Despite the relatively short life span of FINA Records – as an outfit they only established themselves three years ago - the Leeds based imprint has already positioned itself as essential amongst the house music loving community. But if you look behind the label at who's pulling the reigns you wouldn't expect anything less: it started as an offshoot of Ralph Lawson's impeccable 2020 Vision but has very much gained its own voice and it now stands up in its own right. Currently run by Simon Morell, who we think has the right approach to the record releasing process: “I’m looking for originality, something that stands out from the norm” he says of his A&R policy. “Depth, warmth, funk: something I can play in years to come and still think that it’s ace. I have zero interest in following the trends and signing stuff just because it’s Beatport Top 10 fodder.”
Over the last few years FINA’s released cuts that riff off this A&R theme from the likes of Guy Andrews, Simon Baker and Mic Newman but for the upcoming label night in Room Three this coming Saturday Morell has handpicked a selection of forthcoming label artists and friends to bring the FINA sound to Farringdon. Among them is Adesse Versions who first sparked the internet via a 30 minute Boiler Room set a couple of years ago. Made up of his own dubs freshly cut for the occasion, it was the perfect introduction to a sound that was both dynamic in reaching between both the house and dubbier ends of the four spectrum while also consistently providing beats that kick your feet into gear.
The artist’s formative years previous to this appearance are still shrouded in secrets although it is known that Adesse Versions has been a producer for some time. He's keeping his former identity to himself though, just revealing his past in releasing on the likes of Ostgut and Curle - a clear stamp of quality and stature. Still, with a sound that's got our collective ear pricked we wanted to try and tease out a bit more background on the new moniker to accompany this exclusive promo mix…
So you’ve actually been around for a while and are cited as releasing on Ost gut Ton and Curle but that’s been pretty mysterious – can you reveal a bit of your past and roots to us?
Yes I've been around for a few years, having put my first record out in 2001. Up till 2010 I was touring internationally and releasing a lot of music. For Ostgut Ton and Curle, also Cocoon, Stroboscopic Artefacts, CLR, Gigolo and many others. In 2010, I took two years off and had some other adventures. This included living for a year in Vietnam.
It was during this time that Adesse was born. I was making music purely for myself, not worrying about labels, sales and all that nonsense. These tracks became the first Adesse records in 2013, such as Baayi. The irony being that these private edits were more popular than anything I'd ever done before. (I changed my name to Adesse Versions late in 2013 to avoid confusion with a German pop wannabe called Adesse)
Now in July 2014, the Adesse Versions project is taking off for me, I'm loving music more than ever and I owe it all to that two-year break.
How does the Adesse Versions moniker stand apart from your other projects?
As Adesse Versions I'm dabbling more with traditional song structures. Also melodically, it's more complex than my previous output. For the last few years I've been developing my musical vocabulary, studying music theory and so on. In the past I would have been building interesting chords by trial and error, whereas now I'm much more deliberate.
As Adesse Versions I am also using lot of vocals. After years of playing with just two or four beat loops, it's incredibly liberating to build sounds around a full acapella.
But outside of all the theory, Adesse Versions for me is about being present in what I do. Making music either for myself or to entertain friends. Not getting caught up in the bullshit of trying to make 'big tunes'. Desperate minds make desperate sounding music.
You’ve had support from the likes of Derrick May and Carl Craig which is pretty awesome, how much has theirs and their Detroit founding counterparts informed what you do?
The music from Detroit, Chicago and New York has been a huge influence on me since my childhood. I've always loved anything that was raw and soulful, from funk and electro- funk to hip-hop and house. I have massive respect for the founders, so its a great feeling when they dig my music. Its like a stamp of approval from the most important critics out there. It felt the same when Gilles Peterson started playing my tracks on the BBC.
Your Boiler Room you cut dub plates of a 30 min set’s worth of tracks – it’s a rare thing these days with the ease of USB’s being able to put new productions straight into the CDJ – I take it you’re a vinyl enthusiast?
Yes, I'm a bit of a vinyl addict and I love the fact the format has made a comeback. Cutting the dubs for Boiler Room seemed like a fitting thing to do for the occasion. Better sound and visually way more interesting than a USB stick. For me there's something special about watching my new track spinning around as the needle moves across. However I do appreciate the convenience of memory sticks and use them for gigs too.
There was quite a lot of ground covered in terms of styles from afrobeat, to house and dub – have you always been this dynamic in terms of what you produce?
Yes I've always made a lot of different styles. But the music industry is quite saturated with producers, so I try not to stray too far stylistically with each alias. For example, my track Untitled Love I made in 2007, but I didn't put it out back then. It was very different to my output at the time, so it eventually surfaced in 2013 on Prime Numbers as Adesse. I once made a full album of electro-funk mash-ups that never saw the light of day.
Playing 100% your own material this way – is that something you do for all Ade sse Versions DJ sets?
No that was just a one-off, a showcase of my future tracks for Boiler Room. Normally when I'm DJing I play for the crowd. I love that feeling of turning up with a load of new records and sharing them with the people. I'd also be immensely bored if I only ever played my own music. Of course I do sometimes do it, when the time is right or if people are requesting something.
Any fresh cuts coming our way any time soon?
Yes, quite a few remixes. Out this week for Italian label Rebirth, I've remixed NuFrequency featuring Shara Nelson. It was a huge honour to work on this, as she's the singer on the classic 'Unfinished Sympathy' by Massive Attack. Also out this month I've remixed a Jabru track, for Huxley's Saints and Sonnets label. I've also reworked a Henry Krinkle track for Relentless / Sony music, featuring Alicia Keys. Out in six weeks, it's my homage to Larry Heard.
You’re playing as part of FINA’s RM3 takeover – how did you link up with the label?
The FINA guys have been supportive of the Adesse Versions project since the beginning. I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a remix for them that I'm really excited about. We're also planning a single for the label at a later date. I'm really looking forward to the Room 3 FINA takeover!