The Yak jumped behind the decks with Daniel Kuhnen and Leo Piovezani, the power duo that is Elekfantz as they spin to inspire at W-Bali’s annual SPF.
Guys, what and where were you before Elekfantz?
Leo Piovezani: Before Elekfantz I was touring and performing as a session musician, a professional drummer, around South America.
Daniel Kuhnen: I was a resident DJ in a famous club in south Brazil and was the opening act and tour manager for the brazilian producer Gui Boratto.
It’s 2012, you released your track Wish. How crazy did the industry think you were on releasing a limited edition and on vinyl only?
LP When we finished our first single Wish we didn’t even had the name for our project. We had some music that we believed and we sent it to Kompakt Records in Germany, they signed the song right away.
DK: Wish was released on beautiful picture vinyl with a limited edition of 300 copies, and they sold out really fast. We wanted to make the music speaks for itself, that’s why we didn’t revealed our names or were we were from in the beginning. It was a mystery, a secret project. It was fun to read about the theories on the “real” authors.
Has it since made it onto Soundcloud, MP3 etc?
LP: Yes, year after 2012 , the original version of Wish was released on a compilation in Ibiza and then available in all digital platforms, but the dub version still only available on the picture vinyl.
DK: I believe that’s why the record is now a collector’s item, some people paid more than a US$100 for a copy on record markets like Discogs. Crazy!
What was the name of the blues band you were both in?
LP: Me and Daniel used to have the same music teacher when we were young, and we used to play in some bands together at that time. We used to jam a lot and got lots of experiences in night clubs and bars, but I really don’t remember the band names!
DK: Funny crazy times! I only remember one of the bands, Johnny & The Blueberries. Hahaha.
Worst and best moments in that era of your lives?
LP: I have been playing for 23 years, working only with music. So, I consider I’m blessed for that and consider these as the best moments in my life…
DK: Yes, being able to bring music and fun to people all over the world is a true gift for us.
What music creation process do you both follow when creating a new track?
LP: I really don’t have a specific way to compose a track. Usually I start with some influences from a record or maybe a synthesizer sound. Or even some vocal melodies and then the music starts to be created and the ideas start to flow.
DK: Yeah, and sometimes we get some ideas inspired by the places we play or the people we meet. You have to keep your channels open to the universe.
How influential do you think Brazil has been on the global music industry?
LP: Brazil always exported good music since the Bossa Nova era. We have beautiful songs and some legendary composers such as Tom Jobim and Villa-Lobos.
DK: Nowadays we have so much great talens from Samba to electronic music playing in all continents and because Brazil is a huge country we have a rich mixture of styles, rhythmic and melodic flavors that are so unique that you can have a totally different music style from south to north of Brazil.
We’re devastated to have just lost João Gilberto (creator of Bossa Nova). Did he influence any of your youth or your music?
LP: Yes, definitely. João Gilberto was such an inspiration to all of us.
DK: He was a genius, one of a kind. So sad he’s gone, but his music will live forever.
You played at Warung in Brazil. Did you know that warung in Indonesian means “eating house”?
DK: Yes, I was a resident DJ and radio show host for Warung Beach Club for many years. The club is legendary, one of the best clubs in the world. Ask DJs like Dubfire or Richie Hawtin what’s their favorite club and they will probably say it’s Warung in Brazil. DJ Mag described the club as “paradise on earth”! I just discovered the real meaning of the name when I came to Bali for the first time, it was crazy to see so many “warung” everywhere!
What was the Indonesian connection if any?
DK: The club owners love Bali and Indonesia, they had the idea to open a beach club inspired by it when they visited the island for the first time almost 20 years ago. They have friends living here and still visit the island quite often.
Your debut album, Dark Tales & Love Songs. What were the challenges in creating a brilliant full-length collection of melodic gems?
LP: Soon after we released our first single Wish we started a quest to find our true music identity. We mixed our influences and pushed forward to create something new.
DK: At that time we started to write and Leo started to sing on some of the songs. We were looking for singers and Leo recorded some guides for them, but our producer decided to use it and motivated him to sing. We spent more than a year working with Gui Boratto on his studio, it was inspiring.
Still on your wish list to play? Venue? Festival?
LP: We were so lucky to play most of our bucket list venues and festivals, in festivals like Lollapalooza, Rock in Rio, DGTL and Melt and clubs like Warung in Brazil and Watergate in Berlin.
DK: Yeah! But Coachella and Burning Man are still on our wish list.
Do you think that knowing how to playing instruments gives you an advantage?
LP: We compose and can perform our own music instead of just playing records.
DK: We play a live act, we have more in common with a band than a DJ. Not sure we can say it’s an advantage, but it’s different.
What have you got in store for us this next half of the year?
DK: Our second studio album is ready and will be released in November. We spent two years making it and we can’t wait for you to hear it. We we will play some of the unreleased music tonight at W-Bali SPF.
Lastly, any quote that has stuck with you that you live by?
Artists are messengers, who speak truth and impact us. And art is not about money, not about chart success, but touching souls.
Thanks for the amazing tunes and encouraging our endless dance moves Elekfantz!