Tagged With ‘The Pool’

Sean P Interview

We chat to the oracle, aka Sean P on what he’s upto right now and his new compilation on BBE

 

You state the often-forgotten or played down importance of ‘Rapper’s Delight’ in 1979. Where were you at musically when this was released?

I was still into mainstream chart and radio music, but had started moving towards the less obvious disco and jazz-funk that some of my mates, particularly the older ones, were into.  This was around the time I started buying records.

What was its influence on you personally?

I couldn’t see where it was going, it’s not as if it opened doors or anything like that… but little did I know – I thought this rapping thing was a gimmick! I was too young to look for any depth or significance, it was about liking or not liking a song – plain and simple. ‘Rappers’ Delight’ was cool, slick and different. Even the wholesale appropriation of another record to base your own on was a new concept o me. I was never a B-Boy, despite developing some inclinations towards that at various times and to varying degrees – but even then, it was only about the music – I’ve never lived the life. Since ‘Rappers’ Delight’, I’ve has an on/off relationship with hip-hop and have been slow at keeping up with its many phases.

What process do you use to digitise and restore material for reissue?

Cedar Audio, they are the original and best. One day I’d like to buy their premier system, but I’d be working flat-out for about 10 years to pay it off.  Pretty much all of the material I restore is transferred from vinyl, so I always ask clients to send me the records so I can clean and digitise them myself. This way, I’m confident that all steps have been taken to ensure the best outcome. Proper system component matching, calibration and vinyl cleaning is, let’s face it, beyond many people – so I try to avoid having pre-recorded files sent to me. I’ve had bad experiences with poor recordings from clients in the past and have turned jobs down. A good recording of a trashed record can yield better results over a so-so recording of a well cared-for record. I’m interested in hi-fi – cartridges and turntables are my main focus, with accuracy in tracking, groove tracing, tonal balance and minimalisation of distortion the top priorities, hence the restoration I do.

I’m listening to your re-edit of ‘Hungry’ by Sandy’s Gang. When did you start editing tracks?

Like so many others… in the bedroom with mechanical, pre-logic controlled tape decks that paused-and-released instantly, with zero lag. I started doing pause-button cassette edits when I bought my first mini ghetto-blaster from  Richer Sounds in 1984. I wish I’d kept it, it was a robust and quirkly machine. It could record in fast-forward and rewind modes, so I learned how faster tape speeds dramatically improved sound quality, stuff like that. I used to put together medleys and mixes, disabling the erase head with sellotape to drop-in and overdub. Hours of fun.

What is your approach to editing?

I became interested in editing when I started hearing 12″ versions of chart records. Funnily enough, Chic’s ‘Good Times’ is the first long version I remember hearing and I was pretty blown away because a great record just got better with all these unexpected twists, like the bass & drums breakdown. The first 12″ I bought was Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’ and as I knew the 45 extremely well, I listened out for all the edit points – and I did this every time I bought a 12″ of a track I knew well in its 7″ edited form. Essentially, this focus on editing comes more from reduction, rather than extension – I figured there was an art to getting a concise, three-and-a-minute version out of long-form track – whatever its length.

On tracks edited on analogue tape, you can sometimes hear a thud or a thump. This happens at even the cleanest edit points and is another marker I used to see how some tracks are shortened. Aesthetically, I try to make instrumentals out of vocal tracks, or extend short tracks in a logical, structured way – so the edits echo the original arrangement. Of course, this is all track-dependant – and the approach varies on this basis. Verses, choruses, bridges, instrumental sections and solos can get in the way sometimes. On occasion, the middle section needs extending and that’s it. It’s case-by-case.

How do you feel about the emergence of a re-edits ‘scene’ in the last decade?

I used to edit lots of tracks for fun but slowed down considerably over the past decade. To be honest, I lost the inspiration and there was so much happening on that scene, I didn’t feel I had anything special to offer. I was hearing edits of tracks that I knew well and thinking, ‘why didn’t I do that one myself’. Some of these tracks just sounded so obvious in a club or in a mix and the originals were languishing at home, forgotten about. Some edits I’ve heard completely lose the essence of the host track, which is pointless – the aim should be to enhance it.

