Graeme Clark has the soul fire within him. Hailling from Glasgow, he started making records as a teenager with his dad’s old drum machine and a sampler, under the influence of rock, soul, funk and early rave. Just a look on The Revenge’s website shows just how prolific he’s been. With releases on labels such as Under The Shade/Jiscomusic, Modernista, UK label Five20East, his L.E.S.S. productions imprint as OOFT with Ali Herron, and his own vinyl-only Instruments of Rapture. Also releasing under the aliases Burnt Island Casuals and the 6th Borough Project, his influence on a track is instantly recognisable by soulful, smooth-tempo beats mixed with classic samples that you can’t help but dance to, including Stevie Wonder’s Love Light In Flight, and Michael McDonald’s I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near).
His remix of Ryo Murakami’s Just For This features on the second installment of Steve Bug’s label Dessous‘s Best Kept Secrets, and he’s playing all over Europe in May, including the Warm & Discovery Bank Holiday Day and Night this Sunday at the Horse and Groom in Shoreditch. A barbeque all day and music all night; sounds pretty good to us.
We had a quick chat.
Hi Graeme, it’s a pleasure talking with you. You’re one of those artists who is involved in some way with what seems to be everything we post on One From The Vaults – mainly because I think we share your love of disco. How did you end up going down the disco route, did you listen to it as a child?
Ha ha … I don’t actually play that much disco. I think the ‘spirit’ of disco is maybe present in my sound, and with disco being the foundation of house and techno, it’s easier to incorporate all these elements into an evening if the audience has an open mind. But I like to think it’s more of an eclectic taste rather than a purist one.
If you could bring one of the icons of the disco era back from beyond the grave to work with, who would it be?
Larry Levan seemed to be an advocate of that of sense of eclecticism, in that he played what he felt the audience could use to take them another step on that journey through the night. Even if sometimes it was challenging, he was known to drop all kinds of music during the evening and that really appeals to me. Music without barriers.
6th Borough, Burnt Island Casuals AND The Revenge, can you categorise the differences, eg. Is Burnt Island Casuals your up-tempo hat? There are often releases on more than one at the same time, do you find it hard to switch production between them?
They are just different collaborations really. I work with Craig Smith on the 6th Borough Project stuff and I work with Harri (Sub Club) on the Burnt Island Casuals stuff. In that sense, it’s not hard to switch production hats as it’s a different dynamic in the studio every time and we just work with what is best for the track at the time.
You play all around the world and I see you’ve been away for a while, good to see you back for Bank Holiday! Did you have troubles with the volcanic ash?
My flights were cancelled but luckily I was in the UK so I got the train which I normally prefer, but the journey back to Glasgow from London on a Sunday is not for the faint hearted!
Where’s your favourite place to play?
Anywhere with an open-minded audience.
Your Regulate sample, amazing! You’ve managed to keep the integrity of an iconic track like that and yet make it sound fresh. How do you choose your samples and what’s your favourite so far?
Thanks. I’ve always loved the Michael MacDonald track that Regulate samples – it was just a combination of the two. It’s just a gut reaction on a track. If I think there is something I want to do to a piece of music to fit it into the context of a set, then that’s usually a good starting point. Can’t really put my finger on a favourite though.
So projects for 2010 – remixes, EPs, performances?
Loads! … you’ll be sick of me if you aren’t already.
See you on the Horse and Groom roof for a burger!
For sure. I’ll bring the sauce.