This will be the last post you read here as we've upped sticks and moved to our own shiny, new website. After launching our Glasgow-based blog last summer, the interest in our writing has been steadily growing with views of the site increasing week on week. We thought it only right to develop the blog into a proper website where we can really take control of how we bring you the content while still maintaining the accessibility of the original.
We'll keep this blog up during the change-over period but there will be no new posts on it so if you want to stay up to date with all the freshest Glasgow vibez - with the finest local music, in-depth interviews and mixes then get your self along to www.synthglasgow.com!
Friday, 25 March 2011
Who?: Al Quinn & Rob Etherson
Sounds: Tech House meets UK Bass in a reassuring vision of the future
Dance music is constantly evolving - it's constantly moving, constantly growing and never standing still. Over the past twenty years we've seen 2 Step collide with Dub to make Dubstep, Rave & Hardcore morphing in to Drum & Bass and more recently Dutch House & Reggaeton coming together to create Moombahton - dance music's freshest genre. It's this element of limitless development which keeps us hooked and creates the possibilities. And it's here that our fascination with Mia Dora begins.
Much like a test pilot or experiment for musical exploration the Glasgow based production duo of Al Quinn & Rob Etherson have quite possibly the most incompatible credentials imaginable. Al loves all things bass - Dubstep, Garage, Hip Hop and Grime all take precedence over the 4x4, while Rob has always had a passion for House & Techno. But as they say - opposites attract. And in this case the wedding night spawned a turbo-hybrid. The first time we heard 'Random Romantics' we were confounded at just how to label it, our best effort being a measly 'Bass-Tech'- but it's the fact we couldn't pigeonhole it which made it so exciting. Here we had the metallic sheen of Tech House underpinned by a shuffling Garage template - the result being a vision of the future which would probably make the Artful Dodger shit himself.
The best way to get recognised in this industry is to create, not replicate and it's this passion and drive which makes the Mia Dora partnership so invigorating. Let's bear in mind that they've been producing together for less than a year and in our eyes can already lay claim to a sound which is unequivocally theirs. We may be economically shafted, fighting wars we can't win and facing down the barrel of irreversible climate change, but if the future sounds anything like this we'll sleep easy tonight...
Check out the Mia Dora sound along with an interview with the guys below:
Mia Dora - Random Romantics by Mia Dora
Mia Dora - Baby I'm Bored by Mia Dora
Olive - You're Not Alone (Mia Dora Remix) 320 kbps by Mia Dora
S: So let’s firstly talk a bout how Mia Dora came about, obviously you both have quite different individual sounds so what inspired you to start producing together?
Al: We both have very different tastes in music though we share some common interests. We started talking about a colab one night after realising we were both big fans of the likes of Claude Von Stroke and a lot of the Dirtybird material. My musical background is far more rooted in bands rather than dance music, I've sung and played guitar in a few metal bands. Rob has always been a dance music producer and he gave me the idea to start making electronic music.
My metal background is the reason for my taste in really dark, sinister electronic music. This was why I got into Dubstep to begin with. I'm also a big fan of the likes of Massive Attack, Aphex Twin and Modeselektor. Rob has always been a big House and Techno fan so the two different tastes in music coming together has produced some interesting sounds.
S: You’re most recent music has ranged from Garage to Dubstep, Funky to House – all gleaming with a futuristic flare. How would you ultimately describe your music and what sound really represents Mia Dora?
Al: We started off making a few dubstep tracks but our sound has been slowly gravitating towards house. I think this gradual transition between the two is how we've ended up making some interest Garage and Funky sounds. We still don't want to pin a label on ourselves yet, though as Mia Dora matures I’m sure we'll find our sound. At the moment we still have lots of ideas for Hip Hop/House/Techno/Garage/Dubstep tracks and I really don't want to rule anything out.
Rob: We have been doing this for just under a year so it’s still a bit of trial and error for us, though people seem to respond well to us because we are a bit unpredictable. As we have different backgrounds the combination of styles works in our favour, the thing I enjoy most is sitting at the computer and trying something different to the last project.
Rob - four to the floor
S: What is your approach to starting a track, do you decide on its style before you start for example or is it quite a spontaneous process?