At the same time, some tracks are rescued by doing this. And it’s easy to ignore that re-edits can be good for getting people into good records. I hear a lot of ’80s boogie influences in new records sometimes and I reckon re-edits have played a part in that.

How did Better Days Productions come about?

Dave (Lee) had an idea for a re-edits label and I suggested the name to reference the late Tee Scott, as his mixes were a big influence on both of us. The a-side and b-1 of my first 12″ on the label (Captain Sky and Vernon Burch) were edited on a minidisc recorder. B-2 was several sections loaded into my MPC 2000 and triggered in real time. This was in 1997.

Is the partnership still active?

My last 12″ on the label featured tracks by Z-Factor, Positive Express, The Voltage Brothers and Loose Joints. It sold badly and Dave suggested shelving the label, so I didn’t plan any further projects. He reactivated it later and all the releases since then have been by him alone.

Your record knowledge is quite famous, what is your musical focus today?

I was quite into jazz-funk and fusion when I started buying records and this gradually overtook everything else, so I got more into jazz along the way and that became more of a focus over the last 25 years. I still get excited when I hear a tough boogie record, though – you just feel it. It never leaves you.

Do you collect contemporary releases or are you still excavating for lost treasures?

I don’t go out of my way to explore new music anymore, I just hear things around me and take it from there. Definitely more geared towards older stuff, though – and I buy a lot of re-issues on CD. I would rather investigate unknown old music than wade through loads of new releases. That’s just how my tastes and hearing are.

How is your record collection organised?

Badly, just badly. On the floor, in piles, boxes, shelves. Nightmare. I can never find anything.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

It would be good to get a couple of compilations out before the end of the year and I’m getting a lot of restoration work at the moment, which is keeping me busy. I had a label ready to start up a couple of years ago and the first two releases were planned, but this got waylaid and I’d like to give it a go if I get time. I was approached recently about doing some reissues, which is something I’m very keen to look into.

For all bookings contact: gavin@thepool-london.com

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Sean P

Ashley Beedle joins the roster

Very pleased to announce that the legend that is Ashley Beedle joins The Pool roster this month..

For all bookings contact gavin@thepool-london.com

Full Biog here, as if you didn’t know…

ASHLEY BEEDLE 2014

You can’t talk about UK dance culture without mentioning Ashley Beedle. He’s done it all. And he’s still doing it. A true polymath, it’s harder to find an element of good music that this Bajan-British legend hasn’t been involved in. A DJ, producer, remixer, label owner, re-edit king, he’s been fighting the cause for the good groove since his musical career began in earnest in the ‘80s. For Ashley, notions of genre mean little. He’s got a deep knowledge of every style under the sun. Be it house, hip-hop, reggae, punk, symphonic soul or raunchy ‘70s rock, what matters more is if it sounds right — has the passion, intensity, funk and flavour to light up an Ashley Beedle DJ set.

HOUSE AND BEYOND

Foremost an aficionado of funk, disco and house, his first forays into production got him noticed, with house/garage classics like ‘Give Me Back Your Love’ co-produced in 1988 as part of Boyz In Shock, or the later neo boogie explosion ‘New Jersey Deep’ with Black Science Orchestra making huge dents in dancefloors.  But he’s also cut blissful drum & bass with Ballistic Brothers (‘I’ll Fly Away’), techno with former protégé and Hollywood film soundtracker David Holmes as Disco Evangelists (‘De Niro’), even proto-dubstep as Jamayka Boys (‘Rastaman’). In love with all (quality) music, his productions have been a characteristic blend of his many influences, a patchwork reminiscent of his famously diverse DJ sets, which he continues to perform all across the globe.
Best known as part of pioneering house team X-Press 2, Ashley hit big with house classics ‘Muzik X-Press’ and ‘London X-Press’ and later, with former Talking Heads singer, the incomparable David Byrne, ‘Lazy’, which smashed the charts in the US (No.1 in the dance chart) and UK (No.2 national chart).

