Tagged With ‘Soft Rocks’

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

End of Year Pool Picks…

Here at The Pool we thought we’d throw our collective hat into the ring of end of year charts. We’ve solicited charts from the staff and were given an unsurprisingly across the board selection, ranging from the left of centre jazz inflected pop of Julia Holter through to twisted electronic pan bashing of Fulton’s Syclops.

If that wasn’t enough we even found time to probe three of our roster on what 2014 holds for them as well as asking them for their release of 2013….

 

Gavin Kendrick (Southport, A&R Edits)

Top 3 Singles

Theo Parrish & Tony Allen – Day Like This

Mr Beatnick – Symbiosis

Casbah 73 – Jungle Kitten

Top 3 LPs

Dexter Story – Seasons

Andras Fox feat. Oscar S. Thorn – Embassy Café

Yatha Bhuta Jazz Combo – Yatha Bhuta Jazz Combo

Favourite DJ Mix of the Year

Psychemagik Presents – Magik Sunrise

Artist of 2013

Vakula

Event of 2013

Rootdown (UK Invasion)

Artist to watch for 2014

Andrew Ashong

 

Tom Govan

Top 3 Singles

Bill Calahan- Expanding Dub

Linda Mirada- Lio En Rio

Bell Towers- Tonight I’m Flying

Top 3 LPs

Kemper Norton- Carn

Finis Africae- A Last Discovery

Cos/Mes- Let’s Get Lost Vol 2

Favourite DJ Mix of the Year

Chris Galloway Soft Rocks ‘Live from the International Bath House’ Mix for Noise in My Head

Artist of 2013

Heatsick

Event of 2013

Highlife Room at Corsica Studios June 2013

Hacker Farm

Artist to watch

Sagan Youth Boys

 

Robert Needham

3 Tracks I liked

Leisure Connection – Jungle Dancing

Tony G – Simple Dreams (Young Marco remix)

Jordan GCZ – Crybaby J

3 Comps I liked

Who is William Onyeabor

Claremont Originals box set

Saada Bonaire

Favourite party

The Motorcycle Showroom closing party

Artist to Watch 2014

33 10 3402

 

Ben Terry

3 Tracks I liked

Andras Fox – Running Late

Mental Overdrive  – Monster

Nenad Markovic – Weather Vibes

Favourite party

Pool Boat Croatia, Harvey at Lovebox & afters, We Love Ibiza August, Maurice Fulton @ Dance Tunnel.

Favourite LP

Steve Mason – Monkey Minds in the Devils Time

Artist of 2013

HNNY

Artist to Watch 2014

Young Marco

 

Matty J

Top 3 Singles

Todd Terje- Strandbar

Syclops – Jump Bugs

Alexander Robotnick – Undicidisco (Justin Vandervolgen Edit)

Top 3 LPs

Julia Holter – Loud City Song

Chk Chk Chk – Thr!!!er

Tully – Sea Of Joy (Re-Issue)

Favourite DJ Mix of the Year

Todd Terje BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, Discodromo Pool Mix, Force Of Nature Lovebox Podcast, Abel Chu Valley Mix

Artist of 2013

Young Marco

Events of 2013

Florence Italy, Harvey’s Discotheque Lovebox, Glastonbury, We Love Ibiza, Music For Dreams Ibiza, The Garden Festival Croatia.

Artist to watch for 2014

Andras Fox, Bell Towers, Josey Rebelle

 

Piers Soft Rocks

What have Soft Rocks got for us in 2014?

We’ll be sharing edit duties on African Shakedown Vol 2 with Axel Boman

And your favourite release of 2013.

Merge – Long Distance

 

Bell Towers

What you got for us in 2014…

I’ve got something sneaky for Ruf Kutz, a follow up 12″ on Public Possession early in the year, a remix for Midnight Magic on Permanent Vacation and then some edits on the soon to be launched Animals Dancing label

And what was your favourite release of 2013…

Max D “House of Woo”

 

Richard Sen

What’s in store for 2014?

I have some nice bits lined up for 2014. In Feb the ‘Ghost Train’ single is out on Especial.

