Posted on 2 Comments

Shanaynay Lindqvist

With my own online platform I can use it to shine light on artists, events, releases, and projects I feel are pertinent to the underground scene (as it were).
In my travels I often take photographs and make little notes for future reference, etc. I try to make time to listen to/speak with people to get their perspectives on the scene/culture, what they enjoy about said culture, their gripes, and what’s hot.
It was pure luck that I stumbled across Ms. Shanaynay Linqvist, an up and coming producer from Ystad Sweden. My new adopted home/nation.
I was struck by her level of skill and passion for her craft. Catching her right after her set at a local basement party, I invited her to a fika (Swedish coffee chat session) to speak a little about her sound, plans, and musical philosophy.
This is the result……

AA – Hej hej Shanaynay. First off, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me and my beloved blog followers.

SL – You are welcome Amir. Tack så mycket. (Thank you very much) for the opportunity.

AA – You are most welcome Shanaynay. It is quite exciting to speak with a rising talent at the beginning of her career. Can I inquire about your unique name? Although I have heard it before, I’ve never met anyone with that name. Do you know it’s origins?

SL – (blushing then laughing out loud) My Papa is a jokester. He loves comedy and American comedians. Martin Lawrence is one of his favorites. The name is from his television show from the 90’s. It came out the year I was born. He mentioned it to my Mama when they were choosing names for me and she liked it most. Despite the fact that Papa was joking around. By the time I was born they had not come up with a better alternative so it stuck. It’s been very interesting growing up in Sweden with this name. To say the least. (she then laughs out loud again. turning all shades of red. the laughter is contagious and soon I am laughing tears as well).

AA- Right then. That is quite the story. Wow! A super interesting story to go with a super interesting name and sound. It definitely stands out from the crowd. Such a juxtaposition. It works proper. No need for an alias with a name like that. It is a unique spelling as well. More phonetic than the TV version.

SL – Yeah. That was my Mama. She wrote it down when Papa first said it. She wrote it the way it sounds.

AA – True that….. And so you’ve been making music for a long time despite only choosing to release now?

SL – Yes. I have been actively pursuing music in some form or another my entire life. I started playing the flute as a child but, I moved on to other instruments as my interest waned. Every few years I would pick up something else just to keep from getting bored.

AA – Yes. I understand perfectly. Please tell me more about your early “studio” and recording projects?

SL – Okej. I used to watch my older brother record my sisters singing on his Tascam “Portistudio” 4 track tape recorder
I was fascinated by the idea of laying tracks one by one and overdubbing. I used to record songs/tracks by playing my different instruments into my mic. Then I would attempt to mix them. Over the years I got better at it. Then I got a sampler. Things became very fun then.

Shanaynay’s first tape recorder

AA – I bet. Your range of possible sounds grew exponentially instantly. What sampler were you using?

SL –  I had a Boss Dr. Sample SL202. I loved that little thing.

Her (and my) first sampler. The Boss SL202 DR. Sample

AA – Word up! I had that one too. I got mine from my friend Chris Mitchell back in the late 90’s. I used to use it for loops that I would mix into my DJ sets. I should have been using that awesome filter too. I can see how your 4 track opened up possibilities I never had with mine.

SL – Exact! All of a sudden I could loop a kick, or  4 beat drum loop. Record it for 5 minutes and then add a baseline, etc. until I had a basic track. My brother had all the US imports from Cajual, Strictly Rhythm, 8 Ball Records and all that, so he was a great resource. Both of samples, and honest feedback. As the years went on, friends and family would buy me records to sample from second hand markets and estate sales. My vinyl weighed a ton. LOL

AA – This is so dope! So when did you acquire the setup you have now. It seems as though the basic idea is unchanged. You are still sample based for the most part, yes?

SL – True indeed Amir. My MPC1000 is my weapon of choice right now. I have a Microkorg. I used to have the XL as well but I sold it. Doesn’t vibe with me the way the original MK does. This I use for bass lines, chords, melodies, and raw synth tracks.