Ashley’s crafted Afrobeat electronics as Black Jazz Chronicles, soundsystem dancehall and hip-hop as Warbox, cosmic krautrock flavours as Ralph und Beedle alongside Mark Ralph of Filthy Dukes, country-soul as Mavis with folk like Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner and gospel-soul hero Candi Staton, and an incredible hook-up with reggae crooner Horace Andy for a whole album in the ‘Inspiration Information’ series for Strut.
Mr. Beedle’s had his hand in more than a share of compilations too. The last one, ‘Grass Roots’ — held in high esteem by fellow DJs and fans — saw him delve into those dusty vinyl shelves to uncover a list of personal favourites, with everything from jazzman Freddie Hubbard and soul don Willie Hutch to obscure hip-hop unit Son of Bazerk and Balearic disco fave Will Powers.

YARDISM’
Ashley’s latest excursion — for the first time using his own name — is a series of rough, raw and bashy house EPs, ‘Yardism’, on Toddla T’s Girls Music imprint. Inspired by the new school of sub-injected house music in the UK, he’s taken shards of funky, garage and soundsystem bass vibes and refracted them through his unique production prism, attracting a fresh audience.
The latest installment of ‘Yardism’ will see Ashley collaborate with versatile ‘Neighbourhood’ producer Zed Bias, while his galactic disco project Darkstarr, with The Loft/Classic Album Sundays’ DJ Cosmo and diverse house heads Yam Who? goes from strength-to-strength, fresh off the back of an epic remix of NYC punk funk maestros The Rapture.

REMIX TO RE-EDIT
Remixing and re-editing is another key part of Ashley’s formidable skill set. As well as a formative early 1990s collabo with DJ Harvey re-editing The Police’s disco deviation ‘Voices Inside My Head’, and a super-hit in his 2003 funked-up reform of Elton John’s Philadelphia soul tribute ‘Are You Ready For Love?’ he’s put out club-ready versions of tons of disco, house, Balearic and funk cuts under monikers like Heavy Disco Revue, Afrikanz On Marz and Yambee (with Yam Who?), on a succession of his own labels. The most recent of which, Modern Artifacts, has been very active since its birth in 2010 with version excursions on everyone from Curtis Mayfield to Kate Bush, and most notably the zero-gravity cosmic lament of his re-lick of the sadly departed Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘New York Is Killing Me (Ashley Beedle’s Space Blues Rework)’.
There’s been more brilliant remixes of music giants, too, including a wicked version of Bob Marley & the Wailers’ evergreen ‘Get Up Stand Up’ — which saw the original vocal ride a dubbed out skank using portions of Damian Marley’s modern dancehall classic ‘Welcome to Jamrock’, and got the official seal of approval from the Marley family as well as a Jamaican release via Tuff Gong — and a rare, official remix of the Rolling Stones (‘Rain Fall Down’), that garnered praise across the board. And who can forget those classic remixes of The Streets’ ‘Weak Become Heroes’ Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Roses in the Hospital’ (his first big official remix), or Bent’s ‘Always’?

These remixes and particularly, special re-edits play a key part in Ashley’s DJ sets. In the grand tradition of DJs that go the extra mile, each set from him is largely composed of fresh re-rubs and club-ready tweaks, tunes that are often cut exclusively for that particular appearance, dubplate fashion. For him, it’s not just playing tracks; his personality and passion is poured into each appearance, making it more like a set of his own productions than a standard DJ set.

MESSAGE IN THE MUSIC
The latest example of his masterful reshaping talent is Harmless’ new collection, ‘Message in the Music: The Ashley Beedle Edits’. Compiled, mixed and with additional production from Ashley, it gathers two CDs of rare and classic cuts of all styles and genres — everything from Cymande and MFSB to Family and Al Green — all given a distinctively Beedle-esque re-spray to make them work for today’s floors.

