Sunday, September 06, 2009

Interview: Ramadanman

Hello there, neglected Tapers. You thought we we're gone, didn't you? Well, I can't promise regular updates like the old days, but I've been fishing through some of my transcriptions from earlier in the year, and seeing as they haven't been printed in full before, I thought you lot might like to have a gander. This one comes from Hessle Audio co-founder Ramadanman and was recorded just before Christmas 2008 (some of our conversation found its way into my Hessle "Label Of The Month" feature for RA.)

What sort of stuff were you listening to when you were growing up?

Well, I listened to quite a lot of pop before I was ten, and then I got into hip-hop. I was really into euphoric trance actually – I still am! I remember when I was eleven, I got this double pack CD called Euphoria. They did loads of compilations, and I bought one of the first ones and thought that it was wicked! (laughs) So, some hip-hop like KRS-One and Beastie Boys... Both of my parents worked, so there was a girl that looked after me and she'd listen to a lot of hip-hop like Gangstarr, Beasties, KRS-One... I can't think of many more names at the moment...

When did you first get into UK bass music?

I guess it was probably jungle. I never really got into it that much, but I bought an LTJ Bukem CD when I about 12. I guess that was about 2000, a kind of retrospective CD. I'd never heard anything like it before, and that was how I got into jungle. I didn't really get heavily into it – I just knew about LTJ Bukem and that was it. I was still into a lot of UK hip-hop like Lewis Parker and Skitz, Jehst and stuff. It wasn't until I was about 15 or 16 that I got into... Well, I was never really into garage. Of course, I knew about the pop stuff in the charts, but I didn't really know about the darker stuff. I knew all of the Craig David, Architects, Artful Dodger, Oxide & Neutrino and So Solid Crew, but I didn't know about El-B and Artwork. I think that it was probably because a lot of the guys in South London, it seemed to be a bit more entrenched in their culture.

Where exactly did you grow up?

I grew up in Highgate, which is a really nice area in the North London, so there wasn’t a lot of garage around me when i was growing up, unlike the scene founders in south London where it was more popular perhaps

When did you start producing your own material?

I had piano lessons when I was younger, music theory stuff, and I guess I stopped that when I was about 11 or 12. I kind of did it for five years when I was young. You know those really small kid's keyboards? Well that was my favourite toy when I was 7 or something. I used to record those into tape machines and that was something that really interested me. I'd create tapes, and record stuff, and do pretend radio shows – stuff kids do, anyway – and that kind of progressed eventually.

When did that start getting serious for you? Making music to put out?

To be honest, I was always making music for myself. I don't think it started getting serious until I put my first tune out. I used to just make music for the sake of making music; to play to my friends at school or to just listen to myself. I don't actually know really – I've never really thought about that.

What sort of stuff did your first tracks sound like?

The kind of stuff that I was making when I was 12 or 13 – I started using computers around then, so that was a progression, I guess. I had a demo version of this software which you couldn't save on, so I had two hours after school or an afternoon to make a tune. I had quite a strict time limit to make these tunes, so I never really got anything substantial finished. I couldn't even export .wavs on this program, so I had to hook it up to my minidisc recorder and do a live take, often leaving the mic plugged in so you can hear me chatting over the top by accident. It's really cool though – it's nice to have imperfect memories of these tunes that would otherwise be lost. Anyway, I'm digressing: stylewise it was a lot of trancey stuff, quite housey.... I guess it's sort of that grey area of electronica; a bit noodly, synthy, and also quite breaky as well. I was into DJ Shadow a lot as well, so I was almost having a go at what he was doing. As I got older, I was making a lot of hip-hop. I was actually kind of making some minimal house, without really being aware of it. I was listening back to some of the stuff that I was making back in 2004, and I didn't listen to any of those records at the time, but it was actually in that sort of style. Besides making drum'n'bass – it's a bit silly really, quite stupid – listening to it now it's quite Clipz-y sort of wobblers. I think I just found it quite funny. When you're young, sometimes you try and make the most extreme music possible, so I was trying to out-wobble everyone else – kind of what's happening in dubstep now! (laughs)

When did you first start getting into the dubstep sound?

I was into some grime, like Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and stuff, and I was kinda making a budget Fruity Loops-style grimy stuff. I was using the Rewind magazine forum, and posting some of the stuff that I'd made up there. It's really annoying, because they deleted their database when they did an upgrade, and I'd really like to go back and view my posts. There were people like Plasticman (now known as Plastician after legal threats from Richie Hawtin) posting on there at the time, and it was quite a good community on there before it got kind of strange. Anyway, I was posting all of my stuff on there, and one day someone posted some feedback to one of my tunes saying that it sounded like dubstep. I was like "I've never heard of this music," so I looked around for it. I use the internet quite a lot, so I found a thread on Dogs On Acid, which was actually started by Forsaken. In late 2005, it was so niche that there was actually a thread on Dogs On Acid saying "dubstep producers, post your efforts here", and there were only maybe three or four people who posted clips, but every single one made me go "wow!" One of them, in fact, was by Luke Envoy which ended up coming out on Hot Flush, but there was this thread that was really interesting and made me really excited about this music, so I listened to some of those tracks and got really into it. I'm not sure if it's something about my personality – when I find out something new I just have to find out everything about it and get really excited about it. I started making beer once, and once I'd decided to do it, I read loads of books and found out as much information as possible. I'd been into dubstep for a few months, and then I decided to go down to FWD>>, because that seemed to be the place to go. Back then I was still 17, and FWD was on Thursdays, so I could only really go at half-term or on the holidays. I finally managed to get down there in April 2006.

Who was playing the first time you went to FWD?

The first time I went it was Mala, N-Type and Geeneus. N-Type played first, which as my first dubstep clubnight was really interesting. I was with my friend Ben – well, he wasn't really my friend at the time – I actually met him there in the queue.

That was the first time you met Ben, then?

Yeah, he was more immersed into the scene than I was at that point, so when N-Type was playing he was telling me about these new tunes that he was playing which were by Caspa, and I don't think anyone at the time knew who Caspa was. It was all quite exciting, and I was just in a club and not knowing any of the tunes, which were apparently big tunes. Mala was incredible, playing stuff like what I now know was his Alicia Keys refix, Fat Freddy's Drop refix,
10 Dread Commandments VIP... It was a perfect introduction really, with the best soundsystem – just a really good night.

So how did you meet Kev then?

Well, Kev was living with Ben at the time at university, and they lived together for two years so I met Kev through Ben. I think he might have even been there the first time at FWD>>, but I didn't really stay in touch. When I came to Leeds that summer, that's when we kept in touch better.

So you all went to Leeds at the same year?

No, Ben and Kev were in the same year, and I was two years below.

How did the idea to start a label come about?

I'd wanted to start a label – I don't know why, really. We're fast forwarding a bit to the end of '06. I wanted to start a label and I raised the idea to the other guys and they were into it as well.

You had the radio show beforehand though?

The radio show actually started after the label – I think the first show was early January 2007, so that was after we'd decided to do the label. We actually got the first release mastered in January sometime, and it came out in April '07. We just felt like doing it really – I guess it was quite natural. We sat down one evening and decided on the details and the logo, and it was quite an exciting time.

Who was responsible for the design then?

Kev had the computer with Photoshop, but we all decided on the logo – we spent quite a bit of time on that. It's Kev that's responsible for doing the artwork though. It's quite uniform and not especially flashy. Speaking for myself of course, I think it does the job without being boring. For example with number 5, we used a photo of mine to vary it up a bit. We've got some different ideas, but I don’t think we're too interested in a huge art project for the time being... If you start spending more time on the artwork than the music, then it's not quite what we're into. I think it was Jason from Transition who said "no-one's not going to buy a record because of the artwork," and that stuck in our heads, I think. We don't worry about it too much.

Is there a certain ethos behind the label?

