Can you tell us about your background and how you first got started in music?
My story is probably fairly typical. I always loved music as a youngster and this was definitely inherited from my parents who are both big music fans. My dad is a massive soul funk and disco lover and introduced me to many of the classic artists that you would expect. In terms of how I got started in music as a career – well, like many people I reached an age where a career in professional sports was probably not going to happen and the very first jobs that I did in the sort of 9-to-5 culture were not fulfilling in any way shape or form, so I sort of started as a DJ and tried to embark upon a career doing that at a young age, so that was how I kind of got started.
How did you first become interested in electronic music and what drew you to it as a medium for self-expression?
In terms of my first introduction to electronic music, it was fairly commonplace at that time for cars to be booming out rave tapes and different things, different styles of music that you would not hear in the mainstream on the radio, so you get very small snippets of things coming out of cars outside school etc, and this stuff sounded completely different to everything else that you were kind of exposed to on the radio or television, so it immediately grabbed my attention. People who were older than me at that time were telling me oh yeah this type of thing gets played in clubs and raves and fortunately in Glasgow – where I come from – there has always been a big culture of under 18s raving so I was able to go to under 18s events and experience this environment at a young age – something that has always stuck with me.
The first time I ever attended an under 18s event it was like stepping into another world. The music that you heard there was absolutely not what you could hear anywhere else. It was a completely separate entity. It is not like today with the Internet and all these things which can Inform a person from the get go, there were none of that so it was very much a voyage of discovery on one’s own with obviously other people in the club et cetera.
I’ve said this in many interviews, but the record that really stood out for me at that time was Slam – positive education, because the otherworldliness of it in a dark club environment with the strobe lighting and the darkness of that that record – I had never really experienced anything like that, and It’s sort of led me to wonder ok how do you do this, how do you create this atmosphere how how does one embark upon this is as a as a job I suppose, and then when you would see the night building up and getting into more sort of popular territory, you would see the crowd getting more and more amped up but it was not a DJ front and centre like we see today. It was very much someone operating in the shadows and this appealed to me because it wasn’t like oh it’s this big guy on stage doing XY and Z it was much more like this is an environment and a creation everybody’s into it. It was quite intoxicating and I remember thinking at the time yes this is what I want to do. I want to do this I want to learn how to be able to create this kind of atmosphere. I knew it was a DJ that was doing it but I didn’t have a clue how – so then obviously the next step was to be like okay how do we find the records and how do we inform ourselves on the whole art of DJing
Who are some of your biggest musical influences, both within electronic music and outside of it? How have these influences shaped your sound and approach to creating music?
In truth, this is probably one of those questions that everyone is asked you’ll probably get a lot of similar answers here. Influences – there are too many to mention for me. Personally, I would always say that Moodymann, Kerri Chandler, Theo Parrish, Larry Heard and all of these sort of disco and Deep House legends, which are kind of standard I suppose. There is also a lot of jazz artists in there such as John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Gil Scott-Heron, Nina Simone, also a lot of the classic boom bap artists – A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul et cetera
I think in terms of my own production, you’re always looking at these people and saying well they set a benchmark and there is a level that you can try your best to try and achieve. You absolutely have to develop your own style and find your own way, but there is a benchmark of quality regardless of style that these electronic music artists set and that’s something, I think you always strive to achieve.
Can you walk us through your creative process for writing and recording a new song? How do you typically begin a new track, and what are some of the key elements or techniques you focus on as you develop it
In life, I do everything on feel.
Feel dictates everything I do in the creative process. In terms of actual the machinations of it I will usually start with drums or chords and then I’ll build it up and see where it goes. The more experienced I’ve become as a producer the better I’ve become at almost letting the process guide me. Yes, certain things that have to be done and certain production habits form, but generally speaking, I will get a rough idea in my head of where I want to go. I will try and do this – often it turns out slightly different from what you’d imagined at the outset but that’s that’s roughly how approach it.
In terms of equipment, I write everything in native instruments Maschine. I moved away from the sort of linear songwriting process of logic and Cubase as for me personally the workflow in Maschine and the immediacy of it is unsurpassed. It’s very much like the MPC style of working but combined with the further editing abilities of DAW. Works for me!
Your latest project is really gaining traction, can you tell us about it? How did this project come about and what inspired you to create it? What was your approach to making it and what do you think sets it apart from your previous work?
Like most things that work out well in life, the relationship with the Slothboogie guys has developed organically. During lockdown – when everyone was time rich and people were under less pressure to do some of the mundane things that they would normally have to do in life – I felt there was definitely more of a freedom in the songwriting.
From my own personal experience what happened was lots of l people who I’d been talking to and trying and trying to have records released with prior to the lockdown were all of a sudden coming back to me and saying yeah, we like what you’re doing, we like your style would really like to work with you.
So, with the Slothboogie guys we exchanged messages and I told them I loved the initial Dancing With Friends compilation – I thought the concept was great, the artwork was fantastic. The guys had actually played some of my tracks on the radio show at that time so I reached out and said okay for dancing with friends 2 let me submit some stuff and they said yeah, we would love to get some tracks from you and would like to put you in the mix for dancing with friends 2.
So, I sent them a bunch of demos over and as I say possibly from the enhanced writing experience at that time during lockdown, they were very much into the tracks that I did and they said okay we would love to do an EP with you. We love the variety in your sound and we will do an EP as well as dancing with friends 2, so that was show it started. As the restrictions started to lift, I then played in London with the guys and getting to know the boys a bit better always helps and yeah, the relationship has really just grown from there.
Record Business m is the third record I’ve done with the guys and what I like about it most is that the boys give me a blank canvas creatively.
