Don't you have your own record label yet?
Why not? What, just because you're not a super talented and experienced
producer with an amazing collection of super talented and experienced
producer and DJ friends? With an incredible collection of digital
downloads and vinyl you probably had just laying around, as you
keep your name in the spotlight by, let's say, mixing the latest
compilation release for Fabric? Just because you're not... Luke
Actually, we feel it might be a better idea to leave cutting edge
label owning up to the Luke Slaters of this world, if the experiences
he shares with us in this syndicated interview are any indication!
How has 2006 been for you?
2006 for me was a year of... it was a good year! It was a year
of doing lots of different things and starting new things and trying
new things – and looking at things in a different way. I mean
all that musically! It felt really good – it felt like throwing
off a lot of chains from before and believing totally in what I
was doing and putting my mouth where the money is! I travelled a
lot, again, and started Mote-Evolver – we had three releases
this year. The last once that's just come out is the Head
Converter EP I did and we did some great live shows in the summer.
So, it's been a good year and I'm still alive!
Having played all over the world, what makes Fabric a special
place to play?
I think I've been around the world maybe 5 or 6 times if
I actually plotted it on the atlas so I've seen a lot of different
things and experienced a lot of things as well – I think how
that relates Fabric for is because London being my home town. I
started my DJing career in London (at the end of the 80's)
and there was a real lack of a club in London, for a while, that
reflected what was going on around the world (and there was a lot
going on outside London, not much going on in London). I think London,
for a while, became a bit up-its-own arse! When Fabric came along
I saw it as the first club that really embraced a more European
attitude to clubs rather than relying on the tradition of London
and what London clubs should be like. The way it was done, the way
it was set out and the music that was played there, to me, was right.
It fitted with what I'd been doing and it made sense. It is
a special club and long may it be!
What did you aim to do on your Fabric CD?
The main aim was to put down exactly what I was doing at that moment
in time without thinking about anything else. So when Fabric approached
me and said "Did I want to do a mix CD?" I said, in
my mind, yeah – but I've got to do this now –
with what's in my record box – and do it very quickly
and not think about it. I said to Fabric, initially, it's
got to be done down the club. I got my records and CDs, went down
the club and did it. I wanted it to be very real – not live,
as in a live session at the club when it was open, but I wanted
it to be what I was actually playing at the time. That's what
it is – it's very real. The last thing I wanted was
a mix CD that was chopped up in a studio, to be fiddled around with
and that wasn't related to the club, the night or the feeling
on the night. So that was my main aim with the Fabric mix.
How would you describe a typical Luke Slater set?
How would I describe one of my sets? Unpredictable, I think is
probably it! But not unpredictable not just for the reason of being
different, but because I just play what I like and what I want to
play and hope that people like it. There's a lot of factors with
playing DJ sets that influences what you play. For me it's never
just been about a totally selfish thing of "this is what I'm going
to play and sod everyone else" – there's a lot of things involved
with the atmosphere and the vibe. I just go with that – with
what feels right. People have got used to me I think - I play a
lot of longer sets now so I play a lot of different stuff. What
it comes down to is if I like a track then it goes in the box no
matter what it is.
How much vinyl are you using in sets with other formats readily
There's really the three main formats at the moment, vinyl,
CDs and digital files. I still love and use vinyl because... I like
it! I like everything about it – it sounds good and I like
working with it with my hands. For DJing I like to put stuff onto
a CD and play off them because I can still mix it up. I have to
physically put the CD into the player and similar to vinyl I like
the feeling of actually putting a piece of music on. I'm not
really that keen on using laptops because I just don't like
staring inwards when I'm playing. I don't like being
inside a screen rather than looking outside at what's going
on in reality. I never really got into it - I tried it but it's
not for me – I like putting music on. I really don't
like CDs as a format, they're just good tools for DJing. For
me, especially for Mote-Evolver we're just releasing vinyl
and digital files - that what I do anyway – anything I play
on a CD was originally a digital file. I think CDs are finished
really. May they rest in peace, though I never really liked them
Please signpost some of your key productions/mix albums/remixes.
Over the years what tracks are you most proud of?
Over the years I've made a lot of records but I don't think I could
say any one record is more important than another. There are records
I've made that have been more successful than others but for me
that's not really a sign of success or failure. That's just something
I can't control and don't really want to! If I had to pick some... actually
I can't – its impossible. Albums like Freak Funk and Wireless
are just as important as the first Planetary Assault Systems releases
and they're as important as the first record I ever released under
a name Freebase. They're all equally of their time but what's important
to me is that the reasons for every new thing I do are just as relevant
and valid as those before.
The reasons for doing a Fabric CD now and releasing the Head Converter
EP are just as valid and honest for those when I made Freek Funk.
I couldn't make Freek Funk now or Wireless and wouldn't want to
- the same with the initial Planetary Assault Systems releases –
it's just not valid for me now. So, as long as I stick to that I
think I can live with myself and that has to be good enough for
Tell us a little more about your label? Highlights to date?
I started Mote-Evolver this year out of the need to release stuff!
I started the label in April – the first release was a new
Planetary Assault Systems 12" and then a new project I started called
LB Dub Corp and then the last release this year was the Head Converter
EP under my own name. I never really wanted to start a label but
I needed to get stuff out and I really wanted some control over
how it was put out – the logical way was for me to do it myself.
I'm really interested in what's going on with the internet and music.
This is one the main things with Mote-Evolver – I wanted to
exist in this world and look into all the possibilities of music
and the internet. I'm really into that stuff anyway – I'm
really in to the whole idea of data, downloading and uploading and
sharing – different angles and ways to do things with music.
Instead of sticking with the old ways and trying to make the internet
into something that fits with the old ways I'd rather look at it
as something new and maybe every different angle can be explored.
One thing we're looking at now is something called second life –
a world within a world - that's worth checking out!
How would you describe the state of the British techno scene?
I think the British techno scene, maybe to some people outside
the UK, looks like something it's not. I don't think Britain's ever
really had a techno scene as such. When people ask me what's techno?
It's not really a question I can answer. I think Britain has always
had certain clubs that have always played underground music, and
that's never changed. I'd really be quite upset if Britain had a
"techno scene" as such because I think it would be over then –
it would be done and it would be put to bed. What England has had
is really good clubs in certain towns that have been great and still
are. There is an underground in Britain but this doesn't just include
techno artists or electronic artists – it's a massive underground
– in fact I'd say Britain is king of underground artists.
What reigns supreme in Britain is quite a narrow band of music and
everyone else you could term as underground. It's a great thing
though as having to live like that makes you more creative rather
than having to play some sort of game. Its one of the last freedoms
of the world and I don't want to lose it!
In particular, are there any new artists/labels that are inspiring
you right now?
I get inspired by a lot of things but it's not always music. In
fact I'm more than likely to be inspired by anything but music.
I get really inspired by just walking around town and seeing different
things and hearing different things. Sometimes I'll stick on some
radio station from the internet and but more and more I get inspired
by writing about what I experience around me rather than actual
music itself and that comes out vocally...
What's next for Luke Slater? What are your plans for 2007
both personally and professionally?
2007? Well, keeping an open mind! And I plan a new single on Mote-Evolver
to follow up Head Converter and I'm working with James Ruskin on
the new album and hopefully we'll get that finished at some point!
Then we want to continue doing the live shows next year. I'll be
on the road, definitely, for the first half of the year –
so doing more of what I'm doing now, enjoying it and trying to keep
true to what I want to do. On the personal side... well... its none
of your business! Thanks.
:: www.lukeslater.com ::