Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Ed Davenport to release new EP on NRK

UK born, Berlin based producer, Ed Davenport, is the latest artist to debut on NRK Music, with an awesome two track release. "Curtain Call" and "Overdub In Aminor" showcase Davenport's smooth, deep tech-house sounds, heavy on the dub side!

Davenport has already enjoyed positive attention on his releases for esteemed labels such as Poker Flat, Liebe*Detail, Vidab and District Of Corruption. Recent remixes for Len Faci on Cocoon, and Guy J on Jon Digweed's Bedrock label, are also helping to bring his name to the forefront of the scene.

His debut NRK release will feature remixes by Germany's Daniel Stefanik, and NRK's Nick Harris. "Curtain Call" is a heavyweight, tribal workout, with plenty of rolling percussion amongst it's nagging vocal clips and big, twisted pads. "Overdub..." is a dub-heavy houser, an extremely well produced, warm and hypnotizing, deep dancefloor track.

"Curtain Call"/"Overdub In Aminor" will be relased in 12" vinyl and digital download late April.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

15 minutes with Scope

Belfast’s Ric Mclelland, AKA Scope, has had a dream start to his career, fulfilling his wishes to record for his favourite house labels so early on in his production career, and travel the world DJing in some of the hottest spots. His latest single, “Frequencies”, will be his third now for NRK, and quite possibly will be his “tune to date”. Accompanied by remixes from Steve Bug and Nick Harris, "Frequencies" appears to be blowing up right now, so it seemed like a great time to catch Ric for a quick chat.....

Hi Ric, hope you are well… let’s start off with the new single “Frequencies”, seems to be blowing up the spot, as they say! Can you give us a little insight into the track, how you approached it etc. It’s definitely a very forward thinking sound on that track…
I get really inspired by the music i listen to. A lot of what i have been playing as a DJ recently, has a real 'raw' and 'old skool' House sound to it, with strong Chicago and Detroit references in it. I remember that week i was listening to some Galaxy 2 Galaxy in the car and just wanted to take some of the vibes i was feeling there (and also the tracks i had been playing out recently) into the studio. The track came together quite quickly as i just made some chords and the string i used with them had a lovely spacey sound to it. I was looking for another sound to back the string up and just by accident it feel on an arp, which sounded wicked right away. So that was the core of the track put together really. 'Frequencies 0.020' is just an edit of the main mix and with the arp taken out. Then '0.003' is a more bumpin, techy dub approach to the original. So i felt i had tackled the idea form all angles there to provide a bit of something for everyone ;)

So let’s take it back to a few years back, what was your introduction to house/dance music, and tell us a little about how you got into producing, DJing etc.
Probably like most people my age, i grew up more with Rock/Metal & Hip-Hop. I played drums in a band and to be honest was pretty ignorant to Dance or Electronic music at the time. As you do though when you get older, you start going to clubs with friends. I always remember liking some of the music. The deeper, groovier and more musical stuff they would play at the start of the night. I have always been really hungary for new music, so i really wanted to find out what this kinda music was. Listening to Danny Rampling on Radio 1 really helped me get into House and discover a whole new side to music that i didnt even know existed. Before i knew it i was buying cds left right & centre, going to clubs to check out new djs and then naturally the want to be a dj followed. I moved into Belfast city when i was 20 and was hanging around with a lot of like minded people which was great. There was also a great scene in Belfast at that time. I remember seeing the likes of M.A.W, Ian Pooley, Terry Hunter, Miguel Migs, Onionz, Derrick May etc week in and week out. So inspiring! In 2001 i started running my own club nights and booked people like Tiefschwarz and Rob Mello. A few years later i started dj'n at other clubs warming up for big names (in favour of running my own nights). 1 thing i always noticed though, was that the big name travelling DJ's were also producers too. Again, following the natural progression, i got a copy of Reason and started making some really bad music lol. I was so determined to better the music i was making, so i enrolled for some courses at a local music academy. That really helped to teach me the fundamentals of making electronic music. Then moving on to work with more experienced friends was by far the most important thing. Its vital to keep moving as a DJ & Producer, learning from more experienced people, adapting with technology and being open minded to new ways of developing your craft. I love it though.. I wouldn't be doing otherwise!!

