Mind when Dennistoun has the hottest discothèque in town? No? Well these two wee groovers should help you remember. Produced by Italia90, a cross-border duo comprised of Ryan Crawford and Nathan Rae, ‘Dennistoun Disco Pt1’ is packing some serious, carpet-burning heat.
You may have already acquainted yourself with Italia90 through Huntley + Palmer’s ‘Clyde Built’ compilation or with their Morris Audio featured track ‘Street Lady’, but for the uninitiated, the Glasgow/London duo are all about delicious disco samples with an element of seduction.
On their new self-issued release, ‘Dennistoun Disco Pt1’, you’ll find ‘Reach Out’ – a soulful slice of slowmo funk which chugs along at around 100bpm. The tasty guitar licks, warm bass and looping vocal make it the perfect dancefloor invitation. ‘The Sweetest Pain’, meanwhile, is an effortlessly smooth groove which boasts a woozy vocal over a swinging, 70s beat.
Listen to the tracks below and download via Bandcamp. You can also check out a quick chat we had with the guys about their production partnership and what makes a good sample:
SynthGlasgow: Can you start by telling us a bit about your musical influences and how you started producing together?
Italia90 (NR): I grew up listening to dance music in the back of my dad’s car, so it’s always been a part of my life. Early Ministry, Global Underground and later the Fabric compilations (still love Fabric 09 - Slam) featured heavily so I was exposed to practically every sub-genre possible. I’ve been through lots of phases and I don’t play much breaks or techno these days, but in the last few years I’ve paid a lot more attention to older music such as 70’s Salsoul or 80’s TRAX records.
As teenagers we used to DJ locally on the same bills, but with one of us in London and the other in Glasgow it had become a rare occurrence until we both got asked to play at the Red Bull Kitesurfing Competition a few years ago. We were playing similar tracks and had shared influences, so felt it would be good to get in the studio. We mostly work over Dropbox these days, bouncing ideas back and forward before getting some studio time together to finish the tracks off. It’s not the easiest process, but probably makes us focus on the detail rather than trying to rush and finish tracks with limited studio time.
SG: ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Sweetest Pain’ both utilize some great sample work; what do you think makes a good sample?
Italia90: Most of our tracks tend to start with a sample – usually a vocal hook or a musical phrase that we chop up. The way we work is probably more in line with hip hop producers than house and techno. We’ll spend hours going through old disco and soul vinyl looking for hooks. We like our tracks to have that ‘live instrument’ feel to them; taking a bassline from a 70's soul record gives a track a warmth and grove that's hard to replicate with software or a synthesiser.
SG: You had a track featured on Huntleys + Palmers ‘Clyde Built’ compilation earlier this year; do you think there is a good support network for up and coming producers in Glasgow?
Italia90: Definitely. Andrew at H+P has supported us a lot, Mia Dora have supported our tracks and Dan and Kenny at DABJ have been playing our tracks on their radio show and in the clubs. People like Ali OOFT! and The Revenge have been a big influence on our sound, and the fact you can send these guys a message or bump into them in the pub and have a chat about music is really healthy.
SG: Finally, what was the inspiration behind the name Italia90 and is there anything on the horizon – gig, release or mix-wise – that we should look out for?
Italia90: We first started hanging out through football, so we wanted a name for the project with a connection to that. There was a Newham Generals freestyle where Footsie said, “I got a classical flow like adagio, I’m Italia90, Baggio” and that was how it came about (Blame Ryan haha).
We’ve got our first EP out next month on Morris Audio which we’re really excited about, and it features a remix from Iron Curtis. Stefan put out our first track, ‘Streetlady’, on vinyl at the start of the summer as part of a V/A compilation called ‘Morris Audio98’, so to get our own release so soon has been amazing.