We’re delighted to welcome Akkan as the latest instalment to the Sinchi & Friends series. The Spanish duo consisting of BeGun and Ocellot are a production partnership who came together after a magic mushroom psychotropic journey in the Kalahari Desert, which is clearly reflected in their sounds that build upon idiosyncratic / trippy melodies and ethnic rhythms. They are now at the dawn of releasing their debut album on Barcelona’s Foehn Records which is coming out on the 4th December (Pre-order available here) . So we caught up with the guys to find out more about the album, their year and more.
1) Introduce yourself?
AKKAN was born from a good friendship in a hallucinogenic journey in Southern Africa, also from a similar way of understanding music and from the aim of creating something from scratch without any of the stylistic ties that each of us dragged with our solo-projects. We have been releasing several EPs for the last two years and we’re going to release our debut LP in December. We drink from African music, also from the new Latin sounds coming from South America, from Arabic influences, from Japanese psychedelia, obviously from our Spanish background too… and that fusion between folklore and electronica allows us to take the best of both worlds. At the end, this is a project based on live performance and improvisation… by playing live and getting lost in the studio we just came up with our own sound, in a very spontaneous way.
2) Congrats on the excellent new album, can you tell is a bit about it? Was there a specific inspiration and how would you like people to experience it?
The album is a journey and it’s actually composed as such. We did a first embryo of it in Ireland, in Marc’s studio, literally in the middle of the Irish countryside surrounded by sheep and horses. Then, we recorded some synth lines and drums in Gunsal’s studio, north of Barcelona, nearby the beach, good food, sunny days, nice vibes. We also took a few real recordings from the street during our Mexico tour and collaborated with some local producers, we did the same in India where we recorded two tracks of the album. In Iceland, after playing in a huge festival, we made the whole ring road with all the equipment and set up sound-systems in the awesome places where we stopped to sleep. So, at the end, what we have is an album born in several places around the world, inspired by hundreds of different moods and feelings and mixed and mastered without any pressure or rush. It is as eclectic as it is sincere.
3) With the absence of events this year, how have you spent it?
Gunsal: In my case, my daily routine turns always around music. Besides Akkan, I’m also a composer for TV, films and advertising campaigns and I have several music projects at digital platforms. I’m also publishing manager at Foehn Records, I have a radio show at Primavera Sound Radio and I’m an Ableton trainer and so when I’m not in the studio, music is still there in my day life. I haven’t never had a fixed schedule and this is actually what I like best about dedicating myself to this crazy world, this feeling of continuous challenge for survival. There is no day like the one before.
Marc: I live in the Irish country side. In the morning I wake up at 5;30 and go to work with plants in the morning. That is my morning job. Helps me to relax and gain perspective and money security. Then after lunch I enter my studio and the party begins. After the studio I usually do some exercise to calm down. Those are my main ingredients. I try to have a very mindful existence from Monday to Friday. We used to travel during the weekends to play gigs but that is another story.
4) What do you have lined up for the coming year in terms of new music?
First thing, we’re really looking forward to releasing this album. It was actually planned for March 2020 but we decided to postpone it to December due to covid, also because the gigs we had booked were all cancelled. The good news is that we’ve used this shutdown to make lots of new music so we have good vibrations for next year, 3 new EPs are coming right after the album.
5) Do you have a favourite track in the podcast?
There are a few tracks that we love, it’s hard to choose a favourite. We wanted to approach this podcast as an eclectic journey, we had a slight idea about the direction we wanted to take but fundamentally the podcast was built in a very spontaneous way. We both share music almost every day and the track-list flowed very easily. In general, when we want to get into a more club-oriented field, we do it and when the aim is to explore some psychedelic sounds, we just go for them as well. We’re living in a music industry where everything is too artificial and phony and we really don’t care much about the wrapping, when you just make the music you like then you have nothing to lose.
6) What tracks have really stood out for you in the last year and why? (i.e, dancefloor bombs, originality, inspiration)
This is a playlist we made some weeks ago for Faze Magazine… our top of tops this month:
Mytron & Ofofo – Aeolian Research (Original Mix) / Multi Culti
Yuksek – Bateu (CLAAP! Remix) / Sweat It Out
Middle Sky Boom – Dreamy Route (Original Mix) / Eskimo Recordings
Tornado Wallace – Midnight Mania (Original Mix) / Optimo Music
Bufi – Ópala (Original Mix) / Depaart
Sébastien Tellier – Stuck in a Summer Love (Young Marco Remix) / Record Makers
Inigo Vontier – Jubile is Ok (Original Mix) / Multi Culti
Iro Aka – Activitats Encobertes / Hivern Discs
Rex The Dog – Sickro (Bawrut Remix) / Kompakt
Linda Fox – I Tripped out of FLUX (Yu Su Remix) / Street Pulse
7) Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
G: My most inspiring figures come from the Uk more than any other place. If I had to choose one, I’d say my biggest influence is Aphex Twin… I actually started listening to electronic music after ‘Ambient Works’.
M: I was absolutely addicted to many Japanese electronic albums while growing up and I still am. Mariah’s album UTAKATA NO HIBI would be my biggest one.
8) Tell us about 3 DJ’s / Producer’s we may not know but should be looking out for?
We’ll look after our Barcelona scene and choose Iro Aka (Hivern Discs), b1n0 (Foehn Records) and Galera (Subterranea).
9) What is your favourite Venue or Festival to play at and why?
It’s a tough one. Both of us we’ve played in many special festivals and locations, not just now with Akkan but also with our other music projects. To pick one of the most recent ones, we’d say Trópico Festival in Acapulco, Mexico. It was totally insane, the perfect balance between audience, location, weather and lineup.
10) Do you have a ritual before you start playing or straight after?
It may sound like a cliché, but our main ritual is to go out on stage and enjoy it as much as we can… that’s our best formula for making a good gig.
11) What is your favourite bit of kit?
We have some fetish toys that we use in most of the tracks: the DSI Prophet 08 (mainly for keys and pads), the TR-8S (Marc’s best friend for drums & percussion), the Elektron Analog Four (basslines and crazy stuff), the Korg Minilogue (arps & mono synths) plus a bunch of Eventide, Red Panda, Boss and Line6 analog effects.
12) What is your favourite film score?
No doubt with this one: AKIRA, by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.
13) What makes you smile?
We love travelling and this is one of the things we have missed most in this strange times we’re living.