April 28, 2020 | Guest Mixes

#84 Nigel Rogers for Deeprhythms

Mixed by: Nigel Rogers
Location: York, UK
Discogs Soundcloud

Hi there Nigel, how’s things? What’s been keeping you busy of late?

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Hello and thanks for the invitation to play some records and answer some questions.

Things are going okay, despite all that’s happening in the world. I’ve completed quite a few tracks but haven’t sent them anywhere as I’ve been quite preoccupied with a few other things. 

Some friends and I set up a social venture to work with those who have experienced homelessness or are similarly disadvantaged, in York. We won a grant for a direct to garment printer so I’ve been learning how to use that, and began teaching one of our group about how to use it, just as the outbreak struck the UK. 

We’ve set up Coterminous CIC as an offshoot and this will deal with the garment printing/design side, which is quite exciting, and will enable artists to make money from designs while we employ someone at the Living Wage to do the printing. This is the most basic description, though the scope of what we plan to do extends out quite well. I’ve been doing bits of screen printing at home, but for t-shirts the plastisol used can be quite messy and noxious, so this quick turnaround mess free DTG is a nice alternative. 

My day job entails working for my local council as an outreach worker, working with rough sleepers, so that’s taken up quite a lot of time and mental energy of late, but I’m positive that the way we have dealt with things in the wake of COVID19 means that we have a solid base from which to work as more opportunities for accommodation arise. 

I keep sitting down to do some music, but can’t quite get into it as I’m conscious of time and other pressing matters, though I’m sure it’ll come together soon enough.

Can you give us your biographical details before we dive in deep - you’ve done a lot in the last two decades from producing to playing live to DJ’ing and running a label or two!

I moved to York in 1995 and began putting on small parties, mainly to enable a platform for my friends and I to play out. When venues closed, we found alternative ways of doing this. I’d dabbled with music production, teaching basic elements to disadvantaged groups around North Yorkshire in the late 90’s / early 2000’s and began buying bits of kit myself. I had a set up in the basement of a friend’s (now defunct) record shop, and used a tax rebate to release a record, but it didn’t really go anywhere, and it wasn’t that great tbh. 

I had a few other bits out with a group of friends who all shared an interest in electronic music, but I suppose 2010 is when things came to the fore. I’d moved to Cambridgeshire and when things had gone wrong, found solace in music production. 

Following my friend’s advice I sent some music to Bunker who had already released quite a bit of his music, made under the Mantra guise. Things snowballed after that really. I was making basic music on basic tools and hit some form of zeitgeist where the release of Virgo Four’s music had created a renewed interest in basic house music. 

I’d visit York and do music with Craig Stainton, under the name Nite Vision, and we had our first efforts released on BOE Recordings. We were immensely proud of it. 

I moved back to York and just carried on making noises and doing as I pleased, some music being released, other music being promised releases, a few gigs here and there. When I didn’t have cash for wax, I released tapes, with the last one featuring tracks which where then released on Fabio Monessi’s Hardmoon label. 

A few years ago I started making music with Alex Handley and as there’s not much point having files on a hard drive, we started Northern Powerhouse, which was a range of single-sided releases of hardware jams and edits. Keeping with a DIY ethic, and interest in screen printing, we’d print all the labels ourselves. It’s fallen by the wayside a bit because issues here and there, along with distribution problems meant us deciding that where only a dozen or two records were being shifted, then it wasn’t worth us trying to release more. When a few things change and we maybe shift some back stock, I’m sure we’ll get back on the case. 

Alex, Craig, and I did the last release, I work well with both of them as we have a similar attitude towards production and sound. Alex still has a massive input to Weapons of Desire, so he’s also busy with that, though hopefully a few recent choices from a collection I made, will be gracing wax on that label after things calm a bit more from their current situation.

How did you get introduced to electronic music in the first place?

I’m not really sure. I must have heard it, but what really grabbed me was acid house. I was 13 and delivering newspapers when acid house hit, and I remember delivering copies of The Sun, which detailed 10,000 kids going mental till sunrise etc etc. 

The TV was spilling over with acid house “exposés” and with this, there was a soundtrack which flipped a switch in my mind, though I couldn’t really find much of what I wanted as there weren’t many options for buying records where I was. I was just discovering music.

