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“Bureaucratic hurdles slowed us down – so we did it ourselves” We Are Neurotic interview

C3DO Recordings, the brainchild of Dylan C. Greene, 3kelves, and We Are Neurotic, is a dynamic label rooted in the realms of house, disco, and electronic music. With a home base in Jakarta, Indonesia, We Are Neurotic epitomize the fusion of disco, house, and funk, showcasing their prowess through remix wins for esteemed artists like Disclosure, Chromeo & Kenny Beats. Their musical journey has seen them signed to acclaimed labels such as Kitsuné Musique, Nervous Records, and Gonya Entertainment, while also catching the attention of global brands like Samsung and HBO Max for feature placements.

As the inaugural release on C3DO Recordings, the trio’s offering, “Hyperservice,” not only establishes a benchmark for the label but also sets the tone for the forthcoming releases. With its infectious rhythms and innovative soundscapes, “Hyperservice” serves as a compelling introduction to the label’s commitment to delivering a steady stream of quality, idiosyncratic releases.

Through a dedication to nurturing its family of artists, C3DO Recordings aims to carve out a unique space within the electronic music landscape, promising an exciting journey ahead for both artists and listeners alike.

With the label now up and running, we wanted to talk to the trio about what to expect as the year progresses.

From your beginnings to now, how have your inspirations and musical influences evolved, and how do they reflect in your current sound?

Our journey has been a whirlwind of discovery and growth. Starting with a passion for funk, disco, and house music, we’ve evolved our sound over the years while staying true to our roots. Jazz has always been our guiding light, infusing our music with timeless charm and contemporary flair. Coming from a very instrumental and band-driven background, the pandemic forced us to start incorporating more electronic elements, influenced by the collaborators we met online at that time. Participating in remix competitions in online music communities really shaped how we currently make music. A fusion of a band and a trio of in-the-box producers.

As a trio, how do you navigate the creative process, and what strategies do you use to blend your individual tastes into a cohesive sound?

Creativity is our compass, and collaboration is our fuel. Each of us brings our unique flavor to the table, but it’s our shared vision that keeps us moving forward. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other, finding that perfect balance between our individual styles to create something truly special. For example, our drummer Karel William comes from a more traditional jazz background, and those influences blending with the more indie background of our bassist Yosa automatically triggers a unique fusion. We try to keep each person’s individualism apparent, without stepping on each other’s toes.

Your music incorporates a wide range of electronic genres. Could you describe the core elements that define the ‘We Are Neurotic’ signature sound?

Our sound is like a sonic tapestry, weaving together elements of funk, disco, and house with threads of garage, drum and bass, and jungle. It’s a melting pot of influences that reflects our diverse musical tastes and backgrounds, resulting in a sound that’s uniquely ours. I’d say our biggest signature element is blurring the lines between live and electronic/sequenced instruments. We’ll record a snippet and copy and paste that to create a programmed house groove, but just when you think it’s all made on a computer, we’ll try to switch it up by hitting you with a crazy live drum fill or tempo change or a long epic instrumental solo. Trying to keep the listener guessing what is live and what is sequenced is something we always go for.

How does the energy and dynamics of your live performances influence your studio recordings, and vice versa?

We’re willing to go to any lengths to achieve the best results in music production, regardless of how it translates to live performance. It’s only when prepping our live shows that we consider how to push the boundaries of our recorded tracks, using a limited set of instruments and incorporating Ableton Live. However, the essence of our recordings must shine through in our live performances.

In what ways do you engage with your audience to ensure your music resonates with them, and how has this approach evolved over time?

Whether it’s through social media, intimate gigs, or impromptu jam sessions, we’re always looking for ways to engage and interact with our audience. Often that also results in unexpected results. For example, during the pandemic, we started posting daily reels of us casually jamming on our Instagram. After posting about 100 of them, four of those jams ended up being used in Sephora’s The Beauty of Blackness documentary that was aired in the U.S. on HBO Max, whereafter our label partner 3kelves helped more of the jams get placements in Samsung’s promotional campaign for the Galaxy S23 smartphone. Our little jams in our studio in Jakarta all of a sudden found a larger audience through these campaigns and it only proves the importance of social media and staying current with your audience.

Looking back, what have been some of the most challenging aspects of your journey, and how did overcoming them shape the group?

The road in music is never easy, and we’ve faced our fair share of challenges along the way. Coming from Indonesia, it is definitely more difficult to reach an audience that gets what we are doing, and doing it with fewer resources than a band from the west would have. Our biggest boost to date definitely happened when we started being more present online, finding collaborators and making legitimate human connections. We started considering our music on more of a global scale versus trying to do everything locally, and that definitely changed how we work as a group now in putting ourselves out there. Starting our own label with our US-based partners Dylan C. Greene and 3kelves is only another example of that global focus.

With the launch of C3DO Recordings, what are your visions and aspirations for the label, and how do you plan to cultivate a unique identity within the electronic music scene?

We’re sitting on so much great music but got slowed down so much by bureaucratic hurdles in dealing with third-party labels. So, we decided to launch C3DO Recordings as a means to gain control over our own releases and to be able to spotlight our unique flavor of playful house, disco and electronic music. This imprint is envisioned as a home for idiosyncratic, playful house, and disco music that boldly breaks away from the conventional dance music formula.

Through C3DO Recordings, how do you intend to support emerging talents within electronic music, and what criteria do you look for in artists to sign?

Our vision for C3DO Recordings is simple: to create a platform for artists to express themselves freely and creatively, and to do dance music differently and in their way. Right now, we are exclusively using C3DO to release our own (We Are Neurotic, 3kelves & Dylan C. Greene) music. Once we are comfortable with how to run everything properly, we will open up to other artists.

Can you share insights into any upcoming projects or collaborations that fans can look forward to in the near future?

We’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline that we can’t wait to share. People can at least expect a C3DO release every month for the rest of the year.

As veterans in the scene, what changes or trends do you hope to inspire or contribute to in the electronic music community?

The last thing we want to do is run with trends. Especially in dance music, it’s easy to do what’s popular in the moment, but we feel if we want to stand out it’s important to stay true to ourselves and remain different. We’re looking to make music that is timeless, and hopefully, our new single ‘Hyperservice’ is just the beginning of that.

It matters little whether you are an artist or a visitor, the love for music is the unifying factor.

We are a magazine & record label dedicated to quality underground electronic music. We do not look for just any music or anyone, we are looking for music, and people who create memorable experiences, that inspires and invokes emotion. Let’s create timeless music.