Any techno lover worth their salt will be doing some highland flings on Jan 19th when Scottish duo Slam return to New York as part of their North American tour (by Roots Events, Denver) Stopping off here after dates at BPM in Mexico, Denver, Chicago and San Francisco, its been about 10 years since the boys played the city and we're excited to hear them deliver some beautiful tunes in what promises to be a highlight of the CGNY calendar. Here's our q&a before they touch down!
CGNY: Well all I can say it’s a relief!! That you’re finally, finally playing in NYC!!! Are you excited? How long has it been since you played here? Or the US?
SL: Well the last time we played it was in New York- and we figured it was 10 years ago. It was at Cielo where the party was always great back then. We've been asked over a lot in the last 2 or 3 years in particular but it's very time consuming and expensive to get the USA working visas so we kept putting it off. Eventually we couldn't say no anymore and we are completely vibed up about returning and we have a few more tours over the course of 2013 planned including a trip to Detroit for the Movement Festival.
CGNY: What are the origins of Slam – how did you guys get together in the first place and was there haggis involved!!?
SL: Strangely no haggis! And bizarrely it was in a Mexican bar/restaurant in Glasgow where we both worked. I went to school with Dave (our manager) and he had a job in this place called Chimmy Chungas and he got me a job. Orde was a waiter there which meant he had a nicer shirt to wear than me. We fought over who's tape would get played and that lead to us becoming friends with a shared interest in electronic and dance music. Then in 1987 we deejayed together at our own night which took place in Lucifers (which became the sub club) and it was called Black Market. In 1988 we got a Saturday night in a spot called Tin Pan Alley and we got Dave to do the fliers and posters and we called the night Slam- Glasgow's Acid House club!
CGNY: I was reading your bio and it mentioned 2 decades (in the business) and yet your music still sounds so fresh – like you came on the scene yesterday. How do you manage to keep things interesting for yourselves musically?
SL: We have always been DJs as well as producers and we are always looking for something fresh and exciting to play. So we make music for our DJ sets and we try to use sounds that are interesting and make music that stands out from the pack. We are lucky to have maintained our hunger for new sounds and variations on the theme while staying true to our deep rooted love of house and techno.
CGNY: What do you look for in a track or artist that you want to release or work with?
SL: We hear so much music that we are usually looking for something that sounds a bit different. There is so much same-y music being produced because a lot of people have the same software and are open to the same influences. We look for something with emotion and some kind of organic goodness that cannot be mass produced. It’s personal of course too and we are suckers for the right bassline or for something with the funk but we are also very fussy and even a misplaced vocal sample can put us off a track! We also ask ourselves would we play it in our sets and how long would it stay in the record box!
CGNY: It’s an interesting thing because when you think of techno you don’t automatically associate that genre of music with Scotland and yet apart from yourselves there are some ‘slamming’ artists releasing from that neck of the woods- Hans Bouffmyhre, Gary Beck, Tony Scott, Joseph McGeechan to name a few. Something in the water?!
SL: It's a techno city for sure. Funk D'Void, Vince Watson, Alex Smoke too -the list goes on and on and we have some great DJs who are a bit leftfield too like Jackmaster and Optimo. Everyone goes out clubbing in Glasgow and it rains all the time so it must be conducive to getting in the studio and making some warm music!
CGNY: Have you any expectations for your US tour? Ideas of what to expect from the US crowds?
SL: We are excited to be playing in New York, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco and we have high hopes of a receptive hungry crowd turning up - we are up for it and that will come across when we play!
CGNY: One of your many collab partners Pan-Pot is here the night after you play. Will you be able to stick around for that? Room 2 – their remix is one of my top fave tracks ever. I interviewed them for the site previously and they told me of how they met you on route to Tullamore!! (I grew up not far from Tullamore I couldn’t believe it when they said they’d played there!!)
SL: We can't stay over on Sunday night because it's the last date on a long time away from home which started in Mexico at BPM but we hope to see Thomas and Tass before we fly out on Sunday night. Yes we had so much fun the first time we met in the back of a tiny car speeding across the Irish countryside to play in a great party in a barn!
Our first release on Paragraph in 2013 is Alliances 2 (Slam and Pan-Pot ' media') so we have to see our German brothers in New York!
CGNY: Where have been some of your favorite places to play festivals/gigs?
SL: last year we had an amazing show in Budapest with Loco Dice and Richie Hawtin - maybe the highlight of the year as far as performance and crowd went. And we got back to our favorite city Tokyo to play at the Womb which is tremendous.
CGNY: Your soundcloud Slam Radio show is going from strength to strength and you’ve had some great podcasts on it. But it’s a relatively new venture for you I guess. What prompted you to start that up? People just wanting to hear you?
SL: Yes .. by public demand! We have a lot of producers and DJs we want to work with and it's a great way to show case their talent and also to push ourselves as DJs and bring a focus onto the label and so on. we do a mix every 4th week and we have so far brought in some great mixes from the likes of Kyle Geiger, Pan-Pot, Jerome Sydenham and NIc Fanciulli. It’s on I tunes now and syndicated to many internet radio shows around the world. Another good addition to techno we hope.
CGNY: Soma Records is your own label. Any interesting things lined up for the label in 2013?
SL: we have an exciting year ahead and we just had big success with Gary Beck and Harvey McKay and Pig & Dan. Now we have new material coming from the established acts like Funk D Void, Silicone Soul, Vector Lovers and lots of new artists like Mark Reeve, Kyle Geiger, Roberto Clementi. Keep checking somarecords.com.
As we mentioned earlier our Paragraph label we have a big single to drop under our Alliances series - it's a collaboration with Pan-Pot called 'Media".
CGNY: An alien lands from another planet and has no clue what techno is! What track/album do you hand over as a learning tool?
SL: Galaxy 2 Galaxy - High Tech Jazz perhaps!
Slam plays with H-Foundation Jan 19th - information here
Roots Events: www.rootsevents.net
Website: www.somarecords.com www.slam-djs.com
Social Media: facebook.com/SLAM.soma