10 Years Of Tech House: Toolroom Records
Tech House And Toolroom Now
Toolroom remains one of the leading forces in tech house, as the sound continues to develop. The label’s own take on tech house has won praise from producers and fans alike, as Funkagenda (2013) explained:
“What they’ve done is they’ve proven that you can have tech house, but it can be interesting, it can have moments, it can have a song… This definitely comes from Mark [Knight]’s influence on the label… He’s always questioned, “What is the pay off in the record?” and with him constantly insisting that that is how things have to have gone, it’s pushed all the people that produce on the label to just go that extra few yards to just make the record a little bit more special and I think that’s directly influenced a lot of people like UMEK and Alex Kenji and people like that. They manage to make techy records, but that have riffs, or have a moment or have a real build or something and that’s definitely Toolroom’s legacy.”
Funkagenda gives a nod to a key facet of tech house: the fact that it encompasses a variety of different sounds and styles. Stuart Knight (2013) draws this theme out further:
“It’s kind of like the melting pot and what we like about it is it’s a very fluid sound … The basics are techno fused together with house. The way I’ve always looked at it is, those two are the cake, and the icing on the top is usually whatever genre is in vogue at that particular moment in time… now deep house has become a bit more in vogue, there’s a sprinkling of deep house, the BPMs are slower and a lot of the artists that are making tech house, the other string to their bow is deep house.”
Tech house and tech house artists are simultaneously products of their time, whilst being able to change with time. There are fewer restrictions on sound and style, with tracks being underpinned by elements of house and techno, which firmly root the genre in the origins of dance music.
What started off as a simple classification for a sound and style of music has led us through the history of tech house, as it meanders through genres, taking elements, twisting them and making them new, borrowing from the past and present and creating a sound out of extremes to appeal to a wider audience. What we found most interesting was tracing the Toolroom artists and releases that have been instrumental in the development of tech house. And, from this, we rediscovered what excited us most about tech house: it’s ability to evolve. Now all we need to do is look to the future and ask: what sounds and styles will it incorporate next?
For more information about all things Toolroom visit their website at http://www.toolroomten.com/