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    10 posts tagged interview

    Lay-Far - Interview

    1) what get’s you up in the morning?

    It’s me myself and the desire to get the things going.

    2)… and your ideal breakfast?

    A bowl of nice cornflakes with milk, a couple of toasts with marmalade or nutella and a cup of fresh black tea.

    3) It’s clear you have an influence of the US within’ your production. Great mo-town samples for example. What is it that’s drawn you to these sources?

    Yeah. The sound of Detroit has influenced me a lot. I love the way it’s soulful without being too cheesy - it has that bitter-sweet feel, which can also be found in Russian folk songs and music heritage. Also the fact that most of us Russians live in quite heavily industrialized surroundings makes it natural for us to feel that vibe.

    4)… and being Russian, does this pose any problems?

    Well, I guess the fact that we are a bit far away from the main creative melting pots makes us somehow more enthusiastic and independent (for some it doesn’t, but that’s my point). We have our own thing going ) At the same time the visa regime and political peculiarities do not really take away from the integration in the worldwide music industry. At least that’s how I feel - a part of the worldwide music family…. In the end we speak the one and only clear language - the language of music!

    5) Can tell us a little (without giving too much away) about your sampling technique? What records/sounds do you look for when sampling?

    First of all - I try avoiding played out samples and most obvious sources. It’s always exciting to discover something lesser known but fresh - not just for samples, but for the sake of music itself. Many times when on a sampling quest I actually ended up enlarging my music repertoir. It’s neverending journey - the more you discover the more you want something extra. It’s very humbling experience at the same time, cause many times you have this situation - you’re there thinking you’re probably the only one coming across this dope forgotten record and 5 minutes later, skipping through the tracks you recognise a sample or two from some favourite tune of yours, and you like… - damn, these cats knew what they were doing! So you kinda feel several steps behind - it’s very inspiring!

    At a certain stage I decided to incorporate all those self re-discovered samples in a mix series, called “Back to the source”. I have 2 volumes ready by now and available at my mixcloud and the 3rd one recorded specially for Two Hungry Ghosts blog, which hopefully will be up soon!

    6) Your first LP is out soon. Has making an album allowed your more scope to experiment, than an EP otherwise would have? Or does it not matter?

    With the LP it’s a different approach for sure. Rather than a selection of tracks in a certain vein - it’s more of a story - a personal one. So I wanted my album to have a narrative - from the first track till the last one - like in a good DJ-set.

    7) Can you tell us a bit about the narrative in ‘So Many Ways’?

    The album is about the freedom we have in life. So many ways to express oneself, paths to choose, situations to take part in, life scenarios to witness…

    When thinking of the name for the album I realised that it was the result of a certain set of circumstances, taken chances, lost opportunities, plans and accidents. I’m happy I had a chance to meet and work with so many wonderful people and kindred spirits in this particular period of life, which brought collaborations for the album: Dan Butler aka Dragon, Sarah Winton, Adam Cook from Souled aka Tommy Rawson, Pete Simpson, Peter Oakden, Vicky Flint, Yannah Valdevit, also Vova K-feer, the great artist behind the artwork. If the circumstances were different, timing was different there would be no tracks and hence no album - at least the one we have right now ) I’m glad the album shaped like that in the end.

    8) So often these days music production can lead to prolonged periods of solitude, yet you clearly have a passion for collaboration. Is this a preferred method of working? or just a happy accident?

    I think the music itself is a means of interaction between people - even if you write it on your own - you send out the signals to be received by the world. So I think music collaboration is a very natural and organic thing - moreover it’s exciting to step out of the box and work in a “new environment” - the results are usually pretty much unexpected. When you get the synergy - it’s really incredible!

    In general I love both methods - some music pieces are best developed on your own, others - with your friends, who have talents you don’t have, like a good voice, for example!

    9) How do you prefer to produce, do you have a specific idea which you then thrive create? Or is production a more improvised, loose journey?

