A man that is never far away from our techno top 10 and Carl Cox's playlist, we catch up with Phutek this week ahead of his highly anticipated appearance for the monster Escape From Samsara reunion next month at Fire & Lightbox on the 28th April.
So, where are you right now and what are you up to ?
In my usual place in front of a studio monitor. I'm actually not long ,fresh back into things in the last few weeks after a little winter break from anything music. A little longer than planned, as I picked up that European man-flu that was doing the rounds this winter. (Laughs)
But, i’m back at it and really hungry to get some new techno vibes down for the new year ahead. Especially having some brilliant new signings of my tracks bang at the turn of the new year. (I'm on a big gag order, sorry)
Right now I’ve been working on an exciting collaboration with good friends Anti-Slam & W.E.A.P.O.N. for a new collaborations album they are putting together for their label Jumpstereo imprint. It's sounding really BIG. Our idea of coming together as one was always going to be mouth watering! Techno bombs and fire at the ready! The Track is called 'YAYO' ...keep your ears tuned for this one, it's a big room acid techno gem!
You have released and remixed on a vast array of techno labels from Ying Yang, Jumpstereo, IAMT and of course your very own Layer 909 imprint. Where did it all start for you ?
I have been producing as far back as the mid to late 90's and been on a constant learning journey since then. Back in the day it was the total DJ journey that ruled my passion as far back as 1992, so although i released stuff in dribs and drabs over these early years, it was never in volume or consistency, more fun projects as and when they turned up, and projects that just arose depending on what music circles i was in and out of.
Then around the turn of the Millennium, my tastes and musical inner identity as an artist across the board started to really mature. I went missing for a few years, and instead of being focused on DJ’ing, i started to lock myself away in a studio environment desperate to become more fluent in getting all these music ideas out of my head and produced into finished tracks.
In the end I got the same bug for producing as i did for the DJ’ing in those early years. I created the Phutek guise to lose some old stereo-typing, but also to represent my new found tastes I was becoming passionate about. Eventually, these growing new passions landed me right in the middle of techno. I became less interested in anything else other than producing and playing techno. I took a deep breath and have given it all I’ve got and powered as much time as possible into producing. And here i am now!
Particularly I've been loving the early rave elements featured heavily in your tracks, were you around during the glorious 88-92 rave years or were you introduced to these sounds later on?
I was a very lucky boy. I lived and grew up in Coventry and if you know your dance history, then you will know Coventry had the first ever legal licensed rave venue The ECLIPSE; home to the legendary Amnesia House, a very well known outfit (to the connoisseurs of dance music history) that are held as one of the first few brands/nights that pioneered the rave / dance scene here in the UK, especially in the Midlands. So, you could say you got your answer to the question, yes, i was lucky enough to experience legends such as Sasha, Carl Cox, Grooverider and the likes of, paint the first few blueprints week in week out right at the very start of it all. All this in that amazing experimental, expressional era.
So yeah I do revisit that era's sound dimension sometimes, i suppose it's an old re-visitation in my clubbing bones and mind as a youth that comes out in the studio every once in a while.
Being the start of a new year and a time when aspirations are running high for any creative person, what are your own personal goals for the year ahead ?
Well, it's a mixture of little goals and big goals. I always set daily goals, and try not to look too far ahead. The little goals are; to always feel I keep improving and enjoying what i do, an important part of my recent success is to keep focused, positive and stay buzzing. This is especially important for me to get the best out of myself when making music, especially creativity wise. I aim to consistently stay in that mode this year.
As for my bigger goals, the main one is ... i want to be out there more in the clubs, fields and arenas, showcasing my own sound from behind the decks. In theory now, i would like to think it's obvious from my productions, what musically, my intentions are... to bring the 'fire' to the dance floor.
I don't want anyone to look at me over time as... i'm just a part of a line up or part of their event. I want to be the part of the event everybody looks forward to (just like my main inspirations were/are). It’s pretty much evident if you read into who my influences are., they all are remembered or known for 'Getting the party Rocking' ! Come and see me play and you will see that in abundance. ;)
Production wise, more quality over quantity and less remixes and more originals for sure this year. A big aim to also get my music on the very best labels out there right now and of course take LAYER 909 up a level, now the label has gone through it's infancy stage. We have stayed quite strict on what techno goes out on the label, and it's starting to show now that producers are submitting the correct sound, as we are getting more and more of the right kind of content being sent.
Any exciting projects, global movements or career developments on the horizon?
There are some new exciting developments for 2017. But unfortunately some are too new to announce at the time of this interview, however I’m very excited for them to be announced later in the year and I promise, you Nick will be one of the first to hear.
