There’s not much left to say about a man who has been at the very centre of house music for over two decades. Larry Heard is without question one of the most influential producers ever to lay down a 4/4 beat; a legend, a peerless talent and a true gent, here he dons his Mr Fingers cap for a vibrant and eclectic mix.
Was it an enjoyable one?
The year was more normal than any years for me since around the beginning of the scene. Being off the road was different; it’s been a long time since I wasn’t always trying to squeeze life and chores in between trips in and out of town. All of the traveling had taken its physical toll on me as well, which had to be addressed, but the results from some recent physicals were very positive, so that’s a great thing.
A lot of your earlier releases are notable for their ‘raw’ qualities, down to the gear you used…do you think that’s something lacking in a lot of electronic music these days?
I stumbled across lots of good releases during the year, so I wouldn’t say there was anything lacking in the selections I chose to purchase. I tried to get what I could in mix programs during the year too. I definitely noticed a lot of very nice things come out of South Africa during the year, so that was pretty exciting to see and reminded me of our own experience in Chicago when we started to have a voice and people paying attention to what was going on. The biggest challenge for me still seems to be sorting through the sheer amount of music that’s being released, but I guess I’ve been getting a little lucky when I visit various sites I go to and still have many selections in my crates or hold-bins on some sites. We don’t have any stores here in Memphis that sell any non-mainstream physical product, so I have been buying downloads. I can get more selections for the cost too, so it’s not the worst scenario in the world
How are where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in my studio at home. It was done live and then the ID’s put in while I reviewed it to see if it was OK enough to share with the public. I do a pretty much straightforward mixing style – it’s more about presenting the selections than presenting myself or my technical skills (or lack thereof!) So there are no real special effects; just some basic delays and flange FX here and there. Still pretty much in the tradition of all of the guys like Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, Wayne Williams, Brett Wilcots, Lou Devito and many others who presented for us back in the day.
Any particular records on there you’d like to highlight?
It’s very different putting a presentation together in privacy – I actually get to freely play what I want. Sometimes all of the activity that’s occurring in a club setting distracts you from doing that and you resort to playing things that are easiest to play as a result. I was very happy to be able to sneak some older selections in that never appeared in my programs over the years, like: Mystery Of Love by Dream 2 Science and DX Days by Legowelt. There were also some really nice new discoveries like Hairline from Nick Curly, which I discovered just finding out more about Nick to figure out how to approach the remix for him. I came across Lynx May 1988 a little while back and had been intending to play it, so I’m glad I got that one in there. I was blown away by Midnight Mawal (Jose Marquez dub) by Zepherin Saint in 2011 and hadn’t gotten it in a program and Silicon Drift (Roman Flugel Remix) which I’d played out a lot that year and I was blown away by Swing Home by San Proper and happily got that one in the program right at the end.
You recently completed a number of remixes on Nick Curly’s Wake Me Up… why did there end up being so many versions?
There are three feels at the core of all the versions. I just did some mixes utilizing various elements from those feels to make up the mixes.
You must be inundated with remix requests… how do you decide which records to do?
The ones that are proposed that spark an internal idea when I hear them are the easiest ones to take a stab at. I also tend to more easily relate to the selections with vocals as I am pretty accustomed to working with and building around vocal elements. Instrumentals are a bit more of a challenge for me but I did take on a couple during the year. If you don’t really have an idea come to you with regard to doing a remix, you don’t want to hold up the plans of the label or artist, so you have no choice but to decline as opposed to having them wait an undetermined amount of time, when you still may not come up with anything after the wait.
What’s the difference between a Larry Heard record and a Mr Fingers record?
Larry Heard and Mr. Fingers are actually the closest in feel to each other. I just opted to use my own name instead of the Mr. Fingers moniker on later releases. The Gherkin Jerks and Housefactors monikers are more reserved for more radical or experimental concepts.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about…?
There’s not a lot to report as of right now. Just trying to keep active to whatever degree I can and remix projects help with that a lot, so thanks for the opportunity with the Nick Curly song!
1. Dream 2 Science – Mystery Of Love 2. Nick Curly – Hairline 3. Legowelt – DX Days 4. Monodeluxe feat. Jaidene – Veda Change (Mr Deep’s Evening Mix) 5. Hugo Giner – Edit 5 Gospel 6. Marvin Gaye vs K-Alexi – You Sure Love To Ball 7. Lynx – May 1988 8. Kojo – Hey 9. Zepherin Saint – Midnight Mawal (Jose Marquez Dub) 10. Ethan White & Lisa Shaw – Find The Way 11. Gmbos – Benoni Groove 12. DJ Whisky – Believe In It 13. Erin Leah – Radio Billie Stereo Ella (N’dinga Gaba Remix) 14. Michael Jackson – Liberian Girl (CJ Giovanni Edit) 15. Miranda Nicole – Kissing You (Rune Remix) 16. Disco Nihilist – Film Grain 17. Ron Trent – I Feel The Rhythm 18. Javier Logares – Silicon Drift (Roman Flugel Remix) 19. San Proper – Swing Home
Our partnership portal-site Grotto have done a really nice intreview with soulful house star – Scott Diaz! Sharing is caring therefore lean back and enjoy in this translated version.
1. Please introduce yourself:
I’m Scott Diaz, producer and DJ born in the UK, but currently based in the US. I’ve been on labels such as Nervous, Soulfuric, Beatdown and Purple Music.
2. You’ve been busy this year. We’re talking about couple of tracks each month. How do you do it, what’s your secret? Also, what track would you highlight as your favorite for this year?
I actually feel like I haven’t been as productive as I would have liked to have been. I’ve done a lot of remixes and only a few original productions in 2012, whereas it was the other way around in 2011. On the whole though, I think it’s been a pretty solid year musically for me, ‘Gabrielle’ was at the number one spot on Traxsource for 4 weeks and I appeared at Miami WMC, completed my US tour and provided various radio show mixes etc.
