Interview with Alex & Filip
Jeffrey Nolet hooked up with Alex & Filip, the head honchos of Mirabilis Records. Discussing the label, their partnership, and what the world holds for them in the future.
Alex & Filip have known each other since the late 90s. Ever since there first session in the studio together they have become great friends. They soon realized that they both had different skills to bring to the table and soon after that they became partners. Once they became a team, these two put there musical talent to the test, and created amazing music. Their first EP hit the 16th spot on the charts within two weeks.
There second release “Liquid Fantasy” went straight to the 2nd spot on the charts. This showed everyone that this pair has a lot of talent. There has become a strong demand for remix work from Alex & Filip since the success of there first two release. They are currently working on working on remix, originals, and collaborations. With their early success and their continuing success Alex & Filip have proved that they belong in this industry, and will be here for a long time. This pair of talented producers are ones that will only be making things bigger and better. Definitely one's to keep your eye on!
How did Alex & Filip come together?
Alex: I needed someone to show me the basics of production. We knew each other for a long time being DJs in the local clubs and all. The city we live in is small so we decided we should work together and join forces. We started in my room, where we made our first 3 tracks.
Filip: I am always interested in new collaborations and sharing of all kinds in general. At that time Alex was the only individual serious enough that wanted to try something. We started to work on some projects and we just clicked. That's how we started. The passion for music and dedication lead the way.
What is your relationship like working with each other? How long have you two known each other for?
We have known each other for quite some time now. More or less since 1998 when we started to DJ. We weren't really friends back then but since the first musical sessions we got along really well. We both have a big passion for music and we are into the same sound so working on tracks together wasn't difficult. We became very good friends in the process. We spend lots of time together and it's real fun!
Having your “Lights Out EP” hit the 16th spot on Balance record pool chart within two weeks, and having “Liquid Fantasy” go directly to the number 2 on the Release records promo chart. Did this really show each other that you guys are very talented when working with each other?
Filip: Looking back at it I think it was mostly the classic beginners luck. But hey... maybe there is something to it. You have to know that the chart stuff happened around a year later the tracks were made, it took us quite some time to get them signed. So the beginning didn't go that well but it was a great satisfaction when it happened.
Alex: At the time the Balance Chart & Release Chart were quite popular and big. I have been following them regularly. To me it was mind blowing at the time :) First 2 releases out & both featured on big charts was a pretty decent start. It gave us motivation for further projects, it was also a big pay back for our work. Lots of big DJs started noticing us. Hernan Cattaneo charted a track out of the Lights Out EP. I think those kind of things always keep you motivated. It's nice when labels promote your work in the best way they can within their budget!
Being in such strong demand for remixing and production, how do you stay on top of all the work?
It's not easy, but we try to do as much remixes as we can. Remixing can be tricky – sometimes you get it the right way in one day, sometimes they can be a nightmare and you need to restart everything form the beginning. Of course all the remix work has kept us a bit away from working on original stuff and some collaborations. Now we are focused on originals and those collaborations as we got them waiting for too long! However we think we are pretty good at managing our time and get most of the things done in time. It helps having 4 hands and 2 brains at your disposal.
Explain to me what its like getting support from well established DJ's and producers.
We think that every DJ who plays your record is important, but when your tracks get played or charted by the tastemakers is something to be proud of and shows you are on the right way. Its a big satisfaction on both levels: personal and professional as a producer/DJ. This kind of support is also the best way to get our name out there as a lot of people check out and follow the big guns.
On top of being in very high demand for your production work, does having your own label (Mirabilis Records) make you feel more established?
Mirabilis was born as a platform to release quality music we like, not only our stuff and it's not restricted to one or two genres. In the last year we have to say Mirabilis has made it's name within the industry and we are proud of our work. Lots of tastemakers and respected DJs has been supporting it and today we got lots of artists who want to work with us. Being a small label, basically with no budget means we have to do all the things on our own and it's quite a lot of work. In some ways I'd say Mirabilis has bigger reputation after it's 20th release then A&F do today. Lots of people still don't know we are the ones behind it. A big thanks to all the artists and all the fans out there!
Tell me about Mirabilis Records. Why did you pick the artists that you have on it? How did they catch your eye?
Alex: The first few releases were signed form our friends and people we collaborated before. I have spent lots of time and still do building up relations with djs and producers. In this way I came across some very talented producers and immediately hooked them up for some remix work or signed their tracks. The biggest release so far was Ran Shani's 'Classics' And I still can't believe Ran trusted us and signed it to Mirabilis. After Digweed & Sasha dropped it at last year's WMC everyone was emailing me, texting me etc and wanted a promo copy. Happy days. I do most of the promotion work on my own and it's a lot of work so we stick to the one release a month.