Producing for other artists is yet-another string to his bow. Having lent his considerable studio abilities to great vocal talents like Shara Nelson and Gabrielle, he’s currently working with the Latin guitar genius behind classic covers like ‘Golden Lady’ and ‘California Dreaming’, Jose Feliciano.
And his DJing — the thing that started his career on his inimitable path — continues on unabated, across the UK, Europe and beyond, while a much-anticipated new album under his own name is in the works. It seems there’s little Ashley hasn’t already done, then. But he’s bound to keep surprising us.

 

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Ashley Beedle

for whom the bell tolls…

The Pool is delighted to beam in with a couple of bits of news from recent signing Bell Towers.

First up Rohan will be playing alongside UK electronic music guru Andy Blake at the venerable Wavey Tones party tonight at Peckham’s Bussey Building.

Wavey Tones stands out as an exciting prospect in the plethora of clubnights in the capital city. A pleasingly catholic approach to booking from the dance music community has seen previous bookings range from the dubwise frequencies of Glasgow’s  Mungo’ s Hi-fi through to the frenetic rhythmic exploits of Chicago’s DJ Spinn.

In addition to this Friday’s night is being held in the much praised multi level arts space the Bussey Building which promises to have far more visual appeal to it than your arrange Friday night ritzy.

Catch Rohan playing the warm up for Andy alongside Wavey’s residents Tony and The Waves and South London’s Elysia.

Secondly we  are celebrating the fact that Rohan has secured his second release on Berlin’s hotter than a tomcat with four gonads label Public Possesion. As the follow up to last years critically acclaimed Lightrail single this five track EP entitled Territory glows as the distinctive assemblage of genres we know & love BT for. Vocal recordings from 2007 are welded on to beds of swirling dance textures with nods to acid house, italo and new beat.

This should be dropping in to your stores this week…..

 

Heavenly Social with Bell Towers

As part of their 15th anniversary celebrations Heavenly have invited us back down into their basement for a one off shindig at The Social in London on Fri 7th Feb.

We have quite a bit of history with Little Portland Street, so really looking forward to this one.

New roster addition Bell Towers will be starting up front, with midfield support coming from Matty, Ben & Thom (or The Pool DJ’s if you will) and of course the legendary Heavenly Jukebox.

please join us if you can, and check out a mix from Bell Towers below:

New Roster Addition – TELEPHONES

Another addition to The Pool family, this time straight out of Norway (via Berlin) the very exciting talents of TELEPHONES

A killer debut release on Full Pupp & more recently 2013′s acclaimed collaboration with DJ Fett Burger on Sex Tags UFO has seen his star very much in the ascendancy..

Again we have an exclusive mix from the man himself, and a quick chat to see where he’s at as of now..

- You are originally from Bergen but now based in Berlin, right?

Correct. Allthough technically I’m from Sotra, at least I grew up there for the most part. It’s an island one hour outside of Bergen. I’ve been based in Berlin since summer 2010.

- Your recent work has featured a healthy amount of collaboration with DJ Fett Burger from Sex Tags. Is collaboration a good way for you to work? Will you look to collaborate with others in the future?

I guess it all depends on chemistry. Earlier I’ve found it hard to work with others as I’m (probably quite annoyingly) picky in the production-phase, but recently I’ve enjoyed it very much. I always have too many ideas and too much recorded raw material, then to have someone help kill your darlings and zoom out can be very productive when you’re on the same page. Had a lot of fun with Fett Burger and we’ve been talking about doing another session soon.

- You recently performed a live show in Norway. How was it? And what can we expect to see when the Telephones live show comes into our discotheque?

The gig was a commissioned hardware-show for EKKO Festival in Bergen, along with my friend Even Brenden aka Chmmr. It was a bit stressy due to the amount of equipment, but much fun. We had about 13 synths, drummachines and boxes running up there. It was all original new material we’d worked on together, stretching from 80s VHS-house and tracky afro/cosmic-stuff to chicago-tingled balearic workouts, ending up at a some sort of pianobar in Detroit. We’re gonna do more shows together, and I’ll probably look into doing some on my own as well.

- You’ve put your hand to some great edits that are up on the web. Any plans for these to be commited to vinyl?

