We caught up with Detrimental Audio label boss Will Token to discuss the labels first 12″ release “Tactical Aspect – Unfaire Remixes” as well as producers Ricky Force & Phuture-T to discuss their views on the current vinyl scene and what the future holds for them and the label.
Will, this is your first foray into vinyl. What made you choose this release?
This release will be part of a series that will take some of the tracks from the back catalogue and refresh them via remixes, VIP mixes or remasters. There is so much music in the digital catalogue that I think deserved to be released on wax, so now I’m working through a few of those tracks one by one. I have a lot of respect for James and Garry from TA, I really enjoy working with them and they’ve always been amazingly supportive of the label, so I wanted to do an update of their Villains EP which came out digitally last year. The B-side of that release was Unfaire, and back in Melbourne it was the track that probably got the most love out of the three, particularly from the Detrimental resident DJ’s (big up C:1 and Mr Welldone), so it felt like the right place to start.
How did you choose the remixers for this twelve? What tracks in their back catalogue drew you to them?
I asked James and Garry who they would most like to have remix the track, and they said Tom Phuture-T without even hesitating. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever heard from Tom so I was more than happy for him to have a crack at it, and fortunately he agreed to do it. The first track I heard from him was Amazon Basin on Alphacut, and I was completely blown away by some of the edits in there so I’ve been buying his records on sight ever since. The new thing that’s just about to come out on Inperspective is absolute fire.
My original choice was Dave Stretch & Ricky Force for the other side of the record, and it was around the time that their remix of 4Hero had just come out on the Reinforced Enforcers release which was ridiculously good. Dave’s one of the guys that has been amazingly friendly and made me feel welcome in London since I first got here, and he’s someone I really look up to and constantly pester for advice. The TA guys had even mentioned AKO as one of their influences behind the Villains EP, and obviously everything Ricky does is absolutely brilliant, so for me it was a no-brainer. Dave and Ricky reckon they work best when they’re sat together in a studio, and unfortunately we just couldn’t get it to happen at the time, so Ricky went at the remix solo and, true to form, he fucking smashed it.
Being a mainly digital label, how do you see the current vinyl scene, especially with recent incidents like the B-Key release on Sci-Wax that sold out in under half an hour and Discogs prices going through the roof?
I think it’s exciting that so many people still care so deeply about the sound, and that so many brilliant tracks are still getting released on vinyl. I wasn’t around in the 90’s so I’m glad the culture is still alive and well and I get to experience it myself. I guess it’s a double-edged sword in that the increased demand for releases like the Sci Wax stuff or some of the records from the 90’s has driven resale prices up a bit, but to be honest you really don’t have to spend a billion dollars or 2 hours refreshing a browser to get the baddest tunes. There’s so much good music on Discogs for under 5 quid, and there are more labels than I can even list that are releasing consistently dope music. If some cunt wants to try to sell beat-up copies of “rare” classics for 80 quid each, or gives himself an RSI from bashing F5 on the Sci Wax site so he can try to turn a profit, just ignore him. If no one’s buying, and people are getting creative about their selections and digging a bit deeper, we’ll hopefully start to see less of that rubbish. Meanwhile, I’m hearing rumours about a potential repress on that B-Key thing so hold tight to anyone who missed out.
Your label fully embraces the digital era, will people that buy the 12 get WAV’s as well, even the VIP digital exclusive?
It’s kind of funny because as a DJ I’ve never enjoyed the digital thing. I don’t own CDJ’s or timecode software, and I think 99% of sets I play are on vinyl. My back’s paying the price for that, but it’s the way I think I’ll always be. I understand that not everyone’s into that though, so I’ve catered for the digital crowd with the label, and it’s meant that I’ve never really played much Detrimental music out before because I don’t have it on wax. It’s exciting that I’ll finally get to start doing more of that. But, to answer the actual question, yes. All copies of the record will come with a WAV of all three tracks.
How would you describe your label and what’s the vision going forward?
