Whilst it might seem easy to stick to the four four beat and pound that rhythm out, techno comes in many forms. When an artist comes around that shows soul, tenderness and a knack for melody in their music whilst retaining that hard edge and maintaining that deep groove you know you’re onto something special. It’s this fervent depth and sound that sets Vince Watson apart from the crowd and enabling him releases on the world’s most revered labels including Carl Craig’s Planet E and Delsin.
Here we talk to him about his international creative friendships, the art of storytelling and why musicianship is important in his performances ahead of his live show here on the 9th July, a date that also welcomes the virtuoso of the studio mix, Dixon, and originator of the micro house movement, Isolee, back to Farringdon.
Hi Vince how’re you, what’re you up to today?
Great thanks! Its so warm today that I had to put the heating on to cool me down.. I’m putting together a big profile/press launch that’s happening later this week.
Firstly, let’s talk about this mix you’ve done for us, were there any particular ideas and inspirations behind it?
I’m a storyteller when it comes to performing. I don't think I’ve ever turned up and just started playing carefree, so this mix is a story from start to finish. I even start and end the mix with two different versions of the same track to being the story to and end properly. As I’m playing Live for you guys on 9 July however, I wanted to do both here, so what I’ve done is create a mix where the first half is music from other artists and the second half is mostly music of my own, all DJ'd together from CDs.
There are a couple of exclusives that I kept for this one. fabric is a club which for me, really stays true to the quality control, and has been a supporter of good music for a long time, so the mix reflects this by choosing a few different styles and creating a story from that.
What would you say fairly describes the balance of older and newer sounds in your record bag when you come to DJ and record mixes?
There's some really great new artists out there, but 75% of my music choices when I DJ is new music from established artists. It’s difficult sometimes, when i get some demos or promos sent to me, I really like some of the music but the mastering or the mixdowns on some of them are not so good and take the energy out of it.
I think over time the older heads have learned a lot and the quality of the audio masters is so good now, in both digital and analogue formats...It’s a fine line....you have to try and break new artists through. I’ve even remastered and even edited some promos I’ve been given just to play them and make them work. Recording mixes is slightly different...you can be a lot more versatile and this is a must when you’re telling a story.
Ambient and electronica styles of music have played their part in bringing melody to your music - is this still the music you listen to when not on a house / techno tip?
Ive taken so much from those genre's over the years....Ambient still hits my speakers in morning and Sundays in the park....but IDM/Electronica I’ve shied away from a little in recent times. There wasn't anything exciting coming from it to catch my attention. Ive replaced that with Soundtracks, which is something I’m moving into slowly but surely. It’s always been an aspiration of mines to do this and recent Hans Zimmer and Cinematic Orchestra soundtracks have blown me away. I’ve always been a classical music fan anyway but some of the modern material is really breaking ground and is of most interest to me at the moment.
You release on a variety of labels each with their own keen identity, is that something that helps to inspire you and keep your ideas fresh?
I’m lucky to be versatile in my music creation but the hard part is having the right outlet for it. I’ve done so many different styles over the years, that some labels expect you to do something and your not quite in that groove at the time...so its challenging, but its great to have that option. I think its helps from a creative side to get all of these things out your system now and the, and it also helps your career because you've got a wide variety of published work in different genres.
Occasionally the divides have crossed over and I get some real house DJ's playing stuff i didn't expect and vice versa....I don't think that would have happened If i was solely making one form of music. So yes, I’m lucky to have that luxury, but less and less labels are taking risks so you've got to be balanced in your approach.
You’re currently working on EPs for several labels how are your ideas coming along for those?
I’m working on a lot of projects for a few labels at the moment, so its a busy time. I’ll be announcing news about these soon. I should have an album on Rekids later in the year which will be something a little bit different from me so that’s pretty cool...I’m also very pleased that my labels Bio and Everysoul are now up and running again. Ive been working really hard on the music for these labels for a few months, and its all very different from each other, so they take time to get right....making several EP's at the same time has its positive and negative points. Sometimes you lose focus, but sometimes when you need a break from something, I just load up something else and away I go.
From starting off in Glasgow did you imagine that your network would ever become this international? Was it always this way?
