Budding label project Tale & Tone is an engrossing follow-up from two men that need little introduction. Lee Burridge and Hoj have garnered great renown from their ADID exploits and the pair look set to seize the attention of the electronic music community once again as the exciting adventures of their infant imprint project continue. Since its conception, Tale & Tone has been bringing together a host of exhilarating artists armed with music that is simply made of more – soul, stories and groove. It continues in its mission this month with the release of the Storybook EP volume II, which got its release June 29 on vinyl 12″. We had the pleasure of catching up with the founders along with contributing artists and label newcomers Kora, Wuachuma and Dee Montero.
Buy Storybook EP volume II here.
WWD: Welcome guys! You have been working together creatively for nearly a decade now, what’s the most recent “new” thing you’ve learned about one another?
Lee: I learned Hoj loves Unicorns.
Hoj: I’m learning to love unicorns. I thought they sucked until recently.
WWD: Aside from collaborating in music, how would your lives be different if you hadn’t met?
Lee: I’d know a lot less about the Wild West, Alfred Hitchcock, cleaning naked and have far worse press shots.
Hoj: I’d probably be working for the man while VJ’ing on weekends.
WWD: As you’ve mentioned before, Tale & Tone was launched as an imprint for showcasing unique songs. What are the critical ingredients for a track of this ilk?
Lee: A groove and a story.
Hoj: For sure – those are the two fundamental elements. There’s lots of storytelling brands out there – but without a dope groove that gets my ass shaking, I’m not as interested.
WWD: How have the artists on the second edition of the project captured your vision for the release?
Lee: This one feels like it suits a desert at night. There’s definitely a trek through the musical wilderness at play here.
Hoj: I like that “a trek through the musical wilderness”. It’s funny because we didn’t set out to do that – but now when I listen to it and look at the art and everything else, it feels like that’s what we did.
WWD: Releasing the Storybook EPs primarily on vinyl is an important aspect of the project. What influenced the decision to release on wax instead of digital?
Lee: Everything is available digitally as well. It’s just the way we release. We showcase the artists who will appear digitally over the following number of months that are equal to the amount of artists per that release.
Hoj: Yes – all the tunes will eventually be available digitally. But the vinyl comes out first so vinyl collectors will have first dibs. We’ve received messages from young DJs who bought their first turntable in order to play the first Storybook EP. I love that. I love the physicality of vinyl – the feel, the sound, and how the art can help tell the story. Lee and I both grew up on it, so it holds a special place in our hearts.
WWD: You two have spent many years together at the forefront of the dance music scene. Where do you see labels innovating in the years to come?
Lee: Virtual reality studios where people can dip in and out of projects with their friends on Mars. Probably by next June.
Hoj: Haha. VR studios to be unveiled at Burning Man 2019 probably.
WWD: Many dance music fans have fond memories of you two providing blissful sets at summery, open-air events. Will Tale & Tone be a platform for you to continue creating unique & innovative shows?
Lee: Definitely but we both wanted to build the labels sound, roster and following before just branding a night. It needs to feel special. Something Hoj and I always strive for in everything we do.
Hoj: The entire Tale and Tone idea was born from a conversation about a special event a few years ago. Starting with the sound felt like the right place to begin the story.
Kora & Wuachuma combine once more on Storybook contribution ‘Naavi’
WWD: How did you two come to start producing together?
KORA: We met for the first time in Montreal after we got to play a B2B set together at Velvet with our common friend Nic Falardeau. We decided to stay in touch and a few days later, I invited Adrien over at the studio. The initial goal was that we just meet to «organize sample libraries». Fast forward a few hours later, sun is rising through the studio windows and we have the first draft of our collaboration Nuit D’Afrique. Since then, we became really close friends and created lots of music together.
WUACHUMA: To add to what Mikael said, it all started in the basement of a cool local club called Velvet. I still remember the B2B like it was yesterday. Very grateful Nic had invited me to play that night. I remember thinking to myself wow this guy isn’t too shabby, tight mixing, great track selection, I knew there was something to explore there. Obviously meeting to «organize sample libraries» was ineffective but something really amazing came out of that night. A track that will forever symbolize the essence of teamwork and collaborative work for me, Nuit d’Afrique.
WWD: Is there a mutual vision behind your collaborations? Tell us about your creative process.
KORA: The first ingredient behind our collaborations is friendship and communication. We have so much fun in the studio that the rest comes really naturally. One thing that motivates us to keep working together is that we both push and challenge each other, allowing us to keep learning and growing. We have complementary skill sets so every time we do a session, we both leave with new music, but also new knowledge and skills. We also trade a lot of samples and recordings, which gives us more tools to develop our individual sound palettes.
WUACHUMA: I think there is definitely a mutual vision behind our collaborations. I’m someone that gets very excited when I get in the studio. I’m usually dancing the whole time or standing up most of the session, but what’s interesting is that we are both so into the session that it feels like two engines pushing forward. I thought I had ADHD when I would study in school but I am certain that I am totally good as I can be laser focused on the session for 15+ hours without getting tired. Don’t get me started on Mikael, he can go for 48 hours, it’s dangerous and I have to force him out of the studio. I think something that’s really important in curating collaborations is that you have to take your time and ease into the sessions. I like to chill before I start to make music, maybe take some Cannabis oils and then after some time, I get this urge to start something. That’s when the magic comes for me and I think that Mikael feels the same.
