Press

READ THE LABEL

‘Running a label should not be a case of randomly soliciting music from across the world.’

Ron Morelli

‘Now, it’s kind of ‘Okay, I’ll enter that arena, and I’ll use those reference points’. There was a charm thing that has been eroded by the speed of communications now.’

Adrian Sherwood

Record labels, much like running an abattoir, are one of those endeavours that everybody thinks they could easily have a stab at but nine times out of ten their efforts result in a bloody mess. The glitz and attraction held in the prospect of curating and designing recorded outputs for artists frequently overshadows the realities of sluggish record sales, pressing plant nightmares and crippling overheads. This is the inaugural edition of what we hope to be a regular feature on the blog that will seek to doff a figurative cap to the efforts of some of the Pool’s very own label owners who fight against these tides of difficulty to deliver us new and exciting music.

To start we are casting our gaze upon one of the two labels that are owned by the Pool’s multi-faceted power players Soft Rocks. Vibrations is the house imprint started by Chris Galloway and Piers Harrison in late 2010. Since its inception the label has continued to release captivating house and techno music ingrained with a permanence that the bulk of the music in this inherently transient arena lacks. The first Vibration to touch the public’s collective cochlea saw the wormhole house approach of Mark E subverted with a wash of bright new-age hues.

Subsequent releases have given us more of the lush jazz inflected house from Jaime Read’s nascent LHAS Project, served up extra helpings of the clattering machine funk of DC’s Protect-U and given airtime to previously unheard of acts like Last Floor Hotel who graced us with some suitably melon mangling acid.

In an early interview the guys spoke of wanting to cast Vibrations as a house label in the same way that On-U Sound is a reggae label. Four years on and seven releases in and the label owners have been caught in an unprecedented purple patch for the humble record label. The two quotes at the start of the feature are included not only for the affinities that Vibrations have to the respective label owners quoted but also serve to highlight the pitfalls of label ownership in the internet era. Whilst the logistics and mechanics of running a label have never been easier to acquire and master what can often be lost in the scrabble to gain ascendancy is the intangible charm of the slightly mysterious and thoughtful label that releases the music of friends even if it doesn’t quite fit with the favourable micro tags of the minute. Vibrations, in The Pool’s humble opinion, has certainly become one of those rarities. What follows is an honest evaluation of the successes and disappointments that the guys have had in coming to this point….

Hello Guys, So let’s start with Vibrations. You’re seven releases in and going from strength to strength. In an earlier interview with RA you spoke of the label in a rather jocular fashion as a vanity project and another outlet to waste your money. In seriousness has the label fulfilled what you wanted from it?

A distributor we know once said he didn’t take on ‘vanity projects’, which would probably wipe out 95% of the records you see in shops like Phonica etc. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with vanity projects or hobbyist record labels in honesty. At least they’re free from financial shackles and the weight of expectation that bogs down more ‘serious’ projects.

I’m not sure we had any massive expectations of Vibrations beyond ‘let’s do a house based label’. We’re quite slack in terms of promotion and that often means we just release these records into the wild and see how they get on, for better or worse. I like the idea that something can have a life of its own and people discovering something. On the other hand, I’d like to have seen more sales as well. Sadly in this day and age, if your record doesn’t make an impact in the first week of its release, it generally won’t make any impact.

I think Vibrations also got a bit buried in the vast numbers of hand-stamped house labels floating around now. Which, for me, is part of the reason we’ve not done anything for a while. We never really saw ourselves as part of that. House music has been as important to Chris and I as much as any other music for as long as we’ve been dj’ing. We’re bloody old so that’s some time.

When starting the label was it the case that you had a bank of releases that you were sat on waiting to release or have you just been waiting for the right releases to come along to you?

We had the Mark E record cued up and I think that was about it. We’ve worked with Jaime loads and know he has tons of unreleased material so he was an obvious choice. There’s no shortage of wonderful music looking for a home out there, so we were confident that we’d find stuff and stuff would find us. We reach consensus pretty easily – generally if one of us doesn’t want to release something, the other will accept that. We haven’t reached fisticuffs over a B2 track just yet.

The house and techno music on Vibrations can veer between a very, for want of a better word, vintage sound and in some instances a highly contemporary sound. Is this accurate or do you see it differently?

