Thursday, 9 April 2015

LUNA-C Exclusive Interview @ Strictly Nuskool Blog

1) First of all would like to give heads up for the very latest stuff from you like the massive Supaset 15 (mix for Kikwear) and your 'Back To The Front' personal EP alongside the new blood on KFA, Demicore and of course worth mentioning the amazing buzz in Epidemic and Bangface. Few words for these latest Luna-C news and how was your experience on both of these huge gigs?

I am going to write a blog post about those gigs at some point, but yeah, it was interesting. I was very quiet in 2013/2014 because I had a whole bunch of personal stuff happen, and I wasn't really feeling the music, so I took a break. I mention this because Epidemik and Bangface were both gigs where I felt I was finally back on form. I take a long time to make my sets from scratch, and I had spent 3 months remaking some classic old skool, keeping the format and sounds the same, but bringing them up to modern speed and production values. I wondered what people would think, whether these older styled hardcore tracks would still do damage with new ravers who might not remember them.

The Epidemik crowd were very into it, but that may be because it was billed as an old skull night. I think half the people realised I had remade the tracks, and the other half thought I was playing old skool. Which was actually what I thought might happen. Still, everyone rocked out and it was amazing. Then I went up to Sheffield and played at Uprising, and that was crazy too, the whole crowd was very boisterous, and it had a reckless sort of vibe, just like old raves used to have.
Bangface is Bangface, so its a sort of exceptional crowd - a very open minded crowd. They loved it, and that was wonderful, but I sort of felt they would be down with it anyway - not that it made it any less fun, but yeah, crazy and exciting to play all of those gigs.

2) Lets travel back in time, its 1993 and Kniteforce is about to be launched. Which act/artist/producer/ would you have liked to have signed to Kniteforce but were unable to get ?

Hmmm…I never really thought of signing anyone who had already released material. It simply never occurred to me. I always assumed it was part of my job to find new people and release new artists even though there was no real reason to think that way lol. Kniteforce was set up for me and my friends. I mean, I would have taken on lots of people, and now you have asked that question, I am kinda kicking myself that I did not lol. I would have wanted to sign Sublove, Hyper On Experience, N.R.G, Messiah…well….everyone really lol. I did try to get Toytown for Kniteforce, but only in a haphazard way - Hixxy came over and played it to me and I was like "I will put that out if you like?" And he was like "Nah, its fine" lol.

I also tried to get Jakazid's "Cillit Bang" after I heard it, but he already had a deal for its release I think. Those are the only two I have ever tried to get. And neither times did I make much effort. Not because the tracks weren't great - they were - but because I never really worry too much about what I can't get - I am too busy worrying about what I am doing musically. Its not the best attitude / business plan for a label, but the label was and remains something I do so I can put out my music whenever I like however I like with people I like. Artists come along and join me - some for life, like Future Primitive, and some just for a short time, like Brisk. It's as it should be.

3) As part of Smart Es, how did you come in contact with Dan Donnelly and get signed to Suburban Base and did you ever imagine you would break the UK top 10?

Oh, that was easy, really. Tom and I both used to buy our records at Boogie Times, amongst other stores in the Essex and London area. So as regulars, we knew the staff relatively well, Danny Breakz and Winston Run Tings. Very few people had any sort of home recording studio in those days, so very few people could actually make music. That helped us a great deal. It wasn't like now where everyone had a home computer etc. That rarity made it easier to get through the door. We turned up one day with the first Smart Es track on a cassette, played it to either Danny or Winston, and they called Dan Don who's office was above the shop. We went up, played the cassette, and he was like "yeah. I will put this out". Like many things in my life, that was pretty lucky really. I have never had to struggle to get my music released, because the Smart Es stuff was the first music I was involved with, and by the time that ended, I had a studio and have been doing it myself ever since.

As for the Top 10 thing? Never in a million years. Sometimes I still can't believe it - its such an unlikely record, and to get in the top ten with it seems like a ridiculous story. But there it is.

4) Next question comes from a fan of your 'How To Squander Your Potential' book who's a bit curious if Danny Donnelly has seen the book, and if so, does he dispute any of the claims you made about his dodgy handling of Smart E's brush with pop success whilst signed to Suburban Base?