When we were starting it, I seem to remember it was more of a thing of stuff that wasn't getting heard, but now it's a different situation. Now you can easily hear... I don't want to call it... well, the sort of 'other' style of dubstep. Now there's a lot bigger variety of stuff than when we first started. What was being played out was good, but you'd never really hear for example a Geiom tune, or many other tunes that weren't by big name producers. That's my memory of it – it's a bit hazy – but that's what we wanted to do. It's the same with the radio show, we wanted to push different stuff that was interesting to us.

With regards to the ethos of the label – I guess if you're asking what makes a tune come out on Hessle, it would be.... well, we're not really interested in disposable music. What we'd like to put out is just stuff that you're still going to be listening to in ten years time - stuff that doesn't really sound like anything else. Looking back on our catalogue, I don't think that any of it really sounds like anything else that's been released. For example, number 1 (TRG's "Broken Heart"/"Put You Down") was updated garage. I don't really think anyone even now, apart from another TRG tune, no-one's really done that kind of updated garage thing like him. Also, with the Untold tunes, they just sound completely different to anything else out there. I guess that's what we're going for... We're always open to new stuff though, if someone sends us a tune we liked then we'd obviously consider putting it out, but it just so happens that now we're at the stage where we're getting a roster of our own. We just want to put out stuff that you're not going to stop playing a after few months because it's been rinsed – I think that's my interpretation of what the label's about. I think there's a lot of good music out there, but not a lot of really good music, and I think that sometimes not every tune has to come out just for the sake of it.

Do you see the label as 'experimental'? Doing something that hasn't been done before?

It not as if there's nothing new under the sun, and we're not actively thinking "let's just put this out because it's so strange." You could put out 4 minutes of oblique noise and sub-bass, and it'd be different but I think it still has to conform in some way. I'm not really interested in trying to categorise ourselves off into some little sub-corner, saying "oh we're Hessle Audio and we do experimental, deep dubstep." When I got into dubstep a few years ago, I think that most people would agree that dubstep as a genre was really open, and I'd like to think that we're carrying that way of thinking on. I think that even with our label, everybody does sound different. There's the garagey stuff, you've even got a half-step wobbler from Untold, and then there's the Martyn remix which is not really what people would usually think of when they think of dubstep. We do have a wide variety of stuff, and...

Do you see your own music, or Hessle's music as 'dubstep'? Or maybe something else?

Well I think obviously it originated from what was the dubstep scene, but I think that now there's definitely a big movement of cross-genre, cross-tempo producers; from Rustie to Brendon Moeller to Instra:mental. I think there's always a big link – even with the funky people – it seems like there's a big movement of people who are willing to mix things up. For example, now you could go to FWD>> and listen to funky house followed by techno, followed by more traditional dubstep and stuff. I think that's what's happened, where people now take influences from a wider range of sources.

Who's responsible for the A&R – how do you decide what to put out?

It's not so much an active process – maybe before it was – but with A&R, we get sent a lot of stuff either through the label, or the radio show or because we're DJs in our own right. We do get sent quite a bit of stuff, but we haven't really signed anything that's been randomly sent to us. Then again, Untold and TRG had been sending us stuff for a few months, otherwise we wouldn't have heard of him. I think you've got to be careful though – if you get sent so many tunes, you've still got to listen to them, because you just never know who's going to be sending you a really interesting tune. Even if you listen to ten tunes in a row and nine of them aren't great, the last one could be right up your street.

Some labels – like Modern Love for example - like to have more of a hands on approach with the tracks they put out. Did you give any feedback to the producers, or did you just like the tracks as they are?

I think we gradually just got convinced. We could hear that there was something interesting about his stuff, and I think we asked him to try something out... Then again with the TRG tunes, he did just send them to me one followed by the other... and the Pangaea stuff, obviously Kev is a friend of myself and Ben's so it was just a case of listening to what he had and throwing an EP together. It's still really early days yet, so we haven't really got into any specific way of doing things.

But do you want to concentrate on developing the artist rather than just putting out one track from someone?

I think so, yeah. I do get a sense that some producers aren't quite being pushed to their full potential. Maybe waiting a bit longer and developing their ideas and refining their sound, and then having a great debut 12" at the end of it. Having said that, I didn't really do that as I had a few digital releases which weren't particularly amazing and then ended up finding my place a bit more, so I can't really talk! [laughs] I think that it should maybe be more of a two-way process with the labels, and we like to be a bit more personal with our artists.

Speaking of two way processes, you've been doing a lot of remixes of late. Do you find it easier to do these than produce your own tracks? Do you have a different approach to producing them?

With remixes, it kind of depends what place you're in. If you're in a particularly uncreative phase, then often getting a remix pack can sometimes bring some fresh ideas and make you quite inspired just by having some new sounds to work with. I think remixing can be quite fun in that respect. The majority of the remixes that I've done, I don't listen to the tune beforehand. I'll listen to the parts that are given in the remix pack and then listen to the original once I've finished my remix. It's interesting to see how differently you've approached the sounds compared to the original producer. There was a time where I was probably doing a bit too much remixing and needed to focus a bit on my own stuff, but now I'm a bit more in balance, I think.

Is sampling something that's important to your production style?

I don't really do a lot of sampling, to be honest, but when I do it, I do find that I get quite creative. Sometimes I buy records specifically to sample, but I'm quite an advocate of just sampling from anywhere. For example, I've chopped up stuff from Youtube clips, and the sound quality is crap but it adds a certain feeling to the track. There's just so many interesting sounds on Youtube, and I also recently bought a portable recorder which is really fun. I use it for things like field recordings, atmospherics, or maybe some speech or a poor quality vocal. That's quite a useful things to have for just picking up sounds, but I quite like that idea of just adding a certain texture to tunes, which adds a certain something. I read somewhere that a field recording really can conjure up an image of a place, and such a small thing can really alter the mood of a tune.

You've been embraced within both the techno and dubstep communities. Was this something you had in mind when the label began?

I'm not sure, really. We all are into our techno, but personally I come more from the house side kind of background, but we all like it so it's flattering that techno fans are embracing our stuff. I think that at the moment there's a lot of middle-of-the-road dubby techno that doesn't really do a lot, and whilst you might describe it as dubsteppy-techno, it's not what I'm really into. I prefer stuff that maybe takes a few different influences, like Pangaea's "Router" which borrows from quite a few different genres and creates something new rather than a Basic Channel rehash at 140bpm. The techno-dubstep crossover is something that has been much talked about, and I think there was a time where it was something new and interesting, but I think that has time has been and gone. That’s not to say there aren’t good techno influenced dubstep tunes though!

What sort of music is really inspiring you at the moment?

I'm quite into some of the funky stuff. I've heard quite a bit of it, and as I'm quite into my house, some of it isn't doing anything that's different to stuff that was done better ten years ago. There are a few bits here and there that are quite interesting to me, and it's generally the stuff which is just beats and bass really. In all kinds of genres, especially house itself, I find that the version of a tune I like the most is the dub, or just the groove. I think it's very easy whack a Rhodes and a female singer on top, and that sort of spoils it for me. I've always been listening to drum'n'bass, but that's about it really. I don't really listen to music as much as I should in terms of sitting down and listening to music. It's kind of the case of being a bit picky and always changing between stuff. At first I thought "is this bandwagon jumping?", but then I thought that good music is good music.

Are you playing much of it out?

I haven't played any funky out, actually. I've played some of it on the radio show, but it took a while for me to be convinced by it all, mostly because of the fact that some of it is kinda just average house music. Eventually I saw Marcus Nasty at FWD>> and heard his radio shows, and I found the stuff that I find really interesting, and got myself converted. I haven't started playing it out, but I've been making some myself and I'm playing at FWD>> this Sunday so might drop some of it there. The difficult thing is most of the time you're just playing for an hour and if I want to play some of my drum'n'bass stuff as well, going between three tempos in an hour can sometimes feel a bit disjointed. It's kind of the case that I'll take it, and worst comes to worst I won't play it. I think that the 'dubstep crowd' as such are quite receptive to it, especially at FWD>>. If I was playing in Holland for example, I probably wouldn't play it because it wouldn't quite fit the vibe, as at the moment it's quite a UK thing. I don't know... I might even try, because at the end of the day you're just playing for yourself. It's early days yet...

