Cornerstone Tracks
John Digweed selects 5 essential Bedrock cuts

It’s difficult to think of a more prolific electronic music label than Bedrock. Championing a distinctive style of progressive house, deep house and techno, John Digweed and Nick Muir’s imprint has shaped the UK’s dance music landscape over the course of two decades, bringing a light to artists like Alan Fitzpatrick and Steve Lawler long before they’d broken through. There’s been a lasting endurance to the sound Bedrock pioneered over the years, and a look to what many top house and techno DJs are playing today should show their ongoing influence.

Arguably the most important part of Bedrock’s success has been John Digweed. Since the early 90s he’s brought the label’s sound around the globe, gaining a fan base with the loyalty akin to an international pop group. Much of this fandom comes from Digweed’s close ties with Sasha, the progressive house behemoth founder and Digweed’s one-time DJ partner. Digweed brings Bedrock to Farringdon for their 20-year celebrations next weekend, so we asked him to pick out some of the label’s most essential records. From early Guy Gerber via Marc Romboy, below are some of the definitive cuts that characterise Bedrock’s signature sound.

Pushin Too Hard – Saints and Sinners

So one release on the label which never gets old was by Saints and Sinners called Pushin Too Hard, originally signed to Sounds Good and later onto Bedrock in 2000. It went on to become one of our biggest releases with countless remixes, and it still rocks the dancefloor to this day. There’s something about that nagging bassline and hypnotic groove that makes this a timeless release. Sometimes the biggest records are the simplest ones.

Bedrock was still in its infancy in 2000. When was the first moment you realised the label would have some longevity?

By that point we were already fully into it with office space staff and albums and busy release schedules all in the pipeline. We didn’t really have time to think about how long it would last, we were just buzzing and excited to have so much positive feedback and so many producers wanting to be on the label.

Reflections – Alan Fitzpatrick

Another one of my favourite tracks on the label came from Southampton native Alan Fitzpatrick in 2009. It’s a track he sent me called Reflections. A beautiful uplifting techno track that made the hair on the back of your neck tingle. Alan is an incredible producer; not only can he make the biggest and toughest techno tracks, he also has an ear for great melodies and atmosphere. It's great to see how far Alan has progressed in recent years, now being one of the leading UK exports in techno, but also how his productions have stood the test of time.

Alan Fitzpatrick has had a significant rise since then. What’s the main thing you usually look for when signing a newer or younger artist?

The main thing has always been about the quality of the release and how much it excites me. Some producers deliver some outstanding material then fail to follow it up with the same quality or ideas, with others the first releases are just the tip of the iceberg and they get better with every release.

Glob Monster – Maetrik

Heading back to 2010, Bedrock celebrated its 12th anniversary with a compilation album, and this track from Maetrik (aka Maceo Plex) was one of the standout tracks. Bedrock released several productions by Maetrik and you could tell he had such a great ear for making dance floor fillers with his chugging beats, throbby basslines and dark techno synths. A genre crossing classic that still stands up against the tracks of today.

Compilations have always been at the heart of the label. What makes you value the format so highly over releasing standalone singles?

With a compilation on Bedrock my fans are trusting my judgement with the tracks I choose to put on them. Luckily, I have a very loyal fan base who have trusted my ears for many years and these albums form a very important part of the record label. These have mostly been split between the Compiled series and my Live in albums, with the occasional artist album thrown in for good measure.

Stoppage Time – Guy Gerber

A record that I still get asked for time and time again. This was a slow burner when first released, but we really believed in how great a track it was. I can remember our label manager sending Mixmag nearly six vinyl copies and we didn’t get one review, the following year Sven [Väth] started playing it and Mixmag got in touch asking when this new Guy Gerber track that Sven was playing was coming out. We told them it was already out, and we’ve already sent you six copies! Guy is another incredible producer who has gone on to do amazing things worldwide with his DJing and productions. Stoppage Time will always be a huge track for the label.

Do you often find that a record you would expect to get more attention ends up being overlooked, or alternatively a record gets much more attention than you could have anticipated?

Sometimes the track that you think will be huge does not perform and the B-side gets all the attention; you can’t guarantee anything in this industry even if you have loads of DJ support behind a track. People have so much choice every week that if you miss a great track one week, there are 20 more the following week. That’s why it’s nice to dig out a missed track from a few months back and start playing it, then people rush to find out what new track it is.

Counting Comets (Ruede Hagelstein remix) – Marc Romboy

Sometimes you sign a track that blows your mind, then you get a remix done that takes it to a whole different place. Ruede managed to create an anthem of epic proportions. Building like a bricklayer, this atmospheric monster is the perfect track for a sunset, sunrise, or dark dingy basement. So many different DJs supported this track, and it still gets an incredible reaction when played now.

Stylistically the tracks feel quite contrasting. Would you say that’s what you’re looking for in a remix, to completely change the track’s identity?

With a remix we always leave it up to the remixer to deliver their vision of how they want it to sound, obviously if it does not pop with everyone we will ask them to tweak it a bit as we want to always deliver the best releases. Sometimes the simplest remixes can be the best.

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