Aug 28, 2014

FEATURE: Leftside Wobble’s Top5 Wobble Productions
WORDS: Alex Caslano

“No Standing, Only Dancing” – that should probably be a rule in every club, but so often you find the disengaged on the sidelines, either too inhibited or simply not inspired to get down. We get the feeling that Jonathan Moore aka Leftside Wobble is someone who would view these people as an opportunity, an opportunity to flex his party muscle and find that one tune which will get them moving. With a catalogue of classic edits under his belt (working his magic on everyone from Talking Heads to Chic) that probably wouldn’t take long, with his reputation for sets which visit everything from funk to house attracting an almost cult following and online plays in the thousands. With over twenty years experience playing clubs and filling floors, you’re in safe hands when Leftside is on the decks.

Ahead of the launch of his new label, X-Cursions, you can catch the man in action tonight with Bear Groove at Saint Judes, where you can expect an irresistible invitation to dance. Check out his top5 Wobble productions below and let’s start the weekend early this week, eh?

1. THE BEATLES – TOMORROW NEVER KNOW (LEFTSIDE WOBBLE EDIT)

“This was the rework that broke the Leftside Wobble production name around five years ago. A firm favourite with a diverse selection of DJ's including Greg Wilson, Danny Krivit, Francois K, Meat Katie & The Chemical Brothers.”



2. PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING – EVEREST (LEFTSIDE WOBBLE EDIT)

“This is still unreleased and only a handful of DJ's have a copy. Justin Robertson was a big supporter and used it as set closer on many occasions.”



3. DETROIT SWINDLE – GUESS WHAT (LEFTSIDE WOBBLE REMIX)

“As much as I'm best known for my blatant disregard of genre pigeonholes, at my core I'm a lifelong house music fan (as followers of my Acid Soul mix series will be aware) and this remix from a few years back for Detroit Swindle is probably my favourite LW house production.”



4. JKRIV & LOU TETI - ELISCO (LEFTSIDE WOBBLE REMIX)

“I've been closely associated with the 'nu disco' scene over the last 5 years or so but I've never really classified myself as a disco DJ; but this remix for Deep N Disco from a couple of years back still features heavily in my DJ sets and if anything, gets a better response now than when it was first released.”



5. TEMPLES – SHELTER SONG (LEFTSIDE WOBBLE REMIX)

“This brings us full circle back to my Beatles rework. Really proud of this remix as it's something that stays true to the original single yet ramps up the psychedelia aspect a good few notches. Big in Japan - quite literally!”



Leftside Wobble plays Bear Groove at Saint Judes tonight (28th). Tickets are available on the door for £5 and £4 for students. Look out for the first release on Leftside Wobble’s new label, ‘X-Cursions’, after the summer.

Leftside Wobble on Soundcloud
Leftside Wobble on Facebook
Leftside Wobble on Twitter



Aug 26, 2014



GET TO KNOW: Am$trad Billionaire
WORDS: Alex Caslano

It’s been almost a decade since Cotton Cake first launched, and for anyone who graced the club in the years that followed, this realisation will no doubt evoke a sense of nostalgia. From Claude VonStroke to Riton, Boys Noize to Surkin (not to mention a very messy night with Jackmaster and Rustie), Cotton Cake delivered quality guests and quality parties, making sure that the emphasis was very much placed on ‘party’. That party may well have culminated in 2011, but its two promoters and residents, Mehdi Dadrass and Jamie Miller, are now embarking on an adventure of a different kind.

Entering the studio as Am$trad Billionaire, the duo pooled their resources (including an impressive bank of hardware) and started experimenting. ‘We were always making music, but mostly just edits and remixes’ explains Dadrass. ‘When Cotton Cake came to an end and Jamie's band had to call it a day, we decided to get our heads down and produce our first EP, ‘Galaxy 500’, which was put out by Silicone Soul.’ Offering up four no-nonsense jams which swaggered confidently onto the dancefloor, it was a good indication of things to come, with recent releases on Hobbes Music and Something Different fusing warm analogue bass with cosmic Scandinavian synths – which makes sense seeing as Dadrass is currently based in Sweden.

