Danny Berman, aka Red Rack’em, recently released the Early Years, a kind of valedictory tour through his older works which also serves as a nice bridge towards his future.
And Danny, being the nice chap that he is, has given a free track to Juno Plus, namely “In Love Again” which featured on the vinyl-only All I Ever Wanted EP released earlier this year. You can download it below, and we highly recommend you do as it stands as one of our favourite Red Rack’em productions.
Meanwhile scroll down for a little Q&A session we had with the Nottingham based producer about his new label, his 100+ unreleased hip-hop tunes and questionable teenage fashion.
Download: Red Rack’em – In Love Again (320kb mp3) (right click and “save as”)
So tell us, how did the Early Years come to be?
Most of my releases so far have been on very vinyl based labels, which is great if you’re a DJ but for the average home listener or digital DJ there’s been some pretty big gaps in my discography. Some people only buy their music digitally, so I don’t feel that the music I have released so far has realised its full potential. Although I am still buying, playing and making vinyl, I don’t want to make music which is only available to 500 DJs. When I decided to start my own label, I initially planned to focus on singles. But then I thought it would be great to start the label with a CD of my strongest productions to date. It has felt quite cleansing to put them all into one place and push it out to a much wider audience. There are some new tracks on there as well and it’s important to remember that a lot of the tracks have only been released on ultra limited vinyl so they haven’t been available digitally until now. I can’t remember when I got the idea to do The Early Years but it was only made possible by the kind permission from Tirk, Untracked, Society, Autodiscoteque, Deep Freeze and Undertones for me to re-release the tracks that they had originally signed. It seemed logical to call it The Early Years as it felt like putting together a diary or scrapbook of memories. Starting my own label and putting together the album has definitely felt like the next stage as well… like leaving home again!
Is there a story behind the artwork? (We love it!)
The artwork is loads of old family photos from the 80s which I felt was a good metaphor for the memories and music. It wouldn’t have made sense to call the album The Early Years and have modern artwork on it! I asked my parents to send me loads of old family photos and they certainly came up with the goods. All I can say is I wish they hadn’t let me wear what I wanted when I was a teenager. Wow, some strong looks going on! I am lucky to have a great designer Alex Traska who is based in Nottingham, so we spent quite a long time putting it all together. It was quite a big project with sleeve notes and a big collage of pictures. I even got my parents to send a second package down so we could incorporate my primary school project books in the artwork. There’s a recipe for gingerbread men if anyone’s interested. Silke Eiselt who does the artwork for my Bergerac singles also contributed with a lovely illustration for the on body CD artwork.
Was it an easy choice to collate your favourite tunes from this period?
It was pretty obvious to me what tracks were the strongest from previous releases. It’s been nice to have such a good response to the unreleased tracks on there as well as they are over three years old and no one seems to have noticed any production frailties in them. There were a few naughty things I would have liked to have been on there but due to the source material, I didn’t want to risk it. In future I think I will definitely be raiding the vaults a bit more as I have got sooooo much unreleased music. The only thing stopping it coming out in the past was that I never sent it to anybody. Now I have the label I hope I can put a few more things like this together. I would love to do something with the 100+ hip-hop beats which haven’t ever seen the light of day…
And you’ve just started the Bergerac imprint. How did that come about?
I have to give a big shout out to Ben Morris from Kudos who gave me the encouragement and opportunity to start the label. It was never a cash issue that stopped me doing it in the past. I just had this old fashioned idea that you put stuff out on other labels and your career magically happened. In early 2010 I had a lot of singles ready to go on several labels and I found it frustrating trying to stagger the release dates so none of them clashed. I decided to start Bergerac so I could have a bit more control over when things came out and I also wanted to have more involvement in the creative side of making records. I met a young German illustrator called Silke Eiselt while playing at Kiss Me Again in London earlier on this year. She had drawn a cool picture of Captain Haddock on the flyer in a really rough style. I wanted the label artwork to be hand drawn and sketch-like to reflect the style of the music so I asked her to draw a picture of every house I have ever lived in. These will appear chronologically on each release. It is house music after all. “How I Program” was the first single released on the label and the response has been fantastic with support from a wide range of DJs including Kyle Hall, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Gilles Peterson and Jazzanova. I have got plenty more singles in the pipeline and hope to give some new producers the opportunity to release on the label next year if everything goes to plan.
What does the future hold for Red Rack’em?
I am currently putting the finishing touches to Berg 002 which should be out in November. I am also starting a vinyl only label called Nettles. It will be a bit more wacky than Bergerac. There’s plenty in the vaults for that one. This week, I will be re-launching my website http://www.redrackem.com, the home of my Smugglers Inn Podcasts. It’s been souped up beyond belief so I am really looking forward to that. I am also putting together a Smugglers Inn compilation album which will feature tracks from artists who I have been playing on the radio show over the last few years. I am off to Japan for the first time at the end of October to launch the album, and I’m going to spend a week in Tokyo doing gigs and press stuff which is going to be really exciting. The album launch is on October 30 at XEX Nihonbashi. The rest of the year is going to be spent touring to promote the album and label, finishing off the Hot Coins and Marlinspike albums (one day!) and I am also going to start playing live. I don’t really like playing my own records much so I am going to start doing live sets made up of my favourite tracks but mashed up for the clubs. 2011 is going to be an even better year I think. More singles and more albums!
Check out Tony Poland’s review of the Early Years here.