Junction 2 Interview: Reset Robot
On Saturday 25th February Drumcode, LWE & The Hydra successfully launched Junction 2’s 2017 campaign with an all-day party at Canada Water’s Printworks. The event attracted 2,500 ravers with label boss Adam Beyer playing an extended set, whilst sister label Truesoul hosted Room 2.
Reset Robot is a name that will be increasingly familiar to fans of dubbed-out, moody techno & house all over the world. Adam Beyer, Alan Fitzpatrick, Ida Engberg, Joseph Capriati & Jel Ford are just some of the artists that have passed through his studio. His DJ schedule has seen him play at Fabric, Tobacco Docks London with Drumcode, Space Miami and Panorama Bar Berlin. He has released with some of the worlds top labels including Adam Beyer’s Drumcode & Truesoul, Dubfire’s Sci+Tec, Sven Väth’s Cocoon and Slam’s Soma Records.
Data Transmission were fortune enough to catch-up with Truesoul alumni Reset Robot to discuss the new venue, running a label, A&R, producing and of course the much-anticipated second edition of Junction 2.
So, Printworks – how was it for you?
It was really good. I really enjoyed it. I spent most of my time in the second room, because that’s where I was playing. There was a really nice vibe in there. I got to check out the rest of the venue too, and I was very impressed.
Did you get a chance to look at the venue ahead of the gig?
No, I arrived a couple of hours after it opened. So I didn’t get to see it without anybody in there.
You’ve played Tobacco Dock for Drumcode Halloween the past 4 years, how did this compare?
It’s totally different. Obviously Tobacco Dock has been renovated recently – it’s clean and feels new. Whereas Printworks is pretty industrial. A bit more rugged, I suppose. It’s difficult to explain how they compare. I think Printworks has got a bit more character to it, you know?
I think we can subscribe to that statement. So what have you been up to? How are things going with Whistleblower?
Yeah, really good actually. I’m really enjoying doing it with Aaron (Binstead A.K.A. Rhymos). Alan (Fitzpatrick) has got his own stuff going on, so he’s taken more of a back seat to be honest. It’s really myself and Aaron who do the day-to-day running of the label. I’ve got a release that is just about to drop (Attack of the Denim Hand – OUT NOW!). Then we’ve got another Customer E.P. which has got a couple of remixes which we’re really excited about – one from Deetron, one from Rhymos. And then after that we’ve got another Rhymos release.
We were at the label launch night, actually. If we recall correctly, it was in some sweaty basement in Shoreditch.
Oh really, were you there? It was good fun that, actually. I never expected that many people to turn up. It went beyond my expectations. I’m sure at some point we’ll look to do some more events. Maybe on a slightly bigger scale than that. But at the moment we’re just looking for new music. We’re interested about trying to bring through some new artists. So we’re searching for people that haven’t released much. People who are writing good music who want a good platform to release on. We’re on the hunt for talent.
How does the A&R process work for Whistleblower?
Well, we get a lot of demos through. To be honest there hasn’t been many that we’ve been into. When the packs come through, we listen to them. We’ve only signed one E.P so far, and that’s been from Simon Baker – under his BKR alias. And, obviously, he’s had a long career anyway. The tracks were really good quality. We were really digging this new sound he was going for. But other than that, we haven’t really stumbled across anything that’s blown our minds. If we do find something like that – somebody new – then that would be really exciting. But I think we’re finding that it’s quite hard to uncover new talent.
So what would your advice be to any budding young producers approaching labels?
What I’ve always said is, just keep going. If you believe in yourself that you can make it, you just have to keep plugging away. You’re gonna get knocked-back, knocked-back, knocked-back. But keep going. Keep networking. If there’s a particular label you like, and they’re throwing events, then get your arse down to those events. Get your face known. Without being funny, get in people’s faces a bit. Get to know the personnel at the label. I think that’s quite important – building a relationship. Then that way they’ll be more inclined to spend 5, 10 minutes, half-an-hour of their time listening to your music. If you’ve met somebody face-to-face, you’re more likely to make that connection. That’d be my advice. And definitely research the label. If you’re planning on sending your music to a label, then just take some time to listen to their back catalogue. Ask “does my sound suit that label”?
And if you had to put into words what it was you were looking for, how would you describe it?
I don’t like saying “underground” anymore. What even is “underground”?! I just don’t know. I mean, we like house music – but proper house music. We like techno. And we like electronica. We like dubby stuff. Anything, really. So long as it’s good quality, it doesn’t necessarily have to be four to the floor kind of vibes. It could be really musical. It could be really stripped-back. It just needs to have that little bit of soul to it, you know.
It’s interesting you say that, as your own back catalogue is quite a mixed bag. You’ve produced some quite ambient stuff. And then at the other end of the spectrum the heavier, techier stuff. We were at Cocoon Closing when Beyer dropped A Thousand Billions Photons and I had a little moment.
Cool, man. Hearing things like that is great – when you hear about DJing playing your stuff at those kind of places. Somebody said to me the other day they were in Panorama with Laurent Garnier and he dropped that tune as well.
Little nuggets of information like that just make you think that it’s all worthwhile, you know?
You’re pretty synonymous with Truesoul. When you’re producing a track, do you make it with Truesoul in mind. Or do you just find yourself sending Adam a lot of stuff which he decides to pick up?