3. You own connect:d since April 2009. It promots mostly deep, soulful, and jackin’ house. Tell us, do you intend to keep it that way? What’s your plan about the future?
I feel like connect:d is in a transitional phase right now and that goes for myself as a producer too. I’ve always been drawn to my garage and house roots – there’s always been something very special and forward thinking about UK music, and I feel now might be the right time to dip back into that again on a more permanent basis. If I’m totally honest, I don’t think the jackin’ house thing is really evolving right now. It’s a great sound with some talented artists, but I feel I need to broaden my sound if I am to continue growing my fan base.
4. In November, you released Essentials Vol. 1 with Matt Jam Lamont, following up by Essentials Vol. 2, released this month. Such a powerful release with soulful/jackin tracks full of love. Can you tell us a bit more about this collaboration, is there any history behind it ?
‘Essentials Vol. 1′ was basically a compilation of tracks me and Matt made a few years ago, with the exception of one new track, ‘Dub Like Mine’ which was actually made in 2010. I was never totally happy with the finished track and so it never came out, so I reworked and updated it to coincide with the release of ‘Essentials Vol. 1′ because I felt it would be nice to have a new jam alongside the old tracks.
5. On your blog, about a year ago, your wrote Steve ‘Ang-Hell-No!’, quite an interesting read it was. What made you write this? Were you enraged by the way people earn money and somehow make mockery out of Electronic Music ? And why haven’t you written any blog posts since ?
It was a very popular topic at the time and something that I felt I might be able to contribute to in terms of opinion. I haven’t written any further blog posts quite simply because writing a piece like that takes time. I spent a good eight hours on that and I given a straight choice between the two, I would rather spend the time making music. To answer the other part of the question – I do feel like if you are booked to play as a DJ, band or live act, then you should perform live, it’s pretty simple to me.
6. Let’s return to some cheerful thigns. Would you rather played on a calm sunset beach, or midnight festival, full of adrenaline and why? Or is it something else you prefer ?
Any setting can be good, it really depends on the individual location and ultimately the people. The people who come out to party are the ones who make a gig special and memorable.
7. Where do you see underground house music in 10 years? Do you see yourself in it?
I see underground music continuing to do the same thing that it’s always done – new scenes and movements will be born, producers will be influenced by those before them and artists will come up with new and exciting things. It’s something I’m proud to play a small part in and I can always see myself being involved in underground house/underground music in some way, whether it be producing or running a label.
8. I haven’t noticed you’re doing any of your monthly house sessions, like some of the other producers/DJs do. Why so? Do you plan on having your own radio show?
I have a plan to start a radio show in the new year, I’ll let you all know more about that when I can. I would also like to start a house based podcast, more talk radio and based around topical comedy about the house scene/music business. The way I’ve written it, it probably sounds like a bit of a dumb idea but I think it could well if I can execute it properly.
9. What do you look for in a demo, before you sign the track for your label?
A demo must have outstanding production, no lazy or blatantly obvious use of sample pack loops (that is a real turn off for me), and just a cool idea. I can tell if a producer has spent 4 hours on a track, or 4 days.
10. When can we expect you to come to Serbia?
I’d love to come to Serbia just as soon as I’m booked. Just drop my agent an email : firstname.lastname@example.org
T&B: Hi, All good here! We are constantly on our Introlution album tour and had much fun and great gigs the last weeks.
^2 We heard a sneak peek preview of upcoming release on Kittball Records, must say it sounds great! What is the inspiration behind the song “Lovebreak”?
T&B: There was this crazy girl who talked to us at a party in Munich. She said we gotta check out a young newcomer artist called Milan Euringer. We did and fell in love with his stuff instantly! We invited him and produced the track “Lovebreak” together. It was one of those magical studio moments and after a 2 days session we knew that “Lovebreak” is something special!
^3 Talking of producing, what’s your studio like and what’s the most precious gear part? Do you use a lot of hardware in your studio?
T&B: We still use hardware in our studio. Beside some ancient keyboards and fx boards we love to use “real” instruments like accustic guitars and drums. But most of our work we do with virtual studio technology. The stuff gets better and better and it’s really cool and comfortable to work with. It’s still computer music that we’re making…
^4 Which track that comes from your kitchen you played the most?
T&B Well.. We think that must be “Free Tribe” which was number one on Beatport in 2011. Every night there are people who ask for the track and it feels good to see the crowd going crazy to your “biggest hit”. We also played “Lovebreak” on every summe festival we’ve been to and the reactions were amazing. We’re happy when the crowd accepts new, unheard stuff. It’s like an approval to release it
^5 What influenced you musically whilst growing up, and how has that shaped the sound of what you produce today? What was the first record you ever bought?
T&B: We both have been influenced by The Beatles, The Doors and let’s say Hippie-Music from our parents. The first electronic music that really flashed us when we were kids was The KLF and of course Snap. We founded a punk band in the early 90ies and than got hit by the Techno Wave in 96. Daft Punk, Westbam and The Chemical Brothers became true heroes for us and all these different kinds of music still influence our sound until today..
^6 Is there any new producer that occupies your attention? And what are the biggest barriers that new producers face?
T&B: In the past years producing music, having a label and also DJing became much easier. So there are a lot of new artists, thousands of new releases and many new digital labels. It’s hard to find a way through this ever growing jungle. There are good new acts out there and many many more that maybe shouldn’t make music at all. But that’s just our opinion. We think it’s important to have an idea in your track. Something that catches you. Producing a copy of a copy of a copy might work on the dance floor but is nothing that will really kick ass!
^7 What’s been your best party this year? Any plans for the next year?
