Skweee has fast become a personal passion. It’s something I’ve tried to share with close friends and associates, but a lot of the time you get the same screwed up kind of expression made at you before that quick barrage of nervous laughter comes as the listener’s head cocks at that weird angle that means they’re trying to listen differently and understand what you’re playing them. At its heart though, skweee has a funk, a groove and yes, some of those squalling high pitched synthesizers that sound like the producers arms aren’t long enough to reach the lower octaves.
Born in Scandinavia to a select group of producers looking to release their own brand of synthetic funk, the sound has grown in breadth and style, but good skweee music always seems to retain a smirk and a sense of fun. It can be rooted as much in the drums or in the layers of hyper vibrant synthesizers but for me at least, there’s a perfect synergy between skweee and a smile. Plus the fact that a track like Eero Johannes’ ‘We Could Be Skweeeroes’ can sound like an on form funkafied Timbaland is often a resounding bonus.
Hiding on the tracklist of some of the scene’s defining compilations, the International Skweee and Museum of Future Sound series in particular, you’ll find the work of Henrik Von Euler, a Swede who’s productions have pushed boundaries of the primitive production techniques that the lo-fi style is renowned for. Having released music under an array of monikers, Rigas Den Andre stands proud as Von Euler’s out and out skweee alias. Over his debut album, Guilty Feet, No Rhythm he explored a netherworld of near broken bass tones, whilst he irked out his stuttered melodies over the top, producing classic tracks like ‘New Plastic Bastard,’ a track that tumbles into evolutions that contradict the ‘minimal’ and ‘primitive’ tags the music comes with.
With the vinyl release of his new album Speed Run imminent, we jumped at the chance to present a mix from Rigas, one of the most exciting and demented producers we’ve had the pleasure to come across. Whilst some skweee producers choose to get lost in the top end, conducting multiple channels of aural fluorescence, Von Euler harnesses the low end properly and he does so with vigour on new tracks like ‘December & Death’ and ‘Kid Rigarus;’ so it’s with great pleasure that we present Sonic Router’s 86th mix from Rigas Den Andre…
Sonic Router: Can you introduce yourself?
Rigas Den Andre: Well I am Henrik von Euler, I make music daily, run a label called Flora & Fauna, play live shows with various bands I’m in and as for myself, I run a club in Årsta, Stockholm, called Lilla Ukraina.
How did you get into skweee in the first place? I mean I’ve seen the we call it skweee documentary and that but I just wanted to figure it from your side a bit more… we’re you always making music anyway? What influenced you to make this type of music…?
I’ve been making music for a long, long time. Started making crappy hip hop in a band in Uppsala, then I ventured over to digital dub, dancehall, electro and all sorts of weirdness when I hooked up with the Moder Jords Massiva crew back in 1999 (where Pavan, Joxaren and Maja Hedin also were members). We played all kind of electronic music, with hardware, mixing between different producers in the live shows (shows that lasted about 3 hours). We did about 250 shows for 4-5 years and during this time I think the basics for skweee were founded. And I think maybe the reason for the simplicity of skweee (basic elements, short tracks, few sounds etc) comes from the pressure of filling dancefloors for hours on those shows with a limited sampler space (ASR-10 and s-330).
How did you hook up with Pavan and Flogsta Danshall? Was it just a close geography etc?
I joined Moder Jords Massiva in 1999 after David saw me rapping on a party on the roof of a big house in Flogsta. The day after I came to the show and did a song (completely wasted). It didn’t go too well to say the least but that didn’t seem to bother anyone so from thereon after I was in.
You’ve always treaded a little darker, more demented route than a lot of the Hypercolour skweee guys in my eyes. What music do you listen to outside of skweee? I mean can you put your finger on what it is that makes you want to darken it out? Is it
just like those gnarly sounds that interest you?
I really try to make it not so dark. This is my happy side, skweee. But I always strive towards making new sounds, and demented ones at that. Let loose the retard in you, you know? Music for me definitely needs disturbing elements in order to be interesting. In my skweee I try to focus on the disturbing elements all together; and also, nothing good comes from happiness.
Right now I listen a lot to death metal and John Coltrane. And play loads of video games. I’m trying to complete all the Super Mario games. Right now I’m at SMB 2 for Gameboy Advance. It’s hard.
What equipment do you use to make this music, is it all outboard gear?
It’s a mix of everything. A Polysix, Yamaha sk30, casios, crap synths, some nice reverbs and delays, logic, mpc1000, a bass station…
You’ve got a lot of different guises, how do you differentiate between them musically?
They have different personalities. One’s a retard and he happens to be making skweee.
Where do you think the new album, Speed Run, sits in your discography? Is it a continuation of a certain theme or just the next thing…?
I think it stands out as something new. I did it quite fast and never really worried about the result. I have so much to do right now so I had to be fast which also made it really focused. But ask anyone else and I guess they say it sounds exactly the same as everything else I’ve done… But it feels new to me.
It’s on your own Flora & Fauna label right? Can you tell us a bit about the label and the history/direction of it?
Yes. We started it back in 2001 to release the MJM stuff and back then we were several people running it, (me, Pavan, Joxaren amongst others) and in the beginning we released music from loads of the members in the collective – all genres, no direction, just a clear vision of what was good! Later on we started to sign other artists (amongst them Hundarna Från Söder where Daniel Savio was a member). For a couple of years now, I’ve been running it myself with some additional help from the others when needed. This year we’re going to release five albums at least: first my R2 album and in a week the second album from The Bethlehem Beard Corporation (aka Baba Stiltz and Mrs Qeada) ‘I Hate My Village,’ a new album from Rigas in September, a F&F compilation in November and the new Markis Sage when I find time.
Tell us a little about the mix you’ve made for us…
It’s all good skweee. The Elias Krantz, 118sthlm, Motem and Markis Sage tracks are unreleased gems. I love Whodini so that one was just for my own pleasure. The other ones are just real nice and diverse examples of skweee at the moment…
Finally, any words of wisdom for our readers?
There’s no wisdom to be found in this brain unfortunately. But don’t worry. Wisdom is overrated.
DOWNLOAD: Rigas Den Andre – Sonic Router Mix #86
1. Elias Krantz – Tody MotMot (Rigas Remix)
2. 118Sthlm – På G
3. Rigas den Andre – Success Sucks Ass (feat. Spartan Lover)
4. Mother North – Butter Blues
5. Whodini – Haunted House Of Rock
6. Rigas den Andre – Aga Ago
7. Slow Hand Motem – Magik Grrrl
8. Limonious – 7 Synths
9. Easy & The Center Of Universe – Halloumi
10. Markis Sage – Kissing Cousins & Hustling
11. Daniel Savio – Sucky Salsiccia
Rigas Den Andre’s Speed Run is out now digitally, and will be out shortly on vinyl.