March 15, 2020 | Guest Mixes

#82 Node (Gated Recordings) for Deeprhythms

Mixed by: Node
Location: Tokushima-ken, Japan
Bandcamp Soundcloud

Gated Recordings is a fairly new label, but have provided a constant stream of quality releases over the past 12 months. If you haven't checked them out yet, do it now - one of my favorties at the moment, very versatile but always classy.

I had a little chat with the other half of Gated, Thomas Nod, and he made a beautiful mix that blends acid to electro and more ambient-like sounds. Let's dive in and learn more about the man, the label and Node's tips on who are the ones to watch this year.

Hi there Thomas, thanks for taking the time to make a mix for DR! Can you introduce yourself briefly?

Thanks for asking me! Was buzzing to put it together! I DJ under the name Node and I’ve been doing that for about 20 years.

I grew up in West Yorkshire in the UK, went to Uni in London, spent about ten years in Manchester but now I currently live in Japan with my wife and daughter.

How and where did you get introduced to electronic music?

Man, it’s such a long time ago haha! It’s weird to think about! I first really got into music in the early 90s with bands like Rage against the Machine, Pearl Jam and Metallica.

A few years later it was in fact Jadey, who I’ve known since I was 4 years old, who essentially exposed me to electronic music. He had an older range of industrial stuff like Ministry as well as a lot of Acid techno records earlier on, which was a weird combination to hear!

I don’t think I fully took notice until i heard stuff like the Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and Daft Punk which kinda bridged the gap for me between bands and electronic music. 

We were also blessed with a really good library in my home town of Halifax that helped me discover Aphex Twin, Autechre and that sort of more experimental stuff.

Can you tell us about a moment when you realised that, yes, I’m going to take up DJ’ing?

It pretty much will have been due to many sessions over at Jadey’s with him and a few mates. 

By that point he was collecting loads more Breakbeat, House and Techno and watching him, in the semi darkened room, I was staring at the red light from the technics and the platter spinning round with some truly engrossing music and just thought OK, this looks amazing fun, I want to fully get into it!

You started Gated Recordings with Jadey Smith roughly a year ago. In 12 months you’ve managed to publish 9 releases. How did this happen?

It started very simply with wanting to put out Simial's music because we both thought it was great and no one had picked up on it. So Jadey just asked me if we should start a label. Just like that, we did it.

So then we went looking for other artists to release, like Sound Synthesis and Dopefist. They were really responsive and easy to work with. Actually basically everyone we've worked with has been great. None of us have met in person but I think we've all become friends through the label, which is a bit mad.

Also, we get a buzz from working with Keith Tenniswood on mastering. He's a hero of both mine and Jadey’s and I think a lot of the producers we’ve worked with. Getting his masters back for the first time and hearing what he's done with the tracks, he just pulls it all together.

The hardest part, as most people who run a label will know, is promotion. I have a lot of respect for someone like Anil Lal and his label Furthur Electronix. He basically has an extremely dedicated following who buy every release if he just posts about it on Facebook. It seems easy, but to get to that point is hard. It helps that we have people like you (Timo’s note: awwww cheers mate!) and Damo B who have been very supportive from the start, plus we're building our own set of followers.

It is a bit like gambling though, each release is a financial risk -- I think that's what most people don't realise. You have to be prepared to spend a lot of money up front and hope you'll get it back. But I guess that’s probably part of the buzz, seeing things develop and then get appreciated when they’re finally released.

The sound of the label is versatile, how would you describe it and what are your goals for the label? The limited hand-stamped vinyl pressings are works of art!

Thanks! Yeah we’re really proud of those stamps. Shoutout to Jadey who basically has to handstamp all of them himself because he’s in the UK and I’m in Japan so I’m not around to get involved.

When we started we didn’t have anything specific in mind for Gated. We both love braindancey type music, acid, electro and some ambient. Jadey is also into folk, world, fourth-world, and Balearic whereas I still veer towards jungle, drum and bass, all kinds of techno and some dubstep and bass music.

