Days ago, DJMAG ES premiered a preview of Popsneon’ s next album, on las Grecas we had the pleasure of talking to the English artist and asking for this new album called Some Town, so in addition to more attractive things about him like his previous collaboration with Neon Heights or his work philosophy.
1. How and when did you get your first interest in electronic music ?
My first electronic music experience was in 1974 at the age of 9, our primary school head mistress mrs Rees secretly choreographed 3 of my class mates in a Pan’s People leotard style to dance on stage in assembly to Popcorn by Hot Butter… this track and performance blew my mind in many ways and linked together with my first musical epiphany at 6 years old, when we were played “i’d Like to teach the World to sing by The New Seekers in an assembly, probably had a lasting influence on me. I am still today trying to get that magic combination of beautiful voices over weird electronic sounds.
2. How did you initially get into producing and recording, we’re aware you were part of the act Neon Heights.
Back in the very early ‘90s Cal Gibson and i met on a Music Tech course in Nottingham, We hit it off straight away. Four of us from that course set up a shared studio ( Free Range ).. We had about 20 analog synths between us.
Tony Global has since gone on to create Soundgas Ltd…so we were spoilt for choice for warped accompaniment to our warped sampled filled tracks… Cal and i would always layer us playing live over our final mixes in the early days. Looking back you maybe wouldn’t release all that mad stuff… but when you are young and self-confident, you just wanna get the vibe out to the world and I’m very glad we did.
3. You’ve been on the scene for a fair number of years now, how has the trajectory of your recording career been and what changes have you seen in the industry since the ’90.
Things were great in the ‘90s but not financially… no change there! Neon Heights produced from mid 90s til 2005. We managed two albums, loads of singles and ran our own label… but that; and all the Djing and owning The Loft Bar in Nottingham took its toll on my health and well being. I gave it all up to raise a family and get back to being a roadie. I came back into production in 2017 as i felt drawn in by the amazing music being made now.
It has taken 3 years to get my act together in terms of technology, song writing and production style, but the greatest difference seems to be the Social Media thing…. this whole realm didn’t exist and you almost have to be a video producer and a blogger to get ya music out there. It is a relief to be ‘on’ a record label now rather than running one, i can’t imagine all the work you have to do to just get an album to the people, across all platforms.
4. What was your game plan when producing this new Popsneon album.
Coming in from the cold after 15 years actually gave me a great deal of freedom. Making albums is my favourite thing, so i set about writing songs whilst on the road and staying in Premiere Inns, a way of claiming my life back from overnight roadworks delays.
The lyrics became the driving force and i developed a load of characters in “Some Town”, had too much fun with synths and before i knew it the project had just taken on a life of its own.. sometimes i felt like a rabbit in the headlights, and i have no idea where the music came from.
Huw Costin and Tiger are the soul engine of this album and their ability to climb all over a set of lyrics meant i could write anything and they would just knock it out of the park. Having kids and listening to a fair amount Capital Radio I sorta came up with a plan for a sub-pop album that could be interesting to adult listeners and still hooked in the young mind. I would test the tracks with my U11 football team in the car to matches. So i’m not sure if there was a game plan…more a stumbling… that collided into the right players.
5. This album is coming out on Paper Recordings, sub imprint Paper Wave. How did you get involved with this long standing label ?
I have always been a fan of Paper from back in the ’90 and as a little indy label ourselves we had much affinity, but they were obviously a lot better at it than me and Cal. We did work on similar projects.. I had engineered Hot Toddy’s first release on Neon Heights which was then released on an album through Paper. Huw actually sent the Popsneon LP off to Ben Davis at Paper who thankfully totally GOT IT immediately, he then offered to release it, which was a real pinch yourself moment… Paper have been brilliant and have had to drag me by the hair into this new world of internet music and given me plenty time to sort my shit out and style the project as i’ve wanted. Thanks fellas.
6. Could you recommend a set that you are especially proud of, and that we can see on your Soundcloud or YouTube.
I was cruising through my cassette collection and came across some particularly interesting Pirate Radio shows i did in Nottingham post club, Thursday nights. They are staying in the box, but i am pleased with a Soundcloud guest mix i did for Death By Repetition recently, which combines the new Popsneon stuff with some mad unreleased disco edits from the Akai S3000 days in the ‘90s
7. What can you tell us about the scene in your city of Nottingham.
I haven’t been clubbing since I gave up Djing and that was when you could still smoke in bars, so I’m a bit out of the loop really. This was one of the reasons i started producing again… to get out to places where you can hear house music on P.A.s. Nottingham certainly still has a good production scene. Confetti Studio continues to train up new generations of producers and we have Brickworks club that looks good… but i’ll get back to you when I’ve sampled the nightlife again.
8. Who were your favourite artists or Djs when you started releasing music in the mid 90s ? and who are your favourite artists or Djs in 2020.
In the first carnation Neon Heights we were fairly influenced by the French scene.. St.Germain, the Motorbass studio sound, Daft punk and Kid Loco etc. Cal and I were invited over to Paris for some meetings and Djing but i think were a lil too “Messy”!!! for them. I was also into the free party scene in Nottingham with my favourite dj ever being DiY’s Simon DK.
Now the scene is huge and one can spend all day and night listening to amazing new music and stunning CDJ mixes.. but my artist/project of choice for now has to be Death Decay Magic and the deep electronic emotions from BlackLightSmoke…They have hit a nerve in me for sure.
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