T&B: The open air season was great! We had a very nice gig in Barcelona with like 80% girls in the audience and we played in Croatia for the first time which was off the hook! But the winner is our Kittball Records floor at the Juicy Beats Festival in Dortmund. It’s so great to see that people giving you so much love and literally go mad on the floor! Can’t wait for next year! Also really looking forward to the Soul Tech Festival in Mexico. Never been there before and on Facebook it looks like they are waiting for us…
^8 What advice can you offer to production newbies.
T&B: As mentioned above, it’s important to have an idea. Like a cool vocal, a nice melody or something that grabs your attention. We’re getting loads of demos that have a good sound and nice beats but there’s nothing in it that forces us to release or play it. Everything get’s recycled and copying someone is not a crime. Music ha always been like that but there’s a difference between copying ideas from others like a robot without soul or doing some kind of homage that has your own creativity in it! But if you really want it the most important issue is to never never never give up!
Big thanks to Tube & Berger for taking their time off to answer our questions! We hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to check their Introlution album which just came out in remixed version!
Gaston Steenkist and René ter Horst – aka Chocolate Puma – are two of Holland’s most celebrated electronic producers. With a career spanning 20 years, 200-odd releases, two significant UK chart hits (‘Give It Up’ and ‘I Wanna Be U’) and countless remixes under their various guises they are a duo whose influence on the European dance music scene cannot be overstated.
In advance of the release of their latest project Chocolate Puma In The House, we caught up them to discuss their involvement in the Dutch acid house scene, keeping things simple in the studio and playing someone else’s record to zombies at the Berlin Love Parade…
^1 Tell us about the things you were listening to that inspired you when you first started making music…
Rene: When I first started listening to music it was Depeche Mode kind of stuff, they were a great inspiration along with Prince who I listened to a lot. Then came new wave like the early Simple Minds and Joy Division. Then there’s Rap/Hip-Hop and from there I discovered Rare Groove which they used for the Hip-Hop beats, then new wave 80s music, then from the very beginning House music.
Gaston: For me I think my earliest musical memories were from the records that my parents played. My mother played a lot of Stevie Wonder and my Dad always played more Jazz oriented records, and I especially liked all the drum solos in those records. From then I kind of discovered electronic music through the radio and whenever there was some kind of synthesizer going on I was always interested. So I started listening to all kinds of Electronic stuff like early Art of Noise, and soon I discovered early Acid House. I remember I bought this compilation which was like the Chicago compilation, from Farley Jackmaster Funk to Inner City and all the early House stuff.
^2 You touched on the Acid House… it’s been well documented in terms of how it took hold in the UK, but maybe not so much in Holland. Were you involved in that at all?
Gaston: I was still a bit too young to be involved in anything, but what I did was play at school parties. I was 15 or 16 and playing at these big Disco parties at my school and one day I started to play this Acid House track and everybody was quite surprised. The teachers didn’t understand why I wasn’t playing Madonna or Pop music. I think Rene was a bit more involved in it.
Rene: Yes, I was completely involved. I was DJing at that time and I was playing in a club in my hometown, and at that time as a DJ you didn’t bring a lot of your own records. You brought a few and the rest was brought by the club. We were really into the music along with the club owner who was not there to sell beers but for the music. So we were all searching for the new records and we got the first Acid track in our hands and it was like “this is strange”. We were going out at The Roxy at that time and they were playing the same music so we heard the first record, then the next and suddenly it was really big in the scene.
Gaston: Yeah, I guess it was more of an elite thing. People were really upfront and the hipsters at that time were going to The Roxy and were not allowed in. There are really notorious stories about Prince and Madonna getting rejected at the door! So it was a really new undiscovered thing at the time.
^3 How do you think that a life spent in music has affected you as people? Do you think you’d be any different if you were doing anything else?
Rene: Well it’s difficult to judge yourself. I don’t know if I have necessarily changed but being in the music industry you do become more open minded, and you’re doing something you really love to do. It’s not like when you’re learning something at 17 but by the time you’re 25 you don’t like it anymore. This is really what we like and what we feel.
^4 Also meeting as many people as you do, that must bring you into contact with so many different people and cultures. So it must make you open to a lot of different experiences…
Rene: Yes, and also you just start of as two guys making music and having fun and then suddenly you have your own business, you have to deal with record labels. It gives you a lot of freedom as well, you can do as you like.
^5 Some of the tracks you’ve made have been on really basic equipment. I saw a photo that you posted up the other day which was when you made one of your earlier tracks and you commented on the simplicity of your set up back then. Now that there’s so much choice in the way that different people can produce their music, do you think that too much emphasis is put on that?
Gaston: Well, I think that some producers are more focusing on how it sounds or the sound quality or the effects, and they forget that it also has to be musically interesting. So it’s really cool to have all this equipment right now and all these plugins but you still have to be creative. Sometimes I hear records and I think “okay, this sounds really impressive but is it really a good record?” We started off with really basic equipment because we couldn’t afford anything else but it really made us push things and be creative and make the records with next to nothing. Even now we have a really basic studio, we just have a computer with two speakers and a keyboard, logic and some plugins. I think limiting yourself in that way lets you focus on the music and not the bells and whistles.
^6 That’s all you use? I think a lot of people will be surprised by the simplicity of your setup…
Rene: It’s all in the mind!
Gaston: Yeah it is! Obviously you have to know how to use it, but I think people make the mistake that they need all the latest plugins or a huge rack of synthesizers. I mean it’s nice to have it but if your music sucks then a really cool synthesizer can’t solve that.
^7 You’ve experienced quite a bit of mainstream success with a couple of things… you’ve been on the UK’s Top of the Pops which is about as big as it gets. What were those experiences like?
Rene: First of all it was really great that the record did that well, so we were busy already. Then we had to do Top of the Pops where we saw a lot of our own heroes, so I think it was really special to see that scene and we were happy that we didn’t actually have to get on the stage because our singer was doing that.
^8 So did it not come very easy to you, the fame? Would you much rather be behind the scenes?