You said you were making your own funky and drum'n'bass tracks. Are they for your own pleasure, or will they see the light of day?

Yeah, some drum'n'bass ones will be coming out. Well, I say drum'n'bass, but it's just stuff at 170bpm. I don't think that the label quite wants that announced yet, but that should be some kind of double pack thing. The funky stuff is very much in its infancy, but Marcus Nasty played one of my tunes last week. What I like about the funky stuff is when I'm making it, I'm quite relaxed and just having a laugh - it's almost like I'm making it for myself again. If I sat down now and made something at 140, I'd be a bit more conscious. Does it sound like anyone else? Does it sound like something I've done before? Is it interesting? If I sat down and made a funky thing I'd be a bit more free and get my idea out without worrying too much, so it's quite an exciting time for me and I think that I've got to make the most of it, and make some interesting stuff. The tracks that I have made, it sounds a bit like me and it's not just like a generic UK funky record, if there is such a thing.

Will you be putting those tracks out as Ramadanman, or under a different name?

I do work under a couple of different names, but I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing with it yet so I'm just going to see what's going to happen. I am interested to see what people think of the music without maybe being familiar with the name. In terms of the name Ramadanman, I'm not hugely happy with it anyway, so I may be gradually moving away from it. I'm a bit confused! (laughs) I'm just weighing the options up at the moment.

Do you find yourself playing out at mostly dubstep nights?

The majority would be dubstep nights, I guess. I've done a few things where you play for two or three hours and you get to play all sorts of things which is fun. People respond well to the stuff you're playing because people like it, and it's cool. I think even a lot of the time at these dubstep specific nights you might get 20 or 30 scene-heads, but the majority of nights, the rest of the audience are just people who go to the clubs, up for having a good night. Perhaps one of their mates has said "do you want to go to so-and-so tonight? There's some dubstep on," and the other person goes along and loves it. I think that's a really good feeling though, with people enjoying music that they haven't heard before. If you played them a CD in the middle of the day, and asked them if they liked the music, they might say "not really," but most nights, apart from DMZ and FWD>> are full of these people.

Do you have a favourite release on the label?

I really like number two. I still think that nothing sounds like "Coiled", and maybe nothing else will ever sound like it. It's a really amazing tune, and the b-side is equally atmospheric. We had quite a lot of problems with the release, and it was a huge relief to get it out and released. I don't think that we'll repress it, so it feels like quite a special release. I don't want to say that it's a favourite, as each one has a bit of history. It's like they're all our children, each one with a particular character and memories associated with it. For example, I had loads of hi-hat problems with my side on HES 004, or on number 6 (Pangaea's "You & I"/"Router") where we mastered it after having no sleep and flying to Berlin and being really tired and grumpy.

How did the D&M hook up come about?

I'd cut some dubs there with Ben (UFO) beforehand, and we were just really impressed by them. I think you've got to change a bit – Transition are fantastic and did our first five releases, that sounded very good. If you take a tune to a bad mastering studio, it could sound a bit flabby and Transition just understand the music and it originated from that. Why did we switch? It's not even a switch, but you've just got to see what else is out there and if you only use one place, then you don't know what the others are like. We thought like maybe having a little change and we were amazed at the results. It (HES006) is just one of the best sounding records that I've heard as far as quality is concerned. It got pressed in Holland, but I'm not sure how much of an effect the pressing has on the sound. Obviously the pressing plant affects it a bit, but I think that it's more down to the mastering. The guy who did it was Helmut, in fact. I'm not sure how many people actually use him, but we used him for our dubs. It's almost like when you go to D&M, it's like a doctor's appointment. You sit down in your chair and they ask you "what are we doing today, then?" You have a little consultation and then talk about what you want it to sound like. It's very much a two-way process, he did his thing. We said "change this", "do it a bit more like this," and we'd probably go round in circles a couple of times and eventually get a result before doing the cutting. It was a fantastic experience though – really, really good.

Will you be using them in the future, or maybe seeing which mastering house suits what style of release?

Kind of, yeah. I don't really know. For our next one we're trying out Precise and seeing how that goes. We're definitely going to use Transition again, and I think it's just a case of having a wonder around and see what's happening. We were really happy with D&M for #6, so I think we'll use them again as well. It's a very important thing though, mastering. You could spend £500 on 500 white labels and just chuck them out, but mastering, as you can hear, affects the record so much. I've bought a lot of records in my time where the mastering isn't great and it just sounds flat because of that, or there's distorted hi-hats. I think mastering, especially on vinyl is crucial, as it can affect the vibe, or the feeling of the tune so much. I definitely think that different tunes suit certain mastering houses.

Is vinyl really important to you?

Yeah, I think that something hasn't really come out until it's come out on vinyl. Just the amount of time and money that you have to invest to put something out on vinyl, I think that's the ultimate thing about it. Even though there are quite a few bad things about vinyl, it's just a good medium and I love it and buy loads of it. I think it's actually doing quite well at the moment, especially in our scene. Pressing plants are closing down and things like that, but from where I'm standing, everyone's doing quite well for themselves.

What's coming up on the horizon for Hessle?

We will have a new twelve early this year, and there are a couple of other ideas but nothing 100% yet. It would be nice to be sitting on a load of finished copies of something, but unfortunately we're just working it out at the moment. We should have quite a few new bits and bobs out next year though. I think that the last few releases have been quite anthemic, but I think that maybe with the next ones... I mean that with our label, it was the first release for TRG, the first release for Pangaea, the first release for Untold, and I think that we're going to do quite a bit more of that and bring some new names in with some fresh stuff. Nothing 100% though.

How did you find working with Soul Jazz?

Yeah, they were wicked. I got to know them through their Sounds Of The Universe shop, and I'd been selling them a few records, maybe even some Hessle stuff. They heard some of my stuff on Rinse, asked me for a CD and it all went from there. I spent a long time getting a few tunes together and was really happy with them, and they ended up signing a few of them. One of them ("Every Next Day") came out on the Box Of Dub CD, and then they asked me to do a full single. They're just really professional, they've got a really amazing discography and great taste in music, and it was a real honour. There are a lot of people who got into me through hearing it recommended in Sounds Of The Universe, as they've got such a good reputation. I've done two twelve inches for them which both seem to have been quite well received, and they're a great platform for me.

You moved to France recently, right? How are you finding it there?

It's just part of my degree. It was a bit strange at first, moving out here, but I'm not staying out here the rest of my life! I'm here to work, and learn a language. All of the people here in Lille are extremely friendly and there are a lot of music people who are interested in dubstep...

Do you not feel a little detached to the UK scene, living out there?

It's probably healthy to be honest, because I'm not really very far away in France. I'm only an hour and twenty minutes away so I have been back a few times to play FWD>> and go up to Leeds. It's nice actually to be somewhere a bit different, and I think it's good to have a bit of distance. Then again with the internet, I can have the DJs on AIM, e-mail people, and use Skype for the distributor and there's also Myspace, so the technology has really opened it up. If anything it makes it better, as I can just go back on Sundays to FWD>> and meet up with friends in a really nice atmosphere. So far so good, anyway.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Interview: Headhunter

Haven't updated this dusty old thing in a while, so here's an interview that I did last year with Headhunter before his 'Nomad' record dropped on Tempa.

You started getting into dubstep from more of a drum’n’bass angle, right?

I did a music technology course, took a year out, and when I came back I was in the same class as Laurie (Appleblim), Gatekeeper and Wedge. I didn’t really know them, and in the second week of uni we had to play our own music. They played one of Appleblim’s tracks and I was kind like ‘that sounds like dubstep!’. I didn’t really know that much about dubstep, so I went and asked him about it, and that’s how we met. The more uni went on, the more I started making tunes, but I got into making music in the first place because of a pirate radio station in Bristol.

You did a radio show with Whiteboi, right? I hear you started off playing grime instrumentals...

