Scrimshire – Emperor (Stubborn Heart Remix) Part-Time Heroes – Leaving (Noisses Remix) Paper Tiger – Irresistible (Debian Blak Remix) Aaron Jerome – Jelabi Lea Lea – Apartheid (Is Tropical Remix) Resonators – B.A.S.I.C. (AK-DK Cally Remix) Scrimshire – Alignment (Anchorsong Remix) The Gene Dudley Group – The Hilo Bay Halfway (Scrimshire Remix) Bev Lee Harling – Why Don’t You Do Right? (Suonho Remix) Colman Brothers – Some Other Wonder (Sunlightsquare Remix) Man / Boy featuring Girl – It’s Only Perfect Henri-Pierre Noel – A Fifth Of Beethoven (The Reflex Re-vision) Lea Lea – Black Or White (Goth-Trad Remix) Stac – Glory (Elias Linn Remix) Part-Time Heroes – Words (Fybe One Remix)
For 15 years Wah Wah 45s have been releasing music with a soulful feel, regardless of sub-genre, many of which have no doubt ended up as staples of your local underground party on a Saturday night. That’s right, Wah Wah don’t just do acoustic soul, brass band funk, dub reggae and foot friendly jazz, we’ve been dipping our toes in the world of dance floor electronica for sometime and following on from the success of last year’s compilation, we thought it was about time we brought you the second instalment of “Wah Friends Electric”.
Volume 2 continues where it predecessor left off, covering the club friendly end of the Wah Wah back catalogue, from early deep house offerings from Aaron Jerome (the man behind the Sbtrkt mask) and blue eyed disco from Talc’s night club dwelling alter egoes Man / Boy featuring Girl, to more recent outings from Lea Lea, Paper Tiger and Scrimshire. Add to that previously unreleased, and exclusive to this compilation, remixes from The Reflex and Noisses, as well as other homegrown greats such as Stubborn Heart and Debian Blak, not to mention Japanese dons Goth-Trad and Anchorsong, and you’ve got one serious second volume of dance music from the Wah Wah vaults.
Scrimshire is part of the team heading up seminal record label Wah Wah 45s, but before that he’s an artist three albums deep into his work. Bight is out now, a multi-layered ode to the sea and a thing of beauty. Listen to all of his past work at his Bandcamp.
Hi Adam! What’s keeping you busy at the moment?
Getting back on top of business at Wah Wah mostly, a little bit of writing for another project and gig preparations.
How do you like to describe your own music for the uninitiated?
I’m bad at it. It draws on a lot of influences from soul, jazz, electronic, various African styles and Latin too, plus a bit of prog rock thrown in. But that doesn’t really describe it. I think I’m still working towards what it is.
Thanks for the Groovement mix! Quite a few exclusives on there, some with your own touch – could you give us a quick heads up on those?
I did the Eddie Bradford one a while back, just a bit of classic soul I wanted to twist a bit (and catch a few more minutes out of).
The Tenth Tone edit came out of the show I’ve been doing with Faye Houston – we do it two ways, an acoustic set and an ableton/APC/MPD set where I’ve taken all the album stems and I mix/edit it live. I’d been toying with the beats and bass and wanted to get a version to take out when I’m DJing, so I’ve programmed additional beats to toughen it up, dubbed it out a bit. Might get a release somewhere.
I went to Slovenia recently for a couple of gigs and was introduced to so much incredible soul and funk from the region. Both Jedna Mala Plava and Zlatakosa are from that trip. The Pro-Arte track in it’s original form though might be a little much for English speaking audiences so I’ve messed with it a bit to deliver the beats a bit more.
Photo: Toast of Leeds
Bight’s been out a month now – how has the response been so far?
Not bad. Some of the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Time will tell. It took over 6 months from the release of The Hollow for people to really pick up on it.
Themes in the album seem quite deep – you mention on your site a love for the deep, blue sea. Is that a lifelong thing?
Yes, we spent pretty much all of our childhood holidays in the same spot in south Wales. My Mum and Dad were swimmers – met that way – and my Gramp taught swimming at the Coventry City club. So I guess we were all water babies.
The postcards are a nice idea, something you started with The Hollow. What’s their aim?
Hopefully to get across the themes and imagery that influenced the making of the music. Plus I enjoy going off with my camera and making them – sometimes it’s a break in recording, sometimes a rest from it all afterwards. I also found first time round that tearing the music apart taught me I need to be more disrespectful of my creations and be prepared to fuck with them more during the creative process. So it’s for you and for me.
Listening to Bight, I was reminded of the drawings of Ernst Haeckel (an amazing artist, despite his racist scientific views) - are there any particular pieces of art that pop into your head when thinking about the sea? I only ask this because graphics seems to be a vital element in the Scrimshire world.
I wasn’t familiar with him. They’re amazing! Actually no, though there are so many to choose from. There were some particular photographs I remembered and films and particular books – Moby Dick being one. There are definitely images in my head but I couldn’t attribute them I’m afraid.
You’ve created much of your music in the past on your own, does Bight follow a similar pattern?
Yes and no. Yes it was basically made on my own. I took on more of the live drums, bass and vocals this time. My own approach has been changing and my circumstances changed – access to space kit – so the way it was created changed.
How do you approach the release of a new album in 2013? From both points of view, as an artist and label. Is it harder to get people to notice music now than in, say, 2008?
Yes, I’d say it’s harder. For the sort of demographics we appeal to radio play is still one of the most important elements of getting an artist noticed and that remains as hard as ever to achieve with any consistency. But stations like BBC 6 Music and their approach to music makes a big difference.