You are more known for your Perseus Traxx releases and hardware live sets, we’ll get to that later - but what about DJ’ing, when did that happen?

I played records on various turntables from my mid-teens. There have been periods of time when I didn’t have decks, and so skills deteriorated. I’m not sure I really cut the mustard as well as I’d like as a DJ, but there’s a wealth of music out there that needs to be heard, and supporting artists’ efforts is a good thing.

I play in Leeds every so often, and that’s great fun. The fact I have a grown-up job means I have money for vinyl, so I’ve been going a bit crazy recently when it comes to buying things.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music or DJ sets?

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The music I make is a bit spaced out, but I think it’s varied so can’t really pigeonhole it. I think it nods towards early house sounds. The production techniques and tools definitely do, arguably drawing a direct line between then and now. 

In terms of DJ sets, a lot can vary. I play disco, house, techno, acid. Just good records that need to be heard or experienced, although different parties or clubs have different approaches. It’s no good me playing a load of disco and edits at an acid night. Maybe “enveloping” would be a good word to use.

Today, how involved are you in the UK electronic music scene? Who do you consider as colleagues or likely-minded artists?

At the moment I don’t really feel as if I am so much, though I have developed some good friendships along the way. I chat openly with people and swap contacts or experience so people can be encouraged to release their music. That’s maybe the extent at the moment. 

As I mentioned before, Craig Stainton and I work well together. His output has rocketed in recent years, not just under his Mantra guise, but also as Myriadd, making some of the hottest, weird shit out there. He really knows his stuff, and whether we’ve used software at his place with one or two of my machines, or just done hardware jams at mine, or in Alex’s engine room, the results are the same, and it’s so easy and comfortable. 

It’s the same with Alex Handley, though like Craig, I’ve not had time to catch up and really do anything for quite some time. We all have an urgency for captured documents to be heard.

There are loads of like-minded artists I’ve met or interacted with over recent years and one way or another, it’s quite a community

I spent some time in Italy with some friends who live out there and we made some basic tracks to play out live in a club. They all make killer music and our brief 6 or 8 man “band” consisted of the likes of Chevel, Steve Murphy, Domenico from the Analogue Cops (who was the first person to bring me to Berlin), DJ Octopus, Madi Grein. It was great fun! 

I had a gig in Bari cancelled a few years ago, but the ticket had been paid for, so I went over and stayed with Nicola Loporchio, who runs Cosmic Rhythm. It was great working with him and we did about 6 tracks of blissed out early 90’s Italian style house. 

It was a really nice time, meeting people with similar tastes and writing together. Unfortunately, I don’t push hard enough for releases so the 4 completed tracks are unfortunately sat on a hard drive until maybe the right time comes (Timo’s edit: hmmm, intriguing!)

What’s your take on the current state of UG electronic music? How different is it compared to when you started?

I’m not sure. There are a lot of records coming out. Some say too many, but not me. Pressing times really stretched out, but have recently shrunk again so the idea of creating an expression and then having it on wax a couple of years later is still there. 

Larger quantities used to be pressed and rising costs mean they reduced. The notion of “limited pressing” is pretty laughable as a sales pitch in itself. No pressing is infinite, and people have to work around a budget. 

Some people complain about “exclusivity” but there is so much other good music out there, made by extremely competent artists. Whining like a spoilt child because only 303 copies of the I Love Acid 12”s get made, and you didn’t get one is pathetic. People moan as if they are owed a favour by the labels. Why the fuck should a label, already up against it because they’ve had to shell out money they aren’t likely to get back for three months, have to spend additional money to get more pressed just to satisfy someone with an overprivileged attitude. Get to the back of the fucking queue

I really like First Cut from Dublin. They press 100 and sell on Bandcamp with a few remaining going to a distributor. It’s a great label, run based on realistic economic constraints. The artists are all, as far as I’m aware Irish, so the label is showcasing the immense talent of the area and what is going on there. 

When people dig a bit more, they can find a bit more, and there is too much expectancy that you can just click a button and have everything. 

Bandcamp is a great place for supporting labels and artists though it would be wrong to say that shops, whether online or physical, are unimportant. They provide a central hub where ideas can be exchanged, and they provide an endless stream of incredible vinyl if you’re the sort of person who wants to have a listen to some real quality, rather than going for the obvious, more widespread sounds of the moment. 

