“The Come Down” EP by Roger Gerressen and Joiah is a fascinating project that emerged from the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of the EP explores the contrast between the excitement of returning to a party and the inevitable comedown (Come Down) coupled with existential questions about freedom and self-expression (Be Who You Want), representing the thoughtful and introspective approach to their music.The combination of deep 2000s progressive-house elements, Joiah’s vocals, ethereal soundscapes and melancholic yet sensual vibe is intriguing. The EP aims to capture a range of emotions from nostalgic highs of a party to the contemplative lows of a comedown, all while exploring deeper philosophical questions about freedom and identity. It’s a testament to the power of art and collaboration to emerge even in challenging times.The EP is out now via Muted Noise (Chicago U.S) and includes outstanding remixes by label boss Halo Varga and Ion Ludwig.

Interview by Thore Damwerth

Pictures & artwork by Elena Orta

Roger Gerressen

Ranging from 90s hip hop to house music, your sound influences are diverse – how have these influences shaped your signature sound identity?

I was totally in love with 90’s boombap hiphop when I stumbled into the world of house/techno. The sound of a perfect sampled-loop accompanied by heavy drums always soothes me, it’s mellow yet it has some attitude. Its playful but also very serious. Its a bit how I feel in life. So that feeling automatically sets the tone for most of my music. I think my sounds/projects are so diverse because I have always been into the ‘digging’ side of hiphop production too. I loved to figure out which samples were used by my favorite producers, opening me up to a world of music from all genres. I try to take that mentality and incorporate it into my own process.

Has your sound identity evolved over time, and if so, how has it changed and why (also in regard to your inspirations and creative process)?

I dont think my identity has changed much over the years, but I have found more confidence in experimenting with other genres and adding some melody here and there. When I started as a producer I didnt know anything about music theory. I realize now that some basic knowledge helps out a lot! 

As an experienced label owner, what do you look for in sound and new talents you want to push and collaborate with?

When it comes to my labels and the sound I look for when finding new talent it’s a pretty easy instinctual process. I look for authenticity and it has to have a certain ‘timeless’ element to it. I feel like most of the music I’ve put out on my labels could’ve easily been released decades ago, but would still sound interesting if found in some dusty futuristic 2nd hand record-store. When picking artists its usually through personal connections, people I have met along the way. I try to find people doing music for the right reasons.

Joiah

As a true virtuoso having experienced so many layers of music – can you describe your special connection to music?

My special connection to music is something that I consider to be very personal and deep for me. It’s something I got connected with from an early age while playing classical piano and hearing music at my house and at my grandpa’s. My mom showered whatever room she was in with great music – from modern ambient-downtempo to soul, disco, and French house. She was the first digger I know. She had a plethora of CDs, and she knew what to put for each scenario. My mom has a lot of international friends so she would put on worldly music. That really helped to form my ear for music. I felt in love with everything that I was hearing. I would come up with lyrics on the go and melodies or sit down and start improvising on the piano for hours.

How have your experiences contributed to your sound, and in what direction are you currently going with your music?

