Kevin Knapp (Hot Creations) Q&A

kevinHello and how is life in Berlin in 2015?

Fantastic at the moment actually, now that we’re into June and it’s so gorgeous all the time. In the winter things can get a bit rough and ironically not due to the cold, but rather, due to the fact that it’s overcast like 90% of the time. It leads to mad folks walkin’ around nursing seasonal affective disorders, ewww haha. But it’s summer now so outta sight mind. You can tell winter I said it too, ain’t nobody scurrrred!

Your excellent new single The Heft EP is coming out on Hot Creations. How did you hook up with the label, and what does it mean to you to have another release on the infamous imprint?

I was at a boat party in Detroit a few years back where Richy Ahmed was headlining. He played one of my tracks and I went up to acknowledge it and thank him while it was playing. He then told me he’d been wanting to talk to me about a collaboration, I suspect because he’d heard a bunch of stuff I’d been doing with Matt Tolfrey & Audiojack. Funny thing is that it took a long time for us to pull that collaboration together because it took quite some time for us to get in contact again, flush the idea out, and once we did the recording was delayed because I was busy prepping to move to Europe. So something like 1.5 years later The Drums came out and the rest is, as they say, history. I’ve also known Lee (Foss) for several years from his pre- Hot Creation days as we’re both California boys and peeps who love these tunes are kind of a close knit community as you well know.

I’m ridiculously excited to have a couple solo cuts out on the imprint as it’s always been one of my favorite labels. To go from being a fan to contributing to the label’s music library is a feeling that’s just hard to put into words. I’m stoked.

heftCan you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks on the EP (including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use)?

Most of the work on ‘Not Your House’ really came together almost entirely in one sitting. Sometimes when you sit down the stars align and things just come quickly. It’s almost like you’re creating a puzzle you intuition just tells you what pieces are missing and you’re able to quickly grab and insert them. I remember even the vocal that day came out of me kinda instantly. I remember getting the rhythm and feeling of what I wanted to say down first and then letting the tune tell me what the message/vocal cut should be. I’ve really been diggin’ on Arturia Analog & Diva in terms of software and they’re both used in this track.

buy/ listen too http://www.juno.co.uk/products/kevin-knapp-the-heft-ep/577972-01/

Can you tell us a bit about your background, who you grow up listening too, and who inspired you to get into DJ’ing/ Producing and being a vocalist?

Music has always been around me. My mom was kind of a soul fan (shocking, I know!! Kev’s African American mother loved soul! haha) so lots of Roberta Flack and Luther Vandross etc… was playing at the crib when I was a little dude. In sharp contrast to that though, my dad is a bit of an audiophile, like we used to get Gramophone magazine delivered to our house kinda thing and he was massively into classical and jazz. So many nights to this day he and I will open a bottle of whiskey (scotch for him) and just listen or watch a music documentary about an artist/composer/band we’d like to know more about. I sang classically, competitively when I was in high school actually having three different choir classes a day at one point. I also spent a ton of time being the music got to guy for my group of homies coming up so I suppose even back then writing was on the wall. In those days it was all east coast hip hop for me. In college I developed an appetite for indie rock living in Austin Texas (America’s indie rock capital IMO), which I feel still appears in my music faintly to this day. It definitely solidified my love for minor keys.

Kevin_Knapp_2_300dpi_CMYKWhen I moved to San Francisco in 2000 I happened upon an art gallery where they were doing happy hour parties with a line of 150 people out the door at 7pm on every Wednesday. It made no sense, but people would come down after work and just go for it. At 9 pm it felt like 3 am at any other club in the world. It was there that I decided that this was something I just had to do. 6 months later I had my first set of 1200’s. So, while attending my law school classes during weekdays on Wednesdays nights and weekends I was slowly getting deeper and deeper into the music thing. At the time one of the city’s best DJ’s and the best opening DJ I’ve ever known personally, Scott Carrelli, sort of took me under his wing and invited me to be a resident for his wildly successful SatelliteSF parties. They started later, and were still on Wednesday nights (Thursdays were hell for like 7 years there or so, especially with a full time job), but the acts we got for that little 150 person venue where out of control. Lee Burridge, James Holden, Phil K and tons of others acts of that caliber. We actually helped create/extend the Wednesday night Market in that city, a torch still being carried by my homie Mikey Tello’s (from Pillow Talk) party Housepitality to this day.

