Sunday, November 03, 2013

Cacophonous Bling Podcast 4: Aubrey

The second half of last night's show was given over to a mix from one of UK house & techno's most unsung heroes, Aubrey. I shot a few questions over to him in his south coast bolt hole and he was kind enough to send me the answers back to accompany the music.

Have you always lived in Portsmouth, or in the general area?

Pretty much, but lived in Valencia Spain for 9 years and I may be moving back in 2014.

What do you feel have been the advantages of living there?

Portsmouth is ok, as it's so close to London, just over 1 hour. I like to live by the sea, so it's ideal here for me.

Solid Groove's first release was over twenty years ago. What inspired you to start it up, who drew the logo and how would you describe its output?

I started Solid Groove as I was sending demos to labels and getting knocked back all the time. I trusted my product so the only way to do it was to start my own label, and that's the same with Dot. My friend Sam Foot designed the art and Logo. I think it was based on a crazy lab technician from old Marvel comics.

If I remember correctly, your music and that of others from the Portsmouth area, like Mark Ambrose and Josh Brent, (correct me if I'm wrong, please) was distributed by Shady Acorns on the Isle of White. How did such a fertile scene come about?

Well Solid Groove had three different distributors over its life, I think Mark just had a passion for music and was willing to take a risk and not be bothered about releasing strange and different things, but my other labels Dark and Textures and Super Disco Fakes were all from Shady Acorns.

You've also recorded for a lot of other labels: Offshoot, Mosaic and Ferox to name but a few. Who do you think you've done your best work for?

He he… to be honest, some of the newer things and unreleased things coming soon are sounding fresher than the older stuff, I can't really name one thing off the top of my head. Mosaic is starting again and I have just remixed Ed Davenport for that, seems like it's all come back around.

What are your musical roots? How did you get into making house and techno and why did you stop for seven or eight years between 2003-2010?

Hmm, Musical roots… 100% Hip Hop. I got a pair of decks when I was 12, not Technics but old belt drive things with no pitch, so I learned the hard way, until I could get my first job and save for my Technics and Bose Speakers when I was 16. That was the best day of my life after 4 years with these horrible disco decks, but yeah Hip Hop, and Breaks and Beats, used to spend days beat juggling and scratching. So when I got the Technics mixing was just so easy. Also a lot of 60's Jazz and the krautrock stuff . . .  I was 15 when I heard Washing Machine by Larry Heard, which changed everything, but I still buy a lot of Hip Hop and strange stuff for personal home use.

When for you, was techno/house's most fertile period, and where are we now?

To be honest, I think techno’s aways been amazing, and now i think it's more exiting than ever. So many talented new artists and a deep heavy sound. Of course you have the late 80s stuff, and early 90s stuff is really special, but I try not to live in the past too much and always look forward.

You've more recently found a home on Komplex de Deep, as well as another one of your labels, Dot. Has your approach to making music changed much since you started again a few years ago?

Well yes, a lot. I used to have a huge studio with a huge 24 track desk, but sold a lot of it to sort out some problems I had. Now I work with a small set up, no mixing desk and a few outboard bits. Having said that I miss the desk and the 909 and I’m going to look into getting a desk again in the next year or so.

What are you interests outside music?

Cooking is my no 1 hobby, I love it and spend time looking for ingredients, spices etc, and photography is my second love. Skateboarding and Mountain biking come up pretty close as well, and travel.

How difficult is it to do what you do in this age of austerity?

Well there ain't really any money to be made running the label, to be honest I do it because I love it, and of course there are the odd gigs here and there, so things could be worse, let’s put it that way.

How would you describe your life when not making music?

Walking the dog, taking photos and cooking :)

Could you give us an all-time, cross-genre top five?

Hard one this…

Johnny Hammond - Gamblers Life LP (Salvation) 1975

Electro Crucial (Streetsounds Records)

Audio Tech (Juan Atkins) - I'm your Audio Tech (Express Records) 1987

Quasimoto - The Further Adventures of Lord Quas (Stones Throw) 2005

Fingers Inc - Another Side LP (Jack Trax) 1988

To be honest there are too many to mention….

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