Al: It’s been fairly spontaneous so far. The Biggie Smalls bootleg, for example, was just me messing about on the guitar. We recorded it and messed about with it on Ableton before throwing a Hip Hop beat behind it. We sat on the instrumental for the track for a good 6 months before finally throwing a Biggie acapella over the top; I'm a massive 90's Hip Hop fan and couldn't resist turning the beat into a Biggie bootleg.
Most of the tracks have started with a rough idea of what we want, sometimes though we go off on massive tangents during the music making process and end up coming up with new ideas for the song.
Rob: Al is more musical than me so he usually lays down some melodies or drum parts and then I go on to develop the sounds of those parts as I'm better at the geeky stuff, I’m really into taking a synth from a blank patch and developing the sound from there. We are both pretty good at getting the sounds in our head transferred to the computer. Most of our projects are done on Ableton rewired into Logics mixer.
S: Individually you both produce quite different music with Al representing more of a dub flavour while Rob has a techier sound. How do you think these different style’s influence your collaborative work and does it ever cause friction when making a track?
Al: We've never had any friction making tracks. We're both very open minded musically so i'm totally open to experimenting with robs House and Techno sounds, just as he's very open minded about experimenting with Dubstep, Hip Hop and Garage. I think the two influences together are very evident in the sounds we've been making so far.
Al - all about the bass
Rob: We have a good system of working together so if we do something that has more of a housey vibe we add some dubby elements to it to balance it out.
S: Obviously you’ve been producing quite a few unofficial remixes recently, can we look forward to any new original material from Mia Dora in 2011 and how do you see the project progressing in the long run?
Al: Our main focus just now is new original material. We put out a few unofficial remixes as we really wanted to give away some tracks for free to get the Mia Dora name out there. Though we have a few original tracks in the pipeline just now that we are working on. The sound has progressed from dubstep into a interesting House/Garage hybrid so we're looking forward to finishing these tracks and putting them out to hear what people think.
In the long run, it's difficult to say where our sound is going to go. We don't even know ourselves. We don't have any plans for what kind of sound we want to make, we're just going to keep making tracks how we're feeling on the day, keep it as spontaneous as possible.
Rob: The early response and support has been great and also some of our live gigs have been crazy too, I think the next logical step for us is to get some music released and work more in the studio.
Mia Dora play at IAM W/ Koreless 26th April at The Sub Club
Mia Dora on Soundcloud
Mia Dora on Facebook
Glasgow based band Cinephile are new to us, but seemingly they've been producing quality lo-fi electronica for some time. Siting Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky as influences, their latest single 'Masquerade' comes on like an emotional storm releasing it's absorbent power through a downpour of electric synths and menacing bass. A gripping listen from start to finish...
Cinephile - Masquerade (Available to download now from iTunes)
Equally moving is this fresh tribute to 2 Pac ahead of his forthcoming biopic feature-length film. Beginning with soft chords and an arresting vocal, the building tension is soon heightened by a Skream esque sub-bass which rumbles like approaching thunder. Peace really is a master of the acapella and this may well be his finest interpretation to date. Catch Peace supporting Alan Braxe & Kavinsky at Naive this Saturday.
Peace - Makaveli Life (Free Download)
It's Friday, thousands of people are fantasizing about weekend madness & messy dancefloors so it was only right we give you a club banger to get you there. Dirty Basement return with 'P.E.R.T.Y People' - a dangerous slice of peak time electro which comes on like 'Mind Dimension' on steroids. If your looking for a hit of no-nonsense bass molesting this is it...
Dirty Basement - P.E.R.T.Y People
Now, on a slightly deeper note, we have a new edit from Slow It Down on Octave One's seriously smooth 'Black Water'. Pitched down to a grooving 124BPM the guys keep the strings at bay til about half way through when the true emotion of the original shines through. As per this is a quality re-rub of a certified but overlooked classic. Catch Slow It Down at a special 1984 party for One More Tune on April 9th.