    When starting a tune I usually don’t know where it’s gonna go in the end - I usually go with the flow, developing elements which feel natural and organic together. Starting with a main groove and then working on the rhythm section to get the things swinging. On a certain stage I get the direction - more or less clear picture for the structure / concept of the tune (that when I usually get the name for the track as well) and I try to develop it correspondingly.

    For example on “That Dream” I was experimenting with sound and structure - I wanted to make a “proper” banger but with odd time signature and eery melodic elements to create a feeling of a strange surrealistic dream. When starting, I came across the book of M.C. Escher’s works. So I ended up drawing visual inpiration from his “Relativity”, “Ascending and Descending” and “Cycle”. Eventually I came up with that 5/4 loop for “chorus”, supplemented with field recordings, “the sounds of ghosts” sampled from an old library record, a dissonant acid string (reminiscent of “Hey Boy, Hey Girl”, by Chemical Brothers), courtesy of Moog Prodigy, etc. Actually in the second part the stab and bass notes are played exactly in reverse, creating a mirrored progression, sounding tottaly different but with the same melodic and rhytmic elements on top. So you get the feeling of running pretty much nowhere, like on the impossible staircase - “You keep on running, and running, and running…”

    10) … And finally Alex, in an ideal world, where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

    Just keeping on doing my thing! You don’t need a perfect world for that…

    Lay-Far’s debut LP, ‘So Many Ways’ is out on the 30th of October, and is already garnering support from the likes of Osunlade, Mad Mats, Kuniyuki Takahashi, Rainer Truby, Simbad, Volcov, Kev Beadle, Roberto Rodriguez, Tyler Askew, Mark De Clive-Lowe, Ronnie Herel, Red Rack’Em…. amongst others.

    Have a listen to the snippets on Juno now

    Oliver Ledger aka ‘Squarehead’ Interview

    1) what gets you up in the morning Oliver?

    That I can hear some good music, new and old, everyday… and looking forward to future event/gigs where i get to see new places and meet new people.

    2)…. And the ideal breakfast?

    Good old fashion English breakfast, always!… and a good Yorkshire brew. Strong and red hot! Just a standard bowl of cereal also does the trick to be honest, preferably coco pops though!

    3) As a fresh faced 20year old this should still be clear in your mind, and not clouded in nostalgia like us older disk jockeys, but can you tell us a little bit about how you’ve ended up producing house music?

    Growing up I was around my uncle who listened to and played house music, and I always wanted to do the same, so I guess the love for it was always there from an early age as I was always hearing it. I first started on the Dubstep/Garage thing trying to imitate people like Loafah and all that, but i never really got properly into it. It then just progressed into making 4x4 stuff and more house-ey tracks which now I absolutely love to hear and make.

    4) Your a Sheffield lad through and through (correct me if I’m wrong) and as a city I would hold it synonymous with ‘Indy’ rock and live music… What’s the underground house/techno scene like up there?

    People have always underestimated the house/techno scene in Sheffield, but also the electronic music in general up here. It’s really strong at the minute, more so than ever, but you can’t forget the likes of Warp records, Chris Duckenfield, Steve Edwards and even Maurice Foulton who resides here. Obviusly people like Toddla T represent and there’s a bunch of new people following that up like Walter ego, Loshea. The amount of big names coming to play here keeps growing too, so its a very exiting time to be around here, it just needs to start getting more recognition like cities nearby, Leeds and Manchester have had it for a while.

    5) Tell us a little bit about your name Oliver, do you really have an orthogonal head?

    Ha! apparently so. The name simply comes from school and someone said I had a squarehead and it stuck. I’ll let you decide if it is or not haha.

    6) you’ve had a whole host of releases in a very short space of time, is there any sign of you slowing down? what have you got in store for the tail end of 2013?