‘I do miss the Tonic Wine’ he says of his relocation, ‘...seeing it evolve into a can from here was pretty special for me too.’ Buckfast aside, the long distance set-up is clearly working for them, with Jamie still based in Glasgow and the music flowing freely. ‘We are always working on new material’ says Dadrass. ‘I'm DJ'ing mostly in and around Stockholm at the moment, but plans to play back in Glasgow are on the cards for sure.’ Promoters take note…Tonic Wine will be well received.

Check out the 'Galaxy 500 EP' below, as well as recent releases on Hobbes Music and Something Different:







We also had a chance to catch up with Mehdi, talking more about the early days of Cotton Cake, the duo's strict use of hardware and how the Stockholm scene compares to Glasgow:

Synth: Now, although Am$trad Billionaire is still in its relative infancy, your roots are embedded in Glasgow’s club scene and namely a night called Cotton Cake; for those that don’t know, can you tell us a about the night’s history? I seem to remember you bringing in some pretty big guests!

Medhi: In a nutshell, we started a monthly party called Cotton Cake around nine years ago at the old Art School. We hosted parties there for around two years and had some really memorable nights. Shortly after our residency at the Art School we spent a year at The Arches and showcased some acts we really believed in at the time, like Boys Noise, the Institubes Crew - Surkin, Para One etc, and Superpitcher who we are happy to see go from strength to strength today. We even had the pleasure of hosting a room at Pressure which was pretty unforgettable. Thankfully things didn't come to an end there, and we were made monthly Friday residents at the renowned Sub Club. We had parties with Claude VonStroke and Mr.Oizo on more than one occasion, as well as Justus Kohncke, Robert Babicz, Blake Baxter, Blackstrobe, Playgroup and Riton. We even had an offshoot night with Jackmaster and Rustie all night long, which ended up very messy...will never forget that one. Kinda wish we could go back and do it all over again now.

Synth: So with regards to Am$trad Billionaire, were you already making music while promoting Cotton Cake or did that come afterwards?

Mehdi: We were always making music, but mostly just edits and remixes. I would usually play them when I was DJ’ing…it was all just a bit of fun. Jamie was actually in a band called The Invisibles at the time, he played synth for them, and I was DJ'ing and busy organizing parties a lot of the time, but we were always getting together in the studio to produce. When Cotton Cake came to an end and Jamie's band had decided to also call it a day, we decided to get our heads down and produce our first EP, ‘Galaxy 500’, which was put out by Silicone Soul's Darkroom Dubs imprint. The rest is history!

Synth: And when you first started producing music together as Am$trad did you have an idea of how you wanted to sound? Were there clear influences that inspired you both or did each person bring something different to the table?

Mehdi: In the beginning it was all just a bit of fun to be honest...it wasn't a conscious decision to have releases or anything like that, although we're happy it happened! I come from a DJ'ing background, and my music influences vary from techno to funk and disco bombs to house and electro, hip hop to soul - really anything that puts a smile on my face, gives me goosebumps and makes a party go off! I was influenced a lot growing up with 80s funk and later when I started DJ'ing this would be apparent in my taste for early French house and disco - I listened to a lot of Larry Levan, Paradise Garage, Francois K, Danny Krivit etc. It was a little later that I developed a wider scope in musical influences and discovered techno legends like Carl Craig, UR, Model 500 and of course Jeff Mills.

Jamie is really into 70’s soundtracks, Wendy Carlos and John Carpenter kinda stuff, and then the obvious stuff that brought us together: Stevie Wonder, Prince and Talking Heads, oh and of course the disco. I think our backgrounds and music influences really takes stage in our music and makes it interesting.



Synth: There seems to be a really warm, analogue appeal to your music - it sounds polished, but not in any way over-produced or clinical. Do you use any hardware in your productions and are there any particular methods you swear by to achieve your sound?

