Get To Know...2012
As 2012 draws to a close we will take great pleasure in looking back over what has been a quite exceptional twelve months. But before we get into the end of year charts, we’ve still got a lot of new music to cram in and a wave of producers who have only just caught our attention. For those who might be new to Synth, our Get To Know segment is all about putting the spotlight on up and coming local producers who we think are destined to make some noise.
INTERVIEW W/ Almost
Glasgow may traditionally be known as a city of House, Techno and all things 4x4, but in 2012 it can lay claim to a wide spectrum of different sounds. Supported by a passionate and creative core of producers, promoters and fans, everything from Dubstep to Juke, Drum & Bass to Disco can be found in the many clubs and localised parties. And it’s perhaps this very open-minded attitude towards electronic music that has encouraged a growing number of ambient producers to soar skywards.
INTERVIEW W/ Solipsism
Perhaps the one thing that can dishearten an aspiring producer is the perennial struggle of getting their music signed and heard. You’re convinced that yesterday’s all-nighter has produced the most exciting slice of underground House since DJ Pierre started fiddling with his TB-303, but getting a label to listen is next to impossible. The influx of bedroom producers over recent years has made the competition fierce, something which makes Illyus Brown’s first release all the more impressive.
INTERVIEW W/ Illyus
Just when you think you’ve got Glasgow all figured out, along comes someone like Konx-Om-Pax and blows your mind all over again. Shamefully we only discovered Tom Scholefield’s work this summer, and to say we’ve been mesmerised ever since would be an understatement. Master of both sight and sound, he has quickly become one of Glasgow’s most intriguing artists, making a name for himself through inimitable interpretations of the world around him.
INTERVIEW W/ Konx-Om-Pax
When you were at school, the arrival of a guest speaker was always a particular highlight. Usually it was someone exceptionally boring, but if you were lucky it could be an enthusiastic police or fireman, on hand to teach you about the Green Cross Code or rescuing a stricken cat from a drainpipe. At Andy Jackson's school however, they went one better and got the local hardware fanatic to present some of his more impressive kit – a collection which included the likes of a Roland CR-78 and Yamaha DX7 - something which immediately resonated with Andy and would perhaps shape the path of his career.
INTERVIEW W/ JFunc
The advent of such production programs as Live 8, Logic and Reason have really opened up the possibilities when it comes to making electronic music. No longer do you have to rely on great, lumbering hardware to perfect your artistry, and the option to create music is no longer confined to a studio. But some argue that the use of a laptop can have a detrimental effect on your sound, stripping it of its human identity and masking its soul. For Holobeams & Broken Machine’s Iain Foxwell however, this notion has perhaps had a positive effect - his search for tangible purity has been strengthened by technology’s overbearing influence.
INTERVIEW W/ Holobeams & Broken Machines
Considering they only uploaded their first track to Soundcloud a matter of six months ago, the imminent release of their debut EP may come as a bit of a surprise to some. But in this day and age of Youtube sensations and viral marketing, the internet has become central to the exposure and eventual success of new music. Infact it was only through a heads-up via the aforementioned Soundcloud that we discovered MermaidS, a rapidly ascending production duo born out of a series of late nights, and yes, a fair portion of Marijuana.
INTERVIEW W/ MermaidS
“I've never really pinned it down to anything, a narrative is created regardless of whether I feel the need to stick to the same palette of sounds or BPM”. As an opening quote that really defines what 22 year-old Tom Marshallsay aka forward-thinking experimentalist, Dam Mantle is all about. Infact, further to that, he’s probably managed to sum up just what defines forefront electronic music in 2012. So much emphasis is put on trying to label a ‘sound’ these days that it can sometimes smother it, and in the case of Dam Mantle, this simply doesn’t apply – certainly not from his perspective anyway.
