JD Twitch _ Interview
Our man KMG caught up with Optimo’s JD Twitch for a little interview… and here’s what was said…
KMG: What gets you up in the morning Keith?
JD: Currently, it’s the sound of scaffolding being put up on the offices opposite my house.
KMG: …. and your ideal breakfast?
JD: I’m not very big on breakfast. It used to be a couple of Marlboro and a cup of tea but I’m trying to quit smoking.
KMG: You’ve racked up a lot of man hours behind the turntables over the years…. presumably with some gigs better than others…. can you recall a time when a particular track you’ve played has blown the place to bits?… and conversely, can you recall a time when something you’ve played has cleared a floor?
JD: At a rough estimate i have probably played around 2500 gigs so there have been countless times both the former and latter have taken place. Not being difficult but if you came up to me while I was djing and asked what I played 10 minutes ago, I’d almost always be hard pushed to tell you. After the fact, forget about it! Memories are best left as hazy recollections on the dance floor imo.
KMG: If we consider how different the clubbing experience is today, with facebook events, digital cameras, smoking bans… etc etc from your beginnings at Pure. What aspect of those early days would you like to see reinvigorated today? was it really a lot better back then, or do we let nostalgia cloud our vision somewhat?
JD: It wasn’t better, just different, and newer. Back then, it was quite a new experience for most people to hear and dance to loud electronic music and just about the only place to hear it was in a club. I do think we have lost something in this age of instant gratification where everyone is an expert and it can be hard to surprise or enlighten audiences, but i most certainly wouldn’t like to go back to a pre-internet era.
Mobile phones in clubs however are a pain in the ass. We don’t actively enforce it but we definitely discourage the use of phones at our nights. If you want to send a text or take a photo of your friends, please get the f**k off the dance floor!
KMG: I’ve heard rumours of a ‘solo album’, for want of a better phrase, any truth in this?
JD: Ha! I’ve been working on this forever but other stuff keeps getting in the way. I’ve done a ton of remixes in the last few years and that has taken up about 90% of my studio time. I have a few dance floor releases coming out over the course of this year under various aliases but I would like to make an albums worth of material which may or may not get released in an album format (personally i don’t listen to whole albums very much) that has very little to do with dj culture. I have finished a couple of songs (with vocals) but I won’t have it finished any time soon.
KMG: If the solo album ever materialises I’m assuming it’ll be out on your own label, Optimo Music?… what else is in the pipeline currently for the imprint?
JD: I always feel a bit uncomfortable releasing my own music so I’d hope to coerce someone else in to releasing it. Next up on Optimo Music is a collaborative 12” between New York’s legendary Peter Gordon and Factory Floor. That will be followed by a second 12” from Glasgow’s Golden Teacher which like their first 12” will come in a screen printed sleeve made by that band. I’m also working on starting a new sub label called Optimo Trax which will release more club friendly tracks. It won’t focus on any particular style or sound but will follow a similar theme to Optimo Music in that it will release new music and forgotten gems but all the releases will be aimed at the dance floor leaving Optimo Music free to follow whatever musical direction it may want to go in. I have about four EPs ready to go but just need to work on the design of the label a bit more.
KMG: Of those 2500gigs you’ll have racked up a good number of airmiles all over the globe… is there any one city or country you always look forward to visiting?… and is there really anything out there to rival a good Subclub Sunday crowd?
JD: Well, a Glasgow crowd in general is hard to beat but there are several places I always get excited about visiting, either because it is almost always a great gig or because I have a deep love for that city. Some of my favourite cities to play in are - San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Melbourne, Tokyo, Shanghai, Belfast, Dublin, London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and sunny Dundee. But, sometimes the best gigs are in unexpected places one maybe doesn’t always associate with clubbing. The two best gigs I’ve had this year were in Rennes and El Paso. Perhaps because the people in these places aren’t so spoiled with stuff happening they really, really go for it when they have a night out and have very open ears?
KMG: It’s well known that you champion both sides of the (often tedious) analog / digital divide when playing out… is it the same case in the studio whilst producing?… and what’s your favourite piece of kit?
JD: Yes, it is a tedious argument as both sides have a lot to offer and for me it’s better to take advantage of the best of both worlds. My studio set up is mainly digital but my two favourite pieces of kit are analogue. I don’t use them all the time but have perhaps the most amount of fun out of all my gear when I do. They are the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest and a Mini Korg 700s. The latter is a very old and simple 70s synth that has some fairly bizarre controls but comes up with some of the best noises I’ve ever heard. I’ve done a couple of remixes where every single sound I used came out of this machine.
KMG: Your Mark Vonnegut quote on the Optimo website has resonated with me ever since I first read it 8/9 years ago… If you were to find yourself in the shoes of Kilgore Trout, where and when you would you ‘timequake’ to?… and why?
JD: I’m not so nostalgic about the past so I guess I’d like to “timequake” into the future. About 100 years from now would be good and i’d hope humanity was still around and had overcome some of our petty 21st Century hang ups. It would be great to discover we’d found we could have a society that had worked out it could manage very well without banks, and perhaps even governments and that people were free to go wherever they wanted without having to worry about notional borders. Once I’d had a good look around, the first thing i’d want to do is hear what was going on with music. With a bit of luck, people might have finally tired of sampling and messing around with R&B acapellas!
You can catch Twitch & Wilkes when they roll into London to support Metro Area (live) and Bicep on the 25th of May @ The Oval Space…. tickets here