Mehdi: Actually we only use hardware, and everything is analogue (well except for a Yamaha DX27 but even that’s a dirty digital). We have tried some VST’s, and don’t get us wrong, they are good, they’re just not for us. We like the inspiration that you get from sitting behind a machine that makes a smell as it warms up; I also get a buzz from waterfall keys, but there aren’t too many synths with those. Although we own a lot of synths, there are the go to ones. Most tracks start with jamming on the Wurlitzer EP200, a fantastic machine with no midi. Usually a chord progression is written on it, recorded and then chopped on the DAW. However the parts never typically make it onto the track, it’s just a good way to start a track. After that it’s usually the Juno - yup everyone’s used it (for good reason) - and it sounds so recognisable and fantastic. After that the choice of synth is generally picked by the vibe of the track: if it’s slow and seventies you gotta get the moog in there, it’s the only synth that does the moog sound. If it’s getting a bit harder then it's usually a job for the Pro 1 or SH101.

We’re very lucky to own the amount we do; all the synths have been picked to compliment each other and none of them overlap in sound. We do have more American synths than any other (the others are all Japanese) - that’s cos we believe they sound bigger and richer. We did have a couple of drum machines, but one was given away as payment on repairing the Wurlitzer and the other swapped for a synth (I love a good swap). We are looking into a Roland TR8 however, and yes we know, it’s not analogue. Sadly now we currently don’t own any drum machines and we can’t jam via cv/gate. It’s so much fun to clock everything and just jam with no computer (looks like an Arturia Beatstep is in the pipeline too).

Our sound is generally made with 3 FX that we use on every track. Gated Reverb is a favourite. You can add as much or little of reverb without it swelling over the track, it's quite 80’s too. We loooooovvvveeee chorus, especially the one on the juno, however it’s so noisy. To get rid of the noise takes a lot of work, it involves gates and reversing and bouncing down and importing and lastly reversing again - as I said, a lot of work. Lastly, delays; again we love these. We tend to use plugins for delays, just so you can be really picky about the automation. We do own a WEM Copycat, but that’s currently being used by a great 50’s cover band.

Synth: So are we right in saying that one (or both) of you are based in Stockholm at the moment? How does the Swedish scene compare to Scotland? Is there anything distinctly Glaswegian that you miss (i.e. Tonic Wine)?

Medhi: Yeah, I live in Stockholm at the moment - I've been here for around a year and a half now, and Jamie is based in Glasgow. Nothing will ever compare to what Scotland has in terms of clubbing. We are spoiled for choice and most of the time we take it for granted. If I was to compare the Swedish scene, I would have to say Glasgow wins every time - no crowd will ever go off here or (taps aff) at a gig like a true Scottish crowd does.

The best guests here are found at Underbron, Berns, Trädgården and recently a mini summer festival called Yard which just past last weekend. You can usually find decent live things around town, but Debaser or Marie Laveau usually stand out the most. Summer here is saturated with all the big names and there are loads of good underground things happening around the city throughout these months. As soon as September comes though, you can count on the parties drawing to a close. Everything winds down and things get dark...very dark. Now, to anyone back in Scotland this wouldn't make much difference to going out - due to the fact it's dark and pretty much rains all the time anyway - but in Sweden I've found there to be a lot less activity in the winter months. The promoters don't tend to splash out on big acts in these months here either.

In saying that, there are amazing things coming out of Stockholm too. The mighty Studio Barnhus (Axel Boman, Kornel Kovaks and Petter), which is probably one of my favorite labels at the moment; Local Talk, who again are doing really great things and of course HNNY who is on fire at the moment. I do miss the Tonic Wine...seeing it evolve into a can from here was pretty special for me too. Just means there's always something for me to look forward to when coming back home. Jamie doesn’t miss the Tonic Wine, he has it for breakfast most mornings, straight from the bottle and it’s gotta be cold.

