Bedrock is a brand synonymous with professionalism and attention to detail. Maintaining the highest quality and standards in everything it does, from hosting its own club nights and festival arenas through to its merchandising range and of course its CD and Vinyl releases on the Bedrock record label. With John Digweed (read our recent interview with John Digweed) at the helm, one of the world’s most revered and celebrated DJ’s on the planet, it should come as no surprise that the company is constantly pushing the boundaries and always keeping one step ahead of the competition, meaning that Bedrock consistently satisfies its ever growing and loyal global fanbase.
With a history of well over 100 single releases, several artist albums and DJ mix compilations from the likes of Jimmy Van M, Desyn Masiello, Luke Fair, DJ Hyper and of course John Digweed himself, the sound and genres covered have ranged from deep house to breaks along with techno and ambient. John’s position as one of the world’s truly elite DJ’s means that he is given tracks exclusively from established artists and new talent alike, allowing the label to stay at the forefront and has given it the ability to pioneer new sounds and music movements well ahead of the curve.
The growth of the Bedrock label has had an exponential effect on its other business ventures and created huge demand for branded events. From the legendary London parties at Heaven which now take place at Matter in the O2 Arena to hosting the festival tents at Global Gathering and SW4. Besides the UK, gigs have also taken place in territories such as Argentina and Japan along with Russia, Greece and China to name but a few. Bedrock has made its presence felt at some of the most popular music industry spots such as the Amsterdam Dance Event and the esteemed Miami Winter Music Conference which have always been the most popular and in-demand events to attend for industry insiders and fans alike.
Attention to detail has been instrumental to the company successfully delivering high end products and events to their customers, whether it be by utilising cutting edge art design through to working with the worlds most talented producers and DJ’s. It is a combination of all of these factors that has seen Bedrock become one of the most respected and critically acclaimed labels. With such a reputation this has meant the label has recently been able to showcase music from esteemed artists such as Timo Maas, Guy Gerber, Steve Lawler, Danny Howells and Christian Smith & John Selway whilst allowing the nurturing of rising talents of the likes of Guy J, Henry Saiz, Alan Fitzpatrick amongst many others.
Bedrock is viewed by many as one of the most influential brands in the electronic scene and its ability to constantly evolve and adapt to the ever changing market explains why Bedrock has remained at the very top of its game throughout the last 11 years and why the brand continues to consistently grow year on year gathering fans from all corners of the globe.
John’s production partner Nick Muir is best known for his work as a producer of electronic dance music both on his own and as one half of the Bedrock production team. He has been involved in many pivotal moments in the world of club music and has in many ways helped to define the genres in which he has worked. To this day Nick is an in demand producer of club music and is releasing as much music now as ever, he is a virtuoso pianist, having studied from age 5 and subsequently at music college. This led him to make a living as a session musician for the first part of his career, playing piano organ and keyboards with many and varied artists, including Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers) Take That and The Men They Couldn’t Hang. Nick now works almost exclusively out of his own studio deep in the Hertfordshire countryside and is still heavily involved with dance music and also increasingly in the world of film and TV advertising.
Hi Nick, wonderful to meet you. Can we start with your life pre-rave? What was the life of a session musician like in the 1980s? Did you have regular work?
Hello! Nice to meet you too. I played sessions, yes, but I was in various bands so I was a performer as much as a session man. I played piano and organ for all sorts of people and I was always in work, yes. I played in France for a few years in some rock/pop type situations which was a great education and I thoroughly recommend going to live and work in a different country to your own for a while. For a start you get to learn another language which inevitably improves your communication skills, also it’s good to live life as a foreigner, makes you realise how hard to is for those that come from abroad to work in your own country. I had some great experiences, played some huge venues, met some really interesting people, I’ve been very lucky.
Who was the biggest diva you’ve worked with, and how did you deal with their challenging behaviour?
I can’t answer that; I’ll get into all sorts of trouble! You know what though, playing with very well-known people requires a certain attitude and degree of judgement, after all they wouldn’t get to be big stars without being very focussed and having a certain amount of ego. If you’re working with a ‘star’ then you have to let him/her do that job and if the person concerned can see that you’re doing that, then they take you into their confidence a little more and you develop an understanding. I think one of the reasons that I’ve kept working is that I understand that element of the job quite well and do not suffer from a burning desire to have the limelight directed on me. A bit of limelight never goes amiss though!
Can you tell us about meeting Pat Collier, and working at Greenhouse Studios?
I had joined a band called ‘The Men ‘They Couldn’t Hang’, a kind of folky punk band and made a couple of albums with them. The second of those albums was produced by Pat and that’s when I met him. I got a real buzz working with him, he seemed to me to understand the bottom line of recording really well, I loved the sound he got. He could tell I was really keen and he had opened his own studio, The Greenhouse, which he had been able to do off the back of the success he had producing The Wonderstuff. He had bought several Akai samplers, the S1000s, which were a huge leap forward in sampling technology at the time and he asked me if I’d like to go and hang out, learn the technology and have a go at building some tracks – I jumped at the chance of course. This was around 1989/90, just as the dance music train was really starting to roll. I was learning the technology by day and partying by night, right place, right time.