That said, I remember being laughed out of a local record shop in my early teens because of what I’d asked for. It ended up in the charts a few years later, but with the growth of the internet, things changed things considerably. Streaming and shopping are useful and more up to date digging tools. 

I used to cross-reference ebay with Discogs with Soulseek (a file-sharing platform) but now with youtube and the ability for youtube to be embedded within Discogs, there’s no need. Discogs is a very useful tool for researching more, though it’s led to some weird pricing as people buy more speculatively. I generally buy to play records rather than invest in them for monetary value, but it’s just record trading. 

A lack of shops stocking what I want in York means that it’s better for me to browse the internet, and even Facebook is useful as numerous connections are made globally and so there’s notification of things coming out, and what people are listening to, and groups such as We’re Going Deep which have a lot of conversation and posting of interesting music. 

The sharing of knowledge is great for record collectors, but there is a knock-on effect, in that some things mentioned there suddenly skyrocket in price on Discogs, though the inflated prices are just speculative. Just because something is now listed for £100 when it was £10 yesterday, doesn’t mean it’s worth it. It’s there at £100 because no one is buying it at that, which takes another record out of use, unfortunately.

Underground electronic music is going through a massive shift due to the impact of Coronavirus. With club closure, Resident Advisor is making a noise about saving a scene, but the scene is far older and more substantial than they are and scenes always pop up again

People like music and people like parties. It brings them together, which is why people spouting divisive crap, like Vakula’s misogyny is such a shame (Timo’s note: hear, hear!).

The internet has given a forum for ideas and they aren’t all good, so just become reduced to indignant shouting using CAPS LOCK. Which can actually be quite dangerous. People like Steve Lawler have a lot of influence, and in a crisis where science is key, he’s broadcast opinions to his fanbase that because he’s has flu-like symptoms, “Coronavirus is just like a bad dose of flu”, then used his influence to sway people to his wife’s unscientific health supplement business. It’s ignorant and reckless and can cost lives. 

Add to that DJ Pierre’s notion that the whole thing is a false flag and “phony crisis”, and you see that making dance music doesn’t take a massive amount of intelligence. The weirdos are really coming out of the closet, and unfortunately, it’s not the interesting kind of weird.

Can you tell us a little about your current musical endeavors?

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Most recently I finished some tracks I made multitracking a Behringer deepmind. I like the fact it was modeled on a Juno 106, but has more potential, so did various passes and arrangements on the computer, then jammed the Yocto 8080 drums through a desk and some effects. I think there’s some quality in there, but it was done as a specific project. 

I’ve done a number of edits of tracks I find interesting, and one should be coming out on Dublin’s Fatty Fatty Phonographics, under my Sir Leon Greg alias, but it’s difficult to say when now all the world is caught up with how best to manage its current pandemic. 

I have a release coming out soon (April I hope) on Tripalium Corp’s series of 12” splits. The 15th in their Acid Avengers series has a pair of tracks by me on one side, and some absolute mind melters from Craig, utilising his Mantra persona, on the other side. 

When I get a spare moment I may set up a rudimentary set of machines in my living room and bang out some jams, then potentially have things set up and ready for if a live show happens. It’s a fun way to work, creating limitations, and can be really productive, just jam and record, then maybe edit if need be

I’m frequently thinking about music-related ideas and concepts, but find I don’t have enough time, and then certainly don’t have enough time to chase people up to get a release.

So Perseus Traxx… My assumption is that your approach to music-making is very “live” and mostly done on hardware. What’s your setup like and how do you work on music?

I use a few different methods depending on my mood and what I want to achieve. As I said, the last real tranche of the material was a multi-tracked synth and a series of live drum machine and desk “performances” recorded into Ableton. 

Other times I use an MPC1000 for my own sampled drums, and to trigger midi to the synths, then use track mutes and the mixing desk and effects to build things up. Working that way means I can write tracks and once they’re recorded move on to something else, while still being able to recall tones and basic arrangements for a live show if needed.

I don’t like spending ages on tracks and losing my way. It should be fun, and it should capture something raw.