    No not at all, recently I’ve been making a ridiculous amount of stuff and what I feel is some of the best stuff I have done yet, so I’m really exited about getting some of it out actually! Lined up i have a few releases planned with W&O street tracks and a wicked new sheffield label called ShabbyDoll you should all check out, but there is definitely loads more music you will see from me to end this year and into next.

    7) In the studio, what usually floats your boat? are you a strictly digital man, or do you get wired in to the analog as well?

    Mainly all digital, as I like to sample a lot of sounds. However I have recently just started using an amazing studio in Sheffield with a whole bunch of outboard gear and I am starting to get into it slowly, the TR-909 we have is simply unreal so I love using that. I don’t want to completely switch it up as my music will just sound completely different but its just about finding a nice balance between analogue and digital at the moment.

    8) So your uncle managed to tune your ear into the good stuff, can you tell us a bit about your first gig?

    My first gig was at 17 i think, at a place in Sheffield called The Harley which I still get to play at and even still put a few nights on there, it’s a wicked small venue that has a lot of good parties and live music on. It was with Fantastic mr fox and the promoter of that night is now my good friend and manager.

    9) So far, what’s been the stand out gig for you?

    Has to be either Glastonbury, because not many people are lucky enough to get to and it was an honour, or recently in Gothenburg, Sweden with Maya Jane Coles and Sasha. The venue was unreal and it was part of a wicked festival called Way Out West which was too was sick.

    Check out some of Oliver’s latest work if you haven’t already….

    Squarehead - Harlem Ache__Manucci’s Mistress

    Waze & Odyssey - Ride My Junk (Squarehead mix)__W&O Street tracks

    … and of course come and hear the man himself on Friday 30th August @ Birthdays, Dalston

    Tapped Interview - Danny Berman aka Red Rack ‘em

    Our man KMG caught up with one of the hardest working gents in the biz, Danny Berman aka Red Rack ‘em for a chat… make a cuppa’ and take in what was said….  

    1) What gets you up in the morning Danny?

    I am equally proud and sorry to say that my workload (or perceived workload) gets me out of bed in the morning. I try not to switch the macbook on before I open my curtains but sometimes I’m sat in bed with the curtains closed working on stuff in bed when it’s blazing sunshine outside at 11am. Heroin chic eh. I live opposite a beautiful park so I should probably start the day with a run or something. If only!

    2) …. and your ideal breakfast?

    My ideal breakfast would be a posh full English with gourmet black pudding and stuff like that but it’s really not good for you is it. Fruit would be good for health reasons…I am eating raspberries and blackberries today on the way to the airport. Honest!

    3) I recall picking up a copy of Hot Coins ‘Valiant Truth EP’ in Phonica round about 2008, when you guys put out a few EP’s if I recall… why such a long break from then till ‘Geek Emotions’ ? a conscious decision, or purely circumstance?

    A bit of both. I didn’t want to be part of the Nu Disco boom as I thought the quality control was really bad with a lot of the music being released and I got tired of having to be so ‘musical’ within my productions. There’s quite a lot of melody in the early Hot Coins stuff and I wasn’t sure if I could sustain that kind of sound without repeating myself and making the things which made me stand out clichés in the end. I am always influenced by the records that I buy so if you trace my musical path you can work out what was floating my boat over the last few years. It’s only 5 years since I put out the first Hot Coins EP on Society Records but my taste has been through so many changes since then. I made most of the music on the new Hot Coins album quite some time ago but it took me ages to mix it down. Then I was going to self release it and Sonar Kollektiv were interested but it took a year to finally get released due to artwork and finalizing delays. I think the album came out when it was meant to, as I formed a band to perform it live with amazing musicians which I couldn’t have done while living in the UK. There’s been 3 singles and the album on Sonar Kollektiv to add to the 2 singles and 3 remixes by Hot Coins before the SK stuff so the discography has expanded quite a bit since 2008.

