Turbo Charged: JoeFarr
Is there a label that seeks to discover new techno talent more than Turbo? After introducing us to Clouds, Locked Groove, Gingy and Bordello amongst many others you really do have to hand it to their A+R team for spotting acts with potential. Their latest signing JoeFarr may well be soon joining his illustrious counterparts on the stable in the upper echelons of the scene with a series of strong releases set to drop on Turbo, Hypercolour and DSNT including a remix for iconic German Zombie Nation in the coming months. Distorted vocal hooks and massively overdriven drum tracks swing over rave-shattering synths with his upcoming effort ‘Clock‘ becoming a major weapon in label boss Tiga’s arsenal and the seminal British techno don Dave Clarke charting the track on his world famous White Noise radio show. Yes, it appears the skys the limit for JoeFarr at the minute and with that in mind we caught up with the Bristol based producer to talk about his future plans, live set up and old skool tape packs!
What first drew you to electronic music?
What first drew me to electronic music was really Helter Skelter, the drum and bass tape packs. Do you remember them? No? You could get like 8 tapes in a pack, – look them up online as they’re amazing- so you’d get 16 mixes in one packet which I thought was pretty cool. Although before that I listened to Daft Punk, how relevant am I eh? Their album Homework when I was around 15 was an amazing album that I really enjoyed alongside the Chemical Brothers ‘Exit Planet Dust’ and The Prodigy so that was what I enjoyed on the more commercial side but it was the Helter Skelter underground D&B ravey stuff that I really enjoyed.
You’re from around Bristol which has a very strong D&B scene…
I’m from about an hour north of Bristol in the middle of nowhere. And unfortunately I moved to Bristol just after it died… I timed it pretty badly. Where I grew up there was literally no music scene at all to influence me other than my dad who was a drummer. He had a good taste in music but it was all bands, which gave me a jazzier and rockier introduction to music.
Cool, so you’ve now hooked up with Tiga’s Turbo Recordings, how did that come about?
Well Truss really hooked me up with them as he was in touch with Tiga’s brother Thomas Von Party at Turbo and I had a shit load of tracks which I played to Truss which he thought would be suitable for Turbo so he sent them across. I sent about 10 they went for 4 of them and that was the first EP so thanks to Truss for that.
What were you doing before signing with Turbo then?
I released under a different name for quite a while and also set a label up with 3 friends back in Bristol which was put on hold for a bit due to distribution issues which have now been resolved so that’s all back on track now. We’re planning quite a few projects with a few interesting remixes as well as moving from being a digital only label to a vinyl and digital imprint but before that I was releasing music on some pretty unknown digital only labels. Then I changed my name , which I won’t mention, as I felt the productions I’m making now have gone up a few notches from that material so I thought I’d leave that stuff behind.
A fresh start! So tell us more about the label you’re planning to relaunch.
We started it on a rotation because there are four of us so we each take it in turns to release and after the next release it’ll go back to the beginning and there will be collaborations between us as well as remixing each others tracks which if people are interested they can check out at www.apologue.co.uk.
One of the other things we do is we all play together at showcases where we play after each other, back to back or live together where we generally take over a room like at Motion which was really cool and we’re looking forward to hosting a dome at this years Arc Festival.
Are we going to be seeing you at plenty of festivals this summer then?
Er, I’m playing a few. There is crazy one I’m looking forward to playing In Amsterdam. It’s an extreme sports festival- and then they have dance music tents so that could be interesting. I’m also playing at Love Saves The Day here in Bristol which should be good.
You were talking about a live show earlier. Can you tell us more about your setup?
Yeah I do a hardware live show. It consists of an Elektron Octatrack which is basically an 8 track sampler of audio tracks and 8 tracks midi too. I used to use Ableton after I got a new laptop last year with SSD and 16gb of RAM so it was pretty much the fastest thing you could get, used it for two gigs and it crashed on me during the set both times in the middle of the set! My 10 year old laptop was incredibly slow but it could run Ableton and that never crashed on me once, then I get this beast of a Macbook and it’s just shit! So I thought fuck it, I’m going to see if I can find something to replace Ableton and I couldn’t believe it when there was. I thought there were just MPC’s which obviously give you more samples than loops and this thing just did everything that I wanted but it was quite a lot of hardwork… And it has quite a small screen. So I have that with loops of my tracks chopped up and then on the midi channels I have them firing midi to a couple of synths and depending on how ambitious I’m feeling I use a Dave Smith Evolver and a Dave Smith Mopho. So it sequences those and run that through a Yamaha mixer. That’s about as much as I can carry.
Where has been your favourite place to play so far?
Definitely the Dome. It’s called the RFID. Check it out at www.rfidome.com. They go to different festivals and it’s circular with surround sound speakers so the sounds surrounds you which is amazing and because it’s a dome it has 360 visuals which are programmed by them in conjunction with the DJ’s. It sounds amazing. Looks amazing. And it’s in a dome! So obviously the vibe is amazing…
How do you feel the rise of digital software which has help breed a new generation has affected electronic music?
Well it’s like the Blawan song says: “It’s what you do with what you have” It’s just about being creative with what you’ve got.
We’re always interested to know peoples creative processes…
Well it varies. I mean it if I’m using the synths then I try and get something going by firing the synths and try and build something like that but if I’m just inside the box then I’ll keep messing around with samples until I find something I like and then move from there. I do tend to go in 6 months stages of doing it a certain way wherein I then change how I start building tracks. Although I think there is a common theme between my tracks no matter with what genre I’m making and that theme is usually…distortion! That was the trick I was missing. Use distortion…
Can you tell us some other acts whose work you’re enjoying at the moment who we might not otherwise have heard of?
Have you heard of Metrist? He’s pretty cool. He sent me a few tracks and his tracks and they’re wicked. He’s part of that new wave of slightly different techno and I really like his stuff. J Tijn on Turbo and Penny Royal is def worth checking out. Untold has some ridiculously good releases on his new label and Tessela has been smashing it. And Mr. Jones; Dave Clarke’s remix partner who is making some great stuff.
What do you do outside music?
I’m currently studying and coming to the end of my degree in film and TV. So I do some corporate film and music videos. I also do some library music for TV. So those are my three things.
Any other future plans you can tell us about for Joe Farr?
I’ve got an EP coming out on Hypercolour. It turned out they were just down the road! One of the guys from Hyper was listening to Rinse heard my track played and then contacted me on twitter.. I also have an EP coming out on the Irish label called DSNT who are doing a lot of interesting releases and visuals. Truss and Tessela are remixing a track each for my EP. I’ve also remixed a band from Montreal which Tiga played as his opening track on his appearance on Boiler Room which was amazing ,so Hopefully plenty more remixes.