So basically all over the place! But I think you can see that from each release we had so far, they're all different. It's kind of hard because we feel we're almost starting with a different audience every time... but maybe the audience is just open-minded, musically eclectic people. The best people, obviously.

But usually it will have be something that really stands out. Jadey has a great ear for this, I have to say, plus he’s very focused on what stands out for him. My main rule is if I get a good feeling from something I’m going to go back to it and listen a few more times. Then if we both agree we’ll consider it for the label.

As for where this will take us? Who the hell knows.

Where do you find the music & the artists from for Gated?

Listening to stuff all the time, basically. Finding people on SoundCloud. Sometimes from demos that people send us, but not that often. But hearing a track and spotting the potential in the artist, hitting them up, and then working with them to pull together a solid release.

Also people like Joel Brittain is one of Jadey’s friends from way back that he knew was an amazing and under-appreciated producer.

Also Sol Seppy Jadey knew from probably about 10 years ago and kept in touch with her. We’re so proud we were able to release her album – it’s not electronic in any way but it’s bloody amazing.

Actually for me I also find listening to mixes has been the best way because if something stands out from a good mix of good tunes it’s a nice way of contrasting the quality or the emotional impact of any particular track.

We’ve also been put onto good stuff by the producers we’ve already worked with, especially Sound Synthesis and Dopefist.

What has been the most rewarding part of running Gated Recordings?

Getting good music mastered by Keith and then getting it done properly with some nice designs onto vinyl.

And seeing the appreciation from the musicians for us doing things properly. We treat people well and give them the chance to put their labours of love out in a proper manner. Also getting to hear loads of ace stuff before it gets put out and being able to preview it on the podcast is wicked.

The people we’ve met through this have all been great, honestly.

Can you tell us a little more about that and your current musical endeavours?

I’ve been shielded from a lot of the stress of running the label as my main involvement is doing the podcast, talking over the submissions or stuff we want to put out and so on. 

Jadey deals with most of the financial day to day aspects and all the nitty gritty of registering the releases properly, dealing with the plants and the distributor and all that.

What was the first record or a song that made a lasting impression on you?

From childhood, the first thing to really make an impression was the theme tune to Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My dad had some of the radio series on vinyl and I remember being about 7 or 8 and thinking that was really fun.

You’re based in Japan. What’s your take on the current state of underground music - the market, the labels and the artists?

Heh, I live in the countryside so I’m not too up on things out here. Outside of the main cities like Tokyo and Osaka I don’t think there’s much of an underground music scene, although I do hear of some surprising nights going in some places so I probably just haven’t too much about what’s going on.. 

Techno seems to be the main thing here in general with stalwarts of the scene like DJ Nobu and Wataru Igarashi championing their psychedelic, mature take on techno. Nobu’s Future Terror nights have always been good when I’ve had the chance to check those out and from that I also came across DJ SO who’s also a wicked DJ and has also played Labyrinth festival alot along with those other two. 

There’s also a really good night called Feelin’ Pretty put on by a quality techno producer, Erik Luebs with Sapphire Slows and some other top Tokyo talent like DJ Yukimasa, Haruka and Slagbat. It’s focused on getting talent in Tokyo on rather than getting on that endless merry-go-round of huge names that may be great but won’t know a crowd intimately. I like that idea a lot. 

My friend DJ Lynne has also put me onto some good nights that’ve been a bit more off the beaten track where she’s played a lot of ambient and experimental sets along with some other interesting artists too, but it’s hard to keep up really. 

I know there’s a friendly but small DnB scene there too and I really liked going out in Tokyo to a lot of the smaller clubs these nights take part in. I always like small parties with 100 people in or so, so when I find one like that, it’s a buzz…

Damn clean toilets in a lot of the clubs too haha. That’s pretty rare.

You've curated a lot of music for both the label and for your DJ sets, who are the artists and DJ’s you think deserve more attention than they get currently?

