And where did you wind up after music college?
I was a removal man driving a white van as well as working an unpaid internship at CR2 Records, doing basic marketing assistant work. I then went to Defected and worked there for about six months doing a similar thing. Whilst doing this, Alex and I were planning the label, and he was teaching me how to produce. Alongside all of that, I was also working in pubs and just doing anything I could to get by. There came a point though… I was in a relationship and she got sick of me not having any money, as did I. I got a job working in telesales and every night would wait for her to fall asleep so I could get on Logic, and make music. Since then it’s just been a slow, but positive progression!
Can you remember your first set?
Yeah, it was in the backroom of a bar in Oxford, Love Bar. The promoters were friends of mine and were into breaks. This was… when I talk about it with friends we discuss it as “the time when electro was good”… with artists like Mike Monday, Jesse Rose etc. It was the changeover time for me between that, and proper minimal. So my friends were playing their music, and I remember being given the last set and thinking, “I’m not going to compromise, I’m playing my music and that’s it”. I completely cleared the floor within about 3 tracks. Then other people in the bar heard the music and started slowly coming in and dancing. I remember it feeling like a small personal victory.
You’ve alluded to it already, how much perseverance has it required to get to where you are today?
Endless amounts really, and I think there’s just that thing that you can never give up. I’ve had some real ups and downs. The relationship that I was in came to an end. It’s just one of those things that if you want to succeed and make a career out of it you have to dedicate everything that you’ve got. I’ve come up with this mantra recently, that you can only have one or two main things in your life. Whether it be a job and a girlfriend, a job and music… you can’t have three, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So yeah, there’s no end to the amount of perseverance required, and the only way you will ever make it is by absolute dedication.
What do you think is the basis for success in this industry? Can you come out with one track that’s a huge hit and everyone wants to book you or do you need to be there or thereabouts for a while?
I think there are different ways of doing it. That’s happened and does happen regularly, but I often think that kind of rapid success can also be a hindrance. It’s like a kiss of death sometimes. You’ll write a track, it won’t get signed for a year and what if your sound has changed in that time or you don’t have anything strong to follow up with? The industry is very unforgiving. I think there are a few important things. One is, albeit a cliché, to be true to yourself and make music that you love to play. I’ve also realised the importance of the people around you, who inspire you, but can also be honest with you and tell you what they think of what you’re making. I also think that one of the most important things is to just be nice to absolutely everybody. I don’t mean be overly nice but to be genuine with people, give people the time of day. Oh, and have thick skin!
You’ve mentioned these turning points. At what point did you decide to put all your eggs in one basket and to focus on becoming an electronic music artist?
Quite early on. I remember saying to a friend of mine at Glade Festival, Richie Hawtin was playing, and we were glued to the floor. I said to her “in seven years I want to be doing that”. By pure chance it actually happened two years later – we hosted a tent in 2009. It was those early years when I remember thinking that it was all that I wanted to do. Richie playing that track by Marc Houle called “Bay of Figs”, and I could just hear and see the sound moving around the tent and was completely blown away by the whole thing. It was the first time that I’d heard the minimal sound in a big room. That was definitely a moment. When I got my office job, I just realised that it wasn’t me. All I’d think about all day was music and I’d sit there feeling bad being paid to make sales when my mind is elsewhere. I actually think that not having a music industry 9-5 helped a lot, because it made me realise how much I disliked the corporate world, and made me want my own music career so much more.