Yeah, I guess so. As I said above I think we’d probably be looking for stuff away from the vintage now (barring Jaime who I put in a wholly different class to the vintage house pastiche market). I think our tastes in house music are catholic enough to encompass most things. I know that we’d love to sign a real song as much as abstract machine music.

The Roots Unit material seems like the quintessential Vibrations act but you have released stuff on other labels. Will you be releasing any more Roots Unit stuff on other labels?

For me, Roots Unit still needs to find its working method. Chris and I need to do some heavy R&D to get it in the right place. We blundered into this practice of recorded loads of analogue stuff and then arranging in logic which seemed like a nice melding of vintage and contemporary but I’d like to rethink that a bit. I don’t know where I see it going next.  I’d love Roots Unit to be a true blending of dub and house but that’s so tough.

In terms of other labels, yeah, we’ve been speaking to people but it’s mostly a case of us getting together and making the tracks. With kids, jobs, Soft Rocks DJ gigs and owning a dog it’s just really, really hard to find the time. We’ll get there though!

My personal favourite of all the releases thus far was the Asian Project. Could you tell us more about that release?

Ours too! Bobby Soft Rocks did the tracks with Julian from Bah Samba and originally they were slated for the Soft Rocks LP. Somehow they ended up on Vibrations, they blew our minds and I thought they’d do so well. I met Protect-U when I first dj’d in Philadelphia and we stayed in touch hence the remix. Again, I really felt they nailed that one and I was super-proud of the collaboration and end result. Sadly, the record buying public felt differently. Maybe as it was an unknown artist, or maybe just because it didn’t really sit in any camp…. which kind of makes it the perfect Vibrations record in a way.

You’ve self identified influences on the label that include On-U sound and Nu Groove. In terms of contemporary influences are there any modern labels that you draw inspiration from?

Standard answer, but LIES. Not so much that I like every record but in the way it’s a complete extension of Ron’s taste, vision and personality. Full respect for serving up thoroughly uncompromising music and finding massive success. Others I love include Public Possession, Future Times and TFGC.

Could you tell us about what future releases are in store for the label?

We hopefully have a world music / house fusion from Tiago and a mixed artists e.p that inc an acid banger from Ulysses of the Neurotic Drum Band.

 Words by Thomas Govan. & thanks to Piers & Chris for sharing.

POSTED IN

Music, Press, Soft Rocks

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

POSTED IN

Events, Greg Wilson, Music, Press

Talking to Thomas

Speaking in a 2008 interview Thomas Bullock muses, “disco is not like,“good or bad, it’s just whether you disco. Do you or don’t you disco?”

In answer to his own question Thomas Bullock’s freewheeling, nomadic, overwhelmingly creative and sometimes overtly hedonistic existence has been very much a case of doing disco; its ethos of acceptance and exploration firmly ingrained in him.

Without needlessly re-treading old ground, its simply worth pointing out that whether amongst the yellow bass bins of Tonka, delivering debauched dance sermons to the sweating masses of NYC via early Rub N Tug, or tweaking out with his mate Harvey as Map of Africa, Thomas Bullock is well travelled, spiritually as well as geographically.

His boundless creative exploration has taken him into pastures (or should we say canyons) new, within the past few years.  Thomas has found himself falling head over heels for the distilled sap of the agave plant commonly known as the Mexican produced spirit Mezcal. So much is his love for the liquor that he has set up his very own import company named the Spirit Bear Mezcal Company and has embarked on a quest to spread the word on the wonders of the drink.

The latest instalment takes place this weekend in Bristol with Dirtytalk bringing Thomas to the Looking Glass on Saturday 23rd November for a unique tasting and dancing session. Dirtytalk are long term fans of Thomas’s output and burgeoning Mezcal aficionados, so this party promises to be a first for Bristol in many ways.

In anticipation of the night the Pool took the opportunity to peel themselves away from work for a wee while and direct some questions to Thomas.

Read on for some chat that takes in Berlin oblivion through to Thomas’s new experimental music group… and a sneak shot of the new Tom of England record that drops this Friday…

As a man that has travelled a lot and lived in many places, how do you find living in London in the year 2013?

It took a minute to switch gears from NYC but I have it now, locked in 5th and I wouldn’t want to go back. It’s a mysterious place London, I find. Far more private and subtle. I feel I’m learning a lot from it.

Have you been back to Cambridge since you have been living in London?

Yeah, for a minute. Felt good. It’s so easy. Like a good dream.

