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 0r 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 wit 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 available now?
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 anyway. 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 me. 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 its not. I don’t think Britain’s ever really had a techno scene as such. When people ask me what’s techno? Its 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