The first in a series of spontaneous question and answer sessions with people who have grabbed my attention by being very good at what they do. Luv Jam is one such person and judging by this lengthy contribution, a very nice chap as well. I've left this completely unedited as his enthusiasm jumps off the page and I don't want to hold him back. Lovely of him to do me an exclusive mix too. Track list included of course.
The name "LuvJam" comes from parties that you put on in Wrexham. Are you still involved in this and what made/makes them special? Can you describe the vibe, the audience and was it an exclusively local crowd, or did people travel?
It was a great little vibe we had going. We initially called it luv*jam after very much enjoying a Tony Thomas track of the same name and the first night aptly fell on Valentines night, 2001 I think it was! People travelled from all over really, Stoke, Liverpool, Manchester and our London buddies. But there was always the very headstrong 100 or so local onk crew! I was living in London at the time and Wrexham, my home town had been itching for a party as nothing ‘proper’ (sorry all you hard house trancers) had been going on since Mathew Roberts and Piggy’s old Cotton Club days really, so I just got in there quick!
Does the description "58% Rabbit / 16.1% Hedgehog / 4% Squirrel / 3.7% Fox / 3.4% Badger / 1.6% Rat / 1% Deer / 1% Stoat, Weasel, Polecat, Mink" point to a preoccupation with the great outdoors and a rural lifestyle?
Hehe, no, not really, I’m a very bizarre avid collector of percentage facts, this is an extract from
The Times newspaper from Autumn 2010. You will have to research it some more yourselves
To find out what they actually refer to!
You're originally from North Wales, now resident in Knaresborough, Yorkshire. Could you describe your artistic evolution and the relationship it has with the places you have called home?
I’m a Clwyd boy, but with Cheshire and Shropshire blood too and now in the Nidd Valley of Knaresborough with solid terms in my favourite cities of Manchester and London enroute.
Strong artistic relations to all of those places in some form. I don’t think we need to get to
‘arty’ here. Inspiration can come from being sad or lonely, or happy and excited you know.
It could come from enjoying a nice Mature Oak tree, it could come from a hike up Crow Castle.
For me, the amount of mixes you make available make obvious your love and enthusiasm for the music, but have you always felt supported when producing/DJing, and how much does having the backing of others matter?
Of course it’s nice when you get some good feedback. Having djed for about 20 years (yes I’m getting on) haha, you get good gigs and bad ones, you know that. I’m lucky to have had my fair share of belters and when the feedback is good, of course it’s amazing. When it’s not so good
you have to take it on the chin and move on! With the tracks - people write some nice words
and others write gobbledeegook (nonsense). I could go on, but I won’t.
Which gives you the most satisfaction, DJing or producing?
Both, very much so. You can’t beat the live experience of rocking a crowd though, I was a dj
before a producer so that’s my real love. When you have got so many rhythms going around
in your head though, it’s natural to want to try and make them.
I first became aware of you relatively recently after having had 'Mind Music' on Electric Sheep on promo. How long have you been producing for and does your output differ at all depending on the label which releases it?
That EP is probably one of my early ones, my third ep I think! I had produced earlier stuff in 2001/02, but on that naughty bootleg tip! My first solo ep was on a small digi label called
Lightspeed Recordings, but first ‘full proper’ vinyl release with Belgium’s We Play House.
I tend to tap in to certain labels I love the sound of, naturally you want to be a part of that.
So due to that we seem to share a certain sound, so I try and stick to my guns and make
what feels right – some work, some don’t. But back to the question – I guess it does slightly yes
without doubt, my we play house tracks tend to have a piano/keys theme, where as those
Electric Sheep ones have a deep bassy feel, slightly dreamy ambient in approach.
Do you have any formal music training and, if so, how does it influence your output?