Did you ever try and visit Syd Barrett in Cambridge? Was his work an early influence?

He used to visit the town some days. He’d appear, fairly regularly, in the Market Square, long black hair matted, a vest and no shoes yelling wildly in the streets. Really. He was a fixture as I grew up. Just another one of the maniacs we were familiar with in the town. Wasn’t till I was a teen someone pointed out who he was. Didn’t change the way I felt about him. I still liked him.

Do you have a pre-existing relationship with Bristol as a city? In terms of your musical direction, or are we talking uncharted waters? Any Bristol memories..

I played here 3 times in the 80′s. Twice in the Thekla? is that right ? And once, a Tonka do that ended up in a blues that got a bit hot when it was understood we’d all just played and been paid so we chipped smartish.

Is it true Bristol resident… Mr Tim Goldsworthy is involved on the long awaited Rub N Tug LP? How did you guys originally connect what is his role in the project?

Indeed, TG is now at the helm and we’re delighted. I met him in 2000 over a meeting with DFA to sign my band ARE. I was into it but the other two said no. It was the beginning of the end to be honest.

You and Eric were from memory very early to play what is now the legendary Ostgut/Berghain club in Berlin. Do you have any memories from that time when you first brought the Rub N Tug invasion to Berlin / Europe that you would like to share? 

No

Ha ! Just kidding. Sure, but they’re all straight forward memories of you know, being wasted in Berlin. It was cool. Nothing special. Rub n Tug. People liked what we were doing. I think it was new there. Our sound and style.

Is there any chance map of Africa LP 2 will ever see the light of day? 

As to Map Of Africa II, I think so. The songs are recorded and really quite good. I’ll have a word with Harv . .

Has a Map of Africa live show ever happened?

In the barn, many a time. Harv and I, floppy boot stompin’ around in the woods. Some of it we recorded and made the record from.

I saw you getting some nice praise in an RA ‘favourite DJ’ feature last week, anyone you’re keen to big up that you’ve come across recently?

Really ? How nice. I swear, I exist creatively in a bubble. Never any idea what’s being received or how. DJ’s/music for me : The Melbourne/Bamboo Crew. Georgia, a genius duo out of Manhattan. EYE from the Boredoms. I would never miss a set of his if I had the chance to go. Theo Parrish too.

The Spirit Bear Mezcal Ensemble came out with a remarkable record this year. Are there any plans for further releases or was that just a single instance live happening never to be repeated?

LN-CC 005 – SPIRIT BEAR MEZCAL ENSEMBLE from LN-CC on Vimeo.

Oh, we’ve done another with a few extra players joining the core group. We had Dave and Steph from Soulwax sit in, literally, on the ground, for 5 hours. And Susumu from Zongamin too. All recorded. Nice session.

What is the Spirit Bear and can it only be summoned upon consuming the correct amount of mescal?

Si. Soy el espíritu oso and you’ve got to drink the good hooch to tune in. Seriously. Not that every one must drink it. But if one does, it does put you in a great and unique place.

Have you always been a fan of spirits or has it been something that has come through your maturation as a person?

Ha. No, I’ve never been into spirits at all. Just the Mezcal. It’s got it’s own thing which is the thing I like.

The venerable Morgan Geist is effectively at number one in the UK right now, any designs to be on TOTP from your end? (Mezcal + Bears, what could go wrong)

Number one what ? DJ ? I had no idea. Well that’s cool. I’ve always preferred the B sides, so to speak, so mainstream action is something I’ve never understood as attractive at all.

Do you have an Mexican disco records we need to know about?

Good question ! I might come to think of it . . Or a least a coupla western themed bad boys. I’ll try dig em out for Saturday

Todd Terje – Spiral

Terje is back with his latest release on his own Olsen label. Watch this one go….

Check out the teaser clips at the link below… and look for it to drop in the coming days at stores everywhere.

Todd Terje – Spiral

Four is the magic number: Todd Terje’s next 12” super sound single on Olsen Records finds him going back to his roots with two extended and sparkling synthesizer adventures for club use. “Spiral” and “Q” are preceding the mastermind’s up-and-coming debut album (where both tracks won’t appear) and are the elaborated results from a commissioned concert for Bergen’s 2012 Ekko Festival.

