Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson – Weird Substance

As an addendum to last years Q&A with Greg Wilson on his new ventures with Blind Arcade, we’ll now cast our gaze on something only briefly discussed last time around: namely Mr Wilson’s new label Super Weird Substance.

Before we delve in to the substance of the label it will come of no surprise to keen Wilson fans that the label name owes part of its conception to Greg’s voracious appetite for culture. We thought it apt to include the quotation from sci-fi graphic novelist Alan Moore that served as the source of inspiration to Greg….

“Science started out as an offshoot of magic. The two became completely divorced from each other and bitter enemies. Although I tend to think that at the present moment the two are growing back together again. I was reading recently that people at the cutting edge of quantum physics believe that information is a “super weird substance” to quote the actual phraseology, which underlies everything in the universe, which is more fundamental than gravity or electromagnetism or the two nuclear forces.

This would tend to suggest that our entire physical universe is the secondary by-product of a primal information. Or to put it in more magical acceptable terms: “In the beginning, there was the word.”

Source: (The Mindscape of Alan Moore 2003)

A multi-media label in the truest sense of the word, Super Weird Substance deals primarily with music that, to borrow Greg’s own descriptive umbrella, can be termed “balearicpsychedelicdubdisco”. In a live setting the label has and will continue to host sixties styled ‘Happenings’ that include talks, art, bands and DJs.

Having amassed a posse of crack musicians and singers, SWS now boasts the sassy swagger of Sweet Tooth T, the gruff gravitas of The Reverend Cleve Freckleton & The Sinners and the manic magic of Kermit Leveridge & The Super Weird Society, not to mention the vocal force of nature that is The Reynolds.

Eight singles in all will be released during the summer, the label setting out its stall ahead of albums in late 2015 and 2016. Feedback has been universally positive with an eclectic range of DJs including Ralph Lawson, Fatboy Slim and Balearic Mike all praising the first four singles.

In September a showcase all-day Happening at Festival No.6 in Portmeirion takes SWS’s live ambitions to a new level with similar festival Happenings throughout the UK and eventually Europe and beyond the objective.

 

“The substance that has the most effect upon our culture and upon our lives is completely invisible. We can only see its effects. This substance is information.”

 

Here are some links to what the label is up to.

Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field:

SWS YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcCzWOPsggoEFsqotXPv45w

SWS Website:

http://www.superweirdsubstance.com/

 

Plus a couple of press pieces that’ll give you an idea of the philosophy behind the label:

 

http://www.theransomnote.co.uk/music/articles/greg-wilsons-inspirations/

 

http://www.oxjamliverpool.org/features/super-weird-substance-greg-wilson-interview/

 

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This Weekend in London

Couple of big shows this weekend…

Greg Wilson appears at Howard Marks & Friends, tonight at Kentish Town Forum:

Howard Marks – Guardian Piece Jan 2015

While tomorrow Todd Terje drops his all conquering live show on Elephant & Castle, for Rinse FM at Ministry of Sound

Greg Wilson – Australian Tour

Greg Wilson heads down under shortly for a series of shows in later December/early January, don’t miss if you’re in the area!

 

 

Garden Festival 2014

Just back from Tisno, another absolutely belting installment of the Garden Festival..  Huge thanks as ever to Nick, Eddie, Charlotte, Gail, Petra, Damo, Dave and all the festival family who made it such a great few days.

Also great music from Greg & Marco, Tom & Bonar & Justin V, plus:  high fives to Rob, Cecilia, Scandinavian/NYC rave squad, Ben UFO, Dan, Matt & R$N steppers, Duncan, Tiago, team Paqua, the sound guys, the dancers and everyone we met, hugged, tripped over along the way!

Greg Wilson Chats to The Pool About His Brand New Mixtape and Record Label

What was your creative process for compiling this mix?

