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Christian Murphy, - on 19/7/12
Still only 20 years old, London based producer Harry Wolfman already has a slew of releases under his belt for the likes of Kote and Wentz. On top of this he co-runs 'Wolfstock', an exciting party which has already brought the likes of Joy Orbison, The Revenge and Waifs and Strays to the capital in their first year. 2012 has plenty in store for the young talent, who's soulful house stylings seem to have found a home with Purp & Soul. Ahead of the release of his superbly funky free 'How Do You Want It EP' on Purp & Soul, we caught up with Harry, who also had an exclusive free download of an unreleased gem of his to give away, 'Soul Food' which you can grab here
This week sees your first release on Purp and Soul with the free How Do You Want It EP, tell us a little bit about the tracks and how you came to work with the Purp and Soul guys. I was basically going through a phase of sampling bits and bobs and I sort of re-stumbled upon a few of my favorite hip hop, rnb and soul cuts from the 90s. I was piecing together various ideas and decided to put together a couple of disco influenced edits from two of my favorite tracks in particular (the ones used on the free ep, 2pac - How Do You Want It and D'angelo - Brown Sugar). They turned out great and I was passing them out amongst friends and eventually Chris and Ben (the Purp & Soul bosses) thought it might be an idea to put them together for a little free release alongside some remixes which have turned out great so really happy with it and hope people dig the package! With the Purp & Soul lads, Ben basically contacted me about 6 months ago I think it was and told me about what they were up to, that they were launching a label etc. I sent him over some stuff and we hit it off from there. It's been great so far working with a group of lads who are as much your mates as your colleagues, I've had pretty crappy experiences with other guys involved in the industry where it's been much less personal. Anytime we get together for a showcase or whatever it's great fun and Chris and Ben are all about maintaining a sort of family atmosphere which I think is really important. There's no telling us what to do with our music, we're left to express ourselves freely and I think that's probably what's allowing all the guys to develop so well.
Previous releases for the likes of Kote and Wentz have seen you making use of sampled vocals and this is no exception. Where do you go about sourcing these vocals from and how important do you think it is for your tunes like yours to have a vocal element? I think vocals in a lot of cases are what makes a track and in many instances it will be my source of inspiration. For a while I was making a lot of tech-house which didn't really have much 'soul' or character and since I've been employing a much more vocal based approach I've enjoyed making music a lot more and I think (or like to think!) that my output has been far better. In most cases I like to trawl through 90s records which often were released with acapellas but I also source stuff from old motown records and in one case even a cheeky Muse sample. I am now looking to get more involved with original material, working with vocalists to create more original hooks.
You've done a number of edits and often employ samples as the central component of your tunes-what do you feel you bring to the table as a producer when adapting this source material? I love sampling, I find it really inspiring when you stumble across an old record, acapella or instrumental and instantly ideas start popping into your head, whether it's making a simple edit to play out or sourcing one sound in particular. People like Daft Punk and Armand Van Helden are probably the best examples of why sampling is house music gold! When I sample stuff it can be in lots of different ways, sometimes I'll hear a really nice chord progression from an old soul record where it just wouldn't be possible to replicate the sound... usually some vintage rhodes or something. I'll feed it into a sampler and jam my own melody with it. It could be as simple as sourcing vinyl crackle for some texture, the possibilities with sampling are endless! I always tend to add a modern twist with quite chunky drums and my own bassline. I got into dance music through bassier stuff like drum and bass and breakbeat and I think big drums have always resonated through the various genres I've given a go over the years. So yeah, taking the soul and texture from past records and putting my own modern, clubby twist on it is generally what I like to do.
You and your brother Luke's party 'Wolfstock' has recently celebrated its' first birthday, how do you feel the experience of playing at and running this night has informed your knowledge of what works on the dancefloor? I think it's good yeh, inviting down guys who inspire you and who know exactly how to work the floor is a great experience and playing alongside them is a real privilege. It has been a bit of a roller-coaster and at times extremely stressful but when it all comes together and you've got a party really kicking off it makes it all worthwhile. I think any form of DJing whether it's at an intimate party or a massive club helps you to understand how to keep the floor moving. In my opinion the best DJs are the most experienced ones and it takes years of playing records for people to get to that level.
What has the rest of 2012 got in store for your music and your life in general? The rest of the year is shaping up to be really really exciting. Have a bunch of stuff lined up in the form of remixes, one of which for Murkage is due out shortly with Purp & Soul and another for my good friend Ben Pearce and his highly anticipated 'What I Might Do' with Under The Shade. Alongside that a bunch of originals that are slowly finding the right homes and plenty more Wolfstock parties, the first of which is on 17th August (which happens to be my date of birth) at the Horse & Groom... we'll be welcoming along the Purp & Soul clan. The week before the we're at Jack's Festival in Kent with our good friends from Leeds, Flux. We'll be welcoming along a foray of talent, the likes of Deetron, Crazy P, Huxley, Andre Lodemann and Audiojack. Hugely excited, anyone in and around London should get on the case with grabbing a ticket I am told they are running out quickly! Aside from that I've just moved to Hackney and am looking forward to the Olympic mayhem.
Finally, the tune you've given away here, Soul Food, is fantastic-sexy and a little bit dark-how did you go about putting this one together and is the atmosphere you created here something you aim for? Glad you like it! Threw some drums down and I was playing around with some samples from an old soul record. Started to throw some bits into a sampler and jam a few ideas down. Happened kind of naturally, not sure what I was going for, felt like something kind of groove based. Started flicking through some vocals and chopped up some Whitney adlibs and it seemed to work then a cheeky james brown count in to complete the equation... This is certainly the kind of vibe I'm enjoying making at the moment and it's a good representation of stuff to come, enjoy the free download!
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