    I am really happy with the new Hot Coins album ‘The Damage Is Done’. It showcases my take on disco, punk funk, EBM and electro music. It has a house undercurrent which has translated really well with the live shows. Our third ever live performance was on the main stage at the Garden Festival in Croatia on the saturday night so I am really excited about the future of Hot Coins!

    4) You’ve obviously released on your own as Red Rack ‘em… which style of making music do you prefer; working on your own personal material, or jamming as part of a band?

    It’s hard to say really as there are pluses and minuses with both situations. It’s really nice working with the band as we all get on really well and there’s a good bond. But I’m not used to being in charge of a project with more than myself involved so it’s hard not to feel the pressure and responsibility sometimes. The guys all speak to each other in German quite a lot which can make me feel a bit isolated. Mein deutsch ist nicht so shlecht aber es ist nicht prima und mein verstehen ist nicht so gut. More motivation fuer deutsch lernen. But overall it’s been a breath of fresh air, and it’s been rewarding to hear the songs I wrote in the studio being played live by amazing musicians.

    I was really de-motivated with the Red Rack’em productions over the last year or so. I just wanted to DJ and have fun. I still do!… but I realized that you have to keep releasing stuff to remain relevant so it’s back to the studio for me, sigh… I’m not one of these nerdy producers who’s in the studio all the time. It’s not always the best job if you’re a social person. My focus has been on the Hot Coins album for most of last year so I found it hard to work on stuff in the studio. Prior to the album release, there was loads of work to do to prepare it for mastering. Then there was the cover photos, choosing remixers, design, press campaign and all that. Even though it was released on Sonar Kollektiv, I had a very hands on approach which meant I created as much work as if I had released it myself. Probably more because I had to consult plenty of other people in the process.

    Getting the band together was 6 months of hard work preparing for the album launch party in February and I really enjoyed the change of direction and working with the guys in the band. However, I wasn’t expressing my studio side much and now that the band is ready to play and the album is out, I feel really motivated to make music again on my own. Which is a great feeling. So I am hard at work finishing off several tracks right now and enjoying the feeling of making music again. I am back!

    5) The smugglers inn podcast is one of our favourites, primarily because of the diversity of the music on offer, but also because you’re clearly very passionate about it too…. how on earth do you find the time to listen to everything? and also, what do you look for in a “good” track?

    Well firstly I want to apologize for my regular Facebook rants about the terrible music which people send me every day. However in my defense, I often feel like I work at the audio equivalent of a sewage treatment works, sifting through peoples musical waste to present palatable music for people who have real jobs! I know most people would think I shouldn’t be complaining about getting sent loads of free music, but believe me when you have 400 promos to check every fortnight and you know that about 390 of them will be garbage, you don’t feel so lucky. So I have to say that making the radio show doesn’t feel as easy or exciting as it used to but I still get a feeling of pride when I listen back to the podcast. I can hear how my presenting has improved and people often compliment me on the sound of my voice which is really flattering. It seems to be quite popular with the ladies! I primarily listen to the show as a consumer to hear the music that I chose as I don’t really have time to sit down and enjoy music anymore. Boo hoo… In terms of finding time to listen to everything, these days I simply don’t have the time. I have to do some pretty savage deleting sessions in my email every few weeks.

    The effect of the radio show can be pretty severe. It’s hard to work out what a good track is anymore when you have listened to 300 tracks which are at best ‘ok’. I find the best stuff always comes direct from the producers and labels. Most of the music I play is made by people who I am personally friends with. I am not playing it because we’re mates. We’re friends because of the style/quality of their music. There’s a big difference. When there’s a pr company involved I would say there’s only about a 20% chance the music is good. When you look at the reality of the overall of quality of most hyped dance music today, it soon becomes obvious that the stuff which has money invested in the promotion is generally lacking in real artistic merit. The music is just a carrier for marketing the artists so they can get performance work. I think the music which seems to be getting all the attention right now can at best be described as ‘grey’. I personally find this quite depressing as I hear so much amazing music being made by artists who can’t get a decent outlet because they are not interested in kissing ass on the internet to get a record deal or a gig.