Kermit and his writing partner Luke (EVM128) had already recorded 7 Blind Arcade demos, and it was those tracks that sold me on the project. I then listened through a number of works in progress, stuff without vocals, or with only part of them recorded, and picked out another 5 tracks. With the mixtape idea in place I’d already planned to contribute additional material, via a number of edits I’d put together that complimented the Blind Arcade vibe, creating sections for Kermit to lend his vocal to – also Katherine and Carmel Reynolds, who I’d just recorded with for the first time (they appear on the about to be released Schooled In The Classics 12″) , for I was sure they could make a telling contribution, which they most certainly have, plus Tracey Carmen, who I’ve worked with for many many years (and also happens to be my wife). Some of these edits I brought to the table, others were Kermit’s suggestions – eventually half-a–dozen of these would make it onto the finished mixtape.

It was then a case of 3 pretty intensive days recording in Derek Kaye’s studio. Intensive in a good way though, working, for the most part, quickly and decisively, the ideas really fluid. We even found time to record a new track Kermit had just written, the 19th and final one to make the cut,  and very much the joker in the pack – ‘Red Stripe And A Spliff’. We then systematically mixed the stuff off, again without dwelling too long on things – the nature of a mixtape being that there’ll be those rough edges. It needed to retain some of its knockabout feel, for this is part of its charm, whilst at the same time we wanted to add further depth, so we paid particular attention, where possible, to the bottom end. It needed that fuller flavour.

Eventually I had all the individual tracks and began the jigsaw of piecing them together into a whole, connected via the transitions I created. Again, I was able to work fairly quickly, and, fortunately,  didn’t really get bogged down at any point along the way.

The mixtape was completed on May 28th, the day Maya Angelou died, with some of her wise words the final addition. It was a fitting conclusion – I knew it was complete then.

We love the artwork for this mix over here at The Pool could you tell us a bit about who created it?

The original hooded man image is from a San Francisco poster by Bonnie MacLean from the psychedelic summer of love in 1967. Dominic Mandrell, who did the Schooled In The Classics coat of arms, adapted it, adding the appropriate title within the purple globe. For the cassette inlay idea, which includes the tracklisting, we went for a distressed look, inspired by a well worn  inlay I’d seen of ‘Revolver’ by The Beatles online.

The project seems to be harnessing some of the energy of the 60’s psychedelic movement. Was that a big influence on the project? How did you go about channelling that into the mixtape?

I’m something of a 60’s obsessive – it’s been a main area of interest for me since I began to devour everything Beatles, not long after I’d packed it in as a DJ in the mid-80’s. I remember the taste of those psychedelic days back in the 60’s, which I experienced as a child, and although the full Haight-Ashbury trip never quite reached New Brighton, where I grew up, its influence was clear in the music of the period – this strange otherworldly flavour that even, sometimes, made it into straight up pop records of the time. The title alone, ‘Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field’ evokes those times, although, in reality, this was inspired by the Dub classic ‘King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown’, plus a nod to comic writer Alan Moore (‘super weird substance’ being a term he mentioned in an interview, as a quantum physics expression relating to information), and the man who came up with the theory of morphogenetic fields, Rupert Sheldrake. So yeah, there is certainly a sprinkling of psychedelic fairy dust throughout the mixtape, but there are also definite links to the second summer of love in the late 80’s, including that free spirited De La Soul album ‘3 Feet High And Rising’, which was the soundtrack of the summer months exactly 25 years ago. I suppose it’s this summer of love connection that relates strongly to the mixtape – we very much see it as something which totally comes into its own with a few rays of sunshine, an addition to the summer soundtrack for sure.

Could you tell us about how Howard Marks came to be involved in the project?

He’s a friend of Kermit’s. We recorded the part from Genesis at my house, which slotted it in at the intro of ‘Universal Prayer’, Kermit’s ode to the green stuff. Howard was obviously the ideal person for this role, given his history. We also recorded Kermit’s poem, ‘Lies And Other Fools’ that night, which symbolically draws a line under his murky heroin addicted past, which became public knowledge during his Black Grape infamy of the mid-late 90’s, the period when he was last in the limelight. We put this out as a limited run single sided 7″ for Record Store Day, and it’s in complete contrast to the positive life-affirming qualities of the mixtape. Not a comfortable listen, but a necessary symbolic part of our process. Kermit had, of course, nearly died, having contracted septicaemia from a dirty needle, having to retreat from the music business for the following decade whilst his health deteriorated and he waited to have a heart operation that had resulted from the infection. Thankfully it was a complete success, setting him off on the road to redemption, and culminating in this latest work.