There’s a lot of ground to cover these days. I guess even as recently as 2008 you would have focused on some key channels, you need to have so much covered now in terms of blogs now, websites, YouTube channels. But you need to have you’re own stuff sewn up above all. I think Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, your own blog – they’re all really powerful tools but you need to know what you’re doing with them and how you’re going to use them. You need to be consistent.
In all honesty some days it feels like a complete mystery though. I think the one thing you can focus on is trying to show as much inventiveness and creativity in your marketing as in your music. And it should reflect who you are as an artist and a person.
Are you hoping for a vinyl release for Bight? Is that harder than ever to do? Is there still the market for it?
I can’t sit here and tell you I wouldn’t absolutely be like a kid at Christmas if I could have it on vinyl. But there just isn’t the demand for it at this point – for my music. But yes, there is still the demand for vinyl albums. I buy them more now than ever. Wah Wah made its first vinyl albums last year and are continuing to make them. Some things just need it and while it doesn’t make anyone any real money it’s a great thing to do for the right album.
Have you already started thinking about themes for your fourth album? Are such themes mapped out in a notebook somewhere?
Not yet, I’ve got ideas about how it’ll sound and I’m kind of itching to get started on writing some new bits. I wish there was a notebook full of ideas but I tend to just keep it all in my head until they fuse into something that really makes sense. Then I start.
Think back to the Amiga for a minute – are there principles that you learned then that you still use now, or were you already a musician?
I’d been playing a keyboard for about a year when I started making music on the Amiga, so no I wasn’t really a musician at that point. I was writing on Octamed so you’re actually programming in individual hexadecimal controls for things like volume or any other midi based command. That made me really deconstruct what makes a synthesis of something sound good/real/other.
I could never play music in off the keyboard particularly effectively so I used to insert each note individually – it really breaks things apart. Then to multi-track record stuff I would have two tape decks – or later on mini-disc. I would record to one, swap it to the other machine, play it back and record the next vocal or instrument track over the top. All destructively of course, it’s completely committed, which makes you really consider each one.
I don’t really do punch ins now either.
– Interlude: here’s Groovement’s pal Pete Cannon with an Octamed breakdown… –
My day job is to teach children at a primary level. As I’m sat here doing work and listening to Bight, I was wondering if you have an opinion on what children should know musically by the age of 11?
I didn’t know anything really by that age. From the teachers I know and some of the things I’ve seen (we actually recorded the live drums for the album at a school in Croydon where my keyboard player Dave Koor teaches music tech) I think that there are great opportunities for kids these days and fascinating teachers teaching great things. If that could be more widespread that would be amazing. I think all they should know is that music is hard work and success doesn’t just come to you buy turning up on a TV show. That most “overnight successes” are made to look so but often are the result of many years work. You should be doing it because you have a passion for it but at that age, just to experiment and don’t imagine there are any rules.
Adam Scrimshire is one of the driving forces behind the celebrated Wah Wah 45s, one of the UK’s premier proper record labels. Find out more about them, and their latest releases, over here. I first heard of Adam by picking up his Warm Sound 12″ at Fat City, and have kept a close eye on his goings on since. Have a listen to first album Along Came The Devil One Night (2009, here) and sequel The Hollow (2011, here) to get an idea of Scrimshire’s ridiculously skilled songwriting and soulfully layered productions. Modern modern soul, if you will.
His third album, Bight, is a tour de force of loops, soul and unexpected twists and is available now.
As well as writing, singing and producing, Scrimshire’s a DJ and selector. For Groovement, Adam has been kind enough to hand pick a killer selection of tracks including a few exclusives. I’m very proud to be able to host this, and I hope you enjoy it too.
The Sting marks Paper Tiger‘s return to working with Stones Throw affiliated artists, having teamed up with Dudley Perkins on their first EP for Jus’Like, Worldwide Takeover.
PT now call Wah Wah 45s home, and their third release for the label (following the Priceless and Come Correct EPs) is bittersweet synth hop for the summer led by PT resident rapper Raphael Attar. Homeboy Sand guests on the single following a recent hooking up of great minds in London recently. Can’t wait for the full length.
Buy the 7″ vinyl, limited to 200, on the Bandcamp page. Digi links below.
My favourite part is when Raphael gets slapped with flowers, because it looks like it took a few takes…
I’m very chuffed to welcome Wah Wah 45s’ supreme selector Neil Bopperson to the Groovement podcast.
Check his artist page here, his Soundcloud here and his Mixcloud here.
“Knowing the content of Groovement well and knowing that Agent J himself is a huge Hip Hop head himself, I tried to keep in with mix well in with the Groovement ethos; “Mo fo yo soul” So when I started putting this mix together I tried to keep it loosely based around Hip Hop, or at least what Hip Hop means to me. This could be anything from straight out 98 BPM beats and bass, an old funk sample, a striking 808 snare slap, right up to the punchy cut and paste stuff of Cut Chemist through to the sounds of a frantic French MC. Enjoy.”
Preview and purchase the Colman Brothers album here.
Matt Frameworks yet again proves that he is one of Manchesters finest new producers with a stunning remix of Colman Brothers incredible single El Nino.
The Wah Wah 45s mainstay artists Mat and Andrew Colman have played in just about every good beat orientated band from the last decade, so it is never any surprise when they create a strong track, and their early release El Nino fits fully into that box. This teamed with the Frameworks touch makes for excellent listening.
The El Nino remix appears alongside remixes by some of the UK’s most influential artists (including Tall Black Guy and Scrimshire) on the Colman Brothers Remixed album which is now available for download.