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PALLADIAN – The Architecture of Production

PALLADIAN is an electronic duo based in Barcelona, focused on creating evocative, vividly atmospheric music based on an intoxicating mix of sharp tones and rich melodies. Last year they dropped their first EP titled Surfaces in early 2021 via Future Archive Recordings.

For their latest release, they have transformed Itona’s “Hold Me” into a heady lo-fi house cut, with warm chords, muted percussion and gently rising synth lines perfectly blended to create a soaring beautiful track that’s at once meditative and invigorating. 

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Thanks for speaking with us guys – how’s your year been so far, considering everything?

Hi, thanks for having us! Not bad at all actually, we struggled like anybody else during a pandemic but at least the closure gave us a lot of time to produce and to plan future projects. Here in Barcelona, things seem to be starting to open up again so hopefully, we would be able to play live soon.

Do you have musical upbringings? And how did you first get involved with the world of electronic music?  

Besides the usual classic piano lessons during teenage times, yeah we have a parallel but slightly different musical background. Our music education varies from Underground Hip Hop to Detroit Techno and everything in between. To be able to produce a hybrid style of music like ours, we tap into different genres and take inspiration from everything that moves us.

The word ‘palladian’ refers to a type of architecture characterised by classical forms and strict symmetry. Do you think that’s something that informs your music? Or are we making connections where there are none? 

Yes, the name we choose is strictly related to architecture but not because we consider our music neo-classical in any shape or form, on the contrary. Our intention is to describe a creative process in building a track which is very similar to the design of a building without being too specific. Palladio represents the quintessential architect from where all modern architecture comes from, so our music can be modernist, moorish or brutalist but will always be Palladian.

Much of your music is characterized by slow tempos and meditative grooves… was that always the case? Or do you both have secret backgrounds in warehouse techno?

Not at all. The music we produced now is the result of a collaboration between two artists who see music in the same way but in our past, we’ve been experimenting with other genres and tempos as well. It was kind of a natural outcome. There will be times when we would go even slower and times where we would experiment with something more hardcore. 😉

The music we produced now is the result of a collaboration between two artists who see music in the same way.

Talk us through how you work together as a duo. Are there different aspects to both production and performance that you specialise in?

Yes, indeed. We kind of have a process. One of us is more sample oriented and more empiric when it comes to productions … and normally we start from there. The other is more technical and theoretical and brings a more solid and structured input. We go back and forth a few times but we definitely prefer to work side by side, so far that’s been way more efficient. So we decided on a few principles that we want to follow in terms of style, but nothing like: “I do the bass, you do the drums”… that’s totally flexible. 

Do your live sets reflect the music you produce? Or do you increase the tempo when you have a crowd in front of you?

We didn’t have the chance to play live yet. This project was born only a couple of years ago and with the pandemic, it became impossible to plan any show. In any case, It really depends on the type of event.

In a club we will definitely try to increase the tempo in order to be more energetic and make people move their hips. On other occasions we could create a lounge atmosphere right for a cocktail party on a rooftop. Also, we like to transform our tracks into longer and more open songs like a b-side of the original ones: we’re looking forward to bringing our music in front of a crowd. 

How did you approach your remix for Itona? Were there any elements of the original that you were especially keen on preserving? 

We wanted to keep it as energetic as the original but also add our flavour to it. Our reference was one of our early releases called “Fur” which has this soft housey vibe with a leading Rhodes melody and rich percussion. It ended up becoming the perfect adaptation of that process to create a similar tune which retain Itona’s original mood.

Itona – You EP is out now: 

There’s a really organic sound to the remix, it feels like it came from the earth rather than a computer. How do you think you achieved this? 

We always strive to achieve organic sounds or at least we try to stay away from default sounds as much as possible. We don’t mind going lo-fi and grungy: if the instrument is too “clean”, we like to add some saturation or a noisy layer on top.

The Rhodes piano we used on Itona’s remix for instance, it’s created by a series of plug-ins by Spitfire layered with a sample and a bit of overdrive.

Any specific bits of gear or software you’re using a lot at the moment? 

 Lately, we are investing a lot in our gears trying to constantly improve the range of tools we use. Our latest studio upgrade was the addition of a beautiful Hydrasynth by ASM, fantastic machine!

Many must-have plugins as well of course (Serum, Massive, etc), but we quite like the LABS instruments and the whole concept behind their creation.

What else do you have coming up we should be looking out for?

We got a lot of stuff in the oven! We are busy with a bunch of remixes and new featuring songs that includes artists like Frameworks, Tor, Sebastian Davidson, Skysia, and more. We’re also working on our first album: after a handful of singles and a 5-tracks EP we are aiming to release a more bulky and substantial studio album. So, you should expect a lot of turmoil in the coming months. 🙂

Thank you.

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