Silicone Soul's Darkroom Dubs label is officially ten years old - so what better way to celebrate a decade of exploring the grey area between bottom heavy, stripped back dancefloor timbes and tech house by releasing the thrid instalment in an already lauded compialtion series? Starting their imprint in 2003, their tech house stylings and deep, bottom heavy sounds are perfectly suited to the most early morning haunt. Featuring original material from the likes Alex Niggemann, Robag Whrume and more, the duo's compialtion has become a staple event in the dance music world. Tom Lally chatted to Craig Morrison & Graeme Reedie as they prepare for their launch party at Watergate Berlin this weekend, offering us a tasty free track download (and stream) in the process. Nice work.
What have you guys been up to recently? Pretty busy, aside from DJ'ing and producing we've been mostly working on Darkroom Dubs; running the label, planning the schedule for the 10th Anniversary this year and organising parties and events to celebrate. Also we've just release our "Darkroom Dubs Vol.3" mix CD.
You’ve been touring artists for over 10 years. What have been some of your favourite places to play in that time? I think the residencies are the most memorable, as when you play the same club regularly you start to get used to the system and you feel comfortable with the crowd. I think you express yourself more as maybe you are more relaxed, or take more risks with record choice. Our first residency in Glasgow was at the Arches, where Slam now hold there monthly Pressure extravaganzas. La Terrrazza, in Barcelona was great too, we still play there but I remember a period that it was almost like a second home and the same can be said for Cafe D'Anvers. Circo Loco, DC10 around 2003 - 2006 was amazing too and a real eye-opener to put it mildly. As far as cities or countries go, we have always had amazing parties in Belgrade and wider Serbia. Again, it's all about the crowd and they have always been very welcoming to us there. Last year we played in Bali for the first time which was a fantastic experience, and also we been really enjoying Buenos Aires, both the clubs and the city. Really lovely people and for me it feels like proper, straight up clubbing, music and parties… no bullshit, more like what we are used to in Glasgow. Having said that most of clubs we play in South America are similar in that respect. Also, on a personal level it allows me to visit a good friend there.
The release of the upcoming Darkroom Dubs compilation marks the start of the label’s 10 year anniversary celebrations. What have you got planned? The main release with be the 10th Anniversary CD Compilation. With tracks from mainly artists who have been on board over the years or we've admired as producers like Antonio Olivieri, Gary Beck, Los Suruba, Simon Garcia, Uner, Freska, Jairo Catelo, Of Norway, Jozif and Ryan Crosson. We're writing a new track too for it very much in the vein of the DRD50 "Alive From The Opium Den". Also, Of Norway are performing their live album... really can't wait to hear it!
There's Freska's superb debut, "Wrong Songs" which we are just starting to promote now. Nadja Lind from Klartraum has made a great mix of tracks from the Darkroom Dubs back catalogue, so we'll be releasing that as a compilation. Also there will be a couple more retrospectives albums, one focusing on our own Darkroom Dubs and Hypnohouse Remixes. So yeah, a fair selection.
What were the reasons for starting the label all those years ago? Did you ever expect it to still be around after 10 years? We just wanted to start up our own label and put out good music. The impetus behind it all was probably a bit reactionary to our situation and the state of house at the time was was becoming increasingly commercial for the first time. Darkroom Dubs was a bit of a catharsis, just getting back to basics, releasing straight club music and our favourite tracks by other artists we'd found in record stores on our travels. In hindsight, a lot has changed in ten years and we were brought up on the attitudes of labels like Underground Resistance and the notion that electronic music/ DJs and pop culture were mutually exclusive. I'm surprised we've lasted 10 years, considering all that's gone down. Everything was going well for the first couple of years then the vinyl market began to collapse and two different distributors went to the wall on us, then after that all the illegal downloading. The label is a passion, so you I guess you just keep going and it's given us and others a lot of pleasure over the years. Realistically, there's only so much you can achieve with such limited resources but you put all you can into it and reaching the 10 year mark gives a great sense of pride.
What was the concept for the label? Where does the name come from? The concept was pretty simple, electronic music for those twilight hours. A bit of dub, a dash of disco and a healthy measure of techno & house haha! The Darkroom part of the name, aside from the more obvious and convenient club connection, refers to the room where photographic prints were processed and where you could control their development. This seemed like the perfect analogy to music and production. The dub part, again aside from the obvious, was a nod to all our favourite US House labels like Strictly Rhythm, referring to the vocal-less or dubbed out B-side that often we preferred to play instead of the main vocal version.
The new compilation, Darkroom Dubs Vol. 3, features a broad tracklist with a wide array of artists. Can you tell us a bit about the compilation, and how you went about choosing the tracks? There's been some great music on the label since Vol.2, so we had a good selection to choose from - roughly two and a half years worth. Like any set, choosing the first track is the most important factor and you try and let everything flow from there. That's when you get the odd surprising choice as the tracklist then isn't pre-planned. Hopefully the mix is as seamless as possible but with enough variety and blend so it can be enjoyed as a whole over 80 mins but also creating an overall mood and expression. Whether we have achieved that is certainly another matter!
The objective is to give a good representation of the labels output and where we are at musically but also importantly, to showcase the great talent on there too.
Any last words, finally, before your launch party this weekend in Berlin? I will have to wait and see when the final moment comes, haha but I've always been a fan of Oscar Wilde's "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do".
Darkroom Dubs Volume 3 is out now.