Protagonists since the early days and always in the vanguard, forward-thinking techno producers Slam’s recent ‘Transmissions: Glasgow compilation showed a continued commitment to the future, this time centred around the talent of their home town and focusing on the burgeoning Techno scene which is so prominent in the city.
Over the last 3 years the pair have also developed ‘Slam Radio’, delivering some of the best DJs and music that Techno has to offer to a massive and loyal weekly following, with a truly underground flavour.
SLAM instigated Glasgow’s underground House music scene in the late 1980s, going on to be instrumental in the explosion of the UK Techno scene, and their quarter of a century of exploits have seen them travel far and wide, leaving scorch marks on dance floors everywhere while taking their uncompromising vision of Techno around the world.
Closer to home, since 1997, SLAM have curated the ‘Slam Tent’ at Scotland’s biggest festival ‘T in the Park’, with some of the world’s best known DJs and live acts playing alongside underground ground breaking talent on their monumental stage. Their firmly established monthly club events in Glasgow, ‘Pressure’ (formerly at the Arches now at SWG3) and ‘Return To Mono’ at the Sub Club, are ranked amongst the best nights out on the planet.
We caught up with them ahead of their show at this year’s Riverside Festival, May Bank Holiday Weekend
Hi guys, thank you for speaking to us once again, a lot has happened since we last chatted in 2015 (read their previous interview and mix), what has been some highlights since then?
One of the major highlights has been the start of the Soma 25 project and year – with a triple vinyl limited box set now on sale – with original tracks fro Jeff Mills , Robert Hood , Adam Beyer , Josh Wink , Blawan, Steve Bicknell, Funk D’Void and Andrew Weatherall – plus remixes from Vril, Jonas Kopp, Deepchord and others, this all took quite a while to pull together. Other highlights include the Slam Album “ Machine Cut Noise “. Also the launch of our Soma Track Series imprint which has really taken off and our move after the Arches closed – which leads nicely into your next question.
When we last spoke, The Arches had just been shut down, how has the Glasgow scene changed and adapted over the last 2 years?
The Glasgow scene has sorely missed the Arches , though it does continue to thrive with many new venues and nights cropping up across the city. Our Pressure night has found a new home at SWG3, which has been a great substitute venue. But the archaic licensing laws still prevail in Scotland and show no sign of changing any time soon , which is starting to really hinder the development of a European and Global style of clubbing that so many enjoy on their travels – but we’ll keep pushing the powers that be – hopefully in the future we’ll see some change.
We are gutted we haven’t received our case of Slam Dram yet, what came about releasing a limited edition 25 year old whiskey?
Sorry about that – must have got lost in the post. The “Slam Dram’ was the third limited edition of Soma spirit we’ve released – first was “ Rum & Techno “ (which should in retrospect have been called “ Rum & Bass “) , then we had “Gin & Techno” and then the “ Slam Dram “ 25 year old Whiskey to coincide with the beginning of Soma’s 25th anniversary year . The idea was floated by one of our artists “Croucher & Myles” who now works in the drinks business. All have totally sold out on their first runs so plans are afoot for another Soma spirit in the near future.
You are curating this year’s Riverside festival with acts such as Groove Armada through to Scuba, can you talk us through the amount of work that goes into putting together such an eclectic line up?
It can be a bit of a headache to be honest – there are so many festivals cropping up through-out the summer months and the Riverside often falls on the same weekend as the DEMF in Detroit, so tying artists down to perform can be problematic.
Our tastes have always be eclectic so choosing the performers isn’t that hard and having the support of Sven and the Cocoon family is a great help. But yes it is a lot of work and starts as soon as the festival finishes for the next years one
Any particular favourites you are itching to see?
Pretty much all of them – that’s why we’ve booked them. The Saturday is a spoil of riches – Paula Temple (not heard her perform yet – can’t wait for that), Sven Väth, Rødhåd,Nina Kraviz, Levon Vincent, Surgeon, Alan Fitzpatrick +++
On the Sunday – we’ll be late attenders as we’re doing the after-party on the Saturday – so will hope to catch Mr G, DJ Koze, Scuba, Derrick Carter, Hunee, Jackmaster ++++ – as many as we can – hangover allowing.
The explosion of techno around the world and artists on line ups has come out of nowhere (for those not behind the scenes) did you ever think it was going to be this big and feature so heavily in the festival market?
Yes we did – Techno was the one style of music to achieve pretty much global reach throughout the 90’s. Since then it’s had it ups and downs but always survived on the underground level. Just recently it has made its appearance on the “Main Stage “ arena at many festivals – there’s a raw power, innovation and uncompromising element to Techno that was always going to shine through.
Everyone has a memorable festival moment, what has to be yours?
For us it would be finishing our first out-door all nighter called “ Slam in the Park “ with a test pressing of Primal Scream’s “ Come Together As One “ and seeing all 5000 people with their hands in the air – that’s burned on our memories.
For the festival virgins, what advice can you give?
One of the major things that we’ve learned from slowly learned experience is don’t get too drunk and wasted – so as to miss all the acts you planned to see and try and catch some artists you’ve never heard of. Oh and always take wellies + water-proofs even if the weather starts off warm, dry and sunny.
Thanks for speaking to us guy, good luck with the event. Lastly, we see there is official after parties for each day, if you had to choose one, main stage festival or a sweaty after hours at 7am?
That’s a really tough question – as we love both – sorry can’t call this one – they’re both great experiences
You can catch Slam, along with Sven Väth, Groove Armada, Nina Kraviz, Rødhåd, Jackmaster, Loco Dice, DJ Koze, Alan Fitzpatrick, Surgeon (playing an exclusive modular live set), Levon Vincent, Hunee, Ilario Alicante, Derrick Carter, Detroit Swindle, Paula Temple, George Fitzgerald b2b Scuba, Mr G (live), and Art Department at Riverside Festival May Bank Holiday Weekend