Detrimental started as a platform for guys toiling away in their bedrooms in Australia to have their music heard. I felt like there was a lot of talent, particularly in Melbourne, that should have been getting a bit more recognition than it was. I guess it’s evolved a bit beyond that now, and I’m really lucky to be working with guys that I spent my teen years idolising. That’s not to say that I’m finished working with establishing artists though. If the music is good, and has some interesting break edits and a deep bass line, I’ll happily release it. Right now I’m pretty focused on the next few vinyl releases, and we have some exciting stuff signed. I tend not to think too far ahead beyond that. The next release has a Tim Reaper remix of a Pickleman track, and a couple other bits that I can’t say too much about yet. Keep an eye out though.
How can people find out more about your label and pick up this release?
Pre-sales are open now via Bandcamp, alongside our full digital back catalogue, and the record will hit all the major online retailers in November. I’m pretty active on Facebook and Instagram so that’s the best way to stay up to date with any new music and announcements.
Ricky Force and Phuture-T (Tom) how did you go about tackling these remixes and how would you describe your end results?
Tom – After closely listening to the original track I will go through the stems and samples and then select the parts of interest, I would also search for complementary samples and gather processed breaks from my own library. I always start from scratch, which means it easier to make it a project of your own. I never have a fixed plan to stick to and pretty much all decisions, ideas and edits come from the vibe and mood I´m currently in. The breaks are meant to interact with the other elements and dictate the structure of the track. The main goal for the Unfaire remix was to make it a true dance-floor stormer with dynamic parts that retain the energy flow throughout the track.
Ricky – I was only fond of a few samples in the original track so I tried to use them creatively to achieve a decent nod to the original. I stretched out the main sample to create a pad / background texture. It was a fun remix to do. As I love the original sample.
Your styles are very distinctive, how do you inject your own personality into other people’s production and who are your main inspirations?
Ricky – Hard to say really, I obviously don’t think about “how to inject my personality” haha – I usually just get all the samples lined up and pick out what I like. I like to try extreme pitch variations with most elements in order to get the groove spot on, the end result is my style. It doesn’t always work mind you!
Tom – I guess remixes will naturally reflect your own style and personality. I’m approaching them in the same way as I would approach my own projects. I’m working sample based and a lot of things get sliced and mangled up (with some exceptions). The breaks are my main focus and I like them to interact with the other elements and vice versa. Ah, and big dubbed out delays are a great part of my sound. They are a great tool to make your track sound more uniform too. Personally I feel not planning too much makes for a better workflow. When I let my mood take over I can really dive deep into the creative process and flourish on the current piece of music I’m working on. Keep in mind it’s good to have a theme to work with though.
Musical influences within the genre are people ‘from the block’ like Double O, Rumbleton, Paradox, Source Direct, Photek, Remarc, B-Key, Dub One, just to name a few of many producers. I like to get inspired by other genres like Dub, Funk, Jazz and Blues, and try to translate that certain vibe or groove back into my own productions. There are too many great artists too mention, but lately I’ve been listening to things like Tuff Scout Inna London Dub LP, Baba Zula ‘XX’ LP, Billy Cobham, Wax Tailor and K-Def mixtapes.
What equipment do you have in your studio and can you explain your normal production process?
Tom – I do have some outboard gear like the TL Audio Fat Track, a Joe Meek One Q Compressor, Lexicon MX200, a Roland RE201 space echo, various tape machines and a mixer. I utilise these most for breaks and bass, strings and pads, often when I’m digging for new material and samples before starting a new track. I’m working in FL Studio 9 with Cool Edit (now Audition) on the side for extra audio editing and recording. When I start writing on a track I work ‘inside the box’ most of the time. The following are a few free VST’s which I’d like to use in my projects: For compression and parallel compression I end up using the ‘Ferric TDS’ plug-in a lot, which is essentially a tape dynamics simulator. ‘Cyanide 2’ is a nice and easy to use distortion wave shaper. ‘EpicVerb’ is a lovely sounding and versatile reverb plug-in but can be quite heavy on CPU. ‘TAL-Togu Audio Line’ and ‘Kjaerhus Audio classic’ plug-ins are great too and are still often implemented in my FX chains.
