“We’ve not felt as driven as this in years…”
So said SpectraSoul when we last spoke to them, 10 months ago as they prepared to launch their new label Ish Chat.
But they could easily be saying the same thing today. Just listen to the scope of the label’s output so far: over 10 tracks across two EPs they’ve taken us to some beautiful and dark places from surging turbo soul (“Waiting For…”) to raw ruffage (“SM1”) via springy, slimy halftime (“Frogspawn) and everything in between. On-point, club-focused and pretty timely… EPs seem to be landing every four and a half months – and the next one is due next month: Second Chance
They’ve just launched the title track on their Soundcloud…
Three more tracks make up the EP. As always for Brighton-based Dave and Jack, the range is rich with each track bringing a completely different vibe from gutter-chomping gully to sublime soul… As you’ll soon find out while the tracks are revealed in the build up to the full release late February.
We called them up for find out more and see if they’re still as driven as they were this time last year…
Still on that vibe?
Jack: Definitely. We’ve followed our instincts, we’ve run with things, we’ve been able to do nothing but focus on writing music and curating it in our own way.
Dave: We don’t have to overthink things. We can write music we want to, piece it together in the way we want to and release it when we want to. It’s all very natural.
That must be a great place to be. To have that full control.
Dave: Yes. But we did have great control A&R-wise at Shogun, too. Ed Friction was always very sympathetic to what we wanted to do. But now we make every decision. This is tougher in many ways, too… We can only rely on our own feelings on tracks and not discuss with a wider team. But that’s good – we have to trust our own instincts and decisions.
Jack: The main thing is releasing when we want to and deciding on the format – whether it’s an EP or a single etc. We don’t have go back into an album cycle until we want to. We’re just enjoying piecing together these little bodies of work. It’s nice to make these clusters of music together.
Put these clusters together and you’ve got an album!
Jack: I have thought that a few times! But it’s nice to be able to put out these little collections throughout the year and create new visuals and graphics and merchandise around them. Being involved in all that side keeps the hunger going – if you’re not having a great day in the studio you can go and think of visual ideas or merch ideas. If you get a buzz from that then it feeds back into the studio.
You’re getting stuck in…
Dave: Yeah and we’ve found we’ve reconnected with a lot of peers, too. Guys who are doing similar things with their own new labels. So we’ve shared advice and supported each other’s music, it’s gone back to a very exciting and healthy grassroots level.
Jack: That’s been a huge factor for us; we’re all able to share a lot more of our music and get feedback because we weren’t able to send our music out. It was always locked off but as soon as it’s mastered now we can send it to our mates to road test our tracks and give us feedback.
Who gets your tunes first then?
Jack: Alix, dBridge, Rockwell, Icicle, Goldie. Mates. Guys we’ve been tight with for a long time. People who get what you’re doing and want to support it. I think we’ve lost a lot of that with big Label Engine promos. I barely open big promos now, why bother when 600 other DJs have got that tune? I’m a bit old school – I think people go to see a DJ to hear music that no one or very few people have got. I might be wrong.
You’re not. We’re talking dubplate culture here aren’t we?
Dave: Yeah we are, but also it’s that cycle of history… 15-odd years ago Calibre, Marcus, dBridge and all those guys set up new labels. Go back even further to day one and Goldie set up Metalheadz, Andy set up Ram – these seminal labels are all labels run by artists. So it’s exciting that this is part of the new cycle – Alix, us, Lenzman, Prototypes, Hybrid Minds, Breakage… It’s happening again.
Jack: I think it strengthens things and creates new levels of respect between guys curating their music. It’s great to have direct feedback from each other and it creates a social network between us. It’s very community-minded and I think we lost that for a while.
How about community minded in the way it’s another platform for new artists to approach?
Dave: Maybe in time but we’re learning on our feet right now and the risk is way lower when you’re putting out your own music. We don’t have to account to anyone, it doesn’t matter how many units we sell, we’re seeing how the mechanism works. Putting other guys music out is not out of the question – but we’d only do it once we’re completely confident about how labels work.
So looking back over the releases, I reckon after this release the next EP will drop early summer?
Jack: End of June, most likely. But there’s a special project in between this and the next one. We won’t shout about that yet but it will drop around April.
Jack: We’re not saying anything right now. What I will say is we’ve got a lot of music ready to release. We spent a long time writing material last year. We’re just working out where and when and how it will come out.