Filth & Splendour Interview

Hi Guys, lets get the obvious questions out of the way first. Where did you guys meet and where did the name come from?

James: We’d been mates for a while before we started playing together. I was playing a residency every Sat at a bar/club in Soho. Oli came in with his date and I asked him to jump on the decks, I was playing 6hrs straight and it was nice to have a break. We vibed well so we continued playing together.

Oli: The name was a spin on what we played really, lots of big epic tunes with filthy basslines, we tried to sum it up and Filth & Splendour hit the nail on the head. Everything thinks we’re one or the other but it’s more of an act name than our names.

Your first release was licensed to a Godskitchen album, how was that experience?

James: Yeah that was a great start to our productions, we’d not expected things to get picked up that quickly. When the bar gets raised like that the pressure is on to keep it up there.

Oli: We’ve both got a long history with dance music and Godskitchen was right up there with the best of them, to say we were chuffed would be an understatement. It set our quality control really high meaning we’d rather do quality over quantity any day.

You’ve released on a number of big labels now, what would your advice be to producers trying to make a big splash like you did?

James: A couple of things, make sure your productions are of a high standard before you send them to major labels. Take the time to polish them, use an engineer if need be. Anything less than top notch these days and you’re wasting your time and the labels. Get feedback from other established artists outside your friend network. Friends can flatter you all day long, next thing you know you’ve ruined the chances of a big label taking you seriously. It’s easy to think you’ve just made the best tune ever when you first start out. When you hear it 5 years later you’d probably like to slap your younger self.

Oli: It’s tough that stage though, you’re full of enthusiasm and the music scene looks full of opportunity, unfortunately you’re not the only one who thinks so and there is an army of like minded people who are better and more enthusiastic with more contacts and money stood behind you. You need to think about what your brand is, why it’s different and how you’re going to stand out.

How satisfying is it to have all these big name artists support your tracks?

James: It’s good to know you’re hitting the nail on the head, Carl Cox playing our record felt like a big achievement. That said I’m still waiting to be in a club when one of these guys drops one of ours.

Oli: getting a message to say someone just heard you on the radio or at a club is always a buzz, being there is harder to do. I think to be honest whether you’re playing it or a big name is, just knowing people are enjoying what you produce is what we all do it for right?

How many of them are influences for you?

Oli: that’s a tough question, it’s hard not to be influenced and James and I have eclectic tastes. I listen to everything and pull inspiration from all over. There are of course artists who you get drawn to, James and I love the vibe Hot Since 82 is putting out right now so I’m sure that will impact our output. But music isn’t the only influence other artists can have, looking at how an artist markets themselves can be equally inspiring too. Its nuts to think of how big DJ brands have become now, earning millions a year in global tours sounds alright to us.

When you make a new track, where do you begin? Drums? Bass?

James: First we get the drums down and look at getting a solid grove going. When we’re happy with that we can start building up the layers of the track. Bass would be the next thing. We get a loop going that sounds like you could listen to it forever then we can lay it out and see what we need, leads, stabs and fx.

You are pretty active online with lots of social media links. How important now is it rouse the world wide web to stay connected to your fan base?

Oli: it’s vital now – artists aren’t these inaccessible mysteries that only the media have access to anymore. Anyone can drop you a message on Facebook or hit you up on Twitter. The world’s conversations are happening in these spaces and you should be part of that on some level if you want to succeed. Plus, let your fans help you; if they can ad @filth_splendour to a tweet they’re helping others to find you and spread your reach. We had a fan complain that he didn’t like one of our tracks on Facebook so we asked him why, he gave us his opinion and thanked us for listening, if we’d ignored him he probably wouldn’t check out our stuff anymore, or worse he could turn other people off too. We have another fan in Brazil who tweets us everytime someone requests one of our tunes, that’s amazing to know it’s happening.

Whats your feelings toward artists like DJ Sneak that use social media negatively to bad mouth other artists?

