Somerset born Tessela, aka Ed Russell took time out of his busy schedule to chat with Pulse about his influences and up and coming projects. Having toured extensively throughout Europe recently, he caught up with Eddie Jux to talk about his time at Leeds and his up and coming gig at Blink for Found this Friday 29th June.
Your tracks have elements of Jungle, House, Dubstep, even UK Garage. We all know Bristol pushes boundaries, but tell us more about the scene that you’ve emerged from. I think it's probably more common that not these days to combine elements from a number of genres and influences. Especially in the UK anyway. So much UK music comes as a result of people mashing genres together. I started out listening to jungle and Drum and Bass then got kinda swept up in the whole Dubstep explosion. I was living in leeds for about 4 years whilst i did my degree. Because of the huge student population there it's always had a very active music scene. You could pretty much go out any night of the week and there would be some decent music on somewhere.
Who or what do you remember being particularly influential to you, what helped shape this mishmash of sounds? I used to go out to a lot of Jungle and drum and bass parties when I was about 15/16. I think that was when I really started getting into electronic music and my first productions were crap D&B rip-offs. That influence is definitely coming back in me I think, Not crap D&B but early jungle and definitely Hardcore. Then I'd say my other main influence comes from techno which probably has filtered down through my brother. He's been buying, playing or making techno since I can remember and has taught me a lot of what I know about producing. I'm sure thats had a huge impact on my music.
Your first release, ‘Slugger’ on All City Records was widely recognised, leading to subsequent releases on 2nd Drop and more significantly, Punch Drunk with ‘D Jane / Channel’. Can you tell us how this release came about? They just contacted me one day via my soundcloud, said they liked my music and wondered whether I'd like to put out some music with them. They've put out so many great records, it was brilliant to work with them on my first release.
Having played in a host of locations all over Europe this year, London, Leeds, Rome, Rotterdam, Florence, how have your sets been received, and does the reception differ from city to city? I tend to change my sets a bit depending on where I'm playing. To some extent you need to be aware of the musical lineage and history of a city and respect that when your playing. For example in the UK it's pretty common to just play an hour and you can get away with switching it up a bit and chopping between a couple of styles. What I've found from playing in Europe though is they tend to be a little more patient than us brits, and a longer perhaps more narrative set often is better received.
The Tessela demand is undoubtedly rising. Tell us a bit about your DJ sets, are they synonymous with the tracks we’ve heard from you already or do you like to mash it up a bit? As I previously mentioned it really depends on where you play but yeah I guess in general I like to throw in a few different styles. I tend to play quite a lot of techno these days and then litter the set with more broken, angular tracks that can catch the listener off guard. It all depends on the night though really.
Do you prefer to keep it analogue like a lot of the Bristol scene or are you already a Digital DJ? And why? I just play off CD's at the moment, I buy vinyl but for lack of space and money I don't currently own any decks so they just sit on my shelf. Toward the end of the year though and into next year I'd like to start playing more vinyl. As much as I like keeping my records all nice and neat I can't help but think its a waste of time and money ripping them and then playing from CD's. Travelling with just a backpack and a CD wallet is bloody handy though.
You seem to be a busy DJ in comparison with the relatively few releases you have to your name. Have you been known as a DJ before making waves as a producer? No,I've only started playing out since releasing some records.
So what are you working on at the moment? With a growing number of releases to your name, is there any possibility of an album to come soon? I'm not planning on releasing an album anytime soon. I'm still slightly sceptical of the album format and its relevance in electronic music. Particularly electronic music that is more intended for clubs than home listening. Sometimes it works but more often than not I'm a bit disappointed by album efforts. I'd much rather see an artist release a few 12" singles than an album.
You’re playing at FOUND this Friday. What do you think about the run of nights they’ve put on so far and who else are you looking forward to seeing play there? Yeah I'm really excited about his one. I'm yet to go to hidden and the line up looks great!
Tessela plays at Blink for FOUND this Friday at Hidden, Vauxhall, London. For tickets and info, head here.
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