Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Carlos. Let’s start with the alias, Solarc. Can you tell us the meaning behind the name?
Hello, thanks for the invite and for the interview!
About my alias Solarc it comes from a crazy idea I think, actually its an anagram of my name (which is Carlos) besides a secret meaning that I can’t tell you haha.
Your new single for Crosstown Rebels sub-label Rebellion: Dark Wings sounds smoky and hot. Can you talk us through how you produced the track, from where the initial idea came from to any particular pieces of favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
Well actually I never know what will come out from my studio. I try to set up all my ideas but sometimes I get lost in the middle and finish in another way, but this time I can say that I have been focused to produce something deep, dark and modern. I used to work on Studio One but nowadays I am more on Ableton and use hardware like Moog Voyager or Supernova also the access Virus, which for me is an amazing synthesizer.
Tell us about your relationship with the label and how getting the track signed happened?
I think we have developed a great relationship, I have worked with many labels and I can say that Crosstown Rebels works in a different way and they support the artist in a very special way. I feel really honoured to be part of this family and to get my music signed with them.
How has your Central America / North America tour been going? Any standout moments you would care to share?
Well the tour was great, I went to Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico besides Panama where I am staying part time nowadays. I can say the parties were amazing in every single country, specially in Guatemala, the energy and the crowd there was so special. Unfortunately we’ve experienced a very sad moment in Guatemala Antigua City as I was there when the “Volcan de Fuego” erupted some days ago. It was crazy, I was DJing in the city at an after hour right in front the Volcano that morning and it was magical and beautiful, then a couple of hours later we had to evacuate the city. Unbelievable.
Outside of the world of electronic music who are your biggest influences? Have any artists, authors, poets etc inspired you in relation to creating music?
Of course, I like every single expression of art, I’m a big fan of DaVinci, Salvador Dali, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Michael Murphy to name a few.
You have had music released on a number of major labels including: Toolroom and VIVA Music. How would you describe your journey to that status? And do you think that music is in a good place at the moment regarding how artists can support themselves in today’s climate?
Well it’s difficult, I think the industry goes so fast nowadays and it’s not easy to be on top of the wave full time. It’s not only about music I’m afraid, now you need to take care on your social media and profile, and need to get exposure in different ways. There are lots of tools but for me at the end is your music that matters, you know, that’s why is good to earn attention from big labels that’s the most important thing for me.
You have said that Club Vertigo is one of your favourite clubs in the world. Why?
Well I’ve got a nice connection with the club, starting with the sound system design which is Gary Stewart Audio, and where it’s located. I always enjoy when I play there.
And finally. Can you tell us about any forthcoming plans?
Well I’ve got some important releases coming out after this one on Rebellion, as you said VIVA Music, Toolroom and I am working on some new stuff for Crosstown Rebels and Hot Creations too. Also I am working on my Sample Tools Album and VA mixed Album that will be released before 2019, and hopefully ill keep touring taking my music worldwide.
Hello and welcome along to Magazine Sixty, Andrea. Let’s begin with your brilliant new release for SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL – Flux E.P. which comprises of two productions. Can you talk us through how you produced the epic 11:49 minutes of Th. From where the initial idea came from to how that was then realised in musical terms?
Nice to meet you as well. Thanks for the nice words on the release.
The initial idea started building the groove using elements from a real drum kit and reprogramming the sounds of the drum kit with a sequencer. On top, using other two drum machines, and a bunch of synthethizers. When I make music, most of the time I start with an idea and then this idea develops itself naturally in a track. It something very natural that I cannot really explain.
You recently played at the labels night at Warehouse in Palma de Mallorca as you do at many others across the world? Tell us about how you feel your music connects with people? And do you think music translates borders, or do different locations require different approaches?
I have the chance to travel the world and play the music I love, I really feel lucky to be able to do this. Music connects people with one another and me with them as well. Music is a universal language and even tough I still think that different locations requires different approaches. The music we play does not fit any type of dance floor. There is music that works perfectly in a dance floor like Berlin’s Club Der Visionaere but doesn’t work in the same way in another place. The audience is different and I try to adapt myself to this.
What makes SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL such special label for you? And how would you say the philosophy behind it is unique in today’s digital age?
We founded SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL in 2009 with Francesco Assenza and it became a special project for us since then. We managed to create a label that embodies exactly what our taste in music is. We have a great group of friends and artists that are part of the label and we support each other. We exchange music, ideas, build new projects together. We are very lucky to have this.
We are found of vinyl only releases. We had a digital series that we stopped as we wanted to focus our production on vinyl releases. I do not know if our philosophy is unique but we are for sure a bunch of crazy music freaks and we try to make the most out of it.
Outside of the world of electronic music which artists, writers or musicians have most influenced what you do?
I am a big jazz fan as I grew up listening Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk among many others. This kind of music deeply inspired me by its groove. I particularly like free jazz because of its very complex and sometimes abstract rhythmics. I also listened to many psychedelic Rock from the Sixties. The writer that most influenced me is Robert A. Heinlein. He is a science-fiction writer, a genre that I particularly enjoy to read. Many sounds that I then use in my tracks remind me the science fiction movies I use to watch when I was a kid.