I hadn’t DJed for years – I just stopped DJing from the age of 19. Before that I was playing drum’n’bass – sorta techstep stuff. At 19, I got really into my bike – all I wanted to do was ride my bike, and Whiteboi came along and gave me an opportunity to do this radio show. I was just like ‘what the fuck am I going to play? I haven’t DJed in years and I want to play something new. The first thing that I thought of was grime, as it was quite a new sound.

So you hadn’t been following grime for that long before that point?

Not really. I just wanted to play something because it’s Bristol. You don’t want to play drum’n’bass because it’s been done, but you want to do something related to it because it’s home. I thought that the grime that I was playing was quite underproduced, so I started making my own. I played it to Blazey, and he told me ‘this isn’t grime – it’s dubstep!’. He told me to speak to Pinch, so I gave my stuff to Pinch.

So just how aware were you of dubstep by that point?

I started my music tech course in October, and that’s when I got the radio show – I didn’t really know Appleblim then, so I was kinda making dubstep without even knowing it.

How did your relationship start with Tempa?

Well, I was making this stuff, and after giving it to Pinch, he said ‘You’re doing something good - we’re going to get you down to Dubloaded.’ I played before N-Type. It was my first DJ gig in a while... well, ever! And you’ve literally got Benga, Skream, N-Type, and Cyrus – all in the crowd. I was kind of aware that they were all there, and I was nervous as hell – shaking! I’ll tell you a little secret though... I put all my tunes at the same speed! Now though, I’m mixing techno, dubstep, whatever – I’ve got it. I was a good drum’n’bass DJ when I was a kid though – well... I thought I was!

You’ve been playing a lot of different types of nights – both techno and dubstep orientated. Do you treat them differently, as far as your set is concerned?

Before I DJ, I usually like to find out what the night is about, or who’s played there before. For example, last night was an electronica night, so I started thinking about playing Various Productions. Also things like Midi Miliz, which is trancey techno. They also produce under another name, Extrawelt, but the Midi Miliz stuff is a lot faster, at 138 or 140. When I was really into Psy-Trance, their album was just my favourite album. Whatever name they’re using, or tempo they’re doing, you can always tell that it’s them, and they’re a big inspiration to me.

So, do you play the faster gear at the dubstep nights, and keep it slower for the techno ones?

Usually, if I’m playing at a dubstep night, it’s not always faster bpms, but it’s heavier tunes. The tune selection is different. Normally, you’re doing a night and you can tell what they want. If it’s a mixed up place then you can usually get away with the more experimental stuff, which is my favourite kind of gig, but I like playing to the kids too – you get a lot of fun from it. I played at Exit the other week, and the whole crowd must’ve been 18 and under, and they were just loving the bangers! That’s what they come for though, and I’m not going to be selfish. As a DJ, you’ve got to play to the people, and that’s the good thing about not being stuck to one sound. If you listen to a lot of my releases, it doesn’t stick to that half-steppy wobble kinda thing. There are other directions, and the DJing does that too.

You did a collaboration with Ekelon for Mary Anne Hobbs’ ‘Evangeline’ compilation. Have you got any more planned for the future?

I’ll probably get booked for a gig out there and something will happen, but that was a bit of a weird one. I went to Greece, and the guy who booked me said to me, “I’ve got a mate who makes tunes”, so I went to this gig and met him. We started chatting, and he told me, “I’ve made my first ever dubstep tune, but I normally make world music.” I really liked some of it, but didn’t really think that it was finished, so I took the parts and added that crazy bassline.

Can you tell us a little about the album title, ‘Nomad’?

I don’t live anywhere. I’m a bit like a skanky fucker, you know? I’m not really - I’ve got Prada on and everything! Seriously though - in April this year I was living in Ashton in Bristol. I was DJing so much that it just got to the point where I thought, ‘Why should I pay rent, when I can go from place to place, and when I’m in Bristol I’ve got a few friends that I could stay with...’ So that’s exactly what I did! The album was made going from place to place, so one track was made in America... On the CD, I think there’ll be a map showing where each track was made, and that’s quite personal touch. I remember where each of the tracks are made. The last tune on the album was done in my ex-girlfriend’s halls of residence which was called Birks Grange, but the tune is called Birks Range. That’s probably my favourite track on the album.

There’s going to be a set of coloured vinyl coming out alongside the record, right?

It sounds really complicated, but not if you think about it. They’re releasing three vinyl, 750 of each, just in colour. Of course there’s the LP on a triple pack as well, but when we went to the meetings about the album, the one thing really wanted to do was have some coloured vinyl. It’s more of a techno thing, but I like the idea of having some art behind the music. I used to love buying the coloured vinyl, man.

How do you find the gigs in Europe at the moment, compared to a typical UK gig?

In the UK, it’s kind of hard to say, because last night I played a really good gig that wasn’t a typical dubstep night. When I play a typical dubstep night in England, you’re expected to play quite heavy, and lately I’ve been put onto the 1am-2am slot, where I’m expected to... In Europe; I can play techno, minimal, and deep dub-techno with dubstep and they appreciate it. More than London, anyway, and I like that. I’m playing out in America as well. Over there, they like it hard. You have to be ready and you have to have a bag of hard stuff with you. They like the hard, and the poppy stuff. In Europe, you can be play the more experimental side of dubstep, so in a way, I’m feel more accepted over there.

Where do you keep your records, then?

My records are stored in my grandparents’ house, in her attic – pretty much the whole of her attic, actually. Some in my mum’s house as well. There are tunes that I know I want, I know I’ve already got them, and I end up just buying them again because I can’t find them. I’ve got vinyl at Jakes’ house... It’s kind of scattered, so I don’t know where anything is. The plan is to find a house at the end of the year, and then I’ve got somewhere to put them!

You’ve pretty much made this album with just a laptop, right?

Yeah, a laptop and loads of plug-ins. I need to buy some new headphones, because the Sennheisers just lack frequency, but it just fits what I do. Most of the tunes were made in other people’s living rooms, because I’d go to places and play for people, and I’d just be making tunes quietly in their living room.

You said before that each track reminded you of where you made it. Do you think your surroundings influenced the music that you were making?

I listen to the tunes, and it reminds me of where I made it in a small way. I don’t know if the place influenced the tunes, it’s just if it sounded good, that’s what it was. If anything influenced my tunes, I’d say that it would be what I’m listening to that week. If I’m listening to techno that week, it might be quite techno. If I’m listening to drum’n’bass, it might be a bit more like that. I just listen to so much stuff, and it affects the music. One of the tracks, ‘Royal Flush’, has got a saxophone in, and that’s from when I was listening to loads of dub, not that I know anything about it!

So you’re quite into sampling stuff?

Yeah, definitely. Another one, called ‘Grounded’ has got this 1920’s music in there. I like to sample films, mostly though. Not speech, but the actual noise. Sometimes, I just use a noise, amplify it a hundred times, run it through a compressor and made it really loud over some of the tunes. It works really well, I think. On tunes like ‘Technopolis’ and ‘Birks Range’, I’ve used these techniques where I’ve sampled films and the noise the noise is added to the rhythm of the track.

You leave here for a long tour of America tomorrow. Are you looking forward to it?

When I went there in September, my expectations were that it was going to be kind of like England, in the way that it went from drum’n’bass into dubstep. I thought that I was going to be playing to thirty to forty people, but every place I went, it was rammed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This Sunday @ LAB

MONO TONIC present...