Gaston: I mean we’re happy to get on a stage if it’s real. We don’t want to get on a stage to fake something. Our singer did sing and have a mike which was connected to the mixer so it was a live performance and we were okay with that. But pretending to play would be really awkward.
Rene: Also at that point we were working in a different way. Just hiding in the studio and putting out music under a bunch of different names.
Gaston: We were really surprised that the Chocolate Puma record “I wanna Be U” got so big at the time, you know it was just another record. I don’t think we really knew what to do with the success of the record. But now we would be more comfortable with it, it’s a different time to then.
^9 So with ‘I Wanna Be U’, you never really intended to make a hit, it just kind of happened. Have you always just intended to make music, and whatever happens, happens?
Gaston: What happens happens. We never set out to make a hit record. We could not do that because we don’t know how. We just know how to make dance records for clubs or festivals and we do that the best way we can. If a lot of people like it then that’s really cool, but a hit is never our goal.
^10 In terms of your DJ set, does it differ if the show is a club or festival?
Rene: The set up is the same. We play around 50-60% our own records. The other records are edits or records we really like, but we don’t have thousands of tracks because we have our own stuff and a few extras. We play with an SD card, with the players connected and that’s it.
Gaston: we have just three Pioneer CDJs and an SD card. It’s different from the old age where we had to carry our vinyl records, and we would lose them at airports and records would skip or it wouldn’t sound good. Now we just play with SD cards and it always sounds good.
^11 Have you ever turned up to a gig without your records?
Gaston: Yeah, we had to play at Love Parade and our records didn’t come, so we didn’t play but we played at an after party. We went to this really big industrial hole where there were a few hundred zombies left and we just played some random stuff, and had a laugh. We had just showered and were really fresh so looking at those zombies was a really weird experience…
Rene: Before we started DJing together I had to play once with somebody else’s records, and it was so strange because you could have the same record in a different sleeve. I didn’t know all the names but I knew all the sleeves, I mean I managed just by listening but it was really odd.
^12 So you’ve made a couple hundred records together, some well known, some not so much. Are there any that you think have been overlooked?
Gaston: The funny thing is when we first started our own label, we made a lot of strange underground stuff, and some of those records sold like 300 copies, and we thought they were great but the rest of the world didn’t. But like five years ago, people in the German techno scene started to discover those records. Some of them were licensed to different labels and suddenly they became really hip which was a cool feeling.
^13 So was that a reason why you started doing things with Pssst again?
Gaston: Yeah it’s a great output because we make weird or more techno stuff but we didn’t have an output for that. When we signed with Defected we were really focused on getting Chocolate Puma back on the map and build a brand with Defected. Now it’s going well we thought it was time to broaden things a bit and get releasing the weirder stuff again.
^13 What do you think it is about House music that works particularly well with you guys?
Rene: There were some points when the music got boring, it was staying the same. This was ten years ago. But I think with House music there is always something going on, always new young guys who come up with new ideas and old guys who want to play the old stuff. For me going to a club when I was young, it was about dancing, so I’m really into House music as I think it’s strongest.
Gaston: I think the rhythm of House is so strong and upfront and I really like Drum N Bass as long as there is a groove. As a producer I feel really comfortable with producing the four-to-the-floor type of stuff. There is always a new angle and something fresher you can do, or a new kid on the block who inspires you.
^14 So what do you think makes Chocolate Puma different to others making House music?
Gaston: Well, we are just being ourselves.
Rene: For us it’s our normal way of life and making music. For a good biography it’s okay to say you’re better than the others, but it’s difficult to why say why you’re different. If you listen to a lot of DJs, without insulting them, they play the same stuff. We play our own stuff, and I think that makes it different. Everybody is different in their own way.
Gaston: We have different life experiences. We’re both from a different musical era so putting that together makes something very interesting.
Much thanks to Defected for providing us this great interview! Be sure to check Defected presents Chocolate Puma In The House on 15th of October 2012
Today we have an interesting and rather mysterious artist from Croatia under name – Pyero. He just dropped for Scream & Shout Recordings a massive bigroom tune called “Ole” that features some serious breakdown synths with a little touch of latin “Ole” vocals. His production is really great and the style of his debut tune can be compared to those that do Axwell, Avicii, SHM, Nicky Romero, John Dahlback and others. Who is Pyero and what are his future goals are something that we will reveal in next few sentences, so sip some drink and enjoy reading!
^1 Hello Pyero, we are glad that we have you here in “Who is…” section – you are a true surprise for us since we closely follow Balkan scene. Can you introduce yourself a bit to our readers and tell us what your music background is?
- In Croatia it`s common to sing and party together a lot. Since I was a little boy I was surrounded day by day with a lot of singing, instruments and music. Later on I started learning how toplay the piano for a few years, but to be honest, I never became the best piano player, but it still gave me a basic feeling for compositions and harmonies. I got in contact with electronic music a couple of years ago, when I made my first club experiences and started to listen to radio shows from guys like Roger Sanchez and Pete Tong. I was so thrilled by the energy this music delivered that I started to record the tracks week by week. One day a friend who was also interested in electronic music came up with a program which allows you to build your own beats. I was so excited about the possibilities that I started to sample beats out of the radio shows. This might sound crazy today, but it gave me a good understanding in constructing beats and sounds. When I finished school, I started several side jobs, but I never lost passion to music and always kept building my sounds! If I wouldn’t have spend all that time and sweat into this thing, my music would never sound like it does today! After a while I met a lot of other people who were also involved in the music scene. One of these people gave me the possibility to dj in a small club.
^2 What or who influenced you the most to make tune like “Ole” and what are you preparing for us in future? – I tried to combine sunny Ibiza vibes with current progressive elements. I also spent a lot of time creating an enthusiastic feeling that you can experience on festivals in the summer. I am currently working out some ideas, but I am not sure which one will be next. All I can say, is that you will be the first one to know!
