Sasha and Production Friends Reflect on the Story Behind ‘LNOE TEN’
Sasha and Production Friends Reflect on the Story Behind ‘LNOE TEN’October 26, 2022
A decade is a long time in life, let alone in a label. This is the story of how Sasha’s ‘Ten by Ten’ project was born.
I thought long and hard about how to celebrate such an important milestone of ten years. For the 100th release a couple of years ago, we did a really successful remix compilation, so I wanted something different. I did have this idea of taking samples from every release we’d done and making a piece of music out of it, but that felt way too conceptual and too much work! We might do it in the future though… We already had two or three collaborations on the go, “Track 10” was sitting on the back burner, for example, then there were some records in the works that hadn’t made the light of day yet. Then I had this idea of ‘Ten by Ten’ – let’s find 10 artists to collaborate with.
We wanted a nice balance between established and new fresh artists breaking through whose sound I was really digging. It was a really fun project, plus there’s some exciting music we didn’t manage to get over the line in time, so they’ll see the light at some point in the future. It was great to work on this right after the Da Vinci project I was doing, which was a very different sound and had kinda taken over my life. I was working on an orchestral spacey cinematic sound for that in Berlin, so to come straight off the back of that to writing club tunes was great. Each one came together slightly differently – some were based on demos I had, some were fresh ideas the artists had presented. The whole project was brilliant to work on and I was so happy that all the artists said yes!
Sasha & Pumarosa – Just Us
Pumarosa: I was really drawn to this beautiful track, mainly the strings. I was at my parents’ house who were away. I ran a bath and went to the piano to write. 45 mins later I remembered the bath… steaming water was pouring onto the floor, dripping down the walls of the room below, power off all weekend. In that complete isolation, with no phone, no internet, no distractions, I wrote this song. When Sasha sent back the track with my vocals, he’d totally changed it, the strings were all gone, and it was this gorgeous upbeat dance track. It’s about falling in love, the rest of the world melting away while this dream state takes over.
Sasha: This was something I was working on around the LUZoSCURA project. I loved the vocal but it just didn’t quite fit so wanted to save it for something special. I was thinking off the back of LUZO I might get into writing a whole production album so was going to save it for that, but time ticks along and I really wanted to get this out there. This felt like that special project to put it out on.
Sasha & Alex Banks – Australia
Alex Banks: In 2020, Sasha asked me to put something forward for LUZoSCURA. It went really well so I was happy to get asked to collaborate on a track for TEN. Sasha sent me the track, already quite developed with lots of great ideas in there. Initially I treated it more like a remix, taking apart the elements that resonated with me the most and mixing them with new parts that represented my sound, creating an interesting mix of both our styles. The main synths used were the Moog Mother 32 for the building arpeggiated lines, Moog DFAM for some glitchy modular sounding percussion.
Sasha: We presented him with the stems and music, and he came back with this which was very different to our original idea, reinventing it into a techno masterpiece. I let him go for it and didn’t touch much on the final mix.
Sasha & Photek – Aviator
Sasha: We were actually playing around with this track when we were working on ‘Involver 3’ and it just didn’t end up fitting the record. There’s a few things that ended up on the cutting room floor around that release and that was one of them; I always had an idea to do a club mix of this track, then when we were talking about doing TEN, I started digging through my hard drives and came across it, I sped it up to 127 BPM or so, and thought oh my god this is a massive record! It came together so quickly and easily; it was a great way to start the project.
Sasha & Qrion – Dry & High
Qrion: I released ‘Monolith‘ last year on LNOE. I’m so happy to release another track on my favourite label! The first demo I received from Sasha was very minimal and had quite a dark vibe, so I wanted to keep the track very simple but still danceable. He edited my synth build up amazingly. It’s one of my favourite parts in the track especially when I play it on the stage. It was so precious to work with him, and I would love to make another track together one day!
Sasha: Qrion sent this really beautiful piece of music back and I went to work on the drums, getting the groove right on it and adding my own touch.
