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Interview: Getting The Lowdown On Duo Alias

Interview: Getting The Lowdown On Duo Alias

Thursday 22nd June, 2017 10:30AM

Duo Alias are a Wellington based industrial techno powerhouse. The pair have been picked up by reputable techno label Variance, with who they recently released their second long player, fittingly titled Second Sight, and to celebrate their album drop they're bringing their deep, dark tunes to Whammy Backroom this weekend. In anticipation of this dance floor inferno, we sat down with Ross Dutton (aka Feedback) and Seb Pepping (Maxi Boost) to discuss being label mates with the incomparable Ansome, their recent collaborations and their hot picks for the genre at present...

UTR: So, how did you decide on your musical moniker? Are you mysterious dudes?

We were pondering over a name as we'd been working together for about a year... we needed an alias for our duo. We're not that mysterious, we're pretty blatant! We're definitely techno hermits.

You’re playing in Auckland to celebrate the release of your album Second Sight on respected Irish techno label Variance. Tell us a little about the album and how you hooked up with a label from the emerald isle?

We'd just came back from Auckland and had just seen Nina Kraviz and had crashed on John from Twin Digits’ couch. We woke up to a message from Luke Creed on our Soundcloud. We had a few people out there who have put in some good words too! He asked us to send what we have, which at that point was 13 "ready to go" tracks. It was a collection of stuff we had of varying styles from the past wee while. We maybe expected to get one or two tracks out on a compilation, but he took seven of them, came up with the intro ambient track to tie it together and sent it over! We were pretty wrapped.

Samari is supporting you at this show, who I understand is an old friend and collaborator of yours. Tell us a little about your relationship with him?

Seb used to go see Samari play at Electroluxxe, he worked at DMC at the time, and Seb started giving him mixes. After a while he broke Samari and eventually started playing at the Electroluxxe gigs at Sandwiches, and played with a few internationals and have been mates ever since. Seb did some remixes in the past for him too. He was the first person to sign and release one of our tracks too. And now Ross knows of him through Seb!

I see you’ve also been jamming with modular synth wizard Alper. Tell us a little about him and his buzz?

Alper is a mate of ours, he's been supporting us from the start and always great for gear and music related yarns. He's gone down the modular synth rabbit hole and we just decided to get him over to throw all our gear in a pile and jam. He does mean modular soundscapey stuff and ambient electronica, which kinda complemented what we were doing and filled in some gaps! Would be rad to have a 3-way with him on stage with him sometime too....

You’re also label mates with Ansome, who bought the thunder to Whammy Backroom recently. Do you know him personally at all? Did he have any words to say about dance music culture in Auckland?

We met him briefly and had extra yarns with him after the tech talk Emergence put on before his Wellington show. He seemed like a nice guy. He didn’t have time to talk much, but he seemed to have fun in NZ as a whole and looks like Keepsakes and Jaded Nineties Raver gave him the grand tour.

Only recently have I been made aware that the genre of techno can exist in much darker, textural realms then my naïve, smiley-face-t-shirts and bright rave colours preconception of the style. What are some artists that bought you over to the dark side?

Ansome, Clouds, Perc, Truss, Karenn, Paul Birken, Keepsakes, Rebekah, JoeFarr, Lag, basically anyone on MORD! We both love dark and heavy music. Seb always liking his dark heavy electro and Ross being into dirty pots and pans drum and bass. With techno, Seb was already into it a bit (but not at the more aggressive end of the scale), but together we just kinda gravitated towards the darker stuff till we found ourselves neck deep in it.

I understand you guys play a slew of analogue gear live. What are some of your favourite sonic toys?

It's not all analogue actually, most of it is digital based hardware. A couple of bits have analogue parts to them like the Volca Kick and the Volca Sample. We don’t mean to open a can of worms, but we don't care too much for that "vintage" sound when everything is being slammed by a guitar pedal/amp emulation or effects anyway. Distortion is our best friend. Ross’s is waiting on one of the first shipment of Elektron Digitakts, their new drum sampler box. Being portable and ability to use live with ease is what we’re after.

What are your thoughts on techno in New Zealand right now?

It's a small, but growing scene, and people are taking notice now. People are definitely going out to more techno gigs, Ansome the other week had Valhalla rammed. It was a great party. Techno is a BIG genre, there so many different styles. NZ seems to enjoy the more deep and melodic stuff, but we think people are making a turn to the darker as they hear more. Like rolling thunder. NZ is underexposed to it and it's been interesting seeing how people take to it, whether it being flashed boobs or being told to fuck off by some guy on the dancefloor.

Do you think it is worthwhile compartmentalising genres or even music as a whole by geography in this present Internet age?

Not really, music is music. By all means support your locals though. They are out there trying to make it too. Some level of compartmentalisation is needed to separate things out so people know what you're actually talking about though.

Any hot tips on up and coming artists that you particularly dig?

ABSL, Dentis, RENDERED, Henge, Dep Affect to name a small few. Heaps of people on Variance, Raven Sigh and the smaller labels for sure. Shouts to Scenedrone/Luke Creed and Huck Farper who run those two though.


Catch Duo Alias at Whammy Backroom this Saturday for the Auckland date of their Second Sight release tour. For full details, head over here.


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Sat 24th Jun
Whammy Backroom, Auckland

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