Lynne, who I just mentioned above does some standout dark, ambient, experimental mixes. So she’s definitely up and coming but I’d like to see go really far. Check her stuff on Soundcloud too. 

Obviously I want to see everyone from our stable of artists smash it but to single one out, Akim Drml needs more love. His music is just mind boggling in my opinion and obviously we hope to put more out by him in the future but people are seriously sleeping on this guy. It’s really individual, powerful music and way better than some of the more average stuff in that vein I’ve heard that gets lauded as “Genius” and gets loads of exposure. 

Zvλd is also a wicked producer who I want to hear more from, I don’t know how much attention he’s gotten really but I really like his mixture of braindance and ambient styles on his albums Baklava on Occult Research and Bazilleon on 141414

Then there’s Anothernonagon who seems to have closed down their Soundcloud. Pretty sure they’re on there under another name but they put out a wicked album on Bandcamp and apart from something on the Touched electronix 3 compilation I haven’t seen anything else. We’d love to work with them but, yeah. No idea where they’ve gone! 

They’re all related back to Color Squad, I think, including Dopefist, Simial and Utopia Cloak - that collective have put more interesting stuff in my ears than any other in the last few years so a massive shout to them too.

Please name 5 releases, tracks or mixes that have been on heavy rotation recently?

The recent Penryn space agency mix from Luke Vibert, no. 53 is wicked and has been rinsed through my ears more times than is healthy. 

Utopia Cloak, who just did a mix for our Gated podcast, has also done another wicked ‘Ultra Classy mix tape’ which you can get on actual tape..I didn’t listen to it on tape but, yeah that’s so well put together it’s well worth getting.

A mate put us onto Acemoma recently and I’ve really got into their EP with a nice mix of Jungle, DnB and House/Acidy tracks. 

Album releases I’ve been rinsing, well, Special Request went mental last year puttting out so many albums and that last one, Zero Fucks, is a beast and as a result I’ve also been playing Donato Dozzy’s 12H to calm down. 

So the mix, can you tell us a little something about that?

Yeah, sure. I wanted to start off slow and acidy and see how far I could push the bpms without losing the mood and then come down and rinse off in a lake of Sol Seppy.

Many thanks Thomas! Anything else?

Massive pleasure mate! Just to say keep an eye out for The Jaffa Kid’s Soft Celebration EP from us, which should be out very soon and you can also preorder the Krokakai/Lidvard split EP now via our Bandcamp. Sorry I couldn’t crowbar in any reference to the corona virus.

playlist

1. First Time intro
2. Dopefist - Friendship Club (Gated Recordings)
3. CPI - El Túnel (Hivern Discs)
4. Krokakai - Doubleplus Acid (Gated Forthcoming)
5. XXXY - Blup Blup (I Love Acid)
6. Recondite - Petrichor (Tin Man Remix)(Acid Test)
7. Pye Corner Audio - Island of Ghosts (Analogical Force)
8. Carl A. Finlow - Marauders (Craigie Knowes)
9. Joel Brittain - Under my skin (Gated)
10. Low Tape - Aced Theory Of All (Eudemonia)
11. DJ Life - Mindreader (Echocentric Records)
12. The Jaffa Kid - Nomad ii (Gated)
13. 214 - Potential Events (20:20 Vision)
14. MOY - Megatherium (Batrachian)
15. A1 Datawave - Pulsar (Gated Forthcoming)
16. Utopia Cloak - Channel (Sci-Fact Records)
17. Lidvard - Quadcore Hardcore (Gated Forthcoming)
18. Killawatt - Sidewinder (Ipman Remix) (Black Box)
19. Kuthi Jinani - Fish Lair (Beat Machine Records)
20. user77099097 - Where did they come from (Gated)
21. Keosz - All I Had To Do (Cryo Chamber)
22. Sol Seppy - Mercy for vinyl (Gated)

DJ profile
Node

Location: Tokushima-ken, Japan
Bandcamp | Soundcloud

DJ & label owner
Founder: Gated Recordings together with Jadey Smith


Full profile

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