What makes certain music timeless?
In my point of view, one of the elements that make a track timeless is its vocal part. This vocal part could also be a synthesizer riff for example.
When I think about it, there are so many iconic tracks to me. Tracks maybe 60 years old that are still modern in a way. Tracks that pass from generations to generations. This I think happen when the tracks have this magical thing that no one really can explain. When the music touches you in a special way for any particular reason. I do not think that there can be a proper explanation to what makes certain music timeless, it is very subjective like in all art forms.
Do you have a favourite instrument (or software/ hardware)? Do you own one?
Yes I have some favorites pieces of gear. One is the Eventide H3000. It is for me an irreplaceable effect processor. I use it in all of my productions. I use all the Elektron machines. Starting from the Machine Drum to the Analog Four and the Octatrak. I love to use them because they are very powerful machines, very easy to use and I have a lot of fun using them.
How would you place the importance of song and words in the context of today’s electronic landscape?
Most of the music I do is without any vocal parts in a classical way. I use vocal parts that I transform into instruments. I use the voice for their sounds but not for the words they say. Sometimes only I use vocals to send a message but it is very rare. I think that in today’s electronic music scene the use of words is still the same, each producer use it in its way, some more than others and some not at all.
And finally. Can you share your plans for the remainder of 2018 and beyond?
2018 has been a great year for me so far. I have a lot of records and remixes coming: my new Atoll record and my new Proboscide record will both come out in June. Some months ago I started a project with some friends in Beirut, No Longer Humans and we have a two tracks EP coming out this summer with a remix of Aleandro (another project I have with Alessio Mereu). There is a track of mine in a new triple vinyl Sleep Is Commercial Various Artists that will be released in Autumn. I also did a remix together with Francesco Assenza as Dunkle Dummies for a Wareika track called ‘Shamania’ that will be released in a double vinyl for our Sleep Is Commercial Ltd series. Another remix will come from Ricardo Villalobos together with Thomas Melchior.
Regarding gigs, I will be taking on my residency at Club der Visionaere in Berlin and I look forward to play this summer in old and new locations such as Waha Festival in Romania or in Egypt.
Andrea Ferlin’s Flux EP is out July on Sleep is Commercial
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Daisybelle. Let’s begin with your new single with Rob Savage for Love Story Recordings: Always On. How did the connection with the label come about?
Well, I am a big fan of Carly’s work so I have been following her label. But we are also friends so she is someone that I always like to get an opinion from on most things.
And can you talk us though how you co-produced the single? Plus tell us about the Acid and classic House influences which are in there too?
Well this single is a collaboration with Rob Savage who is a really talented producer. It started off as an experiment as we’d never worked together before, but it just kind of flowed easily and we liked everything the other did to be honest. There was nothing either one of us of didn’t like.
The acid part of it comes from a love of acid house and was actually inspired by a collective of DJ’s I play with often who love acid in all its forms 😊and the classic house you’re hearing in there definitely has Rob’s stamp. He’s so good at creating and maintaining a unique groove, I really loved working with him.
Your music contains a funky sense of musicality. I was also wondering about your influences in terms of outside of electronic Dance music?
Oh thank you, that’s really nice to hear because that was definitely the aim. Well, I actually love many different genres outside of dance music so I do try to bring some of those elements into my music and my DJ sets. I love anything that has soul to be honest, from reggae, funk, ska, jazz, cumbia, rumba, bossanova to salsa. I just love music that makes me feel something, anything. I am also a huge fan of Professor Longhair who’s New Orleans R&B makes me so damn happy. My parents were both musicians when I was growing up, and they were very eclectic too so a lot of my influences come from them as well. I find myself often asking my mother to remind me of artists she used to listen to so I can dig around for new old stuff.
Tell us about the choice of Joss Moog as remixer? PS his version is excellent.
Joss Moog simply has the mightest touch! Everything he touches…turns to gold! His stuff is just so funky and addictive! Plus everyone was super excited to have Joss do the remix as well so it was a unanimous decision. And he delivered!
Where can people get to here you play this summer?
This summer: well I will have my new monthly show on Bloop, my next gig which I can’t wait for is F.U.M.P (For Underground Music People) this May bank holiday! It’s a mini festival in a field in Essex which features a small collective of DJ’s and a group of regulars who never miss an event and who are the most devout crowd to play for. It’s been growing a lot recently which is nice to see.
I also have a couple of dates at Es Paradis in Ibiza in Jul & Aug for Brandon Bloc’s new night, and I am beyond excited to be playing for Melon Bomb again at Pikes in Ibiza this August. Then I come back to London to play for Mutiny which is a super fun boat party which will also be a real treat! Yey!
How did you find your recent experience of broadcasting on bloop? What still makes radio an exciting medium for you in today’s digital world?
My first show was a good experience, its such a great platform still. To have a designated time each month where you have complete freedom to play whatever you want to share with your listeners is priceless! You can also connect with people from anywhere in the world.
And finally. Tell us about how you would like the remainder of 2018 to shape up?
