Swipezster interviews Spacework December 2010
Swipester: 1. Are you bemused that your tracks are put into the obscure bracket or pleased that your style is classed as individual ?
Spacework: I suppose I am a bit, the individual tag says more about the Spacework sound. I was a raver from that 88/89 time, I was proper raving mad - I just loved raving &that's all I wanted to do. By 1990 I had to slow up before it half killed me, but I didn't want to not be a part of the rave scene any longer. I had a few quid spare, a friend with a studio & some ideas for some tracks. Cut a long story short, there I am in this friends studio (converted top floor of a town house) with him looking at me saying "right, here we go", I grabbed my notes I had cobbled together, mainly consisting of a list of noises from tracks I wanted to sample or copy & then putting the tracks together went something like this. I want a noise like that, or a beat like that & I need it there, just before the high bleep next to that other deep noise. Sounds confusing but that's how it was. Putting tracks together was a fun battle between Mick trying to make things musically right & generally sound good & me trying to make it more raw sounding, trashy & full of what ever noise I could make & slot into the tune somewhere. I used to drive Mick mad, but we always had a laugh doing it. Sometimes getting right off our faces as well, we made a few tracks when we were out of it. For our tunes to end up being classed as obscure, thinking about it I can only agree.
Swipester: 2. What was the most expensive singular bit of kit you bought to make tunes and what was it?
Spacework: Fortunately I never had to buy any kit to make tunes, it was all there for me ready to use when I arrived. I would use what ever I could find around the studio to make noises with or put a noise through, I think that's why our sounds were the way they were. I remember we had some boxes, not the technical name, that were meant for guitars. We used to get some mad noises out of them by playing with the different frequencies you could get out of them & then sampling the noise. I was like a child in a sweet shop most of the time.
Swipester: 3. Any good stories from the pirate radio days or Kiss FM?
Spacework: I have a few stories that come to mind. One that stands out is one morning I tuned into a pirate station I had been doing some rave adverts for called Chillin fm, North London based. & I heard the DJ say "that's right Spacework" ! Reaching for the volume I hear him say & X in Tottenham your right as well with Spacework, so now I'm getting the gist the DJ has asked a question but what? The DJ had told his North London audience at some point & anyone else listening that I, as in Spacework, who could be quite easily be traced to this illegal pirate station, was making adverts for them, that's what the question was, who makes the adverts. I phoned the DJ up & asked him if he could stop but it was too late, had me worried for a while but surprisingly nothing turned out of it. Another was when Kiss, the only commercial station to play my tunes, featured my 2nd EP on their record of the week race. I didn't know about it at the time & I was told by friends that I lost by ten votes, which seeing as there were even some friends cheering me on & there were nearly ten of them there in one place, none of them actually voted for me! So that was a shame. Amazingly Kiss DJ's had played my tunes from the 1st E.P. I remember hearing Steve Jackson playing my first EP & at the end of the tune he said "Spacework in your face, lovely" made me smile. Colin Dale & Judge Jules were some of the other DJ's to play my tunes on Kiss. I was also asked to do an interview, twice on Kiss but declined the offer as I just couldn't see what was to talk about. I was a raver who had released some tunes to the underground. I remember being at Sunrise radio with DJ Phantom B, who was about to do a show. Ellis Dee was just finishing his set & Bad boy West was answering the door to Evenson Allen from the Rat pack, I was getting ready to answer the phone & take messages for shout outs to London & thinking, how much more underground could I get? Good times.
Swipester: 4. You said you declined to work with Danny from Suburban Base and have no regrets. Surely you do a little bit? If you could step into a time machine and go back to those heady days in the early 90's would you change anything?
Spacework: I would change a few things, including the offer from Danny, doing the interview on Kiss fm, etc, etc, etc but I can only say things happened for Spacework the way they did because I was pushing it in the direction I felt like going at that time & unfortunately I took a few wrong turns, but it didn't seem to matter. I wasn't a proper record producer as people normally think of one, I had no real producer skills or experience. I was a raver just having fun in a studio & because the records I released were strictly limited editions I never expected to make any money from it so I adopted this "I'm just doing my own thing in my own way" attitude! Wrong, when I look back now but I was on my own little mission. I didn't need anyone for anything as far as releasing my own tunes goes so I just I just plodded along doing my own thing & rightly or wrongly never really taking any offers to serious.
Swipester: 5. You said that Acid House got you into the scene that you still love to this day. Anything else now that you listen to apart from oldskool?
