Cid Inc or Henri Hurtig, as he is known by many is a man that really has come into his own in the past couple of years with some blisteringly strong productions on labels such as microCastle, Manual Music, Perspectives Digital, Sudbeat and Lost & Found. His records find themselves into the sets of the likes of Nick Warren, Hernan Catteneo, John Digweed, and Guy J to name but a few, and this man is really now beginning to find himself a regular amongst the ‘A’ listers.
I caught up with Cid Inc this month to talk about his music, his thoughts on the progressive sound, and what he has planned for 2015.
Hi Henri. Many thanks for taking the time to talk to us, and recording a fine 1 hour exclusive mix. What have you been up to of late?
Thanks for having me. I’ve been very busy with my mastering service like always, working on a few originals, remixes, and also managing my label Replug Records. I recently finished a remix for the classic John Johnson ‘Impact’ track that will see the daylight soon.
Mitch from MicroCastle is working on releasing a Cid Inc compilation vol.2 this spring, it’ll include three new tracks from me as well; one clubby and two downtempo tracks. My collaboration with Darin Epsilon just got released this week together with a remix from Petar Dundov, and I’ve been talking with Quivver about doing a collaboration as well.
You were born in Finland, and raised in Sweden. Can you tell us a little about your upbringing, and how living in both countries has influenced you musically?
When I was one years old my family moved to Sweden where I lived until 2004. We lived very far up north in Sweden, at the border to Finland to be more exact. The winters are very dark up there! At it’s worst in December the sun is only up between 2-3 hours, in the summer time the sun never sets! Both Sweden and Finland are pretty much the same when it comes to living standards and people, Swedes are propably a bit more open and social. The darkness and cold winters has definitely put a mark on me and my music, I have a habit to like melancholic stuff and it propably can be heard in my productions and also DJ sets.
You currently reside is Tampere which is north of Helsinki. Can you describe what the current music scene is like over in your country? What are some of the more underground venues like?
Unfortunately I only play once or twice a year in Finland. The more progressive sound doesn’t really cut it here at present, and it’s mostly techno and tech-house that brings people to the parties. When I play here I need to play those mentioned genres usually.
Last year though I played in Imatra which is located in the eastern part of Finland, close to the Russian border. I was positively surprised that the crowd was really enjoying the progressive sound.
You have been releasing music since 2004; firstly as Mashtronic, and now Cid Inc since 2008. How has your sound evolved over the years, and why do you think things are now beginning to explode for you?
I’ve been fiddling with music since end of ’80s. I’ve tried everything from Trance, Acid techno to Break Beat, and Drum’n’Bass before settling down with the more housy sound somewhere in the beginning of 2000.
Mashtronic was actually quite a successful project with releases on labels such as Global Underground, Bedrock, Ministry Of Sound to name a few. In 2008 I decided to go solo as Cid Inc, I were pretty much tired of the electro influenced progressive sound (that was big around the four years when Mashtronic was active) I didn’t know where to take Mashtronic’s sound to, and I basically started from scratch to search and build that Cid Inc sound.
Not sure if things are really exploding for me as Cid Inc yet, I just keep on working hard and try to do my best. There’s still a whole lot to achieve and I feel like there’s still lots of work to be done before I’m where I want to be.
Your recent release on Lost & Found, “Guardian” was a big track, and was a firm favourite here in the Decoded Magazine office. How did the release come about, and how did you get to work alongside Nick Muir?
Glad you guys like the release. Guy simply asked me for a track for the label. Once the track was finished he eventually got in touch with Nick to see if he would be interested in doing a remix.
You seem to have developed a good working relationship with Guy J over the past few months. How did this come about, and do you have any plans to work with the man in the studio?
I’ve known Guy for a few years now. We met over in Mexico in 2011 and eventually I started doing mastering for his productions, and eventually for his Lost & Found label as well. We haven’t talked about a collab as of yet, but who knows, maybe some day.
Speaking about studio work. Can you talk us through your studio, where it is based, and what are some of your favourite tools?
I’ve always been a software guy. 25 years ago a friend of mine introduced me to Pro Tracker software on the Amiga computer, it was a very simple 4 channel software using 8bit samples, this is where it all started. Eventually I moved on to PC, and some time in 96 I discovered the first soft synths; it was nothing like nowdays and VST format wasn’t even invented then. You had to render the sound before you could hear the results of the tweaking, and once you were happy with the sound it was bounced to a WAV file that then could be used as a sample. I’ve actually been looking into a few hardware synths and drum machines that I would like to buy eventually. The integration with the DAWs in todays hardware seems to be really good.