The title track is exactly that type of percussive-driven crescendo cut that would have had discerning discos of yesterday hitting their roofs – luckily, the dance floors of today are none the wiser while spiralling into bliss. “Q” on the other side is a twelve minute long trance-not-trance epic that makes use of cowbells, fosters distortion as a stylistic device and features a prominent melody that won’t leave your brain too soon and makes it impossible to hit the stop button.

Housed in tremendous and theme-fitting sleeves conceived by Oslo’s top illustrator Bendik Kaltenborn.

more words on the release from our in house scribe Mr Govan…

‘Like any memorable volcano Mount Olsen has made sure the eruption following a period of dormancy is unrelenting and powerful. Spewing out with no less energy than the last is the latest offering on Todd’s own label Olsen.

A-side ‘Spiral’ is a lush tapered number that shimmers with Brontosaurus style 80s indebted nostalgia as it takes you from the pre-disco nerves; dousing you a splash of Brut & gearing up with ethereal Enya vox pads before diving headlong into a big snog at your local dance hall, with Blue Monday soundtracking your conquest.

On the flip ‘Q’ has a more modern glacial palette with its muscular 126 bpm framework carving through the ice, & taking you to McMurdo to bask in the warmth of a vodka soaked polar party’

POSTED IN

Music, Press, Todd Terje

Young Marco – Breaking Through

Great interview with Marco over on RA this week, check it out…

YOUNG MARCO – BREAKING THROUGH

 

POSTED IN

Music, Photos, Press, Young Marco

COS/MES – Remix Package

The latest Sadistic offering from the kings of tweaked new age sensibilities Cos/Mes provides a wonderful showcase for the talents of not one but two of the Pool’s acts.

Discodromo pick up a six pack from base and go out in a disco sludge fest across the Viet Cong in their Black Voodoo rework of ‘Iron Deck’. Soft Rocks, in polar contrast, zone out in front of the shopping channel with a pack of Xanax and a C90 blaring with some lost Baldelli mixtape in a tender, cosmic and balletic reshaping of ‘Ramp’ by the Brighton boys.

Both essential listening, with the added bonus of the angular funk of Cos/Mes’s own ‘Build the Band’, yes that one from the Robert Johnson mix, backing things up.

words by Thomas Govan

Ibiza – David Phillips Interview

So, we’ve decamped to the white island for a few days, and ahead of our party at Boutique Hostal Salinas this evening we caught up with co-owner, DJ, raconteur, man about town and all round good egg Dave Phillips…

 

- how did Boutique Hostal Salinas come about?

In 2007 I joined up with two of my best friends Dusi and Anita to help run their their bar Lo Cura while they were having babies and we came across a long overlooked place in Salinas. At any given time we could think of 11 people who were here for a visit who we knew. This place has 11 rooms.


- How long have you been in Ibiza?

Since April 24th I think, 1992

- why ibiza, what’s kept you here all this time?

I did my teenage years in Marbella down south, and this is a much more groovy version. If you have a good first summer here it can be life changing. Mine was amazing, working behind the bar at Space and now after lot of traveling around dji-ing, having fun but not actually evolving too much, it’s home.

- is it right you originated from the west country?

Yup, born in Bristol, then Torquay, then Spain.

- do you believe in the power of ley-lines?

Is this the whole magnetic Ibiza thing? Well I’m not a disbeliever I just don’t spend much time thinking about it. There is a special energy here, and I’m sure some of it could be down to things like that but also the look of the place and the cultural history has a lot to do with it.

- what sort of shape is Ibiza in now in 2013?

Depending on where you look at it from, great or wobbly and pear-shaped. It’s doing well in the face of Spain’s predicament but not for everyone. There are the super rich here and the super skint. We are lacking the middle section to be honest which is good healthy tourism and the kind which best spreads lasting love. We will be putting up with Hummers and daftness for a while longer but they may eventually realize they really don’t get this weird music, and move on. We will all still be here then, dancing.

- how difficult is it for place like lo cura to survive in ibiza year on year?

Well we enjoy a lot of love and support from locals and people in the know so although the port at night is having a hard time as everyone runs amok in Playa d’en Bossa we can’t complain. Also off season we are one of the places to be and it’s a social hub for catching up after being busy busy all summer.

- its known amongst us & ours as the ‘lo cura time vortex’  what’s the craziest story (for publication) you can tell us about a night there?

