Heading to Room One this coming Saturday night is Glasgow artist, The Revenge with an appearance that comes hot on the heels of his debut long player, Love That Will Not Die. Released on his self run Roar Groove imprint earlier this summer, the album is the culmination of over 15 years of music creation with an extensive list of 12"s, remixes and collaborations under his belt including releases on DFA, My Favourite Robot and Pokerflat. It expertly shows off the Scottish artist's impressive range and technical capability resulting in a record that not only riffs off the templates set out by the house and disco history but it does so with its own solid voice making Love That Will Not Die a compelling listen as well as highly effective fuel for the dancefloor.
The Revenge is also one of the mythical few who have lent their 909 to the hands of Jeff Mills and Lil Louis who's moniker also graces the Roland machine - a fact we uncover in the peek we've been gifted into the artist's studio as we find out about the working process of The Revenge and how he's setting about bringing his debut album to the stage this weekend.
How’s the album come together for you? Did you set out with a purpose for it or is it more the culmination of a certain period spent in the studio?
The Revenge: It was more of a culmination of ideas that had been building up for a few years. Initially I’d not been keen on the idea of doing an album, but slowly some of the ideas seemed to gel with each other and it became clear to me that there was something cohesive coming together. My new label was already up and running and the live show was on the cards so it all came together quite naturally.
Were there any particular forces or ideas that informed and influenced the album?
I’d been touring quite heavily a few years back and got quite ill from burning the candle at both ends so decided to lock myself away in the studio and see if the spark was still there. I switched off my personal facebook page and email in an attempt to clear my head, reset myself and get inspired again. It was an important change that paved the way for the new label and album. All of the ‘real’ things in life became clearer; love, death, relationships etc and I think that’s what I hope to reflect in the music.
How did you land the guest vocals with Sister Sledge on the LP? Why was she an artist that you wanted to be part of the album?
I had done a version of one of their old tracks a few years back and they got in touch last year to say they really liked it. I was just pulling my album together and thought I’d see if they wanted to be part of it. I really didn’t think it would happen, but they were up for it and I was thrilled to have them on there.
You just re-wrote your live set for this tour with the album... what exactly did that entail? Did you change up the gear you’re playing on as well as re-writing it?
The transposition from studio to live was quite straight forward because I used mostly the same equipment for both. I wrote the majority of the album with a view to performing live and wanted to keep the ideas quite simple and direct. I also wanted to give myself the option of switching equipment in and out of the live setup as it develops, depending on context - maybe pairing it down for certain situations or scaling it up for others.
Can you give us a verbal tour of your current set up what pieces of gear are you using in the live set?
At the moment it consists of an E&S DJR400 mixer, Roland TR-8, Moog Minitaur, Dave Smith Tetra, 2 x Vermona Filters, 2 x Ableton Push controllers.
What's the story with Jeff Mills and Lil' Louis' signatures on your 909?
Both signatures came from them performing for the Sub Club and needing a 909 to use. Jeff borrowed it for a performance at T In The Park in Scotland a few years ago and Louis used it for an exhibition in Glasgow about the history of house music.
How much does this differ from your studio set up that you used to write the album?
The main difference was that I used my original Roland TR-909 for some of the drums, a Moog Voyager for the basslines and a Juno 106 for some of the pads. Ideally I could take those on tour but even though there is two of us (me and my mate Paul) doing the live stuff, it’s not practical to travel with all of that equipment unfortunately. So we’ve substituted in some smaller pieces of equipment for travelling.
Can you tell us a bit about your working process in the studio?
Playing the live shows has informed a lot of the studio stuff which has been great. When I was first producing music almost 20 years ago now, I was just using hardware. Then as software became more effective I moved closer to be being fully ‘in-the-box’. I worked like that for a few years and then realised that I was becoming bored with the process. So slowly I began to re-introduce hardware again. Now the studio basically revolves around the live setup - so I usually just start with a loop or a tone and then jam a bassline or keys part over that and hit record. Then I can listen back and see what’s working from those stems and overdub or re-do it or whatever. Now the studio and the live setup are symbiotic and inform each other which is what I’ve been searching for all along I think. It feels exciting again.
Are you happy with how the live set and album have been received so far?
The response has been really positive which is more than I hoped for. My main aim was to release something that meant something to me at this time in my life and that I could use as a spark for the live stuff. I usually find that I get bored with a release once it’s done and that I move on and forget about it, but re-interpreting it for the live context allows me to see it from a new perspective and the tracks take on new forms all the time.
Have you faced any challenges on the road touring with hardware?
All the usual stuff - weight restrictions on planes is the common one. We’re up to our limit in terms of what we can carry really so it’s just a case of packing stuff carefully and not taking any excess clothes etc. Shorter trips aren’t so bad, but when we get into longer tours it’s gonna get a bit trickier, the hardest bit is at the end of the night when you’ve had a few beers and need to squeeze everything back in!
What’s next up for you on the release schedule?
I’m putting together some ambient and extended club versions of the album at the moment which will hopefully see the light of day this autumn and also working on the new 6th Borough Project album which should be out next spring.