Two British Techno titans tackle the big questions.
Busy men at the best of times, the past 12 months or so have been relentless for Perc and Truss. Now revered by a generation of young producers as heroes of a UK scene that’s increasingly the envy of Techno fans around the world, the pair have been everywhere recently. Perc’s Perc Trax label has been celebrating its 10 year anniversary with a series of events and releases – including a riotous Boiler Room session late last year that will live long in the memory, whilst he also dropped his acclaimed sophmore LP, ‘The Power and The Glory’.
Truss for his part has been teaming up with Perc for a series of acclaimed b2b’s across Europe, after previously working together on two EP’s in as many years. He’s also found time to continue his work with American producer Donor – dropping an EP on Milanese label M_REC LTD last month, whilst the end of 2014 saw him draw his and Bleaching Agent’s unhinged Blacknecks project to a close with their 6th EP.
Set to deliver the UK debut of their b2b set this Saturday 28th February at Corsica Studios as Perc Trax concludes its 10th anniversary celebrations, we got Perc and Truss to take turns interviewing each other for the latest ‘Vs’. Having previously given us Paula Abdul and Russian Mario Kart Bangers on YouTube Sessions, the pair are once again both irreverent and illuminating here as they delve deeper on early raving experiences, the state of the scene and Coco Pops induced crabbiness…
Truss interviews Perc
What do you make of the current state of the Techno scene in the UK?
It’s in a strong and very interesting place right now. New producers are popping up all the time and something I keep hearing is people taking established and sometimes weary sounds and sub-genres and making something fresh out of them, which is inspiring to me. Fresh blood is good to any scene. If you just had the same handful of DJs and producers dominating for years things would get very boring.
The UK scene has not gone out of its way to differentiate itself from the Techno scenes in other countries but there are definitely types of tracks that are very popular here but which might not work so well elsewhere. It is just a different feeling, it is still Techno, but it feels distinct from other scenes and I find that fascinating.
You used to work for a large distributor as well as label manage some very prominent UK labels of their time. How much has this experience helped in the way you run Perc Trax?
I’ve worked for vinyl distribution companies, record labels and music publishers so I’ve seen most of the industry from the business side of things. I picked up a lot of tips, but as most of the companies I worked for went bust eventually it also taught me not what to do. The key is to be aware of what is happening in the wider music scene, whilst at the same differentiating yourself from what others are doing.
Weetos or Coco Pops?
Weetos all the way. Despite having an equivalent amount of sugar I get the rage if I have Coco Pops for breakfast, which is slightly strange.
Describe one of your most memorable clubbing experiences as a punter.
Going to an XL showcase at the Hacienda in 1992 was pretty amazing. I was visiting my brother, who was studying in Manchester, I borrowed someone’s student ID card, covered up the photo with my thumb as I flashed it to the bouncers and somehow got in. The Prodigy were headlining and it was around the time that ‘Out Of Space’ was released. I’d never been a proper club, let alone one with a soundsystem like that. It instantly changed everything I thought I knew about electronic music and clubbing.
You’ve been around long enough to have witnessed trends shift and scenes come and go. Predict one significant development in electronic dance music over the next two years.
People will hate me saying this, but less and less people will be playing vinyl in clubs, not due to the rise of laptop DJing (which I think has peaked already), but due to the amount of people playing from USB sticks. DJs who would not be seen dead in a club with a laptop and who could never be arsed with the hassle of burning CDs every week are jumping on the USB thing. The less DJs that play vinyl the less inclined clubs are to maintain their vinyl decks which in turn wears down those final DJs that do want to keep playing from vinyl.
Perc interviews Truss
Are there tracks that you only play in your sets with me but not in your solo sets?
I don’t think there are really. I’ve always tried to keep my DJ sets quite open in terms of the music I play. I always enjoy trying to find moments when I can throw in an old Italo record or pitched down Gabber track. The main difference with our b2b sets would be the context in which the tracks are played. There is definitely a leaning towards the more ravey/OTT end of the spectrum.
Where in the world do you most enjoy playing and where would you like to play that you have not played already?
The place that immediately springs to mind is Ireland, Dublin in particular. People like Sunil Sharpe and Ro who runs Subject have been helping to nurture a fantastic scene over there. Energy levels are always through the roof and the crowds seem to be very open minded musically.
As for a place I’ve not yet played, China. I traveled a small area of China as a tourist around nine years ago. One of the things I remember clearly was frequently hearing a form of dance music that was evidently popular with the locals, a kind of cross between Happy Hardcore and Hard House. Not necessarily my thing, but I found it fascinating that this genre/scene existed that I (as a Westerner) was completely unaware of. It made me wonder how many other scenes existed there, what other forms of electronic music there might be that are specific to parts of China, and which are largely unknown outside of the country.
How many more years do we have to work together until I can touch the 303?
Sorry pal, not going to happen.
Will we ever see a full TR//ER EP?
Maybe… We don’t have anything planned right now though.
What one piece of studio equipment would you love to have?
At the moment I’m lusting after some new monitors, specifically the Focal SM9.
Perc and Truss play b2b for Slowly Exploding: 10 Years of Perc Trax at Corsica Studios this Saturday alongside Randomer, Powell, Factory Floor and more. Advance tickets have sold out, but there will be a few tickets on the door for those who arrive early. More details here.