In April there will be an Especial mix cd stitched together by my good self and then I’ve got another single in June hopefully remixed by the Asphodells. Plus I’ve got remixes coming up on Strictly Groove Recordings and Public Release as well as a contribution to an exciting Graffiti compilation on Klasse Recordings.

 And the best release of 2013?

My favourite release this year has been Galarude ‘Cero’ Original mix on Internasjonal.

Soft Rocks Christmas Hamper

The lads from Soft Rocks have given us seasonal cheer by dropping a whole host of gifts down our digital chimneys.

First up we have a monster haul of live mixes taken from their recent travels in the Russian Federation and one at home turf at Balearicos…..

Clocking in at over three hours the ‘Live at Oldich’ mix is a glorious mixture running from dubwise versions of Billie Jean through a mangina anthem from Q Lazzarus ending at Shina Williams.

With more of an eye on the floor is there ‘Live at Dom Beat’ mix which sees them turning it up a gear for a gig in St Petersburg. Disco, house, afro, reggae all in the blender..

Finally we are treated to a perfectly formed set of horizontal prism benders that were played to the revellers at last Friday’s Balearicos in the Red Kantine.

The next set of gifts come in the form of the four piece ‘Disco Powerplay’ vinyl set that see the guys get there scalpels to work on a dizzying arrange of obscure business. From quirky low slung italo jams through to funky library covers.

POSTED IN

Music, Soft Rocks

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

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!!!

Horizon Festival

The Pool was in Bansko Bulgaria last week for Horizon Festival…

Shouts to… mixed grills, mouth-wash apéritifs, 24/7 christmas decorations, spinal tap heating, whiskey currency, ebay chalet buyers, more mixed grill, blizzards, Bob Sinclar mountain bird cancellations, Moldovian border control, goats, motorhead bar, pot holes, donkeys, heavy pain killers, wizz drivers, Wizz air, wizz baggage handlers, sgt Gung-Ho and Angie, Bobby Soft Rocks and Jo, Young Marco, Dunks, Needham, the mountains and all the lovely Horizon crew of course.

 

MIX HEAVEN

Seems we have a glut of great mixes this week, so I thought I’d bring them all together in one spot for you…

choose your weapons!

Dr Dunks – for Coggles

C111 Eric ‘Dunks’ Duncan (Rub ‘n’ Tug) Mix by Coggles on Mixcloud

Soft Rocks Live at Lowlife

Discodromo for Holger

Discodromo – Pool Exclusive Mix

Richard Sen for Strut

New Kinfolk Project

Fresh music dropping from the Soft Rocks helmed Kinfolk label, with a remix in the package from the boys as well..

 

 Welcome to the “krautback”

After a protracted absence we’re back with possibly the biggest Kinfolk release to date!

Our Australian brother Tornado Wallace has matured into a fully-bearded musical monster (witness his KILLER release on ESP Institute) and what’s more, he’s gone and done a band with old friend Tom Moore! We were giddy with excitement when these tracks dropped on our virtual doormat and had to snap them up on the spot.

To call “Moon Plain” moody and mid-tempo would be to belie its true anthemic nature – accomplished musically, cool as hell and with a vocal from Chet Faker that sticks in your head, every time we’ve road-tested this jam, we’ve had to field numerous queries about it. An exquisite melding of machines and live instruments…. in a fair world this should be played on the radio as well as in nightclubs (note to reader: we don’t live in a fair world). The Soft Rocks acperience, strips it back, pitches it up and turns the echo to 11.

“Oblong” and “Sentenced Beyond the Seas” are instrumental killers with no filler, lurking in the netherworld between night and dawn… creeping into your brain.

As ever, this release is mastered for vinyl and released on 10″ with the usual nice-as-pie Kinfolk artwork. Long live the Coober Pedy University Band!

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Music, Press, Soft Rocks

The Pool Christmas Round Robin

We’re having a little shindig next Friday after our Somerset House ice skating party, which is now completely sold out!

But if you still want to get involved come say hi at The Horse & Groom in east London where we’ll be getting amongst it with a cast of family & friends…  tickets – HERE

Soft Rocks on Boiler Room!

The Mighty Soft Rocks drop into Boiler Room tomorrow, alongside Beautiful Swimmers & Ruf Dug. Check it out online live from 7pm here

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Events, Music, Press, Soft Rocks