Spacework: I was always into house but didn't know it. I was brought up in North London & pirate Stations were coming & going all the time, early 80's pirate stations were really basic sometimes, using a big reel to reel as the tape machine & it would finish at the end of a show with a clunk & you'd have to wait while the tape rewound & then get all the same show again, it didn't matter though & of course it did get better.
I remember the first time I tuned in to a pirate station & heard those early house tunes being played, it was like tuning into the best noise my ears could everhear & as the DJ mixed the tunes I was in heaven, I had found my sound & wasn't interested in listening to anything else. Nowadays I can tolerate a varied style of music for a short while, but bottom line with me is music has to have a good dance beat or I loose interest.
Swipester: 6. You loved the pills and tabs back in the day: if you could get away with it with no guilt afterwards would you pop a couple now? Would you have to be at an event to be encouraged to take them?
Spacework: I couldn't even think about taking one unless I was at a rave, I would only take them back in the day if I was going out raving. I never really liked acid, had some good trips but some bad ones as well, so when raving I only ever took ecstasy, the pills we got regular in 89 were yellow Californian sunrise, they were it. If I could be at an 89 style rave with a Yellow Cali to pop & some medics at hand, I might be tempted to have a proper rave up before I can't any more.
Swipester: 7. It's widely known that a lot of producers back then made little or no money, most of them making a loss. Could you put a ballpark figure on the amount you made/lost producing records?
Spacework: I'd like to think I didn't spend much more than five thousand in all bringing Spacework to life, but in reality it might have been a bit more, at one point I was just right enjoying making tunes, the money didn't come into it, things had to be paid, I paid them, I suppose it would be fair to say I might have lost track now & then. My releases were all limited editions so I never made any money from them, they were mainly given to friends, DJ's & underground record shops. Even the 3rd E.P I let Great Asset records release for me ended up limited, because a couple of weeks after getting the first 1000 pressed up Great asset went into liquidation, so there was no money or any more records coming from there. For me it was a case of thinking oh well, business as usual & went back to the studio to do the 4th E.P. I do get paid now in one way though & that's from people still playing my tunes, telling me they like them & what memories they attach to them, the way I look at it is this, all these years later from releasing some tunes I put together for the rave scene I'm still getting a return for the time, money & effort I invested, & although the return I get now won't make me rich, for the feel good factor I still get, I'm quite well off.
Swipester: 8. How hard was it getting a tune committed to vinyl? Who did you know that helped you greatly with this process?
Spacework: As with going in to a studio & just sort of making it up as I went along, I did the same with getting the records pressed. I managed to find out, in the end, after seeing different people & many phone calls to various companies how to do various things like, sorting my own record labels, finding SRT who cut & pressed my tunes, to sourcing my own sleeves & the sticky labels to put on them & finally to distributing it to underground record shops I liked or who's names I had been given, I only had a limited amount done of each release so I was a bit careful who I gave them to. So for me, it was hard finding out how to get the records pressed & everything else that went with it but not getting it done once I know how.
Swipester: 9. Describe the feeling of hearing one of your tunes dropped in a club/on the radio or TV without using the word buzz.
Spacework: At the start it was like taking a drug without having to, just a pure high, I was just blown away. Different moments have different feelings. Hearing my tune played on the radio was a different feeling to seeing hundreds of people all dancing to one of my tunes while I'm there dancing with them, now that's a high. I remember a girl standing on a big speaker one time at a rave when the DJ was playing my 1st E.P where it says "you are going to dance", she was shouting those words across the crowd while dancing on top of that speaker, watching her do that was a different feeling again. The most recent lift I got was finding out that Joey Beltram had used some of my sounds on one of his releases back in 1993, now that was a good feeling, but they're all good. I feel lucky to have such memories.
Swipester: 10. Danny Byrd's just released his Rave Digger album that has a lot of oldskool elements in it. Are you jealous or do you think he's a cop-out?
Spacework: I was never very good with names & only remember a few from back in the day without prompting, I have no idea what's being released at the moment, if I'm honest , I don't take much notice. It's not that I've lost any love for the dance scene but for me now it's just something that is there, if I have time I pop along to my favourite on-line radio station for a blast from the past & I have a couple of oldskool forums I pop along to for a chat about the raving days, but that's enough for me now. I don't have any plans to get back into music myself but I do wish people luck who are trying to do a thing with the sounds they've made, because I know from experience how hard it can be, especially if they're having to do it all themselves, but I also know what a good feeling it can be if things work out, what a laugh it can be & what top memories you have years later, so it's got to be worth trying just for that. For me, warehouse raving & the sounds it created will always be my first love, I'm really proud to say I was part of it, oldskool forever.
All the best mateys
Check out the Spacework Youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/Logic0100
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