Oli: it’s a controversial thing right? No such thing as bad press and all that. I guess it’s better to have an opinion and stand for something than to sit on the sidelines. After all, those that agree with you will rally behind you and those that don’t wouldn’t have supported you anyway. That said, I do think you can do that without mugging people off and that’s where it becomes a bit sensationalist.

The London scene is like a microcosm all of its own. Crowds migrate around the city, but once you get known they follow you all over. How was your first experience of a non London crowd? Did you change anything about how you played?

James: I think the first time I played outside London was in Ibiza; we had a lot of mates there so we played what we would normally play. The first time we had to really think about what we would play was in Bangkok, we wouldn’t normally play that much electro but we really enjoyed it.

Oli: yeah, international gigs take a bit of tweaking, but to be fair James and I have always played to a crowd before a sound, we don’t want to rock up somewhere banging out anthems when it’s more of a rolling vibe.

Where was/is your favourite residence and why?

James: The Cross has to be the best residency we’ve ever had, maybe because it was the first for us. That place seemed to capture something special every weekend and it was amazing to be part of that.

Oli: yup. It was the one and we miss it, I don’t think London has really found its again feet since the big dogs closed.

If you could DJ a gig anywhere in the world, with anyone you wanted, money and death no object, who would you have and where would it be? …and most importantly, Can I have a guest list?

James: I’d like to play with Carl Cox, his sets move around genres a lot which we like to do too. He’s also one of the biggest legends of our time so it would be great to share the stage with him at least once before he hangs up his raving shoes. As for location somewhere tropical and hot would be nice. Forget the champagne I’ll have a bucket.

Oli: Glastonbury for me, in the Arcadia stage, perhaps with 2manydjs, Carl Cox, Daft Punk and Plump DJs, now that would be one hell of a party in and outside the booth. You’re definitely invited ;)

America is starting to see the the backlash to rave culture that the UK saw in the 90s. Do you think it was fair for Electric Zoo to cancel their festival given the tragic consequences that surrounded it, or should the show have gone on?

James: If people are dropping down dead of course the show should have stopped. Several people got ill and they could have had a bigger problem on their hands if they kept going. It’s a shame for all those people who went there to party but the bigger picture is keeping people safe.

You’ve DJed all over the globe. Any good tour stories you can share?

James: We played on an island in Thailand, the day after we went to see Steve Mac play at another club. Some local walked in and fired a gun; it was pretty scary with everybody running in all directions but unable to leave as he was standing in the doorway. Turned out he just wanted the music turned down…wtf!

Oli: on the flip side we played to 1000’s on Lonely beach in Koh Chang on NYE and it was insane – flames, fireworks, buckets, buckets and buckets.

Touring can take its toll, especially when there’s 2 of you. How did you decompress and relax?

James: I play tennis a fair bit and try and get to the gym when possible. We socialize with mates as much as possible too although that’s not very relaxing!

Oli: box sets, producing tracks, gym sessions and massive roasts. Same as anyone else really.

Things are defiantly on the up for Filth & Splendour, but what if tomorrow no-one liked dance music. What would you do for work?

James: I’d be a resort waterslide tester…just got a new pair of trunks

Oli: I guess we’d learn to sing… that or set up a bar on a beach somewhere ;)

Finally, Whats in the pipeline for the rest of 2013?

Oli: Lots of sick productions! We’ve remixed a great up and coming band called The Goods so that should land soon, we’re quietly confident that should make a splash. We’ve put together a tidy little EP for Bedtime Records with some great vocals from K:Miss & Marisa both rising stars. Both of us have been working hard to get new tracks signed to Itch Records that can push the envelope. Finally we’ve signed an absolute banger to Dnox & Beckers label Plastik Park, which is getting a Riktam and Bansi remix…can’t wait to hear that!

We hope to be touring Asia over late Dec/Jan…in massive need of a tan!

It’s what’s going to come in 2014 that’s really exciting ;)