Interview: Jimpster

Jimpster aka Jamie Odell shot by Tom Oldham in Essex, UK 5/9/12
Jimpster aka Jamie Odell shot by Tom Oldham in Essex, UK 5/9/12


Delusions of grandeur has come a long way since The Soul Part II was released in 2009… which I recall picking up in Phonica with my friend Rob one afternoon…. you’ve since passed the 50 mark last year. How would you say the label has evolved over that period?… and where do you see it going in 2016?

We’re actually due to hit our 50th release next Month and have a lovely double vinyl release with seven tracks from the likes of Nebraska, Session Victim, Son Of Sound and Ugly Drums. It’s a good summing up of the label’s development over the last seven years taking in deep and dusty house grooves, some more blissed-out Balearic moments sitting alongside some wonderful left of centre, disco-tinged tracks to keep the dance floor energised. Initially we saw the label as a more EP orientated outlet but I’m happy to say that we’ve since seen many of our regular artists such as Session Victim, 6th Borough Project and Toby Tobias branch out to release LP’s with us.

How did you get into DJing?… and when did you realise that you wanted to make a living from it?

I started collecting records in the late 80’s – mainly dub and more experimental electronic stuff from the likes of Meat Beat Manifesto, Renegade Soundwave, Tackhead, all the On-U Sound releases – but in the early 90’s I got bitten by the house music bug and labels such as Strictly Rhythm, Nugroove and Emotive became my obsession. Most of the parties going on were more on the rave side of things but I began to get asked to do occasional sets in back rooms where I could get away with the deeper stuff that I was into. I also had releases under the name Flag which came out on UK label Jumpin and Pumpin around ’91and began playing a few live gigs locally which gave me a taste for performing in clubs and made me realise I wanted to do this professionally.

DJ Koze talked about needing a decent length of set to take people on a real journey… you’ve got 2.5 hours lined up for us on the 20th. Is it common to get a set of that length these days? do you prefer it?

Well I’d say that 2 hours is the minimum length that you can establish some kind of feeling and get your personalty across but I’m always happy to play for three or four hours if it’s a great place or somewhere I know from playing before.

You’ve been running Freerange for nearly 20 years now, and during that time the way we consume music has changed drastically, moving from 12’s to digital. Was it a difficult transition? and are there any aspects which the industry has lost you wished remained?

The digital revolution has certainly made the financial side of running a label much more tricky. We still produce vinyl for both Freerange and Delusions Of Grandeur but the production costs and waiting times due to the decline in manufacturing plants etc make it a labour of love rather than a sensible business model! Thankfully we’ve seen a return in popularity in vinyl which means there are a lot of great, vinyl only labels emerging again and from a DJ’s perspective this helps keep things interesting in terms of making discoveries and being able to make your sets more unique by playing less easily accessible music.

What sort of music was in your household growing up?

I was really lucky with my musical upbringing as both my parents are professional musicians with great taste in jazz, fusion and soul. Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and Weather Report were always on the record player and my dad used to take me record shopping with him to a place called Star Time in Bishops Stortford where we’d both grab piles to listen to in the booths. This was how I first discovered the Streetsounds Electro compilations which were a huge inspiration for me as well as countless other young B-Boys across the country!

The back catalogs of Freerange and delusions are impressive in their own right, and with them there are a few names which continue to pop up. I assume this isn’t coincidence… can you you tell us why these artists are co compelling? (Craig Smith, Session Victim, Shur-i-khan)?

We’re very proud to have worked with all the different artists on the labels and do indeed try to build lasting relationships rather than just one off releases. I guess the common thread with artists we like to work with are that they are all very open-minded musically, have wide-ranging tastes and have great record collections from which to pilfer their samples!!

Will you be playing vinyl with me, or scrolling through mp3’s with Pat on the 20th? … and what sort of “bag” will you be packing for the occasion?

I normally play from digital when I’m travelling – although mostly wavs as opposed to MP3’s – but will be bringing some vinyl as well for your party. As always, I’ll be packing heat in the form of plenty of Freerange and Delusions upcoming material as well as plenty of raw basement jams, percussion-fuelled house and maybe a tripped-out, stripped back disco edit or two.

JimpsterGeneva3

Who have you played with recently who’s blown you away?

It’s always a pleasure to play with Session Victim. Those guys manage to make tracks that I have but rarely play or have completely overlooked sound amazing. Another favourite of mine is Rainer Truby whose sets always surprise and inspire in their variety. There was a guy called Kaka Franco who played before me at a party in Curitiba, Brazil who was really good and he stuck in my mind. There’s a nice mix of his on Soundcloud.