Octave One - Black Water (Slow It Down Edit)
Thursday, 24 March 2011
There does come a point in club land when you feel like you've seen it all, resident nights will no longer cut it, that promise of the 'finest dancefloor bangers' makes you yawn and you've had it up to HERE with the weekly avalanche of endless Facebook invites that all sound rather similar. It takes something (or someone) truly special to grab our attention now - a debut performance or a new venue is what gets us really excited. So when both these things come at once there is definitely an air of child-like anticipation.
You may have lost it at The Arches, banged the ceiling at The Subbie or found yourself covered in sweat at SWG3 but chances are you've not partied at a former lapdancing club next to an aquarium. This Saturday Rumours launches at Forbidden Basement, an ex gentlemen's club which has no doubt seen it's fair share of erotic filth and slow-wind skanking - perfectly suited then for some low-slung bass and underground beats laid down by the UK's finest up and coming producing talent.
Making sure the dancing pole is used to it's fullest potential will be the Ninja Tune signed Dark Sky who's sound is truly representative of the modern approach to UK Bass - a mish mash of underground sounds brought effortlessly together in a way which makes complete sense on the dancefloor. Expect everything from UK G to Dubstep, Funky to House in a celebration of all things dutty. With irresistible remixes for the likes of Kelis, Ben Westbeech & The XX, this debut Scottish performance is not to be missed. Warming up the subs will be Synth favourite Jinty who's Gutter Riddim show on Subcity has become a staple for all things Grime, as well as residents Indra, Skandy & Krickle. Oh and did we mention they've enlisted B.A.S.S to provide the soundsystem? Forbidden may have seen some dirty days but we doubt they've seen anything like a Saturday night with Rumours...
Dark Sky in their natural habitat
Ben Westbeech Falling (DS Remix) by Dark Sky
Kelis - Brave (DS Remix) by Dark Sky
We recently caught up with the promoters and residents of Rumours to find out a little more about this Saturday's launch:
S: So Rumours launches at Forbidden this Saturday, what was the inspiration behind starting the night and what do you ultimately hope to contribute to the Glasgow club scene?
R: We know its a cliché but a big part of it is just that we love a good party! When we sat down to talk about doing a night the first thing we did was write a list of the things we look for ourselves when we go out, we're basically trying to throw a party that ticks all those boxes....Of course the music comes first and we plan on booking artists we love from across the UK, most of whom play what you could loosely term 'bass music', but you can expect to hear everything from dub-reggae and hip-hop to garage and house'. We want to try and book people who haven't played in Glasgow before as well as pushing lots of local talent. Next on the agenda is sound system and its something we feel strongly about. A great sound system is crucial so we've got in B.A.S.S., which is one of the best sounding – and better looking - sound systems in Scotland, and we'll be putting in more than enough to get the fish tanks wobbling! There's also the venue and from the start we wanted to try something new and exciting, when the opportunity arose to use this place we jumped at it. Lastly we wanted to make sure the night was affordable for everyone with cheap drinks and a low advanced ticket price. We're hoping to get in a varied crowd with people coming just to enjoy a wild night out, even if they don't know all the DJs on the lineup! We just hope it all goes to plan!
S: The venue for Rumours is the basement of a lap-dancing club in the city centre, what inspired you to use this quite unorthodox setting for the launch and what can people expect from the venue?
R: The funny thing is that although the idea sounds unorthodox, the space itself is actually perfect for a night like this. Its the ideal size and layout, it's well kitted out with nice lighting and decor, it has a sizeable dancefloor and has a fantastic bar area with plenty of seating and room for people to take a break from the action. It's also a basement, and everyone loves a good basement party right?? There's something about low ceilings and that feeling of being underground which really adds to the party vibes - its also great for sound. You see this with some of the best venues up and down the UK, from Plastic People in London to Glasgow's own Sub Club. Of course there is definitely an exciting novelty factor to doing it in a lapdancing club; It would be pretty difficult to ignore the flat screen TV's around the walls, the cage in the corner and the LED lit catwalk and pole in the middle of the dancefloor!
S: Over the last few months, bass, grime & dub have really taken hold in Glasgow, with numerous new nights launching successfully. How would you describe the current bass scene in Glasgow and how do you see it developing over years to come?
