Reading up on the back story of Samuel Kerridge, one of the most impressive things that hits you is that he only started releasing records in the last 2 years, predominantly for Downwards - Karl O Connor (Regis) iconic DIY label. His debut LP A Fallen Empire hit the shelves at the end of last year and immediately resonated with critics and dancefloor stalwarts alike as a work that just stands out from the noise - an achievement that can be quite rare in this oversaturated market.
His is a sound that exists between the beats, rather than riding hard on the kick drums it’s a sonic exploration of the timbres of his machines creates a devilish tension that drives his music. It's something that comes across in this 20 minute live set that Kerridge has recorded exclusively for us to introduce and present his sound before he makes his debut here in Farringdon this March. To go deeper into his personal history, we also exchanged words over email exploring what influences have gone some way to informing Kerridge’s own sound and how he achieved such early releases on such an important label as Downwards.
Can you tell us a bit about your background what kind of music did you first start listening to? I know your parents were heavily engaged in the rave scene but what were the first artists and music you were listening to and discovering on your own?
I grew up in the 90's, so Brit Pop was hard to escape whether you liked it or not, it was everywhere. A lot of Jungle and d&b through Dillinja and Source Direct. Underground Resistance were a real discovery along with Downwards and Warp. And old house records too, as a DJ, Doc Martin stood out for me. As I got older early work by Sunn O))) and Donato Dozzy, I was intrigued to see these artists manipulate the listener over a long period of time, it was new for me, not instant gratification as what had been the norm.
Then at what point did this turn into your own music making?
I forayed into production around the age of 16, and started to buy some equipment a couple years later.
I simply got pissed off that I couldn't find records I wanted to hear. That's what made me start. No one else's music really expressed what I wanted. There was this growing urge, a compulsion. And that's grown stronger every day since.
How much does the idea of the dancefloor come into your production? It seems a bit of an obvious one to ask but it seems like instead of making the beats to the work you use a lot more range of tones
My whole production is geared towards that aim. I try and use the full sonic spectrum, not centring my entire production around the kick drum. It really boils down to what people see as "conventional", and if they can break free of those shackles.
I’m sure a lot of people look at your discography and are quite stunned that for an artist who is so new to releasing music your early work is out on Downwards – one of the most respected techno imprints there is - can you tell us a bit about how you got your music to Karl O Connor and picked up by him?
We'd met a few times away from clubs, and eventually I grew a pair and gave him some music. Karl totally understood what I was doing. For me it's perfect. Downwards epitomises everything I stand for as an artist through its ideology and aesthetic. Its DIY. There is no "plan". We love the romance of it all.
How much was the output of the label Downwards part of your own life as a listener and artist? When you were in the UK did you ever get down to Birmingham and explore what was going on there?
I was a little too young to engage with what was going on in Birmingham when it was at its peak. My dad's a brummie, so its somewhere I'm not a stranger too. I think Downwards grew out of a reflection of how Birmingham was at that time, and spoke for a lot of youth culture around the world. When I discovered Downwards, it was, and still remains a massive influence.
Can you tell us about your party Contort in Berlin – why was it important to do something different there? I like you’re nodding in the direction of people like Cristian Vogel he seems to be a bit overlooked by the wider party scene sometimes.
We were just trying to fill a void that we could see. Berlin needed it. It's a place where artists are free to do whatever they want, with an audience that want to hear that. We're very appreciative to the people that follow it. International artists such as Cristian and new local artists are mixed as much as possible. We are providing the platform for them. There is no super plan with Contort, it just comes together.
You had a big year for releases with your debut LP in 2013 – what do you have forthcoming this year? Have you changed the way in which you’re working to move things on in any way?
Live and studio wise there have been some new additions, hardware pieces, and I have started to incorporate vocals. It never stops evolving, that's the exciting thing, to push myself, and not become stagnant. I wanted to give it some time after the LP was released, but a few remixes will drop over the next months, and I'm planning an EP or two later in the year. It's important to find the right balance and not put music out for the sake of it. There is also a collaboration between me and Eric from OAKE which will get released at some point this year.