Latest remix – Take me to your house
Latest guest mix – Airpod 038
FB – Jimpster.Freerange

Tickets still available to join us and Jimpster this Saturday in Hackney Wick at Number90.
Buy direct on Resident Advisor

Interview – Mark E

KMG: Hi Mark, how have you been? Good day?

Mark:… emmm not really. Heavy weekend… Monday hasn’t been good to be honest. *laughs*

K: Playing out last weekend?

Mark: Had a really good gig in Birmingham on Saturday night, and then went out on Sunday to see Johnny Marr and that turned into a very late one as well! Good to see him live, but it’s just about killed me…

K: How many gigs are you getting in Birmingham these days?

M: Well I’ve had two in the last month which is quite rare really… but I always try to get back when I can, as I live in Oxford now. There’s some exciting things happening in Birmingham though. There’s a lot of new venue’s opening, and I did this Boiler Room party a couple of weeks ago which was fantastic, with a refreshingly young crowd.

K: Are you giging a lot just now then?

M: Yeah, summer’s been and gone, and it’s always pretty busy with festivals and the like, and it’s starting to pick up now on the run into Christmas.

K: Any highlights of the summer?

M: Field Maneuvers! A very small festival, of about 5 or 6 hundred people, with 2 or 3 stages… and it has that real sort of underground party atmosphere which you could liken to a DIY party I guess. Everybody goes to have a good time, and there’s no one really trying to act all cool. When the music starts they’re just into it, and it was one of the best gigs I did in the summer.

K: Though I’ve not been yet, I’ve heard good things. It sounds really appealing, especially as you get away from the rabid commercialism of some of the large festivals.

M: Yes, exactly. I think that’s why it’s so refreshing, because it’s not as full on. The day after I did Festival Number 6 on the Saturday, and as beautiful and fantastic as it is, it was just so big and full on. Whereas Field Maneuvers was just great people, great vibe, and you didn’t have to walk for hours to get from one side to the other. And of course they get a great line up too!

Mark E_2

FIELD MANEUVERS

K: E-works #1 has since hit the shelves at the end of August, I assume this is the beginning of another series?

M: Yeah… but I don’t want to rush these things. There was a time when a lot of producers had this need just to get music out, so as to get gigs. I don’t want to do that, and I don’t really agree with that particular ethos, because it really stifles the quality of the output. So to that end, I’m in no rush… it’ll get out there when I’m 100% happy.

K: You came to prominence producing some cracking slo-mo edits in the mid noughties, most notably on Jisco. What is it that makes a good edit you think?

M: Not sure… but I can tell you what makes a bad edit. Edits which don’t do much more than loop the beginning, and loop the end! That’s not an edit to me. You need to do something totally different with the track. What I think is a good example of a great edit, is Todd Terje’s rework of Micheal Jackson – Can’t Help It… he stretched it out, with a series of unexpected twists, and then all of a sudden drops back into the original, and your blown away.

K: Merc is up to number 20 in the catalogue now, an achievement not many small indie labels are capable of… and output has predominantly been from yourself, do you view it as a vehicle to get your own production out there? or can we expect more artists to feature in the future?

M: At the moment it’s just for myself to put stuff out. But it’s difficult to keep going, and a very easy way to lose money. Ideally I’d love to put more stuff out by Chicago Damn and Quaid, but it’s hard to maintain and keep the label above water. So to that end it’s currently a vehicle for me to release as and when it suits. The main reason I started the label was to gain better control of when things happened, so I could stagger my releases more effectively and maintain creative control, but that’s not to say I don’t like working with other labels. I still have great relationship with Spectral, and I’d love to do some more work with them in the future.

K: Do you harbour any ambition to release another LP in the future?

M: Yes. It’s still a bit early days at the moment, after Product of Industry came out last year. I don’t really want to do one every year; every other year might even be too close. When I started composing tracks it gave me a really good place to try to create an album, you know 9 or 10 tracks, which is quite a hard thing to do, especially with house music. To listen to house music, one track after the other, I think can be quite difficult in album format… and to try and make it different, and fresh, and new, represents quite a challenge. I like the challenge though, and I think I’ll probably approach it differently next time, we’ll wait and see.

K: Can you tell us a bit about your preferred production methods and approach to composing music?

M: I used to be just software, but in the last few years I’ve built up the studio and I can really see the benefit of using hardware, especially in the sound quality. With my last E-works ‘Would Do You Believe In’ I was so happy with the final product, and vinyl, I think it showed a massive leap up for me in terms of the production value. It’s very warm, and sounds great, so I really prefer using hardware now.

K: Often you’ll discuss music with producers and they find that process and workflows are altered serendipitously… are you now getting ideas brought to life as you originally envisaged?