My experiences have contributed quite a lot throughout my life. I indeed found my passion for electronic music, especially when I moved to the U.S., in Miami. I was studying Music Business there and had a couple of classes that taught me how to make music on Logic, but not enough to consider it an entire production course. So I decided to teach myself how to make music and bought my first MIDI keyboard. The music scene in Miami is broad and niche. There weren’t many parties going on, but the few that were happening would host amazing producers and DJs worldwide, as well as locals. I was getting into House, Microhouse, and Rominimal, as well as Jazz, and befriended some really talented music connoisseurs as well as musicians that opened a vortex, musically speaking. During that time, I was trying to extrapolate the chords and rhythms of jazz and come up with original melodies and chord progressions on the piano. As a classically trained pianist, I had the facility to know what sounded good with what, but I knew that I had to dig more into the culture and do way more research. I was listening to a lot of different radio shows and mixes on Soundcloud and bought my first records. Funny enough, it was there where I got acquainted with Yoyaku, one of my favorite labels to this day, and that led to discovering Roger’s music too. By the end of my college course at MDC, I released my first EP with Miami’s ‘Future Culture Records’, which gave me a lot of confidence to push my sound even more. I then decided to move to Amsterdam and give a shot at expanding my craft in one of the places I truly respect most, artistically and innovatively. If I have to describe my sound at the beginning, it was very much focused on melodic house and progressive, and also tribal. I was playing around with some VST plugins, so I didn’t really know what I truly wanted to focus on a bit all over the place if you ask me. My direction of music now is way more structured. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and what I want to transmit to the dancers/listeners. The goal is to tell stories that are truthful and that women can relate to, even if it’s just by using music without lyrics. I want to continue creating music that doesn’t really fixate on any genre or protocol, as I perceive music as the seasons: it changes. So for now, what you will hear from me is always going to remain in the electronic spectrum, with house-breakbeat elements, that can become lighter or darker throughout time. I’m forever learning and inspired. 

What are you mostly crafting your inspiration from in your musical creativity?

Definitely by experiences with people, loved ones, and symbols that may appear in my dreams or in everyday life. Conversations as well,  I have with people at any given time. Sometimes I would just start recording the conversation of strangers or between me and my friends, and that would give me food for thought to go deeper to a specific object. Being a bit of an existential person, I often times try to grasp the meaning of things and try to unfold the truths behind the facades. I also draw inspiration from long bike rides, books, and moments in nature.

Together

What made you two start collaborating on your upcoming EP “The Come Down”?

Roger: We met during the first summer in the ‘covid-era’ and immediately felt a strong connection, as friends and on a creative level. Its easy to collab and be experimental when you feel comfortable around each other. 

Joiah: Indeed. I was very enthusiastic to make music with Roger, as I was already familiar with his music and sound. Every time we sat down and made music together, something unexpected would happen, and we would both start laughing like “ wow this is sick”.

How did your individual sounds complement each other during the creative process of your EP?

Roger: For me it was amazing to work with a vocalist finally. Joiah’s musicality made it easy to convey ideas and we both weren’t afraid to try new things to see where it might take us. 

Joiah: Out of all of the jams we did together at Roger’s place, these tracks were definitely tailored in a special way. We were living in uncertain times and I would imagine coming back from a party and having a comedown. Then from the music, everything took shape, and the lyrics, even though simple, had a lot of meaning to them. 

What is your connection to the Muted Noise label and what made you decide to release an EP on it?

Roger: Ever since I have started DJing I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of the US West-Coast house/techno scene and I was delighted when I got contacted by Halo, asking me to remix H-Foundation’s ‘Hear Dis Sound’, celebrating 20yrs since it was originally released. Halo and I always kept in touch and he immediately sent me a DM when I posted some IG previews of the tunes we were cooking up. His enthusiasm and the fact it made a lot of sense style wise is what made it all happen.

Joiah: I personally discovered Muted Noise via Roger really. We were chillin at home, then all of a sudden he gets a message from Halo saying that he really like the snippet of the song.

How would you describe the sound and vision for the EP?

Roger: The sound of this EP is very reminiscent of the early 2000s (progressive house). Its one of the reasons we knew it would fit well on Halo Varga’s Muted Noise label. It was created out of love and frustration. As we mentioned earlier, it was made during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there was an urge to speak out and reclaim our freedom. To question what freedom really is. The pandemic feels like a lifetime ago, it’s hard to think back and feel that frustration again (let’s not do that, haha), but I remember it felt great at that time to capture that frustration and turn it into something beautiful.

Joiah: For me, the sound and vision of the EP was meant to tackle the nostalgia of partying and the existentialist feeling of having your freedom taken away from you all of a sudden.

GET THE RECORD HERE