My current studio is a simple one as expected from a software user. My favourite tool is definitely Ableton Live; it’s so fast to work with. For mastering I use a mix of hardware and software. I have an API-2500 compressor and SPL PassEQ that I use together with a few plugins; it all of course depends on the track that is mastered, and what is needed to get the best out of it. The studio is based here in Tampere.
Over the years what have been some of your biggest obstacles as a producer?
Definitely keeping the inspiration up! I’ve struggled with quite a few writers block periods. It can be really frustrating and sometimes it feels like nothing helps. I think sometimes my work as a mastering engineer doesn’t help much either because I hear so much music every day.
You always appear to have remained true to your progressive roots. What are your thoughts on the current progressive sound, and what are your opinions on how and why the genre often gets portrayed?
I think we all agree, and it has been debated many times that the current Beatport progressive house isn’t what it should be. But I’m glad to see that the “real” progressive house is getting more and more attention again, so maybe things are shifting.
When I moved in to producing house in the early ’00s I didn’t even know what progressive sound was until Andreas from Inkfish got in touch with me and asked if I have more progressive kind of material available. He had heard a few of my tracks on a Swedish website. It seems like I’ve always had the tendency to produce and love music that has a more or less progressive arrangement and properties in them.
You recently played over in Budapest at a venue called Akvarium alongside Guy J. I here good things about Budapest. What were your thoughts on the city and it’s nightlife?
It was actually the first time I played there and it the crowd was amazing. Didn’t have the time to see the city. I’m looking forward going back and hopefully I will have the time to take a closer look at the city then.
Whilst on the subject of gigs what have been some of your favourite DJ gigs over the past 12 months, and why?
Everything involving Argentina is always fantastic, as mentioned the Akvarium gig in Budapest was something special. B018 in Beirut never lets down either. All of those have been amazing experiences in the past year.
Can you tell us about some of your current favourite artists that always feature in your sets?
I don’t have any one particular that I favour, if it’s good music that I like then it’s something I play. I’ve noticed though that I tend to find lots of tracks from the Israeli producers in my sets at the moment.
As a DJ and producer what do you look for in a track that you would a) play out to a crowd, and b) want to remix?
I have the habit to play tracks that are kind of driving but emotional, and with a good groove. When getting a remix request I usually check if the track is something that rocks my socks obviously, also if there’s anything I could improve by doing a remix or twist around the track to a completely different thing.
Are there any upcoming new artists from your home country that we should be keeping an eye on?
You should keep an eye on Tommi Oskari, a guy based in Turku, Finland. He always delivers really good groovy and deep progressive sound.
If we can turn our attention to your guest mix for a few minutes. What was the sound you tried to exhibit in your mix? Was it aimed more for the home listener or the club, and why?
I aimed to showcase some of my new productions and generally tracks that I really like at the moment. It’s definitely a more club oriented mix.
Many will tell you that I am a big foodie, and I here some of the culinary combinations in Finland, and Scandinavia as a whole are very different and unique. Can you tell us about some of your favourite food when you are kicking back and relaxing with family and friends?
I’m not an expert in Scandinavian cuisine… At home I usually cook Italian or Asian food together with my fiance. We stopped eating red meat around a half year ago, but still eating seafood so it’s something we cook quite a lot as well. Something a bit special that you could try is the swedish canned fish called surströmming, but I’d warn you that it’s really something smelly and special!
02. Rogier & Stage Van H – Vapourized (Praveen Achary Remix) – Classound
03. Robert Babicz – Black Lion – Babiczstyle
03. Stas Drive – Carnival 69 (Original Mix) – Spaghetti Monster
04. Glenn Morrison & Brian Cid – Innervisions (Original Mix) – Extinct Records
06. Simos Tagias & Jorgio Kioris – Exist (Original Mix) – Replug Records
07. Weekend Heros – Secret Society (Khen Late Night Remix) – Flow Records
08. Cid Inc vs. Darin Epsilon – Outliers (Original Mix) – Perspectives Digital
09. Orsen – Look Twice – Replug Records