I spent years trying to work out how to travel lighter, as some people would object to having to hire a mixing desk for me, or fly a case in the cargo hold, but I can’t really slim things down unless I compromise and use a computer, in which case I then still need a live element which for me is multiple outputs, a mixing desk and a couple of synths and effects, so right where we started off. 

If I strip everything right back then there is a risk of it just seeming a bit boring. When I do remixes, I generally add a couple of my own parts, but I really like cutting up and resampling original bits. It’s a different form of creativity and makes a welcome change from the way I work with my own music. 

What’s your current favorite piece of kit? 

I really like the Behringer Deepmind 6. It’s compact and powerful. Not quite a Juno 106, but there’s more to it. I did a live show with Alex last year and we took it out, but all the nuance was lost in the club, though that’s not to say it didn’t sound great. 

I also have a small synth called a Manther, which is a solid build, has a straight forward sequencer and limited patch points. I’ve not used it as much as I’d like, but hope to change that soon. 

It’s worth checking out if you haven’t seen/heard one before, though the envelopes aren’t quite there. The form is similar to a 101, but while the SH-101 purrs like a cat, Malekko Heavy Industry Corporation’s Manther, growls through CEM3340 based IC and SSM2044 chips. It’s more abrasive and stands out because of it.

So the live sets, again, I assume you leave a lot of room for improvisation. How has your live set evolved during the years and how does it work currently? Please go into details :)

The live sets are midi loops with a program change sent to select the appropriate patches on the synths. Everything after that is punched in or out on an ad-hoc basis, so that’s where the improvisation lies. It’s a live mixdown, and the desk gets tweaked along the way and used more as an instrument, feeding effects back on themselves and each other. That and various obligatory modulations. In the end everything has an organic feel.

I learned that way (though using an Atari ST instead of an MPC) but after seeing Octave One on the Jeff Mills Exhibitionist DVD, I realised that an MPC was the perfect solution. The one I use now is a 1000 rather than a 2000XL, and though it has fewer outputs, the sampling duration is much greater and the footprint is small, making it ideal for travelling with. 

A lot can be done on the 2000XL as it has a stereo output plus the 8 output expansion, meaning that you can hard pan tones on the stereo out and have 10 mono outputs, then just rock things through a mixing desk with all that control over each tone. Mr G did this with his Boiler Room show, to really good effect.

What have been the most rewarding parts of playing live?

Meeting like-minded, enthusiastic, and creative people around Europe. There is a different level of control you can have by pulling out tones and creating whirlpools of noise before then dropping something dramatic back in. It’s good to see people enjoying it. I struggle to look up as I’m usually busy, but people seem to enjoy what’s going on, even when I feel things are maybe a bit boring. 

Do you have any good stories to share about the live shows or DJ’ing?

The travel aspect usually wipes me out, but generally, it’s all good times with good people, in interesting places. I try to keep sensible, so I don’t embarrass myself. 

I do remember a blind gin tasting in Marano near Venice, followed by being bundled into a car and taken to a massive party in a heavily decorated villa in the countryside.

Which releases are the most personal or important ones to you from your own back catalogue? Why?

The overwhelming majority are very personal as they did, up to a point, track loves and emotions, and help with putting depression on hold.

The Bunker releases were good. Slapped out jams that others wouldn’t touch, but seemed to gain me some recognition from a wider community.

Now Is The Time on BOE recordings is important. It’s the first music Craig and I made together and I think it holds up very well indeed. Shame it didn’t really sell as much as it probably should have done.

Das Haus is a favourite. I played a gig in Zagreb, the first time I’d gone abroad to play, and maybe my second gig as Perseus Traxx. The venue was called Das Haus and it was a squat type arts venue. I played for a couple of hours and it was an amazing time. I wrote the track inspired by the party when I got home and pretty much managed to raise the money to press it by selling at a reasonable price, in advance. The records only took 2 weeks to be manufactured, so it was all good. 

Postcards From Bohemia, released on Snuff Traxx is another similar one. I wrote it when I’d moved back to York, and immediately following Bohemian Grove, an amazing party which used to be held in Manchester. I met some people incredible people there and it means a lot. The scene in Manchester is amazing.

We are well into 2020 now, what does the year hold for you in regards of releases, collaborations etc.?

