Solar Skeletons are a Brussels-based producer duo consisting of Eric “Tzii” and Nico “Ripit”. Their style straddles all genres – from extreme black metal and power electronics to creepy disco and moody dub – a feat reinforced in the selection of tracks they’ve included in this vinyl-only exclusive mix they recorded for us. The perfect end to the summer season.

Exclusive mix 43: Solar Skeletons by The Word Magazine on Mixcloud

Can you describe yourself in a few words? Your sound, approach to making music, your influences, how it all started, etc…

Nicolas: I’m mostly an electronic musician and a sound engineer. I’m trying not to have a specific approach in my compositions so I’m able to explore various genres of music. Sometimes my music is  hyper-edited, super-produced, sometimes it’s more spontaneous and improvised. My influences reach pretty wide as well, ranging from Lee Perry to Burzum, from De La Soul to Godflesh… Basically I started making music to justify my existence in this world.

Eric: My sound is mostly electronic as well, but not limited to that. I have an instinctive approach to making music, so I don’t stick to any genres. I’m more focused on the intent than on the form it takes, and more on the textures and sounds than on composition. Also, I like the physical perception of music that can lead to transcendence and/or trance. My influences are multiple, and basically I feed myself with everything I perceive around me.

How did you first start making music? How does it fit into your life?

Nicolas: I’ve start making music as a guitarist in a black metal project when I was 15, and turned to radical electronic when I was 19. It was and still is an essential point for me to express myself, as I find it more difficult to communicate feelings with words.

Eric: I was a drummer in a punk rock band in 1993. I discovered electronics pretty quickly through illegal raves, but also by saturating tapes signals, changing the sound with effect pedals or directly in the mixer, and playing a MS20 synthesizer that I found in a garage sale through the mic input of an hi-fi. Same as Nicolas, it’s an essential thing in my life, I haven’t found any clearer way to express myself.

Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment? If not, what are your other occupations?

Nicolas: I earn my living as a sound engineer for live shows (for bands as Prairie, Parade Ground, Orphan Swords, but also at Café Central and Les Brigittines) and at Ångström Mastering studio. Also I take care of Ångström Records’ promotion department. So beside making music for myself, I work for other’s music (or dance pieces). So yes – it’s pretty much a full time life of music.

Eric: I’m a multitask musician. I play regular gigs and DJ sets, but also deliver work for contemporary dance, live performances, video installations, movie soundtracks, sound design and any other media with sound inside. I also organise festivals and regular events as a promoter/booker. So, yes, basically the major part of my income is from music and sound, but I’m a filmmaker as well (I do mostly music videos) and work sometimes as a video manager for contemporary dance companies.

Can you describe the mix in a few words? What is its overriding influence, where would it best be enjoyed, what makes it special?

This is the tale of a journey of the Solar Skeletons descending from space down to earth, first landing in the wild jungle and then entering the urban world through the Sound System culture. It ends with them taking a kinky nap on the beach… It’s pretty much a summertime tale. So we would say that it would perfectly fit a BBQ party on the Moon.

Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix? Why did you chose to include this one? If it isn’t one of your own productions, how did you come across the artist?

It’s a song taken from an unreleased LP of ours called «Überkunst Traviata» , which we recorded a couple years ago during a residency at Rockerill, a production house in Charleroi. This track features Andrea from the Sardinian band 1997EV. There’s a strong musical love history between Solar Skeletons and 1997EV; we even did a split together, dividing an LP between our two bands. Eric is now an official member of the band – he is the drummer. We chose this track because it fits well with the space synth vibe and of course it’s quite the statement: «I am Ra».

When and where did you record it? Describe the room, the furniture, the walls, the view from the room, the neighbourhood, the weather at the time, etc…

Nicolas: We recorded it on a balmy summer afternoon at Eric’s studio/office/living room space in Anderlecht… As this place is very multi-functional, you can imagine that it looks messy, but the owner insists that it is, in fact, pretty neat.

Eric: I know the place and can assure you that all things are where they should be!

What’s your favorite track on the mix?

Solar Skeletons: we have no hierarchy; if we play it, it means we like it, so we like them all. In any case, we don’t agree with the concept of favoritism.

What are your top 3 albums of the year so far and why?

You know it’s good music when it’s timeless.

What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?

Solar Skeletons: We just had a new release on Cheap Satanism records , who also booked us at Magasin 4 on October 11. We also have a tour in U.K. in the pipeline for November. Beside that, we’re working on our other projects. Eric is touring in Tunisia, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico and releasing a new LP and Nicolas is having several solo releases coming out on Silken Tofu, Third Type Tapes and Bruits De Fond. We are still looking for a label for the Solar Skeletons album «Überkunst Traviata», from which the exclusive track is taken.