Chicago imprint Silencio are barely one year old, yet are quickly building up a solid reputation for honest, no-frills house and techno. Priding itself on modesty and stoicism, the label is firmly on the side of the less-is-more ethos, and with little in the way of identities and personalities, the music does the talking here. It’s no accident that the label’s logo is a luchador mask, and indeed, the label’s name itself reflects how its business is quietly done.
Dublin deep house duo Laughing Man and Noah Skelton were drawn to Silencio as a matter of course, and their debut EP, ‘Element’ is befitting of the label, with its subtle, atmospheric textures, hypnotic rhythms and bubbling basslines. We spoke to the boys ahead of the release of the 2-tracker.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to chat to us today.
No problem at all.
We wanted to know how you guys first met one another? Was it through music?
We first met at a night that used to run in Dublin called Weathertop.
Musically, what was the vibe like in the city since you guys first hooked up? Has it changed a lot over the years?
Laughing Man: Since we met its been mostly Techno, DnB. It’s been mainly focused around them with the odd house night.
Noah Skelton: Yeah when we started there was a much bigger emphasis on House, but the scene has shifted to be almost exclusively Techno. There are only a handful of promoters that are booking House acts.
What are your first earliest memories of electronic music?
Laughing Man: Earliest memories I have are from a few sets. The first is DJ Rush at mothership/ Richie Hawtin Decks Eft and 909 and a Goose mix called Journey. Whenever I think back, they would be the ones I remember
Noah Skelton: I think I started off with Hardstyle, because I didn’t know any better. Then onto Dubstep guys like Digital Mystikz, Benga, Skream. Then quickly onto people like Maya Jane Coles, Mr. G, Nina Kraviz etc.
On that note, do you think Dublin is a good place to grow up for house and techno music?
Laughing Man: Yeah I thought it was! When I first started to really get into it, there were so many nights running with great music. Everyone that was at the nights was just there for the love of the music and a lot of the people that went were other DJs and producers, so everyone got on because you have the same interests and you just chatted about music most of the time. So it was great that could bounce ideas around and learn from each-other
Noah Skelton: Yeah definitely. I started going to clubs when Dubstep was a big thing, I didn’t even really know about house at the beginning. My friend introduced me to house and techno and I instantly fell in love, then started going to nights that pushed those genres. A lot of time was spent in the basement of the Twisted Pepper (now Wigwam) going to various international DJs. There was a lot of variety 4-5 years ago.
Laughing Man: Its great what they’re doing but their music is not my taste.
Noah Skelton: Not particularly. I respect what they’re doing for the scene but their music wouldn’t be something I really listen to. I suppose their international success would be something that inspires any producer in Ireland though.
So who inspired you guys early on?
Laughing Man: I was listening to so many different people at the time that I can’t say who for certain, but I was listening to the likes of Delano Smith, Carl Craig, Ricardo Villalobos, AntonZap, Baaz, Boo Williams.
Noah Skelton: I think the stuff that inspired me to start actually producing was Dub Techno stuff like Deepchord, Maurizio and Marko Furstenberg. But like Dominic said, I was listening to a lot of different electronic stuff at the time, it’s hard to pin it to just a few artists.
A lot is made of the licensing laws in Dublin. How do you think it effects the scene there?
Laughing Man: Well the majority of clubs finish up around 3 but there is always an afterparty going on somewhere in the city.
Noah Skelton: Yeah I mean having to leave a club at 2.30am/3am is a bummer alright, it’s definitely holding back the potential of Dublin as a scene for house and techno. It also prevents any sort of meaningful length of sets from international DJs, it’s very common for the main headliner to get no more than 2 hours on the decks.
Can you tell us a bit about how you ended up producing together? Is this your first EP together?
Laughing Man: Yeah this is our first EP together, I remember coming across a few tracks on Soundcloud that I really liked but I didn’t know who it was as it said the artists name was “Vis” and I found out it was Noah. We started talking about our tracks and decided to collaborate.
Noah Skelton: Yeah basically what Dominic said. We didn’t really start talking properly until we found out years later that we both like the same kind of music, and it went from there. There’s not many people in Ireland that are into the same sort of stuff we are, so it was only natural that we link up.
What is it about one another’s styles that you feel compliments the other?
Noah Skelton: Probably the fact we both are energised by the same sort of music, stuff that is more groove and minimal-oriented housey stuff. It’s easier to collaborate when both styles align in certain aspects.
Laughing Man: I couldn’t have said it any better haha!
So tell us a bit about the Silencio EP – how did you end up getting it signed to the label? And what does it feel like to have the support of a label like Silencio?
Laughing Man: I sent an email to Silencio because I heard a few tracks they were putting out and I really liked the buzz they were going for. It feels good to be a part of Silencio, they put out good music and they want the best for their artists and not just their music.
Noah Skelton: Yeah it’s a really great label and they’re putting great stuff out, happy to be part of it with Dominic.
The release is being pushed on wax too. Is this something that’s important to you guys in terms of where your releases go?
Laughing Man – For me it was a long term goal to release on wax. I was releasing tracks under my own name for about 5 years. Over time i really just wanted to physically hold my own music rather than release on digital. So I decided to take a step back and have a fresh start with Laughing Man. So now that I’ve reached that long term goal it just makes want to improve and get more.
Noah Skelton: Yeah same for me really, there’s only so far your music can go on Beatport. Getting your stuff pressed and distributed on vinyl is something that most artists want, it’s a great medium and generally results in more people listening to your music. Who wouldn’t want to hold their music on a stamped piece of wax?
What do you see as the future of house and techno? Do you think the market has reached saturation point in terms of DJ fees, amount of gigs etc?
Laughing Man: For me I don’t really pay attention to it.
Noah Skelton: Not really sure to be honest, I think all we can do is focus on making great music and creating a vibe for people to enjoy. Music always comes first for us.
If you were to produce alongside one other producer, who would it be?
Laughing Man: I would pick Kepler who is also on Silencio, as we made a few tracks in the past and had good fun doing them.
Noah Skelton: Christopher Ledger. I really admire his music and his artistic direction, he puts so much into what he does and he’s helped me a huge amount with my music.
What’s the best thing about working as a duo? And the worst?
Laughing Man: I think the best part is it makes making tracks easier as you could have the beginnings of an idea that isn’t quite there and the other person can see what you’re going for and get it where it needs to be.
Noah Skelton: It’s really interesting to send somebody something and see what they come out with, it’s a great way to get creative really fast – I find it’s always easier to get some good ideas going if they’re started or finished by someone else.
Do you guys set yourself goals in terms of where you want to play, who you’d like to play with and what labels you’d like to release on? Or do you generally just take things one step at a time?
Laughing Man: I would just take things one step at a time. I don’t normally be in the mindset of making specific tracks for certain labels. I just play it as it lies.
Noah Skelton: There’s a few labels in mind. I just want to keep getting better at making music, DJ out more and create my own sound. I generally don’t plan ahead too far, just make music and see what happens.
What’s next for Laughing Man & Noah Skelton?
Laughing Man: I have a couple more release’s on the way and a new mix series that has just kicked off called “Standalone”
Noah Skelton: A few releases lined up for this year, can’t say much more than that!