So, from my point of view, I believe it’s incumbent upon me to give them the best possible material to work with.
So whether it’s a deeper thing or a midtempo disco shuffler or more of a house leaning mover or a techno type track – what l want is for this track to be featured heavily in lots of different styles of DJ sets and I think this obviously goes well with the Slothboogie ethos because they really are quite eclectic in terms of the electronic music landscape. Whether it’s disco, Deep House, Italo techno, broken beat, garage – whatever – some of my tracks will find a home somewhere.
I think it’s been a very good marriage because they like the eclectic nature of the tracks that I bring, and I think that a lot of my tracks would speak to various different parts of their network and people that support the label.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Can you talk about a specific moment or accomplishment that stands out as particularly meaningful to you?
Honestly, this doesn’t really come into my thinking at all as you’re always busy you’re always pushing onto the next thing so it’s not a retrospective or nostalgic thing.
Maybe this is something we will all look at when we’re all retired hopefully somewhere in the Hills of Spain, France or something like that – but not now – we’re all too busy focusing on what’s next.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or collaborations you have in the works? Are there any new directions or sounds you’re exploring in your music right now?
What has been surprising for me Is the success of the more garage leaning projects I’ve released with Darius Syrossian’s Moxy label and Eats Everything’s Edible label. Those are very much fun records, but they’ve been very well received and played and some of the biggest stages in the world.
In terms of forthcoming projects, I’ve got a release on Riva Starr’s Snatch label, the second release on Moxy plus there are some remixes to come out – new stuff landing soon on Huxley’s Dumb Safari label and Metafloor Records.
There’s also a couple of smaller vinyl releases forthcoming which will land whenever the pressing plants get them pressed up.
I also need to get some music out on tiptoes tapes. It’s my own imprint and I’ve not had a chance to do anything on it lately as I’ve been so busy with projects for other labels
I also have a new project starting with my good friend and Longtime collaborator Illyus from Illyus & Barrientos project, all going well this project will see the light of day at the end of 2023
As a musician, what message do you hope to convey through your music? What themes or ideas do you find yourself returning to again and again in your work?
Just hoping to give people a good time really. Hopefully they enjoy what I do. Nothing too serious as such nothing too contemplative. Yeah, I love the deep stuff but I do want people to get on the dancefloor and have fun very simple really.
Can you tell us about any challenges you have faced in your career and how you overcame them? Have there been any specific obstacles or difficulties you’ve had to navigate as an electronic musician?
Every day is a challenge you just have to stay motivated and always remember that what you’re doing – you’re in a privileged position. The work itself – for me it’s always been about enjoying the work so I try to enjoy what I do to the fullest.
How do you see the music industry evolving in the next 5 years? What changes do you think we’ll see in terms of technology, distribution, and audience engagement?
Nobody knows that’s the beauty.
Obviously, AI is going to play a huge part but honestly, I think that the individual and the sound of an individual is going to be the most valuable commodity over the next five years. The mass-produced cookie-cutter type stuff will always be there and it will only get bigger. However, when people are sort of standing on their own and not necessarily following all of those trends, then I think people will start to see the value in their own unique and individual sound.
Yes, it’s a longer road as an artist but for me I think that’s it is going to be a an extremely valuable commodity moving forward – could be wrong let’s see!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to make it in the industry? Are there any particular tips or strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective in building a career as an electronic musician?
Just following on from the answer to the last question, I know it sounds trite and I know it sounds like a cliche but really, you’ve got to stick to your guns you’ve got to just be yourself.
Yes, you have to conquer the skills of production and songwriting and all of these different things, and understand what you’re good at what, you’re not good at and improve things but ultimately it will always come down to what’s inside you.
If you work hard enough at it over a long period of time and continually invest in yourself, then you will reach a sound that nobody else on the planet is doing because there’s only one of you.
I know this sounds like one of these stupid fridge magnet type wisdom cliches – which I abhor – but that is actually the truth of it.
What’s next for you?
Next up for me a couple of lovely gigs with the boys in London and Berlin. On the studio front I’ve got a couple of remixes to finish and some other releases to get tied up for 2024 so I’m very busy at the moment.
I’m thankful to be busy, and I’m just going to keep pushing on and keep enjoying what I’m doing pretty simple really!
Title: Record Business EP
Label: SlothBoogie Recordings
Format: 12” + Digi
Genre: House / Jackin‘ House / Deep House
Glaswegian House don Tiptoes offers up some absolute belters for his Record Business EP which chalks up his 3rd appearance on the SlothBoogie label. The SB crew have been gagging to release these tracks ever since he dropped early demos at one of their infamous 24 hour parties at Sisyphos, Berlin that caused a mad rush to the booth and demands for track IDs!
The title track “Record Business” is a peak time filtered House bomb that has been causing mayhem in sets over the past year… an absolute ear worm! “Call Me” is another juicy slab of HOUSE that features looped up Motown licks, Jackin’ brass stabs and someone who is not very happy that Tiptoes hasn’t been returning her calls! Finishing off the A side is “Food”; the very essence of a ‘Deep House Roller’. Hypnotic tonal loops cycle over tribal drums which are guaranteed to lock any dance floor into a trance.
On the flip you’ll find Tiptoes dimming the lights and getting smokey as he explores his deeper side. “Brothers & Sisters” supplies deep and hazy head nodding beats with clever MPC chops, blissed out keys and spoken word arrangements. “It’s Only Love” sees Tiptoes bringing his motor city influences to the fore with looped up soul snippets, breathy KDJ inspired vocals, thumping lo-slung beats and chopped up string sections worthy of any car wash.