M: Sometimes it can, when you really get stuck into something it can change quite drastically from where you started. But now I think I’m getting the results I want. You look back at your career, of what you’ve released, and you think ‘well… I may have done that differently’, but it’s a learning curve, and the releases represent a learning curve of me understanding how to use the machines. You’ll always be learning of course, but I’m really happy with the results I’m getting now. They’re what I want when I set out to make a record, and I have a lot more confidence in the music I’m producing.

K: It sounds as though you’re really enjoying your work at the moment. I know some people can get fed up with what they’re doing, but it sounds quite the opposite for you?

M: I’m not getting fed up at all; I’m really excited about it just now. It’s certainly not dragging me down and I haven’t had enough of it by far! *laughs* I’ve still got a hell of lot more to come out, and now that I’ve got myself down, and the way I produce down to a really good level I’m comfortable with, it can only get better. It can be difficult [DJing and producing] though, I’ll be 40 next year, and you do ask yourself ‘how long can you do this for?’… and of course I have young family to consider. You might have a bad gig one weekend, and feel a bit down about it. But then you go and make some music, and it’s followed up with a really good gig, and lately the DJing has been really fantastic for me, I’ve just been really on top of it, and in control of it… whereas sometimes it can be a bit ‘meh’.

K: That’s good to hear!… A lot of your tracks are named with reference to the midlands, would you say that you draw inspiration from your surroundings? Or is this purely coincidental?

M: *laughs*… no, no… errr… no. I called a track ‘Codsall Juniors’ with Endless Flight of Japan, and Codsall Juniors was the name of my football team I played in when I was 9 years old.

K: I like that… so it’s not an expression of what you think Codsall Juniors would sound like if they were a house record then?

M: *laughs*… It’s just a little bit of fun, and it means something to me, it’s personal you know? Rather than coming up with something which has no relevance to anything but sounds cool isn’t something that I want to do.

K: As our generation, the party people of the 90’s and 00’s, begin to settle down, get married, have kids and the like… do you think that the house scene is in safe hands? Or will we just become the radio 2 of the future?

M: Good question! I don’t think so though… I went out on Thursday to do the Boiler Room gig and it’s in a part of town with no real passing traffic. You have to make an effort to get there. I was worried with it being a Thursday that people might not go out, but I was really wrong. There were people there of all ages too. What was really refreshing though, was that there were young people there, and students too. I think Boiler Room has a lot to do with that of course, but I was playing new stuff as well as old house music which I like to do, and they were well into it. It just went off. Old disco tracks towards the end too, and they were really enjoying it. They younger generation are also buying vinyl again, because they can see the value in having a product, so I think the future of the scene is in good hands… and of course we still feel young enough to go out and listen to music in a club!

Slothboogie w/ Aiden d’Araujo & Rob Mathie

We’re back in Hackney Wick this Saturday, and we’ve got two special friends joining us at Bar 90 for good measure.

First up is Aiden d’Araujo. A bonafide wax aficionado, Aiden has been collecting house records for decades, with a particular penchant for original pressings. But he’s not a snob about it, instead he prefers to share the tales of his digging via his brilliant column on Ransom Note… House Hunting. Keep up with his quest for all things house here.

Second we have long time friend and former DJ partner in crime, Rob Mathie. Fresh from supporting Derrick Carter, Rob has a keen ear for all things with a groove, and more importantly an understanding of what House actually means.

We’ll be locked into a 4 way battle royale from 7pm onwards, and very much hope you can join us.

EVENT PAGE HERE

Prosumer – Beats in Space #801

You don’t need us to tell you that Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space radio show is up there with the best of them, but every now and then there’s a particular standout show. It’ll come as even less of a surprise that the guest responsible on this occasion is the cuddly Bavarian… Prosumer. Weaving his magic between Disco, Boogie and House, this has got us very much in the mood for Friday.

1. Dollska ‎- So Long For A Small Storm – Kissa Records
2. Skye ‎- Ain’t No Need – Anada Records ‎
3. Ihannoa – Linked Way
4. DHS – Mind Control – Tino Corp. ‎
5. Chicago Trekwork – Work U To A Trance – House Jam Records
6. Tuff City Kids – R.U.T.H.S. – Potion
7. Code 6 – Quad I – Nu Groove
8. Kenny Dope Presents House Syndicate – Jam The Mace (K Dope Tek Beats) – Dope Wax
9. St. Germain – Real Blues (Atjazz Galaxy Aart Dub) – Parlophone
10. Shake – Frictionalism – Rush Hour Recordings ‎
11. J.B.’s Internationals ‎- J.B.’s Disco – Polydor
12. Gary Bartz – Music Is My Sanctuary – Capitol Records
13. Eddie Russ – Stop It Now – Monument
14. 90’s Inclusive – Stone Cold Cat – Ice Records
15. Jamie Lidell – New Eyes