As ‘Vibrate’ will be released on Hot Creations, how did you find the creative process of the label coincide with your own. Did you feel that Hot Creations shared the same vision for the track that you, its creators, did?
Most of our communications happen over email so we don’t know the ins and outs of how they work, but from a label perspective one thing they’ve shown us is the importance of thorough road testing. You can really learn a lot about a record over time, and it’s the worst thing as a label owner when you commit to sign a track then change your mind a few weeks later.
From an artistic perspective working with Jamie (Jones), Richy (Ahmed) and the Hot Creations crew has been really easy, as we share the same passion for high quality sounds that works on the dancefloor, above all else. They’re really nice down to earth guys. When you work with people like this everything seems to fall into place organically.
‘Vibrate’ also holds remixes by Re.You and Barem, two prominent and respected names in dance music, especially in regards to production value. How did these two artists end up on remix duties? What is it about both Re.You and Barem, and their respective sounds that complements ‘Vibrate’, the original?
The way the EP came around was quite unusual really. A first for us anyway! We sent Vibrate to Richy many months ago, before summer. It was actually the first demo we’d sent to Hot Creations. We didn’t hear back so decided to release it on our own Gruuv label instead and began thinking of which artists would complement the stripped back style of the original and bring diversity and class to the EP.
Barem and Re.You were our top choices and thankfully they were both into the idea, so we sent them the parts and they got started. A few weeks later we heard from Richy who said he loved the track and that he and Jamie had been playing it every week, so we gave them the option to take it for Hot Creations, providing they were into the remixes we’d already commissioned. Thankfully they were!
Did you have a hand in the artwork on the EP? It seems to be something with a Mayan influence, or perhaps Illuminati visions whilst on an Ayahuasca journey (not a bad thing ;)…
Many people might prefer little or no appearance from the Illuminati, especially in the Peruvian Jungle when they’re maybe what you’re escaping from, but that’s another topic! No we didn’t have any influence on the artwork, it’s all the brain child of a guy called Mikey Brain who does all their art. We love it though. What a great thing to have an amazing bespoke piece done for every release by such a talented artist.
You, as Audiojack, have been in this dance music game for some 10+ years at this point. Would you say there was a single moment in that span that really jump-started your career? What/Who were some of your early supporters?
We got our break back in 2006 with our first release Robot, which was supported by the likes of Sasha, Carl Cox, Erol Alkan and Luciano, who played it twice in a row at DC10 whilst we were there on holiday. Our very simple initial plan with Audiojack was ‘make track, get track played in DC10, hopefully while we’re on holiday’, so when it happened it was, at least mentally for us, the time when we thought we might be able to make something of this.
We’ve had good periods more recently with releases like Get Serious and No Equal Sides on 2020Vision and Stay Glued and These Days on Gruuv which have Kevin on vocals. Our musical career has tended, like many things in life, to flow in waves. Sometimes you’re top of the pops then before you know it you’re yesterday’s newspaper. We’ve always made the music we want to make rather than what’s popular at the time. Sometimes these things cross over and sometimes they don’t, so you learn to accept the rough with the smooth. Either that or you have to relinquish your artistic freedom and make something you don’t want to because you know it will be more successful. We’d rather be poor and true than rich and false.
To that point, I do know an early supporter was Leftroom Recordings. In fact, we recently showcased the label and you guys provided the showcase mix (thanks for that!). Can you talk to us a little about your early experiences with Leftroom? How did you guys come in contact? What were those early days like? How would you describe Leftroom in the context of your entire career?
We’d been making music for about 1 year and felt we were ready to send some demos out so we sent 8 tracks on CD to a list of our favourite labels. After we got no replies we decided to take them into Tribe Records in Leeds where Jay Kilka and Ste Roberts worked to see if they’d have a listen in the shop. Jay had a listen through and nothing grabbed him until he got to the last track Robot, which was more of an experimental track that we’d decided to tag on anyway. He said his mate Matt Tolfrey was starting a new record label, that it might be up his street and he got on the phone with him there and then. So in the context of our career Leftroom was the label that got us off the ground, and maybe likewise Robot helped Leftroom get started too. The mix we did for you guys included our 10 year reincarnation of Robot for Leftroom’s 10 year anniversary. We felt the track deserved a refurb given that first time round we didn’t really know what we were doing!
Though originally from Leeds, you currently reside in Ibiza. Is this year round or just for the season? If year round, can you give us an idea of life on the island “off-season”?
Yeah we’re here all year and it is, as you might guess, much quieter and very different to the summer but the weather is still nice and there are lots of really sound likeminded people that create a great community vibe. Most island dwellers are super busy in summer so you rarely see friends but then everyone hangs out and catches up in winter. Its way more social in winter and you find yourself doing stuff most nights but aside from a few too many drinks it’s pretty wholesome compared to summertime. People do lots of outdoors stuff too. It’s a really beautiful island, good hills for running, cycling, hiking etc. Many people don’t realise this as they fly in, party and fly out. The beauty of this contrast is that by the end of the summer you’re tired of partying so have 6 months off, then by the time summer begins, you’re ready again. Having just returned from a few days in Berlin hanging out with Kevin Knapp in 18 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s -8 to us Europeans!), to return to Ibiza and it’s 18 degrees Celsius, sun shining, t-shirts and sunglasses on… doesn’t really need much selling does it… 😉
As you have released material on labels like Diynamic, Get Physical, Leftroom, 20:20 Vision, and Gruuv, perhaps you can give some advice to aspiring producers out there, as to how to get noticed by such respected labels. Do you still find yourself submitting music for consideration to labels? Or by now do they reach out to you for content?
We got lucky as our first release was a hit. We went from zero gigs each month with nobody replying to our demos, to being overwhelmed by an influx of offers for both, almost overnight. Nowadays there are maybe 10 times the number of people making music and DJing so the suggestion is it’s harder to break through, but what music listeners want from music is exactly the same, so it’s arguably no harder if you’ve got the talent, put in the hours to learn the craft, follow your own musical journey, not your ego or wallet and remain true to yourself.
We’ve always had a quality over quantity approach with our music and we take our time producing it so we don’t have regular demos to send out, but there are still times when we send the odd unsolicited demo to a label we haven’t released on before. We get rejections from time to time too but we don’t get disheartened by it, music is subjective. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.
Finally, on a light note: What has been the most memorable aspect of 2015? What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
Starting our free party Sunday Social in Ibiza was great. We felt strongly that free parties are the essence of the Ibiza spirit and wanted to do something to make sure partying here wasn’t reserved just for the rich elite. We shared the DJ booth with some great guests including Funk D’Void, Simon Baker, Marc Romboy, Tuccillo and Burnski, and shared the dance floor with everyone who came, including Seth Troxler’s mum and dad one week, who were lovely. It was a special summer. We’ll be back again this year.
Out of the studio, alongside our Hot Creations EP we’ve got material coming on 2020Vision, Crosstown Rebels, Culprit, Tsuba, Systematic and our own label Gruuv in the next few months. It’s rare we’re planned so far ahead with our releases, but it’s a happy place for us as we can now focus and take our time making music for the summer. We’re also relaunching our ‘In the Gruuv’ show weekly from February, which will be syndicated on FM stations around the world. We’ve been DJing for 20 years each now, so 40 years of combined electronic music listening! We enjoy doing radio like we enjoy making, playing, signing, releasing music, whatever, we’re just happy to have made it through a decade where we’ve been able to call this our job. For us, there’s really nothing better.
“Vibrate” is available 29 January on Hot Creations