There’s something about Mike and Joginda’s music that catches the attention right away – their flow’s probably stronger and faster than any river issues into the sea and there are quite some rivers in their hometown Rotterdam. Joginda and Mike, better known under their artist moniker Black Cadmium, have been involved in the electronic music for years – decades to be precise – in the one or the other way, but it took the both until 2019 to finally get things going for them and craft their forces. From then on the duo’s way has known – at least in the eyes of the public – only one direction: up! Releases on Ovum, Naive, Vault Wax or and most recently their Inertia EP on Transient Nature are not only an expression of their success but also show their musical diversity or simply underline the duo’s knowledge and understanding of electronic music’s origins and roots, something the two find essential in order to grasp the big(ger) picture. Shortly after the release of the beforementioned EP on Transient Nature, Black Cadmium gave Torture the Artist some insights into their minds, lives, (studio) approaches, places to hang out in Rotterdam and how everything culminated into being who they are, what they do and how they deal with matters that concern Black Cadmium. Additionally Mike and Joginda compiled the latest edition of the art:cast special series – certainly as deep and diverse as one would expect and a soundtrack for any state of mind or season.
Torture the Artist: Hello Joginda and Mike, tell us something about your day.
Mike: Today was a rather busy Sunday. I had to work at 7:00. Very early for a Sunday. Joginda spent the day in the move with his kids.
Torture the Artist: Black Cadmium has not been existing for too long, actually your first entire EP, Joblot, was out in 2019. How did you guys meet and what was the crucial point when you decided to start the project Black Cadmium?
Black Cadmium: Around 5 years ago we decided to step it up a notch. We’ve been playing music together and separately for about 20 years. Black Cadmium came to life after a long process of learning how to perfect our crafts.
Torture the Artist: Starting a career in music when the scene is basically put on hold are not necessarily the best premises. How did this affect you at an artistical as well as personal level and how did you overcome possible problems encountered?
Black Cadmium: We tend to think in possibilities. Everything has duality, it was the same with the lockdown. We chose to spend our time effectively and retreated the studio. It was very therapeutic to transfer all those heavy emotions into light ones. That time was also a time of reflection, a chance to reboot so to say.
Torture the Artist: How did you generally get involved in electronic music or what was the moment/ event when you decided to dedicate yourselves fully to the music?
Black Cadmium: We got involved somewhere around the millennium and we played at a lot of parties, we were also heavy ravers in general because the dancefloor is where it’s at. We started making music roughly 15 years ago. So up until 5 years ago we had a lot of practice. Our minds also had to be in the right place to dedicate ourselves effectively. But it was then, when we went all in.
Our vehicle is music and our mission is to create a gathering on the dancefloor in order to celebrate life, bbecause in our pursuit of individuality, we are eventually all the same.
Torture the Artist: How did you come up with your artist name or why did you name yourselves after a chemical element, Cadmium?
Black Cadmium: Thank you for asking. <smiles> This comes down to the poisonous nature of it while it is also being used for appliances we all utilise. But back to duality again, the duality in which a lot of things and also people are viewed or shown, for instance, you show disdain for people of other ethnicities but you like their music, food, fashion etc. You look down on the LGBTQ-community but you like dance music and the culture, not realising where the whole culture originally came from. We can go on and on with more examples. Our vehicle is music and our mission is to create a gathering on the dancefloor in order to celebrate life, because in our pursuit of individuality, we are eventually all the same.
Life got put on hold and we get our inspiration from life, whether positive or negative.
Torture the Artist: You just had a release on Transient Nature called Inertia EP, with the term inertia originating from the field of physics and basically meaning that something (a body) shall persist in its original state (not moving so to say), paradoxically music itself does the opposite to people. How do you want the name of the EP as well as the music on it to be understood?
Black Cadmium: Looking at the state of reality on a micro and macro level, if we look at society we have come from a state of inertia. The pandemic put everything on hold on a macro level. That also trickled down to many personal lives, like being confined to our homes because of lockdowns, the loss of jobs, relationships falling apart, not to mention the disease itself, you name it. Life got put on hold and we get our inspiration from life, whether positive or negative.
There’s such a rich history behind the music and we urge people to go doc-digging on YouTube, because understanding what you actually play adds to the experience.
Torture the Artist: The tracks on the EP and also your previous releases over the past two years are musically diverse and complex. What are your major influences and is it your general approach to cover these with your productions when you sit in the studio?
