Interview with Paul Maddox – SPEKTRE

P1000810From bodyguards in Mexico to all day chess matches in Russia – Paul Maddox from Spektre certainly had some funny old tales to tell when TBC met up with him earlier this month. Read on for the lowdown on all things Spektre related from the local techno hero himself:

 

So Paul, what’s going on in the world of Spektre at the mo?

The new album which is out at the end of the summer. It’s all done now and we’re in the process of sorting out a launch party, probably in London. It’s coming out on Toolroom who I guess are best known for their more mainstream and house stuff, but they recently released a techno series called Rhythm District which has become kind of like a sub label. Umek also released an album on there but I reckon our new album will be the most full-on techno album on Toolroom so far!

What can listeners expect from the new album? Is it similar to Casting Shadows Without Light, or have Spektre changed their sound since the last album?

 

The new album is more clubby than Casting Shadows Without Light. For that album, with it being our first, myself and Rich had a lot of ideas and influences that we wanted to incorporate. Some of which were quite diverse, ranging from The Chemical Brothers to BT. The new album is a lot more focused.

What’s your favourite track off the new album?

Probably “Forerunner” cos its a good mix of doing something adventurous but keeping that dancefloor-friendly quality. It has a bit of a Prodigy, ravey aspect which I really like.

How have Toolroom been to work with?

Really good! I knew Matt from Toolroom from my Hardhouse days as he was also a DJ on that scene. All the guys who we deal with there are really sound too. We’re not selling CDs this time, just selling the album as downloads of all the tracks plus a mix. We will be doing some CDs as giveaways though.

So does this mean you will be touring?

We’re currently putting some dates together yeah. In the UK we’ll definitely be doing a London launch but we don’t tend to get booked that much to play in the UK. We did play at Collect in Sheffield a little while back though ………….

Yes, how was that?

Really good venue, I enjoyed that night. Loved it!

What about the crowd? How do Sheffield clubbers compare to other placed you’ve played? Wicked crowd! I knew about a third of them, haha. The pressure was on cos I knew they’d tell me if I messed anything up!

I also played a set at Mixed In Sheffield down at The Washington during Tramlines last year. It was rammed!

You live in Sheffield, what are your thoughts on the club scene at the moment?

It’s got a lot better. Around 2 years ago it was absolutely dead but now there’s quite a few people putting nights on. In Leeds and Manchester you get a lot of people putting on nights on the same night as each other and it creates competition which makes people strive to put on better nights. A bit of competition is definitely a good thing.

What’s the craziest gig you’ve ever played?

Probably Juarez in Mexico a few years ago – the then murder capital of the world! We had bodyguards walking us to the dj booth from the car and sticking around afterwards while we were playing and we saw armed police on the back of pick up trucks on the way to gigs. Nothing kicked off though and the crowd were really up for it. We actually went back there more recently though and things have calmed down a lot.

What about music, what tunes are on your iPod at the mo?

Techno wise – NAPLES! We have guest mixes on our podcast and it’s become a bit of a joke between us at the moment because they’re all from Naples! Recently we’ve had Sasha Carassi, Roberto Capuano and Luigi Madonna. We read a biog about them at the start of the podcast and it seems that every time they’re randomly from Naples! There’s loads of young producers from there as well like MDS and Hollen. Naples is the new Berlin – you heard it here first!

Other than techno – all sorts I’ve started a new side project doing slightly more musical stuff, with a more garagy influence. It’s called Human Development. We’ve done a couple of tracks so far and I’ve been talking to a couple of labels about a release, so watch this space. https://soundcloud.com/humandev

What’s your favourite techno tune?

Of all time? Anything by Hardfloor, Acperience being one of the best. Difficult to fit into any of our sets because the sound is so old school. When we played Space we dropped Golden Girls “Kinetic” which is one of the guys from Orbital and another of my favourite ever tunes.

Your record label Respekt what’s new for that?

We’ve just had a single of ours called Erase the Tapes doing well on beatport top 100 much as i’d like to ignore these things. It was a track that was going to be on the album. Jon Rundell has done a remix which has done really, really well.

Finally Paul tell us a funny DJing story……

We did a little tour in Russia and in between gigs the promoter said he was going to take us to his friend’s house. We envisaged going round to someone’s place, drinking a few beers, chilling out before the next gig. We drove 2 hours into the countryside and I was thinking – “where the hell are we going?”. We turned up at this massive, old house right out in the sticks and were greeted at the door by this big guy in a vest. I didn’t know what to think when we went inside but he had a bbq on the go and then bizarrely insisted we play chess with him – sound bloke, but that kind of thing only ever happens in Russia!

