Modern music is moving at such a frenetic pace. Journalistic outfits struggle to keep up, sift through and discover the sheer amount of new music being made every single day. It’s a clear and present blessing and a curse. It’s a great thing for creativity; walls are breaking down with every laptop that’s plugged in and new approaches are tried without even an initial consideration, but for a record label, one that takes pride in releasing stellar hard body product, it’s hard to find producers to invest in considering that there is such a wealth of competition.
Deadboy put it properly in a recent interview with Bonafide magazine theorizing that signing to a label is more than just them putting their stamp of approval on you and co-signing your work; it’s as much about association and the outside perception as it is a collective ownership of the music. And in an environment where it takes a lot of time and tweaking to produce properly polished, worthy product and every Tom, Dick and ‘Harry dubstep’ are uploading music to the internet as soon as its half mixed down, we, for one, are thankful that these organizations continue A&R processes, working overtime to support the music they do and to such a high level.
Nottingham based producer Geiom aka Kamal Joory, is one of those people and as a lynchpin for the intrinsic East Midland’s scene his Berkane Sol label has provided an outlet for some great music. As a producer as much as a label head his influence exceeds the confines of one genre - he chooses to work across tempos, across styles, across conventions and across record labels. His work forthcoming on labels like Frijsfo and Well Rounded bridges musical personas with Joory working both as Geiom and as Hem, an alias that further explores the electronica in his music, tackling different styles and approaches.
Ahead of his appearance in Room Three on 3rd June for Baobinga’s ‘Joint Ventures’ CD launch, a collection of collaborations set to be released on the BUILD label, we caught up with Geiom to discuss his upcoming work and more…
As a producer whose dabbled across genres where does your passion lie?
I like all the styles I work in equally for different reasons. I love making tunes that are almost pop, like ‘Sugar Coated Lover,’ I love the possibilities of the 140 tempo (Geiom), I like experimenting with odd timings in a hip hop instrumental style (Hem), and I also love the stark empty worlds of the 170bpm d&b related scene.
I'm passionate about pushing music forward - I find some of the retro stylings that are around now a bit weird - we've got breakbeats over 808's, which has been around since day (Run DMC doing 'Run's House' in '87 is 1 good example - that break was rinsed throughout the hardcore years on tunes like Urban Shakedown's 'Some Justice'), and now there's all that TB303 stuff. I guess that dance music has been around for so long now that it’s like rock, with people getting obsessive about particular guitars etc. I myself run an old school hardware based studio setup, but I don't necessarily think that the pure sound of classic machines makes for better music - I dearly love a synth like the Juno 106 but I'm bored of what it does…
How do you make yourself interested in it then? I mean you can get a great sound out of anywhere, just by over effecting or modulating it… I mean obviously there is a person triggering it but, what makes your equipment sing?
True, there's no limit to how much you can modify even a basic sound. Layering, re-sampling, effects, using hardware sequencers, various software platforms - all of these things can help to make less generic sounds. I like the idea of expanding the sonic palette of dance music, though some other producers seem to covet familiarity, and want to use synths like a Juno to do filter dub techno chords - another example could be that bright detuned Juno style sound - which is cool, but has just become overused.
Dance music has always flirted with the idea of being futuristic, and sometimes it really is, but I guess it's just a party soundtrack for some people.
I guess in a way that’s true, it’s the music that you cut loose to. In regards to your music, you’ve got a collaborative tune forthcoming on the BUILD CD (hence why you are playing at the launch). How did you find collaborating with Baobinga?
It was very straight tforward. We didn't actually get together physically on that one, but 'Binga did give me a special amulet one time I was down in Bristol, which enables him to transmit his thoughts directly to me, so it’s like being in the same room really. So, is it a process you enjoy normally? Collaborating I mean, learning about other people’s styles and sounds…
Yeah I love making tunes with other people. I'm a bit of a control freak (ask Boxcutter!) but I think I'm getting better at doing collabs. Right now I’ve got stuff on the go with peeps like Hizatron, Desto, Badawi, Brackles, Aleks Zen, Erra and Majic, a bassline producer who used to be known as Blackfinger…
Aleks Zen – High Life/Pimp Shoes (Clips) [Berkane Sol]
Wow, that’s a little out of sorts considering that your Berkane Sol imprint has been a little quiet of late, though you did just put out that Aleks Zen 12”… what else is coming up on the label?
The gap wasn't really intentional, for various reasons it just took aaaages to get the Aleks Zen record sorted. Next up is a new producer from Nottz called Erra. He's got a super lively style going on which someone recently described as 'panic stricken', it’s a bit like playing Mario Cart on an intravenous supply of Tangfastics.
And for you in general? You seem to have a lot of stuff forthcoming...
There's the '2 4 6' tune which features our favourite J.A. vocalist Terrible Shock coming up on Jackmaster’s FABRICLIVE CD, it will also soon be on vinyl courtesy of Well Rounded Records (if you're unfamiliar with Shox, get to know last year’s classics 'Good Foundations' or 'On a Mission').
I've done a refix for Mr Lager which should be out on a Subfreq 12" very soon, there's a 12" on Frijsfo featuring a Boxcutter collab, there's some tunes on compilation CDs and some other bits I can't talk about cause they're not finalised yet.
Busy then? Haha. Are you finding it harder to find people who want to put out physical product? Are you finding it more difficult yourself?
The investment needed now is minimal - all you actually need to make dance music is a laptop, a cracked program and some headphones, so there's loads of new producers appearing all the time and thousands of tunes being made. At the same time the physical music industry has shrunk massively, over the past year especially. So yes, it’s getting harder to sell records and find other labels who want to commit to vinyl.
Catch Geiom in Room Three on Friday 3rd June alongside Baobinga, Hyetal, Scratcha DVA and I.D. Tickets & info here