Within the UK electro machine, a few vital cogs twist and turn to keep the motor ticking. Label bosses like CPSmith and Andrea Parker, promoters such as Scand and Plex, and figurehead producers much the same as Claro Intelecto and Radioactive Man are all pivotal nuts and bolts, without which an inevitable stutter and breakdown would occur. One such cog, the pistons driving the engine, is Phil Bolland, the man behind party night Scand, record label Cultivated Electronics, and producer Sync 24. Through his events, venues across London have been graced by some of the best electro DJs from all over the globe, whilst his label has released top quality machine-music from leading producers. Cultivated Electronics’ latest release, From The Dark, stays true to the label’s pedigree with 8 fueled-up cuts of mechanised electro. We spoke to Phil about the upcoming release, his experience within electro, and plans for the future.
Where does the series’ title come from and what is the meaning behind it?
I have always been into dark spooky sounds when it comes to dance music, this is something I think is evident in a lot of my productions and releases on the label. With this in mind I wanted to do a compilation series focusing on this sound in electro.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the new 3 part series coming out on your label?
It actually started out as a 12″ series. I was planning to release a 4 part V/A series similar to the World Electronix releases I did in 2013/14. Before I knew it I had enough for 5 12’s then 6. I hadn’t released an LP on CE before but in recent years the strength of the label had been growing so I felt now was the time. I spoke with my distro Clone about the idea of 3 x double packs with full artwork and they also felt the time was right. We decided to release all 3 within a 2 month period before the year was out. From having never released an LP to diving straight into 3 at once I slightly underestimated the work involved lol. But with everything now in place I am really proud of the project.
Who are the artists on this new release, and why were they selected for this first edition?
I had collected all the tracks for the project before I started breaking them into LPs. As they were coming in I was making mental notes on what worked best with what. I wanted LP1 to set the tone of the series and focus on quite trippy hypnotic stuff for the dancefloor as well as balancing established artists with new lesser known names. So this kind of lead the choices for LP 1.
So the artists whose material worked best for LP 1 were Delta Funktionen, Versalife, 214, Jensen Interceptor and Assembler Code, Stratowerx, Rico Casazza, Exterminador and myself with Alienata.
The release features artists from all over the world. Do you think electro has become a more globally celebrated genre in recent years?
In my opinion no. It’s always been a worldwide sound with a dedicated following. It’s just enjoying another rise in popularity right now which is great. This in turn has lead to the genre being exposed to new listeners which is a really positive thing.
When are the other two releases expected to come out?
Mid Nov and early Dec.
Are the future releases going to keep up the club-readiness of the first edition, or will they come out of the dark from a different angle?
Yes all 3 releases are solidly aimed at the dancefloor with each having its own slight twist. But as on LP 1 there are some slower, start of the night jams too.
How do you think the sound has progressed since your early days of listening, and how can you hear this on the release
To me electro is a constantly evolving sound. I hear a lot of new music that takes the classic influences of older electro and gives it a fresh twist. This is what I look for in music I sign, something that makes it stand out with a unique sound to my ear. I also think there is a lot of strong production values in modern electro which gives it a modern feel. I would like to think this comes through in the LP series.
What was it like to work with Alienata?
Yeah fun. I have known Elena for a few years now and she is one of my favourite DJ’s. We had played quite a few parties together in that time and I thought it would be cool to collaborate on some tunes. I booked Elena for one of my Scand parties at Corsica Studios last November and she came and stayed a few extra days and we jammed out some ideas.
How did working in a pair change your approach in the studio, if at all?
For me not at all. I collaborate a lot and when it’s in my studio I tend to lead the engineering side of the session. We jammed some ideas and multi tracked as we went till all the elements were in place. I then took care of the arrangement and mixing side of things after bouncing ideas between here and Berlin.
This was actually the second track we produced. The first came out in the summer on the Killekill Mega Hits 3 10 Years compilation.
Is the title a prediction of electro’s sound in the future, or your take on what electro has come to sound like?
Lol no not really just some fun lyrics we made up that sounded cool 🙂
With the first instalment in the From The Dark series dropping yesterday, you can grab your copy of the LP here.
Words: Jens Berring