Interview: In Flagranti
Disco edit geniuses, In Flagranti have caught attention from the likes of Gildas of Kitsune having released their “Business Acumen” EP on the Parisian label, to Lo Recordings venturing their joint effort with Black Devil Disco Club. Often releasing on their own Codek label, such as their well-received LP “Brash & Vulgar”, they have made a name for themselves with their provocative artwork and distinctive high energy sounds.
How did you guys first meet?
Sasha: We met at a record store in Basel Switzerland. Now that makes me think… there was a time when social networking was happening in record shops.
Alex: Yes, I was visiting from New York and looking for Cosmic records, the guy who owned a local record shop told me about Sasha and his collection of cosmic music- 10 minutes later Sasha walked into the shop and we became friends, that was in 1991 I think. Sasha had a wonderful record collection like a 12″ of ZAZA – “Dschungel Liebe” from Italy, vinyl like that was impossible to find in New York back then.
I understand one of you was in Switzerland and the other in New York for a long time – is that right?
S: Alex moved to New York in 1984. We were both living in New York from 1993 till 2002. Then Alex moved back to Switzerland and I stayed until last year. Now I am based in London.
Taking that into account, how does the production dynamic between you two work?
S: We actually always worked separately, never together in the studio. The only time we used to get together, was at his office uptown on 29th street or at our shop we had below Houston Street on Orchard Street. We still work the same. The difference is, now we have high speed internet, which makes it even easier to bounce files and communicate from different locations.
We use everything we liked when we were growing up in the 70s, images, sounds, movies. In Flagranti is like lived memories mixed in a giant blender and re-assembled into a fantastic conundrum.
Alex, tell me a bit about the lewd artwork that has been your signature… what’s the inspiration behind it? When and how did you first decide to use this theme?
A: After working with tear-sheets from books & magazines for a few years I realised in 2007 that I could choose a background and place a cut-out-figure on top to create something that looked authentic like a movie still from the 70s. For example, the latest 12″ cover for EX EX EX, the background subway picture is from a graffiti book from the early 70s and the girl on-top is from a skin mag from the same era. Now why do I choose these images? Simple- nobody would dare to use these images to promote their product. For me, a cover has to be different and provocative to be noticed. My covers are like the music we make, we work with our past. We use everything we liked when we were growing up in the 70s, images, sounds, movies. In Flagranti is like lived memories mixed in a giant blender and re-assembled into a fantastic conundrum.
I think the artwork great, but has it ever got you in trouble?
A: No, never.
The In Flagranti visual aesthetic seems to work hand-in-hand with the music – so which comes first?
S: I think we follow a certain aesthetic, so it does not matter what comes first. It will always work.
A: Choosing pictures and making collages or sampling music and making tracks, to me it’s the same, we just have to be clever and do something original with it.
With your new single Ex Ex Ex, you guys have a pretty hefty remix package. Is it nice to have the shoe on the other foot, after doing so many remixes for other artists?
S: As the artist, I don’t really care, but from the record labels’ A&R perspective, I think it’s very nice.
Is your live show up and running? What does it involve?
S: Right now our Live show is pretty much just an exhibit of what we do at home. I make up tracks with the In Flagranti library of sounds and samples, then Alex takes over with djing the latest edits and playing clips from the video sampler.
Your sampling abilities always seem to be flirting with trouble! Have you ever been chased by the big record companies?
“Sometimes wrong can be right” like the chop chop edit for Golden Bug – Looklooklook (In Flagranti remix) using a bad edit, made it unmistakable In Flagranti and we got away with it!
S: No. There is no obvious sample in any of the In Flagranti original tracks. I do construct the music with a lot of samples from vinyl, but I layer so much, cut in to smaller bits, change pitch tempo etc… all the vocal is recorded (no sample) and a lot of the drums and synth is programed.
A lot of your music contains quirky little time signature changes which make them very hard to mix – i.e. Brash & Vulgar. Is this an intentional tease?
S: Yes, when you listen to older songs that were still edited on tape, you can hear where the edit was. Sometimes it was not perfect. I quite like that.
A: Yes, I intentionally screw things up sometimes to make them different, make a virtue out of necessity. “Sometimes wrong can be right” like the chop chop edit for Golden Bug – Looklooklook (In Flagranti remix) using a bad edit, made it unmistakable In Flagranti and we got away with it!