Premiesku: "Music is a land without barriers of any kind"

Words by: Stephen Flynn
Posted: 17/12/13 9:06

PremieskuRomanian trio Livio, Roby and George G are Premiesku, a live act like few others in the electronic music domain. Musicians of some distinction, between them the trio have already tasted success on labels such as Cecille and 8bit (where Livio & Roby made their name), but it's on Loco Dice's Desolat where they've cemented their fledggling reputation as purveyors of seriously funky and eclectic analogue sounds. Having showcased their spectacular live show to great fanfare at the likes of Timewarp and Cocoon in Amnesia, it's quite clear that they're on the verge of an even more special 2014.

With all this in mind, we caught up with two of the guys, Roby and George G, to discuss computers, touring issues and their debut album, Indirect...

How did the idea for the Premiesku project first come together? Had you always planned on working together or was it something that you just dreamt up one day?
Roby: The whole idea came up when we decided to make music together, even though the initial project had a different name. After I met Livio and start making music together, we thought it'd be cool to make a trio with George. I met up George maybe 10 years ago and we had a good connection as we were both big Depeche Mode fans! We shared the same musical tastes and we opened up a studio. At some point, Premiesku was born.

George: Yeah, it was a pretty natural process, Roby and Livio met in a friend's studio and they realized they shared the same dream about making electronic music. Then they made a studio together, and after 2 years Livio was introduced to our studio for a project. Livio and Roby started first as you all know, and I had other duties in that time. Originally, we worked on a project called Monochrome, that much later became Premiesku.

Roby, at what stage did you decide to add George to the equation, then? And what does he bring to the table?
Roby: Well I don't think anyhing was lacking. Myself and Livio are more into working as a team, and George felt the same. Plus, he always had his own musical approach in mind which we liked a lot. At some point we thought it'd be cool to assemble a band together and combine 3 perspectives into one project.

We really wanted to make a real live act with some of our gear. I guess it's about passion & pushing yourself personally, & I always liked the idea of a band who deliver live techno music! RobyYou guys are all pretty well versed in music I gather. Is this a necessity to being a live act?
George: Having an electronic music live act like ours is quite old-fashioned, with a lot of cables and gear and a lot of knowledge and skill sets that we've developed over years in the studio coming to the fore. So in short, simple terms, yes, it's a necessity, but working with this gear is also a massive challenge for us too and we're always learning.

Roby: Yeah, for us, it was just an unaccomplished dream. We really wanted to make a real live act with some of our gear. I guess it's about passion and pushing yourself personally, and I always liked the idea of a band who deliver live techno music!

I believe that you don't work with computers in spite of you being a live act. Does it make touring extremely difficult if you're only depending on hardware?
Roby: Personally, I really don’t like computers on stage. For me, it’s much more exciting to work with real sequencers, analog gear and old samplers; it’s great and it’s a different connection on stage. Sure, traveling isn't made easy and it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but it's totally worth it.

George: Yes, we try to keep it hardware all the way, so it's difficult especially in the moment of plug in and unplug all the equipment...

Romanian trio Livio, Roby and George G are PremieskuSo what sort of hardware do you work on? And at what stage did you decide to eliminate computers from the equation?
Roby: Actually we use sequencers, analog synths, drum machines and Akai samplers, some of which are modified. The whole idea is to make an old school live act without computers so we don’t feel connected with one laptop on stage.

George: Yeah, we use hardware digital sequencers because they are more versatile, but as generators of sounds we try to keep it analog as much as possible - with the exception of special unique sounds that were produced in the studio on complex analog signal chains and recorded in our samplers.

Are you anti-computer based programs in that sense? Have you always produced with hardware? If not, how have you found the move over/back?
George: Absolutely not, no. Computers and music software, especially Ableton Live, have played a key role in how our music has been produced over the years. It's not just about choices, but most of the time we try to make ideas with hardware and then maybe bring it to Ableton.

Roby: Same. I grew up with computers and I totally love them. We use them in the studio, but when I started to make music, it was with real gear first so I have a special connection with it. I like to program the machines; it’s amazing to see them all connected with each other.

Do you reckon that the personality in 'live' electronic music has been negatively affected by the dominance of computers though?
George: For me, when you simplify things you lose the essence...

Roby: I think people are free to decide what's better and more suitable for them. There's nothing wrong in using Ableton Live to assemble pieces and create live tracks. This is the era we're from, and it's handy to use laptops. The fact that we choose not to work with the computer is solely because we want to make a “Live” appearance. We just think people have the wrong perception of what a live act is these days thanks to computers.

The fact that we choose not to work with the computer is solely because we want to make a “Live” appearance. We just think people have the wrong perception of what a live act is these days thanks to computers... RobySo talk me through the live act. Who does what and how is it all synced together?
Roby: We don’t really have one way of doing it; it can work in many different ways, and we change roles from one track to another all the time. Live rhythm sections combined with synths and FX all together through the mixer = Premiesku Live. The machines are all synced up thru a midi clock which is basically how it all works.

You built your own custom instruments, right? What was the thinking behind that? And what do these new instruments grant you that other such available instruments cannot?
George: Yes, that was an idea we had from the beginning. Having these custom tracks that includes different synths, drum machines and FX that all interact with one another like they are in the studio - but are also easy to travel with!

I believe you've played out a few times already at Loco Dice's Used+Abused, at Cocoon at Amnesia and at Timewarp, right? How did it all go?
George: Yes, we've played some great shows at some really special nights. Of course, there were moments of difficulty but we overcame those. I think with every passing gig we are more confident that we'll don't have any issues.

Roby: I always have a little bit of stage fright before the show and it’s normal, but I'm a confident guy and as soon as I get out there the adrenaline kicks in and I don't have time for worrying any more...

Talk to me about your album that came out last year, Indirect. Did it end up exactly as you imagined or was there a lot of improvisation involved with its production?
George: From the beginning, the album was deliberately free of any rules so the results were very experimental. A lot of jam sessions were involved in its creation.

Roby: For sure, it was a really great experience.

What have you learned from a musical and personal perspective with Premiesku? Do you think the experience has improved you as musicians a lot?
George: Music is a land without barriers of any kind. When you go to play to a gig, you find and share the same ideas with all the people involved with that gig, starting with the clubbers, the promoters, the artists etc. Every gig gives you new perspectives about music and how you listen to it.

Roby: Friendship, team work, live acts, touring, compromising, I learned a lot of stuff. And yes, I think we are improving all the time for sure. From the live act side you gain a lot of confidence from playing together. I think it's normal to learn more and more from the journey.

What's the next step for Premiesku? Are you always looking for new ways to tweak and alter your sound? Any more gigs pencilled in from here on in?
Roby: Music is out passion, it's what we do.. Always developing new ways of making (or destroying a sound!), there will of course be a new tour.

George: Well, we've a new booking agency, new gigs, new equipment, new live toys and the same enthusiasm and joy for electronic music as we've ever had.

So have you thought about where you're taking things from here or are you just taking every day as it comes?
George: We always look to the future with our plans, but the most important plan we have is to make good music and to rock the places we play.

Roby: Our main purpose is to hook up in the studio and make music. Improving is the main goal. i couldn’t say it’s a great plan, but this is the best what we can do. Oh, and there'll be some side projects you should look out for as well!

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