What is your first musical memory? Phil Collins and Cliff Richard albums on the way to the seaside for a summer holiday. I don’t think there could be a more positive memory. Some people would probably think the music isn’t good but both artists just remind me of childhood sun and sea, amazing, and yeah Phil Collins is Balearic!
What was the first record you bought?Either “2 Unlimited” or “Luther Vandross”, either way they were 7″ singles that I played on this brilliant, by brilliant I mean really naff but still brilliant, mini Hi-Fi I got for Christmas.
What was the last record you bought?The Seahawks` “Tender Abyss” LP. Check it out, it’s a lovely piece of music.
What inspired you to start the label?I guess all the other labels that I have enjoyed buying and listening to over the years. And George Michael’s hair in the Wham days. Tusk Wax is coming up to a year pretty soon. Maybe I’ll celebrate with a Pink Mojito or suchlike.
What are your favourite places to hang out in?Fields, beaches, anywhere by water is always a good start. Somewhere the dog can run around and I can forage. Please don`t confuse foraging and salvaging. One forages for food. I like to try and live from the land a little. Walking the dog a couple of times a day means I pass loads of herbs, plants, berries, etc, so I pick them and eat them and sometimes force my house mates to eat them. I have thought about a metal detector but that might be a nerdy step to far, I could see myself getting a bit obsessive with one of those things. I’d be like pirate looking for treasure but in a really rubbish unconfrontational way without a sword or an eye patch. I guess I could get an eye patch, but a sword would be a bad move I think. Can I say the local pub? Bars and clubs are gash and we don’t really have a record shop around here anymore. There is a cool second hand record store. I do get a lot of my vinyl from car boot sales and chazer shops which most people seem to be pretty down on, but as long as you check the records and don’t get giddy they can be fun. I picked this up the other day for 50p, Almost all the HI-NRG one could ever want! Mainly I shop a Phonica and Piccadilly for new gear. My distributor always tells me to “keep a neutral relationship with the record shops” but I can’t help that I have a fave place to buy wax from. I just like Phonica’s shop, on-line and real. Funnily enough they asked me to do a chart the other day, I hate charts, but I actually brought these records so I didn’t feel like to much a chump doing it, it was more of a shopping list than a chart.
How would you describe the label`s sound?I’d try not to wherever possible. Genre’s are for Juno, etc, to use for database purposes. Luckily I don’t have to quantify what I like in such a reductive manner. I tend to find that people who bang on about ‘a sound’ can be a bit narrow minded, and a narrow mind is rarely a good thing. The label sounds like the label, there isn’t any coherence to it, in fact I like the ambiguity. The only genre that seems to be able to hang on to that feel is “Balearic”, whatever that is? I love how “Balearic” is everything and nothing. My Coyote pals will probably tell me different. What better way to define a sound than by the way people feel about the music rather then attempting to factually lock it down as a “type”. That said, Horn is a very different beast to Tusk. With Tusk I encourage the artists to put 4+ tracks on each release and I try to get some nice variety between them. One of the ideas was to build up a nice collection of tracks for DJing with. I like to think that if you have each Tusk record you could play for a couple of hours in most club/bar environments, perhaps that’s a little naive of me. Anyways, with Horn I wanted one track per side that used the full space provided by the wax, so 10-15minute long tracks. Now, writing interesting tracks that long is pretty challenging, I ask the artists for a beginning, multiple middles and an end. Some guys love the freedom of such space and really run it and turn out amazingly refreshing work but other are put off by it. Different strokes for different folks I guess. With a track over ten minutes long you can either listen at home and really get into the emotion of it, or play parts of it when DJing, they are DJ tools as much as self contained pieces of music. Obviously they are also perfect for if one needs to fag break. Sound wise they will be different but I guess similar as well, the nature of the length of tracks means that Horn will suit techno and house slightly better. So perhaps Horn will get known as the “Techno / House side of Tusk” which it isn’t, but whatever. It`s a relatively simple idea, no great ideological shift from Tusk, just a slightly different way of using the format.
Do you see yourself as part of any scene?No, and I think whenever you use the word “scene” people run a mile, most people’s reaction to that word nowadays to it cringe and reject it as much as possible. There are, however, certain people that I speak to about music and who make music that I like but again there is no coherence there, just a patchwork of good people whose ideas I respect and find interesting / amusing. And No, I`m not giving you any clues as to who they are. No name dropping. Come on, this isn’t an interview for RA is it?