So far 2018 has been good to me, so now all I can hope for is that people enjoy the new single when it comes out and I would like to finish a few more projects I have going on. And also for lots and lots of people to want to book me to play in amazing exotic countries ha ha.
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Gel. Let’s start with the launch of your new label Closed Circuits. How and why did you decide to start your own imprint?
Hello hello Greg and thank you for having me. well it’s been on my agenda for a long time to have a good home for my music and likeminded artists I like , when the right opportunity accrued I just went for it .
(Photo by Moses Pini Siluk)
The excellent debut release is from Oskar Szafraniec featuring Very Addictive. How did you get introduced to Oskar and how did it feel to have such a spine-tingling vocal to announce the arrival of the label with?
It’s quite a story actually cause I know him by Facebook and from time to time he sent me music, then the label starting rolling and he sent me like 20 tracks or so as demos and first time I heard borderline I had this crazy goose bumps you get rarely from music, then immediately I signed him and since then we become really good friends and making a lot of music together, he is a genuine human and super talented artist. I am very happy to have him on my label!
You also provide a remix of Borderline. Can you talk us through how you produced it, from the initial ideas to the final arrangement including any particular pieces of software/ hardware you like to use?
I like my music very straight and groovy , that’s why I always start with the main groove , a strong hypnotic loop it’s all what needed to hook you into the rhythm , my creative process is always changing and I’m not always using a specific hardware or software , I just like to go with the flow and try new things.
In this context can you tell us about what importance you place on vocals/ songs in Dance Music as opposed to rhythm and instrumentation?
My music in a way is always been groove based but vocals when they touch you they can destroyed dance floors in the best way. For example an intense techno or more rhythmic kind of set when there is a lot tension in the music and groove and after 45 min or 1 hour of that sort of set, you drop that special vocal track, you give the people fresh breath of air and smiles all around. The vocal for me at least has to be unique and not cheesy, borderline is the great example of it for me melancholic yet very touching.
And can you tell us about the striking Artwork you have chosen for the label?
Yes off course the art work been done by my longtime friend Daniel Zaken from Tel Aviv , he is in a way the king of art for night life in tel aviv over 20 years , making flyers to the best parties and venues throughout Israel. We talked about ideas and I gave him some references I liked. I really wanted something colorful and positive and he execute in the best way there is, really happy from the art work, the new ones are also stunning
Outside of House/ Techno who gives you the most inspiration, in terms of writers, musicians, artists etc?
Well I am big fan off Depeche Mode , Martin Gore is I guess one of the most talented artist in the world to me , Kraftwerk , Radio Head , I also love bands from the 60 s like father and The Mothers and stuff like that the music there is real and flowing .
As a DJ who plays all over the world what impact would you say Club Culture has had culturally/ politically beyond its entertainment value?
In the end of the day we are there for the love of music in the most profound way. I think music can bring people together from all sort of countries including countries with conflicts, if only music will replace the politics we would all be in a better world.
What are your feelings about nostalgia in music?
Well I am a dj 27 years, I started off very young at tender age of 13, I enjoy from time to time checking my old records that gives you overview of how the music changed over the years and personal moments I had with some of the records I played, some euphoric moments it’s nice to remember there is some amazing stuff I have in my collection.
Also it was much simpler back then the only things you needed to do is to dj and make music, today is a bit different I do believe to become a better artist you should know your history about dance music and in the same time also be innovative and open to new things all the time, there is some great music coming out this days.
And finally. What plans do you have for Closed Circuits moving forward? And what advice would you suggest to people thinking about submitting their music to the label?
I have the next 3 releases sorted stuff by myself, collaboration with Oskar and ep by Stephan Bazbaz a talented producer from Tel Aviv, some great music in there which I very satisfied with.
Advice I would give to people want to submitting a demo is try to be unique and not obvious, always groovy and with that something extra you don’t hear regularly that for sure will catch my ears
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Kath. Let’s start by asking about your current involvement with BBC 6 Music. How you got there and why?
I’ve enjoyed being involved in radio over the years first on community radio and then Dave Kendrick and I had a show on Kiss 102 called the Galaxy of Love which I absolutely loved doing, we had a scream. I started working on BBC radio about 5 years ago and always really wanted to work for 6 Music as I’m a listener myself and think it is a fantastic network for music lovers. When I started working on 6 Music I felt at home immediately and I love being a part of the production team there.
*Photo by Mat Norman
And back to the beginning. Can you tell us who inspired you to start DJ’ing and something about the first clubs you played in?
Tim Lennox at the Number One club was a huge inspiration in the late Eighties, he was playing to an absolutely rammed sweatbox of deranged deviants every Saturday. It was incredible to be a part of that dancefloor. I was also going to Nude at the Hacienda and Mike Pickering would play hip-hop alongside disco and acid house, I loved the eclecticism of his sets. Around that time, my partner was organising an Aids Day benefit in Liverpool, but couldn’t get a DJ to play for free, so we decided to do it ourselves. We had a riot, so we started our own monthly night called Loose and there was a real gap in the market in Liverpool for young queer clubbers – they were a brilliantly friendly crowd to play for.
How would you describe Flesh to somebody who has never been?
