The Romanian tech house duo’s latest album features a number of secret collaborators. They talk us through the record and reveal the guest artists.
Bucharest-born Silviu Sandu and Robert Precup have been making music together for a decade, but it’s been four years since their last album. That LP, Indirect, was released under their Premiesku project with long-term collaborator George G.
For their latest full-length, Phantom Circle, just released by Desolat, the duo continued the theme of collaboration. This project saw them working with a roll-call of names from the scene, releasing the vinyl version with no track listing in an effort to encourage listeners to focus on the music first. These “phantom collaborators” contributed to all but one of the album’s tracks.
We asked them to talk us through the making of the album, track by track. In doing so, they reveal the collaborators…
Livio & Roby – ‘Capsule’
This track was made last year during Sonar. We were actually in Guti’s studio in Barcelona working on a feature with him. He had to leave for a gig and so we took the day to work some more and this track popped up with an unknown vocal sample so we continued to work it. This was the only track on the album without a phantom collaborator.
Livio & Roby vs Guti – ‘Skin Trigger’
We actually jammed on this one in a 22-minute original version with Guti in his studio, setting up his Roland Juno-106 and the DSI Prophet-8 for basslines. For the groove, it was a mixture between his new baby (at that point), the Roland TR-8 and the MachineDrum from Elektron.
Livio & Roby vs Tini – ‘Dimensiuni’
tINI was touring heavily during that period so unfortunately we couldn’t hook up in the studio, so we sent her an embedded project to initiate the process. She came back with some amazing rolling stabs and vocals and we just finished two arrangements; a vocal and a dub. We will release both, one vinyl and one on digital.
Livio & Roby vs Martin Buttrich – ‘Sister In Law’
This one was very interesting. We always wanted to make a track with Martin, so the first session happened during our US tour last year. We played in LA and we met him there. By that time his studio was based in LA. We just bought a Dave Smith Pro-2 that we used on that day for some basslines. Martin was having fun with Maschine and his sample collection, then we took everything out of the box using some Neve 1073 preamps and the GLM 8200 EQ.
Livio & Roby vs Hector – ‘Mound’
This track took more time as we were busy touring, so we were swapping files for a while. We picked up Hector’s Vatos Locos rolling grooves, attaching those to our melody and basslines. We ended up with a housey kind of vibe. We called it Vatoresku!
Livio & Roby vs Ryan Crosson – ‘Romaniac’
Ryan was surprisingly on it and was a fast one. We discovered that he is a very organised producer. We sent a track to him and he came back to us with the reshaping of our original idea and we finished it. It was as simple as that! Such a smooth procedure.
Livio & Roby vs Andrea Oliva – ‘Reloaded’
On this track we chose material that we were really attached to. We thought it was fitting and was right. We took the hook and Andrea changed the groove, putting it into a more intense flow. We gave this track a big room drop-off touch.
Livio & Roby vs Julian Perez – ‘Reign’
We had Julian down for a gig in Bucharest, and we spent a couple of days in our home city. We chose to develop one of our dub techno jams and we curated together some dubby sounds. We filtered it through our analogue East German RFT [Rundfunk- und Fernmelde-Technik] mixer. Julian became a big fan of this mixer and he ended up buying two of them!
Livio & Roby vs Enzo Siragusa – ‘SN Model’
Enzo came to us around Christmas time, which was a great time of year to have him around the house. He brought us his own samples, and we loved his big room snare and the dub bass that he created on our Roland SH-2. We actually had two tracks together and we ended up choosing only one for the album.
Livio & Roby vs Premiesku – ‘Dezarhiva’
Being our third member and main supportive act, we had to get George involved in this project. This track reveals our way of live jamming and has that pure Premiesku flow. We still like to recreate this track in our live act.