What release are you most proud of?TWOne still makes me happy. In equal measure I hate and love that it`s so in demand. One sold on discogs for £50 last week, do you believe that? At least someone made some money from that record, ‘cus me and the artists certainly didn’t! Musically the label and I have moved in a slightly different direction, which becomes far more apparent in the coming releases, but that record was so exciting to put out. I should take the opportunity to say thank you again to my good pal Chamboche, those badboys Zoo Look, Ian Mannmademusic and Garry Ejeca for trusting me with their tracks. As an aside; Chamboche, Ejeca and I will be doing a Tusk and friends “Trance Resurrected” Live Tour next year, so if any clubs/arenas/stadiums wanna book some of that shit hit me up.
What release would have most like to have done?Funnily enough, I’m just looking at a couple of bits with people who I’ve always wanted to work with. So fingers crossed in a year or so the release I would most like to have done, I will have done. I don’t like to talk about future releases until they are finalised and pressed up, but next up is Tusk Wax Six with Maricopa and Horn Wax One with System Status & Missile Crisis. All three have been complete gents to work with and perfectly fit the ‘friendly’ and non-promo driven way I like to work. When you’re doing music stuff as a hobby the most important thing is that the people you work with are good eggs, I have no time for working with dicks, I also find that dicks tend to make crap music.
Does playing and making music pay the rent?Fuck no. And I wouldn’t want it to ‘cus I’d probably have to start thinking about it as if it was work. I enjoy doing things without any financial connotations except for breaking even. It is frustrating when the artist don’t get rewarded as they should but at least they get a physical record instead of a digital release that simply disappears off into the Beatport ether.
What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?I will assume you are talking about music stuff and not asking about my online “pleasure” habits. They’re a bit weird as well so perhaps next time we chat you might wanna ask me about them. I digress. I don’t like press stuff, the vast majority of it is full of self-serving pretentious bullshit, I’m annoyed even thinking about it. People with axes to grind or egos to stroke, fuck that shit! There are bits and pieces out there that people write just because they like to write, David from Audio Parallax sent me some nice words about Tusk Wax Six the other day without any ulterior motives, but I think these people are in a minority. As such, I avoid most on-line stuff like the plague. However, I do like what you chaps do, hence me answering your questions and sending you records from time-to-time, and who can’t help but check the Bicep blog? Their writing gives me a stiffy!
What was the last book you read?Some pretty boring academic text that I care not to discuss. It pains me to say that I don’t really read that much except for work, and just looking at the massive pile of mostly unread books on my desk I wouldn’t describe any as a particular favourite. Reading has always been pretty functional for me. Sad aye?
What was the last film you saw?“Risky Business”. It wasn’t as good as I remember. However, I did like the way they made prostitution out to be a really wholesome business proposition, perhaps “Tusk Pimp” is a new avenue I could explore once Horn Wax is going swimmingly! Tom Cruise despite his “religious” bullshit is a bit of an idol for me. His shades in Risky Business are something else, and don’t get me started on Top Gun! My internal masculine narrative is in large part framed by a constant striving and failing to reach the heady heights of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Perhaps I should swap Tom Cruise for George Michael. “Requiem for a Dream” is alright if you like that sort of thing.
What is your favourite piece of music?Tough one. I have such a hard on for Pop music, so it’s a toss up between anything by Prince, “The Chain”, “Little Lies”, “Easy Lover”, “Caribbean Queen”, “Everything she wants” and “All night long”. If you played any at my funeral I’d be a happy Tusk. Dead, but happy. I do love T-Connection “At Midnight” and “Do What You Wanna Do” as well. The more I think the more I love. So lets just leave it there. I’m not sure there’s a difference between favourite and current favourite. If the question is, excluding all the amazing music mentioned above and all the amazing music which has gone before it what is your favourite from the last few months then I guess it would probably be Quantic’s new LP with Alice Russell, that thing is a record and a half. Oh, and Cage and Aviary’s LP “Migration” hasn’t left my record bag since it arrived, so that must be a bit of a fave of mine as well.