So TBCers look out for the new album from Spektre and book those tickets to Naples! Bonjourno new techno haven! Check Spektre out at http://www.spektre.co.uk

 

Connect the Dots – 20th April 2013

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Connect the Dots, an exciting visual arts and music exhibition took place at the Old Grain Warehouse on 20th April 2013. TBC was lucky enough to interview one of it’s curators, Abdullah Al-wali. Read on for the low down on this event:

Connect the Dots is coming to Sheffield. Tell our readers what this project is all about?

Connect The Dots is a celebration of new media and digital technology through a series of inter-disciplinary events. The digital age has made multi-media collaborations easier and more accessible, our aim is to showcase the best of these projects whilst re-emphasising the importance of off-line communal experience and human interaction.

Connect The Dots explore the visual arts, photography, technology and music scenes – inviting them to exhibit, perform, educate, inspire and share their artistic visions through solo, collaborative and interactive exhibitions.

This year, our events will take place in Sheffield, however, we wish to grow and host events in other cities then eventually other countries. We intend on making each event a strong reflection of that particular city’s contemporary artistic scenes that belong there and inspire the multitude of inter-connected working artists.

Our first event is on April 20th 2013 at The Grain Warehouse in Victoria Quays, Sheffield – a beautiful grade 2 industrial listed building. There will be solo & collaborative exhibitions from Shaun Bloodworth, Mattias Jones, Elliot Holbrow & Joel Barton, Tommy Marshall, Paul Boardman & many more along with pop-up shops from Warp Records, Bleep.com, Now Then magazine, Hantu Collective etc.

Why do you feel that this is important at the moment?

I think it’s important for visual arts and digital multimedia to bring people together in a physical space because as technology gets more sophisticated it’s increasingly more on-line based. Therefore having it in the real world engages people more, sparks conversation and hopefully will inspire them to be more creative. I hope that the Connect The Dots events will also invite interesting collaborations between different artists. For example, with the help of Arts Council England I was able to comission Elliot Holbrow & Joel Barton to make a collaborative zine for the April 20th Event: http://vimeo.com/65133110

You have some really exciting visual arts exhibitions in store, which are you most looking forward to and why?

It’s difficult to say as everybody involved is incredibly talented with his or her own unique style. I’m really looking forward to Mattias Jones’s ‘Production Line’ installation as it incorporates intricate patterns drawn by robots along with live art from him and a giant light box.

What about music? Will there be any live performances on the day?

Throughout the day there will be DJ sets from the likes of Beneath, Squarehead, Walter Ego & many more. Unfortunately there wont be any live music as we have noise issues due to the flats above the venue!

The only live performance will be from Trans/Human. They will be performing ‘Disposal’, a durational work in which the central performative focus is a repeated action that results in the production of a physical and musical structure. Throughout this piece, one of the performers will be wired up to a TENS machine, which will in turn be connected to the audio devices, acting as a body conduit to the sculptural work that’s unfolding. As the work progresses, the performers will become engulfed within the tent-like structure. As the barrier between performer and audience becomes increasingly physical, the composition will invariably alter, displaying the sonic and physical possibilities of TransCutenous technology.

How long did it take to organise such a big event?

I had the idea since summer 2012 but didn’t want to rush into it until I was sure exactly what it was going to be. I started organising it officially from January 2013 and it has been an on-going process since. I’ve been fortunate to receive advice and support from Deborah Egan – she has a wealth of experience in the creative industries and her fantastic project ‘The Port Of Sheffield’ is also an official partner of CTD.

The venue for the event is The Grain Warehouse, Victoria Quays. What made you choose this venue?

There were a few venues I checked out prior to the grain warehouse but once I stumbled across it (thanks to Mattias Jones) it became the obvious choice for the exhibition. It’s a lovely building and every artists involved was keen to exhibit in there. It’s also right by the canal – a great part of Sheffield that’s massively under-used.

Techno Breakfast Club are very happy that you have chosen Sheffield to host this event – what made you pick the Steel City?

Well I’m from Sheffield so it made sense to start the project here. I know a lot of talented artists from the north that deserve to have their work exhibited and there’s a lot of interesting disused spaces to work with in Sheffield.

Have you been pleased with the response from local artists and businesses?

Definitely! Thankfully it’s a project that seems to have interested a lot of people so I can’t wait to see how it develops over the next few years.

Who inspires the Connect the Dots crew?

There’s too much to mention so I’ll have list my current top three :

Earnest Endeavours (www.earnestendeavours.com)

Troika (http://troika.uk.com/)

Ken Robinson (http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html)

What’s next for Connect the Dots? Any more events in the pipeline?

There are a lot more events being planned for Connect The Dots as we speak, there will definitely be at least two more in Sheffield before the end of the year but I can’t give too much away right now. I hope that the project will get better each time and in 2014 I plan to move it to other cities in the UK and possibly abroad too! Watch this space and check our website at www.ctdots.co.uk.