We featured these guys’ music before, which goes to say their music is the nuts (and not only because we say so). If you’re a SoundCloud addict such as us you would’ve most probably already come across them, if not you probably wouldn’t have. Up until recently they were relatively unknown with the exception of SoundCloud fame. However, we anticipate them to be the next big thing as they have a slew of top drawer releases due shortly (list and soundclips at the end). This interview will hopefully give some insight into the rise of an artist, we will catch up with them again in a few months to hear how it’s going… a sort of before and after.
You have over 3300 SoundCloud followers yet up until December you only had one release out. Explain to us how you got all these followers, or what you think is responsible for this SC fame.
Si – Chris and I have both been surprised and delighted by the amount of people who have followed us on Soundcloud since we first joined about a year and a half ago. When we first joined we had had 1 release out, on The Revenge’s Five20East label, but nothing following on from that, so when we finished a track, we just stuck it up on Soundcloud and if people liked it and asked for a copy, we would happily send them one. People like Cottam and James Johnston got in touch fairly early and supported the unsigned tracks we were putting up, and it sort of just progressed from there. The latter half of 2010 was when our SC, ahem, ‘popularity’ really started to take off, and some good labels on there started to get in touch about releasing our music.
I think you get out of it what you put in. I’ve been lucky enough with the job I work in to have time to respond to comments and messages when they come in, and through that, we’ve managed to build up a good rapport with a lot of people, who now always comment and support any new tracks when we upload them.
Yeah we’ve noticed you have a lot of well known DJs following you and commenting on SC, did you know these artists prior to SoundCloud? Perhaps give us a history of DSO, have you always been heavily involved in the music industry etc.? Si, you have another project, Cronk Family Enterprises, with Graeme Clark (The Revenge), how is it that you know Graeme?
Si – No, we didn’t know any of the bigger djs/producers that have subsequently followed us on SC. Prior to joining, Chris and I both had good contacts, people we could play our stuff to and get honest feedback from, but no, we’ve been able to reach a whole different spectrum of people as a result of being active on SC.
We recorded our first track, before the name Deep Space Orchestra even existed, in early 2006. I had just left Glasgow to move to Liverpool with my job at the time, and got hooked up with Chris through a mutual friend. In Glasgow, The Revenge and I, plus another friend, had run a night called the Good Vibrations Soundsystem for the previous couple of years, occasionally bringing in big guests like Jazzy Jeff and Kenny Dope, but more often playing to a half empty dancefloor on a Sunday night! I had known Graeme for a few years before that, as we worked for the same insurance company, and had become good friends. He gave me my first opportunity to get involved with making tracks, which gradually evolved into us recording as Cronk Family Enterprises, and releasing a couple of 12″s on G’s now defunct Five20East label.
Chris – Before we started recording, Si had got hold of a bunch of solo tracks I’d made on my own and passed them on to Graeme. They ended up coming out on Five20East at roughly the same time as Si and Graeme’s Cronk stuff – it was pretty low key, but off the back of that I ended up in touch with Domu and Atjazz, who both liked the release and asked me to do stuff for their respective labels. A track called Breakin’ Bread ended up on Domu’s “Here Comes Treble” compilation alongside some really great tracks by 4 Hero’s Marc Mac, Dorian Concept and a whole bunch of other people. Atjazz asked me to remix Clyde’s “Read my mind” single, which was round about the same time that Mantis closed down, which was unfortunate – that was a killer label.
Other than these bits it’s basically been me and Si plugging away in relative obscurity the whole time, though I’ve also been DJing a lot for the last 8 years or so and have been fortunate to play alongside some great DJs.
Explain how life was for you pre-December, how often you play etc. you know, pre- the ‘loads of music released’ fame.
By the time this interview goes up you would have 6 releases out, 5 being in the last month. And by the end of February you will have another 4 out (is that correct?). What do you anticipate will happen? What’s the dream? Have you noticed a change already, more interest in DSO?
Well I wouldn’t say that we were especially well known either before or after December, but it’s nice of you to say so! It’s good to have so much stuff coming out and we’re really happy with the amount of interest we’ve got off the back of the releases, but we don’t want to make any predictions about what will happen – you never know how things are going to go. We just hope that people like the records.