WWD: Hoj + Lee have crafted a unique and creative outlet with the Tale & Tone label. How do you see your track, Naavi, aligning with their idea for the Storybook EP?
KORA: It’s amusing because I ordered the first Storybook Vinyl last year as I was a big fan of the music & artwork. When I met Lee in Montreal a few months ago, he told me with a big smile «Hey I’m happy you enjoyed the Storybook Vol.1, maybe you’ll be on the next edition». I was also in touch with HOJ since the early days of my Kora project, he was kind enough to give me feedback on my music and supported some of my songs including Caddo. From what I feel from the label, Tale&Tone represents colourful music with a meaning while keeping a good energy level for the dance floor. I think ‘Naavi’ has a balance of emotions and melodies while keeping a core of tribal drums that can keep the momentum on the dancefloor.
WUACHUMA: I have been a fan of Tale & Tone for quite some time now. The funny story is that I attended burning man for a few years and I would always make sure to catch Lee’s sets around the Playa (especially Pink Mammoth <3). I remember running into Lee a few times and telling him I would love to release a track on one of his labels one day. Well fast forward 5 years and here we are, it’s really special to have an opportunity to release Naavi with my close friend on a label with such great artists. I think Naavi really fits nicely on the EP, it brings own story to the table over an interesting groove.
WWD: What does it mean to you to have the song released on vinyl?
KORA: It will be our first piece of music on vinyl format, it means so much to me since, it’s really a dream coming to reality.
WUACHUMA: It’s so cool. I recently started to collect vinyls and I’ve discovered so much amazing music. It’s really become a hobby for Mikael and I. To have a song that means a lot to us on vinyl is very special.
WWD: How do you see the resurgence of vinyl culture affecting dance music going forward?
KORA: With an abundance of digital music online and an infinite number of streaming platforms, the resurgence of vinyl is allowing labels & artists to create a new wave of exclusivity and curated content. Even though I don’t think it has a huge impact on a scale of the dance music industry, I like to think that the whole experience behind a vinyl is special: from the moment you order it to when you receive it, when you unpack it and drop the needle on it for the first time, there is something magical behind all this that makes the real music lovers appreciate the records much more. It takes the song outside of the digital cloud and makes it timeless.
WWD: Do you have any future collaborations in the works?
KORA: We have a bunch of collaborations that I’m really excited about. We spent a week at work in the woods recently.
WUACHUMA: We have some fiyaaa coming your way, were really excited to share our collaborations with the world 🙂
Dee Montero continues rich vein of form with imprint debut ‘Mandala’
You’ve released on a range of different labels to date. How does Tale & Tone differ from some of the other forward thinking brands in the dance music realm?
There’s definitely a strong consistency with the music direction and artwork of each release. It’s not overly branded and has a sense of mystery so more focus is on music which is why I’ve been a fan of the label since it’s inception a few years ago
WWD: What is it about ‘Mandala’ do you think that made it a great fit for Lee & Hoj’s vision for the Storybook EP?
The track has strong ethnic and tribal elements combined with groove and melody so I guess it fits with what Lee and Hoj are playing and releasing right now.
WWD: With your deeply rooted history in Ibiza, you’ve been able to work alongside some of the most important names in dance history such as Laurent Garnier & Frankie Knuckles. In your eyes, how have Hoj & Lee influenced the scene over the last decade?
I’ve been influenced by Lee’s music for quite a while now, ever since his residency at Fabric in early 2000. As a DJ he knows how to entertain and educate at the same time and has never compromised his sound which I really respect. More people are opening up to melodic, intricate journey music these days so it’s great to see what Lee and Hoj have achieved with the All Day I Dream parties.
WWD: How is your sound resonating with music fans in Ibiza right now?
For many years I was hearing a lot of monotonous tech-house which I felt didn’t suit the island so it kinda went to a dark place musically for me. Since the success of ‘Halcyon’ last year and new parties like Woomoon popping up it’s refreshing to hear uplifting and groovier music which to me is a truer sound of Ibiza. Balearic music is probably my main source of inspiration so I try to make as much feel-good, summery music as possible without sounding cheesy. There’s something for everyone in Ibiza but I think my sound resonates more with new nights like Black Coffee at Hi, All Day I Dream at Blue Marlin, Do Not Sit at Heart and of course the balearic sunsets at Cafe Mambo.
WWD: What can we expect from Dee Montero in the coming months?
Dee: Apart from the Tale & Tone ‘Mandala e.p’ release in July I’ve also a new e.p forthcoming on Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound called ‘VoyagerPangaea’ which Martin Buttrich has just remixed. I’ve remixed The Disco Evangelists ‘De Niro’ on Positiva which will also come out on vinyl in July.