Jim Baron interview (Crazy P)


Listening to the album feels like all the good things in music – melody and instrumentation. How do you feel about song writing today and how it fits in with Dance music?

Although I’m personally a big fan of the ‘song’ in its traditional format I don’t think we’ve ever applied a certain set of rules to our writing and I think that’s true more than ever with the new album. I think you have to be careful with dance music because a lot of the good stuff can come from just a simple groove and we’re firm believers that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That’s why on this album we’ve used vocals a lot as a textural element in addition to the usual verse/chorus gubbins.

The Unbearable Likeness Of Being is a beautiful song – tell me how it was written?

That song is one that appears very much as it was originally written and recorded. We had the moody string running and just started jamming over it, Danni writing the vocal as we went. It came together pretty quickly. I ended up doing the moog bass and rhodes as one live take whilst Toddy was getting the beat production together. It was the same thing with the vocal, one take on a hand held standard microphone. We tried re-recording the vocal on a better quality mic and adding other elements to the production but whatever we added we always seemed to go back to the original recording as it had a special quality and vibe that couldn’t be bettered. That’s what we went with in the end.

What is your favourite instrument/ piece of studio equipment?
Tough one that! It does change but whilst recording the album I acquired an original Godwin string synth. It fast became a fave.  We’d always had to try and re-create that classic Solina string sound (a great example of this is Herbie Hancock – Stars in your eyes) through plug-ins or new synthesis and on hearing the Godwin it became clear nothing can get close to the real thing, it has a character all of its own.

Vinyl or Digital? And why?

Nothing sounds like vinyl so that would always be my first choice. I play off CD’s now when I’m on the road but it’s mostly stuff i’ve ripped from my vinyl collection. CD’s is as digital as i’ll go, i’m not really feeling the tractor/controller thing. I can see its appeal but it’s not for me, I need a hands on format. We’ve been hammered on excess baggage many times when we used to carry records, particularly when you’re travelling with all the band equipment too and i’ve had my tunes not turn up for a gig or two as well. With cd’s in your hand-luggage it removes that heart-ache and cost.

How do you approach Dj’ing, what makes a good DJ?

I think I’m pretty old school on this one! I got my first real gig in the early nineties when I was a student, warming up in the main room of a house club in Northampton. Don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore 😉 the guy who owned the local record shop gave me the gig on the strength of what I used to buy from his shop and he was a great teacher. I learnt programming and knowing your records are the most important things. In the warm up i’d play long mixes, move it around of course but always bring it back in time for the guest to start. I noticed the guests would generally play shorter mixes and keep things moving a lot quicker so when I started doing guest slots myself that’s how I tended to play it. I know it’s just my way but I think the art of dj’ing has been lost somewhere along the way in favour of who can play the biggest and most dynamic tune. Either that or I’m just turning into an old git!

listen here http://soundcloud.com/2020visionrecordings/sets/vis215cd-crazy-p-when-we-on





Steve Kelley interview (Celestial Recordings)

 Celestial Recordings: Where did the name come from, what was the inspiration behind setting up the label and when did you launch it?

Celestial Recordings was launched June 2010.  The strategy was to release a weekly single and featured compilations.  The name came about after being inspired by Luciano’s album with a track on their called Celestial.  Thought it was a great name for a label and brand.  Inspiration came about as a result with hooking up with Jim Shaft Ryan from a recent booking and we got talking about setting up a label.

 The label covers a range of styles so what makes a good Celestial release?

Solid House Music with a feeling.  We don’t want to be categorized by narrow genres, we both have a broad interest in all sorts of House Music.

 What is your opinion on the digital vs. vinyl debate?

Both from a vinyl era of Dj’ing and still enjoy playing vinyl to date.  We realized that the digital platform allows more choice but we are now intending to start releasing special editions of vinyl as we are in discussing with vinyl distributions presently.

How do you approach production/ Dj’ing: any particular favourite pieces of equipment for either?

Production wise Cubase, Logic and Ableton.  For dj’ing I use Traktor Scratch either with time coding CD’s or Vinyl, which is great for travelling on gigs.

You have just reworked Massive Attack, Unfinished Sympathy: why this particular track, and how do you feel about song writing today?

One of my all-time favourites tracks. I feel that there is a big opportunity for real song writing to find its way back into House Music.


Eddie Cumana interview

What year did Kult start and what was the inspiration behind it? 

Kult started up in 1994. I did not come into the picture until 1998 so I can only speak for myself and as to what inspired me to come work for the label; I simply loved the label’s sound plus my love for underground house music. 

Would you say that Dance music has become less song orientated and does that matter? 

Yes it has, and yes it does matter. DJs are spinnin more instrumentals or dubs in clubs now a days. This trend has become a very popular partly due to underground clubs being very drug oriented and therefore more into the hypnotic ride that is created without the use of vocal records and so vocals do not work on many of today’s underground dancefloors. The drugs people take are different and much harder than stuff around a decade ago. Maybe being so stoned requires less vocals to please the brain…however it has also contributed to the loss of live performances in many clubs and the loss of many great club singers that stopped making records because they can’t sustain themselves without gigs. 

There still is a small number of DJs playing vocals whether they are commercial or underground releases. Most trance DJs play lots of vocals unlike a Tech-House DJ that just plays snippets of vocal samples every few tracks. It’s really a matter of what genre is your question inquiring about as not all of these recently created genre or style include vocals or song structure for that matter. If you are into vocals then the short answer is that clubland is not gonna deliver.  

How do you approach production/remixing, do you have a favourite piece of studio equipment? 

A lot of inspiration will come from either a sound or vocal performance from whatever project or remix I may be working on. I don’t really have any favorite piece of gear but really on a few to execute the job. Logic & Protools on a MAC is where all the magic happens accompanied by a few trusted plug-ins like McDSP, WaveArts, Sonnex plus various others. I also favor out-board gear by Summit Audio, API, Tube Tech + others. 

Vinyl / digital: do you have a preference and why? 

I’ve been DJing for over 20 years now and miss Vinyl for its warm sound but don’t miss carrying creates of records from gig to gig.  Digital CDs started off being time consuming to burn and in the end heavy all most as Vinyl to carry around but discs made it easier and much more organize for the DJ on the go. Ultimately, the weights is shaved off considerably and the organization is improved even more once one goes all digital . Going digital is as a matter of convenience for most djs and not a matter of liking using dj software  over using turn tables and vinyl (which is always more fun to use). I currently use NI’s Traktor Pro with the X1 controllers. 

What makes a good DJ, how do you put a set of music together? 

Being able to connect with the crowd makes a good DJ along with having a sharp technical sense of sound and musicality. I do not prepare my set, i feed of the crowd and the club’s vibe and take it from there….sometimes i lock on a ride a vibe a sound and carry forth from song to song a particular element that seems to sow the otherwise unique songs together..whatever I do is just spontaneously chosen on the spot and I have fun with it…