Tuesday, September 08, 2009

NU:TONE INTERVIEW

CULT sat down with NU:TONE before his set for us last week, here's what he had to say:



So give us a brief biography to date? How did it all start?
I’ve been involved in music since I was very young and started off learning classical piano when I was about eight years old. I got into Soul and Funk music when I was about sixteen and I’d already started experimenting with making music on a computer when I heard the Platinum Breaks and Music Box albums a few years later. I was bitten from then really.

What was it like cutting your teeth working with John B in Durham?
We both had radio shows on the same station at uni, and he was already producing and releasing quite successfully. I had access to quite a big studio as I was studying music, so he’d come down and we’d sample up records and process stuff in the studio together. After I finished uni I started taking the production a bit more seriously and he gave me my first releases on his label.

What do you think of the direction he’s taken at the moment?
Well he’s carved out a niche for himself really, and I’ve got time for anybody who has a vision and doesn’t feel they have to follow what’s fashionable. The stuff he used to make when I first met him blew my mind, and over time our musical tastes have diverged somewhat but you’ve got to respect him for sticking to his guns. Certainly it’s worked for him - he’s a very busy DJ, massive in America and on the continent, globally really, he’s a big name. There isn’t really anyone else in the scene that does what he does.

Production wise, what do you make your tunes in? Do you have a routine when starting to make music? Start with the drums, the hook, a sample etc.
I try not to get formulaic about it. It’s easy to get in the routine of loading up your presets every time with stuff all ready to go, so I try and start each track from scratch. Every time is different really; I just go with what ever catches my ear. I produce all in the box these days with a combination of Cubase and Reason.

Do you have any studio rituals or any particular times of the day when you’re more productive?
I’m fairly methodical about it, in terms of when I work. Because I’ve got kids I have to be, so I treat it like a normal day job. If you’ve got something going and you don’t want to stop then I can keep rolling, but essentially I try and keep it as regular as possible.

You’re known for being one of the more family orientated people in DnB. How do you find being on the road and juggling the family life? Does it make it harder to dedicate time in the studio?
It means that music isn’t my only priority; I’ve got other stuff that is important to me. I guess it gives you more drive, I’ve got responsibilities and bills need to be paid! In that respect if anything it spurs me on more.
In years gone by I’d spend hours in the studio and then go down to Swerve and listen to people play and then go back in the studio and start working on stuff. There are advantages to that flexibility and being able to be more spontaneous with stuff but I wouldn’t change my situation for the world!

You’ve been running the Spoonfed Nights in Cambridge with Commix and Logistics for a few years now. How healthy is the scene in Cambridge?
Cambridge is a small city, only 100,000 people. Its only really got Spoonfed and Warning as nights, and Warning’s been going for 13 years odd. It’s a big event, big headliners, big venue and it caters for that kind of crowd. So we really wanted to create something that was a bit more intimate that really reflected the type of music we where putting out and playing. We talked about it for a long time and it took ages before we got things going and got the right venue. It’s nice, it’s only a 400 capacity club, but we get to bring down all our mates and it’s got a really nice atmosphere.


So you come from quite a musical family with your brother Logistics about to release his 3rd album on Hospital. Is there any sibling rivalry between you two at all? Do you keep an eye on sales? And then give each other grief over family Sunday lunches?
Not to that extent, it’s not like we get out our royalty statements and see who came out top! There’s rivalry between everyone, but I think we get a kick out of each others success rather than being competitive about it. I love the fact that my brother and I do the same job, and get to travel together and play back to back regularly. We’re also each others first port of call when we write a tune. One of the first things we do is play it to each other and see what the other says. I wouldn’t describe it as rivalry, more like healthy competition.

You had plans to maybe start a live performance thing with your music. Is this still in the pipeline?
I’ve thought about doing this so many times and for a long time I dismissed it because I knew how time consuming and expensive it would be. I didn’t want to do it unless I got the right people, but the right people were always busy because they were good! So it kind of faded out and now it’s probably a bit more than I’m willing to invest in terms of time and energy. Who knows? If I produced an album that crossed over and sold serious units then I’d probably do it, because then there’s the potential to do it and do it properly.

Some Quick Fire Questions:

Favourite country you’ve played in?
Japan
Football Team?
Manchester United
How many records do you own?
4000 - 5000
CD or Serrato?
Vinyl
Pioneer or Allen & Heath
Allen & Heath
Guilty Pleasure?
Nothing I want to admit on here
Who would win if there was a Hospital Records Royal Rumble?
Danny Byrd, he’s big and he plays dirty

Anything you want to plug / anything in the pipeline for us to look forward to?
My Remix for the Dekata Project is out the end of the September

Click here to listen:
Dekata Project - At Least We Can Dance [Nu:Tone Remix]

WORDS: Stuart Rogers

PICS: Tom Johnson

1 comment:

fonik said...

quality read. would love to hear nu:tone live...