^3 Can you tell us, what is the best advice that you can give to young producers and DJs? – Keep on going! Never lose your focus, if you want to reach something you believe in, you will achieve. It`s important to focus on yourself, without looking too much at what’s going on to your left or your right, concerning what others are doing.
^4 What are you top 5 tunes at the moment? – Pyero – Olé (Original Mix) – Deniz Koyu – Bong (Original Mix) – Bobby Burns – Next (Original Mix) – Wolfgang Gartner – Flexx (Original Mix) – Hardwell – Three Triangles (Original Club Mix)
^5 What is your attitude towards blogs that post music freely? What are the bad and the good sides of that? – This is very tricky. On one side, these blogs are able to push the music by their free offering, but on the other side there is the fact, that the artists have to work hard to earn their money with the music they create. In my opinion the blogs should focus more on upcoming releases and promote them. In return the artist could share those postings on their social networks for mutual support.
^6 If you could collaborate with any house or non-house artist which one would it be? – I could imagine having a cool collaboration with a house vocalist in the near future. But for the moment I am mostly focusing on pure electronic music.
^7 Thank Pyero for your time – any last shout outs for people who follow the scene or maybe friends/family? – Thanks to all supporters of my first single release “Olé”, the follow up is going to be even bigger!
Pyero – Ole will be released on Scream & Shout Rec. on July 23th! Big thanks to Sarah from Scream & Shout Rec. for making this interview happen!
We have an exclusive interview with one of the most successful people on house scene. He is the man with exquisite taste in music and also one of the biggest collector of house music vinyls! He is Simon Dunmore – chief of Defected label who manages artists like Sandy Rivera, ATFC, Bob Sinclar, Junior Jack, Dmitri from Paris, Aaron Ross and many more! Take a sip of drink, relax and enjoy reading!
Ahead of the release of Defected In The House Ibiza 12 and the launch of the 2012 Ibiza season at Pacha, we catch up with Defected’s founder Simon Dunmore to discuss new additions to the roster, the House Odyssey theme for the year and where he sits in regards to the ongoing pop vs. underground debate…
^1 Okay so, Ibiza has rolled round again for yet another season… what’s new for Ibiza 2012?
I believe we have broadened our line up and have a far more interesting diverse selection of DJs than we have ever had. In terms of our residents we have, Junior Jack and Kid Crème, The Shapeshifters, Copyright, Bob Sinclar and really they form the backbone of the residency at Pacha. But this year we have also re-introduced ourselves with Dennis Ferrer, which is a great thing for our night. We also booked Solomon for four dates, we have 2000 and One playing and then we have the guest appearances from Dimitri from Paris, from Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Aeroplane. Across the board I don’t believe there is a more varied night musically on the island, so whatever night you choose to go on I’m sure you’re going to have an amazing time.
^2 I guess most people wouldn’t really expect to see a duo like MURK on the same line up as Bob Sinclar… do you see this as a positive move in terms of the range of people that want to come to the nights?
I think that the range of DJs and music that we have at our nights at Defected just totally reflect the fact that I believe house music isn’t one specific thing, it isn’t one specific sound or genre. I like to reflect that in the music we release and the DJs we book.
The fact that someone like MURK are playing alongside Bob Sinclar actually for me is quite exciting and it is challenging for someone like MURK to who are going to play after Bob. Bob is very distinctive in his style and his sound, and it’s probably fair to say it’s on the commercial end of house music whereas MURK are much more underground, so they will perform much later at night when people are probably in a different head space and it’s an appropriate sound for that time of the evening.
Another positive aspect to them playing for us is they have a big tradition and a big following in America Dance music has exploded in America and Oscar G has been a resident at Pacha, New York for many years. He plays the club on a regular basis and rocks it every time. So if there are people coming from America to Ibiza this year – which I believe will happen in big numbers – it’s really relevant to have him playing for us at the club. So yeah I believe there is definitely a place for MURK alongside Bob Sinclar and I think it will make for a really interesting night.
^3 Defected’s theme for the year is ‘A House Odyssey’, right? What do you mean by this?
Everybody has a story to tell or a reason to why they ended up being where they are in Ibiza. Whether it be the DJ from making records in his bedroom to playing in front of 4,000 people on a Saturday night, or the dancers coming from all over the world, auditioning at the beginning of the summer and finally getting in that podium. Or the clubber; what made them book their holiday to go to Ibiza, what made them want to go to Pacha to be on the dance floor for Defected In The House. It’s all part of the theatre that Pacha puts on and the music we provide. So everybody has a story to tell.
No-one really thinks about the pilgrimage and the attraction that Ibiza has for people, whether it be the first time they go or the fact that people have been going back there for 25 years and still get excited every time the plane touches down or when the walk into their favourite club. So to telling – or at least considering – people’s stories is a really key thing to do, because it’s not just about the super clubs, the music and the drugs or whatever, there’s always a massive sub-plot in terms of why people are there. That’s what we want to talk about this year.
^4 You’ve had some new photos done that that represent the House Odyssey theme; are these a visual representation of your personally own House Odyssey?
My personally house odyssey is an evolution of all the things that have influenced me. I feel really privileged to have grown up and grown through some amazing eras of music. I first got into disco by being interested in the new romantic scene that was very popular in the UK. Acts like Spandau Ballet and Haircut 100 were playing Disco and there were clubs like the Wag Club which we would go to on a regular basis in the hope that we would get in because there was a very strict door policy. Out of that came the funk, rare groove and the disco scene which got me down to things like Southport Weekender and DJing that style of music. Then in 1988 the house scene exploded. I was never really into the more alternative side of that, the records I loved were things like Ce Ce Peniston ‘Someday’ and Blaze ‘Can’t Win for Losing’; house records with soul.