Who/what were your early influences?
Damn, so many. Probably the main things were hearing Danny Rampling on Radio 1, the NRK Nitelife series, seeing Joe Claussell DJ, going to Ibiza, the West Coast House sound, Classic Recordings, Bob Sinclair & Dj Gregory's Africanism project, Kerri Chandler, Miguel Migs, Ian Pooley, Underground Resistance, Ashley Beedle, DiY Records, Farley & Heller, Chez & Trent, M.A.W, Doc Martin.. I could go on :)

You’ve recorded for labels like Large, Forensic, Urban Torque and NRK of course, a lot already achieved since your first productions. What’s been the secret to your success?
I suppose just believing in what i do.. Hard work, determination and staying focused.

Push comes to shove, what is your favourite Scope production/remix to date?
I really couldn't just pin down 1 track. Maybe 'Strung Out' on UrbanTorque. My 1st release and possibly my biggest. Everyone was on that track. From Eric Prydz to Fish Go Deep. The same could be said for 'Omoplata' on NRK too. My fav Scope track to play out is 'It's The Funk' on Detroit's Kolour Recordings. But quite possibly my favorite track (which no one fucking picked up on at the time lol) is 'Love In Space'. It's a beautiful track and i'm hugely proud of it. I reckon if Levan was still alive, he'd be playing it.. Timeless House music! Thankfully though, Miami based Dutchie Music who signed it have got a few great remixes in on it from Roberto Rodriguez and Brendon Moller under his Beat Pharmacy guise.

So what is the scene like in Belfast now? You play regularly at Yello club which seems to be the leading party in the city right now..
Belfast has a great scene of DJs and Producers, but there is a lack of faith from venue owners and strict licensing laws in the city which really hold back the scene. In Belfast i play exclusively at Yello and have done now for 3 years. They have a good music policy and have brought over some wicked djs. They also host UrbanTorque and Buzzin Fly parties every quarter.

Who are your favourite artists/labels right now?
I really respect the artists and labels who are keeping it House. So many artists and labels that im into right now but heres some names of who i'm diggin in no particular order.. The Revenge, Roberto Rodriguez, Massimo Di Lena, Alex Niggemann, Lovebirds, Chris Lattner, KiNK, Uner, Coyu etc etc.. Labels: Freerange, Diynamic, NRK, Kolour, Compost Black Label, Fear Of Flying, Einmaleins, Rejected etc etc.

Aside from house music, what other music do you listen to?
A lot of lounge, downtempo, disco and jazz funk.. I have a massive selection of CDs, so i like to just go a grab a few and listen to them in the car throughout the week.

What are your plans/aspirations for 2010?
To keep making music and travelling as a DJ. I've been doing this for a while now, so as the honeymoon period is over i'm really looking to focus on quality now. Making quality music, releasing on quality labels and playing in quality venues. My 1st child will also be born in April, so thats another good reason to slow things down and make what i'm doing really count.

Who would be your dream DJ/artist line up for your party? You can choose DJs and bands….
Wow, I suppose there is a few ways of doing this. I think probably the best way would be to have just my real DJ buddys playing. Friends I have made over the years in the industry. Good fun and good music is by far the most important thing there! If it was something i was promoting, I'd probably have like a live room with Bent & Crazy P, an eclectic room with Giles Peterson, Jazzanova, Atjazz and Domu and a house/techno room with Joris Voorn, Dennis Ferrer & DJ Sneak. Then if my imaginary budget could stretch, i'd have Francois K, Danny Krivit & Joe Claussell host a Body & Soul room. Haha, thats more like a festival line up!! :)

What are your all time top five house music records?
FUCK.. Now you're putting me on the spot. I have a kinda top 10-15 in my head. Hard to pick 5, but heres a go at it..

Kerri Chandler - Track 1 (Atmosphere EP) - 157 Shelter Records (1993)
Dubtribe Soundsystem - Do It Now - Imperial Dub Recordings (2000)
Metro Area - Caught up - Environ (2001)
Africanism - Block Party - Yellow Productions (2000)
Black Science Orchestra - New Jersey Deep - Junior Boys Own (1994)

What are your current top five house tunes?
Ha.. This is a lot easier now..