You used to manage Kermit and the Ruthless Rap Assassins. Do you have any anecdotes you can share with us about that incredibly fertile time for British music, especially in Manchester?

The Assassins were as Manchester as they came, but they didn’t have that baggy thing going on, and they happened to be black, which sadly worked against them, and meant that lesser bands were getting more airtime because they fit the Madchester stereotype of the time. In context to the mixtape, what was interesting is that, on the day it was completed, by total coincidence I came across an online review of the ‘Killer Album’, from when it was re-issued a few years back. There’s been some great stuff written about the Assassins down the years, but this guy, from Switzerland, had really got what we were up to back then, and articulated it so well. It was a very karmic thing to be reading on that particular day, and sums up the Assassin’s role in the Manchester narrative of the late 80’s / early 90’s:

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_rra-killeralbum.html

 Structurally this mix reminds us of a classic Hip Hop mixtape. Is this what you were trying to capture? Is Hip Hop still a big influence on your work?

My relationship with Kermit is tied in with the evolution of the UK Hip Hop scene back in the early-mid-80’s. He was one of the kids that used to come to Legend during my time there, and, even though he’d started out as a Jazz-Fusion dancer, was a big fan of the Electro direction I took during 82/83. He was one of the founder members of Broken Glass, the now legendary breakdance crew, and the first time he recorded was on the Broken Glass track, ‘Style Of The Street’, which I produced in 1984 for what turned out to be the ‘UK Electro’ project. We also, of course, worked together when I managed / produced the Ruthless Rap Assassins, so, as you can see,  our musical relationship has Hip Hop at its very core. Mixtapes are very much a part of the Hip Hop approach, so this felt like the right way forward for Blind Arcade to be introduced.

It’s great to see Kermit making such a triumphant return having been seemingly lost to the demon of addiction. Could you tell us about how it’s been working with him again and accessing his creative energy that seems to have lain dormant for too long?

He’s an older / wiser version of the guy who I last worked with during the Rap Assassins days, who, was slipping deeper into heroin addiction towards the end of our association. We remained friends after it had all fallen apart, and I was touched when, a few years later, he came to Liverpool, during a particularly difficult time for me, to play me a cassette of the Black Grape album, just ahead of the final mixes, and ask my opinion. I was bowled over with what I heard, and the album would go on to top the chart, catapulting Kermit to pop stardom. With Kermit and Shaun Ryder both junkies, Black Grape was always going to implode at some point, but they had a decent innings, and for that golden period they were the hottest band in the country. After that he launched a short-lived project called Big Dog, before distancing from the business to sort out his health issues and await the op. Once he realised he’d been given another chance in life he threw himself, like a man possessed, into writing new tracks and also poetry. What impresses me so much is that he’s been able to approach things with such positivity, accepting his past and embracing his future, whereas lesser people may not have been able to shed the negativity of former ways, or been able to shake off the anger of what they may have regarded as wasted years. Having crawled out of the abyss, Kermit has picked himself up, brushed himself off, and re-entered the fray with a smile on his face, not a scowl, and looking a million dollars, which has got to be a source of inspiration for anyone who’s struggling in life, be it with drug problems or otherwise. It’s that classic tale of redemption, which has been told throughout time, but given a contemporary context here. I have to say that it’s been a pleasure to work with Kermit again – I’ve been able to feed off his seemingly inexhaustible energy, and we are very much in accord with regards to how to move the project forward.

Could you explain to us how Blind Arcade came together? What was your role in the formation of the new group?

