On Insides, Mike Greene's second LP as Fort Romeau and debut for Ghostly International, he achieves a healthy balance between club-ready house music and high art. Every sly groove and sternum-thumping kick drum is adorned in rich texture, giving the entire piece a meticulous elegance that's becoming more and more scarce in the dance music world. Now, after a few months of DJing all over the place, Greene is set to drop Frankfurt Versions, a collection of reworked tracks by some of his closest contemporaries. We caught a few minutes with the UK-based producer, discussing the EP, his music's intended longevity, and what the future holds in store for him. You can also get the first look at Frankfurt Versions below, with Roman Flügel offering up a mutated rendition of "Insides." The full EP drops on Ghostly's dance oriented sub-label, Spectral Sound, on July 6.
EARMILK: Thanks for taking the time to chat! Are you currently touring, or taking some time off?
Fort Romeau: Hi hi, no problem. i think the idea of touring is a thing of the past, especially for DJs. Weekends on, weekdays off for the most part.
EM: Your new remix EP is called Frankfurt Versions. What do the title, and the city of Frankfurt itself, mean to you?
FR: Well the title just comes from the fact that all the remixers are Frankfurt area residents or affiliates (Massi lives in Berlin but is a Live at Robert Johnson resident and releases on the label), and it's better than just calling it “Remixes.” It wasn't planned that way, it's just how it ended up.
EM: What’s your connection to this group of remixers? Are they close friends, or just likeminded producers? A little bit of both?
FR: I guess a little of both, I chat to Orson Wells a lot and am friends with Massimiliano Pagliara too, and then I have just put out a record on Gerd’s Running Back label, so there is a connection somehow to everyone. Mainly they are all producers who's music I really love and play all the time, so they were just the first people i thought about.
EM: When listening to Insides, my mind conjures a lot of images unrelated to dance floors; urban environments, weather, microscopic chemical reactions. Did you intend to make an album that served dual purposes? Were there any particular non-musical inspirations like that for you?
FR: Well I don't find it particularly useful to think of things in dance floor or non-dance floor terms, but I certainly wanted to make the album as rich and sonically interesting as I could at the time. Perhaps a consequence of that is you loose some immediacy but I think that's probably the right balance for a long player. Hopefully it's something people would still want to listen to in five years' time.
EM: In past interviews you’ve seemed very concerned with proper procedure in all things concerning your work. Is the industry overemphasizing the finished product in comparison to process?
FR: I think that the most important thing is for any work to stand on its own as a finished product / presentation, if it requires further explanation to be effective then it has failed.
EM: What do you do to keep your work new and challenging? How might you alter your process for the next batch of songs? Will Fort Romeau ever veer dramatically off course, or would something so drastic require a new name?
FR: Its just exploring that keeps things interesting, obviously I'm working within a loosely defined set of parameters, you always need a context for the music to exist within, but i think as long as you are exploring and developing, it's interesting.
EM: What lies ahead for you in the more immediate future?
FR: Well, mainly more DJing and perhaps another EP towards the end of the year, a couple of remixes for friends….we will see!
Frankfurt Versions tracklist:
01. Insides (Roman Flügel Remix)
02. Lately (Orson Wells Remix)
03. All I Want (Massimiliano Pagliara Remix)
04. Cloche (Tuff City Kids Club Mix)
05. Cloche (Tuff City Kids Disco Mix)
"Insides" (Roman Flügel remix) [Premiere + Interview]
- Spectral Sound
- 'Frankfurt Versions' out 7/6