    The internet has definitely enabled ambitious people with pretty much zero musical skills to become successful by manufacturing interest in themselves through stats. The audience look at the play counts on youtube and soundcloud and say ‘oh it must be good then’. Imagine a world without the playcounts. All we would have is the music….I don’t write my music with stats and I don’t go and see people DJ because of stats but sadly there’s a lot of people out there who ‘don’t have the time’ to explore music enough to find the good stuff. I regularly get hassled for playlists because people ‘don’t have the time’ to listen to my mixes or find the music themselves. It’s pretty fucking lame I think. If you don’t have time to find the music yourself then don’t try to be a DJ.

    It’s hard to say what I am looking for in a track really. I would say some kind of jazzyness, musical innovation or a roughness in the sound which is part of the production aesthetic. Atonalism, idiosyncratic rhythms, soul, halcyon vibes, musicality… I can only really use descriptive words really – tracks have either got ‘it’ or they don’t. My background is very UK based I would say. Hip hop, broken beat, jazz funk, drum and bass, garage, bass music, reggae, real deep house music etc – so being exposed to high quality, loose, swing based atmospheric music has given me certain expectations which I guess are the building blocks for the sound of the Smugglers Inn radio show.

    I hear tons of well produced bland dance music which sounds ‘ok’ to a lot of people but I personally can’t play stuff which just ‘works’ anymore as there’s too much of it about. I find it far more interesting to play weird, challenging music which makes a difference. I often find the tracks I worry about playing because I think they are too weird are often the ones which people respond to best.

    I feel incredibly lucky to be sent stuff by up and coming artists and labels when it’s good music of course. It means a lot that they choose me as the person to offer their music early support. When I DJ, I try to play as much unreleased music as possible and I often play things which aren’t even finished yet and let the artists know how the mixdown is sounding and if the crowd react to it.

    6) You recently took the ‘Coins on tour to the Garden Festival in Croatia, how did it go?

    It was without a doubt one of the most uplifting experiences of my life! There was something magical in the air at the Garden Festival this year, the main thing being the awesome mix of people working and partying at the festival. The whole trip was a dream. It was our first gig outside of Berlin and it definitely felt like a new chapter for me as I am used to travelling to gigs on my own, and I was with a large group of people from Berlin from the Wilden Renate crew, which was quite fitting as they had hosted our album launch party. It was awesome to be in a bit of a crew and I think it was a good bonding session for Hot Coins. Highlight has to be us all dancing in the DJ booth together at Barbarellas while Futureboogie and Crazy P dropped amazing tunes as the sun rose on the Monday morning. Dave Harvey played the Prince Language edit of ‘Up All Night’ by the Boomtown Rats and my little heart nearly burst with tearful joy. It was by far the ‘moment’ of the festival. No words for it.

    I was really happy with our performance. It was the biggest stage we had played on so far and the guys played really well. The audience response was amazing. People really got into the music and I think I managed to do a good job of entertaining the crowd while singing. I was really pleased to see loads of my mates in the crowd including Toby Tobias, Crazy P, Cityfly, Tristan Da Cuhna and it really meant a lot to see them in the audience as I known them all for years and their support means a lot. Also on a personal level, I put the whole thing together last year in Berlin and wrote all the tracks, so it was amazing to hear it being played in such a beautiful location. Danielle from Crazy P was particularly positive about our performance and said some lovely things to me after the show. I had watched her perform a masterclass in front person skills the night before with Crazy P so once again, it means a lot to me!

    7) One of our residents, Pat (slothboogie), was playing out there and he has nothing but love for the festival. What is it you think that makes it so special?