Sunday 19th April
LAB (ex-Arc Bar)

Two of Bristol’s clubbing institutions come together for our latest Sunday flexout, providing a soundtrack of the best in house, garage, funky, dubstep and techno on LAB’s impeccable Funktion One soundsystem.
El Gato & Billy Blanks (bruk)
The Bruk boys have long been a staple on the Bristol scene for lovers of garage, dubstep, and everything in between. Recent nights with the likes of Mak10 and United Vibes have been off the scale, but the men behind bruk are worthy DJs in their own right. With their Bruk Radio show on Sub FM, El Gato and Billy Blanks broadcast to a worldwide audience of bass lovers, mixing up a deft selection of house, garage, dubstep, funky and instrumental hip-hop tracks that will get your body moving - guaranteed. We're more than glad to welcome the duo to the Mono Tonic fold for what promises to be a special evening of drinking, dancing and yet more drinking.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

mixTAPE: Duncan George (under_score)

It's been a while since a mix was posted up on here, so I'm glad to be able to post one of such high quality today. Duncan George is one of the main brains behind Bristolian clubbing institution under_score, who have put on a quality selection of electronic music in our fair city over the past few years. Move D, DJ Pete, Pinch, Secondo, Errorsmith, ISAN, Bodycode, Claro Intelectro, Marcel Dettmann... The sheer quality of their headliners never fails to amaze. Dunc's whipped up a mix of more ambient fare for us, so I'll let him chat for a bit about it:

"It's been a wonderfully cathartic process and i'm really pleased with the result - I downloaded a copy of Cool Edit Pro and blended the tracks together. All the tracks have been mixed in the traditional way - none of the tracks have been DSP edited or spliced - only crossfaded.

I'm sure you can tell by the track listing and when you hear it that it's not really a party mix - more for headphones, reflective late nights, early morning bus journeys and wide open beach vistas. A lot of the tracks are quite old, ranging from 1993 - 2005 but most fall into the early 00's."

Pole - Berlin // Kiff SM
Conjoint - The Joint // Source Records
Electric Birds - Strata // U-Cover
Portable - Kismet // Background
Kid 606 - Now I Wanna Be A Cowboy // Mille Plateaux
Sutekh - Untitled // Force Inc
Basic Channel - Lyot Remix // Basic Channel
Farben - The Video Age (Re-Edit) // Klang Elektronik
AM/PM - The End 11 // Dreck
Dynamo - Voraus 2 // Din
Jetone - Fkstrtowr // Force Inc
Baby Ford - 3am Gargoyle Requiem // Perlon

Duncan George - "Ebb & Flow" mix


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

under_score vs. TAPE

Sven Weisemann
(Mojuba / Styrax Leaves / liebe*detail / Meanwhile / Apple Pips)

+ DJs:
Jack The Red
Richard Carnage
Jim Petherwick

Saturday 7th March 2008 @ Tube / 10pm - 4am / £4

TAPE & under_score are very proud to present young Berlin upstart Sven Weisemann. Despite being only 23 years old, he has been tearing techno & house dancefloors apart since 1997 with his intense, quick-fire DJ style; as well as releasing his own captivating, ultra-deep productions for Styrax, Meanwhile and his own label Mojuba.

Those more familiar with Weisemanns's own productions may be surprised by his DJing style, as he weaves effortlessly between his trademark deeper sound and classic house and techno dancefloor bangers. Influenced by the fast cuts and energetic approach of legendary US DJs such as Derrick May, Sven uses three turntables for maximum effect, taking us on a trip through house, techno, disco and everything inbetween.

As a producer, Sven's music draws deeply on the legacy of Chicago and Detroit, yet he has carved out a sound that is invariably his own. Records such as "Vibe" and "Slices" are perfect examples of delirious and atmospheric house music, that aren't afraid to take their sweet time to hypnotise the floor with their charms.

A self-taught musician who plays piano, acoustic guitar and percussion, Weisemann also composes jazz and soundtracks. These traditions inform his house records, which can be found on labels such as Meanwhile, House Café Music, liebe*detail, Styrax Leaves and especially Mojuba, where Weisemann's music slots together with friends Nick Solé and Oracy to form a distinctive and highly collectible body of work. Most recently, Sven has remixed Ramadanman's "Humber" for Appleblim's Apple Pips label, taking the listener on a deep and delicious dub house journey that manages to be both melancholic and uplifting.

Those who were present at his incendiary performance at last year's Freerotation festival will no doubt be excited to hear of Sven's return, those who weren't will need to get down to the Tube to see what all the fuss is about!

In support we have four of Bristol's finest house & techno DJs. TAPE's Richard Carnage and Jack The Red will join under_score's Jim Petherwick and Placid to spin some of the hottest electronic sounds around.

Sven Weisemann Info:

A day of rest?

Mono Tonic - Launch Party
Sunday 1st March @ LAB (ex-Arc Bar)
Broad Street, Bristol
£2 before 6pm, £3 after

APPLEBLIM (Skull Disco / Apple Pips / Rinse FM)
What better way to launch our weekly Sunday session than to host someone who is hands down one of our favourite selectors worldwide, never mind in Bristol. Laurie "Appleblim" Osborne is the man, and we've got him down to LAB for not one, but TWO sets to keep you on your toes for the first Mono Tonic party. Alongside his good buddy Sam Shackleton, the pair curated the now defunct Skull Disco label, forging a sound that defied the usual 'dubstep' categorisation. With Appleblim’s heavy, metallic sound providing the perfect counterpoint for Shackleton’s more ethnic and polyrhythmic style, they won legions of fans, and devastated dancefloors worldwide. More recently, 'blim has started up his own Apple Pips imprint, which continues to push the boundaries of modern music with its jawdropping releases, whether they're of a dubstep or techno persuasion. As anyone who's listen to Appleblim's now legendary shows on London pirate station Rinse FM will attest, Laurie's selection prowess doesn't just extend to techno and dubstep - nor does it end with grime, 2-step and funky. Natch, the man Osborne has been working in record shops (most notably Notting Hill's Soul & Dance Exchange) for years, picking up all sorts of aural gems that you might not necessarily associate with him from listening to his sets or productions. House, disco, hardcore, IDM, dub, jazz, jungle, electro... I could go on, but I'm sure that you've already gathered how much of a walking encyclopedia of staggeringly brilliant tunes this man actually is.

Mono Tonic is therefore proud to present two separate sets from the 'blim. Kicking off in the afternoon, Laurie will be indulging us with some of the many gems from his eclectic collection. Digging deep into his racks, he'll be pulling out some obscurities and oddities to play alongside some older classics that don't necessarily fit into his normal club sets. Later on in the evening, he'll be donning his dubsteppin' cap to play us a set of dubstep, techno, funky, and whatever else he's playing at his many gigs around the world of late. What else can we say? Blimmin' marvellous!

Andy Clarkson has become somewhat of an institution on Bristol's reggae scene over the past ten years, and we're glad to welcome him to the Mono Tonic fold for our first party. It isn't just reggae that's Mr Clarkson's forte, however. His massive collection of reggae, dub, disco, house, post punk and everything inbetween is pretty damn enviable to any self-respecting DJ worth their salt, and he'll be endowing us with a perfectly blended selection of nuggets from his array of Ikea Expedits. Expect the unexpected...

JACK THE RED (TAPE / Rooted Records)
He might have gone through a name change recently, but Jack The Red is still the same ol' flame-haired turntable wizard that we've always known. You can find him behind the counter at the beloved hub of Bristol's music scene, Rooted Records, where he'll be more than happy to wax lyrical about recent developments in the UK funky scene, or even the finer points of free jazz. Jack The Red will be bringing this genre-hopping free spirit to all of his sets at Mono Tonic, and with his new name and a renewed vigour for DJing, you can be sure to hear some special music during his time on the ones and twos.

RICHARD CARNAGE (TAPE / Resident Advisor)
Bristol's resident dance music journo will be taking time out from slaving away at his laptop to bring you an insight into the hottest electronic sounds of the moment, along with all sorts of wax that he's uncovered from the last thirty years of dance music culture. Whether it's with smacked out balearica or the deepest dub techno around, his mission is to enlighten and enthrall in equal measures.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Top 20 Remixes Of 2008 (1-10)

10) TRG - Put You Down (Ramadanman Remix) // Hessle Audio
David "Ramadanman" Kennedy was on fire last year, with three cracking singles and this little beauty, which was his first ever officially released remix. Minimising TRG's skittering garage beats was a genius move, giving the dubwise stabs and uber-deep bassline plenty of room to breathe and exude their irresistable charms.