Ok it’s been written about that I set Chris Bones on fire, which although being an accident, is true. One particular vortex forwarded us to 8am next morning where builders were digging up the pavement with deafening pneumatic drills. We were inside doing ‘Volcanoes’ where lit-in-the-mouth Sambuca is doused with cinnamon to create sparkly things in the air. Well worth the risk you may agree, but if said liqueur is spilt down a beardy chin it can and did catch alight. While we howled with laughter poor Bones was not well. He got better, bless him. A surreal exit though.

- you’ve got a day off (unheard of i know) where do you go and what do you do?

Head northeast, eat amazing fish in one of the 2 little local places Pou d’es Lleó or somewhere, find a deserted bay and lie in the sun reading and clearing my head with a bit of amateur freediving.

- what do you look forward to doing in the winter?

More of the above, plus sporty things, get fit, read, watch movies, sleep late, catch up on music, loads of home cooking, travel, go dj-ing, visit my family and get ready for feb / March where we set the whole roller coaster back in motion.

- you’re the longest serving resident at We Love? is that right, and do you still get that buzz from playing at Space?

I think Jason Bye was there before me but still. I used to play in Ibiza 6 or 7 days a week and doing the main room was still amazing. Now I’m not a main room guy but hosting our Lo Cura Lounge and playing a back room knees up with my friends is the last piece of a wonderful ‘full circle’ puzzle with We Love.

- Why are We Love the best firm on the island?

Everyone involved is really into and really good at what they do, that’s how they got the job. It’s also essentially built around a family unit with Darren, Mark, Sarah, Charlotte and Andy all closely related. They party like everyone else here but they also get things done and are incredibly well organized. There are no medals here for going mental partying, that is assumed. The respect comes from what you achieve meanwhile.

- big tunes of the summer so far for you?

I’m not in the clubs much because of busy busy busy but my big tunes aren’t probably that new. I got hold of Phil Kieran’s mix of Bush Tetras ‘Snakes Crawl’ which is kind of Rockabilly techno back room house belter thingy…I love it. Then some amazing edits by Jerome Derradji are bridging the gap between Paradise Garage and 2013 sound technology perfectly.

- is it right you have a new Pool at BHS now?

Yup! We love it. It’s a shallow one for lazy cocktails and a welcome addition in this august heat. Come for a dip and a sip!

Bill Brewster – Mix & Exchange

Bill Brewster drops a magnificent mix for Test Pressing this week, its been a heavy few days so I make no apologies for stealing their (very fine) words…

The Superstars Of Rock`s “Orange Sunshine” starts a trip back to a Harlem Brownstone, has you hanging out with Bruce Tantum, Rob Di Stefano, Peter Rauhofer, Danny Tenaglia, Vanessa Daou, Mood II Swing, Adam Goldstone, and a crazy queen called Jeffrey. Basic Channel`s boompt. Rainfall in a Plez-like metallic amazon. A filtered Funk express, an A-Train to Sugarhill. Farley & Heller`s “Afrosleaze”. DJ Pierre paying tribute to Ron Trent. All paeans to a high. A wild pitch. A prelude to sex.

TEST PRESSING 276 – BILL BREWSTER – LOWLIFE NYC

You can also enjoy a very interesting RA Exchange with Bill which went live a little while ago..

check it here – RA Exchange – Bill Brewster

POSTED IN

Bill Brewster, Music, Press

GLastonbury & Garden

Just back from a brilliant Glastonbury, superb weather, lovely people and top music.  Thanks to everyone for having us down, Greg, Maurice, Bill, Psychemagik, PBR Streetgang & Soft Rocks all smashing it throughout the weekend, Big mentions especially Carl at Stonebridge, Nick at Beat Hotel, Gideon & co at Block9 & the Crack team! Maz, Team Johnson, Simon Whitehead, Cecilia and everyone else!

You can check out Greg’s Stonebridge Bar mix below:

Next up is another group outing  – The Garden Festival Tisno…  We look forward to this weekend probably like no other, and a great crew heading over this year.

Catch Greg Wilson, Eric Duncan, Matty & Ben on the Pool boat party on friday, with Tiago, Justin V and Eric again doing the business in Barbarella’s the same night.

Greg, Young Marco, Psychemagik, Maurice Fulton, PBR Streetgang all spin during the course of the weekend. full lineup below – raving on the beach!!!

DJ Harvey in conversation

Harvey talks snakeskin boots, Coachella & his spiritual side!

POSTED IN

Harvey, Press