Timmy Stewart (T Bone/ Extended Play)

T BoneCan you tell us a little about your background and how you first got into Dance music, the clubs you used to frequent, and which Dj’s initially inspired you?

I often thank my Mum for putting me on the road to becoming a dj as she was a proper music lover with an ever growing record collection and was more prone to putting on a good album for entertainment over plonking me in front of the box as a kid. The soundtrack in our house covered everything from Blondie to the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder and it was wasn’t long before I was trained up to put on the precious black stuff myself. I even remember when my Mum’s taste started getting more electronic and albums from the Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk & Depeche Mode started to appear in her vinyl.

As a kid growing up in Belfast through the eighties the whole Breakdance scene was in full effect and I watched the Beat Street movie on repeat and was blown away by the soundtrack which basically started a life long love affair with 80’s electro music. I promptly started collecting the Street Sounds and Electro compilations with any pocket money from week to week, I couldn’t have been any older than 9 or 10 at that point.

T-BONE LogoFast forward to high school and a girlfriend had a brother who was a DJ in Belfast around the time the whole acid house scene was forming and I used to ask her to let me hear his promos at her Mum & Dads house when he went out. I clearly remember him getting sent A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funky Dread “Total Confusion” and loved it and early Rising High Collective & R&S releases. Soon tales of raves in the city centre put on by a group of hairdressers and their mates had myself and some school friends straight down hassling the guys for tunes and mix tapes in a make shift record store that had been set up in an area of Star Hairdressing where they practiced their djing in between clients. One of these guys happened to be a young David Holmes.

We were way too young to go to the parties at first so we just collected the flyers and a friend and I made do with Dj’ing at school discos and practicing on the decks at the youth club with the 12’s we’d bought in Makin’ Tracks & the Gramophone Shop until we at least looked old enough to hit clubs in Belfast. Tokyo Joes provided my first proper club experience and Glen Molloy was a mind blowing resident, he really made an impression on me with the way he mixed and moved through genres. From then, there were trips to Kelly’s in Portrush before eventually regularly attending most of the Art College events in Belfast. A group of friends and I really fell in love with the music and vibe in there, mostly down to Holmer and McCready’s fantastic Sugar Sweet events and the amazing soundtracks that we were lucky enough to get educated on. Getting to see people like Slam, Weatherall, Christian Vogel and more,  alongside these fantastic local guys is something I’ll never forget. We were lucky enough to get asked to play ourselves a few times before the demise of the Art College events, which meant the most logical thing was to start putting on some nights of our own.

extYour label Extended Play (co-founded with JMX) is going from strength to strength having recently celebrated the 30th release. How would you best describe its sound and what do you look for in signing a track?

I guess it’s safe to say it’s a straight up house label but that could mean deep, acid or peak time vibes as John and I both have varying individual tastes but also meet somewhere in the middle, which means the releases can have a classic house feel or slightly darker electronic edge. Only rule is a track has to get both thumbs up or it simply can’t go out. We both love early Chicago house as well as people who push things forward, so hard to say exactly what we look for in a track but something fresh sounding but retaining elements of the origins of house or techno is most likely to grab out attention.

Can you describe the process involved in producing a track (perhaps something you are currently working on), tell us about the studio you work from and what your favourite things are in it?

My home studio these days is a pretty modest affair compared to the one I previously owned with my friend Glenn when we recorded as the New Aluminists. It consists of a decent PC, Mackie HR824 monitors, a Novation midi keyboard, Ableton and a shedload of samples and vst’s. I generally always start with my drum programming, then work on the bass line as this can often provide the backbone for something decent before I start trawling for synths and interesting vocal samples. My monitors are easily my fav bit of equipment as they helped no end with getting the mix down process right but I do honestly believe good tracks come from good ideas and not banks of equipment, we always say ‘it’s the ear not the gear’. I’ve a mountain of projects on the go at the minute including some collaborations with JC Williams, Bubba, Slack Society, Cromby & Chris Hanna as well as some projects to complete that I started in Toronto when I was there earlier in the year, a few remixes have just been completed for Made Fresh Daily in Scotland and Molotov 21 in Brazil as well as putting the finishing touches to a batch of new T-Bone originals.

https://soundcloud.com/planetacetate/him-self-her-love-with-you-t

How is the club scene in Belfast at the moment, how do you feel it has developed over the years?