AA – I feel that these are 2 of the best pieces for a upcoming producer to have. This also struck me when I discovered that you too own them. I should not be surprised based on how many units of each have been produced. It will certainly make our collaborations much easier.

SL – Yes! No need for stems and such. We can do sysex dumps and trade midi files and sample chops.

AA – Speaking of chops, do you make any beats or hip hop? The MPC begs to be used in this way.

SL – Yes. I am a huge fan of the 90’s boom bap. My parents used to play us New York hip hop in the family minivan LOL. Papa put a bass speaker system in it. I wish I had that van.

AA – I can see this in your work and the way you put things together. You have a Pete Rock feel to some of your chops.

SL – Thank you for the amazing compliment Amir.

AA – So please tell me a bit about your upcoming release. What can we expect?

SL – The EP is called “Crazy Booty/Discotheque”. An homage to classic Chicago Booty House and New York/Jersey Ballroom. Vogue tracks.
I chose a couple regions and created etudes. Studies in the technique(s) of those production styles. I channeled Dance Mania and 8 Ball for this one. They started out as exclusives for my DJ sets. Based on the reactions I chose to release them.

AA – So you’ve been shopping tracks? That is a major chore.

Sl – to be honest, a friend of a friend heard my tracks when they were all hanging out and asked who made them. I got an email asking if I would like to release them and it was a wrap. I was and still am so excited. I have heard horror stories about shopping tracks, so I am very grateful that I have not encountered this. (yet)

AA – This industry is built upon people and relationships. It truly is about who you know. Yet, your music stands on it’s own.
It’s quite a mature sound for such a young producer. Although at 25 years old, you’ve been making tracks for over 10 years in some form or another. I too love the classic templates but, choose to try to update them. Versus simply re-hashing.
I predict much success for you. Having a distinct voice helps artists stand out. What can we expect from you in the future?

SL – I am working on a couple more EPs in addition to our collaboration. A down-tempo beat project, and I might do a podcast as well. This is still all very new to me. The idea of “putting myself out there” you know? The “playing of the game”, social media, and the like. I just want to make and play music but, I understand that there are necessary evils.

AA – That is a great name for our collaboration.

SL – What’s that?

AA – Necessary Evils!

SL – Hej, I like that. let’s do it.

AA – That’s what’s up Shanaynay. It’s official. Please let me know when you record that mix? Perhaps I can help you find a place to host it.

SL – Indeed I will Amir.

AA- Any last thoughts?

SL – Yes. Thank you for taking the time to do this for me. I have enjoyed your work for a few years now, so it was really cool to meet you at Ida’s party. Regarding the music, I hope to continue to improve with my craft and release records that stand the test of time. Even though I am new to all of this, I have studied this culture for years and feel that I have something to contribute. Hopefully people will agree.

AA – As the saying goes….. “you heard it here first”. Let’s keep our eyes on this rising talent as she advances through the ranks of the underground. Her work excites me in the same way that Brother Joey Anderson’s work did back when we were preparing to launch Anunnaki Cartel. It appears that I am fortunate enough to have found another rising star at the commencement of her ascent. I am grateful for the privilege of introducing her to the world.
There is still so much I would like to know, so hopefully we can get her back on here again soon.

//Amir Alexander

Posted on Leave a comment

The Lands Beyond Pt. 2!

Amir Alexander Releases The Lands Beyond Part.2 EP

“We welcome to the label Chicago’s Maestro Amir Alexander with The Land’s Beyond EP
A straight to the floor 4 dance tracker.”

Cat: RS026
Artist: Amir Alexander
Released : 17 August 2017
House, Techno.