So in terms of the imagery we’ve had done a lot of the labels and logos we included were very influential for me personally; they make up my musical DNA. Labels like Roule, which was a rare collectable a soul label that had a record by Four Below Zero called ‘My Baby’s Got ESP’ which is a record that would still make me feel excited if I heard it out today. Or Atlantic, or great disco labels like Salsoul and great house labels like Strictly Rhythm, Emotive or Nervous. So not only the musical elements of what the labels released but the brand element that the early house labels had that made them a collectable label. I always wanted Defected to be a collectable label so that piece graffiti I’m standing in front really just encapsulates all of that.
^5 Defected In The House is back at Pacha for their 8th season this year, what is it about the club that makes it so well suited for the night?
When we first came to Ibiza with Defected in 2001 we hosted three nights at Pacha with Ministry of Sound. They were very supportive of us early on in the life of the label. Roger Sanchez played at one, the time when he had ‘Another Chance’ in the charts and the place was absolutely packed the rafters. Him playing that record in Ibiza in Pacha when he had a number one record in the UK is something that I can remember so vividly, so we had a slight association with Pacha before we had a proper residency there.
Then-went on to do two years residency at El Divino and made a huge success of it and ultimately we got asked to do Pacha on Tuesday nights and over the last four five seasons we’ve done Saturdays. I believe it’s the most appropriate club for us to do on the island. The thing is, Pacha is a big club, I mean it holds 3,500-4,000 when its packed on a Saturday night but there are so many nooks and crannies where you can find your own space that even though its big you kind of feel you’re in a small club, you’ve got your own spot. You have intimacy and soul as well as glamour, so whatever you want to be doing in the club whether it’s up on the terrace socialising and having drink or getting lost in your own space in the middle of the dance floor you can do that and everything in between. It’s just the best vibe for me, plus it has the real history of Ibiza. Pacha was one of the first clubs of Ibiza, so to be associated with one of the original Ibiza clubs is something that’s great for Defected.
^6 In 2011 lines between House music and Pop became more blurred than ever before… where does that leave a label like Defected who, as you say, have a strong underground following but also have artists like Bob Sinclar who does veer towards the more of the commercial end of the spectrum?
The commercial aspect of dance music is much discussed and I think you need both of them to be in existence for the scene to be healthy. I’m not critical of the music that’s released by certain producers that goes on to be successful; it’s just something that I don’t personally feel we need to do at Defected. We have had commercial success with Bob Sinclar in the past and the reason that that’s important for Defected is that it enables us to nurture new talent with the resulting income. I think you need balance, and the great thing about the commercial success of the dance – especially in America – is the fact that it introduces new blood and new people to dance music who then sometimes go off and become interested in other areas of dance, which feeds the whole scene.
What I think people have got kind of hung up on is the fact that certain elements of shows that DJs and promoters put on is not traditionally the way people view DJing, it’s more like the kind of show a band would put on a show. Certain things have to happen; it’s more of a show, with lasers, pyrotechnics, visuals etc… and I think that some people can’t get the leap that’s been made. If you’re playing to 80-100,000 people you have your shit together, there’s not much room for error, you can’t fuck up.
So yeah it’s changing. Personally, I prefer music to be delivered and played in a way I grew up being used to. But I understand people are now putting on shows and it’s a whole different board game, the fact that their doing that is amazing and were all going to benefit from that in some way or another further down the line, so it’s an exciting time for dance music at the moment.
^7 It seems to me that the music Defected releases has changed reasonably substantially over the last 2 or 3 years… do you think that’s fair?
The thing about Defected is, we have been going for 13 years now and it’s really hard to maintain any business for that amount of time, so you always have to come up with fresh ideas to re-invent yourself in certain ways, to give you the opportunity to have longevity. If you continue to do the same thing – especially in music – it becomes too predictable and people get bored.
I think over the last 2 or 3 years there has been little bit of confusion within the dance scene, primarily because there’s been a huge commercial explosion of dance music and also the fact that a lot of producers have the opportunity to release their music on their own label. Ten years ago if they had a hot record they may call you up and say “I’ve made a record can you listen to it, would love to get it out on the label” and you would get the opportunity to work with some substantial big names. Now all of the names have their own label, so they don’t necessarily need or want to be associated with a label such a Defected, they can just release it themselves.
So I understand why that is the way it is, but I also understand that new up and coming artists also need help promoting themselves. People look at us and have trust in a our label and they may want to be associated with that, and I’m happy to reside in that world because I’ve always been interested in listening to new music, that’s where I’ve always lived.It’s not about being in the mainstream on the high street, I would rather eat in a more selective restaurant serving finer food than just going to McDonald’s and know what I’m going to get every day. So yeah that’s why the music we’ve released has probably been a bit more underground recently, because we have been forced into that arena, and you know what, were happy to be there.
^8 In regards to the Ibiza 12 mix, there’s a large proportion of more classic records on there as opposed to 3 CDs of upfront material that people may expect. Why did you decide to take this approach on the compilation?
There are two main reasons why I’ve included a lot of classic records on the Ibiza compilation this year. The first one is primarily is that I don’t believe that there are as many great records being made today as there were 5 -10 years ago. That’s not to say that producers aren’t capable, I just think that the return people get from making music is just not as great as it was back then, so they’re not willing to invest in singers or musicians or mastering or for someone to program drums for them, so the music isn’t as diverse or as well produced as it was many years ago. I would rather play and include a good old record rather than try to be upfront and exclusive, for me it’s just about good records or bad records and I just prefer a good old record rather than playing a bad average record.
The other reason is that I think house music now has real heritage. In the same way that disco had to go through a period of time before records were recognised as classics or influential, house music has gone through that whole period of time, where people acknowledge it as influential rather than it being underground and not very serious. People now acknowledge that after 25 years it has stood the test of time, and I think it’s good to acknowledge that, so I’ve chosen several records that were very personal to me, whether I was involved with them personally by signing them or I’ve been involved with the person that made them. I just wanted to acknowledge some of the people that have influenced me or helped Defected become what it is by including them on the compilation.