INTERVIEW W/ Dam Mantle
Perhaps one of the greatest pleasures of this job is spotting talent early and then watching it flourish. Scrolling through Soundcloud once a week for the past two years, we have found some truly incredible music which in our eyes deserves even further exposure. To avoid sounding like self-aggrandising pricks we won’t suggest that we have by any means influenced the success of any of the producers we choose to highlight, but certainly discovering that unsigned gem and then shouting about it is one of the most satisfying aspects of Synth. And perhaps the best example of this gratifying foresight is the recently signed John Smyth aka This Is I – one to watch and definitely someone who caught our attention from the start.
INTERVIEW W/ This Is I
It’s Friday night at a secret warehouse party in Glasgow’s city centre. Through the crowds of sweaty punters we stumble across Mirrors, who with bottle of Buckfast in hand, informs us that he has just sent us yet another two demos to check out when we get home. Parting ways, we promise to have a listen later, and at 7am, in a slightly less stable state than we were earlier, the speakers go on. The two tracks are ‘Aquarius’ and ‘Things’, both gleaming with a future-funk which has become central to the Mirrors sound. Although only in their demo form, they won’t stay under wraps for long.
INTERVIEW W/ Mirrors
It’s December 2009 and Julian Corrie has just arrived on stage at Glasgow’s infamous King Tuts. There is no glowing Apple logo in sight; instead he is surrounded by what appears to be a precarious jumble of electronic hardware while a guitar swings haphazardly from his neck. It’s been nearly three years since he unleashed his self-released debut album by the name of ‘Rainbow Bubbles’ – an oddball collection of eccentric melodies and solarised glitch – and tonight he is debuting four new tracks which seem to go down rather well.
INTERVIEW W/ Miaoux Miaoux
You can always tell when music is truly organic because it doesn’t sound like anything else. In 2012 with traditional genres taking new and exciting directions, our job as journalists has become infinitely more difficult. So often an artist refuses to label their sound as ultimately it becomes an extension of their personality, a manifestation of raw emotion and an aural snapshot of experience. Music is precious and unequivocally individual; we certainly wouldn’t like it if someone slapped our 140bpm solar-funk as certified ‘Dubstep’ (not that we’re making solar-funk, but now that we’ve coined it, we might just). Music is a highly personal expression and such a notion applies perfectly to Soosh.
INTERVIEW W/ Soosh
There’s something intriguing about a young guy in his bedroom late at night, making music. It’s how many of the greats started out – locking themselves away for hours at an end, creating and perfecting their sound in the hope it might lead to something bigger. Following in these footsteps is Niall Morris aka Cur$es, who since the release of his home-made debut album ‘Solar Temple’ in July 2011 has been impossible to ignore as an evolving and upcoming talent.
Something excites us about Scottish Hip Hop. Slowly discovering this growing, passionate scene was almost like discovering a new form of music. Realising that a wealth of talent lies on the whole untouched by the selective hand of commercialism creates this feeling of being part of something entirely fresh – almost exclusive. As with each new artist presented to us we’ve found ourselves overwhelmed by talent, often unrecognised but nevertheless unmistakable. Maybe it’s the impression of being the underdogs, overshadowed by their English counterparts or maybe it’s the fact that Scottish MC’s have a raw passion which is deep-rooted and utterly boundless. Whatever it is, it’s about time you got familiar.
Sometimes music can have an instant effect. Sometimes you need only listen to the opening notes of a song and without even knowing it you have surrendered yourself to the unfolding drama. This is how we felt the first time we heard Fall. Discovering the quite frankly stunning ‘Wings’ last summer we knew without question that Steven had unquestionable talent, and here it was laid out before us through four minutes of astounding beauty. Beginning with the subtle crackling of a worn record before introducing a chord structure which could reduce a grown man to tears, ‘Wings’ quickly became one of our favorite songs of the year.
To us, 2011 very much felt like a warm up, the prelude to something much bigger. Where upcoming artists were just finding their feet last year and honing their skills, it is in 2012 that their talent will be truly recognised. As such we’ve decided to resurrect one of our forgotten features in an effort to give you a definitive heads-up on who you should be looking out for over the next twelve months. To coin a well known phrase, ‘you heard it here first’.