We are always of two Distinct Minds – our journey is just beginning!
All things considered, it’s been a remarkably prolific year for newly formed German outfit Distinct Minds. Launched back in April with the release of their critically acclaimed debut single "Wanderer", the enigmatic, unidentified pair have since released two more huge records – "Mirrors" and "Breakout" – as they continue to the push the boundaries of electronic music with their nostalgic, yet futuristic, synth-driven soundscapes.
Now, and with the aforementioned three records continuing to dominate playlists and airwaves the world over, Distinct Minds continue their unstoppable run of form with the worldwide release of "Duality I". A veritable masterclass in what they have dubbed "synthwave electronica", the six-part extended player sees Distinct Minds add three huge cuts to their burgeoning catalogue, as they continue to offer up a perfect symbiosis between the reminiscent sounds of the 80s with vanguard, next generation production techniques.
With stunning creative direction masterminded by innovative digital artist Indig0, the Distinct Minds project explores and develops the recurrent pattern of music within a modern, almost futuristic paradigm. Channelling the fond synth-pop soundscapes of previous decades, whilst also writing the future, every line of every piece of music Distinct Minds makes consists of either continuing along that circle, repeating the patterns of the past, or breaking out to build something tangibly new.
DJ's Arena had a chance to catch up with the enigmatic German duo Distinct Minds on all things "Duality". Read the full Q&A with Distinct Minds below!
Hi guys! Thank you for finding time in your schedule to do this interview. Before we dive in, can you please tell us a little about your background in the electronic music world? How did you meet and get started?
Hey guys! It’s a pleasure chatting to you.
Our musical path started in school some years ago. We both listened to similar artists and quickly discovered our common love for music & music production. This was when we started making music together. What followed were years of discovering our musical identities and two years ago the idea of Distinct Minds was born.
Where did the whole concept for Distinct Minds come from? What inspired you to create this project?
Distinct Minds is an expression of our personal & musical identities. As previously stated, we started working on developing the project about two years ago and were super happy to finally launch it in April 2020.
With Distinct Minds we want to let people dive into a world that feels both new and familiar. We aimed to create something that felt like exactly where we were in our lives - on the precipice of something new, while still filled with the nostalgia of the past. Musically it is full of 80s influence, but also writes the future.
The visual aspect of Distinct Minds is just as important to us as the music. We had a very specific vision for it, and Indigo who designed both the visual representation of us - the two circles - and the artwork for our releases captured that exact aesthetic.
If you had to choose one element of your music that defines your music as a whole, what would it be and why?
It’s hard to describe one element of our music really as our tracks are going in different directions, while still staying in a niche of sound. We describe our genre as 'Synthwave Electronica' and that style is something that’s consistent throughout all of our tracks.
One key element of all Distinct Minds tracks, is a certain echo/delay processing we are using on nearly all of our synths and some drum elements. Listen closely and you’ll hear it!
What does each member of the team bring to the table?
In essence we are both equally music producers & creatives. Still we have slightly different approaches when starting a project and that’s what makes it so interesting, especially in the production process.
We are always starting new singles on our own and then get in the studio together to finalize it in really intense sessions. That’s when the magic happens.
You’ve released three tracks in the lead-up to the album’s release - "Mirrors", "Wanderer" and "Breakout" - how does it feel to release your first album and what were some musical or thematic inspirations for the album; any collaboration?
It’s a really exciting time and we are super happy to finally get those singles out we’ve been working together for such a long time.
In general, we are really inspired by Kylie Dixon & Michael Stein, as well as from legend acts & bands like Depeche Mode or Rufus Du Sol.
In terms of collaborations we worked with various talented vocalists: iDo, from Australia, is featured on two singles: 'Breakout' & 'Fading'. His really characteristic voice is just a perfect musical extension to those two tracks.
Artche, a good friend of us from UK, is featured on 'Wanderer'. His voice is just so remarkable and we are more them proud to have him on the first part of the album.
What was your favourite part of the production process? What did you have the most trouble with?
From start to finish it was all about discovering the center of our musical and personal selves. When we started creating the tracks, we had a really particular idea of where we wanted to go with the album on both a thematic and musical level. Seeing those ideas coming to live is just something really inspiring and fuels us with a lot of energy producing the next singles.
One challenge we had with this process was actually when we had all the music done, but were still developing the overall project. Launching a project takes so much time, especially getting the music and visual side of things together and a plan. We had our musical vision complete long before the release date, and of course we were excited to get it out there as soon as possible. It all takes time and it’s a lot more work then people may expect, so finally seeing it going live is more than exciting!
Who are some of the producers or DJs you currently appreciate?
Stereocalypse, Dino Lenny, Musumeci, Phunkadelica, Adana Twins, Glowal, Damon Jee.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would be top of your wish list?
We definitely would love to collaborate with Dino Lenny. WhoMadeWho would also be a top goal for us.
Who would you like to remix your music?
Almost all of the guys we mentioned: Stereocalypse, Musumeci, Phunkadelica or Adana Twins.
What’s your most treasured tool in the studio and what’s so good about it?
Our sound craft mixer. It’s the heart of our studio where we plug in all channels coming from Ableton.
How is the music culture in Germany compared to the rest of the world?
The music scene here in Germany, always has been super interesting. So many great artists are from here and we got loads of legendary clubs & festivals. We feel really lucky to have grown up in a place where people are so interested in culture and music. Unfortunately it’s unclear how things will look like after Covid-19, but in general people are really into new music trends and going out here.
If you had to come up with a slogan to sell a Distinct Minds DJ set what would it be?
A musical blend of the past & future. The sound we call 'Synthwave Electronica'.
COVID-19 has shaken up the music industry quite hard. How has that affected you, especially while releasing the album?
It’s horrific to see all those clubs closing and all those festivals being cancelled. Obviously it’s for health reasons, but still it’s hard to financially survive for a lot of people in the music and entertainment industry.
What’s still giving people hope is the music and that’s why we still wanted to release all those tracks we’ve been working on for so long.
Any advice for other aspiring artists out there trying to make a name for themselves?
Stay true to your personal self, do not try to copy people, rather be innovative and work on your own musical identity & style.
Last question, what’s your biggest dream and how do you go about achieving it?
We definitely want to bring the concept of Distinct Minds to musical followers and fans to all over the world, especially in a live setting. I guess we will constantly work on our personal & musical selves, stay focussed and won’t give up until we reached that!
Interview made by Adriana-Laura L., DJ's Arena 2020