Discothèques are going mad for slo-mo disco and house at the moment, and one of the finest purveyors of this music is Graeme Clark, aka The Revenge. The Scotsman has been in rare form this past 12 months, working under a host of solo and collaborative monikers (6th Borough Project, Burnt Island Casuals among others). Juno Plus caught up with Graeme to discuss the art of editing, what he’s got in the production pipeline and Scottish beaches.
First up, what kind of music did you grow up with and how has it influenced your style now?
I grew up with a wide variety of stuff. My dad listened to a lot of rock stuff like ACDC, Lynyrd Skynrd, JJ Cale. My mum listened to stuff like John Martyn, Kraftwerk, Billy Cobham and loads of soul stuff and my sister was listening to rave. I think there are elements of all of that in my music somewhere.
What first inspired you to make slow burning disco/house chuggers?
I got fed up listening to banging house in bars when I went for a drink basically. So when I started playing out about 10 years ago, I loved finding slower house jams that I could mix into hip-hop and early evening bar stuff. I started editing around that time to bridge the gap between styles.
You are well known for your edits, amongst other things. Where do you think edits stand in the production sphere?
It varies. They can be simple extensions of tracks, right through to full on reworkings. Editing has always been a personal thing to me first and foremost. I make edits to fit into my own sets. Obviously, they have received more exposure due to the release of some of them, but the starting point is always the same.
Tell us about your album plans as 6th Borough Project with Craig Smith – when can we expect that to drop?
It will be released around autumn this year hopefully. We are still working on it, and pulling ideas together. It will be a combination of styles and tempos, but solid house is the foundation.
Are there any collaborations or surprises on there we should know about?
Not really. We really wanted it to be a collection of ideas from the vaults, just fleshed out a bit more. We’ll maybe have a couple of local lads helping out with some instrumentation, but we don’t want to over-complicate it. It needs to feel sponataneous as much as possible.
“I got fed up listening to banging house in bars when I went for a drink basically. So when I started playing out about 10 years ago, I loved finding slower house jams that I could mix into hip-hop and early evening bar stuff. I started editing around that time to bridge the gap between styles”
You recently worked with Crazy P’s lead singer for a reinterpretation of “Just Be Good To Me”. Do you plan to work with more vocalists in the future?
I’ve worked with a few vocalists over the years for various projects, so I’ve no doubt I’ll continue to. I wouldn’t do it for the sake of it, but working with Danielle was an honour as she is a genuine talent and has a fantastic attitude which makes the process a joy.
Lets talk aliases… So far there is The Revenge, OOFT Music, 6th Borough Project, Deportivo Street Team, Cronk Family Enterprises, The Hong Kong Micros, Grizzle and Burnt Island Casuals…why do you feel the need to work under so many monikers, and how do you come up with the names?
Ha ha … Well, most of them are collaborations apart from The Revenge. It just saves me putting my name after everything I’m involved with … yawn. Most of them come from late night, spaced-out conversations, but there’s a story to every one of them. We’ll spare you those stories just now though …
Considering you also work in mastering, how many hours a week do you say you spend in the studio? What do you do to relax?
Exactly! … fuck knows … I’ve been in there a lot more than is healthy recently. I’ve always been comfortable in the studio environment, but I’m going to take a break after the summer … (maybe).
What is your own production process like? How does it compare to your mastering work for others?
Slow … basically. I generally get an idea, work it up so it sounds playable, then try and strip it back a bit so it feels more natural again. It comes from something I saw on a Steely Dan documentary many moons ago. But I’m always striving to make better sounding records in the main. Mastering is a different ballgame as you’re dealing with someone else’s baby. And you’ve got to make sure you don’t drop it on it’s head.
How are things going with you own label, Instruments of Rapture? What releases have you got coming up?
Good – it’s a fun thing for me, just me and the guys bashing ideas around in the studio. No grand plans. The next single is by a guy called Craig Bratley … it’s a 100bpm electronic house bubbler. There will be 6th Borough Project and Burnt Island Cauals mixes.
“Harvey played my edit of Stevie Wonder’s “Love Light In Flight” in Miami, and whilst Stevie must take the credit on the whole, it was nice to hear something I’d been involved with to some degree!”
Let’s talk about the electronic music scene in Scotland…it seems to be super vibrant at the moment, with established labels like Soma going strong, plus the Linkwood family and yourself holding up the disco/house end, and Rustie and Hudson Mohawke flying the flag for dubstep…do you think it’s stronger than ever?
I think it’s always been strong to be honest. But I think it’s great at the moment to see this lot pushing boundaries in different genres, competing on a world stage and holding their own. We should have a wee dram to celebrate!
Where’s the coolest place you’ve heard one of your tracks played (and who played it)?
Harvey played my edit of Stevie Wonder’s “Love Light In Flight” in Miami, and whilst Stevie must take the credit on the whole, it was nice to hear something I’d been involved with to some degree getting played by a man who played one of the best five hour sets I’ve seen.
What other artists are you really feeling at the moment?
There is way too many to mention and I always forget people so the best place to find out what I’m digging is in my mixes, sets and charts.
What can we expect from Graeme Clark in 2010 and beyond?
A cookery book and a guide to beaches in Scotland.
Interview: Aaron Coultate