Even (Eide) and Ilay (Bachke) are setting a new destructive precedent on Oslo’s dance floors. Their punkish designs on left-leaning Techno genres like EBM and Industrial have tormented dance floors in Oslo and places like Lithuania and Glasgow for the past 4 years. Part of a few DJs in Oslo that are permeating the grittie, DIY aspects of dance music, Even & Ilay are an anomaly, diametrically opposed to the slick formulaic House and Techno that dominates dance floors today.
They’ve avoided the ubiquitous producer/DJ role to focus purely on DJing and bringing that particular sound to the dance floor; a sound that can vary, from downtempo churning drones to blistering, distorting Techno, all punctuated with a primal, uncompromising attitude to music. They’ve never so much as released a set online, but they’re already prominent figures at places like Hærverk, where they’ve recently established their own club night, the very aptly charged Racing Club; disseminating the sound that they perpetuate in the booth through bringing artists like Nocturnal Emissions to Oslo.
They’ve been an elusive force in Oslo and our paths have crossed on more than one occasion. At a recent event at Revolver, they closed out the evening with a hefty onslaught of unapologetic dance floor cuts in their unique way, not giving an inch at peak time on the dance floor, their unsuspecting audience locked in a frenzy right up until the last bell rang out at the bar. They were completely in their element, the dance floor submitting to the raw energy of the music. It’s the first time I’ve seen them in this context, and usually they can be found playing a more reserved, although equally provocative sets for the more discerning music heads at intimate events and places like Mir, the aforementioned Hærverk and at Raymond T Hauger’s den Gyldne Sprekk events at Jaeger.
Ahead of their next appearance at Jaeger, we sought them out to find out more about Even & Ilay and met up for a chat at Blå. They are enrolled in film studies, where naturally they’ve gravitated to sound, and have taken a break from a project they are working on for an interview and a beer. The stuff they do for film is a world away from the music they play in their sets they tell me. “That’s kind of funny,” says Even, “because our music tastes are usually recorded on cassette with a lot of noise and stuff, but the studies are about making everything sound really clean.”
They’re very pragmatic about their decision to study film over the ubiquitous path through music production course and it’s this very unusual kind of perception that sets them apart from their contemporaries. I soon realise it’s one of the many reasons that Even & Ilay are unique figures for their generation and why they’re sure to be future luminary’s for the next generation of DJ breaking through.
When and why did you start DJing together.
llay: 2015. We were always listening to music and it came naturally when more music got discovered.
Even: I guess we got bored of Disco and House and then we wanted something else.
You would’ve been under 21 then. Did you ever feel like there was a place in Oslo for you to play or listen to this kind of music when you were starting out?
I: We usually had a fake IDs, still there were some places that didn’t really care like Taxi Take-Away or Maxi Taxi. They had a lot of different kinds of music, but they were open so we could bring our own music.
You played at Maxi Taxi and Taxi Take-away before they closed down. How did places like that influence your musical tastes as DJs?
E: We started playing at Taxi Take-away and Maxi Taxi. A lot of the inspiration was from the aesthetics of that place, we wanted to find a lot of tracks that fit with the look of the place; it was perfect for the stuff we discovered.
I: We’ve been influencing each other throughout. In the beginning we didn’t use to play together. After some time, we have found lots of the same music.
I noticed you play a lot of records, has that always been there?
E: We started with only playing records, but then we switched to some USB and some vinyl; I played all my records too many times.
I: In the beginning it was strictly records, but then we realised there was way too much music out there that was not available on vinyl and now it’s more of a 50/50 thing.
Where do you find most of your music?
E: Mostly searching Youtube, Soundcloud and then we look at distribution sites like Juno and Lobster Theremin. We also use Discogs.
I: Discogs is where I spent most of my time, to be able to check out all the labels and all the sublabels and the artists signed to those labels. I also used a lot of blogs and websites on the internet where people share a lot of old undiscovered stuff.
Is it mostly new music?
E: I like the combination of playing some old techno, house, new beat, and then some new stuff. I think it’s cool to try and mix it up.
It’s quite difficult, since a lot of that old stuff just wasn’t recorded that well, and doesn’t hold up to a lot of new music.
E: I’ve had some bad experiences, where a track I really like sounds great on my speakers at home, but then I play it out in a place and it sounds really shitty and people can’t dance to it, because the recording is so horrible.
What made you pick up DJing in the first place.