9) Luke Hess - Believe & Receive (Shed's Deepanddubbydub Remix) // Kontra Music
Luke Hess' original isn't without its own merits - hell, it was one of the more engaging dubby techno records of last year - but Shed's overhaul on the flipside was the real star of the show. Its funky cyclical bassline draws you in, the snares on the two and four get you bopping along... then WHAM! In come the skittering closed hats, providing the sucker punch that seals the deal, and you're only three minutes in. It's a record that lends itself incredibly well to mixing, but stands up high and proud on its own two feet - the way good techno music should be.

8) Shackleton - You Bring Me Down (Peverelist Remix) // ~scape/Skull Disco
It's no secret that we're massive fans of Tom "Peverelist" Ford's work here at TAPE, and his only remix of 2008 finds its place at #8. Local lad he may be, but it's by no means a token inclusion, even though it's possibly the 'straightest' track he's put his hand to so far. I say 'straight', as it's his only production to date that features a 4x4 kickdrum (which, admittedly, does take two minutes to appear, and is slightly weighted), giving Shackleton's tenebrous ethnic samples some much-needed pump for the dancefloor.

7) Tadeo - Reflection Nebula 056n (Substance Remix) // Apnea
I heard a second hand story that when Substance (AKA Hardwax's DJ Pete) heard this track before remixing it, he said "yeah, this is good, but it could do with some hats." He was right, and his simple but effective remix gives "Reflection Nebula 056n" the punctuary percussion that it was crying out for.

6) Matias Aguayo - Minimal (DJ Koze Remix) // Kompakt
One of the modern masters of the art of remixing, Stefan Kozalla almost always pulls it out of the bag when handed the parts for one of his majestic recontextualisations. Here, he takes the galloping dark funk of Aguayo's original and guts it, drenching the vocal in smooth synths and a groovy disco beat. Add some cowbell (always a winner) and some tropical percussive flourishes, and you've got a perfect summer anthem that's just waiting for that perfect sunny day.

5) Flying Lotus - Roberta Flack (Martyn Heart Beat Mix) // Warp
I could've picked any one of Martyn's remixes from 2008 to fill this spot, but seeing as this was the for the RA ballot, I decided to plump for this one. It didn't make the final 15, however, but its stuttering synth and huge bassline over that sultry female vocal make it approximately ten billion times better than Dubfire's frankly godawful remix of Radio Slave's "Grindhouse" (which somehow managed to worm its way into #11 in an otherwise respectable list).

4) Geiom ft. Marita - Reminissin' (Kode9 Refix) // Berkane Sol
Kode9's remix of Badawi's "Den Of Drumz" would've been here, if it hadn't originally come out in 2007 on the CD version of his collaborative album. This effort is cut from similar cloth, however, taking a relentlessly energetic percussive skip and marrying it to a repeated burst of melody, à la Mala's "Left Leg Out". Big boy dancefloor business, this one.

3) Sascha Dive - Deepest America (Moodymann Remix) // Ornaments
So your label's got a shitload of money to play around with, so you sign a pretty pedestrian sample-heavy house track from an in vogue European producer, and then get Moodymann to remix it. He takes the original and stamps a great big "fuck you" on there, adding a vocal that berates the state of modern house music ("Music... there ain't no soul more") whilst pissing over most of 2008's house records from a great height. Infectious swinging percussion, lush organic samples, and a brief bassy arpeggio that comes out of nowhere - this remix has it all, and more. And all that whilst only using a snippet of the spoken word section from Dive's original. You can call it a statement if you want, but I'm calling it one of the best house tracks of last year.

2) TRG - Broken Heart (Martyn's DCM Remix) // Hessle Audio
As soon as I first heard the Detroit-esque pads and dubwise broken percussion of Martyn's "Broken Hearts" version, I was in love. Devastatingly deep dubstep that gives those heart strings a tug in the right direction - towards the speaker stack.

1) Namlook - Subharmonic Atoms (Pépé Bradock Bug Remix) // Macro
Pépé Bradock is a very odd man. We like odd here at TAPE, however - especially when it comes to our favourite French producer - and he's pulled it out of the bag yet again with this remix of Pete Namlook's beatless techno masterpiece from 1996. It's a fairly simple remix job, with Pépé simply adding a shuffling boompty beat and messing around with the original's structure. The devil's in the details though - the subdued rhythmic stabs, the subtle but hugely effective percussive changes, and of course the removal of the beat halfway through which just begs for a great record to lay over the top. Add to that the expert mastering from D&M's Rashad Becker (who masters every single one of Macro's releases), and you've got yourself a remix that's worthy of TAPE's #1 spot. Pépé Bradock - long may you continue with your odd idiosyncratic adventures into the deepest depths of house music.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top Remixes Of 2008 (11-20)

Yes, I know it's February, and I'm sure you're already hastily trying to find the best new release of 2009, but the TAPE blog hasn't finished with 2008 that easily. I know I've been slack/busy/neglectful concerning the updates here due to my current employment for RA (and you should all read my interview with Bristolian dubstep don Peverelist if you haven't already), but the 2008 TAPE round-up is finally here...

Top 20 Remixes Of 2008 (11-20)

20) Zomby - Spliff Dub (Rustie Remix) // Hyperdub
The Glaswegian "aqua-crunk" merchant takes to knife to "Spliff Dub", wrapping a stunted arpeggio and insistent bassline over Zomby's sampled vocal paean to the ol' Mary Jane.

19) Martyn - Natural Selection (Flying Lotus Cleanse Mix) // 3024
2008 was very much Fly Lo's year in the spotlight, and if you enjoyed his Los Angeles record, then you'll more than likely lap up this warm but wonky interpretation of "Natural Selection".

18) Prosumer - Turn Around (Cassy's Smooth Mix) // Ostgut Ton
If you're aware of Cassy's work, then you'll know that she's all about stripped back grooves - and what a groove this is. Hypno-house at its finest.

17) Morgan Geist - Detroit (C2RMX1 by Carl Craig) // Environ
The original version was the highlight of Geist's Double Night Time record, and C2 gives it a damn fine nip and tuck to make it suitable for sweaty late night dancefloors.

16) Silent Servant - Violencia (Function Remix) // Sandwell District
Both of the mixes on this package are fantastic, but for me it's Function's use of space and swing that just edges it.

15) International Pony - Bubble In A Bottle (Pepe Bradock Remix) // Columbia
Pepe Bradock had a relatively productive year in 2008, and I certainly wasn't complaining. Eccentric and engaging house music in a year where yawnsome trackiness was all too prevalent.

14) DLX - Matter Of Fact (Breakage's Relatively Speaking mix) // Smog
Dark and cavernous speaker-bothering business from Breakage, with some of the best sounding snares I heard all year long.

13) Scuba - Ruptured (Surgeon Remix) // Hotflush
Crisp, charging percussion and celestially choral samples combine to make an urgent and uplifting heads-down techno anthem.

12) Rennie Foster - Good Time Charlie (DJ Bone Remix) // Subject Detroit
Bone gets deep on this multi-layered jam, pulling out the cosmic chords and chugging loops for some perfect nocturnal headphone business.

11) Petar Dundov - Oasis (Substance & Vainqueur Remix) // Music Man
Shimmering dubwise chugger from the ever-reliable Substance and Vainqueur team. Lie back, light up, and bask in its immersive liquidity...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Normal Service Will Be Resumed Shortly

Hell, I've neglected this place over the past few months. Starting work for Resident Advisor has meant that I haven't had the time that I'd like to keep this ticking over, but rest assured that there'll be plenty of content coming soon. There's an Headhunter transcript from just before his US tour, and the Ramadanman one from this month's Hessle feature is dying for a place to host it. That man can certainly talk the hind legs off a donkey. Also, there'll be some sort of end of year summary, but those expecting a big 100 with comments and samples won't be in luck. Keep checking back, and there should be something interesting here before you know it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

This Saturday

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MixTAPE: The Mole

The lads over at Fabric have sorted us out with this quality live set from The Mole, who's put out one of my favourite albums of the year with his cracking effort, As High As The Sky (review here). See how many sneaky samples you can spot peppering the selection of his own tunes. From what I hear, he performs live on four or more turntables, which is what I guess is going on here.