I haven’t been so keen on releasing edits, but a few of them have sneaked their way into the pressing plant. There’s a 12″ EP coming with some edits/reworks, plus a remix I did of Skatebård, on Keyboard Masher’s new label Pleasure Unit any day now. And there’s a polish edit on The Very Polish Cut-Outs vol.2 12″ Sampler that’s also out soon.

- Do you know Pool’s long time Norwegian brother Terje? If so when, where, how, why did you meet?

I am familiar with the Terjebrother yes. I think we first “talked” on the internet in 2006 when I sent him a message on MySpace, asking for a track on a mixtape he did with Dølle Jølle. The track was only released on a danish cd-single, which I went through some hassle to find and order. Then it came out on a 12″ on Eskimo some years later. It was an early dub-version of that “Yes Maam (All Nite Long)”-track by Visti & Meyland, but then from someone called Castor Pollux, I don’t know how that’s all connected. First time we met in person I think was in Berlin 2010 when we both played at Kleine Reise.

- We recently heard that a record label based in the UK, is making a movie about the Norwegian… Cosmic / Balearic / Disco scene. Do you feel that such a scene exists in Norway, if so how do you fit into that jigsaw puzzle? Where there any Norwegian artists that particularly influenced you in the past?

Ooh I don’ know, I’ve never been very good with puzzles.. Maybe I’m this annoying bit you have to bend or break to make fit? Hopefully it’s got a nice motif on it, some fruit or a funny dog at least. In terms of influences I’d definatly have mention Erot and Bjørn “The Codfather” Torske. Those are my long-time heroes since I first accidentally heard Torske’s “Nedi Myra”-album on a borrowed cassette-tape in 98′. Also the crew and local DJ’s around Mikal Tellé’s recordshop in Bergen was a big influence in my formative years.

About the scene, there’s definitely a bunch of talented and devoted DJ’s and producers around but I don’t really know if it’s a scene? If you go to Norway with this vision of the Great Norwegian Disco-scene you might be disappointed. It’s a very small country.. Like two weeks ago playing in Poland a girl told me she was on holiday in Norway and had travelled to Moss, a small city of around 30.000, because her boyfriend told her that’s where Sex Tags Mania are from. So she went there. And slept in a tent outside an abandoned factory, and then went home to Poland.. But there’s a lot of good music and good people around, but it doesn’t really feel like a scene.

- Did you have to twist Prins Thomas’s arm to put your record out? Or was he stalking you for many years?

Haha, he contacted me actually. I had some early demo-stuff up on MySpace, and he somehow heard it and got in touch. I had looked up to him for many years, so I was definitely stoked about that. I was just in the start of developing my music, so it was really a good push which I’m very thankful for.

- Is it right your next release is on Gerd Janson’s Running Forward records? Tell us about how you guys connected? We do love Gerd here.

Forward we go yes! It’s a four track EP due in a couple of months, which I’m super excited about. I had some tracks that I wasn’t sure where to put and Fett Burger gave me Gerd’s email, so I sent him some stuff which luckily he was very into. I still haven’t met him in person actually, but he’s very nice on the email.

- Your favourite local dish from Bergen?

The west-coast classic christmas dish “Pinnekjøtt”. The meat is salted, dried and cured lamb ribs, sometimes also smoked. This is then soaked in water for at least 24 hours, then steamed for about 3 hours. Then you pop it in the oven for them to crisp up and caramelize slightly. Served with good potatoes, a mash of kohlrabi, or swedes I think you call it, and then you do a sauce from the fat/stock left in the steaming-pot. It’s very simple and classic, but there’s all kinds of delicious touches you can do. Give the mash a subtle touch of vanilla, throw in a star-anis or two, some carrot, cream and butter and so on. All served with a mandatory good aquavit and some decent beer on the side.

- Can you tell us a bit about the mix you recorded for us?

It’s a selection of old and new stuff I like and enjoy playing. I like playing somewhat eclectic, so I tried to do this like a compact snapshot of the vibe I’m into, perhaps more about that rather than genres or floor-mindedness.

- Ideal pool party line up? (Dj, Grill Chef, Cocktail Waiter)

DJ: Beppe Loda 7″ bonanza

Grill Chef: Heston Blumenthal

Cocktail Waiter: Peter Sellers

Telephones is available for bookings now.

