Dirt Crew aka James Flavour and Break 3000 launched Dirt Crew Recordings after releasing their first EP's "Cleaning up the Ghetto Part 1+2" on MBF. The track "Rok Da House" became one of the hottest releases of 2004, the beginning of the Electro House hype and a big hit that gave the guys worldwide recognition on the dancefloors.
Things really got wild when they remixed Sasse's "Soul Sounds" which again went straight in the charts and was voted one of the best remixes of 2005 and has been dropped by all the top name DJ's. Remixing for leading artists and labels like Jennifer Cardini, Silicone Soul, 2020 Vision, Crosstownrebels, Freerange and Breastfed we had to catch up with Dirt Crew ahead of their new compilation Deep Love 2.
Thanks very much for taking time out to speak to us! Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
Been Producing and DJ’ing as Dirt Crew since 2004 together with James Flavour.. we also started the label round that time, been going now for 8 years and I mainly take care of the A&R and signing of artists.
Did moving from Holland to Berlin have any impact on how you make music? What did Holland lack that Berlin had to offer you guys at that point in your career?
Well first I moved to Cologne where I started making music on Trapez and Traum, getting in touch with the Kompakt people definitely changed a whole lot for me.. shortly afterwards we started Dirt Crew and released our first records on MBF a sublabel of Traum Schallplatten. By that time around 2003/ 2004 there was really not much good stuff going on in Holland, the scene was pretty dead in my opinion and Germany had it all, they were just taking on new directions and the whole music scene was very exciting, 6 years ago I moved to Berlin where it was even better for me as this is the center of Electronic music for sure.
It’s pretty fair to say that you guys have helped shape the future retro renaissance that’s seen house and techno look more towards the 90’s. What stylistic changes do you predict might happen within the scene over the next few years?
hhmm. hard to say, but one good thing that recently changed is that people reduce the tempo in their tracks and sets, and more and more mix different styles into dance music, lots of Disco and 80’s / 90’s going on.. for me at the moment the music scene is better than ever…
At what point for you does house become techno? Is it down to BPMs or more than that? The boundaries seem completely blurred in 2012.
Yeah you also have slow techno .. well house is house, it will never be a techno record.. if you use funky basslines and chords its house no matter what the tempo is.. I rarely play techno tracks.. mostly it is a bit trancy electronics mixed with a techno touch… But real techno is not my thing at all, I used to play that back in the days though.. round ‘94-’95.
As producers first, what hardware and software do you find essential right now and do you ever use some of the old skool kit that helped shape the 90’s sounds in your modern music?
As I started producing in ’91 I had to learn it the hard way, with samplers, MPC1000 and Atari .. currently I am totally in my Computer..only using Logic, but as far as getting the “Old” sound I sample a lot straight from old records..mainly Disco records .. and of course we use all soft synths as well.
A lot of our readers are young DJs and producers, would you be able to share a production tip with them that you’ve found invaluable over the years that can help them reach that next level?
Yes, like I said, don’t use preset sounds and soft synth drumcomputers, always sample your beats from records.. the sound is really different when you do that.
Dirt Crew are producers, DJs and label owners with an ever-expanding crew of exciting talent to manage. How difficult is it to be successful at all of these things and how important is it to have such a portfolio of roles to actually make a living out of dance music right now?
I think you have to dedicate your whole life and free time to it else it doesn’t work.. but to be honest you can’t make a living out of music nowadays, I also have another “real” job aside from the 3 others above! So I am basically working every day at least 12-13 hours. But the Label is my passion..at the moment that’s the most important thing, I haven’t been in the studio much lately… also I am DJ’ing every weekend.. this is purely for joy and also gives me some extra cash.
With ADE coming up do you feel Holland is now getting the global dance recognition it deserves? What does ADE mean to Dirt Crew team?
I Think Holland really changed a lot in the last years, thank god we got rid of that horrible Trance stuff and people like Rushhour or Clone are getting more recognition.. also in my Label if have lots of great new talent from Holland like Detroit Swindle, Morning Factory, Last Mood and Ben La Desh.
So ADE itself does not mean so much but the new talent I got out of Holland means a lot to me especially as I’m dutch too.
Amsterdam and Berlin are both seen as very cool cities by the rest of the world. What other places on the planet do Dirt Crew really love hanging out and playing at and why?
Well my partnber Felix lives in Vancouver Canada nowadays and we play there a lot .. also New York is one of the best places right now, the music scene over there really changed for the better over the last few years. I love to play there..
Finally, bringing the audio dirt is essential at any underground soiree! What are 3 other things that Dirt Crew find essential when Saturday night comes around!?
A good pre-dinner would be the first thing, starting with friends, good food and drinks and then of course head out to a good underground club with a good soundsystem.. actually the main thing for a good night out is a good soundsystem. Unfortunately there are few clubs that understand this… especially in Berlin. Thats why I love Japan, they really take care of Sound over there…
Sadly that is all we have time for, a big thank you to Dirt Crew for taking the time out to speak with us.
Make sure you check out Dirt Crew's amazing new compilation;
Dirt Crew's Track Recommendations
Well to start off this track is my absolute fave right now, John Tejada proves thet its still possible to make great techno.. like in the old days, this whole track breathes the 90’s style of acts like The Orb or Orbital .. really this tracks kills it everytime I play it.
Here’s a track from out latest Tigerskin Release, I could choose any track by him, he is the biggest musical talent I know and has been with Dirt Crew since the beginning, I am really happy to release his music .. this song in particularly catches his dep and trancy style the best, slow and pounding dance music at its best.
To take one track from our recent compilation, this remix be Detroit Swindle is really doing it for me.. those guys combine great jazzy stabs and soul samples and create something totally new with it, Since their first release they really took off ..
Time by the Pachanga Boys is probably one of THE tunes of the year, not only for me . genre bending and really something special.. just listen.. a masterpiece.
This is a really beautiful deep and jazzy track I recently picked up, been playing this one in all my sets.. a great record from a great label.
This track by Daniel avery is a good example of a great crossover record, its not house or techno its just something completely in between with that lofi 80’s touch that I love.. great record!
I’m a huge fan of Todd Terje, I think he is one of the most talented producers out there and this remix especially is just so good! I played that one to death this year and it will never leave my cd wallet ;)
If we are talking techno than this is it! I:Cube is also one of my faves and his Chateau Flight project has released amazing records over the last years.. sounding so fresh and mixing Techno with House and electro .. just banging dance music.
Axel Boman made one of the best remixes this year for me on this old classic Chicago track, so deep and drining it always is a perfect track to play either in a warm up or a really late/early set .. acid music at it’s best.
We did a remix of this track this year and it is one of my favorites also to play out , great poppy 80’s dance music with beautiful vocals, those guys are really amongst the most talented here in germany and I’m happy we are friends.. it was an honor to remix such a great track!
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