So I Dj’ed a lot during that period of time from like 2005 through 2013 in SF and that’s when I learned how to read crowds and kind of earned my chops so to speak. Along the way I sat in tons of studios with folks collaborating both as a co-producer and then eventually as a vocalist too (once some folks found out about my background). I think I’ve had a pretty unique opportunity compared to other producers because being a vocalist has lead me to be able to see how lots of different producers work and I can then take that experience and put it into my own work. It got to the point that I had to make a decision between continuing to do the lawyer thing and moonlighting as an artist or to take the plunge. So in May of 2013 I moved to Berlin and here we are, artisiting hahaha.

How do you feel about the importance/ relevance of vocals in today’s Dance Music?

I love vox when used appropriately. I’m not one of these people who looks at a set and says it contains too many or too few of them. I feel like a song tells you when they are needed. Anything that is value added to a track should be placed in it and anything that’s not shouldn’t. I’ve really been working under the personal mantra in the studio lately that less is more. So if there’s fat to be trimmed, get to cutting, and vox are part of that consideration (Now If I could just figure out how to do this in my personal life haha). Generally speaking, I feel like a couple choice words in a few select spots can often really enhance the audience’s experience. It’s another tool at our disposal when trying to get our personal message or idea out, so if it helps to do that how could you not use them, ya know? It’s hard for me to make any kind of large sweeping statement about today’s dance music. I will say though that it seems like there are plenty vocal cuts out there for peeps to bask in, if that’s what doin’ it for them. J

How would you compare the importance/ difference between Berlin (where you live) and Ibiza (where you also play)?

Both these places are great for different reasons. Personally, I landed in Berlin because I felt like the immigration hurdles would be easier to navigate. There are of course tons of clubs here in the B and thus tons of places to enjoy this music we all love so dearly on a weekly basis. And an obvious major difference is here you can do it year round. I mean, the argument can be made that some of the Berlin clubs are even better in the winter. The energy in Berlin is very gritty. Ibiza is just straight up magical. I was on the island gigging last weekend and I’d forgotten just how special the place makes you feel right when you step off the plane. I don’t know if it’s the fact that like 95% of the people are there on Holiday or what but it just has a certain indescribable AMAZING feeling. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet and I can’t wait to return in a couple months. The vibe in Spain, at leastKevin_Knapp_3_300dpi_CMYK on that island, is pretty much the antithesis of grit. So I suppose it depends on what you dig.

Can you tell us about any forthcoming plans for 2015 and beyond?

I’m planning to get a few more solo EP’s out before the year ends. We’re looking at a few exciting labels for their release so stay tuned! I’m really enjoying having the full autonomy for getting my ideas out at the moment. The gig calendar is increasingly steady so that’s a good thing and I imagine it will keep me busy through the end of the year. I’ve also got collab releases forthcoming with Pan-Pot, Guti & Matt Tolfrey, Audiojack, & Daniel Dexter that will be dropping through late summer and into the fall. Other than that, we’ve got a dope grill set up at the crib and we’ve been stuffing chicken, searing asian flank steaks, and smoking pork rib racks so when not on the road or in the studio I’m planning to break fools off on the BBQ as frequently as possible. Live, Love, Grow, Listen, and Give that’s the plan.

https://www.facebook.com/KevinKnappMusic

https://twitter.com/kevknapp

* Photos by Vitali Gelwich Photography http://www.vitaligelwich.com

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reviews:102

Various Artists
Smiley Fingers 100
Smiley Fingers

smileyIf you’re not already acquainted with the joys of Smiley Fingers then here is the reason to do so. Celebrating some three years of existence and their one hundredth release the London based imprint fires through its succession of heavy-duty grooves in fine style with this compilation. Kicking off with the sassy funk of Larry Cadge & Rick Sanders – Niagara the selection includes productions from the aforementioned, Dave Seaman & Andy Chatterley and Mobius Strum, with remixes from the calibre of Pezzner and Tapesh. Typifying the labels distinctive flavour is the killer Lopazz & Casio Casino Remix of Adam Helder’s ‘Sticks and Stones’ which ticks all the necessary boxes in-between House and Techno rather handsomely.