R: The scene here is great. There are a bunch of established crews here that have been doing their own thing and doing it well for years now. However your right in that there are more and more new nights popping up and there is certainly more and more competition in a scene which isn't huge compared to say London or Manchester. For this reason we think its important now more than ever for promoters in Glasgow to work together and we hope to see more of that.
S: For the launch of Rumours you have enlisted the Ninja Tune signed Dark Sky and local grime aficionado Jinty. What can we expect from these bookings and how important do you think it is to support the local talent?
R: We've been really feeling Dark Sky's stuff recently and we thought it was high time someone brought the sound to Glasgow. Almost every Dark Sky production we hear is an instant classic and the DJ sets we've heard have been exciting and eclectic taking in garage, funky, house, rnb, hip-hop, drum and bass and more. Expect to be singing along to chopped up vocals, swimming in seas of luscious synths and bass, and busting moves you never though you had. Jinty's sets are always hyped, he's a hardcore grime head and does it the old fashioned way. Expect people to be bouncing off the ceiling, swinging round the pole and screaming for more after every pull up. As for local talent, we think its really important for clubnight's to support it and provide a platform for up and coming local artists to show their skills off, so we'll be continuing to do that as well as showing off our own of course!
S: Finally, what are your ultimate plans for Rumours and what can we look forward to in 2011? Do you intend on making it a monthly event and will you be keeping it dark & dirty at Forbidden or moving about?
R: Well we have touched on ideas for another party at the end of next month and if that goes ahead it will most likely be at Forbidden since we think we've discovered a hidden gem there! However it partly depends on how this first night goes and what sort of reaction we get. There have been talks of doing it less often so that each event is really a one-off. Lets just say watch this space and listen out for the rumours!
WHAT: Rumours Launch Party
WHO: Dark Sky (Ninja Tune), Jinty (Gutter Riddim) & Residents
WHERE: Forbidden Basement, 96 Maxwell St (Behind St Enoch Centre)
WHEN: Saturday 26th March 10-3am
FACEBOOK EVENT: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=109791572433120
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
It was a relatively quiet night at the Arches on Friday, which came as quite a surprise as Caspa is usually a big draw. There was a slight teething problem in the early stages and the doors didn’t open till 11.30, but no indication was given as to why this was. As the queue grew outside we could hear the guttural bass pumping through The Arches' mighty sound system and people were itching to be let in, with Caspa due on stage at the relatively early time of half past midnight folk were understandably anxious to get a few drinks inside them as soon as possible and warm up their dancing feet.
Once the security guards parted and the punters were allowed in, the dance arch started to fill up and Beta and Kappa of I AM and Front 2 Back fame visibly relished in suddenly having a crowd to play to, playing back to back in 15 minute stints they kept the energy high and the bass thundering through our feet. The crowd, though small were definitely there for a good time, throwing themselves into it with gusto and aplomb. By the time Caspa took to the decks there was an aura of intense excitement.
I’m a massive Caspa fan so I was really pumped about seeing him, I was definitely not alone in this. He had brought an MC with him who rapped and hyped for the duration of the set, this was perhaps a little bit of an overkill when the venue was only about half full and though down the front the bassheads were skanking to their hearts content you only had to step a few metres back and you found yourself stood in empty space, which was quite surreal. I’m not sure why it was so quiet, but the old adage quality not quantity held firm; those that had turned up really turned up and for some it was taps aff by 1am, no mean feat. The highlight of Caspa’s set for me was his remix of TC's 'Where’s My Money' and it appeared that much of the floor agreed with me as the largely male crowd went ape, literally. I always joke that people dance to dubstep look like crazed chimpanzees and on this occasion I was not wrong.
By the end of Caspa’s set the energy was flowing and Beta and Kappa returned to the stage to keep the crowd on a high till 3am when everyone was turfed out into the cold unforgiving night. In the main bar a wooden hoarding had been painted white and cordoned off for a pair of graffiti artists to paint a Bi-Winning tribute to Charlie Sheen, a few of the crowd had certainly channelled the big man tonight, it was just a shame there wasn't more of them.
Words: Chris Stevens
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Next Event: Innuendo Presents Emalkay