I: It was just a fun thing to do when you’re listening to music all the time. I instantly felt I wanted to spend more time finding new music, and it just felt natural to also play.
Was it through the youth club that you learnt to DJ, like so many of your older peers in Norway?
E: No we just started at home with some cheap record players. I had a boomblaster hooked up to the record players through a shitty mixer with no eq and only a crossfader. It was really nice to beatmatch that way, because you had to get it perfect to sound good.
I: We had a pretty crap record player where you had to give it a push to get the motor going.
I associate the kind of music that you play with that darker EBM, punk-Techno sound. What drew you to that sound?
E: When we started, we wanted to find something that was exciting and new. When we found labels like Contort Yourself, Unknown Precepts, Sign Bit Zero, Rat Life, Lux Rec, Mannequin, Dark Entries etc we started finding that those labels were fairly new as well. When Contort Yourself started with their first record, we found that sound in the club music, so I guess we were just part of this new wave that’s been really inspired by eighties industrial music.
I: I listened to a lot of industrial stuff and when I started hearing those labels converting it into contemporary club music it pretty much settled my idea for what I wanted to play as a DJ.
Do you have any relationship with labels like Jealous God and City Trax?
E: For sure…
That’s something I wanted to ask you too, do you feel there is any place you can actually listen to that music today in Oslo?
I: There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in Oslo, and even though we don’t have the dedicated clubs and there are so few people playing it, we know some people that DJ this kind of music regularly. You also had Ron Morelli who was just at Jaeger as an example of how there is a lot of good music coming to Norway as well.
E: There is a lot of stuff happening even if doesn’t seem like it. Oslo has a varied music scene.
I: It’s kind of small so it’s possible to do stuff yourself. That’s why we’ve started booking artists for Kafé Hærverk for our concept Racing Club. We started with Nocturnal Emissions and Philippe Laurent, and we still have many upcoming artists for the autumn, such as Five o’clock Traffic from Börft to name one.
And that crowd is probably more receptive to that kind of music.
E: I wouldn’t play records from Jealous God there, but more punk, music that fits a small room.
Similar to what you might play at Jaeger on Tuesday?
E: I feel it’s fun to bring our own style but also try to adapt to the people that are at Jaeger.
I: Wherever we play, I feel like it’s always fun to push the line to how obscure you can have it, before people leave the club. In some places that line can be pushed a lot longer, but still we try it. It gives something new to the sets that we play, and makes every set different.
I feel that your set at Revolver a few weeks ago, was probably something you want to do more of.
E: Definitely. It was just great, because it mixed really well with Xander’s (Burrell Connection), it was really nice to have that build up and we finish off with some crazy electro.
And everybody stayed!
I: It didn’t look like the people there were into Techno in any special way, they were just out to have fun. Playing for people that don’t have any of these expectations, and when not everyone in the crowd is a dj i’s always fun.
You mentioned playing in Lithuania and I know you’ve played in Glasgow too. You probably play more abroad than any other DJ in your field. Is it purely from social networking online?
E: Yeah, because we never released any of our own stuff, and we’ve never put any of our mixes out before, so I guess it was just that we met the right people, and they understood what we were doing. Whenever we play in Lithuania, nobody knows who we are so nobody really shows up though.
It was just about bonding with the club promoter and about the kind of music you like?
E: Basically it was from Digital Tsunami in Lithuania.
What about the music you’re making, is there any intention to bring it out into the world?
E: We’re just having fun and also I don’t feel like we are that good. We don’t have any music background; we just try to explore the kind of sounds that we like and it’s also kind of half-assed.(Laughs)
I: We never use enough time. When we find something we like we just press record and record it into one track on the computer and that’s it.
That’s the way it should be.
I: Yes, and we get that rough sound. That’s what we like in music, stuff that isn’t super-well produced, but just stuff that is homemade. Stuff that just hits.
Do you ever play it in your sets.
I: Sometimes, just for fun.
Through everything you’ve said You two strike me as DJs doing something completely unique to everybody else. Do you even feel there is a scene around what you guys are doing?
I: Yes, Techno is pretty big in Norway at the moment and there are a lot of raves happening and people who are not DJs are coming to dance to this music. There are quite a few DJs who do cool stuff that’s easy to get behind, and I’m looking forward to continue collaborating on the next events we have coming up.
E: I think the Techno scene in Oslo is getting bigger, so I guess the thing that we are doing will be more popular at some point.