Trackitdown's Dan Kelly caught up with The Squatters to chat about their impressive career, the release of their new single Rude Boy and what they have planned for the future.
With a lot of success coming your way over the years, including an array of hit tracks and international gigs, what moments stand out for you from your time in the business?
One of the biggest things that stands out to us has to be when we launched our album in Asia. We played the World DJ Festival and couple of other huge gigs in South Korea and also in Taiwan. Apart from the amazing crowds and very welcoming people the food was insane! And so was some of the crazy stuff we saw people getting up to.
I think the first Squatters track i played was 'Bring Back The Duck' back in 2008! How do you think the scene has progressed since then and how do you think you as artists have changed and adapted since the good ol' days of Electro House?
Before we made Electro House we made Fidget House which was really the beginning of The Squatters. We made a few electro tracks which we loved but spent a lot of time making music we were unsure off. Luckily for us the sounds divided into EDM And House Music. This was a great turning point for us and we decided to go back to our roots and start making some chunky house & bass vibes.
You have made a name for yourselves with your ability to blend genres such as Old Skool, Hip Hop and Rave in with the modern sounds of House and Electro. What genres and artists have inspired you the most and where do you see yourselves taking your sound in the future?
This purely happened because when we started making music we didn’t have a clue what we were doing so tried to cut and paste everything together and came up with our sound. Any quality music right from when we were both younger up to new artists we hear today have inspired us. Basically anything we could nick a decent sample from we used. So to put it simply - If it has a good sample in it, it’s inspiring.
Any exciting gigs, projects, albums or tours that we should know about?
We’re dead excited to announce the release of our latest single Rude Boy which we wrote with Little Nikki. She has done vocals for the likes of SKT & DJ Fresh and she’s a diamond to work with in the studio. We felt that we wrote something that’s very musical and on point and we hope everyone loves it. We recently remixed for Vanilla Ace on his new track “Break Away” featuring vocals from Vula who actually did Basement Jaxx – Oh My Gosh back in the day. Also we have just completed some remix work for Robbie Riviera’s juicy music which we can’t say much about at the moment but it’s coming soon ;)
Gig-wise we have a few Magaluf dates which are always a giggle, lots of stuff coming up in the UK and also a date at Nikki Beach in Morocco alongside D Ramirez, Mark Night and Charlie Hedges. Plus, a lot more in the pipeline!
What is your studio set up at the moment and do you have any special equipment, secret plug ins or production tips you would like to share with the Trackitdown readers?
We both work in Logic X and sometimes in Ableton to chop stuff up quickly. Various synths and outboard gear that rarely get used. In fact Alex works more or less on a laptop with his UAD Apollo and a midi keyboard. Our favourite equipment has to be the UAD Apollo and Satellite DSP processors. We both have these in our studios and their plugins are worth every penny. No other software beats the quality of these and they are such a dream to work with. It’s become a productive yet expensive hobby buying UAD plugins. TAKE OUR MONEY!!
The best advice we can give you is learn what you already have inside out. Don’t keep buying things because “It will make you better” when in fact most of the time it won’t. It will just take up your time working out how to use something you will end up selling…
From an artist’s perspective, what do you like most about Trackitdown.net and do you feel we are a valuable outlet for your music?
Trackitdown has always been a great place to buy music and has a more community feel to it than other stores. We feel that the smaller artists get heard on TID as it’s not all about the next record on Spinnin or Armada, It seems the smaller labels get heard and supported well from you guys which has always been great for us when it comes to finding new music!
Finally. what is the most rock n roll thing to have happened to you on your travels as DJ’s?
It has to be going on tour with Kissy Sell Out for a couple of months. We lived on a Tour bus with him and 10 other artists and had some insane times! BUT… What happens on tour stays on tour ;)
Crookers - Able To Maximize
Such an abstract track. It can only be described as a heavy weight percussive track with the thinnest high pitch recorder sound, a Scottish guy and a sample of a girl trying to play the "e" scale on the recorder in the breakdown. If this was a food dish it would be like mixing mincemeat and fish together - sounds so wrong but just like the track you have to hear / try it before you can knock it. When we play this we always want to be able to maximise.
Gooba – Owls
This next track is not the newest however it never seems to fail with the quirky build up and when it drops it has an insane sub bass that works really well around the kick. We have tried and tested this tune in many of our sets and radio shows and if you've heard the track you'll totally agree that the mysterious Gooba has totally smashed this one.
DILLIGAS – Pinball
Coming out on the Swiss label ‘Ciao’ this is two track EP includes tracks titled "what's good” and this beast of a tune “pinball”. We especially like this one because it's really abstract but yet not too offensive. Plenty of trippy hats and skippy percussion with synth stabs which will cut through any crowd. Pinball is a perfect festival LFO tension track and will be featured our sets this summer.
The Squatters – Nudge
We had to have one of our own in our top 10 and this one was one of those tracks we made and didn't think anything of it but then when it was released it seemed to be a great favourite for so many DJs and music fans. It also had a lot of support from many Radio shows and Internet stations. Nudge fuzes an old school dance synth breakdown with a typical Squatters twist to the drop delivering a nice round warm bass.
Fake blood - Mars
A classic track which made waves when it first hit the scene and even today if we throw it in the mix it always does the trick to get the crowd hyped. There's not many other tracks that do this which contain animal noises, alien sounds and a just above listening octave of a bass drop that makes the room shake. Mars also has a similar name to a popular chocolate bar.. Hats off to this timeless classic by the legend Touché now better known as Fake Blood.
Alex Index - This Is Dog (Perfect Driver Music)
We recently discovered this label based over in the US and boy do they have nothing but bangers on there. This is a little more chilled but oozes some serious fidget house vibes which remind us of the good old times! This is one you can play in a warmup and peaking set and the bendy bass will drive you crazy! If you’re a dog person you will love this one.
Claude Von Stroke - Make A Cake (Dirtybird/Toolroom Longplayer)
We have taken inspiration from Claude for years especially in our earlier stuff. Everything the Dirtybird guys do just so fun but with some serious bass complimented with some quirky sounds and one line lyrics. The music video to this is even better so if you haven’t seen it yet check it out. We have been playing this a lot recently and it goes down well at everything from birthday parties right up to main stages. I would even drop this at a 60th birthday party. You get it… cake
Curbi - Rubber (Spinnin Records)
We only discovered this recently and it sounds the tits in on a good sound system. We’re getting a little tired of the whole Future House sound as it’s turning in to a more EDM kinda thing but there are a few tracks out there like this that will win every time in a peak set.
Chris Lake - Chest (GLITTER/Ultra Music)
Chris Lake has been on everyone’s radar since he came out with the classic house track “changes”. Since then this guy’s has been so far ahead of the industry and has managed to stay at the top switching his sound around to suit current flavour flavs. Now he has left EDM and is back making house music we feel he is definitely back in his comfort zone. We have tons of promos from this guy and they are all hot hot hot and hopefully they will be out soon for you guys to hear. The chopped vocals and pitched FX are so twisted in this one and we love it!
Genius Road - Magica (Ultra Bass records)
This label is another one we have recently started talking to over in the USA. Their sound stinks of classic house and speed garage vibes which is so refreshing to hear come out of the USA. They are even getting classic artists such as Mr Spring back on the case and have some super-duper records. This is one for late night sessions, a little bit strange but packed full of vibes. A winner at 4am!