I don’t, no, apart from playing the recorder in school and attempting to play the guitar my nan
bought me one Christmas. My daughter and I are casually learning to play the old Casio keyboards together! We’re making some nice little rhythms actually! My man Ed Cox always inspires me when we sit together, as he has real ‘live’ musical depth from his days of sitting at his piano and singing
in bands and what not. So to sit with him and see how he works his magic, has made me think differently. However, I am what you would call a ‘trier’ I try and work up rhythms that shouldn’t really work together and weave them in and out to create another feeling.
Tell me about "Crow Castle Cuts", how it came into being, and plans for the future . . . who records for it and does the colour of the vinyl have any special significance? Also, what is "Blind Jack's Journey"?
CCC is a stage on from our L*J parties really – it was a natural progression for us to try and launch it. A dream really – the 3 original L*J gang of myself with Daniel & Cristoph thought it up and
‘mr research’ here, delved deep into Crow Castle’s history and came up with the mythical theme.
Crow Castle being our local fort on some nearby mountains (not very big ones) actually, they’re just
large hills, as my climbing mates will tell me! We invited artists we were into, and of course made music ourselves. So the combinations are our Belgian buddies like San Soda, Maxim Lany, Lemakuhlar and myself as Luv*Jam and the ever secretive Schmitt Trigger (I don’t even know who he is myself) and local mad dogs Studio Swiss, Cy and Plas Vegas all started to make beats for us
to keep the valley fold together, haha! Crow Castle Cuts has actually retired now by the way!
But we’re dipping back into that in 2013 with Crow Castle Cuts LIVE and Crow Castle Cuts RAW
With some real live music making going on hopefully from out man The Vanilla Guerilla.
Blind Jacks Journey is a little story about Blind Jack (John Metcalf) – very intriguing guy who, although he was blind, could lead people (by memory and knowledge of course) from Harrogate
To Knaresborough across the river’s valley, before many roads were even made. We just had to do
something with this theme – which has developed into Blind Jacks DREAM HOUSE volumes –like crow castle, we will release 4 cuts spread over 18 months or so. First up is Volume 1.1 mid October.
Coloured vinyls – no relevance really – we just liked the grey very much, so we pressed it. The orange and clear read were strong contrasts to those first grey ones
Where are today's "house hotbeds", and who do you think is currently doing the most to push the music forward?
God knows! London obviously! Manchester Yes! Glasgow rules the deep I bet!?? You tell me! I recently played down in Cardiff with the YES COME ON lunatics, they’ve got a good thing going on
and forming their new label called, yes you got it YES COME ON or YCO for short! They’ve got some
fruitful sounds going on with The Organ Grinder and Brad Pitt (Bluredism) making some very strong stuff – quite overpowering actually! I’m very much into the Dutch Viewlexx sounds and Lectric Sands from Brooklyn, but loving UK’s Tusk Wax and Ruf Dugs Ruf Kuts, and mr Red D, has created a house hotbed in Deinze for sure! You have got to watch out for the guys we’ve signed called GNORK and BLORP from Hungary.
I've seen "onk" crop up here and there. Could you explain it?
It’s all about the ONK, it always will be. The onktionary and so on! Are you a champion onker?
It’s far too detailed to go in to, and also you have to be a member of the ONK to get full details
But you can have a little insite here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/onkinopinero/
It’s another obsession I guess! The L*J parties all revolved around the ONK and there’s no stopping us, it’s spread to Ibiza, Ghent and Cardiff, people love it! Just check crow Castle Cuts orange vinyl
With a guy called Yasmin Le Bonque and his Castel Oidonk track! What is that all about?
How strong do you think house/techno and its bastard offspring are at the moment? Is it a good time to be in the thick of it, and do you ever look back and feel you would have liked to have been more of a part of it during another era?
It’s all very exciting I think, don’t you. House, Disco, Techno, Nip, Deep, Bleep, Dub, Italo, Bass
If it’s good, it’s good right! I think I would loved to have been a part of the italo disco vibe
I do love the sound of that era, very very much. I do also like a lot of folk music, so refer
To the fairytales of Crow Castle Cuts – who wouldn’t want to be lost up a mountain for three days
twirling around to the sound of paradise from the elves flutes?
