An introduction, please … who are you, where are you, and what pays the bills?
Sean (S) and Martin (M), Vocals & Guitar and Vocals & Synths, London and Berlin respectively. Together we’re synth-pop, balearic-not-balearic duo, Private Agenda. You might have heard some of our music on labels like International Feel or Live at Robert Johnson.
Where was the mix recorded, and what is the inspiration behind it?
S: For this mix, we’re taking an imaginary cruise around the lagoon on our island of dreams, with this mixtape softly seeping out of the speakers on board. Some of the tracks here were written on islands, or were inspired by them, channelling their peacefulness, beauty or the stories attached them.
The cruise lasts for an hour and quarter in total and you’ll finish up where you left off, on a wave of peaceful ambience, having taken a trip around the contemporary (and past) Balearic Beat in the process.
The mix was put together in my childhood bedroom at my parent’s place. A place I’ve been imagining and dreaming of alternative spaces
Strictly vinyl? Strictly digital? Couldn’t care less?
S: There’s strength in diversity. Track selection is more important than the format you’re playing it from in our opinion.
From an artist’s perspective, it’s a massive statement of intent and of trust when a label agrees to press your music to vinyl. There’s a massive investment of time and money right there and then so we, like so many others do place a great deal of value on vinyl records, but we’re not so into format exclusivity. Play what’s in front of you.
‘Balearic’, seems to be a somewhat overused term these days, but if you had to – and we are asking you to – describe the essence of ‘Balearic’ in one record?
S: Ginny – Can’t Be Serious would get pretty close for me. It’s gorgeous, euphoric, slightly obscure 80s pop, but a track that could ignite the dance floor at the right moment. I think the Balearic essence has much to do with context. Records which might not fill the floor in other clubs can sometimes take on a life of their own under the warm, open skies on the White Isle.
Favourite place you’ve travelled to? And why?
S: I recently went to Honolulu, Hawai’i. In spirit (and in climate) it felt in some ways like Ibiza’s estranged and distant Pacific cousin, but I loved it.
M: I honestly don’t have so much wanderlust, but my uncle and aunt have a house just off the Bodmin Moor, which is my idea of a perfectly serene place.
Sunset or Sunrise? And the best place to experience it?
M: Sunrise, through the window of the studio. The morning hours are the most fruitful and focussed for working on music.
Most embarrassing record(s) you’ve bought? Most expensive? And your best bargain bin finds you’ve dug out over the years?
S: There’s one record I have that I think of as embarrassing by association – as opposed to the record being ‘embarrassing’ itself. I got offered a last minute vinyl-only gig in New York last year (but hadn’t packed any records in my suitcase) so I scrambled for the $1 bins out the front of Superior Elevation in Brooklyn so I’d have enough music for a two-hour set. One of the things I grabbed toward the end of my search was this Kajagoogoo record (Turn Your Back on Me) which has this great bass line on it, so I planned on playing the instrumental the following day, but ended up playing a pretty dreadful remix on the other side by mistake. I ended up doing a pretty swift crossfade. Wasn’t all bad news though as in that same crate I found a copy of B.W.H. – Livin’ Up / Stop, a record which can cost quite a bit second hand.
Favourite DJ you’ve heard play out over the years?
S: I’ve only seen Maurice Fulton play once, but it was the best set I’ve seen to date. Fantastic selection of obscurities and classics (none of which were played ironically). Over four hours he played it fast, he played it slow, he played it queer, he played it so-so. A very close second would be seeing Paramida play the main room at Griessmuehle in Berlin during Cocktail D’Amore. I have this wonderful memory of Martin and I stood at the side of the booth, jaws-dropped at how great she was.
Anything else we should know about you or what you are up to … and do you have a track listing for the mix you provided?
We just released a four-track EP about love that we’re calling Affection. We’ve been putting a lot of effort into maintaining a strong conceptual focus for our releases and crafting a recognisable sound, whilst still releasing music that spans many genres. We’ve also got an album coming out with Lo Recordings which takes islands, their fantastically beautiful topography and the stories which emerge from them as guidance for our own music-making and storytelling.
Gallo – Sagajar [Clandestino]
Private Agenda – Ultramarine [Lo Recordings]
Tom Furse – Ocean is Teacher [Lo Recordings]
DJ Goodka & DJ Moar – L’Oiseau Doré [Trad Vibe]
Cosmic Force – Trinidad Bump [Super Bro]
Bamboo – Hey, Hey, Hey [WEA]
Filmico – Jazz Club [Isle of Jura]
Super Paolo – Bella Topa (Fede Club Reconstruction Mix) [Leng]
Henry Rodrick – Into The Sunshine (Jacques Renault Edit) [Local Talk]
Bobby Bricks – Orchid Island [Alliance Upholstery]
Clifford White – Lifestream [H-Track]
Department of Sunshine – Space Tropics (Rapp-Sody) [Elektra]
Smith & Mudd – The Distance (Ron Basejam Remix) [Adventures in Paradise]
Max Essa – Rainbird’s Alfalfa Jam [Hell Yeah Recordings]
Peaking Lights – Sea of Sand [Dekmantel]
Thanks to Sean & Martin for taking the time out to answer these questions.