^9 You’ve co-produced an edit of Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s ‘The Word is Love’ alongside James Talk, what is it about this record that made you want re-edit it and included on the compilation?
Back in the day when I was at Cooltempo Records I did some remixes as sometimes we needed certain mixes and a record to do a certain thing or appeal to a certain audience, so I kind of become the in-house remixer, but was never something I felt truly comfortable with. I mean I would do a mix and to some degree it would work, but then I would hear an amazing David Morales remix or a Masters at Work or mix or something by CJ Macintosh and who were on fire at the time, and I would feel so insignificant, because they were like genius moments and amazing productions. My productions sounded okay but I guess I bottled out and couldn’t cope with the fact that those records were so much more amazing than the records I could produce.
So I kind of wanted to be a remixer or producer but never really quite had the balls to see it through, but it wasn’t such a bad thing because I felt I was really good at promotion, seeing the good in a record or producer and wanting to help spread the word about what the sound was about or what this producer could do, and I felt like this was a totally legitimate career so that’s what I did with Defected.
When I was at AM:PM we released a vinyl only version of ‘The Word is Love’, it was an instrumental dub which never came out officially and I always wondered what it would sound like if we actually put the vocal over the dub, so doing this compilation gave me that chance to do it. We got the accapella and we put it in time and it sits on it well, maybe if Steve likes it and I get to play it to him then I’ll go in the studio and finish it someday.
^10 Finally, Defected has been involved with Ibiza in one form or another for well over 10 years now, why do you think you have enjoyed such a successful relationship with the island?
It’s the result of extraordinary hard work by all of the people that are involved with Defected. It’s very competitive in Ibiza, especially at Pacha; they have seven nights with some of the biggest artists in the world at the club, and all the other clubs have great residencies too. All of the main DJs are there and you have to compete with that year on year. Pacha is key to our success; we have great support from Danny Whittle, Mark Netto and Francisco who really support our night and get behind it and they’re really loyal to all of the residencies they have there.
Marko Mitrović (pronounced Mitrovich) aka Mark Funk is probably next to Gramophonedzie the most profound producer in Serbia having more than a decade of experience in all sort of music genres from drum’n'bass to funky-tech house. For those who don’t know, he is regular in sets of Gramophonedzie, DJ Mes, Sonny Fodera, BlackSoul, Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Antoine Clamaran, Syke’n'Sugarstarr and loads more with it’s infectious disco-tech beats. He signed for various labels like Guesthouse, Blacksoul Music, Maracuja, Disko Zoo, etc…
We caught this busy guy between the gigs, regular work, production and family to tell us more about his work and his upcoming projects, aswell on his perception on house music trends.
^1 Hey Mark! First, thanks for talking time off to tell our readers more about your music. We know that you are into various production projects and that you are pretty busy, but lets kick with a regular one – How you got hooked up on house music?
Hello everyone! Thank you for the invitation… Well, it’s kinda simple and cheesy I was a musical kid…I don’t have musical background in my family, but i always liked all genres of music…it was very interesting to me…so as I was growing up, I developed my taste, but I still like all genres of music…in almost every music genre I can find something that I like…
^2 When people check your tunes they can see that you have distinguish style – rare funky/disco/hip-hop samples that are combined with ruff tech rhythms. How would you describe it and could you give an advice to upcoming producers on “how to make their sound?” like you did.
Well, I think for myself that i`m an upcoming producer so I wont be giving any advices…To answer your question…I wouldn’t call my rhythms “ruff tech” …my rhythms are DISCOTECH and that’s it What I’m actually trying to do is this…I’m trying to make old school disco funky music using modern technology
^3 Who made the most influence on you when it comes to production?
..there are some producers that I like… Dimitri from Paris, Olav Basoski, Warren Clarke, Chus etc…also my friends producers from our label Disko Zoo are a great influence…Gramophonedzie, Manjane, Wise D & Kobe, Blacksoul, Hyde & Sick etc…
^4 There are many underground and new artists that make top class tunes but are not enough exposed… Which one should we keep an eye on?
^5 Can you tell us what are you preparing next when it comes to releases, future projects or gigs?
I just finished a remix of tune “Mambosonic” for Maracuja Label..I got 2 new tracks ready for WMC… Both will be released on WMC samplers on DiskoZoo and Blacksoul Music…after that I’m expecting a baby since my wife is pregnant and that’s it for now!
Congratulations on baby! Let it be healthy and musically talented like dad and pretty like mom!
^6 Winter Music Conference is coming soon and everyone is preparing top tunes for that event. What are you predictions – which upcoming tune we shouldn’t miss?
I answered in previous question…you shouldn’t miss my new tracks Mark Funk – Together [Disko Zoo Records] and
Mark Funk – JACK’O [Blacksoul Music]
^7 Is there any house or non-house artist that you would like to collaborate with?
Oh yea! I’d like to work with Jamiroquai and his band, Daft Punk, Chromeo, Dimitri From Paris, Studio Apartment, DMX… I better stop now, because i`m gonna start crying
^8 Everlasting fight between digital and analog. What’s your thoughts on that when it comes to playing on CDs/vinyl or USBs and midi controllers?
I had vinyls and turntables…I take CDs and CDJs as a logical progression…I don’t like USB and Midi controllers…
^9 Everyone is talking about SOPA and PIPA acts against piracy. What is your attitude when it comes to free music download blogs/sites/forums and buying music?
We are from Serbia my friend… We don’t care If you wanna buy something you will buy it, with or without my advice…
^10 What are your current top5 tunes?
Tune of the moment is: Sami Saari – Trump It…don’t know the guy but this track is AMAZING!!!
^11 Big thanks Mark for having you exclusively here on Electro Station and all the best to your future family! Any shout outs for our readers or family and friends?