I think I may have jumped the gun and covered that already - which may mean I didn’t answer those questions properly and deviated instead. There are about a dozen releases waiting, but they’re pretty much written off as being hollow promises that drag on. It used to annoy me, but I’m not so bothered anymore.

Can you name a few DJ’s/artists/collectives that you think should be on people’s radar? And why?

Roya Brehl, a very good friend of mine has been involved with putting on some great parties in Leeds over recent years, and it’s always fun to go over to party or play, whether it’s live shows in Wire, or spinning Disco in Outlaws Yacht Club (an amazing bar, with a relaxed attitude and the Disque 72 Social record shop in the corner; the ultimate teleportation destination). She doesn’t really stop, and is always pushing ideas and parties. A recent one is The Off Licence. It’s the brainchild of Ben Etherington and Alex Kelsall, who were also residents at the Schwein parties, and it seems to move around the city. Roya is also establishing a space called the Imaginarium which was getting off the ground just as the pandemic began to have knock on effects in the UK. The Off Licence were due to have Bill Brewster play at a party they were putting on at 212 Bar, and I was due to play the after party in the Imaginarium, but good health is key, and creativity can’t be stifled so easily. She also pushes things forward via the website https://diyleeds.com/.

Also in Leeds, Hold The Relish are worth mentioning. Some amazing parties where you get on a mystery coach, or follow last minute directions. From street parties to “ecological lectures” at their annual River Grind, they know how to throw a pickle related party. 

Magnonic Signals is a label hailing from Grimsby. Their third 12” is by Aquatronics, and should be out relatively soon. Lee, who co-runs runs the label has really good taste and from conversations a little while ago (at a Random XS gig in the pub at the end of my partner’s rather quiet street) there should be some really awesome stuff coming in the future if they’re able to keep going on.

Stu Crosbie self releases some really high quality techno, on his own Dark Arts label and that’s worth checking out. He’s just cracking on and exploring what he wants, developing a solid back catalogue as he does so.

Not so much a DJ or collective, but a venue with a community ethos is definitely worth mentioning. The Crescent Community Venue in York is just round the corner from me and has a really good background. As with any town, venues are ephemeral and there is always a need to find something. The Crescent was a working men’s club and a few groups of people used it for various parties. When the board decided to sell it, the current owners, who had been involved with putting parties on there, expressed their interest. Developers also expressed and interest, and as I understand it, offered more money for a prime opportunity. The board of the working men’s club decided to let it go to Bob and Ed, as their proposal was more community orientated. They have a few late finishes each year, and a very broad range of guests, either done relatively in house by Oruborus, or people coming in to promote their own parties. The late, and indisputably great, Mr Weatherall played there a few times, and I saw Wolfgang Flür there a few months ago. When Crazy P played last year, the place was dripping. I left the venue absolutely soaked. 

There are zine workshops, bar billiards, folk music, afro-jazz, dub and reggae nights; it incredible and there were loads of events lined up for this year. I popped my head in on the way back from work a few weeks ago, and was told I’d be the last customer. When the lockdown was announced they rightly felt they needed to play their part in helping the spread of the virus and closed immediately. The problem is that they survive on bar takings, and their running costs for staff, utilities, VAT etc etc, are in the region of £3500 a week, and with no specified duration for the lockdown in the U.K. this soon adds up. I designed a couple of t-shirts for them to help “capture” this moment, and try to raise some money towards keeping both them, and the Community Interest Company with which I am involved, afloat during this period. They’re available to order here, if not now, very soon.

It’s going to be a very tough time for clubs up and down the country, and after seeing off developers and their antisocial plans on more than one occasion, it would be such a shame for York to lose what is arguably the most diverse venue in the city. Those who want to support it directly can donate here.

Please name five tracks, albums, or mixes that you have on heavy rotation currently.

I listen to BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 6 music quite a bit, but when I buy records and they arrive, I’ll often just have one playing continually as I potter around my flat, doing things.

When it ends, I start it again, fascinated by tones and arrangements and if it’s something older, bought for a different reason, then I’ll be thinking about where best to cut it for edits.

Caurel” by Sixtyone from the The Locks” which was recently released on Verdant Recordings, is a current favourite. It’s all about the bassline with this one. The production is fantastic and the depth to it is stunning. It’s absolutely solid, and reminds me a lot of Håkan Lidbo’s track “Elementary” on Fragile Records. Unfortunately my copy of that one has taken some damage which renders it unplayable. 