release: October 14

http://www.smileyfingers.com

 

 

Disclosure feat. London Grammar
Help Me Lose My Mind
PMR/Island

disYet another single lifted from the album, the fifth in fact! sees Disclosure once again display their effortless cool, although that is in no small measure down to Hannah Reid’s ethereal vocal. What’s new here however is Paul Woolford’s piano driven House reworking that you just know is going to score big. But despite the vocal actually suiting the album mix best it’s his Dub version which sounds prime-time and anthemic with its juicy bassline backing up all those the rousing keys.

http://disclosureofficial.com

 

 

Matt Tolfrey feat Marshall Jefferson
The Truth
Leftroom

LEFT042You could say, where would House Music be without Marshall Jefferson? And there is certainly every possibility that the shape of the music may have been different without his input in 1986. So it’s interesting to hear his own words describe how he sees it, reflecting back from 2012 when this track formed part of Tolfrey’s album, ‘Word of Mouth’. Now receiving a release in its own right the pulsating electronics sound just as vibrant and now come with a set new remixes. Firstly from Jon Charnis who drops the vocal and rebuilds the music with moodier atmosphere’s that have a spell binding edge. And from Gerd aka Geeeman who’s excellent thumping Acid drenched version instantly strikes a chord with Marshall’s spoken word.

release: October 21

https://www.facebook.com/marshall.jefferson

http://www.leftroom.com

 

Big Hard Excellent Fish
And The Question Remains
One Little Indian

Watch! the follow-up to 1989’s ‘Imperfect List’ poses a fresh set of questions for our age, and makes for completely compelling viewing. Credit due to Ian C’s haunting production and Josie Jones challenging words.

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Matt Tolfrey (Leftroom)

Matt Tolfrey selects and talks us through some of the music that has influenced him over the years.

http://www.leftroom.com

http://soundcloud.com/leftroom

https://www.facebook.com/leftroomrecords

http://www.beatport.com/#label/leftroom-records/1542

In no particular order…

Schmoov! – Playground – DiY Discs

I used to go and see Schmoov! play live every Thursday at a bar/club called Dogma and it really opened my eyes to how dance music can be performed in a live situation.  The album ‘While You Wait’ that this track is taken from is one of my favourites in this genre, it is so great to be able to listen to an album of such high quality from start to the very finish.
 
 

Rae and Christian – Time To Shine – Grand Central

Taken from their album Northern Sulphuric Soul from 1998, this is easily my favourite Rae & Christian song.  So intense, but not in your face at the same time.


 
Aim – Cold Water Music – Grand Central

This track got me through some lonely nights when i first went to university in Nottingham.  Seeing him live there was next level.

Massive Attack – Unfinished Symphany – EMI

This is an obvious choice i know, but the reason for that is it is a timeless piece of music and i don’t know many people that would not include this in their top ten tracks of all time.

Bushwacka! – Herbal – Plank

I remember this from a Layo and Bushwacka! Ibiza Cheese Free mix which came free with Muzik mag all those years ago, it is probably my favourite mix cd ever to listen to.  I also remember Craig Richards playing this in room one at Fabric at one of the first birthdays there and it tore the place to pieces!!!  No one does breaks like Bushwacka!


 
Two To The Power – Soul 4 Love – Oblong

This was one of the tracks on Oblong that did not get played out very much so i really made it my own when i used to play at the Bomb in Nottingham.  Both sides are great.


 
Herbert – You Saw It All – Accidental

It’s hard to pick a Herbert track as there are so many that i love.  The vocal in this is great and it really sets my mind at ease when i am stressed.  The guy is a living legend, probably one of the few people that if i met i wouldn’t say anything to out of pure fear of saying something stupid.