I have no idea if Danny Donnelly has read the book. I doubt he would bother disputing the claims, because then he would have to contact me, and then I would ask him for explanations and money lol. And I would actually welcome an honest chat with him. I would be happy to set the story straight if I have made mistakes. I write at the beginning of the book that I have a terrible memory, so I might have got some elements wrong. We all rose coat our own pasts, we can't help it. I have also been in the industry long enough to know that much of the issue may have simply been a lack of understanding. I think you have to run a record label before you realise how difficult it is to pay people fairly. And it is easy to make mistakes - I have made many. Really though, I no longer care about it, the whole situation is just…past stuff.

As I have not been accounted to in many many years, and as the track is available on MP3 stores, it kinda says all that needs to be said. But at the same time, whatever, you know? Its just money, and worse than that, its boring lol. I made the decision years ago to just let that stuff go. Im doing fine. The money we did get was amazing. It is enough.

'How To Squander Your Potential' By Christopher Howell

5) Can you share with us your best gig experience all over these years?

Its very hard to say what my best gig was. There have been so many, big and small, and its been so many years. But I will tell you something I like to do - and thats watch Djs who have never played a Bangface before playing Bangface. Because when I first played, I think I was doing Supaset 2 or something, and Bangface was much smaller then - it was in a pub's event room in London. Anyway, I came in with my set of modern fast hardcore, and the crowd was rocking out to the Dj before me - who was playing 1989 / 1990 house / hardcore. And I thought "Shit, I am going to go down like a lead balloon". To my relief and surprise, the crowd went just as nuts for my set as for the previous Dj's. So I enjoy seeing that happen.

I saw Friction or one of those really big D'n'B Dj's play at Bangface in Elektrowerks a few years back, and I saw his face as he walked into the main room where they were playing minimal trance - to the delight of the crowd. He just looked dismayed, and I knew that feeling. I wanted to shout "Don't worry, it will be fine" lol. Of course, he came on and the place lost its damn mind, because Bangface is like that. Thats a great thing to see a previously confident Dj think "oh god" and then discover "oh my god!".

6) Are there any current hardcore producers, big names or small, that you'd like to collaborate with?

I am terrible at collaborations for a number of reasons. The first is, when I set up KF, I had to do everything myself as far as studio stuff goes. And then I had to engineer everyone else. So I got very used to being the person controlling the buttons as soon as the label started. And it stayed like that for years. In that time I got incredibly fast at doing the things I want to do, so the few times I have tried to work in someone else's studio it has been very frustrating. I know what I want, and I don't want to wait while someone else does it. I am a bad combination of stubbornness and impatience, even with myself, so it makes me a bit crap at the whole "sharing ideas" thing - not because I don't want to, but because I do want to but I want to do it right now, no waiting.

But if I somehow wasn't me lol, I would want to collaborate with Jakazid most of all, I think. Although it would probably be pointless because he is as mad as me, so the track would just be the same most likely. And Dave Skywalker - although we already have. I would love to do a back to back set with Jimni Cricket, but she would vastly out turntable me, and while my pride could take it, it just wouldn't be a fair set lol. I would like to do work with Jon Doe too, because us weirdos should stick together :) and Empyreal, who is on my label, because he is so talented in a way that I am not. I think we could do something great. I should make that happen.

7) Is there any tune from any genre that you would like to give a Luna-C Remix? And why you'd choose to remix it?

Wow, thats nearly impossible to answer. I mean, other than jazz, I like pretty much every music, so the simple answer would be yes, but narrowing it down to a single track? Much harder. I guess…hmmm…I would love to do an official remix of a Hyper On Experience track, and have the samples from the original to do it with. That would be something - a challenge and an honour. I like challenges in general, I get bored otherwise.

8) Do you see a difference in the American attitudes towards raving? Both in partying and producing?

Oh yes, its very different for a number of reasons. The main one is history. The USA is huge, so there is no single "start" of the scene. Or rather, there are many, it just depends what state you are in. This means that if I refer to old skool hardcore music in the USA it could mean 1991, or 2001, depending on where abbots in the country I am lol. Its hard to explain, but the UK knows its history because it all happened at once. So if I play a remix of, say, The Horn Track by Egyptian Empire at any UK rave, the people will know what it is. Even new skoolers, because they will have heard the sample in remixes and rip offs and other genres.

