NTFO are the Romanian duo who are currently ripping electronic music a new one thanks to their highly skilled and full on sounds. Natives of Romania, this talented pairing first perked the ears of Solomun and the team at Diynamic way back in 2010, and it’s no exaggeration to say that their rise has been nothing short of meteoric since. With their latest EP, the brilliant “Composit/Metropolis” (a collaboration with regular production partner, Karmon), still going down a storm, we thought it a good time to pick the brains of Dani and Robert, who talked us through Romania, Diynamic and their future plans.
NTFO. What’s in a name?
We started out as DJs in our hometown with two different nicknames, so we just simply took two letters from our names like: NTQ (Dani) and Fort (Robert).
You’re from Romania. What was it like growing up there?
We’re based in Jimbolia (Hatzfeld in German), a small city in the west side of the country. The house music scene is growing right now, and you can find very cool events in almost each big city like Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj and others.
Why has electronic music become so popular in Romania over the past few years?
Maybe it’s because it’s grown due to artists such as Arpiar (Raresh, Pedro and Rhadoo), Livio & Roby, Cosmin TRG and many others. Then there’s festivals such as Sunwaves which have made a huge impact too.
Do you get to play at home often then?
We just played last weekend in our neighboring town, Timisoara, but in actual fact we don’t get to play at home very often these days. Maybe twice a year if we’re lucky. But every time we do it’s always pretty wild!
And when were you two first bitten by the dance music and production bug?
We started to share the same taste in music around 2004-2005 when we first produced our stuff with Propellerheads Reason 3.0. We were living in the same area so it was very easy to meet and start something together.
And what made you become a duo?
The duo became official after we did our first remix for Peter Gelderblom. It was an unofficial remix but was played a lot on some local radio stations, so it acted like a new launchpad of sorts for us.
How do your sounds and styles compliment one another? Do you agree on most things music wise?
When we work on something it’s very easy because most of the time we share the same opinions regarding our tracks. If one of us starts something, the other can easily finish it.
When did Solomun and co. first pick up on your tracks? Did you just contact him through SoundCloud, etc. or how did it work?
H.O.S.H. got in contact with us in 2010 to remix “Cash The Chord,” and we’ve been in touch with himself and Solomun ever since really. In 2011 we signed ”Feelings” to Diynamic, and so the collaboration began.
Did you make music with Diynamic in mind then, or did it just so happen that the music you made was a good fit for the label?
Of course we have Diynamic in mind first, but sometimes if it doesn’t 100 percent fit the label then we’ll look elsewhere.
How would you describe the music you guys release?
Dance floor music for peak time floors. The style is a mixture between tech-house and deep house, but basically, it’s just house!
What do you use to make your tracks? Are you hardware or software enthusiasts at all?
Our studio setup is very simple and we are totally software addicted. Our DAW is Reason Propellerhead, but we’re not using any VSTs or anything like that.
What, in your mind, are the key foundations of a dance music track?
For us: a strong kick and a phat bassline are the most important things in a track. If you don’t have these two elements rocking with each other then it’s not for us.
What one lesson would you pass on to young producers reading this?
The most important thing is that they find their own sound and work constantly on something new each day.
I noticed some really weird – and great – samples on your latest EP alongside Karmon. Can you explain them a bit?
Yes, in ”Composit” we recorded some announcements from train stations and airports. We knew it worked from the get-go really. Also, we had the chance to work with Karmon on his hardware gear and it was amazing.
What 5 tracks are you really digging at the moment?
1. NTFO & Karmon – “Metropolis” (Diynamic)
2. Maceo Plex – “Conjure Bass” (Ellum Audio)
3. ICS – “Like a Fool” (Jargon)
4. The Feelings – “Yes, I Do This For A Living” (Der Tietz und Der Schmeisser’s Only Because it’s You Edit)
5. Hanfry Martinez – “Hasta Luego Primo” (La Vie En Rose)
And what’s next in the NTFO story? Will you be playing in Ibiza again a lot this summer?
We are currently for a new EP for the summer and we are preparing for next months in Europe and South America. Ibiza, for sure, but we can’t say much about that one yet!
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