Black Cadmium: What works best for us is seeing our minds as blank canvases, meaning less planning and more flow. The music takes its own direction and kind of writes itself. The EPs also form organically. Our reference points are the Detroit and UK sounds, our frameworks so to say. Early influences that grew on us, we intertwined with them. There’s such a rich history behind the music and we urge people to go doc-digging on YouTube, because understanding what you actually play adds to the experience.
Torture The Artist: In your latest release and otherwise, how do you select single tracks to accompany one another; does order ever play a part? In the final stages leading up to the actual press and release, have you ever left out a track(s) for any multitude of reasons?
Black Cadmium: It’s more of an energy thing, like just feeling instead of overthinking it. We also like labels to have a part in this process. Seasoned people like Maarten, Violet en Beyun also have a vision from which we can learn.
Torture the Artist: What’s a producer you’d like to sit in the studio with, and why?
Black Cadmium: At the moment it has to be AceMoMa. We just love the vibe, the tracks and they seem like overall cool down to earth fellas.
Torture the Artist: What’s everyone’s task in the studio and how do you complement each other?
Mike: This actually applies to our collaboration as a whole. Joginda is the helicopter-view guy and I’m mister meticulous.
Torture the Artist: Do you have any small routines that you have applied to that have proven successful in the studio?
Black Cadmium: Yeah, relax, don’t pressure yourself, take breaks, meditate and laugh.
It’s not so much about favourites, but more about dope combinations.
Torture the Artist: Every artist basically has this one synthesizer he/she mostly uses over a certain period of time until another one becomes more interesting. What’s the synthesizer of your choice at the moment and for which of your tracks did you mainly use it?
Black Cadmium: The TR09, TR08 and TB03 and those are on almost all the tracks. It’s not so much about favourites, but more about dope combinations.
When we go into that beforementioned flow-mode, we’ll see what the universe has in store for us.
Torture the Artist: Coming back to the beforementioned musical influences, what is a track that you have not produced yet but would like to?
Black Cadmium: We have a lot of ideas floating around in our minds and prerecorded on voice memos, but there isn’t really a particular track. We also love to surprise ourselves. When we go into that beforementioned flow-mode, we’ll see what the universe has in store for us.
Torture the Artist: What other interests besides producing music do you have?
Mike: I like meditating and recently started boxing. Also I love going to the park to read a book, and I enjoy cooking so much. Right now I’m into learning stuff about the Italian cuisine.
Joginda: I’m heavily into cooking as well, love to play tennis and spending quality time with my family.
Torture the Artist: The Dutch scene and especially the one in Amsterdam is known for its supportive character of aspiring artist, so the result is that a lot of artist become internationally known. Does the also apply to the Rotterdam scene and the experiences you’ve made their?
Black Cadmium: Maybe indirectly, but it is kind of hard to say. But what you generally say about the Dutch scene is true. For us it was hard work, patience and perseverance. Just not giving up even when the chips were down. Creating a network of kindred spirits. That’s where our focus is at.
We definitely love our local scene – the new kids on the block and the old cats. We learn from each other.
Torture the Artist: Rotterdam is mainly known for Techno and even faster genres like Gabber etc. Has there been a shift over the past years and how are you involved at a local level in the scene?
Black Cadmium: Rotterdam has a lot of subcultures. Techno and Gabber though are more internationally known. From UK vibes, Italo, Disco, House and Tech-House to more abstract Electronics,it’s all here and it has always been like this. We definitely love our local scene – the new kids on the block and the old cats. We learn from each other and this past lockdown has brought us closer to each other.
Torture the Artist: What are your three favorite places to hang out in Rotterdam, and why?
Black Cadmium: We can only pick three? That’s mean haha…
Mike: Biergarten (outdoor bar)/ Operator Radio, Kralingse Bos (a big park) and Cafe Bakkeliet. I just love the diversity of feeling zend in the park and meeting people at social spots.
Joginda: Witte de Withstraat, Keile Café and Restaurant Coco. Just local hotspot we love to support.
Torture The Artist: As covid sights get brighter, what venue/place are you most looking forward to returning to after all the restrictions are lifted and what’s the track to start one of your sets with?
Black Cadmium: Breakfast Club and Club Modular, we finally get to play there with the sweethearts Eris and Maya [editor’s note Eris Drew and Octo Octa]. Regarding the first track… no clue at all… <winks> It can change like one minute before.
Torture the Artist: What’s a habit/skill you’ve developed?
Black Cadmium: Keeping calm, being patient and staying focussed even when the odds are stacked against you.
Words by Holger Breuer
Picture by Mark Bolk