Current top ten (please don't include your own stuff)?
Heko – Nu Code - Forthcoming Blind Jacks Journey
Gnork – Blorp93 – Forthcoming Blind Jacks Journey
Dynamodyse – Quiet Quality – We Play House
Rio Padice – Forgotten Worlds – Tsuba Ltd
Groove Armada – Always Takes Me Higher
Brad Pitt – Quite – Forthcoming YCO
Deep88 – Grancartridge – 12 Records
FNM – Verde – FNMLTD
Kid Machine – Lost Discotechque Lovers – Viewlexx
Jock Talk – Prom King – Tusk Wax
Five DJs who have influenced you more than most?
I’m just going to refer to one of my early mix tapes which has got to be one of my faves
Dj Billy Nasty’s Essential mix from 1993 I think! Killer!
And five producers?
Fast Eddie, DMX Krew, Arne Weinberg, Neutron 9000, Rio Padice.
What constitutes a good session for you, and could you describe the one you've done for the blog?
Again, without sounding tossy, an eclectic journey over time with some quirky bits thrown in and real live layered mixing. I tend to cross genres, I don’t like to do a 2hr mix of pure deep, I like to add some instrumentals and sound effects and bits of acidic loops, maybe
just some weird drones. Whatever feels right with the tracks, you know. This mix is a combo of all those words, I guess spanning from 1987 to 2012 – 25 years.
Some of the tracks sound old but are new, some sound new but are old.
Check out Luv Jam's blog here.
Tracklist To Luv Jam's Mix:
Luv*Jam’s Dreamcast for Machines Are Funky BLOG
100% Live Vinyl Mix
Money Mark /World Lesson P2/Mo Wax MW043MLP
Night Manager/Squitty, Meet Squilly /Lectric Sands LSR-1004
Glyn Ceriog/Owains Lagoon (Sample)/Crow Castle Cuts CCC1402
Glyn Ceriog/Owains Cavern (Sample)/Crow Castle Cuts CCC1402
Jack/Gadgey Boi (Sample)/Blind Jacks Journey BLND1717
Jack/Belter Boi (Sample)/Blind Jacks Journey BLND1717
Reggie Blount/Hey/Clone Crown Ltd CCROWN7
Kid Machine/Return To Space/Viewlexx V-023
Brawther/Neptune/Balance Recordings BL12
Siafu/Shrunken Head/Bokhari BK001
Ruf Dug/Arty Fish/Ruf Kutz RK5
Other Worlds/Dystope/Horn Wax HW003
Tomas Svensson/High Tower/Vidab Vinyl VIDABX2
Jason Fine/Blue (Sample)/Kontra Red KM015
Preston Brooks/Flex/Ruf Kutz RK6
Hokus Pokus/House It Up/West Madison Street WMSD1201
Agents Of Woe/R U Ready For Love (Scott Ferguson)/Blank Artists BLNK-23
Jock Talk/Prom King/Tusk Wax TW007
Ejeca/X Girl/Tusk Wax TW005
Dynamodyse/Quiet Quality/We Play House Colour WPHPNK
FCL (E.S.P)/It’s You (San Soda Panorma Accapella)/We Play House VIP WPHVIP1
Andrea Gehm/U Don’t Love Me Anymore/Mathematics MATH049
Dada Bleep/Leaders Rock/Anorak Tontranger AND04
Tadeo/Oasys/Cyclical Trax CT015
Tomas Svensson/Dorian/Vidab VID14
Rio Padice/Forgotten Worlds/Tsuba Ltd TSUBALTD05
Earth People/Reach Up To Mars (Raw Mix)/Champion CHAMP12-239
Tazz/Work It (6th Borough Project Mix)/Tsuba TSUBA057B
Tazz/Captain Groove & The Oscillators/Tsuba TSUBA057A
Ruf Dug/Glowing Palms/Ruf Kutz RK3
Ruf Dug/4 Ron/Ruf Kutz RK4
Money Mark/Mark’s Keyboard Repair/Mo Wax MW043MLP