By way of a little celebration of notching up 8 years working together on the good ship Selador , we relaunch our ’12 Questions’ series (where a tag team of label compadres interview each other) with the bosses. Time for Dave interviews Steve – it’s a bit like one of those TV shows where we find out how much a couple really know about each other…
Dave: So, let’s start with the obvious question about what a shit show of a year the last 12 months has been and how much disruption it has caused. What has been the worst thing for you that was brought about by Covid and also, what positives have you managed to glean from the situation?
Steve: Yes, it’s been rather crazy, I have literally not stopped working, crazy busy with the whole SMP3 Promo thing I do. With more artists not touring, they’ve been making and releasing more music. It’s been the busiest year I’ve had in the 10 years I’ve been promoting music.
Live streaming has been an enjoyable part of lockdown though. Engaging with people while mixing live and occasionally drinking too much beer haha. I get a bit carried away and have played 4/5/6 hour sets many times… much to my neighbours’ amusement oops! I think live streaming is here to stay, not quite sure how yet. But maybe people buying virtual tickets to gigs will become a thing. So you can watch Sasha in Australia and Digweed in Dubai on the same day without leaving your house.
Dave: One of the key things for me that we’ve managed to achieve through all this is that we’ve been able to tackle a lot of things for Selador that had been on the list for a long time and never managed to get around to such as a new website, launching the Seladoria Events concept, getting back into releasing vinyl, Bandcamp, etc. How have you seen the development of the label in the last 12 months?
Steve: It’s been a very busy time behind the scenes, a lot has been put in to place ready for when some kind of normality returns. Pushing new initiatives, formulating and executing plans – it all sounds very professional hey?!
Dave: We’ve just arrived at our 8th birthday at Selador. What have been your highlights? Was it everything you envisaged, running a label?
Steve: Running a label certainly keeps you busy, there was way more to learn and do than I realised. But that’s a good thing, as I’ve learnt so much including a whole new vocabulary which makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about. It’s still very exciting, the whole record label thing. Finding music, signing it, sorting out remixes, artwork etc. I still buzz off it. It’s also great to have secret weapons to play in our sets on your own label!
Dave: You have had a busy last 12 months in terms of your production output, releasing some of the best work of your career. Tell us about that progress as an artist and your future plans.
Steve: There’s the debate between producers that releasing music during lockdown was a bit of a waste of time – as one of the benefits of releasing music is that it helps you get future gigs, as promoters and clubbers discover your music. I get this, but imagine if all producers and labels did this? Imagine no new music in the last year? That would have been awful and mind numbing. I’m glad I had some music to get out there. It will be nice to be able to play our tracks to an excitable dance floor in the not too distant future though… I can’t wait for that!
I found while making music during lockdown, that it was a big of a release for me too. I have all of this pent up energy that I usually release making people dance in a club, so with that taken away, it was nice to get some of the same emotions making music. I’m currently getting a few of my tracks remixed for a Selador release later this year, so they should get a fresh lease of life then too! And I’ve also made a collaboration with Marc DePulse too, that’s released this month on the next Selador Showcase. It’s very cool and also strange making collaboration tracks, as you need both artists’ sound to shine through simultaneously, and this tracks was made remotely – so we took turns adding our bits and then sending the track back and forth.
Dave: You’re also back on the radio, a long time passion of yours, with your new show on In Demand Radio every Tuesday. What is it that keeps enticing you back to weekly live radio when we now live in an era of on demand podcasts and DJ Mix saturation on platforms such as Mixcloud and Soundcloud?
Steve: I’ve always loved radio. I wanted to be a radio DJ when I was a teenager. And that passion has never gone away. I love doing everything live. Mixing, presenting, firing in adverts etc. The thrill that anything could go wrong or amazingly well at any time really makes me tick! The interaction too is a big thing for me, with people messaging from around the globe saying they are loving a certain track. Also, it gives me a chance to get my DJ friends in the mix and on the phone for a chat. I’ve been around on the scene for many years, working in 3 Beat Records in Liverpool, I was a resident at Cream, a promoter of my own events and had a radio show on Juice Fm twice a week for 10 years… so I’ve interacted with 100s of DJs, and so to call on them for a chat / mix is great fun.