Your Footprints” by Ben Sun passed me by when it was released, but I heard it on Purple Radio just before Christmas, and immediately bought a copy. It’s a stunning piece, of classic sounding, dreamy house music with beautiful strings/pads and familiar drum machine tones. It’s just beautifully pieced together, and the sound is timeless.

I waited ages for a copy of LBLL “Secret Edits and Fixes” on Adesse Versions, and got it shortly before Christmas, which was in time for the Fatty Fatty Phonographics party, The Mothership Connection, held at Ukiyo in Dublin, between Christmas and New Year. I took a fair bit of gospel inspired house/techno/disco with me and this remains a real favourite. It’s by my bag for next time I get to go out and play. The track I got the 12” for is “Pressure Cooker” a high energy workout, creating a slower, but somehow more full version of LaBelle’s “Pressure Cookin’.

Whenever I get a 12” on Stilove4music, it remains on my deck for a while. The Lost Chicago Beat Traxx are amazing, baked from found tapes, and there’s a fantastic article about them here. The most recent release on the label is “Saved” by Devin Dare. It came out last year and it’s groove goes for the jugular, catching you immediately and holding you there as it teases you to the vocal at about 6 minutes. It gives me goosebumps, it’s so damn good. I’ll have it playing in the background as I get things done then the vocal breaks and my mind is blown - every time.

Choosing a fifth for this question has been a little tricky. A lot has gone out of my mind since I switched machines on as a result of having my brain prodded by this interview, and also being very much inspired by hearing a link I was sent to Böhm’s new Beach Life EP.

I’ve been zipping about in my car a bit more with work, and when I got it a couple of years ago, I discovered the stereo could handle 6 compact discs. I loaded it with some of my own music I’d been playing with at the time, plus a brace of some Fela Kuti discs, and some Legowelt. I rarely get downloads or buy digital, because I very rarely use that format to play or listen any more than just checking out an idea, preferring the records I’ve bought. This is different though. I downloaded The TEAC Life when he released it in 2011, but various computer issues meant that although it had been showing on my computer, it was nowhere to be found. Luckily he remastered and added some tracks a couple of years ago, so I got it again. I took the Feli CDs out the other day as they’ve started to skip, but Legowelt remains. Everything he does is incredible, and he covers a broad spectrum really, with lush synths and crunched drums. He continually releases free sample packs from synths he’s rescued, or Ableton instrument chains to simulate vintage machinery, as well as making patches for the likes of Elektron and Novation. Danny really knows his synths and is a really easy going guy from my limited experience, and I think this element contributes strongly to the scope of music explorations and output. Everyone should check out what he does. The TEAC Life was done using his Juno 106, which broke while he was recording the album “probably cause this shit is tooo deep and it just can't handle it," he’s been quoted as saying. As well as being a fan anyway, what really grabbed me was his write up of the music that accompanied the release:

"Its got a hella lot deep tape saturated forest-techno tracks on it and when I say Techno i dont mean that boooooooooooring contemporary shit they call techno nowadays with overrated tallentless pretentious douchebag cunt DJs playing a few halfassed dumb mongo beats and being all arty fartsy about it. F*ck that, I am talking about: Raw as fuck autistic Star Trek 1987- Misty Forests- X-FILES,- DETROIT unicorn futurism made on cheap ass digital & analog crap synthesizers recorded in a ragtag bedroom studio on a TEAC VHX cassettedeck in DOLBY C with an unintelligible yet soulfull vivacity." 

The man is a genius. He should be on everyone’s radar.

So the mix, can you tell us a little something about that? It’s stylistically diverse, going from Rusty’s US garage to darker shuffled machine funk grooves of Awanto 3.

Half my lounge is an ever-growing sprawl of vinyl but the decks, while out of the way, aren’t ideal for me to stand at due to a slope of the ceiling. I need to shift things around really, but also have a large screen printing carousel in the living room, as well as a curing lamp. I can’t move those as I keep having ideas for printing. As such it feels like I live in a strange workshop.

I grabbed records that were in piles nearby which I’ve not played yet, and others with haven’t been played for a while. I’m always conscious of just getting locked in one direction so I suppose Rusty broke that up, and it’s been sat in a pile in front of my decks since I got it a couple of months ago. It’s a different sound but good, it’s a document of ideas from 1989, and worth hearing.