I seem to have taken a different route than most of my fellow Glaswegians playing around the world. I’ve always had more gigs outside Glasgow than in it. I used to play Pressure for the Slam guys, and the occasional Subclub gig but nothing consistent..but thats cool. I’d much rather be playing in Sao Paulo than Argyll Street!I had the ambition to reach the heights of travelling around the world playing for people but your targets get bigger and bigger as you go on...as long as you’re always grateful for what you have, then the next target should be achievable.
You’ve made the move in recent years to Amsterdam why did you move away from your native and also amazingly musical city Glasgow and what does Amsterdam have to offer musically?
For me, Glasgow had served its purpose. I’ve been coming to play in Amsterdam several times a year for a long time, and there is no comparison really. Glasgow has great artistic output but the scene itself is tiny and restricted compared to Holland. I’m attending a free party this Sunday at the bus station round the corner from my house. If they tried to do that in Buchannan Street, everyone would be arrested. Since I’ve been here my musical output has risen dramatically, I’m able to meet so many friends from the music scene when they are playing here, and the scene in general is just so big that there is hardly a weekend free without a festival of some kind just down the road. T in the Park doesn't quite cut it.....oh and the weather...don't get me started.
You’ve been tweeting about the solid hardware set up you’re bringing to Farringdon for your live performance is this something you have for every gig?
YES!! For a few years, due to promoters’ budgets and easy travelling, I was playing with controllers and the odd piece of equipment but while its great to play, it isn't that exciting to watch. We’re in the entertainment business, and I’m a musician first and foremost before being a DJ...so it was about time I cranked out the keyboards and drum machines for some live fun. It’s insane how many kids are coming up and don't have a clue what the stuff is, they are fascinated as they haven't seen a keyboard on stage before. This is a real issue for me, that should never happen!
It’s a recipe for disaster as far as I’m concerned if the younger generation are going to clubs and have never seen or heard a keyboard on stage, then how long will it be before they get bored and move onto different types of music? Now....I’m not going to change that single-handedly, but as an artist, I want and need to play my keyboard in front of people....surely its not so alien? It’s the most natural thing for me to want to do as an artist. I would get seriously frustrated of turning up at a club with a laptop full of 'pre-synced', 'pre-programmed on route on the plane records'. That to me is not entertainment, and it doesn't sound like fun as the performer either. My Korg and 808 will serve me just fine thanks!
And finally, what else do you have lined up for the coming months?
I’ve just released an 800sample DVD on the front cover of Computer Music Magazine. I wanted to give people a 'real' sample cd and not something with the most dreadful samples you will never use, so I made them all from hardware and its been great so far, I’m already getting music sent to me with the samples on them. I’m also about to do a massive press/promotion campaign starting at the end of June, so that’s been hectic getting the photo shoots and material ready for that.
My labels Bio and Everysoul are now back into gear, with remixes coming from Octave One, Steve Rachmad, Rolando, Paul Woolford, Heiko Laux and Orlando Voorn...as well as.....yes, finally my next album 'Every Soul Needs a Guide' later this year on Everysoul. I’ve just finished the 2nd EP on Tresor called 'Illusion'.
This fabric mix and interview was the final part of the jigsaw so thanks for giving me the space and time to air my views and get my storytelling out there..see you on July 9th!
1. Nick Dunton - Between Worlds - Surface
2. Frederico Todos - The Moment (Matthias Vogt Remix / Fred Everything Edit) - Urbantorque
3. Jimpster - Alsace & Lorraine (Josh Wink Interpretation 1) - Freerange
4. Arithmetics - For the Faint of Heart - Freerange
5. Agoria - Panta Rei - Infine
6. Vince Watson - Illusion (Dub) - Tresor (Promo)
7. Vince Watson - Pressure - Bio
8. Vince Watson - Sequential - Bio 024 Promo
9. Joel Mull - Red Lights (SLS Mix) - Audiomatique
10. Phil Keiran - Free Yourself (Instrumental) - PK Recordings
11. Vince Watson - Interference - Promo 025 Promo
12. Nick Dunton - Between Worlds (Sandwell District Remix) - Surface