The Ananda Project feat Gaelle Adisson – Cascades Of Colour (Danny Tenaglia edit of Saffron Mix) – Variation

One of my favourite remixes of all time.  Simple.

Raff ’N’ Freddy – Listen – Pschent

I remember Sasha playing this on Space Terrace and it completely blew my mind.  I still play it today when the time is right.

Simon – Free at Last (Vocal) – Future Dreams

This is the track that most reminds me of the Bomb in Nottingham.  When i first started going there in 2000 this was played every weekend, often the Dub, but i can’t find a youtube link for that.  I have also heard this blasting out of the speakers at Panorama over the last couple of years.

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reviews:62

Mitchbal & Larry Williams
Jack The House
Still Music Chicago

Seem to remember a quote along the lines of: You can’t move forwards for looking backwards – or at least words to that effect. But in music it seems you can only move forward by looking back. After all if it wasn’t for records like this then where would we be? If you haven’t already checked out Still Music’s essential 122BPM: The Birth Of House Music compilation then you’re missing out, in which case this previously unreleased gem, also from the vaults of Mitchbal and Chicago Connection Records, may well move you in the right direction. Jack The House pretty much speaks for itself and ticks all the boxes either as the Original. or more especially, Frankie Knuckles more Club orientated Remix which combines all the classic sounds from the era with a knowing arrangement primed for the dancefloor.

release: October

http://www.itstillmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jerome.derradji

 

Shall Ocin
Tribute To Summertime EP
Leftroom

Having barely recovered from hearing Matt Tolfrey’s excellent debut album for Leftroom this now hits squarely aimed at the previous seasons memories – assuming they are hot ones of course. This is Nicolas Abalos aka Shall Ocin’s second release for the label and is based around George Gershwin’s 1935 classic ‘Summertime’ though of course sounds markedly different with electronic beats and the rest giving you reason enough to reply the timely refrain all over again. It also made ‘ESSENTIAL NEW TUNE’ on Jamie Jones & Seth Troxler’s standin for Pete Tong recently too. Having said that I much prefer Feel The Same with its delicious spacey vocals and sassy, syncopated rhythms feeling altogether contemporary and typical of the label. I Know, finishes with a love of ‘real’ instrumentation played in a slightly unnerving fashion, and feeling all the more inventive and effective for it.

release: October 8

http://soundcloud.com/leftroom/sets/shall-ocin-tribute-to/

http://www.leftroom.com/

 

Marvin Zeyss
Hotsauce EP
IHW-ONE

First release on Martijn’s brand new sister/ brother label to the excellent Deep Edition Records is this stunner from Marvin Zeyss. Although you’ll need to move at light speed to get your hands on one of these very limited ‘vinyl only’ pressings as they have been numbered to 100. Three numbers beginning with Hotsauce whose bass punctuated groove is little short of addictive. Power, follows with funkier percussion and deep tones rewarding your senses with a breath of perfectly pitched ambience. While, Downtown finishes with more invigorating sounds, although is also possibly third in line for your attention.

http://www.juno.co.uk/ppps/products/465197-01.htm?highlight=HOTSAUCE+EP

https://www.facebook.com/inhauswax

 

EJECA
Horizon EP
Needwant

Having recently reviewed Ejeca’s release for Extended Play we now find Garry McCartney’s inescapable grooves on the notable Needwant imprint. You could say that its title track Horizon is about looking back, or you could say it’s where we’re heading, but either way its self-propelling energy is hard to resist. Driven by blazing 90’s stabs and rough-edged beats this is a combination that simply works. Dazed, feels easier with deeper, pulsating notes creating atmosphere as funky vocal edits complete the combination neatly. See Through You, ends with broken beats and an intensely soulful attitude that places Ejeca a step above the rest.

release: Oct 1

http://soundcloud.com/ejeca

http://www.needwant.co.uk/

 