The Hacienda was created in the image of American gay clubs like Paradise Garage so it was always going to be a buzz to see it full of queers with Tim Lennox at the helm. Each one was a real event with a different theme or happening taking place, so the punters would go to great efforts to be dressed for the occasion, and the space would be dressed to impress too. It was a massive crowd, always well over a thousand and mixed, you’d see drag queens, dykes, rent boys and even naked people wandering around and it was incredibly friendly. Anything went and I seemed to spend a lot of time laughing at the insanity and debauchery of the scenes there. My Flesh sightings include Leigh Bowery ‘giving birth’ to a woman on stage, the Fire Brigade pushing an ice cream van away from the dancefloor in case the petrol tank blew, a collapsed swimming pool which flooded the place, members of Kraftwerk and the Pet Shop Boys partying and people having sex. Not bad for a Wednesday night.
Which night or club was the most important for you in terms of Manchester’s history that you have DJ’ed at?
I feel tremendously honoured to have played at the Hacienda over the course of 5 years and Flesh is obviously very important to me, but I have a very special place in my heart for Homoelectric. We were getting really tired of the increasingly tired mono-culture around Gaychester in the late nineties and I was lucky enough to be involved right from the start as we tried to create a new club where all misfits were welcome and the music was very eclectic. Notoriously old-school lesbian club Follies outside the Gay Village was our well-matched home and Ryan Minchin’s fanzine The Homoelectric Chronicle was our manifesto. I was the first resident and played there for about 8 glorious years. The crowd were a dream come true, very open to whatever we played: disco, house, pop, jungle, hip-hop, funk. Philippa Jarman and I were running the 2 main record shops in town (Piccadilly and Vinyl Exchange) so we had all the music well stitched-up. I like to think we paved the way for the alt-queer clubbing scene in Manchester and Homoelectric is still going strong 20 years later with an ace team behind it.
What is it about radio and the way it connects with people which has seen the medium endure for so long?
As a lifelong radio consumer I feel it leaves my imagination to run free whilst I’m listening. There is something very passive about watching television but radio is a different kind of experience, it is the perfect companion to our days and nights. The buzz of hearing an old favourite or a brand new track is just as strong for me as it was when I was a kid. I listen to a lot of speech radio too and worked on Radio 4 for several years where the output is very different but equally inspiring at times. I just co-produced Marc Riley’s A-Z of Punk which was a big success and podcasts are going to become increasingly important over time as there is a huge appetite for them and we now love on-demand content.
Which artists, writers and musicians have inspired you most, both within and outside of electronic/ dance music?
When I was a kid I was very into Adam and the Ants, I loved the double drumming and thought he was the ultimate performer. In terms of dance music, when house music caught fire I was hugely inspired by Frankie Knuckles and that led me to seek out soulful house and garage by the likes of Masters at Work, Murk and Mood To Swing. In relation to dance music, I think Norma Jean Bell is an under-rated talent. Away from the decks the artists that have been mainstays over time for me tend to be female singers that plough their own furrow like Bobbie Gentry, Millie Jackson, Nina Simone, Betty Davis and Dusty Springfield.
Has too much nostalgia destroyed the creation of new music and culture?
I think it is disappointing that the emphasis is still on Madchester as so much of what is being portrayed is such a straight, white, male story. The reality was very different, Manchester District Music Archive are doing a lot to redress that balance. Also the City Council trade off the back of the heritage of clubs like the Hacienda whilst closing down most of the independent venues in town to build faceless budget hotels. However I think the club scene in Manchester and increasingly Salford is as vibrant as ever. Bollox is an incredible community space – very inclusive, but hedonistic and subversive. I’m thrilled that I’ll be playing there and the much-loved underground club Kiss Me Again over the next few months.
How did it feel to be included in the Suffragette City MCR exhibition at Refuge? What do you think the benefits will be moving forward?
The exhibition which reflects women from all aspects of the Manchester music scene has been a major success, bringing much-needed profile to some unsung heroines and celebrating the considerable talent in the city, it has been wonderful to meet some of the other women involved too. We had a big closing party with 16 hours of an all-female DJ line-up, it was an extraordinary event, the technical quality of the DJing was very high and we really rocked a great party. We got a mixed, very up-for-it crowd in, it was wonderful to be in such a warm supportive environment and we were all having a great dance to each other sets, there were no egos at all, a proper buzz.
And finally. Which programme have you most enjoyed working on at BBC 6 Music?
I really enjoyed working on Jarvis Cocker’s last live Sunday Service programme on Christmas Eve, we had the lights down low and twiglets on the go, it was very festive. I also produced a documentary about the queer roots of punk with Jon Savage presenting called ‘Queer as Punk’ which was a labour of love that I’m very proud of.
Hello Al and welcome along to Magazine Sixty. What have been the highlights for you in the past 15 years, as 3am Recordings has been releasing music since 2003!?!
Hi & thanks for having me! There have been several along the way, I guess the ones which stand out are the first time I heard something off the label being played by DJs we really looked up to (that was Silicone Soul playing a track from TAM001 at Basics in Leeds in 2003), then Rob Da Bank playing Alex Moran’s “New Fish To Fry” on Radio 1 too, a pretty cool moment. I think at that point I expected to take over the world haha. Gig-wise really the highlight was having fabric host us for the label’s 10th birthday – it seemed like a real recognition for the hard work put in, plus naturally it’s such a brilliant venue to play at.
