The result of a two-week collaboration between Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) and Praveen Sharma (Praveen & Benoît), Brooklyn based ‘lovestep’ duo Sepalcure produce deep but vibrant music which sits tentatively on the fence between house, dub and 2-step.
Layering warm, looping rhythms over much darker ripples of bass, Sepalcure mix a huge range of influences to produce tracks that are as rich as they are diverse. ‘Pencil Pimp’ builds repeating tribal vocals on top of a solid keyboard heavy baseline, punctuated throughout with structured wooden snares, whilst ‘Hold On’ mixes tightly chopped echoing samples with Mario-like electronic bleeps and clicks, whilst still maintaining a distinctly housey vibe. With a unique sound and album art work to match, we sniffed around for an interview and ended up talking about edamame beans, 80s cult classic Wild Style and the Sepalcure illustrator, Sougwen Chung, accompanying them on tour this month.
What’s the creative process like when you start working on a new track?
PS: It’s pretty improvisational. We really gel in the studio so we sit down, one of us engineering or at the computer and the other on keys and instruments and we keep switching between the two roles, layering material until the song is ready to be arranged.
TS: Yeah there are no set rules, we do tend to use a lot of the same tools but every now and then we decide to try some new gear. We’re always excited every time we start a new tune because we literally have no idea where it’s going to go.
What projects have you got in the pipeline?
PS: I know Travis is a machine when it comes to production – he’s already probably got two more Machinedrum albums ready since Room(s)! I’ve been wrapping up my Braille album, finding a home for a Praveen album I neglected when we started Sepalcure, and trying to book some time on a Piano to start a new project. Always running Percussion Lab Radio every week as well!
TS: I’m surprised by how much Praveen can handle given that he has a pretty intense day job coding. I know if he didn’t have that obligation he’d probably be making as much if not more music than I do.
We love the album artwork, how’s it been working with Sougwen Chung? Do you have a particular image or colour for your tracks whilst you’re producing a new track?
PS: We’re really lucky to work with an artist like Sougwen. We really let her do what she wants to do and she always ends up tying all her work for us together. It’s rare to see music with such a close knit visual relationship. We’re going to be taking her on tour with us in February for our new live A/V performance.
TS: The tracks tend to be a mixture of multiple colours and hues, some are darker while others are brighter. Sougwen captures this variation beautifully in her visual representations. They tend to be haunting whilst somehow making you feel comforted and safe.
What’s your favourite movie?
PS: That’s a tough one. I think maybe the original Night of the Living Dead.
TS: Extremely tough one. I’ve always been a huge fan of the movie Pi by Aronofsky. The Holy Mountain by Jodorowski is another stand out but isn’t for everyone. I’ve probably watched Wild Style more than both of those combined though.
PS: Spanish Tapas!
PS: Acoustic instruments run through a granular sampler.
Text: Thomas Curry