It was the result of Kermit moving to Chester a few years back, for this is where he met Luke / EVM128 (who’s subsequently moved to London). They’d also brought in vocalists BB. James and Amy Wilson on some of the demos, BB. taking the lead, to great effect, on ‘Give It Away’. I’d initially declined Kermit’s invitation to come onboard as producer because I was too busy as it was, with my DJ work and the rest of it, but, once I’d heard what they were doing, that all went out of the window. I had to get involved, for this is what I’m all about – you rarely get the opportunity to contribute to a project of this type of quality, so I wouldn’t have been true to myself had passed the offer up.

 

This mixtape also announces the beginning of a new label for you, Super Weird Substance. Could you tell us a bit about what you would like to achieve with the label?

I just want to put out good music that people enjoy, both tracks that are commercially accessible, and those which have more of a cult aura. At the same time we want to develop the live side of things, either stand alone Blind Arcade gigs, or full Super Weird Happenings, a series of which we’re currently planning for a handful of cities in the autumn. Moving onwards, we want to release an official Blind Arcade album, combining tracks from the mixtape that we’ve worked further into and new recordings – this is looking forward to 2015, when we also want to have a greater presence for both Blind Arcade and Super Weird Substance on the festival circuit, both in the UK and Europe.

Thanks Greg!

Listen and download the new mixtape here: https://soundcloud.com/gregwilson/blind-arcade-meets-super-weird-substance-in-the-morphogenetic-field

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Greg Wilson Summer Schedule – 2014

Greg’s busy summer kicks off this weekend, catch him at a spot near you over the coming months..

Garden Festival 2014 – All Aboard

The Garden Festival is back in 2014, with a typically heavyweight line-up.  The Boat party tickets go on sale next Monday (March 17th) at Midday, so if you want to get on board with our voyage, be very prompt!

Lineup this year is: GREG WILSON, YOUNG MARCO & POOL DJ’s 

Thursday 3rd July 2014 

2pm

Ticket Link – Garden & RA

 

 

 

New Roster Addition – ANDRAS FOX

To start off 2014 we’re adding more rising talent to the roster. First up we welcome hotshot Australian producer &  DJ ANDRAS FOX to The Pool roster.

Andras drops us an absolutely killer mix and took time out to chat to us about what he’s upto right now..

– How was your New Year? The Animals Dancing line up looked pretty special. Did you play at that one?

I played some records before Jonny Nash which was a pleasure. Susan Kraft played a really excellent set after that and Lovefingers spent the day monkeying with the tempo slider whilst peopleʼs backs were turned. With niche music scenes like this, itʼs always humbling when you get to meet people youʼve dealt with online for a long time.

– We enjoyed The Embassy Cafe Lp. Can you tell us more about the Vocalist you worked with, super soulful, we love it. Are there more works with Oscar in the pipeline? and any chance of a future live show?

Oscar Key Sung moved into a warehouse I was living / working from in West Melbourne, and we naturally gravitated towards studio / table tennis sessions together. Oscar has a lot of dramas with the ladies, which is great songwriting material. We laid down the cassette demos and didnʼt think much more about it until it was ready for release. We play live on the odd occasion together, and weʼve got a couple festival shows coming up in 2014.

– Do you have any releases forthcoming?

Thereʼs a follow up LP to Embassy Cafe called Cafe Romantica. You can probably see a theme developing. Itʼs pretty much ready par a few vocal re-takes, and will be out during the first half of 2014. Iʼm also working on a couple solo releases, which are taking a new-age / modern soul kind of direction.

– Did the Red Bull Music Academy participation in 2010 play a big part in your maturation as an artist?

I was very green when I went over to London. All the staff, lecturers and participants are some of the best people you could ever meet. Of course, I learned about studio techniques and gear and technical stuff, but itʼs mainly a “life lessons” kind of place. I met long-term partner and collaborator Sui Zhen at the Academy, so at the very least I got some romance out of it.

– Are you beginning to rely upon samples less as you develop or does it vary between productions?

My last few records are completely sample free. I still respect the raw, repetitive sampling of people like Ras G and certain ghetto house producers. But for me, thereʼs no point in sampling Black American soul records – itʼs not from my own culture, itʼs not something that makes sense with my own identity. I might return to some Australian themed edits, and work with licensed material for a few re-issue labels in the future, but iʼm going to keep playing my instruments for now.