I’d hope that despite the differences in style, things can still fit. I picked up the Awanto 3 12” during a weekend in Amsterdam a few weeks back, and it seemed to fit loosely with the previous record or two. I like a lot of the sounds on these records. It’s that simple I suppose.

Many thanks again Nigel, anything else?

Actually, a couple of things. I didn’t complete this interview in one sitting, and during the writing of it, I began making music again. I’ve got a lot of ideas.

While doing this, and recording footage of live jams, I noticed that there was a licencing claim on one similar which I had recorded and uploaded about 5 years ago. The reason is that I have a new record coming out, and the digital distributor or aggregator made a claim against it. As this wasn’t part of my agreement I got in touch with the label, who were good enough to look into it for me.

This isn’t the only time I’ve seen this sort of thing. I don’t mind people uploading my music on Youtube, but when third-party companies claim the license, meaning they can profit (and when they do this with thousands of tracks) when there has been no agreement, I do have an issue. Unfortunately, a takedown request isn’t enough. The issue is the license, not the footage and recording being shared. Unfortunately, removal can lead to a strike against the user who posted the footage. In the first instance the license rights can only be revoked by the company claiming them:

“The content that is the subject of your complaint was provided to us under licence by a YouTube partner for use by YouTube as an Art Track. You can find the licensor's name in the video description, where it says 'Provided to YouTube by [licensor name]'. Even if the licensor's name is unfamiliar to you, they may be a distributor or other authorised company who works with your label. When they provided us with the content, they asserted their right to distribute it on YouTube. For this reason, we will not be able to comply with your removal request. You may wish to pursue the matter with the licensor or reach out to your label about whether they work with the licensor on your behalf.

If you still believe that you have the exclusive rights to the content and that it should not be on YouTube, please let us know on this thread and explain the outcome of the conversation that you've had with your label. At that point, we'll re-evaluate your request.”

I take the view that if no evidence can be shown that I allowed this, then there should be no question. It appears as a literal hijacking of work. How can I prove the lack of proof against those making the assertion? There seems to be no option of retaining content while removing erroneous rights claims.

One argument is that the revenue is taken by YouTube if the company licensing it doesn’t make a claim. I don’t have an issue with that. YouTube is a great platform for sharing and promotion, and it’s better than having something clunky and problematic like Soundcloud, where things are only smooth if you pay. The revenue itself is low, as much as Spotify, and although I’ve worked at the idea of 1,000,000 plays being $65.00 in revenue (I guess the artist in question had other people taking cuts)

I was corrected by Triple Vision, who gave an enlightening take from the digital distribution side. I was told that 1,000,000 streams could equate to payments of 5-7000€ for artists. This is good, but it’s a lot of streams to wait for, though over a lifetime I suppose they may accumulate and at some point you can claim the money from the label.

I’ve never been a fan of Spotify, and that ties in with the above. It’s a streaming service with a massively exploitative business model based on getting work for free while selling the idea that it grows a fanbase and expands your market.

People streaming constantly on Spotify, aren’t the mass of the record-buying populace, and it’s the latter where my interest lies. I issued some takedown notices after seeing red, and really I should have been less of a reactionary arsehole about this, and spoken with the labels directly in the first instance. It was a shitty call on my part, and as it turns out, has the potential to get a label blacklisted and all their releases removed.

I don’t mind digital release where people can purchase a download, but I regard streaming as radio-play and I don’t feel that people should be charged for that, so the only collections on my behalf should be from PRS.

I maintain this position but am aware it can be difficult. When I speak to labels about it, what has often come back is that their digital distributor is unable to be that selective. This runs contrary to what Triple Vision communicated to me. Maybe other distributors are being flexible with truth to avoid extra work when labels speak to them, maybe the questions aren’t asked properly.

Either way it then chews into my time in order to follow things up when I have to exert effort to reclaim what is mine from someone who has assumed ownership outside the domain agreed by myself and the person the distributer deals with.