Sasha & Mr. Sosa – Who U Are
Mr. Sosa: It’s been great working with LNOE since releasing Coco Drum and the Super Imposed EP on the label in 2021. After hearing he was putting together LNOE TEN, I sent over a few ideas. Sasha picked one and it came together pretty quickly. Logistics are always interesting when collaborating in separate studios but as long as you can bounce stems across to each other it’s all good. This track started off sounding quite different and developed into more of a chunky house track. I used Digitakt for drum sampling as always, and UDO Super 6 and Omnisphere for the pads.
Sasha: Mr. Sosa sent me a vocal and some bits over. I took that idea and some of his music and created our own track under it. This one came together really fast and easy.
Sasha & Locked Groove – Exploding Suns
Locked Groove: I’ve been a fan of Sasha for a long time. I previously remixed Max Cooper for LNOE and loved working with them. So when I got the offer to work on this collab I got straight to it. I’ve been using the Lyra8 in loads of productions lately. Be it as an Fx tool or sampling single notes and importing them into a sampler. The Eventide h8000 is also involved in a lot of elements and pretty essential for creating the mood and space. I recently moved from Berlin to Sicily, so this collab is one of the first things I did after the move. I worked on it more in my studio in Berlin during a two week trip and then sent the stems back to Sasha, who turned it into the finished track. The whole process of collaborating was very smooth, I believe we completed the whole project in just under a month.
Sasha: This demo I had just really sounded like a Locked Groove track to me, so I just called him up and asked him to be involved. Another one that came together really easily.
Sasha & lau.ra – Burnt Letters
lau.ra: “I never really set out to write lyrics to anyone in particular but on reflection I think this one is a note to self. We’re all our harshest critics but sometimes we need a reminder to be our own friend first.”
Sasha: This was a demo that lau.ra sent through that we were working on for Scene Delete that didn’t quite fit. I was always planning on going back to that vocal, but the original track we’d written for it was slow and break beaty, and sort of fitted that re-fracted ‘Scene Delete’ sound. I was playing around with this backing track and wanted a vocal for it so I just tried dropping the vocal over the track and it just fit really beautifully.
Sasha & Lake Turner – Nalo
Lake Turner: Sasha always encouraged freeness, experimentation & discovery. It felt satisfying to be pushed in new directions by collaborating. He initially sent me a seed of an idea & then I started playing around with his chords on a 1970’s Farfisa louvre, which can create analogue rhythms & pulses out of the chords. The rhythmic module of the Farfisa supplied a new energy which led and knitted into everything else. The Farfisa has no midi capabilities & it had to be synced by ear, so there’s a slightly human feel to the techno chord rhythms.
Sasha: This came together really easily! We had a demo on the go with the strings and pads and the little vocal sample and we couldn’t get the drums right. I sent it to him and he literally sent us back a version that was spot on. We pretty much cleaned up his version and that’s what the final mix was.
Sasha & Knives Out – Hoodie Alan
Knives Out: Sasha sent us the music and we heard the breakdown which was amazing with this old-school feel to it. We just decided to turn it into a 1990s Van Bellen thing!
Sasha & Sentre – Track 10
Sentre: Finishing ‘Track 10’ felt like the perfect way, at the right time, to round the 10 year comp off. We are all really happy with it and blown away by peoples’ reactions. The track began very humbly as an idea I (Dave Gardner) had, which came together once Sasha, Dennis and I started working on it. We’ve worked together on some amazing projects, with some really interesting results since before LNOE existed, so seeing the label develop into what it is has been very cool. Working with Sasha is always fun and very inspiring. If I had to pick one essential thing, it’s the three of us working together. It can be difficult finding people to collaborate with on a long-term basis, when you do, you have to make sure you grab hold with both hands.
Sasha: I work with the Sentre guys on everything and this one was a no-brainer for the release, but probably the hardest to get over the line. We’d already spent a lot of time on it back in the day, so we really had to resist the temptation of remixing it completely because it had never been out in the first place. We just wanted it to be an updated version with a great vocal on it.
Sasha’s collaborative anniversary album LNOE TEN is out now via Last Night On Earth. Buy it on Beatport.