– The Australian scene, especially in Melbourne seems to be very healthy at the moment. How does it feel down there, is it a good time for home grown talent, or do you feel Australia has always produced some great stuff?

Itʼs a good time for home grown talent, and itʼs fantastic to see friends and collaborators doing well overseas. Weʼre at the end of the earth, so I guess things will always have their own flavor down under. Only recently have I started to dig deeper in the Melbourne musical past – and there are some truly mental records from back in the day – see the Asphyxiation LP “What is this thing called Disco” for a good example.

– On the Australian scene of old… have you ever come across a band called Tully?page1image30160

Yes – I first fell in love with their soundtrack to the surf film Sea of Joy. So refreshing to hear a surf soundtrack thatʼs full of percussion, repetition and eastern influences rather than screeching guitars. Richard Lockwoodʼs solo home studio demos are pretty deep too.

– We listen to your radio show in the office, tell us your musical ethos when presenting / playing tunes if you have one? Congrats on the show by the way some great stuff!

Iʼm interested in “world music” in a kind of backwards sense: most “world” music attempts to incorporate an eastern, orientalist sounding solo with a banal trip-hop backbeat. Itʼs too literally ethnic. Iʼm like non-western interpretations of western music – the Ghanian dudes with $10 worth of equipment trying to imitate Michael Jackson. The Soviet Era synth disco experiments. Itʼs a confused meeting point of world travel, record collecting and Australiana. There are some great radio shows out there that already have the guest mixes covered (see: NoiseInMyHead) so iʼm just doing my personal thing. I do the show live every Sunday from the RRR studios, so I try to keep in mind the average bloke driving along in a ute, as well as the nerdy record collectors overseas, etc.

– Can you tell us a bit about the mix you recorded for us? (Sounds like summer time to me)

I tried to give you an honest impression of my dance-orientated sets. A mix of familiar chicago sounds alongside some Japanese, Australian and Indian moments.Thereʼs a bit of a PPU flavor too, I really respect their output (both past / contemporary).

– Do you eat Vegemite?

Truthfully, thereʼs nothing I crave after a big night out more than fresh bread, butter and Vegemite. Itʼs made from leftover brewerʼs yeast, which is kind of appropriate too.

– What would be your ideal pool party? ( Guest Dj, Grill Chef, Cocktail Waiter)

Basso, a record dealer of sorts would be playing records – i think last year he even made up a new DJ name “The Breeze” specifically for his cocktail-by-the-pool mixtapes.

On the grill would be Anthony Bourdain – he knows how to cook (and enjoy) good, simple food – turning a few charred fennel prawns or some grape molasses quail.

Lastly my Dad would be serving drinks because he wouldnʼt understand a request for anything but water, beer or whiskey.

Andras will be touring Europe/UK – April 2014.  contact : rob@thepool-london.com

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Greg Wilson : 10 yrs back in the game

So, its a bit of a special one for Greg this weekend, marking as it does the tenth anniversary of his return to DJ’ing.

To celebrate, Ralph Lawson, who was at that night in Manchester a decade back, talked to Greg about his return:

Ralph Lawson – Greg Wilson – When the Legend Returned

Also check out Greg’s take on it at the time below…

and more recently on his blog – 10th Anniversary Flashback

And so tonight to complete the circle, Greg returns to the scene of the crime with fellow killer selectors and all round nice guys; Danny Webb & Solid State.

So if you’re in Manchester get down there and enjoy what’s sure to be a big fun night .

Big up Greg and enjoy the party!

If you can’t make that, then catch Greg at one of the below shows over the festive period & check out a live mix from Berghain in Berlin from last week…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Love, Future Disco, ADE

A meeting of minds from ADE a few weeks back. Props to We Love, Future Disco, ADE, AIR club, PBR Streetgang and Greg Wilson for this reminder of how it all went down…

Also check out Greg’s personal account of his time at ADE over on his blog – Amsterdam Dance Event

 

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