How have you seen the ‘industry’ develop in that time for better and worse – which I guess may run parallel to the rise of the Internet, easy access and streaming?
I believe there are pros & cons to how it’s changed; in one respect, the internet and digital aspect has really blown open the old level of ‘control’ (for want of a better word) that labels had, for all genres, whereby artists needed a label to get their music out there. People can really follow a DIY path now, so it’s much more democratic in that sense – you don’t necessarily need thousands of pounds to get something out there now, via digital platforms. However the flip-side of this is that artists don;t seem to take their time now; as soon as someone has finished a track, they’re desperate to get it out there, so the number of demo emails I receive which have one track on there, CC’d into about 4000 email addresses, is ridiculous. This leads to a huge amount of disposable music and what seems to be a bit of a desperation just to get stuff ‘out there’, rather than developing a selection of sounds and targeting labels which are appropriate to what you want.
What is it about four on the floor that still ignites your excitement after all this time?
Good question and I don’t think I have a real answer! I bought my decks in 1991 and thought it’d just be a passing fad, but here I am 27 years later…. There’s an energy in house music, people are still reinventing how it sounds, new people (much younger than me!) find it and want to push it forward and create fresh excitement, so there are constantly changing nuances in the sound; I guess those are the reasons it still has a hold on me really. There’s just something about getting some records & putting together a mix, playing in a club, or just checking out new music with a friend to compare what we have, when you hear the beat and the energy contained within, it just still works for me. When I received the TAM088 vinyl, which had my first ever track on 12″, I got all emotional when the first kick on my track played throguh the speakers. It’s a bit ridiculous really, but that’s the kind of hold it has on me!
Celebrating the anniversary is the labels next release on June 4 which features four tracks by four artists. How does the release represent 3am’s direction in 2018 and can you tell us about how you choose these productions in particular?
The release I feel showcases what the true ethos of 3am has tried to remain true to over the years; it’s not easy pushing new artists right at the start of their careers, but it’s something I’ve tried to do throughout. So on this release it has Ceri, whose debut ever release was for 3am (a remix of Askani), plus I’m giving Helsinki-based Twisted Puppies their debut on vinyl. Michael Lovatt is an artist who has become close to the label in recent years, representing us at gigs in Berlin several times, plus he’s an artist who is on the rise, so it wa the right time to get him on the label. Danny – aka Dubble D / Moodymanc – featured on 3am a few years back, so he is making a return as a long-time friend of the label. So this EP represents artists who’ve been involved with the label one way or the other over recent years, plus for Ceri she was always going to be back on 3am and it’s a pleasure to get her onto a 12″, likewise for Twisted Puppies – they’re the fifth artist making a debut on vinyl from the last three 3am 12″s, so that’s something I’m really proud of. Especially after I was told I couldn’t sell records without big names…
How did you first get into Dance Music? Which clubs and DJ’s initially inspired you? And how would you describe the scene in Leeds now?
I’m originally from Stockport so it was ventures up the road to Manchester which kick-started it all; predominantly the Hacienda but also The Boardwalk & Konspiracy (!!) were places I went. The Hacienda was the main influence though, I was actually there on the last night it was open too, I’ve got the ticket framed in my hallway even now (geek alert…). Outside of Manc, Leeds was a regular place I visited, Back To Basics and the residents there really adding a new dimension to the music I play; Ralph Lawson & James Holroyd in particular really showcased sounds which still influence to this day. For a relatively small city-centre, there is so much going on – you’ve got smaller places such as 212 & Distrikt which have great DJs on and free entry, then venues such as Wire & Mint which showcase a brilliant selection of styles and nights, up to Church and Mint Warehouse, which have the A-list DJs housed in much larger venues. So there really is something for all tastes; it’s a very strong city for electronic music right across the board, definitely.
Can you tell us what inspires you outside of the world of House Music. Any authors, artists, musicians, writer’s etc you would care to share?
Well my favourite writer is George Orwell; people immediately think of “1984” by him (which is, for me, the best book I have ever read), but his fantastic use of language and his clear distaste for the upper-classes (despite coming from a well-to-do background, which he shunned) is evident in his writing. “Coming Up For Air” is another of his books which still has a relevance in its story today, plus “Down and Out In Paris and London” is a really amazing insight into the North of England at the time of writing. I’m also a bit of a film geek; I tend to watch more films than general TV really; I’d say some of the films from the 70s would be my choices (Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Serpico etc), but more recently films like Shutter Island & There Will be Blood are favourites too. I listen to plenty of other music too, there was particular excitement when confirmation of Arctic Monkeys live tickets was sent to my friend Lyndsey, who managed to sort us two for Sheffield! Really looking forward to their new album, their previous one “AM” is an absolute gem & up there with my favourites of all time.
What are your feelings on nostalgia? Does such great emphasis on the past stifle creativity or enhance it?