    What can I say about the festival? Boat parties, secret island parties, an outdoor hacienda style venue where you can dance until dawn, beautiful girls and guys in swimwear everywhere, the friendliest most up for it crowd ever, caring artist liaison, amazing sound systems, awesome seafood… The people behind it are really lovely as well – it’s so refreshing to go somewhere and be treated like a friend and an artist rather than be on the guest DJ conveyor belt. The other brilliant thing for me was that about 70% of the line up were personal friends of mine who I don’t see so often so it was awesome to re-connect with people like Crazy P, Futureboogie, Brawther, Cityfly, PBR, Toby Tobias, Tristan Da Cuhna, James Holroyd, Andy Bicep and many more. So many laughs…so much fun…I also realized how much I miss the people from the UK. I love Berlin but I sometimes feel like I am at musical boarding school. I left all my mates behind and did something on my own which was awesome but you can’t beat the banter of good UK people. I hung out with so many amazing people there. So much love and kindness. Made me feel really lucky and I realized that my music has made a difference so I feel way more motivated from the trip. Thank you Garden Festival!

    8) You’ve released under a whole host of monikers down the years… what do you have in store over the coming months?

    Red Rack’em wise there’s quite a lot of stuff coming up. The next single is ‘I Trusted You’ on PTN/Ramp which is a total banger about my experiences with girls in Berlin. It’s pretty dark and heavy techno. The B side of that is ‘Converse’ which follows on from ‘Chirpsin’ last year as it’s more on the UK funky tip. I’ve got a single coming out on Cityfly in autumn and it’s a mixture of old and new. ‘Zoned’ is the A side and it’s something I did years ago for Bergerac which never came out. I guess it’s kind of afro techno deep house. It’s a bit out there hence the title. The other side is ‘Brazilian Nuts’ which is brand new. It’s rolling uk garage wobble house with latin samples in it. I am doing a lot of stuff with garagey style ‘wob’ bass and latin samples right now. It seems to be working. DJ Nature is remixing ‘Zoned’ for this record as well which is cool. I’ve also nearly completed my first single for my good friend Richard Zepezauers label N-SYDE. The tracks are ‘Alone At Night’ which is a proper soulful number featuring vocals from Charli James. I was supposed to be working on music with Inkswel (Charli’s boyfriend) in Melbourne and he was too tired so I wrote a beat in about 10 mins and then went out and got pissed with the Jenson twins while Charli recorded vocals and piano. If only it was this easy normally. The other side is ‘Love Beat’ which is pretty lovey dovey I think. It has a languid Rhodes lick being sliced and diced and is pretty hip hop, as I robbed most of the samples from a Madlib mix. The big one for me release wise is ‘In Love Again 2013’ which should be out soon. I have been tweaking the final mix as I want to get it right. I sped it up to 122 bpm and it has more swing now so should appeal to a few garage heads I think too. Remix wise I have some exciting stuff too. I remixed ‘Club Therapy’ by Peace Division for Dogmatik and it’s turned out into a right banger. I have also just about finished my remix of ‘Barry 2’ by Frits Wentink for Triphouse Rotterdam and I am really happy with it. I was an early supporter of the original track so it was great to get to remix it. I also remixed ‘CUAGAIN’ by Ajukaja and Maria Minerva and it should be coming out on Porridge Bullet’ pretty soon. I used a lot of the original track as the samples were so good. I am excited about this remix as it’s pretty wonky and out there.

    Hot Coins wise – the second single from the album ‘New Beat’ was out recently with a great remix from Ron Basejam and we’re hard at work writing the second album. I have got loads of ideas for tracks and it’s going to be more sleazy this time.


    9) Much like myself, you cut your teeth on the clubbing scene in Edinburgh during the late 90’s, early 00’s…. how do you think that scene has helped shape who you are today?