Synth: You’ve had some cracking releases in the last few months and we just heard the forthcoming contribution to Different Attitudes which is sounding hot; what’s on the horizon for the rest of 2014, gig and release wise? Would be good to see you in Glasgow soon!

Mehdi: Cheers, you're too kind, haha! We just had the release with Hobbes Music, have a forthcoming release on Different Attitudes which you mentioned, a remix of ‘Dance With Me’ from Justin Harris (Freaks) on Something Different, followed by another EP from us here too, so we can't complain!

We are always working on new material, and I'm DJ'ing mostly in and around Stockholm at the moment, but plans to play back in Glasgow are on the cards for sure. Because of the distance thing we’re not sure how we would do the live thing at the moment (rehearsals over skype don’t really work) but we are working on it. We would love to do it some day though. Jamie still lives in Glasgow and would love to see you too!

Am$trad Billionaire ‘Blind In So Many Ways’ is out now on Different Attitudes. Their contribution to Hobbes Music’s ‘Spring Madness EP’, ‘Busted’, is also out now.

Am$trad Billionaire on Soundcloud
Am$trad Billionaire on Twitter
Am$trad Billionaire on Tumblr



Aug 25, 2014



FEATURE: Keep An Eye On…Urchxns
WORDS: Alex Caslano

‘To me it’s about the way you live and love, not about wearing a baseball cap; it’s about doing what you think is right and liking what you actually like, not because it’s cool, but because you’re genuinely into it.’ This is a sentiment which you’ll find echoed throughout hip hop, but when speaking about the genre in Scotland and the apparent obstacles Scottish hip hop artists encounter, Zayn Grieve aka Nekswan, seems to suggest that having an "accent" is not the only factor at play. ‘It’s not just lack of exposure or already embedded preconceptions of what we should sound like’ he tell us, ‘it’s also the lack of beauty and imagination that holds people back.’ Hooking up with Glaswegian producer, Florist, for a new collaborative project called Urchxns, you get a sense that this realisation has become central to their sound…and it’s certainly got our attention.

With Florist providing soulful, liquid beats which tap into J Dilla and the backpack classics of the 90s, Zayn is able to take you on a very personal journey, all without losing that hugely important sense of homegrown hunger. ‘We aren't a herd of sheep who are doing it to be American’ confirms Florist, ‘we do it because it’s the most effective, creative and stress relieving way to express our opinions.’ And that’s ultimately how it should be. We’re yet to see a Scottish hip hop act make an impact on a truly national level, but as long as aspiring MCs and producers are concentrating on making quality music, then it can only be a matter of time before people sit up and take notice.

Check out some of Urchxns sounds below, as well as an interview in which we talk more about the Scottish hip hop scene and where the duo hope to take it:









Synth: Okay, so an obvious place to start is how the collective came about? Zayn, we’ve talked with you before as a solo artist, but how did you hook up with Florist and when did you decide to start making music as Urchxns?

Zayn: Being someone who aspires to create art, and with writing and music being my medium, I think its mad how many talented people I know within my own circle of friends as well as others all over the city who orbit within the artistic sphere of influence. We met through a mutual friend I went to college with who put me on to his sound. I'm always diggin’ for new sounds to expand my imagery and vocabulary but when I came across Florist's stuff it felt as if we were saying the same thing.

Florist: We picked the obscurest and least used name (probably) in the world, replaced ‘I’ with ‘X’ and off we went. For the record, the "collective" came about more recently, a while after the initial birth of Urchxns as a duo when we had a few close comradians on Zayn’s end who could spit, produce, do graffiti, videos, the lot - basically the full arty package. So we twisted and opened the duo cap into a "collective" for all to produce, rap, write, vandalise, eat & even sleep under…but it had been slow due to personal on-goings. Zayn and I have fallen back into the duo vibe and I can say on my end I’m glad because we know what we have and the reception we’ve had has been unexpected; so we’re just excited to let everyone hear more of what we can do.