Another good question! I’m not too keen on the word ‘nostalgia’ really; what has happened in the past of course is hugely important (otherwise why would I have a Hacienda ticket framed on my wall, from 1997 haha!), but I suppose it’s how these things are done. For example I’m not really a fan of “classics” type nights, where all the music is from say 1989 through to 1991, primarily because that’s not a true representation of what was played, it’s just the biggest/most well-known tracks from that period and it wasn’t really like that at all. I play old records in my sets, I love old records, but I play them within all the new stuff I have – I’ll do it as a little reminder of something from the past and also because it’s something I like and it fits with what I’m playing, but I wouldn’t want to do a whole night of “Hacienda Classics” for example. it’s correct and important to learn from the past, but don’t get stuck in it… When people say “the music’s not like it used to be” or whatever, that does bug me a bit – of course it’s not what it used to be, if it had stayed the same since 1988 then it’d be a bit stale! The whole reason I believe electronic music remains so vital is because it changes and progresses. Yes look back and get excited by old music, see what the early tracks were, that’s valuable and crucial to involve yourself in, but treat it all as an ever-expanding and changing sound – that’s the key for me.
And finally. Can you talk us through the process of creating music for you, from where an initial idea might spring from to how you then produce it, including a favourite piece of hardware/software you like to refer to?
I guess it just all comes from the music I hear and have heard over time – whether that’s consciously or subconsciously. As I’ve been buying records since the mid-80s, It probably explains why I’m rubbish at sticking to one sound. Production-wise I use Ableton; I tend to just muck about with basic ideas of drum/percussion and bass initially, then go from there. Software-wise I do tend to use Sylenth a lot, it’s something of a go-to bit of software for me really. The Eventide plug-ins have also been regular favourites, easy to use and great sounding. I’d love to say I have a studio full of expensive gear and name-drop some super-expensive synths, but I’d be lying I’m afraid! I can’t remember who said it to me, maybe Rob Small who does the 3am mastering, but it was something like “it’s not the gear, it’s the ear” – I’ll use that line anyway 🙂
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Bobby. Can you start by telling us about why you felt there needed to be a label such as Needs – not for profit, in the world today? And can you tell us about your personal philosophy for life and music?
When I conceptualised Needs it was around the time of Trump & Brexit. I was feeling a lot of social dissonance and I wanted to try and do something about it; using the music and scene that I love as a means to spread a message of unity and togetherness. Music is the most powerful force on the planet. In a world of ever-evolving technology, communal centres such as nightclubs are becoming increasingly important in terms of social interaction and it’s here where people and ideas can come together.
The next and third release features five different artists, each with a differing sound. What attributes do you look for when putting together a release?
I look for timeless music from artists that I love. Music that will sound great in 20 years time. With the releases being various artist EP’s I try to group them stylistically as best I can and also try to order the EP in a way that the release flows naturally, and makes sense when listened to as a whole.
*Needs003 is in aid of the refugee crisis. Featuring Lord Of The Isles, Mehmet Aslan, Petwo Evans, Bartellow, Nick Gynn. Released 16th April on Needs not for profit: pre-order link.
And can you tell us why you chosen the charities so far?
I chose charities based on several factors: the work they do, the demographic(s) they help, the reach they have and the areas they offer support. I also looked if they had any previous involvement in the music industry as I thought that would maybe make any potential partnerships easier.
In broader terms do you think Dance Music culture is more or less self-obsessed than other parts of society? Do you think that the ease with which the internet connects us all, also creates a sense of unease?
Definitely. I think it’s a general problem facing all of humanity. More and more we seem to be living a solitary existence as humans, with people mainly socialising and working from their phones and laptops. But like how I mentioned earlier, the thing that dance music culture has is the nightclub and also festivals. It’s quite a rare thing when that many people get together and interact and we should really embrace those experiences. It could be that we see important social movements emanate from these gatherings.
Your new single: Renegade EP co-produced with Adam Curtain is due out in April on Trouble Maker. How did the collaboration come about? And can you tell us about the process of creating the music?
Ahhh yes and I’m very excited about this! Me and Adam have been friends for a while and we hit the studio together about a year ago. We have very similar tastes but brought different vibes to this project. It was a very natural exchange of ideas and we created something separate from our own musical identities. However you can still really hear both of us in the music. It’s super nice when you collaborate with friends and it works out like this.
Do you think nostalgia has helped or hindered music creatively?
I think it can do both. From a production perspective it’s always helpful to look to the past for inspiration but it’s important to also do your own thing and find your own style. From a DJ perspective we’re in the midst of extreme rare record/digging culture, where the emphasis can sometimes be more about how rare or expensive a record is. However I believe dance music and electronic music is evolutionary by nature and will always naturally move to the future.
You recently launched your own night Pleasure Club at The Lion & Lamb in London. How did the night go and what are the ideas behind it? How do you choose a particular guest to play?
It went really well thanks. I’ve been involved in my fair share of parties over the years and I wanted to create an all-encompassing experience that was a culmination of everything I’ve learnt along the way, as well as a platform for me to showcase the music I really love. Pleasure Club will be my ultimate expression of this. Guests are chosen simply because they are the best selectors I have come across in my time as a DJ. Expect the best music, an open minded crowd, plenty of attention to detail and lots of extra treats thrown in. Keep your eyes peeled for a Pleasure Club membership card!