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reviews:52

Visioneers
Hipology
BBE

Not often an artist album comes along displaying not only valuable words but musical skills on this level. Marc Mac (also one half on 4Hero) who whose been producing music for the past couple of decades has arrived at this point, again, with his second Visioneers album, Hipology. Listening to this reads like a history lesson in sight and sound while expert instrumentation is employed via a sterling set of players. Indeed, try an instrumental track like LaAnne from Harlem and tell me it doesn’t move to tears of joy. The album creatively evokes moods and plays with words both spoken and sung throughout, while for the dancefloor try the take on B-Boy legend, Apache (Battle Dub) for size, plus any number of other sure-fire gems. Something for everyone exists on here with the summer funk of Come Sand Play in the Milky Night destined for any beach party worth its salt, or Shine which feeds your mind with meaningful word and soulful tones.

release: June 2012

http://www.mixcloud.com/LaidBackRadio/marc-mac-dusty-disco-crates/

http://hipology.org/

https://www.facebook.com/bbemusic

http://www.bbemusic.com/

 

Leftroom Presents… Laura Jones
Leftroom

Laura Jones invigorating exploration of electronic sound continues with her first compilation mix for the prestigious Leftroom imprint. Starting with moody brilliance of dOP & Masomenos Hello! the album rapidly proceeds to entice you with its emotive selection of beats and rhythms that never fail but to ignite your imagination. Combining a diverse selection of music from labels like Vitalik Records, Visonquest, and of course Leftroom means that you know you’re always in safe company. What’s also particularly notable here is the way the album weaves between styles, flipping from Techno to House while never feeling contrived. The second half of the mix picks up the pace with a sure succession of killer tracks from Gavin Herlihy and Polyrhythmic, amongst many significant others, finishing on Guy Gerber’s masterful The Mirror Game.

release: June 18

Laura Jones interview http://www.magazinesixty.com/?p=498

http://soundcloud.com/leftroom

http://soundcloud.com/laurajones

https://www.facebook.com/leftroomrecords

https://twitter.com/#!/leftroom

 

Cutting Edge mixed Luke Solomon
D-Edge

Sao Paolo’s D-Edge combines with long standing House Music impresario Luke Solomon to release this testament to the DJ’s undoubted prowess in all things musical and techincal. The Classic Records co-founder carefully teases every inch of rhythm from this truly intense mixture of distinctive House, unsettling Techno and general electronic madness into the bargain. Whether that’s Red Rack’em’s bassline master class of How I Program, or Boo Williams severely funky Devil Music this will truly rock your discotheque. Any mix that climaxes in the process with the Roberto Rodriguez version of Seven Reasons can only probably be described as transcendent.

release: July 7

www.lukesolomon.com

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/luke-solomons-podcast/id392533558

www.dedgerecords.com.br

 

Luca Lozano
B.O.N.E.S EP
Klasse Recordings

Excellent EP from Germany’s Klasse Recordings beginning with the melodic technology of Soul123 which references Detroit like it was just around the corner. Next, Skeleton Keys gets busy with classic House bass and organ creating perfect tension in the air. While, Fakie Snot Bubble cleverly hits you hard at first with fizzy old-school stabs and ‘work this’ vocals, then turns it all upside down with warm pads and House strings causing emotive confusion? Despite its somewhat dubious title the more I hear this, the more seriously impressive it sounds.

release: June 11

http://soundcloud.com/lucalozano/sets/kls019-luca-lozano-b-o-n-e-s/

https://www.facebook.com/lucalozano

http://www.klasserecordings.de/

 

Walker & Royce
You’re Not Welcome
Crosstown Rebels

You don’t really need me to tell you that this latest from Crosstown is excellent, do you? Put it like this: it feels ever so slightly sinister with sumptuous bass notes driving the taught beats, as the uber cool vocals feel deeply soulful in a Trans-European setting with sparkling keys lifting it all skyward. Stare If You Want To feat. Javi happens next with killer syncopation feeling like disco never went away (I know, it didn’t) but coupled with tripped out voices and more contemporary chords plus guitar, this again transcends the timeline. The Francesca Lombardo Remix of You’re Not Welcome resists the titles negative appeal with addictive notation and proves the vocal to be defiantly happy.

release: June 11

http://soundcloud.com/walker-and-royce

http://soundcloud.com/francesca-lombardo

 