MixTAPE - The Mole (Live)

He's also playing at Fabric on September 8th, with Damien Lazarus (who's back after resurrecting his Crosstown Rebels imprint following a severe loss due to Amato's administration), the Wiggle crew, and disco beards Todd Terje and Rub'n'Tug. Certainly a promising line-up, that's for sure!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TAPE in September

Friday, 19 September 2008
10pm - 4am
Native, 15 Small Street
£6 on the door

Philip Sherburne (Lan Muzic) - debut UK performance
Ramadanman (Hessle Audio / Soul Jazz)
Richard Carnage (TAPE)
Puffin Jack (TAPE)

Philip Sherburne (Lan Muzic)
Philip is best known as one of elecronic-music's most tireless scribes. With over a decade of bylines to his name, he is the editor of the biweekly electronic-music newsletter Earplug and writes regularly for Pitchfork, The Wire, XLR8R, eMusic and URGE; he's also contributed to many more publications, among them the New York Times and Slate.

Too restless to remain on the receiving end of the speakers, Philip has become increasingly visible as a DJ. While living in San Francisco, he threw one of the city's few minimal-techno parties of its time, hosting the likes of Ellen Allien, Superpitcher and Ada; in addition to a running hip-hop/downtempo/experimental weekly, he was also a part of the experimental-techno collective Trouble (along with local mainstays like Sutekh, Kit Clayton, Safety Scissors and Kid606) responsible for some of SF's most notoriously unhinged parties. Since relocating to Barcelona in 2005, Sherburne's reputation as a selector has grown. Both headlining and supporting marquee talents like Michael Mayer, Ricardo Villalobos, Luomo, Swayzak, M.A.N.D.Y., Apparat, Anja Schneider, Ewan Pearson, Efdemin and Sebo K, he appears regularly at multiple venues in Barcelona (The Moog, Raum, Lo*Li*Ta, Fellini and Kubik) and has also played in Berlin, Montreal, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, Portland, New York; Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile; and Juarez, Guadalajara, and Mexico City, Mexico.

In the last few years, Philip has increasingly turned his attentions towards production. His first release, the single "Lumberjacking," appeared on Berlin's Lan Muzic label in September 2007, backed with an Exercise One remix. His second twelve, 'Salt & Vinegar', dropped a couple of months back, again on Lan.

Phil's 'Light In August' mix:

DJ Koze, "Cecily" (Philpot)
Shinedoe, "The Peacemaker (Deetron Remix)" (100% Pure)
Channel X, "Burning Train" (Upon You)
JC Freaks, "The Rock" (Wandering)
Knowing Looks, "1100=moon" (Musique Risquée)
Vera, "People's House" (Cargo Edition)
Goldwill, "Motion Team" (Musik Gewinnt Freunde)
Recloose, "Can't Take It (Carl Craig Remix)" (Planet E)
Ra.H, "The Fall of Justice" (Morphine)
Motorcitysoul, "Change You (Shur-I-Kan Remix)" (Simple)
Crustation, "Flame (Mood II Swing Borderline Insanity Dub)" (Jive)
Blaze, "Lovely Dae (Friends Experiment Remix)" (Playhouse)

More mixes:
'An Unseasonably Warm Mix'

'Beta Lounge, March 2008'

'Music For The Evening After'

'Schaffel Is Stronger Than Pride'

Ramadanman (Hessle Audio / Soul Jazz)
David ‘Ramadanman’ hails from north London, but now lives near Bournemouth and goes to university in Leeds. He has been DJing from the age of 14, beginning with deep house and hip hop, becoming attracted to hip-hop and jungle as he grew older.

Ramadanman has been interested in music all his life, and began producing by recording keyboard songs onto cassettes. After learning how to make music on computer, Ramadanman started to use his brother’s copy of Fruity Loops at around the age of 15. He has stuck with this program ever since.

He heard about dubstep through making grime instrumentals, after several people commented that his beats sounded like it. Inspired by a Mala set after reaching FWD for the first time in April 2006, Ramadanman became involved in the dubstep scene. He made many tunes that summer after moving house, two of which he had professionally mastered at Transition Studios. These tunes were digitally released as WAVs, and were sold directly to DJs through

Since then Ramadanman has put out two more digital releases, and has seen his music appear on vinyl. His tune ‘Response’ was the first release on Bare Dubs, and the anthemic ‘Good Feelin’ came out on 2nd Drop Records with a Jamie Woon remix on the flipside. In late 2007 his track ‘Every Next Day’ opened proceedings on the compilation Box Of Dub 2, released by the legendary Soul Jazz Records. He has enjoyed DJ support from Skream, Kode9, Distance, Mary Anne Hobbs, Rob da Bank and many more.

Ramadanman decided to start a record label called Hessle Audio with fellow students Ben UFO and Pangaea at the start of 2007 and the first release by TRG sold out within weeks. He is involved in organizing the Leeds’ first 100% dubstep night ‘Ruffage’, as well as hosting a weekly show on internet radio station Sub FM. 2007 has seen Ramadanman DJ in UK cities such as London, Leeds, Bristol, Nottingham, York, Brighton, Cambridge, Stoke and Durham as well as international bookings in Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels.

He has performed alongside dubstep artists such as Digital Mystikz, Skream, Benga, Kode9, D1, Rusko, Kromestar, Plastician, Mary Anne Hobbs, Heny G, Scuba and Headhunter. With more releases forthcoming on Soul Jazz as well as Hessle Audio, things are looking promising for Ramadanman in 2008.

Mix for Electronic (starts at 36 mins in)

01. Pangaea - Antistatic (Ramadanman Remix) [Unreleased]
02. Pinch - Dr Carlson [Punch Drunk]
03. Ramadanman - Offal [Soul Jazz]
04. Pearson Sound - Dimes (Ramadanman Re-Edit) [Unreleased]
05. TRG - Generation (Breakage Remix) [Forthcoming Naked Lunch]
06. Quest - Arawak [Unreleased]
07. Untold - Walking Through Walls [Unreleased]
08. Ramadanman - Bidding War [Unreleased]
09. Ramadanman - Blimey [Hessle Audio]
10. Komonazmuk - Bad Apple [HENCH]
11. Headhunter - Royal Flush [Unreleased]
12. TRG - Put You Down (Ramadanman Refix) [Hessle Audio]
13. Martyn - All I Have Is Memories [Applepips]

Quite an agreeable line-up, don't you think? Get your ears round that Ramadanman mix if you haven't already - it's quite something. Hopefully see you down there on the 19th!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Appleblim down the pub!

Though of you based in London (or, at the least, unafraid of travel) are cordially invited to join us for the last ever Washing Line party at The Constitution in Camden, on Saturday 2nd August. Our special guest for the evening is none other than Laurie Osborne, aka Appleblim.

I can't believe we've got Laurie playing in a 60-capacity boozer in Camden. But sure enough, we have.

Along with Shackleton, Appleblim is co-founder of Skull Disco - without doubt one of the most important and innovative labels to emerge in recent years. It came to prominence on the back of dubstep, but Shack and 'Blim (ahem)'s distinctive sound has always defied such easy categorization, its aims far higher and energies far greater than the wobbly bass bollocks which the 'd' word has come to denote.

Since then, Appleblim has released a string of envelope-pushing singles ('Vansan', in particular), and founded a new label, Apple Pips, with the express intention of exploring the fertile grey areas between house, dubstep, techno and garage.

