All good music should tell a story. Tales of experience. Tales of joy. Tales of love lost and won. A Tale of Us.
Tale of Us are Berlin-based DJ and production partnership Karm and Matteo who are currently re-writing the rulebook for deeply moving, emotional electronic music. Together they share a sonic vision that pulls together elements of house and techno with influences from pop, nu-disco and even rock music. While all of their productions are instantly recognisable as Tale Of Us, these range from straight-up dance floor jams to low-slung ambient tracks and more abstract compositions. Already regular fixtures at clubs like Watergate and Weekend in Berlin, Tenax in Florence, Barraca In Valencia and DC10 in Ibiza they have grown up throwing secret loft parties called ‘Just This’, in their hometown of Milan. While both original- ly hail from North America, Karm was born in Toronto and Matteo in New York, they moved to Italy as children, which is where they met and formed the close working bond that they now share.
Since emerging with a clutch of much-played tracks a couple of years ago, Route 94 has quietly yet forcefully established himself as a distinctive young figure in the house music scene. His music - simmering, forceful and purpose crafted for late night dancefloors - speaks of long evenings spent locked deep into mesmerising four-to-the-floor grooves, so immersed that the surrounding world falls away.
Remaining a low-key presence and allowing the music to take centre stage, Route 94's tracks - propulsive, bass-heavy and with a keen ear for subtle melody - encode within them his many influences, drawing equally from the jacking momentum of Chicago and New York house and the sub-loaded sounds of his London home. It's an approach that's seen them become regular fixtures in the sets of DJs as varied as Skream, Richy Ahmed and Seth Troxler.
If Route 94's swift rise to wider attention might seem surprising for a relatively new artist, it belies the fact that he's been making music for years. Growing up in London, he was exposed to all manner of musical styles played at home by his mother and developed a fascination with dance music from an early age. Once he acquired a copy of Cubase at the age of thirteen, that was the only cue he needed - he immediately began immersing himself in making music, toying with making beats and experimenting with producing everything from house to drum & bass and dubstep.
His gradual focus towards a lean, stripped-back house sound came, he explains, as a result of becoming enamored with the atmosphere of house nights - the intoxicating mood of a crowd caught up in perpetual, pulsing momentum. His tracks, however, remain steeped in the dark, bass-led energy that characterises so much London-borne dance music - even at their most melodic and atmospheric they're powered by serious low-end heft.
It was those particular characteristics that caught the attention of his contemporaries after an initial clutch of Route 94 tracks found their way into the world in 2012, setting clubs ablaze in the hands of scene luminaries including Skream, Benga and New York Transit Authority.
In the time since then, his name has been steadily on the rise. He's had tracks and guest mixes regularly featured on Radio 1 and Rinse FM, while 2013 and 2014 saw him start to take DJ bookings across the globe.