But in the USA, I might get just puzzled faces. So thats something I have to look out for. Also, the fashion is different - the whole candy thing, with coloured beads, and the huge flared jeans. But its very cool, you know? There is a look to the ravers here, and while some of them are the fuzzy boots mini skirt type, many are also dressed as Mario or Pikachu or in baseball caps and dungarees etc. Its not better or worse, just different. There are all sorts of rituals involving people shaking your hand in a certain way so they can give you a piece of the candy they are wearing. I fumble this of course, but then I fumble fist bumps as well lol. I am so not cool.

KF063:: Luna-C 'Back To The Front EP'

9) Are you listening to any non-rave music right now?

I listen to non rave music all the time. I have always liked extremes. Currently my top new albums are Death Cab For Cutie, Jose Gonzales, Milky Chance and Perfume Genius. I have been listening to some old 80's electro albums, a little Bullet For My Valentine, System of a Down, Ice Cube, Wu-Tang, Ben Howard. I like a lot of different stuff, the only criteria being the singer has to mean what they are singing.

10) How did you first get involved in Kung Fu?

It actually started because I got tall really quick. I was average size at 15 and my full height by 16. That was the time I spent leaping off ramps on my skateboard, and sending shudders of pain up my spine each day. So I got older with back pain that at one point was so severe, putting my shoes on was a 10 minute task that would leave me sweating. I also fucked up my right knee, and couldn't bend it without pain. I put up with this for years. When I was 21 or 22, I don't know, my 8 or 9 year old nephew wanted to learn karate, so I took him, and thought "what the hell, I might as well do it too, it might fix my back". I did Karate for a number of years, learned everything they had to teach me, was getting ready to go for my black belt etc. It did not fix my back in any way, but it helped my knee a little and I enjoyed it. Still, one day I thought I would check out a Kung Fu school, and within 3 months my back was better, my knee was fine, and my mind was blown by the things I was learning. That was so long ago now.

I still train Kung Fu regularly. I am crap at it - the style I do is a 25 year style - after 10 years you become a student, after 25 years you are "competent" lol. Those are the grades. Thats it. But I love it. I have always enjoyed impossible challenges. I know I will ever be Bruce Lee, and I am okay with that. I have learned all sorts of useful things that are nothing to do with what most would think of as benefits from Kung Fu training. Mind organisation, understanding my own limits both mentally and physically, knowing the difference between good pain and bad pain, assessing situations accurately, and being able to make decisions based on what is actually good for me, not what is assumed to be good for me. Thats on top of the actual fighting stuff, which I have never needed to use really - because of all the other stuff it has taught me. It makes you smart. I don't get into physical fights because I am never in a place where I need to get into one. But it has given me the tools I need to fight in any situation, with words, actions or ideas. It taught me what matters to me, and how to take care of those things.

Still, I am quite keen to get into a physical fight at some point, just because it will be interesting. I don't even mind losing really lol. Its a funny thing, you become more interested in the workings of it than the win / lose aspect.

11) What's the next big thing from you?

I have so many things going on. Its very odd, but 2013 and 2014 were the worst years of my life in some ways, I had a lot of things happen, most were terrible, and it pretty much broke me. But in the wreckage, I became the artist I always wanted to be. So I have a renewed sense of confidence in my music, and a freedom I have not experienced before as I have, after all these years, well and truly stopped giving a fuck lol. And I mean that in the most liberating of ways. I mean that in the sense of "I want to try this idea and I am going to even if it is embarrassing or foolish or whatever".

To me, it feels like 1993 again, and my enthusiasm for the music is at its highest it has been since those days. So I have numerous projects on the go. I have 2 new E.Ps finished, one of which is very risky in terms of personal cost. I have music videos being made for some of my new songs. I recently got a deal with Kikwear to promote their clothing, and to be sponsored, so thats a lot of fun. I have a whole set of remade old hardcore that has taken me 3 months to create and I am very proud of. I find myself working 16 hour days in the studio, and loving every second of it. I have plans and schemes and ideas, and its very exciting for me!


12) If you can give 5 words to describe what Kniteforce means to your life what would you say?

Safety, Burden, Glory, Chaos, Fear.

I probably should explain those, but maybe next time, eh?

KF001:: The Luna-C Project (1993)

Check out the latest KFA release [KFA65 The Recent Remixes]
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