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Music, Press, Telephones

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

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.

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

MR TIES

Very pleased to announce another new addition to the roster, this time its Francesco De Nittis, but you may know him better as Mr Ties

We have a killer exclusive mix from Francesco and caught up with him to find out where he’s at right now…

- Is it right that you are now living in Istanbul? What made you move from Berlin to there

Yes it’s true ; I also reside now in Istanbul since half a year almost and I’m very happy about this choice…I’ve been living in Berlin for a long while and i just needed to feel the vibe of another city…Being Italian rootswise i appreciate the intense energy and the diversity of her culture … I was also looking for a city that is by the sea ; nothing makes you feel better than waking up with the sea as horizon…

- How is the scene in Istanbul, we know Mini Muzikhol guys well, Harvey loved his trip there recently, what is your favourite spot to play?

Istanbul has a very great vibe ; for my opinion Wake up call is a place I really enjoy playing and the all crew are really efficient and kind ; musicheads and very professional… Last summer they built up a beach club called Suma beach ; it has been very successful and parties there were so good

- Is your Berlin party Homopatik still going strong? Can you name 3 records that have been big for you at this party?

Homopatik is going better and better…Homopatik is very solid crew working all together to preserve the very authentic vibe and quality that homopatik regulars are expecting from us…We also have since a few month new resident Paolo di Nola who is for sure going to put as well a strong energy to the party…

- Can you share with us 3 records that have been big for you at this party?

there is 3 floors in homopatik so let me give you one for each…

FPI project lets go

Chaka Khan -  I’m Every Woman

Robert Armani Dusted Dancefloors

- Are there any particular labels and artists you keep an eye on?

I always keep an eye open on everything as much as possible…I have to say that honestly I have the luck to receive from labels or artists themselves a lot of records they d like me to hear  play…that makes this task easier for sure

- As you like to play extended sets…What’s the best approach for maintaining stamina in an all night set?

Banana Juice is the key!

- As  a Vinyl lover do you ask for Rotary Mixers on your technical rider? What is so special about them?

The technical rider is something that is very so specific also to the party you’ve been requested for…I do like very much the rotary mixer ; Though i found out i really like to use the Urei 1603…. I played very different sets and I guess I’d like to adjust my technical rider to it if possible.

- Are you a fan of Jim Burgess? If so do you play any of his productions out?

I possess records of Jim Burgess and i respect his whole career and what he built for Disco ; he is for sure a very important figure of the Disco. But if you want me to talk about someone im really fond of then I’ll choose the one and only Larry Levan…

- Have you ever been to visit Fire Island?

No I’ve never visited Fire Island but funny you mentioned it I was thinking of maybe buying a house there…ha

- Do you think the ‘harder’ sound of Berlin is getting softer and more melodic?

No I really dont think so if you take as exemple such parties as the Dystopain and Ground Theory just to name those then you understand its what people here want at the moment …

- Did you used to go to attend, Discodromo’s parties in Berlin? Are you a fan of their work?

Discodromo and I are very close friends so you can easily imagine i use to attend to their parties .To be honest its becoming harder and harder to assist to cocktail d’amore as im around a lot at the moment.

We for sure over the past years shared and experienced a lot of music together.

- How was the club scene in Rome before you left for Berlin? Any clubs or DJ’s that made an impact with you?

I was inbetween the club and the rave scene ; I always kind of navigate in both waters at the time…lets say that Nino Scarigo was somebody that for sure inspired me much back then
- Do you take any influence from the renowned Afro scene of the 80′s?

Depends which afro scene you are refering to  here.I actually dig a lot into afro German from the 70s ; I also can mention artists like Düde Dürst on his album Krokodil Solo,  &  krautrock or Augusto Martelli  for who I have a very special affection

- What was your favourite Italian dish growing up? :)

really…? well if you really want to know so i was crazy about a speciality from my mother hometown called la Farratta …how delicious…

 

 

POSTED IN

Mr Ties, Music