Ahead of the release of Rick Grant‘s ‘Crossing’ on the label he co-runs, TAKE Records, he goes head-to-head with one of the EPs three remixers, London’s Jack Dixon. The pair collaborated on a 12″ for George FitzGerald‘s ManMakeMusic back in 2011, and clearly hold a close musical and personal affinity to this day.
Grant’s latest, ‘Crossing’, is slow-burning, sparse 2-step; opening with engaging atmospherics it builds towards a stuttered drum pattern, but still prioritises the melodic textures and pads over the percussive bones. Dixon, who released the ‘Decade’ EP on Take back in 2011 and has since worked with Hotflush, Apollo and Leftroom, returns with a similarly ethereal, but 4×4 interpretation of the original.
The simple-but-effective remix thins the layers of Grant’s version over a weighty kick drum and adds dancefloor functionality to an otherwise heady EP, consisting of the original, Consequence‘s 170 BPM version and Mr. Lager‘s 10-minute house journey.
We also have an exclusive free download of Rick Grant’s track ‘Dry Run’ to accompany the interview. See what they both had to say about strange samples, Seahaven FM, favourite studio gear, Louis Theroux documentaries and leaving tracks to rot.
R: Emailed you some questions, mate.
If I was on Twitter, I’d tweet at you to tell you I’d emailed you back
J: Should I keep my moustache or not?
I think it’s very becoming. That said, I’ve been sporting a truly horrendous facial growth for a number of years now, so perhaps I’m not the best person to ask.
R: Have you found your music has gotten a lot trendier since you moved to Berlin?
Oh yes, I’m the talk of the town since moving here. I suppose so, though – I spend longer on tracks with a whole lot less in them.
J: You have an entire studio full of more equipment than I could shake a jack lead at, what’s your favourite piece?
The LinnDrum is my favourite. It’s got giant wooden ends, buttons that look like squares of plastic Dairy Milk, and makes for a valid reason to dress up as Prince in the studio – I’m not sure you could really ask for much more out of a piece of equipment. That said, all I’ve ever really done with it is sample the sidestick. The power supply does make an amazing buzzing noise after a while, though, so I’ve stuck that in the background of several tracks for what the kids call ‘texture’.
R: I know you’ve made some droney stuff on the side before – any plans to do something separate from your ‘electronic’ nonsense in the future?
Thanks for reminding me – maybe I’ll do something with those tracks one day, or maybe not. How’s that for ambiguity? Like a breeze among flowers.
J: How do you normally start a track?
With a rubbish-sounding kick loop. Then I add a load of incidental percussion and a bassline. Then I get excited. Then I leave it to rot.
R: Do you consciously try to incorporate your influences into your tunes (sampling aside), or do you find it happens by osmosis? Or not at all?!
I guess I do, yeah – what I’m listening to (or not listening to) can really influence the outcome of a session. I also sample everything – no-one is safe.
R: On that tip, who’s the least credible R&B/Hip-Hop artist you’ve ever illegally sampled? Who’s next?
I’ve used them all, but you know full well how fond I am of Puff. Come on. Who’s next? Well that depends who has the most soul, brother.
J: What’s your favourite default Logic preset?
It’s a toss-up between ‘Porno Clown’ and ‘The French Factor’.
R: Let’s generate some good promotional karma. Who are you most looking forward to hearing more from this year?
Laurel Halo – I think she’s doing some really interesting stuff. DoubtingThomas, I really like his sound. Fallon MacWilliams, with more Trevino stories. And Aja Badame.
J: And you?
This might come off as biased, but the Colo boys are putting an album together at the moment, and from what I’ve heard so far it’s going to be really special. Their songs always sound like they’ve had so much thought and care put into them – it makes me a bit embarassed about my own stuff.
R: Who’s your favourite deejay on Seahaven FM, and why?
Duncan Campbell, for the roots, blues and good times. Shout out to Martha Swift too.
J: What’s your favourite Louis Theroux documentary?
Obviously they’re all very dear to me, but I think ‘Gangsta Rap’ was a definite high-point. I still dream of us getting a record sleeve done at Pen & Pixel one day.
J: Why’d you want to do it? To a family man?
We’ll never know.
Rick Grant’s ‘Crossing’ EP is out on January 28 via TAKE Records.