I was label manager manager at 20/20 Vision for 4 years so I know Ralph Lawson really well. I’m so happy for him that this new vision has come together so well. It’s looking like a really incredible event which should be very exciting for not only Leeds but also the UK scene. I’m honoured to be involved at the first one and I can’t wait to see the action unfold.
And finally. What are your plans for the remainder of 2018?
In 2018 I’ll be releasing some more music (including my first solo EP), starting another label, DJing at lots of amazing parties & festivals, and where possible using Needs as a platform to raise awareness for different causes and charities.
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, P.Leone. Your new release for Rekids Special Projects: Chances We Take EP features four very hot tracks. Could you talk us through how you produced Rose Petal Breaks and where the idea for the title came from?
The idea for Rose Petal Breaks came to life by wanting to combine some home made breaks I finished which I didn’t have a means of using. The title was really just a play on words – seemingly light but not at all really.
How did you team up with the label? And what does having your music released on a vinyl-only series mean to you?
I met Matt Edwards through Spencer Parker…Spen suggested I send over some files to Matt and the rest is history. It’s my first time being a part of a vinyl only series and I think it’s something that is absolutely timeless. I’m extremely thankful for that.
How and where did you learn to produce music?
Loads and loads of trial and error in software and hardware, not to mention absolutely harassing my close friends who had been producing for a bit longer than I have 🙂
How have you found the experience of setting up your own label E-MISSIONS, along with Caizzo? And can you share with us any future plans for developing it?
It’s always hard learning all the inner workings of something, particularly because it was so new to myself and Caiazzo. I’d say after 002 it just became a sort of formula which I think is usually the case with new labels – finding that formula that works and just repeating that over and over again. In terms of future plans… hmmmmm got some humans – specifically two of ‘em! A duo from DC making some of the best techno I’ve heard in years and I can’t wait to put out their record…
The artwork for the label looks really impressive. Who designs it? And can you tell us about the concept behind it?
Huge shout out to one of our close friends who has been with us since day one and has absolutely turned any idea me and Caiazzo had into a reality – Alex Seamens AKA Cranks. In terms of the concept it’s just whatever we can think of within the moment. Sometimes it’s relevant to the actual project and sometimes its not. What Alex is able to do is really incredible and it just gets better when he goes off and gets really creative because he understands the labels aesthetic – we really got lucky with having him on board <3
How would you compare the experience of New York with living in Berlin?
Well they’re two very different cities. Berlin clubs thrive later than most clubs around the world. For someone like myself, who is born and raised in New York, I can’t truly compare the cities. However, even though Berlin is so important for my career and I’m truly falling in love with it, no matter what New York will always be my first love
You are due to play back in New York at Le Bain on February 23 to celebrate the EP’s release? How did the event get organised and how did it feel to play at the night?
Playing at Le Bain for the ‘Chances We Take’ release party was really special and I had some butterflies …nobody wants to blow it at their own release party so I’m happy it went really well!
And finally. What are your thoughts on Techno in general? Do you feel that it is in a healthy, moving-forward position and what is exciting you about 2018?
I think it’s forever growing! And it’s beautiful to see more and more artists be welcomed by it or drawn towards it. I don’t think there’s a dance floor in the world that doesn’t need more dancers 😉 In 2018 I think it’s gonna be a year where I do my best to show some experimentation not too too far from my original projects but I guess to stretch my legs out a bit!
Mutant Disco is an artist name which we were using a few years ago for some disco releases. We decided to reuse the name because it sums up what our sound is about, our brand of Lo-Fi House veers more towards the disco end of Lo-Fi.
Your single: My Donut is due out on Chill Records. Talk us through the story of how it all happened?
We are big fans of early Chicago house, especially the raw stuff – things like Mr Fingers, Fingers Inc, Master C & J as well as the early rave scene. We’re aware of Chill as it was a pioneering early UK house label that followed on from Jack Trax and was fronted by Tim Raidl (who mixed the UK 12” version of Fingers Inc – Can You Feel It). It was only when we contacted Tim about tracking down a couple of releases and sent him some of the tracks we’ve done in the past that we realised we had so much in common and Tim told us he was re-starting Chill with a view to releasing Lo-Fi House and Lo-Fi Disco, that’s how we ended up signing this particular track.
Can you describe the process of producing the single? Any particular favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use to achieve your sound?
For this track some of D16 Decimorts’ effect plugins, really achieved that lo-fi sound we were striving for in this track. Can never beat a 303 for bass either. But this sound can be achieved on almost any equipment or DAW if you know what you’re doing with it.
The term Lo-Fi has been applied for a while now. What are you feelings on the genre, and do you think that people applying labels can be creatively restrictive?
