Radio Slave is one of the headlining acts at The Asylum in Newsham Park this Easter. We asked him a bit about himself, and what festival goers should expect.
EP: You started out in London and Wales, and now you’re based in Germany – what’s been the road you’ve taken – and why Berlin?
RS: Well, after being there for 8 years I don’t think I could live in another city and Berlin became an incredibly important place long before I moved here. I still enjoy the city as much as every and it’s definitely where I call home. Not only does it have the best night life in the world, it’s a super-relaxed place to live and I definitely don’t miss the stress or aggression of being in London.
EP: You have a unique production style which is highly sought after. What is it about your music that sets you apart?
RS: I guess I’m just trying to do the beset I can and not get stuck in a loop making the same thing over and over again. There’s so many people producing music and thousands of tracks are released every week so I’m always pushing myself in the studio. I often scrap so many ideas and rough takes when I’m remixing other artists before arranging the final mix, and it’s always a case of less is more, and I’m always more content when the remixes are really stripped back. Even to the extent of removing the kick drums and rhythm tracks.
EP: What makes a song a good candidate for remixing?
RS: The best tracks to remix are “songs” and the more music there is to work with then the more fun to be had in the studio. It’s a real joy to work with vocals and arrangement, and looking back I did so many remixes from 2001-2008 for pop acts and bands, and I learned so much having the parts to these songs and being able to go through the stems of an artist like Kylie Minogue. You get to see the nuts and bolts of the song and I’ve been really surprised by how some bands managed to pull off a hit with such bad parts, but I guess that’s the magic of making music out of chaos!
EP: Who or what would you say have been your primary musical influences?
RS: Looking back I’d have to say the high fidelity sound of the 80s is what I love, and I’m constantly referring back to producers such as Trevor Horn and artists like Sade, Grace Jones, and of course, Vangelis. I really believe the best music has already been made, and every time I hear some average new record that’s being hyped on some online magazine, I just pull out the Bladerunner soundtrack. I’m not saying there’s not great music out there, but the production values of the 70s and 80s were just incredible.
EP: Your music is very industrial – lots of metallic beats and echoing rhythms – has this been something you’ve always done, or can you attribute it directly to your surroundings? For example, “The Clone Wars” in particular, reminds us of Brian Eno and David Bowie’s Berlin collaborations in the 70s – is it perhaps Berlin that has this affect?
RS: “The Clone Wars” was just my reaction to the mediocrity of what was being released at the time, and especially music within underground dance culture. So many artists feel happy to just imitate others, and I just don’t get it anymore, and I was walking in Berlin one day and the line, “I copy you, You copy me” just came to me, so I took out my iPhone and recorded the vocals. It was the first time I’d actually recorded my voice, and I do like this DIY kind of vibe, and by doing it there and then the vocals had this strange quality. I did very little to my voice on the final version, apart from pitching.
As for being compared to Brian Eno or Bowie, well I’m a huge fan, and I would love to make an LP like “Low”.
EP: You’re going to be one of the main draws to The Asylum in Newsham Park this year – what will festival goers expect from your appearance?
RS: Techno, techno, and more techno.
EP: Thank you so much for speaking to Essentially Pop!
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