It’s pretty good right now with bigger nights and smaller parties all covering a broad range of styles from disco and techno to house and drum & bass. Sadly it can be a little over-saturated at times meaning sometimes a promoter wins out and sometimes not, but if you look at the amount of nights that are going on and the guests that visit Belfast on a month to month basis compared to the population of the city it simply means people can often be too spoilt for choice. The opening times and related licensing issues are fairly embarrassing, especially when explaining to visiting guests about going on earlier than usual & length of set times but that aside it rarely dampens the atmosphere and most Djs will agree that Belfast crowds can often be the best in the world to play to. My friends and I do agree that we feel fairly privileged to have been going out around the time of the events that happened in the Connor Hall at the Art College though as the atmosphere, attention to detail and dedication of people who attended those nights has rarely been repeated in the city.

If someone was going to start their own label what advice would you give them?

It’s not essential but I think it’s a good idea if you have already been producing for a while yourself before starting a label or have a group of friends who do so that you can generate releases more easily and build some core artists from the off. Try and do as much as you can in-house, so if you have friends who are graphic designers, web designers, into mastering etc. then aim to get some mates rates action going on where possible therefore keeping overheads to a minimum, especially at the start. All label profit should be invested back in to help keep momentum going, aid with getting the right remixers on board and generally help build the following for the label. You’ll most likely not retire on the profits of running an independent label these days but if you make ends meet and keep your quality control high then the labels output will not go unnoticed.

What releases have you got planned for the coming months?

The label releases are more or less mapped out for the rest of the year now and we are about to release our first vinyl in the coming months. Tracks will be coming from De Sluwe Vos, Chris Hanna, Timmy Perry, Dale Howard, & H Wax plus remixes from the likes of Jamie Trench, Kastil, Chesus & Organ Grinder, JMX & myself meaning we feel we could have a best year for Extended Play lined up to date.

Where can people get to hear you play?

On the home front I’ve got three regular monthly gigs and can pop up in various guest spots. Keep Diggin’ is on the first Saturday of the month in a great venue called Love & Death which is basically a music collectors dream. Myself and Lyndon, the other resident, get to play anything and everything from the collections we’ve built up from the last 20 years right up to the present day, so funk, disco, acid house and Detroit techno can end up in the mix.
Work at The Hudson is a monthly Saturday hook up with the Twitch guys and is a proper heads down house and techno affair. We also host Extended Play label parties on the last Fri of the month, JMX and I make up the residents and are joined by the artists who record for the label and it’s great to hang out and play with everyone in our crew. We’ll be popping up all over with our Extended Play take overs which have so far been hosted in London, Liverpool & Dublin but are soon to start appearing all over the globe.

https://www.facebook.com/mrtimmystewart

https://www.facebook.com/extndply

JMX https://www.facebook.com/pages/JMX/358489487500429

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reviews:74

roberto rodRoberto Rodriguez
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching EP
Freerange Records

Rodriguez returns to the label after his previous 2008 outing with two new tracks that define 2013 as much as they do speak about the flux between old and new. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching is nostalgic for sure, but then that will either delight or bore you in equal measure – depending on your outlook on the current retrospection of the American House Music sound which evolved out of 1991. Perhaps, not surprisingly, I love this and Roberto gets it right down to the bone with punchy organ and piano chords adding neat definition to the ‘feel alright’ vocal snippets. Oxymoron then flips the coin with the trackier style that came out of the same era as dark stabs and sizzling hi-hats take center stage. Lusciously intense this keeps you waiting with a tension building arrangement which peaks at the breakdown, while proceeding to push forward with the addition of trademark funky cowbell. The Black Madonna ‘We Still Believe’ version of Dance… finishes by proudly reaffirming the sentiment with heavy-duty kick drums and pure House bass spread out across a sparser selection of piano.

http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roberto-Rodriguez/6171688554

 

mikeMike Wall
Different Colours
Hidden Recordings

What I love about Mike Wall’s debut long player for Hidden is the fact that the German producer doesn’t dwell too much on subtleties. Its fast, pounding and very insistent music that is little short of compelling despite its brutal, sometimes beautiful intensity. The title track does what the excellent Mr G does only from a different angle with driving rhythms offset by moody stabs coupled with that breathless quality which you can’t quite seem to escape from. The fierce syncopation continues with All I Ever Wanted getting freaky with its twisted combination of stabs and (almost) Jazzy Sax. And so the story continues until you reach the titles: Suicide, Choose Life, Ketamine, then ending at Suggestion and I guess a climax is reached. Having said that the drum programming is always invigorating while the mood Mike Wall creates throughout is never less than spectacular.