Dance music has always had labels, often to help shops, journalists and the end user know what they are buying, which can both help and hinder the producers. Currently listeners/clubbers are fairly open-minded when it comes to music and the term Lo-Fi can relate to everything from left-field electronic hip-hop through to raw, lo-fi house and disco – which is what we do. The term Lo-Fi really sums up the sound that has become so big and perhaps is something that’s developed organically as an antidote to the tech house and commercial house that’s dominated the charts for years a return to the more rebellious side of Dance Music as well as being fun again. Young people want a more raw sound and at the same time are exploring the more melodic sound of early house with strings, textured chords and nice keyboard riffs coupled with rugged beats and often unusual dialogue which makes it so exciting.
How do you feel about nostalgia being so persuasive in our culture?
A lot of the videos for Lo-Fi material are depicting scenes from 90s raves and 80s fashion, younger people don’t remember those times and as such a fascination has grown with everything old-skool. This new brand of Lo-Fi house and disco works brilliantly with those visuals and while the older generation call it nostalgia, for those in their late teens and early 20s, the sound is completely new, so it appeals to people who loved the very early Chicago house scene the first time around as well as the younger generation.
What artists have inspired you both inside and outside of electronic music?
As well as people from the early house scene, there has been countless modern Artist’s popping up in this genre that are pushing boundaries in this tight nit scene, PADDY, Lemin, SHEE, REES and Karl Guest to name a few. All of them have a similar sort of style but are unique in their own way. Some people to look forward towards whenever they release tracks.
Do you think music has, or should have, a political relevance?
It can have – generally dance music is to be enjoyed and is often a way of escaping real life for an evening or while listening for a couple of hours, it always has been. If you look back, notice that certainly in the UK whenever there has been turmoil or political changes, new genres (especially of dance music) have sprung up. It seems people are at their most creative during troubled times.
Moving forward into 2018. What are your plans?
Just to keep doing what we love, producing new music, having fun and getting our music enjoyed by more people.
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Reggie. Let’s start by asking about your new release (along with Gari Romalis) on Psychostasia: Feel Me Deep. Can you talk us through how you produced one of your tracks and how you achieve your signature sound?
Producing for me is mostly about feeling. If it moves me, then I feel it will move someone else, or at least someone will get it, lol. There are so many things that inspire me during the course of a day. When I am inspired, I get to work. I don’t agonize over a record for long, I am quick to finish once I have something. Mix it and move on to the next. I just think my sound comes from my experiences and growth as a spiritual being and person. I don’t strike out to be different, it is what comes out of me naturally when I create.
What provided the impetus to relaunch Psychostasia Recordings, and how did the relationship and distribution from Clone Records and Rush Hour come about?
I had just gotten to that point creatively, where I wanted to get back to my label. Serge over at Clone offered to help, and I am greatful to him and the crew. Serge and the Clone family have always been supportive of my work. I have done some great records that I am proud of at Clone, so there was a trust and understanding that I was comfortable with at Clone. Rush Hour in the Netherlands is now my new distributor now. With them, I was able to connect with them personally while at ADE, in addition, they have been supportive of my Hip Hop productions, under the alias, “Detroit Westside Kid”. Right now creatively, I am doing deep house and Hip Hop.
Your music has a playful yet intense funkiness. Who are your main influences both in terms of music and also from outside of the world of sound?
I like the way you put that, ” My music has a playful yet intense funkiness to it.” I have to use that one, lol. I would like to think some of my influences in music are: Jimmy Smith, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Prince. Rod Temperton, Stanley Clarke. Outside the music world would have to be: Dr. Limuel C. Dokes (RIP), Dr. Frances S. Dokes ( RIP) both of whom, were my parents.
Do you feel that nostalgia helps or hinders the creation of music going forward?
Looking back helps me in moving forward in the creative process. I like listening to great musicians and bands. Look and listen to what they are using and the sounds. Now everybody wants a vintage keyboard or drum machine. Most want those cool sounds from the earlier golden years of music.
What changes for better or worse have you witnessed in music and clubs since your label originally released back in 2001?
I can only speak on music. It appears it has become more of a challenge for me to find good soulful music I like, whether it be house, techno or hip hop. It appears that hype has become the norm, and not substance. As it relates to clubs, give me a few more years. I have really just started to tour, so I really cannot give you a true assessment of the European club scene right now.
You also have releases out on Shift Imprint and We Play House Recordings which highlight the diversity of your sound. How would you describe the differences (if any) between House, Techno and other forms of electronic music?
Yes I do have releases coming on Shift Imprint, which is a fairly new label distributed by DBH music, and We Play House ( Belgium) run by my good friend Bart Van Neste aka DJ Red D. For me I just like to keep my sound diverse. On my label Psychostasia, I purposely like to put deep house and techno on the same EP. Keep em guessing, keep them wondering and make it interesting. You have to remember, that I was exposed to house music back in 83 or 84. Also, I was born and raised in Detroit. So back then, we called it progressive music. House music was very raw and soulful. Techno came later for me, but it was Detroit techno: Juan Atkins and Derrick May, much more electronic and futuristic sounding, but still had soul. Now you have all these different genres, and I get it, but at the end of the day for me, if it is good music, it is good music, lol.
And finally. What are you forthcoming plans for 2018?
My plans in 2018 are definitely to play out more as a DJ and continue to put out interesting and soulful music across all three genres: deep house, techno and hip hop.