mix): Border Community
08. Charli Baltimore – Money (Acapella): Epic
09. James Blake – I Mind (Original Mix): A&M Records
10. Class Actress – Journal of Ardency (Original Mix): Terrible Records
11. Jeremy Glenn – New Life (Perseus 'Summer of '83' Remix): Future Classic
12. Bon Iver – Babys (Second Date Edit): CDR
13. Tiger & Woods – Lab File #02 (Edit): CDR
14. Washed Out – You'll See It (Midland Edit): CDR
15. Strange Talk – Eskimo Boy (Tim Fuchs Remix): CDR
16. Ludacris ft. Trey Songz – Sex Room (Original Mix): DTP Records
17. Azealia Banks – 212 (Original Mix): XL Records
18. Major Lazer – Pon de Floor (Original Mix): Mad Decent
19. Second Date – Young, Beautiful, Etc. (Royal Native Remix): Hotel Costes