Synth: As you know, we think the collaboration is shit hot - both musically and lyrically. Can you talk us through the writing process? And is there a particular message or theme you’d relate to the music?

Florist: For me as a producer, my biggest pet hate are MCs preying on grafting beatmakers, whether they are overseas or local for beats – they buy that shit or even get the freebie and spend months on end writing flimsy vocals to throw on it for "their" project. Enter the ‘FlorZayZe’ process: he starts writing to a golden era boom-bap dime of his choice, whether it be Dilla or Madlib (the boy knows his beats), records his lyrical wizardry, fires me over the BPM and I sit for days in my big cauldron with my rusty pot and big brown spoon stirring up the spaciest, cleanest sounding beats for Zayn's vocals, creating a glistening, picturesque and melodic vibe with different structures, variations and moods. Zayn will always be favourite MC in Scotland or anywhere.

Zayn: Yeah man, me and Florist had our first ‘Intro EP’ out before actually meeting in person thanks to the comfort of social awkwardness, I mean…social media. We spoke a lot about music, what we’re into; I put him onto some artists already established within Scotland and I think he really had fun with that. He showed me a lot of cool music as well, just vibing with ideas. Urchxins started as our own way of portraying this sort of undiscovered beauty that lurks within us all, so lyrically I love having fun with this concept. Our sound is constantly evolving man, and we do it in our own time. I think too many artists feel the pressure to have this massive body of work or alter ego. I prefer to just make something and not really slot it in, and I don’t really feel the need to impress anyone with my music - I nurture my art. I'll send vocals over to Florist and he does his thing (quite wonderfully I might add), and then he sends it back over. When we're together we're always talking about what we should do next or what would be fun to pick apart. It’s a constant individual and collaborative process, it’s comfortable and you can just do what comes naturally.



Synth: It seems like there is a lot of talent in Scottish hip hop at the moment, but it perhaps isn’t receiving the attention it deserves; do you feel like there is something holding it back from breaking through on a wider scale? Whether it be lack of exposure or preconceptions?

Florist: There is an overwhelming amount of talent in Glasgow as well as Edinburgh (which have some of the smartest young cats I’ve ever heard). It's incredible, and you don't need us to list the names of the bigger heads who have won awards, that are making an impact. We aren't a herd of sheep who are doing it to be American...we do it because it’s the most effective, creative and stress-relieving way to express our opinions. More people are getting involved and everyday you can see moves being made. WE (Scotland) ARE getting out there and getting heard...slowly, but surely. And I fucking love that. Even some people who rep the Scottish hip hop scene were born outside Scotland; Zayn was born in South Africa. It's wide open now, in all areas.

Zayn: To me it’s about the way you live and love, not about wearing a baseball cap; it’s about doing what you think is right and liking what you actually like, not because it’s cool, but because you’re genuinely into it. There is a lot of talent in Scotland but there is also a load of shite that to me just isn’t a positive influence. So it’s not just lack of exposure or already embedded preconceptions of what we should sound like, it’s also the lack of beauty and imagination that holds people back. "Beauty fades faster than wisdom appears".

Synth: The tracks you’ve made so far have been getting some great feedback, particularly the latest cut, ‘Magnolia’; do you have any plans to take the project forward? It would be great to hear an extended EP or album at some point!

Zayn: Well that is largely down to so many music enthusiasts such as yourselves at Synth; I love hearing something new and seeing something new be done, so I totally love that people appreciate what we are doing. We are working on our first actual full release, ‘The Blacc Tape’, which will be an introduction to the sound of the Urchxns. If you think about the darkness of everything at the beginning and then these faint glimmers of light slowly starting to appear, that’s what it’s all about. But there is no telling when it will be complete; we're just making it real. Me and Florist, we are awake in ambiguity so there’s always a new take on everything.

