20 Years of Soma: Label Manager Dave Clarke Looks Back
Fast approaching this Saturday is the 20th year jubilee of the revered, celebrated and now officially long running Glasgow based electronic dance music label Soma Quality Recordings. As well as being known for releasing early seminal tracks from Daft Punk, Slam and Funk D’Void, the label has carried itself through to present day making name as a consistned place for pushing boundaries to present day. 2011 has been a year in keeping with this reputation with Deepchord’s ‘Hashbar Lopps’ long player and remixes from 2 of the techno world’s breakthrough artists Ryan Crosson and Joseph Capriati further evidence of the label’s quality and success.
Most frequently Slam are the voice of the label, who we also spoke to earlier in the year, however, we’ve gone a step further for the blog, asking label manager Dave Clarke (I know what you’re thinking, but this is a different Dave Clarke) to step out from behind the curtain and share with his Soma story - eulogizing his memories of 20 years in service and introduces his 10 most important releases from the label to us.
“Every release is a highlight. From the first, Soma 1 Slam - “Eterna”, with us all writing on the labels and mailing it out to ourselves, direct to the shops and the DJs then later Daft Punk going universally massive, releasing Felix da Housecat’s early track “Clashback”, Silicone Soul’s “Right On Right On” slowly building to global domination… Skintrade and Desert Storm - the bands that never were – making great records then disappearing and breaking up and our Slam collaboration with James Lavelle for Soma 100 “Narco Tourist”. We could go on and on...
“It’s a history of Electronic Dance.
“We think it is Soma’s drive for quality over profitability and our refusal to be pigeon-holed has gained us a certain amount of respect within the electronic music scene. The support we receive from across the board has been fantastic over the years. Thank you one and all, it really has inspired us to continue to strive for quality record releases.
“We’re really happy to have reached our 20th year and it has been nice to revisit the past this year, which we don’t normally do. We’re also very pleased with what is happening next, the new projects we have in the pipeline for 2012 (stunning new albums from Gary Beck and Madrid’s Alex Under. Plus a great Steve Rachmad and Heiko Lux project). Here’s to the next 20 years! The secrets of lasting 20 years in this game are passion and honesty, it’s what keeps Soma alive, there’s always a belief in the music we put out. Also there’s all the great staff we’ve had help us over the years and all the talented producers, without them none of it would have been possible.
“The album, which is out this week, really does show the quality of the label and its history. It’s great that we have ended up with the unreleased “Drive” by Daft Punk on the Soma 20 compilation. I remember meeting Daft Punk in Paris for the first time, 2 teenagers. They played us their tracks in their studio, which was in Thomas’ mum and dad’s apartment in Montmarte. We had been introduced by Tom and Jerry Bouthier - Thomas and Guy-Manuel were fans of “Positive Education”, which had just been released. They liked the idea of releasing on a label outside France, so Soma fitted the bill. We heard the first set of 4 tracks that became the ‘New Wave’ single. We thought they were amazing, we all left with big smiles on our faces, we knew this was special, but how special I don’t think any of us could have imagined!
“We had a strong connection with France and Paris because of this early history. Our other great friend in Paris is Master H, he is our soul brother. We all met Hassen at different times, but all struck a chord of friendship with him. “Magic K” is a classic record, the man’s a great DJ and Producer and his record label KOMPLEX DE DEEP is a fantastic achievement. We think he’s about to grace Soma’s release schedule again early next year and he is joining us in London at the Soma 20th birthday party at fabric!
Here are 5 majorly important releases on Soma followed by 5 that are not so well known but are equally important.”
1. Slam – Eterna (A Side)
Just because it was the first- and it still sounds great today
2. Daft Punk – Da Funk
Played by everybody before it went major – the sound of the Nineties!
3. Silicone Soul – Right On Right On
it just grew and grew and grew- and is a special piece of music
4. Slam – Positive Education
Because it changed our lives –it travelled all around the world before we did – before the internet was a tool for reaching the rest fo the planet – the vinyl had to travel and it did. This record sold over 30 thousand copieds on vinyl and everywhere we went to play if had been there before – it is also the reason 2 young Parisiens wanted to hook up with us in 1993!
5. Funk D’ Void – Diabla
From the first few bars – we knew this was huge – instant big techno with plenty of emotion and musical content
A: Skintrade – Andomraxess
Still a blueprint for future funk – ‘out there’ classic.
B. 20 20 Vision – Future Remembrance
Future Remembrance – such a great bass trip – we still play this
C. Counter Plan – 90 Degrees (DJQ Mix)
Great remix – top groove- the original was one of our Slam releases under a pseudonym
D. Chaser – Blue Planet (Abacus Mix)
A journey to ambient tripped out guitar heaven - features on the “Soma Coma” series.
E. Master H – Magic K
- the finest desert funk straight out of Paris! - dropping this a Fabric next week – yee ha- paul ritch has remixed and silicone soul are doing it also for the birthday year
Soma Quality Recordings cebrates 20 Years with us this Saturday with Slam, Funk D'Void, The Black Dog and many more over two rooms. For more information and tickets click here.