Official press release text:
With the Recent Releases stepping up in the vinyl outlets and including artists on the label roster such as Vakula, Chicago’s Vincent Floyd, Detroit’s Norm Talley, Simoncino, Losoul, Reggie Dokes, Dj Aakmael and with also their excellent digital series featuring up and coming Artists Release sustain is getting common ground for forward thinking and quality 21st century dance music.
This Time they are back on Vinyl with no one else than Chicago’s own son Amir Alexander ! who features an EP of His continuing work since the super successful ‘the lands beyond EP’
The Land’s beyond part 2 comes with 4 awesome tracks that so represent the artists signature, dark and groovy dancefloor music !
It is with great pleasure then that we share with you this great EP by one of the most interesting underground producers out there.
Laurent Garnier: ” Very cool tracks — will play!”
Orlando Voorn: ” Been bumping How you make me feel for a while..REAL proper stuff i love it will check the others as well thanks! “
Luciano: ” very very cool! thank you”
Molly: It’s always quality music from Amir Alexander !! Thanks
Buy :

My two cents, thoughts, comments, etc…

“The Lands Beyond” concept was inspired by my research into the “Hollow Earth” and “The Inner Earth & Realm of Aghartha”. Upon learning of the supposed “Ascended Masters” and “The Lands Beyond” I began to try to imagine what the vibes of this place might sound like. Dark, cold, dusty, mechanical, distant, and other-worldly sub-subterranean Earth. The year would have been about late 2008 or very early 2009. Just about the time my first vinyl with G. Marcell was released. “The Experience EP” (more on that in a future post).

At the time the tracks were first made my engineering skills were not equal to that of my production and compositional skills so they sat for several years on an old spare hard drive. Some of the only music left from that pre- Gutter Flex era. In 2014 when finally my time came to release a solo vinyl EP for Plan B Recordings NYC, Spider requested the track “The lands Beyond” from the original demo package I sent him and Lola. During this time I had yet to build a proper studio in Sweden, so trying to do final mix-downs in my ex-girlfriends living room in my ad-hock porta-studio was the only option. Needless to say, the conditions were less than ideal.
Regardless, I did the best I could do at the time with the resources I had available to me. The result is a crusty dusty record that has found it’s way into the collections of many eclectic DJs all around the world.
“The Lands Beyond” is for me, one of “those” records. The people’s release. Many consider it classic Amir Alexander. Lola and Spider, the consumsmate A&R people they are, most certainly did. Spider’s got an ear for that distinct “Plan B” vibe/back bone that was the bedrock of each of our distinctive sounds. I love it! Totally Plan B. Yet totally me. This is the exact record Gabbi Lopez referenced when requesting a sound pallet for a record he would like to release with me.
This came shortly after a singe track for a V/A comp he was doing for his label “Release-Sustain” was submitted and confirmed.
He had already released artists I hold in high esteem on this series. Names like Norm Talley, Reggie Dokes, Vakula, and Nick Anthony Simoncino to name a few. This had already caught my attention. So that, along with the good vibes I got from chatting with Gabbi led to the creation and release of what would become “The Lands Beyond Pt. 2”