Allowing it to go on, across the board, not just in this one instance, and not just for me, maintains a precedent which seems nothing less than piracy. In the haste to get music out there, nuances are potentially overlooked, done almost on autopilot, and in the majority of cases I don’t imagine that the labels really make much out of it, especially when combined with the popularity of minimum payment clauses (I’m still owed money from Juno for digital sales of material I uploaded and sold numerous years ago, but won’t get anything as they won’t pay out below a certain threshold) although I expect the bulk of payment will come from their digital sales enabling streaming revenue to be added on top.

That said, there are numerous labels and artists unaware of the process. They’ll enlist distribution help, then this is passed to another company for licensing and then all of a sudden it seems like someone has hijacked the work because neither artist nor label are familiar with the companies operating in this area. It’s legitimate, but an uncomfortable result of what is acted upon as the norm, and labels wanting to get things out there.

It makes a case for defined contracts that stipulate where and how long things will be available in which domains, but I also found that rights for other music were still being claimed by DeepMiningCorpAssoc despite the label I released with, officially winding down. It shows that the digital distributor, in that case, had not passed on information and unless I picked it up, it’s just there with my work generating money for a third party. The distributor's argument is that “it also ensures that others don't run off with the tracks.” although I noticed with some of mine there are multiple claims of ownership, and either way surely a few content I.D. markers are hardly going to stop someone. This is the problem with so many links in a chain, and why Bandcamp is infinitely better.

The takeaway lesson is that the points must be pushed with labels so that things are clear when they go to their distributors, rather than becoming prickly and acting illogically, as I’ve been known to do. I prefer to work with a gentleman’s agreement but these are also based on a set of assumptions on both sides, of how the industry works. The music remains mine but things can still remain flexible. I just don’t want something as simple as releasing a small number of records, to be tied with a contract.

It seems ludicrous to me that some people would suggest contracts to avoid people illegally exploiting your material, when that exploitation without a contract remains a copyright infringement and an illegal exploitation. If you regularly use YouTube, and can meet their criteria (”your channel needs to have 4,000 public watch hours from the last 12 months, and 1,000 subscribers”) then you can join them as a partner and use their Content I.D. system and their Copyright Match Tool. This will match your music with other instances of it. It’s the tool that the distributers and licensers use, but for smaller scale people like me, it’s out of reach, making the whole thing more of a system for larger businesses.

Maybe if I remove everyone else's uploads of my music and replace them with my own, it will benefit me, but I lack the time, motivation to share and garner views, and general inclination; from an experiential viewpoint and part of a way to learn and enhance knowledge, I think it may be a good exercise. My motivation here isn’t money, so I don’t need to play that game, although where labels have paid me in advance of sales, I do have some music on Spotify.

A lot has become clearer in this area over the course of the last week, and if I’ve not jumbled my words too much, I hope it goes towards at least giving a slightly better picture to some of those reading this who feel they’ve had their copyrights hijacked. If my music is to be streamed it should be free and that decision should be mine, and not available for another company to scrape revenue from. 

Fuck Spotify, and keep safe.

playlist

01 - Anxious - Tribal Love - MM004
02 - Edge Of Motion - Craze - DJAX-UP 147
03 - Gene Hunt - Madd Kapp - HM004
04 - CC0 - Lunar Outpost - PF14
05 - Myriadd - All Is Mind - WOD013
06 - Rusty - Everything's Gonna Change - DFC013
07 - Beyond A Void - DAT007 - SS-TWO
08 - Metropolis - Black Motor Boogie - - PF06
09 - Mandingo - Another Night On Earth - BC009
10 - Awanto 3 - Fat Ass Pigeons - RH Store Jams 009
11 - Soulstice - Lockdown - CF-004SV
12 - Fonda Rae - Living In Ecstasy - FTI50T
13 - Nexus 21 - Do It Like That (Do It Like This) - NEXUS 21-2

DJ profile
Nigel Rogers

Location: York, UK
Discogs | Soundcloud

York-based Nigel Rogers is best known for his raw and jacking blend of techno & house under his Perseus Traxx alias. He’s become an established figure in the scene with releases under several aliases on such highly acclaimed labels as M>O>S Recordings, Bunker Records, Solar One Music, Chiwax, Flight Recorder and his own Future Flash and Northern Powerhouse over the last two decades. Nigel’s hardware based live-sets are something you don’t want to miss and luckily, Youtube has plenty of them on offer.

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