Liam Wachs, aka Desert Sound Colony, has explored a number of musical avenues in his career. After several years of writing and touring in a three piece band, he turned his attention to a more club-focussed sound. Releasing several EPs on his Holding Hands imprint, as well as a host of other labels, Wachs has delved into his rich, bass-heavy roots, combined with the influence of continental European minimalism. His unique approach to live performance has seen him integrate acoustic instruments into a set designed for the club environment.
Wachs’ versatility with different musical flavours and impressive skill in sound design and composition caught the attention of veteran DJ and producer Nick Höppner, who often includes a Desert Sound Colony track in his sets. This correspondence has spawned the ‘Fast Life’ EP, the first release on Höppner’s Touch From A Distance label. The four tracker explores electro, minimal, and wonky UK rhythms, brought together by Wach’s signature high production values and inherent danceability. We asked him to share ten tracks that influenced this release and his musical background.
1. Shimon & Andy C – ‘Night Flight’ [Ram Records]
Night Flight is a breakbeat track but it was definitely more inspired by DnB. I really wanted to get people dancing with that back and forward skank which seems to happen when you rely more on that simple broken beat and reece bass combo. It’s definitely a nod to my youth spent in DnB and dubstep raves.
2. LTJ Bukem – ‘Horizons’ [Looking Good Records]
Obviously it’s great to rely heavily on a simple drum break and bass situation, but I wanted some progression in the top end of the spectrum as well. Old Bukem tracks like this were definitely an inspiration for the floaty ambient synths hanging over the high end of the track.
3. Cedric Dekowski – Mörchende [Hardworksoftdrink]
The sounds of Frankfurt have been taking up a lot of space in my record bag over the last year. Hardworksoftdrink is one of the best labels in the game at the moment and this track sums up their vibe perfectly. This certainly has some Frankfurt vibes in it with that glitchy swung percussion and weird jacking ghetto sampling.
4. Nathan Coles – ‘Raas Bucket’ [10 Kilo Records]
One of my favourite songs by one of my favourite producers and label owners of all time. Nathan Coles just seems to get this perfect groove in all his tracks and this is no exception. I am always trying to get a track moving like this. What a thumper!..
5. Tommy Vicari Jnr. – ’57 Hertz’ [Cabinet Records]
Another genius producer. Tommy Vicari Jnr just gets it so right with that level of swing, weird sampling and bouncy as fuck bass line. A constant source of inspiration for sure. I will never understand how this guy isn’t a superstar.
6. Minor Science – ‘Underripe’ [Whities]
It takes something really special to be able to make something so weird and yet so groovy. Everything Minor Science has released is totally mind blowing in my opinion. I definitely strive to get to this level of brilliance. Maybe one day. ‘Finger Flies’ is a nod to this sort of vibe for sure.
7. Joe – ‘Tail Lift’ [Hessle Audio]
This list of inspiration wouldn’t be complete without something from Hessle. I could probably pick ten records from here alone but that wouldn’t be very interesting. Major party starter from Joe here. Long may Hessle continue.
8. Batu – ‘Murmur’ [Timedance]
Batu and his label Timedance are probably the most exciting group around at the moment in my opinion. Weirdo rhythms and totally original music. I play a lot of tracks from Timedance and ‘Finger Flies’ definitely belongs somewhere in that world.
9. The Inhabitants – ‘Flippin’ It’ (Grant Dell Remix) [Evasive Records]
‘Glixen’ is probably the most straight forward track on the EP. I absolutely love a great and deceivingly simple groove. It’s the sort of thing that makes you dance for hours on end after all. Grant Dell is one of the best for sure.
10. 100Hz – ‘Shoot the Bar’ [Bosconi Recoords]
Another DJs favourite, 100Hz is one of the kings of the swung groove. This dude has released about a billion inspiring cuts. He is also going to be playing live at the next Holding Hands Records night on the 31st of August at The Waiting Room in London. Don’t miss the legend in action.
Desert Sound Colony’s Fast Life EP is out August 31st on Touch from a Distance.
Preorder it here.