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Cyantific – Hard Times in Cyn City

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Prior to doing this interview there were two things I knew me and Jon Stanley, aka Cyantific, already had in common. We’re both beleaguered Arsenal fans for one. (Since doing this interview Arsenal have won the FA Cup. Which is nice of them isn’t it?). We both also enjoy a nice cup of rosy. “On an average day I drink about five cups of tea I think. I’m drinking one right now actually.” Is he partial to the occasional tea based accompaniment? “Yep, biscuit. It’s really bad because you need to try and stay healthy but I do love a biscuit.” One thing he’s not particularly sold on it would seem is herbal tea. “I’ve got green tea at the studio. I’ll only drink it if there’s no milk or something though.”

Keeping Cyantific company in the studio with all the hot beverages and biscuits is close friend and some time collaborator Wilkinson. Beyond sharing a studio space together the pair are in also cahoots with running CYN Music. Hard Times / Type A is Jon’s seventh release of his own since kick starting the label in back in 2010. “I was listening to a lot of old Commix and Logistics and wanted to capture that mid 2000’s Hospital sound.” he says of Hard Times. “I really feel there’s not a lot of that stuff around anymore. You’ve either got, and I hate the term, ‘liquidy’ liquid or you’ve got upfront dance floor stuff but there’s not really anything in between.” Referencing a sound that’s still largely contemporary is an interesting tactic. Are we already able to hark back to styles merely a decade old already? “That’s beauty of being a musician. You can just go ‘I wanna make something like that’” he explains, “I wouldn’t make a habit of it and base my sound on a particular era. You end up sounding like some sort of cover band. People still make stuff like late 90’s Ed Rush & Optical; some of it’s cool as long as you’re bringing something new to the table as well. Putting it into a modern context with your own ideas.”

Becoming a label boss wasn’t something necessarily high on Cyantific’s agenda either. “It just happened. I’d left Hospital and it was before I’d done anything with Ram. I needed a place to release some music so decided to put stuff out myself. Not long after Mark (Wilkinson) played me some of Dimension’s stuff having done a gig with him. We sat down and had a chat about it and Mark suggested we turn it into something proper.” Dimension jumping on board helped to set the wheels in motion in getting CYN Music up and running. Label manager Jamie (professionally known as Snap Clicker) was brought in to handle the day to day operations (he also takes care of all the artwork) and Karma was soon added to the artist roster to give CYN a close knit family feel which, as Cyantific describes, has grown “organically”. Having been closely associated with and released tracks on two of drum & bass’s predominantly ‘major’ labels, have his dalliances with Ram Records and Hospital played a part in the development of his own imprint in any way? “Definitely. When me and Mark first started we wanted to set it out so all the releases are geared towards the artist rather than the label. We wanna give people a chance and put their music and name at the forefront. That’s what’s important. We could end up as big as those guys but, then again, we could not. We’re just gonna keep releasing the music we like, see what happens and try to keep it interesting.”

Jon also informs there’s me an album is in progress too. Having last released a long player back when Cyantific were a duo (2006’s Ghetto Blaster on Hospital Records) he feels like now is the time to focus some of his efforts into album territory. “I wrote a few ideas last year but wasn’t happy with the direction it was going in. My missus is really into underground D&B so I’ve sort of moved it a little more that way. There’s a foundation there. It’s just a case of getting a few more tunes together and it should be around at the start of next year.” Providing valuable input no doubt will be that man Wilkinson. Not only friends, studio buddies, label owners and peers, Jon informs me that he also acts as a filter for all Cyantific material. “Mark is basically my A&R. I’ve always listened to stuff when he’s making it and given my opinion so it works both ways. Mark wouldn’t let me put something out that is utter shit but I’d like to think I’ve been around long enough that I wouldn’t put something out myself that wasn’t up to par you know?”

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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