Wellington DJs Artur and Marek, better known as Eastern Bloc, had some rad times in the year that's just passed us by. Releasing their polished collection of electronic jams aptly dubbed the ‘Flamingo EP’, playing festivals such as Rhythm and Vines, and catching the attention of entities such as Red Bull Sound Select; things are only looking up.
I managed to catch a quick chat with one-half of the Eastern Eurpean-born, Welly-based production duo before they head down to Auckland's Tapapakanga Park this weekend - amongst a throbbing crowd of thousands - to play at the one and only annual Splore. DJ Marek (aka Marek Peszynski) and I talked collabs, bassline, and of course, flamingos.
I caught your set at RNV, it was so dope. One of my favourite of that night. What about playing that festival did you like?
Thanks! Yeah, it was probably our favourite show we’ve ever played. We're used to quite long slots, so being able to put together a structured 1 hour set of all our favourite tracks was great. Plus we have to shout out R&V for the killer timeslot, as the opportunity to play our own music at 10pm on a New Years eve to 1000’s of people was a trip! People were going wild, and we vibed from that.
Where did you get the name ‘Flamingo’ from? And what about it resonated with you so much that you wanted to brand your EP by it?
I guess we were toying with a lot of bright imagery to juxtapose the bleak, grey perception that is associated with Eastern Europe. Lots of 80’s Miami, sports cars, neon, and the Flamingo just kept on popping up. Now they’re a mascot of sorts, for the meantime anyway.
Individually, what are your favourite songs on the EP and why?
I love the opening track ‘Pinky’. I listened to a lot of bassline and UK Garage, so it reminds me of a more modern, bouncy take on that sound. Artur is a fan of ‘Come Over’, featuring vocals sung by Zoe and penned by Nick from Sachi. It’s a softer track which allows the production to flex the multiple layers and sound textures people are familiar with.
I noticed that while the EP is electronic through and through, the variation within that bracket of music is huge. Songs like ‘Soda’ and ‘Come Over’ are so different in the way they feel. Who brings what to the table in terms of influence?
I’ve been playing hip hop, house and US club music (Jersey/Bmore etc) since the 90’s, whilst Artur is classically trained and has a strong technical background as well as djing. It was inevitable the EP was going to be eclectic genre-wise, but we feel it all comes together consistently as a body of work as different as each track is.
What are you guys excited about for your 2016?
Lots more music and shows! We’re really excited about Splore. Along with R&V, it's another one of our NZ ‘bucket list’ festivals, and we’ve only ever heard amazing things.
Being a part of the Red Bull Sound Select programme, too, as it opens up constant global opportunities and connections which we’re always looking to jump on.
We've also just released another remix this past week via Skrillex’s Blog/label NEST HQ who have been really supportive so we’re keen to keep building on that relationship as well.