I was recently asked for a interview by Hungarian drum n bass blog Impulsecreative. The actual feature is in Hungarian so here’s the English version (as Google Translate doesn’t seem to be up to the task).
This is our first time together, so please, introduce yourself to the Hungarian crowd.
Hi everyone, I’m Alex aka Soul Intent and I have been DJ’ing since around 1998 and producing since about 2004.
According to Discogs, your first release as Soul Intent is from 2008. As I know, you had a producer band – Dataset – before that. What happened to that project?
Well my first solo release was actually in 2007 on Blindside Recordings. It was a big moment as the tunes were getting attention from people like Mary Ann Hobbs (Radio 1), London Electricity, A.I, and others. It was a really exciting time, I remember DJ Die calling be from Finland after getting sent the promo. He was buzzing, sounding really excited about my tunes. I couldn’t believe, DJ Die calling me??
The Dataset stuff started in 2004 I think (feels like a long time ago now). Dataset consisted of me and six Nottingham friends I’d met through the local scene. We were all either DJs or producers and thought it was worth pulling together all our talents and skills and working as a collective.
Lossless Music is not your first label. Dataset had Brutal Recordings, which released only 2 singles. Short story, isn’t it?
We launched Brutal Recordings in 2005 and put out two releases but things quickly broke down and we never managed a third release. Already back in 2005 vinyl sales were slowing up and Vinnie from DSF (Dark Sound Foundation – local soundsystem and producers) who was essentially funding the vinyl production said he wasn’t happy losing money after poor returns on the first two releases. None of us really wanted to take the lead or front the money so the project came to a stop.
Back to the present: you have releases on acknowledged labels like Samurai Music, 31 and Commercial Suicide.Which one are you the proudest of?
I think getting a 12″ on 31 Records is my proudest release to date. It was great working with people like Gridlok, Presha, Randall and the other labels but as a massive fan of Reinforced and Metalheadz getting a release of Scotts 31 imprint was a such a buzz…still is!
I’m also very proud of my Lossless Music releases, as doing vinyl in todays climate isn’t easy but I’ve had some fantastic responses. The next release (LOSS005 Late Night Sleaze EP) was awarded Mixmag’s ‘DnB Tune of The Month’ which is a massive personal achievement but also some great exposure for the label.
What’s your studio like? Softwares or hardwares?
More software than hardware but I have a Virus Snow TI, a Sherman Filterbank 2 and just ordered a Yamaha TG33 to play with. I also have a E-MU e64 sampler which was a classic dnb production tool back in the 90s but I hate using it so it just sits there.
You started Lossless Music in 2013. You have not released others’ tunes since then. Is this imprint for your tunes only? What are your future plans with Lossless Music?
I started Lossless as a means of getting some of my unreleased material out (rather than just sitting on it or giving it away via soundcloud). I’ve had a lot of tunes get ‘signed’ by labels and then the tunes were sat on for a year, two years, even 3 years!! Then the label say they didn’t want to release them anymore or I’d just not hear from them. Pretty annoying, you quickly find out who to avoid. I obviously found this very frustrating as this included some of the tunes I was most proud of, and tunes that got a lot of attention when they first started getting radio and club play. Even though tunes like Studio Pressure and Cowboy Town were a few years old I still thought they were strong enough to get a proper release so I thought “fuck it, I’ll do it myself.”
I’m still working through my backlogue but most of the older tunes have made it out now. I realise that to get more interest in the label I need to feature other artists to help bring listeners in who might not who or like my material. But I’m not one for spending lots of time A&R’ing and hustling people for tunes. That said, I’m currently just finalising the tracks for the first “Versus EP, which will feature 4 tracks from 4 different artists (although there will be one of my tunes on there).
Lossless Music releases vinyls. Can we ecpect more 12″ plates in the future?
Absolutely, I’ll keep doing vinyl for as long as I possibly can. The obstacle at the moment is due to the major labels jumping on Record Store Day all the pressing plants have massive lead times for pressing, its about 4/5 months! This makes it a very long and frustrating process so there might be some digital only releases to help fill in the gaps between vinyl releases. I just released the labels first digital only release called “Replicant”. The tunes were originally going to be on a 12″ so they’re not off-cuts. I just made the decision to try a digital only release and thought those tunes made a good release. The next vinyl release will be my Late Night Sleaze EP (LOSS005) which will also be the first coloured vinyl release.
What is Exkursions and Relicks?
