In the wave of 90s nostalgia sweeping the globe, artists are pushing through plastic-nostalgic sounds and moulding them into their own form of progression. However, it’s hard to find producers whose musical aesthetic and underlying concepts are thoroughly rooted in the decade we all seem to have a love-hate relationship with. Until you meet Betonkust & Palmbomen II, that is.
Glamcult couldn’t be more proud to premiere the music video for the Dutch duo’s latest release, out now on Dekmantel Records. In light of Nintendo Pantera, we sat down with the producers to discuss where the inspiration came from, their 90s approach and their plans for the near future. But first, watch the brand new video here.
When did you first begin to work together?
We’ve known each other for over ten years—the “scene” in Holland is pretty small so you kind of just meet people who are into the same things automatically. When we were working on different solo projects, we would sometimes send tracks back and forth, giving each other feedback and stuff. Betonkust did some little things on Palmbomen II releases, like adding a bassline to one track or arrangement advice (cutting down a 15 minute jam to 5 minutes). At some point, we both had some free time and decided to make some music together from scratch.
How did you find your combined signature sound?
Musically speaking, we were already operating in the same area (electronic music with melodies), and because we use certain equipment, we automatically have certain limitations which results in our sound. It went pretty effortlessly, we just started making music with the stuff that we had. There were never talks about what we were going to create next. Just set a BPM and start playing a beat or a melody.
What is it about 90s nostalgia that brings you back to that sound?
It’s not a conscious decision. For some reason we just like that sound. Without trying to be hip/cool/vaporwave, 80s and 90s VHS recordings and (FM) synths from those days just have a certain charm. Maybe it’s about impermanence? Synths that used to be really cool and expensive in like 1988 are now considered outdated and cheap-sounding by a lot of “professional” people. You can buy a lot of old synth modules for about 50 euros nowadays. The same goes for the Center Parcs bungalows. At some point in time they were shiny and new, but not anymore. Stuff gets older, technologies that once were incredibly innovative are now left behind. Which is fine, by the way. Progression is a good thing, but there is also something sad about it.
Your last release, Center Parcs, was recorded using only hardware. How was the setup and recording process for Nintendo Pantera?
We basically made the entire Center Parcs LP with the same set-up. Some cheap synths, a drum machine and a mixer. Pantera’s drummer Vinnie Paul (REST IN PEACE!!!) definitely inspired Betonkust to program those double bass triplets on the Boss DR-660 drum machine. Palmbomen II just started playing those chords using a sound from the Roland JV-1010, Betonkust played the DX/FM Rhodes melody (don’t recall which synth/rompler…), and that’s all we can remember, really. We made so many tracks in a couple of days. We were not thinking/analysing at all, just finishing track after track. Some were cool, others were garbage. Everything was recorded live and mono.
Where did the inspiration arise from for the design and production of the music video?
Those kind of ideas mostly originate in the car on our way to a gig. For some reason we ended up brainstorming about a multiplayer version of Mario Kart set in the Center Parcs environment. The concept was that guests could race each other from their own bungalow via some kind of Center Parcs intranet, and that the game would be broadcasted on the bungalow park’s own TV channel (Center Parcs Videonet). After listening to some tracks that we had recorded, we realised that one of the songs kind of sounded like a Mario Kart soundtrack, so we decided to combine the track and the video game concept. The characters ended up being cool musicians instead of Italian plumbers, and for some reason there’s even a commercial break. The music video was created by Palmbomen II and Antenna with some 3D software, it got pretty technical.
And finally, what can we expect from you in the future?
The next release of Betonkust & Palmbomen II has already been recorded and will again be released on the Dekmantel label in the near future. Apart from that there will be some solo records on different labels, and of course the occasional remix. We also play a lot of live shows, both as solo artists and as a duo live act. We have developed a new way of playing live together, it’s basically both of our hardware live sets connected to a mixer. This way it’s almost like a back-to-back DJ-set but then every track is played live. I hope this makes any sense to you. We also like to play ‘all nighters’ at clubs with our live show somewhere in the middle of the night and our own DJ-sets before and after. This way you can really create the right atmosphere. Our most important upcoming duo gig is the one at Boiler Room @ Dekmantel Festival this August.