Getting down to this genius UK producer
Welcome to DMCWORLD sir, you have the Buzz Chart people down at DMC jumping all over their desks listening to your new 'Get Down' EP on Toolroom - talk us through this very special release…
"Firstly, thank you very much - I'm glad you're all feeling it. The two tracks came about by being inspired by the sounds that I'm playing out in the bigger clubs. I like to play a full range of house all the way from deep house to tech house to techno - the track 'Get Down' is the peak time techno I play whereas 'Won't give up' is the transition between house and tech. I'm aiming squarely at the clubs with this EP - unashamedly dance-floor club music!"
You began your musical career around the age of 13 playing in rock/metal bands - you even played cowbells once upon a time! However, your early musical influences were the likes of The Human League, Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk - what made you go down the instrument led indie route when you had all of this amazing synth bands filtering around your head?
"Well back then I was fully into the New Romantic scene in the early 80's and had become with obsessed with synths. Music couldn't even have one guitar in it otherwise I would dismiss it. It was only when I was approached by some other musicians at the school I was at that to be a member of their band that I went against everything I believed in, took my synth along and started singing in these indie rock bands and loved it!"
When house music came along in the late 80s, you quite readily admit you thought house music was easy to make. A snare, a hat and a clap, even the old 1 finger keyboard (Guetta style!) got you going…was it really that easy for you?
"Yeah it was so easy because I loved it so much and I understood how to make it. I had 3 pieces of gear back then - A Roland SH101 monosynth, a Roland TR808 Drum Machine and a reel to reel tape. I used to trigger the SH101 randomly from the 808 which is how they were making house music back then with just simple machines. I would then record the results on one track of the tape and then overdub the next part, and the next part until I had this very simple techno track. That was in 1983."
What is your current top ten you are smashing?
1. D.Ramirez 'Get Down' Toolroom
2. Huxley 'Let It Go' Hypercolour
3. Shadow Child 'String Thing''Dirtybird
4. Zoo Brazil 'Selected' (D.Ramirez Tekno Disko Mix) Great Stuff
5. Darrius Syrossian, Hug, Nyra 'Karaj' (Hugo Mix) Play My Track Recorings
6. D.Ramirez 'Won't Give Up' Toolroom
7. Christian Burkhardt 'Waffles' Cocoon
8. D.Ramirez 'Lump and Pop' Toolroom
9. Cajmere 'Percolator' (Jamie Jones mix) Cajual Records
10. Sub-an 'This Place' (Nic Fanciulli mix) Saved
You love a great collab, but you sometimes need a bit of a kick up the arse when you don't really know what you have created. Working with Mixmag's James Mowbray for example who you loved the fact that he couldn't play an instrument...
"Yeah, James Mowbray was totally wet behind the ears but his enthusiasm was just so good to have in the studio. He would come out with these crazy ideas that I would never have tried in a million years which just ended up sounding amazing! Totally fresh and unique and we ended up finishing the track in 4 hours or something ridiculous. I actually thought the tracks were a bit too rough for my liking but that turned out to be their selling point and everybody loved them! Collaborations have always taught me so much and now I work with loads of people just to get their fresh ideas and perspectives."
Your connection with Toolroom seems like a match made in heaven, love how you think of Mark Knight's way of making a tune; he get's his main groove, copies everything for six minutes, has the odd break…so what is it about his sound and label you love?
"Mark's sound is just very straight forward, not complicated in any way and does what it does with maximum effectiveness which is kind of the opposite to my way of working as I tend to overcomplicate things a bit too much sometimes. This is what I mean about learning from different producers and picking up different perspectives. I now know that I don't have to put too much in my music, I don't need loads of edits, I don't need loads of ideas - it's just a good sold groove that counts."
Tell us about discovering the Guru plug-in…
"Wow - I can honestly say that the guru plug-in changed the way I worked and was responsible for a sound I created back around 2006/2007. I learned that plug-in inside out because it was so new and so forward thinking I relished the ideas that came from what it and what I could do with it. It's amazing for glitchy Trentemoller style edits and that's what I went crazy with. I remember talking to my mates Hybrid after they heard one of the tunes I made with it and they were like 'how'd you do that shit' and I was like 'well, if I told you I'd have to kill you'..."
If I can, I always try and avoid...
"Dirty Dutch House - ewwwwwww!"
So we head back to yours after the club, what is the D:Ramirez Back To Mine 10 you spin us for that house party vibe?
1 - Rufus and Chaka Khan - Ain't Nobody
2 - Loose Ends - Hanging On A String
3 - Chris Rea - Josephine 12" dance Mix
4 - The Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper
5 - Heaven 17 - Penthouse and Pavement
6 - The Thompson Twins - Doctor Doctor
7 - Luther Vandross - Never Too Much
8 - Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom
9 - The Gap Band - You Dropped A Bomb On Me
10 - Maxwell - Sumthin Sumthin
What was that Top of The Pops appearance like in the 90s?
"It was mental! The funniest thing was being stood on stage and looking down into the audience and a girl mouthing up to me asking 'who are you? Chris Eubank was the presenter with his lisp and all and he was having trouble with 'Now at number six it's Suggs with Cecilia' it was a very funny experience!"
What are the label plans?
"I have put Slave on hold for a while, not to say I won't get it back out again soon but for now I'm working with Toolroom and a few other labels.
What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
"Well, I once rode an Emu..."
Who are the big producers around the world you are giving high fives to at the moment?
"Ooooo good one - I'm really feeling Maceo Plex, Danny Daze, Jamie Jones, Mark and Nic Fanciulli, Mendo, Jay Lumen amongst others..."
I was speaking to the DMC crew about interviewing you and the comment they all kept mentioning was, 'he is a genius producer'. What makes your skills so special?
"Genius? I'm not too sure about that. But I know one thing, I'm super passionate about what I do, I learn the software inside and out, I have tenacity and patience and I'll sit there for months perfecting something if I have to. I'm not afraid of hard work and trust me it doesn't come easy to me, I have to really work at it. Oh - and I believe in what I do 100%."
What is the finest record you have ever played to a dancefloor?
"OMG - what a question! I guess it would have to be Chris Rea - 'Josephine' 12" extended mix - I dropped it at the end of the night in Nottingham once, there were people crying and shit!"
If you could collaborate with any singer dead or alive to make some music, who would it be?
What has been the most special DJ gig of your life?
"There have been many but the best one definitely was Global Gathering in 2006. I was supposed to be playing with Switch but he got too drunk or something so I did the whole night in the Mixmag tent - It was incredible!!! I ended up running over a squirrel on the way home though which kind of put a dampener on the night..."
And finally, what piece of advice can you offer to all of the thousands of readers reading this who want to become a producer / DJ...
"Don't do it! The music business is a shallow, shit business full of sharks and thieves! haha - only kidding...My advise to anyone would be to believe in yourself 100%, never, ever, ever, doubt for one minute that you won't make it. Imagine yourself on that stage in front of thousands of people going crazy - imagine people going mental to your music - feel the feelings of what it would be like and watch it happen - it did for me. x x."