I guess the dream is the same as everyone else’s who makes music – we’d love to do well enough to be able to spend all day making music and playing records, but I think you’re very lucky if you get to that point, especially as people don’t buy records in anything like the numbers that they used to 10 years ago or so. At the same time, it’s always got to be a passion – never something that you have to do to pay the bills – so we’re pretty happy the way things are right now, to be honest.
What about DJing, any dreams/hopes of getting to play every good festival in the summer? That may be a rhetorical question :) The other day you moaned (a little) about not having time to do your own production because of all the remix work you have… that’s a new experience for you right?
Haha, yeah, we would love to get to the stage where we’re being offered the chance to play at things like the Garden Festival, Electric Elephant, Sonar, but we’re a bit away from there yet. Having said that, we are starting to get offered more dj gigs in the last month or so.
Remixing other people’s tracks is a funny one. It’s nice when you get asked to do a remix of a track you like in the first place and that has lots of nice, useable parts, and that you feel you can definitely take in another direction. We’ve been lucky in that up to now, that has pretty much been the case, with one glaring exception that I wont mention because it still makes me angry! The flipside of the remix coin is that sometimes we just want to do something new of our own, which we simply don’t have the time for when we have remix deadlines coming thick and fast. It’s not really a grumble because you’re still getting paid to do something you love doing, but I think we’d always rather work on original DSO stuff than anything else!
Maybe you’re closer than you think… with all these releases coming out now, this could be your summer!
Speaking of which, why are all the releases coming out at one time? Did you plan this?
Well, it would be lovely if that turned out to be the case. It’s weird how lots of things have finally come out or are about to come out in such a short space of time. It certainly wasn’t planned. In some cases, we had agreed the tracks and signed contracts nearly a year ago, and in the meantime, we’ve been able to set up our own label, Use of Weapons, from scratch and put out our first release.
How did you get them signed? Did people come to you purely because of the tracks on SC, or did you approach your favourite labels, or what?
It’s all been rather random. Some of the opportunities have come from being a regular poster on the Brownswood message board. Some of the members on there decided to do a compilation of tracks made by producers who posted on there. Kirk Degiorgio was drafted in to master it as he posts on there too. Our first submission caught Kirk’s attention and he signed it for ART and asked us to do a full EP. I met John who runs Winding Road as a result of being introduced to him by some fellow Brownswood forum regulars. Apart from those two cases, all but one of our other releases have come as a result of people hearing our tracks on Soundcloud and getting in touch.
The one exception to that is how we got involved with Jamie Jimpster and Delusions of Grandeur. We saw that he had given really good feedback to the promo of our ART release so we decided to send him a nice message saying thanks and that if he liked any of our other stuff, we’d happily send him a copy. This lead to him signing one track and us working on a 2nd for a Delusions of Grandeur EP.
What advice do you have regarding getting releases signed? Do’s and don’ts.
I would say that we’ve tried not to be pushy or in anyone’s face at all when it comes to sending stuff out to labels. I hate it when people are that way with me, so I would never want us to be seen to come across that way. We’ve been pretty lucky that the process of getting our stuff signed has been pretty organic, and in the process we’ve managed to build up a good rapport with the labels we’re being released by.
December saw the first release on your own label, Use of Weapons. Any particular reasoning behind starting the label, or has it just been a dream of yours for ‘like evaaaa’? What are your objectives?
There are a couple of reasons, really – first, we liked the idea of being able to put our own stuff out on our own schedule. If we’ve made something that we’re hyped about, it’s nice to be able to get it out there quickly without too much messing around. The second reason is that there’s so much good music out there that never gets released, so it’s exciting to get involved with a bunch of talented people – often musicians who we might not have crossed paths with otherwise. We’re lucky to have an absolutely amazing track from Cottam lined up for our second release and some killer remixes from Hunee and Neville Watson.
Well, apart from impending fatherhood on my side of things in April, we’ve got lots of DSO tracks due to come out in the next couple of months. In January, our releases on Winding Road, Foto and ART. In February, the second release on our Use of Weapons label and our Tracky Bottoms ep. We’ve also got a cracker of a remix on the first release on Cosmic Boogie’s new Boogie Originals label.
Gig-wise, we’re due to play twice down in London in the next couple of months, at Zombie Soundsystem at East Village and at Wayward, Norm de Plume’s night at CAMP.
Reductio Ad Absurdum wishes Deep Space Orchestra well deserved success.
DSO past and forthcoming releases: