Life and Death isn't a label known for playing by the rules. Founded by Manfredi Romano (DJ Tennis) and Greg Oreck (50 percent of New York's Thugfucker), the label has a reputation for producing dark, psychedelic tunes, tracks that take time to burrow deep inside your brain, to foreign places dance music rarely accesses.
This year will mark Life and Death's fourth Art Basel showcase. Tale of Us, Mind Against, Thugfucker, and special guest Richie Hawtin are coming to town for what a lot of folks — ourselves included — are calling one of the best concerts happening during Art Basel 2015.
Before tomorrow's show, we got a chance to chat via email with one of Life and Death's proudest children, the dark duo Mind Against. Made up of the most interesting Italian brothers since Mario and Luigi, Alex and Federico Fognini have released three EPs on Life and Death and will join their labelmates at Mana for this year's showcase.
But before that, let's chat about art and music, shall we?
New Times: Art Basel is first and foremost a celebration of visual art. In your minds, what is the relationship between dance music and visual art?
Mind Against: Dance music’s always been a forward-thinking art, from the music itself to the technology used to create it. Within this, visual arts are for sure a key point. From artworks to special stagings or video installations, it’s always more difficult to find a party that isn’t somehow linked to visual arts nowadays.
We could go even deeper considering all the mental drawings and images that go through people’s mind which automatically and instinctively associate a certain harmony with an image, a color, or a visual experience in general which are all forms of visuals themselves.
In what way do you, as producers and DJs, feel inspired by the world of visual art?
When we have a release ready, we always get involved, in the choices of the artwork, for example. It’s vital for us that the cover matches the music we’re putting out. From Kero to Blo (and others), we’re constantly involving recognized visual artists who draw covers accordingly with the music and the inspiration they have while listening to our tracks.
When we play, we like to take people on a journey. One aspect of the label itself is also being surrounded by other forms of art
Your work is very dark, atmospheric, minimal. What attracts you to that minimal techno vibe? What does it make you feel when you’re listening to it/playing it in front of a crowd?
Techno music is intrinsically minimalist and atmospheric. One of the main points of those repetitive beats might be for someone to escape reality and strongly impact the way they feel. The darkness we add on top of this is a way for us to orientate the journey the crowd is going to take. We consider our mission accomplished when the people go back home, changed by what they’ve listened to.
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What are you most looking forward to about this performance? What is the audience in store for?
Miami’s always treated us well, since the beginning. Playing this Life and Death event with our Tale of Us and Thugfucker mates and having Richie Hawtin onboard as well is definitely going to make this event one to remember.
Although it’s hard to say at the moment what we’re going to play, you can definitely expect some dark and melodic techno atmospheres and for sure some unreleased material of our own that we keep on trying at every show.
Life and Death Art Basel. With Tale of Us, Mind Against, Thugfucker, and special guest Richie Hawtin. Presented by PL0T and III Points. Thursday, December 3, 9 p.m. Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Tickets $55 to $66 plus fees via residentadvisor.net.