I'm not trying to be rude here, but, if you look back over the years, you're not making a lot of music.
No, I used to make a hell of a lot more, but the touring schedule...
Is there a point you get to now where you're like, 'I've got this idea in my head, I need to get it out'?
Yeah, if I've got an idea, I've gotta get that out in the studio. I mean, ideas take a long time to gestate these days. More often than not, the tunes are written in a few hours, they happen really, really quickly and then it's just a case of finishing them off. I'm Captain Procrastinator!
I've heard that you end up with 300 takes of one song, right?
You do. It's ridiculous. It drives you to the edge of insanity!
Do you go back and think 'Actually, version three, that's the one that I'm going with'?
More often than not, to be fair! You always think that version 78 is better than version 56. Then you're like, 'No! I had it way better before! But that's the way it is now with the technology. A tune is never finished. DJing for me it's of the moment. If you make a mistake, no worries, man. You're working live. But tunes, you get really into the nitty-gritty of it.
RAM Records, how long has that been around?
We've been around for a minute, man. We're in our 26th year now, which is crazy.
How do you find time to still deal with that with everything else that's still going on in your life?
Well, fortunately, we have a fantastic team that deals with it, headed up in the UK with Jim and the guys in the office. So I wouldn't want to take the credit for dealing with that on a day-to-day basis, that's for sure. I mean, my role is finding music, nurturing artists, A&R.
Is A&R easier with the advent of the internet and being able to listen to whatever you like on your phone in the palm of your hand, as opposed to back 25 years ago?
That's an interesting question, 'cause I dunno. There's so much music around, it's insane. You can listen to too much at one time, you kinda end up shutting down, so I don't wanna listen to 'em in big batches. So, what I'm saying is back in the day, if I was handed a demo by Sub Focus or Chase & Status or Wilkinson, I can immediately identify that they're great tunes 'cause there wasn't so much around.
I'm going through that process at the moment of trying to work out the best way 'cause I'm doing a new mix CD, 'Nightlife 7'. For that, we started a competition so new producers can send their tunes. We have been inundated. I mean, there's hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds. So, I need to work out this strategy, the best way to listen to them so I don't overlook any.
I guess that's your job. Not to miss that. Not to overlook the next Chase & Status?
I don't wanna quickly skip through and miss that one diamond, because there's some incredibly talented people out there. Because there is so much music and the access to it is so easy, I think it's incredibly hard now for new producers to get heard. I dunno, there's a kinda conversation isn't there? Is it easier, or is it harder? 'Cause anybody can make a tune. Is that gonna get listened to? Is that gonna last? I mean, who's out there hearing it? And then, as soon as someone's heard it, they're gonna be like, 'Next, Next.' The shelf life for tunes is very, very short these days, which I think inhibits new producers more.
With streaming these days, once you've got enough of a catalog, then there's gonna be people that do keep coming back and back. To get to that point it must be quite hard though?
That's the conundrum that people in the places of power, I guess, are having this conversation. Because, in the music industry, people are like, 'How do we break new artists now?' Established artists no problem whatsoever. They've got their Spotify playlists that have got gazillions of followers, so of they upload a tune, all them people are gonna hear it. But, you've got a new artist, how do they get from nothing to having that platform? Unless they are obviously championed by one of these music power brokers.
So still the old school way right?
That's the old-shool way. So, in going back to the start of this particular question, I guess with the competition that we've done is like, 'Yeah, let me try and find a couple of artists and put them on the mix CD', or a mix album. I said mix CD. How old-school does that sound? Put them on the mix and, hopefully, they'll get noticed and I can then get a stream, get music from them...and they can hopefully grow. But, I think it's hard out there, man. I think it's hard.