You met John off the back of your production success and began working together. Bedrock went on to define the Trancier end of the progressive spectrum with tracks like Set in Stone, For What You Dream Of and the excellent Heaven Scent. When you sat down in the studio, how did the ideas for the tracks come about?
You must remember that there was a supercharged atmosphere in dance music when John and I first started working together; it was all very new and super exciting. I mean life was pretty exciting anyway but with the parties and the new music coming through it felt like a revolution was going on. The idea of the continuous mix played at high volume through monster sound systems was something that hadn’t been heard before, a brand new way of doing music, that rolling thunderous kick drum laying the foundation for all sorts of sonic experimentation, wonderful. Completely off the hook. Meeting John was great because as a DJ he was able to train me in the art of what was required from a club record so that he could construct mixes and weave the magic. John would bring fresh tracks to the studio, play me sounds and lines that he liked, then we’d use the inspiration from them to create our own sounds; sometimes it would be sheer accident, like I would accidentally change the sound of one of the lines and it would work much better. Inspiration was never a problem. I used to go watch John play and get the feel of how he liked to present the music which in turn would throw up new ideas; it’s a well that’s never run dry.
Which of your tracks seemed to come together quickly, and which, if any, took longer?
We were never particularly quick in our production process, it seemed to take a certain amount of time and effort to get the tunes to sound the way we wanted them to and that was that. When we made ‘For What You Dream Of’ I think it was the first time we made a real statement as producers and it took a bit of getting together. There were no real rules involved in making music like that at the time, we were kind of making them up as we went along so getting all the elements working together as a cohesive whole was quite a task, but we got there in the end.
From around the same time, I remember that ‘Set In Stone’ came together really quickly, it was a fairly simple set of ideas but the elements were good and we mixed it on the SSL desk downstairs at the Greenhouse and Jon Gray, who was the mix engineer got a fantastic sound on it.
Your relationship with John has lasted for over 20 years now. Firstly, how would you characterise the relationship, and how has it been watching him grow into the man he’s become?
John is an exceptional artist, I was lucky to meet him when I did and get to work with him. As far as our productions are concerned it’s kind of a producer/director arrangement. It’s Johns vision. He has insight as far as this type of music is concerned, it’s kind of uncanny really, as anyone who has followed him and listened to his mixes over the years will tell you. I will listen to the same record played by Someone else but when John plays it, it sounds different. Sounds a bit odd I know but that’s how it is for me at any rate. What’s got him to where he is today is a mixture of this connection he has to the music he plays, his sheer determination and his passion for what he does. It was always going to happen for John, he made sure of that.
Can you tell us about the new track you’ve just finished with John, forthcoming on Bedrock in a few weeks?
It’s a tune called Track For Life. John played at Ultra Miami earlier in the year, you can see a clip of it on Johns YouTube channel, the gig is absolutely huge (I think they call it the Megastructure??) and it was a track that we thought might fit in an environment like that (as well as smaller venues of course!). If you’re playing in a huge sonorous venue then a fairly simple quite hypnotic production works well, but you have to be careful how you choose the sounds so they can carry the simple production. I feel we achieved that and to me it sounds contemporary and fresh while at the same time being a classic Bedrock production. Argy and Yousef’s mixes compliment the main mix brilliantly, thanks to both of them for that.
Thanks Nick, just to finish, can you tell us a little about the mix you’ve compiled for us?
The mix is comprised of all Bedrock Records tracks from over the years, I wanted to include a few tracks you don’t hear so often as well as a couple of favourites of mine Like Edu and Triumphs ‘Veranoski’ also the Remute mix Geko by Guy J. The tracks go back over 7 or 8 years and I think it demonstrates that there’s a common thread that runs through the releases despite the fact that styles come and go.
A feature interview with John Digweed can be read here
Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon with guest Nick Muir (Bedrock Records label feature)
01. Jeremey Orlander – Lunar (Original Mix) [Suara]
02. Tilt – We are the wolf (Original Mix) [Stripped Digital]
03. Ziger – Circles (Original Mix) [Movement Records]
04. Victor Ruiz & D-Nox – Arise (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
05. Khen – Secret Shining (Original Mix) [Lost & Found]
06. Uvo – Long To Soon (Kasall & Cristian R Remix) [Sound Avenue]
07. Michael A – Hemisphere (Original Mix) [Perspectives Digital]
08. Robert Babicz – Auralphase (Cid Inc. vs Darin Epsilon Remix) [Selador]
01. Stelios Vassiloudis - Reaching (edit)
02. Miguel Bastida & Florian Kaltstrøm - Behind The Mirror
03. Edu Imbernon & Triumph - Veranoski (edit)
04. Tonedepth - Rumblefish (Maher Daniel remix)
05. Rowdent - Found It
06. King Unique - Spikes
07. Guy J - Geko (Remute remix)
08. Erphun & TheeO - Collusion
09. Maxime Dangles - Jarten
10. Ramon Tapia - Hysteria
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