Florist: Yeah, ‘Magnolia' had a pretty good reception, better than we thought. We don't see "plays" as much, but when you joke about getting to 400 plays in two days and it’s at 500 in a day and a half then you can't deny it's doing well. But things can't all be gravy and fairytale - our personal lives come first, but as you can see...we make do. It annoys us when we make a dime track and it blows up for the next four days and the talk of "staying consistent" ends up being shattered by jobs, bills, family etc. But that’s life; we won't let it get to us. Music’s our escape, relief and voice of reason, so we appreciate that we can and will get to it eventually – and will always make it count when we do.

Catch Urchxns live at 90’s Hip Hop with Bunty and Jazz Spastiks this Friday (29th) at the Art School.

Florist on Soundcloud
Nekswan on Soundcloud



Aug 22, 2014



ONE FOR THE WEEKEND: Jimmy Edgar

Jimmy Edgar seems to be operating at a different level these days. One of the leading artists to emerge from next-gen Detroit, his new label 'Ultramajic' with Machinedrum has been responsible for some of the most electric club music of the last year, with releases from Danny Daze, Spatial and Matrixxman delivering souped-up electro and delirious techno which stares firmly into the future. Building on the distinct aesthetic of his 2012 album, ‘Magenta’, Ultramajic’s output comes as something of an antidote to the increasingly predictable house which seems to have saturated much of the modern dancefloor. You need only check out the label’s bespoke artwork (much of which is designed by Jimmy himself) to appreciate that.

Ahead of a much anticipated appearance alongside label mate Chambray and Glasgow’s own Sensu tomorrow night at SWG3, we tracked down Jimmy to get a tune which is most definitely locked and loaded for his set:

POL STYLE, VIN SOL & MATRIXXMAN – POWERTOP (Unknown To The Unknown)

“For some reason I completely passed over this track when I got the promo; I went straight for ‘Mz Jackie’ which was an obvious choice for me. I love DJ tools, a lot of my sets feature bonus beats and drum machine tracks that I mix into melodies so there’s cohesion between melodic content. ‘Powertop’ is a great drum machine work out, and for the club this kind of tune really creates tension towards forward momentum which I love creating when I play out.”



Jimmy Edgar plays The Warehouse at SWG3 alongside Chambray and Sensu this Saturday (23rd). Tickets are £8 advance or £10 in the door. 'Metaphysix: III, Correspondence' featuring music from Bobmo, French Fries and Aden is out Sep 15th on Ultramajic.

Jimmy Edgar on Soundcloud
Jimmy Edgar on Facebook
Jimmy Edgar on Twitter



Aug 20, 2014



QUICKIE: Discover Rustie’s ‘Green Language’ Through Interactive Game

Now this is the type of ingenious music marketing we could be doing more of. If you were turned on my Aphex Twin’s blimp earlier this week, then prepare to shoot your load as Rustie reveals his second album, ‘Green Language’, as a multi-level computer game. Developed in collaboration with Hunter Loftis, the Glaswegian producer invites players to enter a world of jungle ruins, platforms and pyramids, with the aim of unlocking all the songs on the album and eventually a full stream. Find the golden monuments and unlock a new song and new level; it’s actually surprisingly addictive and works perfectly with the fully immersive sound of Rustie. Oh, and incase you’re wondering, what we’ve heard so far is ridiculous…

Hunter Loftis explains more about the game’s development:

“Beginning this project, I sat down with my girlfriend and listened to ‘Green Language’ on loop, and we just closed our eyes and talked about the imagery evoked by each track. The album blends natural sounds with classic video-game electronica, so I wanted to build something that similarly combined digital effects with a sense of untamed nature. I drew especially strong inspiration from Adventure Time's palette and Minecraft's 8-bit rendering style. The game's dreamlike lighting system was designed to complement the surreal quality of Rustie's music.”

Check out the video for album track ‘Attak’ ft Danny Brown below, and follow the link to play the ‘Green Language’ game:



Play the game here.

Rustie ‘Green Language’ is available on Aug 25th via Warp Records.

Rustie on Soundcloud
Rustie on Facebook
Rustie on Twitter