Thank you Electro Station…wish you guys all the best…take care and stay healthy, that’s the most important thing
Since winning our producer competition back in 2010, Chris Jordan and Ben Webb aka KORT have been on quite a ride. Their winning track “Tomorrow” was the first release on the re-launched Copyright Recordings and shot straight to No.1 in the Traxsource start, beginning an extraordinary run of success for the label.
Now, after a sterling performance at their first Defected In The House gig at Ministry of Sound, the duo are about the front a new compilation series from Copyright’s label; Master Output.
Here we catch up with Chris and Ben for a quick chat about their initial flirtations with house music, their studio relationship and their plans for world domination…
^1 When did you first start producing music? Is it your full time career or do you work as anything else other than musicians?
Chris: I was co-writing and engineering with an eclectic independent house label called G-Force Records during the 90s, and did first productions with them, although I had been experimenting with my home set up since 1988. Those were the days of vinyl, tape, Atari’s and MIDI and I put in many studio hours learning the craft with some notable successes and the occasional Radio 1 play.
Ben: I have been experimenting with electronic music since 1998. My first commercial production was in 2001 under the moniker of Knights of the Round Tables, the first release being “Saxed Up” which was DJ Spen’s first remix with the Muthafunkaz.
Music has become our full time career for the last twelve months largely due to our association with Defected Records and Copyright Recordings which has raised our profile and for which we are extremely grateful!
^2 Tell us about how you first hooked up with Copyright?
We entered the Defected Producer Competition last year with our track “Tomorrow” and luckily enough for us it won. Sam Divine then invited us down to one of the “Heads Up” parties in London where she was playing; we met Simon Dunmore (in Chris’ case a re-introduction as they first met when Chris was Assisting Producer for Sarah HB at Kiss FM who used to work with Simon at AM:PM)
And Sam and Gav Copyright. They all loved the track and have have been great in helping us grow as producers. With all their experience and knowledge we are very grateful to them for giving us the opportunity.
^3 Why is house music such a passion for you both?
Ben: I fell in love with house when I was taken by my friends to my first house club in 1995; from then on there was no turning back! For me house is a spiritual thing… it’s a madness that you can’t see or touch, only feel. House is like my mistress; I go home to my wife but I’m still thinking about music.
Chris: Right from the moment I first heard House I knew it was the music I was waiting to be involved with. I got into the early house scene in 1988/9 and went to some unforgettable gatherings and my life was never the same! House gets into your very bones! Through all the twists and turns that house has taken over the years I’ve remained true to the original spirit of four-to-the-floor and am proud to be a part of the continuing story.
^4 Tell us about your first initial introductions to music…what did you both grow up listening to?
Ben: I was brought up on soul and Motown as far back as I can remember, especially Sam Cooke. Prince and Michael Jackson were also massive influences. My dad would make us listen to Billy Joel and Paul Simon and I later realized that lyrically and musically both are genius musicians. In my early teens I was listening to array of different artists such as The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley. …it’s nice to listen to different genres of music. It gives you a slightly different angle on what you are doing
Chris: My musical influences have been very diverse. I grew up in the era of classic songwriting; Lennon/McCartney (hard act to follow!) and Motown then got into the Parliament, the early albums of Stevie Wonder (Innervisions), the disco era (although too young to go to any!) then experimental electronica such as Kraftwerk and Can. I was very influenced in the early 80s by the productions of Brian Eno, especially in collaboration with David Byrne from Talking Heads (My Life in the Bush of Ghosts).
I also listened to dub reggae and used to go to the WOMAD festivals and got into some electro and the original hip-hop; a guy I used to know at an American air force base in Ipswich had masses of LL Cool J demos on cassette! Then I heard early house records around the end of ’87 and became totally hooked.
^5 How did you first meet each other?
Ben: We met when I was DJing at Pacha in London a few years ago. A coach load of our friends was coming up to see me play there and Chris was a friend of one my cousins. We got introduced, found out we had loads in common. Chris told me he was an all-round musician and so he started playing live percussion and keys in my DJ sets. We then hooked up in the studio and things just clicked for us.
^6 Why do you think you work so well together in the studio? What does each of you bring to the table?
Ben: I have an unhealthy obsession with drums. I write and programme most of the tracks whereas Chris engineers, plays and does most of the mixing. His attention detail is second to none. We consider that we both have equal input into all aspects of working on tracks. I also think you have to be honest. You have to feel very comfortable with each other for either of us to say to the other “I don’t like that part” or “that doesn’t work…”
Chris: I think we both have respect for each other’s abilities and strengths and are both able to learn from each other so that our roles do not remain static but are continually evolving. We clicked in the studio right from first working together and both bring a different element to what we do.
^7 You got off to the best possible start for Copyright Recordings with “Tomorrow” why do you think the label’s struck a chord with so many people since its relaunch?
Yeah we were very lucky to get our first Traxsource No.1 with “Tomorrow” on the re-launch of the label. I don’t think any of us was expecting it. Copyright have been putting out top quality releases for many years so when people see their imprint we suppose they’re expecting much of the same. The Afro tribal Latin thing seems to work on so many levels. For us, it kinda gives off a party vibe and Copyright Recordings bring this full-on with quality releases from quality artists. People are seeing and hearing that, and we feel very privileged to be part of it all.
^8 How would you describe the particular style of house music you make?
We have an Afro-tribal Latin vibe to what we do but we just prefer to call it house… one house, one nation and all that!
^10 What are your plans for the rest of the year…?
World domination! No, seriously… new tracks, more gigs worldwide and hopefully Mr Simon Dunmore would be kind enough to invite us to Ibiza!
^11 Anything else you’d like to tell us about…?
Chris: I was classically trained guitarist and was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music!
Ben: I play guitar and used to be singer/songwriter with a funk-rock band!