release: January

http://www.hidden-recordings.com/front_content.php?idcat=39

 

I WANT YOU 004Juan Kidd
I Want You
Weirdo

The brilliantly titled Weirdo is the relatively new label from Juan Kidd who also supplies this release, and why not as this is very excellent. I Want You combines fierce old-school piano chords along with punctuating hits of organ which squeeze every atom of energy out of the snare infused groove. Matters then continue to intensify with the introduction of blasting horns and sprinkles of smooth Fender Rhodes. You need this in your life…

release:.January 29 on Beatport

https://soundcloud.com/juankidd/juan-kidd-i-want-you-master

http://www.juankidd.com

 

pets027_1440x1440_3Stefano Ritteri
Nice Up Your Dance
Pets Recordings

Two reasons why I suspect this is an outstanding piece of music. First is that almost despite the straight up shuffling 909 drums everything else feels quite unique; from the shivering bassline to the array of wildly atmospheric synths. Second, is the darkly inspired ‘heavenly father’ voices that pepper the arrangement. Jaymo and Andy George’s Refix ’96 version then turns it upside down with a seriously heavyweight bassline, hints of Sylvester and an altogether deeper reworking of the atmosphere that feels equally sublime and enticing. Second track from Stefano Ritteri is the EP’s title and is a much looser, funkier affair complete with 60’s organ, 70’s guitar licks and Train line sound effects that give it Balearic sense of cheekiness that is too exciting to ignore.

release: January 14

https://soundcloud.com/stefanoritteri/sets/nice-up-your-dance-ep

https://www.facebook.com/StefanoRitteriOfficial

 

bubbaBubba & T-Bone Feat. Abe Duque
Bloodline
Extended Play

Extended Play start the new year on the high that they ended 2012 on. This forward pointing arrangement of machine-funk from Bubba & T-Bone employs tempting Electro beats from the past while also engaging with the current House sensibilities so beloved by the label. New York’s Abe Duque supplies the spoken word and receives a heavy sci-fi treatment on the stunning Original version. A series of five remixes then proceed to deconstruct its meaning starting with Lee Webster who impressively reinterprets Bloodline with low-slung reggae styled bass and techno chords. JC Williams visits Detroit for further inspiration with classic trademark drums and taught rhythms reigniting the vocal, with the Ten Story version getting deeper, and Sean Roman & Dick Diamonds Re-Salt mix doing likewise with a sprinkling a cutting stabs. Denney rounds off with more hot bassline action and stripped back beats which develop the mood notably as the breakdown arrives.

release: January 21

https://www.facebook.com/extndply?fref=ts

 

Ronnie Laws
Mr Nice Guy/ Classic Masters
Soul Music Records

I guess when you think of Ronnie Laws you probably think of his timeless classic Always There from 1975. But as with most artists it’s good to dig a little deeper to see what else there is . For the record Always… (also covered by Side Effect & Incognito) is undoubtedly a gem and is featured here from his 1985 Classic Masters album, which also collates his finest work from the 70’s to early 80’s. The following Love Is Here moves along similar lines, although with a slower funkier groove that again displays his undoubted prowess as a player/ composer. Indeed apart from the very occasional dated 80’s sounding moment there are plenty of Jazzy movements to savour here as the finale of Saturday Evening plays out with some seriously tasty piano. The first half of this double set re-release is his 1983 album Mr Nice Guy whose opening Can’t Save Tomorrow holds a curious appeal, as does the darker Rolling with its taped voices and haunting Saxophone proving to be most alluring.

release: January 21

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/soul-exd.asp?id=3948

http://www.ronnielawsmusic.com

 

