Technoir is the debut studio album from DTCHPLNES to be self-released on February 2, 2016. Paul Anagnostopoulos, aka DTCHPLNES is an Electronic Music Producer, DJ, and Songwriter bred in Detroit, Michigan, affiliated with Fat Finger Cosmic Records and Get Summered Collective. Recording sessions took place over two years during 2014 and 2015 at Conclave Studios in Hamtramck and Studio A in Dearborn, Michigan. Technoir is an homage to Detroit’s past, present and future; additionally invoking associations to classic Film Noir. The album showcases a diversity in styles combining live instruments, drum machines, samples, and features guest appearances by some of the most talented contemporary artists of Detroit: hip-hop icon Danny Brown and breakout performer Tunde Olaniran, Melanie Rutherford, Fat Ray, Liz Shar and Sam Beaubien.
The first single, “Sight,” featuring Liz Shar, is also the first video off the album . A mellow yet plot-line lends itself to the mysterious evening of the lead character. The visuals positively play in contrast to the upbeat tune, allowing the audience to slowly sink into the many elements of the track. The video was “shot on a frigid February weekend in the city of Detroit. With snow everywhere the crew toughed it out as [they] switched to multiple outdoor locations trying to capture that certain look. Sight is the lead single off the album Technoir, directed and shot by Bryan Lebeuf. The album artwork for Technoir was created by musician and artist, Blair French.
On Sunday, January 31st DTCHPLNES will be joined by Todd Modes, Bill Spencer, and Blair French on deck for the official album release event at Marble Bar. Limited edition vinyl copies of Technoir, complete with 3-D glasses in order to fully experience the album artwork by French, will be available for purchase. The 3-D glasses will come in handy for the exclusive projected visual artwork on display throughout the night. This fully immersive sonic and visual installation will ensure that your evening will encapsulate a complete sensory experience at one of Detroit’s best new music venue and bar. Read on for our exclusive interview with the man behind DTCHPLNES along with his collaborator, Blair French.
How did you first get into music?
Music was always prevalent throughout my childhood. I can remember listening to my mom’s record collection and really taking time with each record as they played; studying the artwork, reading the credits, being completely enveloped in the whole process. My older cousins were in bands and lived relatively close, so the access to guitars and drums definitely peaked my interest. Also, being a part of the MTV generation had an effect on me. For the first time music was literally in your face 24/7 and that changed everything, it was in my life at every turn.
Were you always making music or did you begin by digging and spinning records?
I started as a DJ first, collecting records and playing small parties; but that quickly changed into experimenting with small samplers and 4-track recorders. Making small demos and mix tapes with limited equipment until I saved up enough money to buy an Akai MPC 2000.
This album is super diverse in its featured styles, almost a radio-mix per se. Do you have a favorite genre of music in particular or do you find yourself sampling from a great range at all times?
More than anything with this album I wanted to share my growth. Coming from a more traditional Hip Hop background I wanted to break away and try working on different styles of music. Sometimes after a period of time when working within the confines of a certain genre it can be easy to follow a certain structure or repetitiveness, which can stifle personal progression as a producer. I consciously tried to avoid that by bringing in different musicians and being more open to experimentation. Also, as a DJ first, I listen and sample records from a wide variety of styles but always trying to keep things moving while giving you different sounds and feels through an album or mix.
You site the album as a nod to Detroit’s great musical History; are there particular samples and vocalists to note on Technoir that reflect this?
You can’t help but be influenced by the multitude of immensely talented individuals that make up this city’s legacy. In a way, they’ve shaped my musical direction and taught me how to survive while giving me the confidence to pursue my own path. I try to acknowledge that in songs like “Bright Lights,” featuring Melanie Rutherford. It’s got a lush 90’s RnB vibe with lyrics that speak to the hard-working people of Detroit. I also give a nod to my late friend J Dilla. On his early beat tapes he would start some of the tracks with a one bar metronome click from an MPC drum machine. Giving him a “What up doe,” I did the same thing on my song “Thermocouple.”
How did Film Noir influence you and where in Technoir do we hear that most?
I was introduced to Film Noir in my youth. The visual appearance of films like Blade Runner and Terminator were very appealing to me; the gritty look of the cities highlighted by neon lights, the dramatic plot lines, as well as it being my first introduction to Science Fiction– I was hooked. I tried to re-create that same feeling from a Detroit 3000 perspective. “Prototype,” “Sight,” “WLDLF RSRV” and “Cyberdyne” are the foundation pieces of this idea; paying homage to the style while updating the sound.
What is your favorite track on the album?
My favorite track is “Etching.” I’m not a trained musician, but with my history as a DJ I know what I like, and I feel fairly comfortable communicating that with the close group of musicians that I work with. After the track reached a certain point I brought in Elvin Ferreira and Niklaus Landstorm to add the bassline and warm color of the piano, giving the track slight nuances and more depth. I then sent the track to Will Sessions band leader Sam Beaubien to re-create the gliding synth line of Kool and the Gang’s “Summer Madness” as well as solo Trumpet sections that end the piece. Finally, I cannot express enough adulation for Melanie Rutherford. There are some people that are just born with an overflowing creative talent. She wrote and recorded all of her vocal tracks in thirty minutes.
Is there a nostalgia in printing the album on vinyl that stems from years of digging?
Absolutely. DJing is where I started my musical career and, after years spent digging, it feels only natural that vinyl is the first medium that I would choose to present my own creation.
How did the collaboration with Blair French on the Technoir album artwork happen?
Paul: I’ve known Blair for some time, but it wasn’t until these last few years that we developed a close friendship. He’s an extremely talented Artist/Producer. This was our second time working together. He also created the cover of my first project [a 3-song 10″ vinyl featuring Danny Brown on the single “What We Want”].
Blair: The inspiration [for Technoir] came from a stack of books. We talked about primitive yet futuristic. Of course robots and all that fall in to mind; but I liked the concept of the flame stick and the old tradition of having a white picket fence; it’s minimal and hopefully effective. Paul is open-minded, loves growth, and takes creative criticism well.
How did the artwork become 3D?
The original title for the album was 3D Printing, which sparked Blair’s interests in creating 3D artwork for his first time. Blair took the time to study and create a one of a kind piece. We laughed so hard the first time we saw it with the glasses.
Blair, what songs on Technoir did you vibe with during the creation of the imagery?
I usually listen to the albums as I work the art. “Prototype” and “WLDLF RSRV” are my top picks off this album. With my own music, I’m focused towards balearic, ambient, and electronic with my label Fat Finger Cosmic (FFC). I do my best creating visuals that compliment the feel of the music.
Where can people buy the album?
In Detroit starting February 2nd, albums will be available at Hello Records, Melodies and Memories, Street Corner and Paramita Sound. If you live outside of Detroit, you can purchase directly at DTCHPLNES.com, and digitally at iTunes, and Amazon.