Dave: We first met at an All Dayer in Liverpool in May 1991. In the 30 years we’ve both spent working in the industry so much has changed, What do you miss most about those early halcyon days of Acid House culture and also what do least miss?
Steve: They were great days. We were both new to DJing in clubs back then. That all dayer was a Monday and we had 1000+ clubbers dancing all day. I thought that’s how it would be forever! But as times changed, and governments made it more difficult for clubbing, and a recession came… suddenly the 5 residencies a week I had all came crashing down and I realised life as a DJ would have its ups and downs. One thing I miss is the vinyl situation and how there was a musical hierarchy. A certain few would get an acetate… then a few weeks later a handful of test pressings would filter through from the label… 4 weeks later would be promos and 6 weeks later the track would be released. I’d worked hard and climbed up to the test pressing level… and I loved that. I had tunes that were hot and very limited! It created a real buzz about tracks…and also you knew when you would get hold of a certain track! It gave a track a lot longer shelf life too… and because of this, tracks used to get played lots, and different clubs had different anthems. Nowadays people make, and share music so freely, and so music had become a lot more disposable unfortunately. Sometimes you can be working on a track longer than the shelf life after its release, which is insane!
Weekly club events seem to have fallen by the wayside – it was ‘the norm’ for events to be weekly back then, so there’s not so many places for tracks to become anthems, as there isn’t that regular weekly crowd.
Also resident DJs are not so much of a thing as they were back in the day. Some of the best DJs I’ve heard were resident DJs, skilled in the art of warm up, but also able to rock the club often far more than any guest DJ.
Dave: I’ve reconnected with my record collection over lockdown and have really started to appreciate the physical format again. Do you see the upward trend in vinyl sales continuing? What was the last record you bought personally?
Steve: I’m still downsizing. I have to! I have so many records I’ve run out of room. I still have 1000s in mum mum’s house too. Oops! Vinyl does seem to be on the rise again. This is good. People will get the excitement that you get from vinyl that is different from a digital format! I don’t buy vinyl anymore. I haven’t done for 12 years. It’s great to have the Selador vinyl, and I get a few bits from labels and friends like special box sets that still make me a little giddy though! Haha.
Dave: And the very first record you bought?
Steve: The Police – Do Do Do, Da Da Da (jibberish classic as Alan Partridge called it) was the first 7 inch I remember buying. I was disappointed as W H Smith vinyl cost £1.10 rather than Woolworths 99p. The first 12 inch I bought was Starsound – Stars on 45. It was Easter and I was in Rhyl, we were staying in a caravan with family for Easter! What memories.
Dave: Tell us something that you’re particularly good at that that no one really knows about. Your secret skill?
Steve: I am a half decent cook. I love it. It’s an escape for me. And then getting nice food at the end is wonderful. I have a lot of cook books, 50+
Dave: After your amazing record breaking season last year and winning the league for the first time in 30 years, what’s happened to your football team (Liverppol) this year? Are you even going to make it into the Top 4 Champions League places?
Steve: It’s a confusing season and a half! Ups and downs. Last few months have been rubbish in the league for Liverpool, the spark seemed to have gone… although glimmers of hope after the Arsenal game at the weekend.
Anyway – means we can concentrate on probably not winning in Europe again haha!
Dave: What would be your go-to song on a Karaoke night?
Steve: I’m an awful singer. It’s a frustration of mine. I’d probably go for Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World. It’s a feel good gem, that I know all of the words to, and is in a key that I can almost string a song to without sounding too bad!
Dave: It’s the last supper, you can choose your perfect 3 course meal and accompanying beverage what’s on the menu?
Ceviche to start.
Fillet steak or Venison for main.
Cheese Board with lots of blue and stringy cheese.
Accompanied by my favourite beer Estrella Inedit.
I’m starving now after typing that out! Haha