One thing I can mention, I am very very excited to be asked by the the Xstatic festival team for Layer 909 to host it's own techno arena at Xstatic festival 2017. This is brilliant as it gives a very much needed presence to the summer festival calendar for the UK and especially the Midlands techno fans.
It’s very exciting to showcase some of the freshest talent pushing not only techno in general right now, but artists that very much fit into the Layer 909 sound.
Headlining are SPEKTRE , PHUTEK & ANTI SLAM & W.E.A.P.O.N. and also a deadly talented duo from Australia known as HP SOURCE, who will in fact be making their UK debut for Layer 909 at the Xstatic festival. All 4 headliners collectively are making big noises and big tracks relentlessly right now, So I think Xstatic Festival are in for a massive treat this summer! There is also some brilliant up and coming UK talent backing up these headliners.
Carl Cox recently gave you a personal video salute on Facebook , that must have felt quite special. He must be a huge fan of your tunes right ?
Yeah that was actually a few years ago now, the video you speak of. It was perfect timing of two different attempts (out of many many others) to get my music to him, coming together and landing at the same time.
Both USB sticks got to him, someone that knew me that was in his company at the time in Australia had my phone number, next thing I knew Carl sent me a whats app video, telling me the tracks were 'Slamming' and to keep sending them and i had his full support.
It was quite surreal and amazing moment for sure as he has always been one of my main influences, I always have him in mind when writing a lot of my tracks. I was in shock for a long time and had to watch the video over and over before it really sunk in. Boy has he kept to his word, I feel truly blessed for his continued support!
You will be appearing in London at Elevated State, Fire & Lightbox on Friday 28th April. Seeing the return of Escape From Samsara - are you excited to be heading up this newly refreshed music policy for this legendary and historic London event ?
Very much so. It's so unique, brave and ballsy the way the collective of people behind the event have gone out to provide a brilliant multi-sound line up; which actually reminds me of how it was in the old days, when UK clubbing was in it's prime. It's what the UK scene needs more of, IMO, across the board. If more promoters realised a special event will come from the right musical programming on the night and being more adventurous with their sound-scope. This would educate the scene instead of segregate it. So I support whats being attempted here totally.
Elevated State has so many great names across the different arenas, and so many big influences in music in there as well, also quite a few good friends of mine are also on the line up.
I have heard nothing but great stories about previous parties, and it seems the excitement is rife from the different camps involved in this party.
From what I can see the early feedback from the regulars, seems this is definitely a new collaboration of brands that is going to mould together perfectly.
So I am really looking forward to my first time playing for Elevated State and hopefully it will be the first of many. I certainly intend to leave a big impression on everyone going to the event.
Finally, techno is an ever-evolving species and much debated form of music, What changes are on the horizon do you think? Where does Mr Phutek fit into that landscape ?
Ooooo , well that is a great question and a hard one to answer, without writing a big journal to someone that's been involved in music for 25 years now. (LOL)
I’m going to keep this short, techno becomes a religion once you truly fall in love with it and the scene has gained some pretty big churches in recent years thanks to the likes of the brilliant Awakenings, Drumcode, Cocoon, Hyte and Carl Cox's Revolution, to name just a few. I think these parties will continue and become bigger and bigger, creating a higher volume of new fans out there.
I think it is evident already from the impact of these bigger emerging events that techno as a music source has now risen a little from it's 'Underground' notion to now being one of the most largest sold and sought-after music styles on the major stores and online platforms!
There will always be the smaller more intimate underground events, they have always been there, and will never go away. It suits techno best, many still argue and I think most of the leading artists will tell you that they like playing the grimey, intimate ones just as much as the larger ones. I certainly hear that a lot.
It’s a great time right now and it will continue to become bigger and better for the underground and also bigger events I feel. I have always said Techno is a sound that is at the top of most peoples musical ladder, and once you get there you never look back down.
Where does Phutek fit in all of this?…Well... finishing off a lot of these parties and continuing to produce some of their soundtracks. ;)
Check out what's in the Phutek crate right now..
Escape From Samsara, I Love Hard Beats and Hard Trance Europe present ..
@ Fire & Lightbox Complex, Vauxhall, London
Friday 28th April 2017 / 11pm - 7am
Transcend LIVE / Tim Samsara / ThermoBee / Solution / Sneijder / S.H.O.K.K / Scot Project / Scott Brown / Rob Tissera / Phutek / Nick235 / Nick The Kid / Mark Sinclair / Laith / Kevin Energy LIVE Feat Jasmine Knight / K90 / Ed Lynam / Deegan & Smythy / Cyrax / Chicago Loop / Beamish / Arkitech & Peaks / Amber D & Guyver / Alex Prospect / A.B & Finnbarr
For limited £15 tickets: CLICK HERE
FIRST TWO TIERS SOLD-OUT!