I Cube
In Alpha EP
Versatile Records

I Cube once again produce’s something so startlingly original that when it’s primed it will explode all over your dancefloor. Y.O.U.R.O.C.K is somewhat self-explanatory here as shimmering electro keys clash with strident disco beats, while repeating to infinity and beyond. This has to be heard to be believed! Followed by Popular Electronics which frays the edges with twisted synths and a lot more besides, but possibly saving the best to last is In Alpha which replays eighties guitar funk, via the curious mind of I Cube, to feel compellingly uplifting and certainly rather beautiful. The album is coming…

release: June 11

http://soundcloud.com/versatile-records/sets/i-cube-in-alpha-ep/

http://versatilerecords.com/

 

Justin Martin
Ghettos & Gardens
dirtybird

Clearly in his own class Justin Martin’s debut album acts like a conduit for his myriad of influences and own particular brand of music. Encompassing everything from U.K bass to Acid the album avoids treading a cliqued path by its use of trippy voices and unexpected combinations of styles, which none-the-less always feel exciting and pertinent. Butterflies is a case in point with edited child-like voices playing off against synthetic chords and squelchy basslines to sound like not a lot else out there. Also try Molokini for some heavy-duty business, and The Gurner with Pillow Talk for something a little deeper and more spiritually motivating.

http://www.beatport.com/#release/ghettos-and-gardens/906717

www.dirtybirdrecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/justinmartinmusicpage

http://soundcloud.com/justin-martin-music

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Laura Jones interview

What first attracted you to music? Which artists / songs are your earliest influences?
 
I started playing many musical instruments from an early age as well as vocal training in my teens so I was surrounded by a lot of music when I was growing up. The majority of this was classical but there was the odd bit of jazz and contemporary too. 
I took a liking to pretty much every genre of my music going in my early to late teens, indie, trance, hip-hop and garage and it wasn’t until going to Ibiza in my early twenties that the penny dropped with electronic music. 
I decided I wanted to become a DJ in the summer of 2005 while spending a season out there for the first time. I went to DC10 almost every week and became inspired by watching DJs like Tania Vulcano, Clive Henry and Dan Ghenacia. I was 22 and had just graduated from University and had never tried it before but my gut instinct told me it was the right thing to do
 
 How did your relationships with Leftroom and Visionquest come about?
 
I actually met Tolfrey the same summer in 2005. We met one Monday at DC10 through a mutual friend. We became good friends over time and when finishing my first few tracks in 2010, he was one of the first people I sent them to. I met Seth at WMC in Miami in 2007 and later that year warmed up for him and Ryan at Mint club in Leeds. I’ve since met Lee and Shaun and we’ve all become good friends. During DEMF in 2010, Matt played the boys the first few tracks I’d sent him, they really liked ‘Live A Little’, decided in the October that they were going to sign it and it got released the following summer.
 
Tell us about the process for selecting the tracks for your new mix compilation: Leftroom Presents… Laura Jones?
 
I knew I didn’t want to do a straight-up club mix so opted for something a little deeper. With liking so many different types of tracks, pin-pointing the angle to take with it was a little tricky but just picked tracks I liked and hoped that a good selection would come back to me having been agreed by the labels involved. I commissioned three exclusive remixers which was the fun part – Matt Tolfrey & Russo, Gavin Herlihy and Ryan Crosson. They were able to choose their own track to remix from Leftroom’s back-catalogue and then I very much left them to their own devices. I picked the three I did as I knew I could trust them all to deliver which they did so it all worked out perfectly in the end.
 
How did you go about producing music – any favourite piece of software / hardware that you like to use?
 
I currently share a studio with my boyfriend Gavin Herlihy. We have a desktop iMac with Mackie HR 824 monitors, a 72-key keyboard, Maschine, a Roland Gaia synth and a Korg Electribe. My main DAW is Logic and the main plug-ins I use are Native Instrument’s Kontakt and Spectrasonic’s Trillian and Omnisphere for its collection of hardware synth samples
I’ve used primarily soft-synths to create my tracks thus far as we didn’t have any hardware at the time. We’ve only just started to invest in hardware this year so the aim is to build up the hardware collection and continue learning the ropes.

