The euphoric electronic music that Sam Haar and Zach Steinman make as Blondes does suggest the duo knows how to, well, have more fun. The Brooklyn group (via Berlin, via Oberlin) debuted with 2010′s Touched EP, which positioned them as heirs to cosmic-disco wizards Lindstrom, Prins Thomas and John Talabot. Their new self-titled double album not only cements them as peers, but also shows them capable of pushing forward the euphoric house of the Field and Gui Boratto. Gentlemen, after all, prefer it.
A week before Blondes left Brooklyn for a new European club tour, eMusic gave Haar and Steinman $50 credit to spend in our store. Here, they talk with Marc Hogan about what they bought.
Zach Steinman: The first one that we bought was a Marcel Dettmann compilation called Conducted, which had a few tracks we already knew, and we were feeling the vibe of the tracks.
Sam Haar: It’s pretty deep and atmospheric techno. Some of this stuff we did on a FACT mix recently. This guy VRIL, we’ve been really feeling recently.
Steinman: It’s got a [track] from Sandwell District, Silent Servant.
Haar: It’s a good mix, you know? A good DJ mix.
Steinman: I was listening to it today. It wasn’t everything that I hoped for, but there were a few other good tracks that I didn’t know.
Steinman: Because we like Carsten Jost?
Haar: Yeah, we do like Carsten Jost! We like Dial Records and wanted to check that one out.
Steinman: We’ve been feeling some of his other tracks a lot recently and really like his record label.
Haar: Deep house.
Haar: He recently came out with these 12″s on Workshop – one this year and one a few years ago, that we’ve been listening to a lot.
Steinman: Yeah, basically we were just really feeling his Workshop stuff and never heard this release. I think that’ll be our running theme!
Haar: Hadn’t actually heard it yet. We’ve worked with him before, we did a remix of his, and wanted to get this record.
How did you guys get synced up with John Talabot in the first place?
Steinman: Our friend Dean sent him our first EP, I think, and then John contacted us about a remix.
Haar: [We have a] similar Balearic sort of sensibility.
Haar: A friend of ours just put it out on this record label called Shinkoyo. It’s really cool. It’s pretty wacky. It’s like kind of emotional, metal-inspired electronic music. It’s very – it’s called Hypnos so as you might think it’s pretty hypnotic. There’s all these synth arpeggios going into deep space but it’s kind of got this slow, metal sensibility.
Steinman: [After reading the title] He bought this one!
Haar: He makes cool house music. I have one track of his that I’ve been DJing, and I just wanted to buy some more.
Haar: I’ve heard tracks from the album, but I hadn’t actually got it, or anything. It’s one of the few full albums that you can actually find. He doesn’t have many full albums.
So when you guys DJ, is it vinyl, or do you do mp3s and stuff, too?
Haar: I mean, vinyl would be cool, I guess, but we’re not DJs first and foremost.
Steinman: Actually when we’re DJing we’re so happy to not be lugging our gear around. So I don’t know if I would actually want to be lugging around vinyl.
Haar: He’s a Japanese sort of new age-y synthesizer composer that we hadn’t heard before.
Steinman: We were doing an interview with LindstrÃ¸m, and he was talking about the Rene Hell remix of our track “Amber,” and he was like, “I think you guys should really get into Isao Tomita – check it out.”
Haar: And that was right when this feature was happening, so we were like, “Let’s buy one!”
Steinman: So we bought it!
Haar: There’s a cover of the main theme from Star Wars. What’s that called? I don’t exactly know what that track is called. [Hums theme]
What are your thoughts on new age? There’s that blurry line between some of the more ambient, psychedelic electronic music and then new age.
Haar: I love new age. I even like that it’s called new age. It really depends on the music. I think the majority of new age is probably pretty terrible, like any genre, but people can do good things with it.
Steinman: There are definitely pioneers of the form.
Haar: There’s also a lot of cheesy crap. There’s definitely a lot of crap. But there’s definitely people who consider themselves new age who make good stuff.
Steinman: But then it also goes to like, spa music.
Haar: Speaking of ambient, sort of weird sounds, not new age really music though…
Haar: It’s on Touch Records. It’s all field recordings of animals spliced together into a sort of listening art.
Steinman: Manic white noise.
Haar: I really like that label.
How did you get into Touch? I know you studied electro-acoustic music in college – was that where you got into them?
Haar: Well, I definitely listened to Touch in school. But I actually saw Chris Watson at this really cool place in San Francisco called the Recombinant Media Labs. It was this weird, super fun place, they had all these surround sound speakers, you could just go and sit and lay there for two hours. That’s where I really got into him. He had some older records that I really enjoy, too, like this album called Outside the Circle of Fire – it’s a really weird record. He’d hide in bushes and record animals from like a mile away so they didn’t know he was there. He got, like, cheetahs sleeping. It was pretty weird. But it actually just sounds like crazy electronic music.
Steinman: Longtime fans! First-time listeners. Wanted to check it out.
Haar: Hadn’t heard this one yet.
Do you remember when you first started listening to Vladislav Delay?
Haar: A few years ago. What was that album? It was really good. When I got into Vladislav Delay first, it was Whistleblower. It came out in 2007. He’s really prolific, though, he comes out with all this music.