A1 – “How You Make Me Feel” The original track was for a remix I did for a Swedish label that actually rejected it. They liked the music, but knew it would not work for their audience. At the time I was stunned, as I felt that the track was Bomb and would be well received by the heads as well as the party people. The vox are from one of my favorite altos of all times. I had them in my mpc chop folder and decided to lay them over the instrumental just to see how it sounded. The “eureka moment” was profound to say the least. I’m so glad they rejected that remix.
A2 – “Walk The Talk” One of the tracks from back in the late 00s that was made around the same time period as the original EPs material. I never released it because it was an engineering nightmare. It took 8 years for me to lean how to fix all the built in fidelity killers. While at the same time, preserving the original synth patches and arrangement, etc. It was so NOT fun, but I learned a lot as I basically had to re-create this one (as well as the next 2) completely from scratch.
I had to re-write tracks I made almost a decade ago. Every producer should try it sometime. It’s a very humbling experience.
B1- “Telepathy” A big “club” track made for the peak hour. I rarely set out to make one of those specifically, but this time I did just that. Fat bass-line. Epic break-down (LOL, or at least for me), ghostly lead synth, rolling vibes. Totally rewritten using all the same sounds. Having to chase down obscure vst’s from the early 00s and then try to recreate some patches by ear was a cool learning experience. I’m a better producer now than I was before I completed these tasks.
B2- “Bunker Buster” This one was written in late 2011. Chris and I had just sent our first Vanguard Sound! release of the be mastered and then pressed in Detroit’s Archer Record Pressing. It was one of  two tracks I made as catharsis for the loss of my dog Rufus. I had him for 13 years. I made a “sad” track, ” Komm, Süßer, Tod Komm Selge Ruh that was released on my debut album “Love And Fear – (Anunnaki Cartel) 2015. The second was a banger entitled “Bunker Buster”. I loved this track from the moment I made it, but knew that I could not release it until I could figure out how to “clean it up”. The lead, the kick and the bass-line all competed for the same frequency range.
It was the toughest to re-write.
I originally intended for it to be the A1 track. Gabbi wanted “Telepathy”. We decided on  “How You Make Me Feel” after we got back the 3rd set of masters.
We had mad delays due to the record just not sounding right the first 2 times. We will never even break even with this one but, at least we’re happy with the fidelity. Hopefully we can at least sell the existing stock.

The record is available now and the tracks are getting an excellent reception from every dance floor that gets to hear them. Heavy hitters like Laurent Garnier, Orlando Voorn, Luciano, and Molly are showing love. Perhaps you will too.

Amir Alexander

Posted on Leave a comment

Rebel Music (version one)!

Continuing the “banned worldwide” series, the next installment is from my Vanguard Sound! solo debut,
The infamous “Idiot Savant Masterpieces” (more on how that title came about in a future post).
This one was actually the first to be banned. Actually right after I uploaded it. As a result, most have never seen it.
The imagery is all metaphor. I imagined myself as the “monster”. Especially as I was struggling to “break out” and was feeling unrecognized and underappreciated. This video provided catharsis.
The “hero” searched for love, but was rejected by his own. Heartbroken and spurned, he self-destructively takes out everything and everyone. As to exist without his love is no existence at all. This was reflected by my do or die/breakout by 40 years old or cease living mentality. Good thing I accomplished my goals, or perhaps I might not be here now.
I love life, living, and people, so it turned out well for me. It is what it is. Sometimes artists do crazy things……
In this case, the phrase “Do or Die” was quite literal.
Fortunately, I seek validation internally now. I have already proven to myself everything I needed to prove. Now it’s all about lightness and fun. Not heaviness and pressure. Been there, done that. Hit records, or zero sales, I know who I am and what I am capable of accomplishing.
Self discovery is what it’s all about as an artist.
The saga continues……

Online Video

Posted on Leave a comment

The return of “Sonic Weaponry!”

Created and published over 5 years ago, this particular video remains the most watched/popular despite having been banned worldwide for almost 4 of the 5 years.
Perhaps it’s the track, or maybe it’s the imagery that draws people in. Perhaps it was the time and place?
Regardless, I am ever grateful to have struck a chord with so many people.
Over the years I have pondered appealing the worldwide ban, but decided not to go up against the mighty BBC who made the copyright strike. I considered making a DVD with all the videos and alternate versions (and perhaps I still will someday) but, for now I shall place it here. Nestled safe in the belly of Vanguard Sound! headquarters.
To old fans of this particular work, thank you for waiting patiently. Your old friend is back.
To those of you who have never seen it…….
You’re in for a treat. 100% pure raw and militant Vanguard Sound!

It is my plan to do a fresh mixdown so that this track can be re-mastered and repressed with much better sound quality than I was able to achieve back in 2011.
Bless up! and enjoy.