 
 
How you describe your sound in terms of DJ’ing? What do you prefer to dj with?
 
I love and play a real variety of music in my sets. I tend to keep things pretty moody but melodic at the same time. I play anything from stripped back Deep House and right through to techno. I even play the dubbier, more breaks-style music if the mood suits. Ultimately it doesn’t really bother me what genre something belongs to, if it’s good and it’s right in the moment I’ll play it. I also think it can really work in your favour if what you play is relatively diverse as one thing I’ve noticed when touring round Europe and the rest of the world is that every country seems to be at a very different stage in the evolution of underground dance music so it helps to be able to tailor the sound on the night.
Right now, I am playing with Traktor Scratch as I don’t have the best vision and it’s easier for me to see the computer screen than it is text on a CD or vinyl sleeve. I only started using it a couple of months ago and am using CD at the moment but will be moving to vinyl pretty soon and actually I think longer term, once I have a tour manager in tow (and someone to carry the bags), I’ll most probably go back to vinyl. Ha!
 
What are the positives and negatives affecting dance music in 2012?
 
The main negative affecting dance music in 2012 is the fact that the underground scene is losing its identity a little. I remember when I started collecting vinyl, I couldn’t get enough of searching for tracks I’d heard out in the clubs and it wouldn’t be that difficult to find and the quality would be next-level. Now, you try and look for something and you have to wade through reams of noise to find it. I think now that it’s easier for people to start labels and put out music digitally, it’s diluting the quality of the music. 
More and more DJs are becoming involved in the commercial side of things at the expense of what they believe in order to make more money. Some club-owners seem to be doing the same. I recently played at a new club in Europe, amazing sound, great vibe but tarnished slightly by the fact the owner can’t decide whether to keep it underground or go commercial. I really think people should stick to their guns regardless of the money that’s involved but guess I’m not a club owner in the current economic climate.
 
I think the main positive would have to be the continued comeback of vinyl. I’ve been living in Leeds since coming to uni here in 2001 and I’ve been witness to the best underground record stores in the city gradually closing down one by one with exception of one or two who sell a wider range of genres as well as tickets for events. In the last month, one has opened again in Leeds selling only underground dance music and it seems to be a roaring success thus far. It’s called Waxwerks and is adjoined by a new club space called The Garage, which is also the best underground clubbing experience Leeds has seen in a good while.

 
Who do you like to listen to outside of house music?
 
I’m finding very little time for alternative listening at the moment but when I have the time, I love a lot of different music, old and new. I’m really in to electronica and downbeat stuff. I still love hip-hop, garage and the more stripped back musical dubstep like Burial and Consequence. Early influences who I still like to listen to are bands like Radiohead and the Rolling Stones. I love Arthur Russell, Prince and Stevie Wonder too, they’re all big big inspirations of mine. And I guess more recently, artists such as Blood Orange, Jamie Woon and Junip.

‘Leftroom Presents… Laura Jones’ is released mid-June on Leftroom with an accompanying vinyl sampler appearing at the same time…

https://www.facebook.com/laurajonesmusic

http://soundcloud.com/laurajones

http://twitter.com/#!/laura___jones

http://www.leftroom.com/

 

 

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reviews:44

Towards Green
Last Page EP
Buzzin Fly Records

I did think of Durutti Column when I first heard Rivero Brito’s sensitively plucked guitar streaming through stereo and that’s of course a most welcoming experience. But, it’s also equally refreshing not to plant thoughts in your mind as this EP conjures up all sorts of people you could reference, despite the music having a life very much of its own. After experiencing the rather beautiful title track, the even more so, Keep Your Eyes Closed defies logic with uber-cool Double Bass and fizzy electronics blending together impressively with thought-enhancing arrangements and subtleties. The Arkist Remix adds beats, though cleverly doesn’t lose the charm, on an excellent version that can only come highly recommended. The Live Take of Last Page then finishes off with what must have put a rather large smile on Ben Watts face… 9

release: April 16

http://www.buzzinfly.com

 