Ercolino & Durango - Repeal (Alex Niggemann Remix) - Moonpool
Roman Alfieri - Hell's Smile - Strictly Chosen
DJ Sneak - Something - Magnetic
Scope - Runnin The Game (The Revenge Rubdown) - Large
Scope - Frequencies 0.100 - NRK

"Frequencies" is out now on 12" vinyl, and will be on sale on Beatport as from 22nd March 2010.
Purchase 12"
NRK Music on Beatport

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

15 minutes with Amir

This month sees the release of Amir's debut release for NRK Music, the great 3 track "Uneasy Listening" EP. Amir, AKA Rimah Khalouf, has been bubbling under on the house fraternity for a couple of years, and with a slew of stella releases for high profile labels such as Nick Curly’s 8Bit, Trapez, Great Stuff Recordings and bouq. And now he takes 15 minutes with us here on the NRK blog, to introduce himself and discuss some house music bizzness!

Hi Amir, glad to have you on board at NRK Music, with the release of your “Uneasy Listening” EP. Can you tell us a bit about how you got into house music, and your first few productions, labels you produced for…

Well after all the minimal hype, I got a little bored with everyone playing the same stripped down rhythms, so I decided to get some more musicality into my music again, which is why I started my “Bodymusic” series in late 2006, mainly released on BCB Tec, but also Suchtreflex and another label. I wouldn’t ever say I only produce House music, but basically all facets of electronic dance music. I’m not the one who’s re-invented the wheel, but I’ve been loving and living this music since the mid-90s and I look at the cycles it moves in and find my own interpretation of what is going on in the music. A lot of people think I’m ahead of my time, but maybe it’s only because I have just lived through so many dance-music phases that I notice which genres get ignored for too long. So I look for elements I enjoyed in this niche and start something new. I guess there aren’t really any new ideas, simply new surroundings, combinations, circumstances and interpretations of the ancient rhythms and melodies.

Who have been your best supporters so far from the DJ community?

Oh, I can’t really say. Loco Dice has currently been playing a lot of my stuff as well as Richie Hawtin. The biggest “wow-moment” for me was when Booka Shade decided to put my tune on their DJ-Kicks mix two or so years back. Luciano also says he plays my stuff, I really don’t like bragging, but my promoter tells me that any DJ getting the feedbacks I get, should tattoo them on his body, because their so incredible (laughs). Personally I love it as well, like 10 years ago, when I started producing, Richie and Booka Shade were major influences and then getting props by them is very beautiful, but obviously not the reason why I make music. I think that is also reflective, because I get positive reactions from all sorts of artists, also one’s I’d have never dreamed of them liking my music. Thanks to everyone out there supporting the songs, I honestly appreciate it. (hesitates) Oh, why not, I’ll give a big round of props out now (grins): Thanks to Dubfire, Karotte, Loco Dice, Monika Kruse, Tiefschwarz, Santé. 2000 and One, Gregor Tresher, Johnny D, Reboot, Thomas Schumacher, Stephan Bodzin, Lauhaus, Paco Osuna, Someone Else, Anthony Collins, Tim Green, Sebastien Leger, Mathias Kaden, Kabale und Liebe, William Kouam Djoko, Eric D. Clark, Matthias Tanzmann, DJ Hell, Brother’s Vibe, Robert Dietz, Nick Curly, Gorge, Tobi Neumann, Piemont, Hernan Cattaneo, Laurent Garnier, Anja Schneider, Martinez, DJ Thomilla, Nic Fanciulli, Livio & Roby, Shinedoe, Konrad Black, Gavin Herlihy, &Me, Rampa, Chris Liebing, Danny Tenaglia, Ivan Samgghe, Rainer Weichhold, Jennifer Cardini, Kiki, Toni Rios, Agoria, DJ T, Jimpster, Sebo K, Sahin Meyer, Onur Ozer, MANDY and all the other people who are said to have played my music in the last year or so. Should I have forgotten to mention you now, I’m sorry. Man, I feel like someone from Wu-Tang paying props to the whole 5 boroughs (laughs).

Who are your favourite artists/labels right now?

I play a lot of Moon Harbour at the moment. Vakant is also great, NRK of course, Suchtreflex, Blabla, Desolat, WeCanDoIt, Trapez, Area Remote, Souvenir, Bangbang!, hmm, there are really many great labels out there at the moment. Without wanting to be biased, I’ve got to say Butch is my favourite artist right now. He is so versatile and really so experienced with dance-floors, his tunes are always exciting, driving and emotional, whether he does real thumping techno, experimental minimal or jazzy house. I am really happy to be friends with such a great producer.

Can you tell us about the Bouq family, and what you guys represent and do?