Ricky – I run a PC with Cubase, Kontakt and Soundforge. Also a small Mackie desk, Novation 49 key controller and a pair of Mackie HR824 Mk2’s. I use a few soft synths but I mainly work with samples / midi. I use the Akai S950 every now and again, usually to resample or stretch something through the desk. I also have a Roland Juno 106 which has been in a mates gaf for years now – must get that back! For the process – I usually start with beats, my favourite element. Everything else varies in the order they are assembled. I usually end up with hundreds of 16 bar loops with wicked drums and nothing else. The odd one would turn out to be a tune.
The pair of you have had a string of vinyl releases, how do you see the current vinyl market and what does it feel like having your tracks on wax?
Ricky – Having your tracks on wax feels flippin awesome. It’s something you never thought was possible, so it’s really cool to have them… They’re like a little reminder of how things were at the time. The events and people surrounding them.
The vinyl market appears to be great. It’s definitely better than it was. I just wish clubs would take more time to make sure their decks are 100% working with no feedback etc. I think that would really help the DJ end of the vinyl market.
Tom – I think the current vinyl market is doing great, it’s even hard for me to keep up with all the amazing records being released. There are a lot of healthy looking labels around, some personal favourites are Alphacut, Rupture LND, Stand Firm Hi-Fi, Inperspective Records, Pinecone Moonshine, Next Phase Recordings and Scientific Wax. For me, having your tracks on wax is the ultimate way of releasing your music. Also it just puts a smile on your face when your music plays from a turntable and you are able to follow the grooves. I really feel it gives your music more acknowledgement and certain status by making it a physical product, although on the contrary there has been heaps of shit music being pressed to vinyl since it’s existence! I do keep a personal archive with all my vinyl releases including most test pressings and they mean a lot to me.
The one thing I really notice in this digital age is a real sense of community among producers and labels, how do you think this helps the scene?
Ricky – I think the reach one has now is a far greater one then before. You can collaborate and send / receive music at a crazy speed. It definitely helps the community stay in touch and promote the music. It also helps the scene by being able to reach the masses instantly on their smartphone or whatever. Just like the dude reading this right now on their phone. Usually you had to go to Easons and buy a magazine !
Tom – I love the ‘niche corner’ we are all in together. Most of the artists, producers, label owners and fans I have met over the years are very chilled out and down to earth, yet slighty crazy people, certainly no divas or dickheads. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here but I think it’s really special there’s only a handful of people around the world pushing this type of music and they each got their own style and signature sound. There are a lot of talented producers out there with their hearts for the music. The digital age definitely made it so much easier to get your music heard. For example you can send you new track across the pond and they might be playing it out to the masses that very same night.
Finally, what can people expect from you in the future?
Tom – Next up is the release on Inperspective records, which I’m really stoked about. The sleeve features great artwork by Angus Day and I feel these tracks nicely reflect the sound I’m currently going for. Later on this year ‘Made Up My Mind’ will feature on the Alphacut Third Wave EP’s. A few other tracks are lined up for Alphacut like ‘D for Dubplate’ and a couple for Scientific Wax digital. Also keep an eye on our own label Eastern Promise Audio. Next to doing the digital releases we are in the process of producing vinyl which will feature tracks by people like Rumbleton, Double O and Earl Grey.
Ricky – I have tracks forthcoming on AKO, Skeleton and Pressin’ Hard. A bunch of new collabs in the works too.
The vinyl release of Tactical Aspect “Unfaire Remixes” is available to pre-order here: https://detrimentalaudio.bandcamp.com/album/unfaire-remixes
Tactical Aspect – Unfaire Remixes
A. Tactical Aspect – Unfaire (Ricky Force Remix)
B. Tactical Aspect – Unfaire (Phuture-T Remix)
Digital Bonus Track: Tactical Aspect – Unfaire VIP
Pressed on 140g black vinyl
Mastered by Shane at Finyl Tweek
Pressed at MPO
Artwork by Franke
24th November 2017