Boris Dlugosch
Keep Pushing
Peppermint Jam

Fresh remixes of Boris Dlugosch’s biggie from the mid nineties sees Inaya Day’s vocals revitalised once again, and this time round over equally contemporary versions. Firstly from the excellent Joel Alter who swings delicious bass off hissing hi-hats and funky organ, while utilising snippets of appropriate voice to deliver more typically irresistible grooves. The Coyu Kitty-Push remix gives the drums much more of a tribal flavour and uses more melody, all of which eventually reaches the joyous chorus line. 8

release: April 18

http://soundcloud.com/peppermint-jam-records/sets/boris-dlugosch-keep-pushin-1/

http://www.peppermint-jam.com

 

 

Hot Since 82
Hurt You EP
Moda Black

This new instalment from Moda Music begins life with another notable Leeds artist, Hot Since 82. Hurt You, fuels the senses with an infectious bassline, tripped-out voices and insistent hi-hats which punctuate the production throughout – you couldn’t really ask for a better start from the label. Second track, Sundown compliments the picture with darker notation and funkier percussion being offset by semi- melodic vocal snippets and dark, brooding synth chords which all feel suitably lush. 8

release: April 16

http://www.thisismoda.com

https://www.facebook.com/hotsince82

 

Guy Gerber
The Mirror Game
Visionquest

Sounding enviously similar to The Cure circa 1980 with its evocative, gothic overtones and that uniquely, haunting bass-guitar sound, this even manages to transcend that very possibility via heavenly treated voices and shimmering electronic percussion. A truly excellent piece of music to refresh the soul – or at least words to that effect. One Day In May, proceeds with a stunning chord progression that deifies simplicity and is again aided by a surreal collection of voices and sounds so tempting that you can almost taste them. The Snake Pit Dub of the title track ends by tweaking the elements into yet more ethereal beauty as a special bonus for the digital package. 9

release: April 16

http://www.vquest.tv/

 

Kate Simko & Matt Tolfrey
The Same Page EP
Leftroom

Leftroom’s Matt Tolfrey teams up with Chicago’s Kate Simko to produce this devastating collection of one, two, three tracks. Opening with, Take It Easy which blurs the lines between Jazz, House and Electro – which if you ask me sounds like the perfect idea – by playing cool guitar alongside big fuzzy chords and electro-funk bass, this also boasts a clever arrangement that is never less than electrifying. Synthetic sounds continue to flow with, Lazy B coming complete with refreshingly funky percussion, leaving No Shame to develop the Chicago theme further into the ethos. 9

release: April 16

http://soundcloud.com/leftroom/sets/kate-simko-matt-tolfrey-same/

http://www.leftroom.com

 

 

Voices Of Black
Atom Bomb
Double Standard

Dropping the tempo but never easing up on the mood comes this latest from the creative hands belonging to Voices Of Black. It’s hard not to admire the audacity of their spirit as these laid back vocals tease a sense of drama from the quietly addictive, head-nodding rhythms, and it’s even harder not to nod likewise. Remixes are from the even more down-tempo Taner Ross, who furthers the tension still to highlight the vocals’ charm, and No Regualr Play feat. John Camp Remix who pick up the pace again giving the song some House pizzazz via the detuned voices and funky arpeggios. 8

release: April 23

http://soundcloud.com/voicesofblack/01-atom-bomb

http://voicesofblack.net

http://www.doublestandardrecords.com

 

The White Lamp
It’s You
Futureboogie Recordings

Proving once again the strength of contemporary music, The White Lamp show the way the way forward with their combination of irresistibly cool grooves and knowing vocals. I guess the clue is in the labels’ name: Futureboogie. The drive of It’s You lies within the pulsating basslines and a vocal delivery which places tension against melody, and is nothing but completely enticing. Ron Basejam aka Jim Baron from Crazy P supplies the remix with typical panache and comes up funky as ever with a selection of deliciously soulful chords, leaving the Eats Everything and Christophe Acid Ouse remix to do that very thing in equal style. 8

release: April 16

http://www.futureboogie.com

http://www.myspace.com/ronbasejam

http://soundcloud.com/christophe1

 

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