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reviews:57

Ten Story
The Ten Story EP
Extended Play

Ten Story aka Stephen Guy and Dan Gleeson’s debut for the Belfast label continues their defining sound reassuringly so. That is deep, thought provoking House music that’s built to delight a dancefloor as much as it engages with your emotions. Keep On, digs deeper with fuzzy chords and perky hi-hats set against undulating vocal snippets from yesteryear. Simple, yet very clearly effective – just like the video below. Bubba supply the remix easing the tempo and indulging you with funkier rhythms, which immediately satisfy both your mind and soul. Found Out and Time Inside develop the settings with further exploration into the deep as the latter’s moody chord structure and atmospheric vibes prove to be the more tempting.

release: August 6

http://soundcloud.com/extended-play

https://www.facebook.com/extndply

https://www.facebook.com/wearetenstory


 

Rico Puestel
Voeyage
Mothership

Second label debut this week sees German artist Rico Puestel’s beautiful melancholy production envelope you in warm layers of looped sound, which pitch themselves together like a dream. From the stirring piano to the edgy beats this intriguing combination of moods is one of the more imaginative this week, and should reflect something movingly ambient right back at you. Plumb The Depths then defies that logic with something more energetic with invigorating piano and a mind of its own, though not quite sure if this just pales in comparison to such a moving composition.

release: August 5

http://www.ricopuestel.com/releases.php

 

Carl Bias
Spike Rebel E.P
SoulDeep Inc

With a pedigree that stretches way back to Chicago and the eighties, it’s about that time for some of the real deal. Taking its cue from that era the music plays across four tracks with the opening, Hold Me by far the most effective with its swirling atmospheres and classic drums feeling vibrant alongside the instantaneous, and just as exciting, bassline. Big Papa follows with shuffling piano and typically pumping Chi-town beats, with Mystic’s sizzling hi-hats and soulful vocal providing a tasteful compliment. You!!! finishes with an exclamation of sweeping sound fx and funky, deep beats which again work effectively.

release: Traxsource July 30

http://soundcloud.com/dave-t/sets/carl-bias-spike-rebel-e-p/

https://www.facebook.com/carl.bias

SoulDeep Inc. http://soundcloud.com/dave-t/

 

Pablo Nouvelle
You Do Me Wrong

Pablo Nouvelle’s second self relased single sounds even more stunning with each proceeding listen, and that’s always a good sign. His voice captures the moment perfectly with a deeply soulful refrain that glides elegantly across warm Rhodes and arresting, acoustic guitar. Perhaps it’s just me but I’m thinking along the lines of beautiful beach and sunshine, or night-time and poolside (bar). True To Me, continues in the same vein, and although not quite as strong it still makes you inquire about an albums’ worth of this.

release: July 30

http://soundcloud.com/pablo-nouvelle/you-do-me-wrong

 

Climbers
2 Come Back
Culprit

Following urgently on from their superlative Law Of Attraction EP comes this equally great release. With trademark content intact you get more in the way of super-funky bass and crisp, shuffling percussion, plus this time with the added bonus of a ‘Work that body, move that body’ vocal loop to raise the temperature. Miguel Campbell’s remix imagines Imagination’s Ashley Ingram playing bass and of course feels effortlessly funky, while also stripping back the track to reveal yet another killer production. The impressive Fur Coat then get twisted with edgier synths and darker notes alongside some great vocal treatments to finish.

http://soundcloud.com/climbers/climbers-2-come-back-original

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miguel-Campbell/258461267501161

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fur-Coat/201228743228492

 

Slok/ Djuma SOundsystem
Lonely Child/ Come Together
My Favorite Robot Records

Two artists, two tracks. First is Italy’s Slok whose Lonely Child (from his 2005 release on SAW Recordings) now features here with this superb remix for My Favorite Robot. Feeling fresh with that smoky vocal remaining thankfully intact the music now gets that bit deeper with haunting and pulsating electronics filling in the spaces. Next Norwegian producer Djuma SOundsystem delivers another cool piece of music with clever, funky drum programming and spacey, vocoder vocals intoning: It’s all gonna come together. Music is such a pleasure.

release: August 6

http://soundcloud.com/my-favorite-robot-records/sets/mfr056-slok-djuma-soundsystem/

http://www.myfavoriterobotrecords.com/

 

Petite Noir
Till We Ghosts
Bad Life

The debut single from Capetown based producer Yannick Iluga aka Petite Noir is called Till We Ghosts. It’s good, at the very least. Very good, at best. Great video to accompany the booming beats and warped sounds too…shame it fades away so soon…

www.facebook.com/petitenoir1

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