Relicks was something that came from me investigating crowd funding projects. I had two remixes which I’d been asked to do but for various reasons never got a release. The “Pictures, Shapes and Patterns” remix in particular was getting a lot of love so it got me thinking about doing a crowd funded release completely separate to Lossless. I tried doing something through a website called Q-Rates but it wasn’t a very flexible platform and we didn’t quite reach the number of pre-order we needed before time run-out. However, there was enough interest for me to think it was worth my fronting the costs to get a limited number pressed and which the intension of selling them through my bandcamp store ( https://soulintent.bandcamp.com/ ). A very small number will be distributed through Triple Vision but if you want to make sure you reserve a copy go to my bandcamp store and pre-order now. Stock should be arriving mid November, black and gold vinyl….looks wicked.
As for Exkursions, they’re be a official announcement soon but all I will say is that Exkursions is going to be one of two new Lossless sub-labels.
‘Funk Lick’ is one of the hottest deep floorfillers this year. Furthermore, in my opinion, ‘Don’t Leave’ is your most beautiful tune ever. Two tracks, two different sounds. Are you a mood-oriented producer? What is your philosophy as a producer?
Well firstly thanks for the kind words about the tracks I’ve always liked different vibes and styles, and always try to include different styles in my DJ sets. Good music is good music, and I’d like to think I reflect this mindset in my productions. I think I probably am a mood-oriented producer, I rarely start a track with a particular goal in mind. Infact, I usually start with a idea and by the end it’s something completely different!
You told Organic once: “I still buy vinyl, but its usually old stuff I missed first time round. I like wondering who’s owned it, where its been played…” Which is the rarest plate of your collection?
Erm not too sure, I just spent the best part of £50 on DJ Lee & Tango “Solutions” on Legend Records from 1995. I think one of my Aphex Twin records is worth about £150 now. I’m more precious over the records I’m emotionally attached to though, rather than the ones which fetch the highest price on Discogs….although I keep those records safe, trust me!
The first jungle record I ever bought was while I was on a school trip to Berlin back in 1995 (that tune was Rude Boy Monty – Out In The Streets Remixes – Frontline Records). I remember the shop I bought it from, trying to look after it the whole trip and get it home in one piece. You just don’t get that attachment or relationship with digital music. I think thats why people are starting to buy vinyl again…for the whole experience.
Don’t get me wrong, the digital revolution has been great in some respects but its made putting out music way too easy. The fact that vinyl release costs a lot to produce I think makes you really think about the quality of music you’re going to put out. You really need to asking yourself “Is this music good enough?? I’m going to spend a lot of more here, are these tunes really the best they can be?”. Digital releases are low cost and getting tracks onto iTunes is so easy my mum could do it. I think this has had a negative effect as well as a positive one. It’s a massively over saturated market (and probably was before digital if we’re honest).
I guess what I’m trying to say is just because you can put something out, doesn’t mean to you should.
As a vinyl collector, what do you think about the digital revolution (mp3, USB CDJ, Serato etc.)?
I DJ using CD’s and have done since about 2009. I was finding cutting dubs very expensive and clubs weren’t looking after their turntables so it meant DJ’ing on vinyl was a bit of a gamble in most clubs. A lot of my sets around this time were being ruining by having to try and use shit equipment. I still have my Technics 1200s which I’ve had since 1998 and will never sell them, but for DJ’ing I’ve found CDJs to be a much safer bet in a club environment.
With the whole pre-mixed, pre-pitched sets I personally think you’re a bit of a asshole if you do this and call what you do a performance. DJ’ing has become this trendy role where someone in tight jeans stands behind the decks waving their arms and jumping around….maybe throwing a cake or some dirty pants into the crowd. If that works for you I guess that’s fine, but I just look at this people and cringe. To me, if you’re doing all that shit you can’t actually DJ’ing. You can’t be mixing tunes and working out what your next tune will be while doing all that other site. Maybe clubbers don’t actually care about the skill of a DJ now, they want the pantomime act. Personally I don’t care what people use, just make sure you’re actually doing all the work. Sync mode off!
Your favorite producers and rookies nowadays?
There’s so many talented producers now, I struggle to keep up. I could spend all day going to soundcloud and not actually make any music. There’s a few people who’s tuned my head recently, this guy called Phase is hurting me. Homemade Weapons is putting out some nice stuff, my mates Chromatic have some killers, Iris & Quadrants LP for Commercial Suicide is pretty cool. Plus I’m sure there’s loads more I haven’t even heard of yet.
I’m always keeping a ear out for potential Lossless artists so if you’re making something special email me a download to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll have a listen. Please don’t send your first tune though, take your time and get your style locked. I made the mistake (and still do) of sending tracks before I should. You might only get that one chance to impress so make it count.
You can see the full article here – http://www.drumandbass.hu/bssza-meg-megcsinalom-magamnak-soul-intent-interju/