The consists of Butch, Chris Laut, Sebastian Lutz and me. Butch is without a doubt our most famous member, but it doesn’t mean we don’t still give each other a hard time (grins). He works as our A&R and obviously if he doesn’t find a good song, he’ll just make one for bouq. (laughs). Chris does the whole PR and label-work. But don’t get me wrong, he is a real artist at heart probably more than a proper office worker. He also produces music and DJs and you can look forward to some good music from that direction. The kid’s still very young and simply doesn’t care about any rules in music, which makes his stuff really exciting. Sebastian Lutz is now our uprising star, who currently has released on Suchtreflex and really made a big impact with his first songs last year, already gaining support by Carl Craig, Karotte, Dubfire and many more. He is such a relaxed guy, he’s a dream for any club-owner or booker, also because he connects so well with the audience. For bouq. he mainly looks after the events and license requests and other fun things. We currently tour a lot together, obviously we have the label and now we’re getting together to do a lot more exciting and fun stuff, trust me, you’ll want to check bouq. some time soon.

You are based in Mainz, Germany, what is the music scene there currently like? Do you travel to Berlin often? What are your thoughts on the huge club scene in Berlin and the amount of music coming out right now from German artists?

I can’t really tell concerning Mainz. I know many musical people living here, many people also making music, but there doesn’t seem to be any connecting going on much, except within close circle of friends. Thomas Heckmann is quite close to us, he does our mastering and works closely together with Chris, who does his DJ promo and of course with Butch. Also Robert Dietz lives here, but we somehow never get together. Not that there is any intent in not meeting, it just doesn’t happen. Of course there are many people you see regularly, when you go clubbing, Mainz isn’t huge and with Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Mannheim and Offenbach near, there are enough options to do your own thing I guess. Berlin is always incredible. I have family living there, so I go up quite frequently, but it is important to sometimes be undercover, otherwise you simply don’t find any rest at all. I love the place but doubt I could live there. At least not for long in one piece (laughs).

Long time NRK friend, Ian Pooley, hails from Mainz. Do you guys know each other?

Yeah, of course I’ve meet Ian many a time. I was a little too young to be hanging out with him and his clique back in the 90s, but I remember us having a chat at his legendary “TNI” party, where I went to still my thirst for dance. After that we saw and got to know each other, seeing as I also already played at some local clubs here back in the days. Very humble and interesting person, his music has always been high class and top notch and him moving to Berlin has definitely been a loss for Mainz.

Aside from house music, what other music do you listen to?

I like a lot of Swing and Big Band Jazz. Chris often puts on free jazz and abstract stuff on in the office, but it’s too confusing and strenuous for me, especially when I work. I also love early 90s rap music, Dr. Dre and Too Short and so on. Hmm, I don’t really know, it is totally dependent on my current mood, mind frame and so on. Sometimes I love Steve Reich, but sometimes I’ll politely ask you to f*** off with that annoying music. It simply depends, I guess anything that reaches me, I listen to. I’ve recently given up on CDs in the car, I listen to the local Rock’n’Roll radio station now mainly.

What are your plans/aspirations for 2010?

A lot of beer and sex (laughs). No, sorry, I’ve just come back from Berlin and played at the Watergate club, so I’m not so sure, what my next goal is (grins). Nah, I’m still lying, we have enough on our plate. We’ve got upcoming gigs in Bootshaus/Cologne, Q-Club/Zurich and Cocoonclub/Frankfurt, new music coming out, I’ve just finished my diploma and am now heavily hitting the studio, which is a great deal of fun. Can’t tell you any real facts right now, but I’m keeping busy and there will be some releases coming soon, maybe even my first biggie (smiles).

Who would be your dream DJ/artist line up for your party? You can choose DJs and bands….

Hmm, I’d have the Rat Pack start off, Jamie Cullum take over, after him Coblestonejazz and then have Mathias Kaden, Luciano and Loco Dice play. That should be fun (smiles).

What are your all time top five house music records?

Soul Vision – Come Into My Room
Jon Cutler – Its Yours
Deep Swing – In the Music
Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better
Josh One - Contemplation(King Britt)

What are your current top five house tunes?
Butch - No Worries
Johnny D- Blue Shoes
Alex Dolby & Giorgio Roma Viola
Mendo - Encantos EP
Amir – 1st Try

Amir's Myspace page
Uneasy Listening EP on 12" vinyl
Uneasy Listening EP at Beatport