Filip: Sometimes it's hard to keep track on all the mails and demos we get. I spend quite many hours to go thru the demos and select the ones that I like the most. Only then we listen to them together again and make the decision which ones we will try to sign. It's just a matter of how we feel the tracks.
What does the future for Mirabilis Records hold for your fans?
Big things we believe and hope. After the superb release from one of my fave new talents - Ian O'Donovan, we will stay parked in Ireland with the next two releases: first up is the techno tinged ep from Miniminds with super heavy remixes form Anthony Castaldo and Tempered Djs. Then it's the turn for a super release imo: Dibby Dougherty and David Young 'Hydra Island' with a stunning remix pack! After these we are going for the next Various artists showing some gems form the back catalog and some fine new tunes for the summer. ...and then we hope to be back with a single form us again! The last Alex & Filip original single was Mirabilis 007. It's about time we get back to our label, what you think?
Do you ever have times were you both have different ideas for a track or disagreements? How do you over come this?
It happens of course. We try to discuss those things on the spot. We usually find a solution on the go. We have been working with each other for so long now that we already have a certain process on how we work on the tracks and remixes. If it's a major disagree we usually start from the basics again. You know it happens that one day you find a track brilliant, the next day it totally sucks to your ears.....
We also have a chat before we start working and try to find out the direction of the track or remix we want to take. So far it seems to be working quite well for us.
What have been your favourite performances over the years?
We really enjoyed all the performances at Kursaal (Tolmezzo, Italy), last year's Poletna Splash Pokovka festival was insane, also Bulgaria was a mad experience (in a good way), a few years back we played quite a lot gigs in Croatia and always had fun. In Slovenia there were lots of good places like Lipa, Inbox, Cream, Marcus, Kaos, Simfonija etc...some of them are still running today. The scene here is a bit down these days, there are a few promoters and clubs who work on a monthly basis. A big problem is that promoters compete with each other instead of collaborating. It's hard to get gigs today around here, unless you play for a ridiculously low fee and it's a shame.
Do you plan on going on tour in the next year or so?
We truly hope so. Actually we are trying to get our name out in the world as much as we can. This is also one of the reasons why we rather stay in the studio and work on tracks and remixes and try to get released on good labels rather than play on some low profile or under payed gigs. So hopefully we will be on tour soon enough and see you in Sweden. :)
Alex: What's it like working with Filip?
He's a good guy and very good at what he does but sometimes he's a bit lazy and almost always late, so I need to keep a “hard hand” over him and I'm trying to make him loose this bad habit. :) He's a good guy, very “feet on the ground” type, this makes working with him really a good experience.
Filip: What's it like working with Alex?
Alex is not lazy... He is serious and a workaholic but also caring. He loves the music and is very dedicated. Most of the time it's a pleasure to work and hanging out with him and I'm glad we found each other.
Do you find that you both have different skills to bring to the table? Any certain skills that one doesn't have but the other does?
Alex: Filip is the studio geek and the art guy, while I work more on signing the tracks, getting remixes and running the label, doing pr etc. This does not mean that I don't work in the studio or that Filip has nothing to do with our releases and Mirabilis. We have found a way to cover all the work between us over the years. We truly hope to find some good help soon (read: we will be able to pay for it).
Filip: Yeah we know what is what. We have different strengths and weaknesses but when we combine our forces and knowledge we can be pretty effective. We are a great team.
What are some of the projects you are currently working on?
The last months have been busy with remixes and also some originals: we have remixed Paul Thomas & Da Fresh, Kassey Voorn, Omb, Subfractal, Dave Seaman & Andy Chatterley, Mark Holmes & Temepered Djs, Frankeffe for labels like Baroque, Silence Through Music, Phobiq, 303lovers, MUM, Sound Of Acapulco, Flow Vinyl and more and also signed a new original “Aeon” to Respekt which should be out in the next weeks or so, one to Tronic which will be out in summer time and our “Ushuaia” track is coming soon on Stripped too. We are now in the process of finishing up also some great collaborations we have started quite some time ago and then been on and off on them because of remixes. We will also mix up our very first compilation for Baroque in the next months.
Check out our channels for detailed info etc. Some big things are out now and even bigger things are coming – we are both very happy with the way things are turning out so far this year. Follow us & follow Evlear too, they will be having some exclusive news soon about us & Mirabilis! :)