Yeah, kind of the latter, really. When I’m producing a track, I wouldn’t necessarily think “oh, this would suit Truesoul”. I don’t really like to think like that. I like to go in fairly blind. And just see what comes out. And I’ll just send him everything, regardless of whether it’s deep, or… He normally picks techier stuff, as that’s just the kind of stuff he plays, I suppose. But generally I just bombard him with tunes every now-and-again. Sometimes it’s a really quick process – like, I’ve just had three tracks signed recently. I sent him four, and he really liked them all, and eventually we decided on three of them. Other times he might like the odd one. And you have to go back, and maybe try to make a couple more for the package, you know?
You’ve collaborated with Adam in the past. What was that like?
Yeah, really good. We get on really well. It was a bit nerve-racking the first-time! When somebody like that comes into the studio it’s always a really positive experience. You always gain something from it. It’s always good fun. I’m always up for doing something with Drumcode, I just don’t know if my current sound quite suits it at the moment. I just do what I do. And if it works better on Truesoul, then it goes on Truesoul. And I’m happy with that. I’m not going to try and push my sound in a certain direction to get on a particular label, if you know what I mean.
How difficult is it to not let yourself be influenced by musical trends?
I think it is quite difficult. I mean, you can hear that some producers must just be listening to a certain label. And they get caught in replicating that style. I’m probably a little bit guilty myself, you know. If you’re writing techno, or house music, then you’re following a blueprint anyway. The rhythm is already there. But I do recommend just going with it. If something sounds good, and a little bit weird, then just keep going with it. See how it turns out. I always tell people try not to follow trends. But it’s easier said than done.
We suppose on one-hand, you want to create music that you can imagine fitting into other DJs sets. But on the other, you want to make something original and unique.
Exactly. And that is very hard. Being unique, yet still sounding current.
Talking of young producers coming through, what’s your back-story? How did it all start for you?
My friends & I started listening to dance music when we were in our last couple of years at school. At that point a couple of the lads had turntables. So after school we just used to bundle into somebody’s bedroom – and probably mix really badly! We all had a laugh. And then we started going clubbing. That’s when I decided it was going to be something that I’d like to try and pursue. From quite an early age – from something like 16 or 17 – I thought, “yeah, I’m gonna give this a go.” Managed to convince my parents to get me a set of really bad Numark turntables, and it all went from there. I started buying records; went to college and started writing music. And it just kinda took off from there, really.
What was the scene in Portsmouth like at that time?
At the time, probably not very good really. Especially not somewhere which was underage. We were able to get into some places. But it was quite difficult going out. We used to go to a place in Bournemouth called The Oprah House. And there was a night there called Slinky – which was predominantly trance, I suppose. People like Nick Warren played there, Lee Burridge, Tiesto when he was first starting-out.
Some decent names then.
Yeah, yeah. We used to go up there every week. That’s where we would go out. We didn’t really go out that much in Portsmouth to be honest. Mainly because of our age. But then, going on from that, some really good nights did start coming through. Nights like Punch Funk – who had some really good techno acts on there. There was Cushty down here that was really good techno. A night called Sumo. Which was house with a bit of techno. So there were a few good nights which started to appear over the next few years.
And today the South coast scene seems to be thriving.
Love Amplified are doing some good stuff. There’s a night in Portsmouth called Concrete – they’ve hosted stages at Bestival, Bugged Out… So, yeah, there is a good scene down here at the moment. It’s maybe not quite for the music that I’m making, but it’s still good to see people on the south coast being well catered for.
Absolutely. And that whole region has been quite productive with talent coming through in recent years. Yourself, Alan Fitzpatrick, Shadow Child, James Zabiela…
Yeah, there’s quite a few of us down here, actually. And the thing is we all know each other. It’s a nice little community of DJs and producers. We all get on really well. We don’t necessarily see each other all that often. If we do ever meet-up – if we do ever need a favour – then we just pick-up the phone. Which is nice, you know?
And it’s been announced you’ll play on the main stage of Junction 2 festival for Drumcode. So you’ll be playing under THAT bridge!
Yep! And that’s going to be ace I think! I must play in London some two/three times a year. Before Printworks I hadn’t played there since Tobacco Dock.
Did you go last year?
No, I didn’t go. So this’ll be my first Junction 2 experience. I’m excited. I’ll be opening-up the stage, so it’s not going to be kicking-off whilst I’m playing. But I’m happy to be on that line-up, and happy to be there for the day. ‘Cos I’ll play my set and then I’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the acts.
So you’ll be sticking around after you’ve finished?
Absolutely. I’m excited to check-out Luke Slater (as Planetary Assault Systems), for sure. London’s got a few inner-city festivals, you know. They’re good. But in the past they haven’t seemed like “proper” festivals. Do you know what I mean? Junction 2 on the other hand has got a really original location. It’s really different. It seems like they can really push the sound there. LWE have got a great reputation. They have this knack of putting together incredible events. So I can understand why everybody wants to be involved with that.
Junction 2 festival takes place at Boston Manor Park, West London on Saturday 10th June, tickets & further info available here: http://tinyurl.com/grcs4ae, Reset Robot – ‘Attack of the Denim Hand’ is out now on Whistleblower Records and is available from all good download stores.