    I guess the hedonism was my main inspiration as I didn’t always hear great music in the clubs I went to. I was part of a crusty techno crew who went to Lift and Purple Moon and the emphasis was more on partying for 3 days than the music being fresh. I did go to nights like Pure, Sativa, Tribal Funktion and Manga where the music was a bit better but I always found the Edinburgh club scene to be lacking a certain something so I was glad to move to Bristol in 1997 to embrace the strong drum and bass scene there. I have always loved music of black origin, and I found the English club scene more in synch with my music tastes in the 90s. I know there are plenty of great DJs in Scotland these days but I didn’t come into contact with many of them when I was in Edinburgh sadly. I was much more impressed by the hip hop and jazz funk scene from when I first moved to Edinburgh in 1995. Groups like Blackanized, 3 Bag Brew and Freshly Squeezed were making amazing stoner beats and it was mindblowing to hear them play at places like Negotiants, The Venue or Café Graffiti when a year before I had been listening to Tribe Called Quest Tapes in my bedroom at my parents house in a small Scottish fishing village. I think my party attitude was certainly shaped by Edinburgh as it was pretty wild so I guess that’s been an influence in my music. The amazing hip hop scene was a real inspiration as well. You can hear all that stuff in my music today nearly 20 years later.

    10) You’ve been in Berlin for a number of years now, do you harbour any ambition to return in the near future? or has the Berlin bug sunk its teeth deep?

    I would love to come back to the UK but I would need a lot of money to have the same lifestyle so I don’t know how it’s possible unless I become a lot more commercially successful as an artist. I don’t want to change the way I make music and I quite like the mellow lifestyle in Berlin. I could do with shifting up a gear or 2 though so who knows. The band is based here and I am really excited about the prospect of working with them over the next few years so I think I will be in Berlin for a while. It does seem like the type of music I have been involved with for years suddenly became big in the UK around the time I left, which is a bit annoying but I really had to leave in 2011 so I try to keep that in mind. Berlin has been an amazing adventure and I am really grateful for all the great people I have met. But I do miss the UK. I’m actually writing this on the train back from Thurso in the North of Scotland where I’ve just enjoyed an amazing 5 day break in remote Caithness. I stayed in a bothy which had no power or water and climbed Ben Loyal which was over 2500 feet. My first mountain! It was a tough climb. We walked over 20k in 6 hours most of which was uphill. I had to make one move at about 2200 feet which wasn’t that hard for an experienced climber but I had no rope or anything and I would have died if I slipped. I did it but I really thought I was gonna die and got the fear for about 5 mins. Was pretty hardcore but I think I can do it again now I have done it once.

    Berlin or London…It’s a tough one… Ideally I would spend more time in the UK but I only really visit when I have DJ bookings. I play way more in Berlin now than the UK which is a shame as I play more ‘UK’ music I think. Invite me back a bit more please folks ;)


    Further viewing:

    Hot Coins Album Launch Documentary

    Hot Coins Boiler Room Documentary

    The Smugglers Inn Podcast

    Red Rack Em Facebook

    Hot Coins Facebook


    Mad Mats (Local Talk) - Interview

    Our man KMG caught up with Local Talk supremo Mad Mats for an interview at

    See what he had to say for himself over HERE

    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

    Robert Owens & Gene Hunt: Interview

    We’ll be lucky enough to share the turntables with one of the original Chicago house legends this month on the 23rd March. Robert Owens will be alongside us for the Queen of Hoxton’s 4th birthday…. check out this crackin’ interview between him and Gene Hunt at Ransom Note

    Tickets and full line-up info here 

    How Do You Listen To Music? - Greg Wilson

    As a precursor to the documentary of the same name, here’s an extended interview with Greg Wilson. In it Greg discusses digital listening habits, his own musical experiences and much more

    Xyst interview with the scrumptious Nina Kraviz 

    XYST had the privilege of sitting down with the musical maestro, Kerri Chandler, for a rare in depth interview touching on all points of his career, his thoughts on the house scene and most importantly sharing his production knowledge which is a must watch for all dj’s…

    A well written, and in our opinion pretty accurate, account of why records are so special… 

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