This week we are very pleased to welcome to the Trackitdown hot seat none other than the globe trotting duo of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay AKA Groove Armada.
A household name thanks to hit albums such as Vertigo, Lovebox and Black Light plus chart topping singles "If Everybody Looked The Same", "At The River" and "Superstylin" the guys went on to tour the world and curate their own annual London festival under the Lovebox banner.
Now with a new release titled Red Light Trax Vol 1 and a new Red Light audio visual tour underway we caught up with the guys to talk big breaks, special edits, and a return to their underground roots.
Where are you right now and what have you been up to over the last 7 days?
In Toulouse airport uploading Sunday's Red Light mix from the Space Terrace for broadcast tonight. In the last 7 days , I’ve been to Kazakstan, Germany, France and Ibiza. Kazakstan was pretty mental. For the low down on that one, go to groovearmada.com and check the blog. The last few days I’ve been in Ibiza, between free parties, the sea, and Space.
How did you first come together as a double act and what were you both doing beforehand?
I was making house music in a flat in Clapham. Tom was working for West Ham. We did an exchange – I’d show Tom around some studio gear after he’d shown me some football moves.
Where and how did you receive you first big break?
There were lots of small breaks really. Zoe Ball playing "At The River" every morning on Radio 1 helped, as did causing a riot when we road tested "Superstylin" on Brighton Beach
What advise would you give to any young DJs and producers that could help them standout from the crowd?
If people don’t have the night of their lives, you’ve failed!
You've recently made the switch from the big live show to a more traditional DJ / FX setup. Can you tell us about why you decided to make this transition and what kind of style/sound people can expect to hear at your new shows?
The band took over for a long time as we worked on a way of playing fat dance music, properly live and spontaneous. When we nailed that system, it was a pretty untouchable gig. It ended up with the "Black Light" record – our finest album and a record which captured the sound of the band on stage. So after touring the world with that, it felt like the right moment to stop. Quit while you’re ahead. Having gone as live as you can with electronic music, the natural next phase was to go to the other extreme. Back to the roots!
Since the warehouse parties at the beginning, DJing has always been central to Groove Armada. We’ve been in booths all over the world for a long time. Red Light is a return to our original house sound, but now with the years of production experience from the world's main stages. So it’s the warehouse sound, delivered stadium style!
CD mixing, Vinyl or laptop? What's the set up in your new show?
It’s CDJs at the core. It’s good to keep that body language there that the decks provide. The tunes are all either originals or heavy edits. We both have Logic on the go for synths and FXs. The Red Light booth also contains new things we built to be able to control the whole experience – lights, lazers, everything – and a couple of Kinetic cameras with hacked code doing pretty unique things.
Dance music is probably more popular around the world than it’s ever been, are their any places you’ve been to that could be the next hot spot?
There’s always a new hotspot, from Dalston to Kazakstan. Maybe via bits of Croatia and the good bits of St Petersburg.
Are there any pieces of software or hardware that you’re finding essential right now for making music?
For house music, less and less, which is a bit annoying in a studio full of nice old stuff.
Are edits and unique remixes important? Do you recommend that a DJ has something special to play like this?
Edits and specials have always been at the core of our DJ sets. Before CDJs, it was acetates. At the beginning, I even had a few bits I'd done on cassette tape.
All young DJs and producers aspire to have a DJ agent and manager. Is there a right time to do this? Any advice?
You need to be halfway there already to get the attentions of the right people. Stick it out!
Please tell us about some tracks that have been big in your sets this year?
New one of ours from Red Light Trax Vol 1. Was our set opener at Space last Sunday.
Massive Groove! Got an edit of this going with a tune from The XX.
It’s everywhere now but is still a great tune. Playing with Azari & III when we bring Red Light to Battersea Power Station in October. Jamie Jones has been our man of 2011.
Stacey Pullen does it again!
Please select some classic and alternative tracks that have inspired you and helped shape the Groove Armada sound?
One of the original New York crew on his finest form. Sound of the dawn at countless free parties.
When the Space Terrace was open air and finished at midnight, this would be our last tune of the night. Huge, love filled moments.
Takes me back to Chaos, Soak, The Warehouse, Leeds early late 80's, early 90s. Anyone seen Steve Luigi?
Wakefield Westgate Saturday night, white toweling socks, wet look gel...the soundtrack. Massive!
The beginning of that punk funk house sound, and a big influence on Groove Armada live.
Nearly 20 years old, so sometimes needs an EQ. But at the right moment, this, one of the original great acid trax, can take the roof off.
Once again, a huge thank you to Andy and Tom AKA Groove Armada for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions and select us some tracks. Please add yourselves as fans to their fan page and keep up to date with their forthcoming Red Light tour
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