Progressive-Sounds: You have worked heavily with Anil Chawla. How did you guys build such a good working relationship?
Dale: We met about five years ago at Turnmills. I think it was New Year's Eve or something. I had been "producing" (I use that term extremely loosely considering my expertise at that stage) for about two years or so, and Anil wanted to get some tracks going so we decided to try something together. Our first track was a truly horrific bootleg of Green Velvet's "Flash". Anil and I were dj'ing later that month at Mongo Bongo and we were really excited to see how the track worked on the dancefloor, and well, the word "fire drill" springs to mind. Luckily, I think we have learned a thing or two since then and hopefully our sound is a bit more mature…and user friendly! We get on great in and out of the studio.
Progressive-Sounds:How does it feel working with a legendary label such as Global Underground? Describe your relationship with them?Even today, Sasha's San Francisco cd one is definitely one of my all time favourite discs. It's proper dance music, timeless stuff.
It's a bit surreal really! I still remember buying my first GU (Oakenfold) way back when, and reading Dom's cover notes and thinking he's right, this really is "magic". Not just the music, but the whole feel of the packaging, the kind of edginess of the artwork, there really wasn't anything like it that I had seen before. Even today, Sasha's San Francisco cd one is definitely one of my all time favourite discs. It's proper dance music, timeless stuff.
As for the relationship with GU, Andy and the guys at GU are great to work with and very down to earth. And even through the ups and downs of dance music and the industry in general, quality is still clearly priority number one for them, and you have to respect them for that. Furthermore, they have given us complete artistic freedom for the artist album, which is pretty rare in this day and age, and a bit of a leap of faith for them seeing how relatively new to the label we are, so again, I have much respect.
Progressive-Sounds: Where do you find your inspiration?
Dale: I'm inspired by all kinds of music and I hope that shows in the variety of tracks I have done. I used to write music in a band on a major label years ago, so it can be anything really (except country music – stories of rottweilers, pick up trucks and moonshine don't inspire me). I like to write a range of stuff because it would just bore me to stick to some formula and write Leftorium over and over again. I guess it could be confusing to some people listening to my tracks on Beatport, jumping between genres, but I like a bit of everything - as long as it's good. And you can be sure I'll never release something I am not 100% happy with.
Progressive-Sounds: What radical idea have you had for a production that you wish you could release?
Dale: Radical idea? Tough question! I am not convinced there is anything terribly radical in dance music or music as a whole these days, but there certainly are some "left of centre" ideas on the GU album, including a track that is essentially a live band riffing away, and another that is almost a pop record with Justin Robertson laying down the vocals. Radical? Maybe not, but definitely out there as far as the stuff that I have done in a dance music context.
Progressive-Sounds: What would you change about the current state of electronic music? What is its best facet?
Dale: I don't think I would really change anything. There are lots of things that people bitch about, but it's all par for the course as the industry matures I suppose. I do however miss the old days of warehouse parties, secret locations, anticipation of the djs and the music to come etc. For me, there was probably a bit more excitement ten years ago, but it was new to me then. That being said, I still love the music now as much as I did then. What is the best part of it for me? I guess accessibility – not in a musical context, but in a "connection with people" kind of way. With facebook, myspace etc. it's easier to get music to the djs you want and easier for people to feedback to you etc. Obviously it's a bit of a double edged sword though as people want opinions/advice on tracks/productions/mixes etc. just as I do. I am happy to do as much as I can (god knows I could have used the advice when I started!) but I can't keep up with it all sometimes. That being said though, I am flattered that anyone would ask little old me for advice. I think I probably annoyed the hell out of Max Graham when I first got into the production side of things, but in the end he gave me some great advice that really helped me develop, and we became friends off the back of it, so there you go!I don't only listen to one genre, and I don't mix only one genre – that would bore me senseless
Progressive-Sounds: What do you look for in track selection when compiling a compilation?
Dale: At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, I look for good tracks. I don't only listen to one genre, and I don't mix only one genre – that would bore me senseless – and I like to think I have a fairly open mind. I would rather a mix has an overall feeling that is interesting, and you can't create that through back to back minimal/techno/prog tracks, in my humble opinion anyways! I am less concerned these days about having only "upfront" records in a mix because the freshest tracks don't necessarily make a good dj mix, and unless you are only intending for other djs to listen to it (which they probably won't anyways), no one else cares when the tracks came out as long as they all fit together well, create a mood and hold the listener's attention. That's more the point of a mix I reckon. Specifically, I guess I try and find things that have a good groove, can hold my attention and have a bit of subtlety to them, as opposed to massive riffs. I think those kind of tracks grow on you and make you want to listen to it more than once or twice.
Progressive-Sounds:And on the flip side, with your own productions, what sort of sound do you strive to achieve?
Dale: I never consciously go for one sound or another. I don't sit down and say "right, let's do a techno track" "or let's do a track that Sasha will play". I am influenced by music that I am feeling at the time, and will put on a couple of tunes before I actually sit down to write something. With Leftorium, I was really into the Danny Howells Miami GU at the time and wanted to go for a sound that was similar to the overall feel of that comp – quite summery, but deep at the same time – so I listened to a bunch of the tracks on there and started working on a groove and some chords, and built it from there. The only thing I guess I really strive for is diversity from one production to the next.
Progressive-Sounds: What are your top tracks of the moment?
Dale:I am really into the stuff that Anil is doing on his own, and also Tim Davison has been doing some great stuff as of late. I'm a big fan of the Presslab Boys, Dusty Kid, Pig & Dan, Mark Sun etc. There's lots of good music out there, it's just a matter of finding it!
Progressive-Sounds:What does 2008 hold for you?
Dale:The album is the first priority. Everything else is on hold until that is complete, but we are nearly there with it now, and really happy with the results so far. GU has signed up both Anil and I for their new GU World Tours roster run in conjunction with Ministry of Sound, so I am looking forward to getting back to DJing again, and there are some things in the works as far as a tour in support of the release. I've also recently signed on with Sedition DJs (the agency I dj through) and they are starting to get things rolling from a European/Asia perspective, post-album.
On the production front, I have a number of remixes that I am scheduled to do, and also have a bunch of my own new tracks in the bag already that I haven't started shopping yet, but hopefully will get picked up. I will also be doing a few new bits with Anil and with Stewart Keenan over the summer as well (under the Keenan & Anderson guise). Other than that, I will be concentrating primarily on my own stuff this year and getting back in the saddle dj wise.