Still, Laurie's roots in dubstep are pretty fucking significant: he's a former resident at the era-defining FWD>>, and regular a contributor to Rinse FM - his most recent podcast for the station is the best 2 hours of music I've heard this year - repping bleeding edge techno and dubstep alongside vintage beauts from Alice Coltrane, Mr Fingers and even (gulp) Davy Graham. You can download the mix here:

Appleblim - April podcast [Rinse FM]Dubstep Allstars Volume 6, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Youngsta and Kode 9. He's also just produced a sterling mix for Resident Advisor's renowned podcast series. Download it at, where you can also read Carnage's interview with him.

In short, Appleblim is, for me at least, the most interesting and engaging DJ at work on God's earth right now. Seriously. I get out of bed in the morning just to listen to the fucker's Rinse mix. So I'm VERY happy for him to dignify The Washing Line with his presence, especially given as his last UK show was at frickin' Fabric...

Joining Appleblim will be a very special live guest TBA, plus a name some of you will be familiar with: Mr RICHARD CARNAGE. Carnage is the driving force behind the TAPE clubnight and blog, and thanks to his good work and good taste they've both earned a wodge of international acclaim over the years. An infallibly shit-hot DJ of discerning club music of all stripes and shades - from house and techno to dubstep and garage via disco, italo and electro - Carnage is, quite frankly, your man.

Myself and Lazerboy will provide the cherry on the funeral cake with our usual slipshod mix of disco, post-punk and dubby business. Yes!

As usual, it all goes down in the cellar bar of The Constitution - an impossibly intimate lockside boozer in Camden. The basement opens out onto the most tranquil, beautiful part of the lock, and the venue boasts not one but TWO of the best smoking areas in all of Christendom. Seriously. The drinks are good, the locals are weird, the sound is raw. What more do you people want?

All of you who've attended The Washing Line should need no encouragement to join us for our swansong. Those of you who've never been - well, it's your last chance, intit?

right. see you there.

The Washing Line presents

Saturday 2nd August

@ The Constitution (cellar bar), LONDON NW1 0QT

8pm-1.30am, £5
Nearest tube: Camden Town

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TAPE this Friday!

This Friday, people!

Headhunter (Tempa)

As part of the Hench crew, Headhunter has been carving out his own style of dubstep for a good few years now. The ‘Initiate EP’ saw him merge UK garage, techno, and drum’n’bass influences into a mechanical and muscular whole, and showed him on top of his production game. On the 18th he joins us to draw the dots between his influences and his own material. Expect maximum bassweight!

Headhunter live on Rinse FM (28th May 2008)
Untitled - White Label
Teebee - White Label - Black Science Labs- Subtitled
LTJ Bukem - Suspended Space - Suspended Space EP - Good Looking
Future Engineers - Source Code- Technetium Ep
Tony Allen - Ole (Moritz von Oswald Mix) - Honest Jons
Leftover - eichenholz ep - Baum Records
Reverberation - Substance & Vainquier - Scion
Appleblim & Peverelist - Circling
Headhunter - Untitled Dub
Headhunter - Paradigm Shift
ramadanman - Blimey - Hessle Audio
Headhunter - Grounded
Pinch - Wonky Bleepy
Martyn - Natural Selection
2562 - Moog Dub - Tectonic
Headhunter - Your Say
Headhunter - Untitled Dub
Headhunter - Royal Flush
Wax Doctor - New Direction (93 Remix) - Basement Records

Headhunter live on Rinse FM (28th May 2008)

October (Caravan / Perspectiv)

Undoubtedly the finest purveyor of forward thinking techno music in the city, Julian Smith has turned heads worldwide with his recent productions on his own Caravan label, and also for Ripperton's Perspectiv. Mastered by Robert Babicz (aka. Rob Acid), his current release, 'Say Again' is a futurist broken techno track that's been rocking floors worldwide. Not to mention that his 'Three Drops' track is a favourite of Surgeon, and has been invited to perform a set on his radio show in the coming month. In addition, his track 'Invitation' has just been licenced as the final track on the new instalment of Steve Bug's 'Bugnology' mix series - great praise indeed!

October - New & Forthcoming Releases
1) Listen, Move, Dance
2) Three Drops
3) Invitation
4) There's A Glitch In My Soup
5) Tape
6) Homosapiens

October - New & Forthcoming Releases

Luke Malcher (under_score)

Luke Malcher is a resident at top Bristol techno night under_score. He likes to combine party funk with rave fear, and assimilates numerous styles - including bumping uk garage, dub, house and experimental noise - to create a unique sound. He has played for nights like Tape, Summer Summons, Byte and Best Before and is known for unauthorised collusions with Westcountry Shakedown and Normalise.

Luke Malcher - No EQs Promo Mix
SOG - SOG 2.2
Dettmann & Klock - Places Like This
Samim & Michal - Exercise
Detroit Grand Pubahs - Sandwiches
Petre Inspirescu - Sakadat
Rhythm & Sound - Ruff Way (Osunlade Version)
Vainqueur - Elevations 2 (Extracted)
Ramadanman - Offal
Juice-O-Matic - Lask006
Dru Hill - How Deep Is Your Love (Groove Chronicles Remix)
Dexter - I Don't Care

Luke Malcher - No EQs Promo Mix

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Placid kicks out the jams

Local legend and under_score resident Placid has just started off a new blog showcasing records from his deep and extensive record collection. There's only a few entries so far, but mark my words when I say that this site will be one to watch as far as classic dance rarities go. Already up are cuts from Marcus Mixx, Acidwolf, Ecstasy, Kebekelektrik, Humanoid, and Frequency X.

Link: - The Blog

Also, if you're in Bristol this Saturday then you should head over to St Paul's Carnival, which is always really good fun. There are a few rigs present, the most notable one being the Sureskank rig who've got a dubstep line-up to die for! They'll be present on Ashley Road, so head over once you've had your fill of jerked chicken. Here's the full line-up:

+ MORE!!!

Under_score are also collaborating with Bruk to put on an event in the evening at The Tube (at the bottom of Park Street), so if you're at a loss for something to do, head there afterwards.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

MixTAPE: Live at Viva Radio

It's taken me a while, but I've finally got round to uploading the mix that I did for the Viva Radio guys whilst I was over in NYC. It's a bit sloppy at times, but I blame that on being a bit flustered after getting totally lost on the way back from Dope Jams, which was honestly one of the best, if not the best record shop that I've ever had the pleasure to visit. Friendly staff, big fat vintage speakers mounted up, a reel-to-reel, dividers for each record rather than genre for quick browsing, some hilariously on point comments on the records (Deepchord's 'Grandbend', for example: "more watered down sub-Basic Channel, but that won't put you off, will it? Hell, just buy it and sell it on eBay in a couple of months for triple the price!"), and stock to make a grown house and techno fan do a small wee in their pants... I could go on, but I won't. But if you're ever in New York, do try and make it over to Brooklyn and check out the shop - you won't regret it. Anyway, it took me over two hours walk and a short bus ride to get back (it should've taken me 45 minutes...), and this is what I mixed up on my return to the studio. One take, two 1210's, warts'n'all. Big ups to Matt Werth, Cassady, and Ted at Viva Radio, and also to Colin Nagy for pestering anyone he knew to try and wangle me a gig. Next time, Colin!

TRG - Broken Heart (Martyn's DCM Remix) // Hessle Audio
Patrice Scott - Raw Fusion // Sistrum
Omar S - Psychotic Photosynthesis // FXHE
Pied Plat - Double Trouble // Rush Hour
The MD X-Spress - God Made Me Phunky // Open
Romanthony - Wreck // Glasgow Underground
TJ Dumas - What Am I Gonna Do // Stillove4music
Erotic Drum Band - Action 78 // Prism
Samson & Delilah - I Can Feel Your Love Slipping Away (Long Vocal) // Saturn
Luomo - Really Don't Mind (12" Version) // Huume

Richard Carnage - Live At Viva Radio

Also, here are some more RA reviews:
Audion – Billy Says Go // Spectral Sound

Oleg Poliakov - House Moujik // Circus Company

Extra Produktionen – Feuerwehrhaus // Brontosaurus

Psychonauts - World Keeps Turning // Souvenir

RSD - Jah Way // Punch Drunk
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