Weekend World was established in 1999, and released a diverse range of electronic music that captured the attention of many of the global DJ elite such as Nick Warren, Sasha and John Digweed. The label’s early output aimed to capture the energy and dynamic of the dance floor combined with the intimacy and comfort of home listening. The intention was not to add to the ever increasing list of disposable house music but instead produce and release considered, melodic and distinctive sounds which could be appreciated and enjoyed in a number of contexts. Not only did the early output gain support from the global DJ elite, but the popularity of the sound was also noticed by major record labels such as Universal and Sony who commissioned remixes under the flat line alias combined with remixes from other high profile labels including Yoshitoshi Recordings. Music was also licensed to Warner USA who used the music on “GO” a film based on the club culture and was the American version of the UK hit film Human Traffic.
After notching up seventeen releases between 1999 to 2006, Weekend World Recordings took a break from releasing music, deciding to focus on other projects. The seven year sabbatical is now complete and 2013 sees the label return with a new energy, new artists but the same ethos and values that first helped Weekend World become synonymous with quality. The music industry has gone through some profound changes since the labels inception. The software and hardware available to producers has opened up new ways of recording and releasing music. It’s this new dynamic and scope for creative expression that has spearheaded the labels rebirth. Weekend World Recordings now sees the founder of the label Martin Cartledge teaming up with Alexander Church under the alias of Dronelock which is an exciting new project that takes in the more industrial sound of techno. We caught up with Martin and Alex earlier this month to talk about Weekend World Recordings, past, present and future.
Who has been your biggest musical influence over the years and why?
To identify a single source of inspiration would be very difficult to be honest we listen to all sorts of music, not just electronic stuff and so it pretty sure that all of it has influenced us at one time or other.
After listening to the back catalogue it was clear that a great deal of the back catalogue has aged very well and still sounds fresh today. Why do you feel this is so and did this influence your decision to re-release the back catalogue?
Over the years we have had many people request the release of the back catalogue. We also found that music has become disposable; label output is charted then discarded. Sharing the earlier releases were a statement of intent this is who we were, now listen to what we have become and releasing the older stuff helped to give our new material meaning.
Your music was very much part of the progressive house movement from the late 90s into the mid 00s, as you gained huge support from the likes of John Digweed, Sasha and Nick Warren. Did you aim to be part of this genre or was it just a genre you were classified as?
There was no doubt that Sasha & Digweed and the progressive house movement influenced Weekend World output but we didn’t aim to be part of this genre we just wanted to produce and release music we enjoyed making however receiving support from the worlds most in demand DJs certainly helped the label exposure and it was somewhat flattering at the time.
Moving forward to the present, you have decided to name your new project Dronelock. How did you come up with the name Dronelock and what does it mean to you both?
Drone music has been at the core of Electronic and Experimental music since its inception, a style of music that uses sustained, repeated, cluster of tones and sounds with slight harmonic variations. Although we don’t produce Drone Music directly we certainly experiment with sounds and the production process as a whole. The idea behind Drone lock is to use a juxtaposition of opposites. integrating, Analogue with digital, influence with originality, convention with the unexpected. We want to use Dronelock to develop a distinct sound that does not conform or become predictable, It’s an exciting challenge.
A lot of DJs these days appear to have got their break in the industry via a strong production background. What are your thoughts about this?
Developments in DJ and Music Technology have created a more even playing field. It’s not about what you have got, it’s about what you know and In order to craft your uniqueness as a DJ you need to produce your own music, be distinctive and self sufficient. You need to bring something to the table, add something new to the conversation. It’s exciting for those who embrace the change but frustrating for those who don’t.
As a label and artist do you plan on touring? If so can you provide details or any scheduled gigs over the coming months?
In the short term our first priority is to produce and release music. Having taken a six year hiatus we are focused on notching up a catalogue of releases and cementing our sound. This will act as solid foundations as our long term plan as DroneLock is to perform our material live and perform some DJ mixes. A commitment to the studio and working hard on the new sound is our first priority though.
The industry has seen many changes throughout the years, but one issue is the struggle for exposure in a flooded digital world of music. How do you find this affects you and releasing your music?
The trends of the industry don’t really concern us. Our aim is to write and produce music that we are passionate about and we hope like minded people will enjoy. The process of producing music excites us just as much as the product, sure the scene is saturated and standing out from
the crowd is difficult but the satisfaction of creating and sharing music you are happy with and have a genuine love for keeps us producing music.
Can you explain to our readers the sound that Dronelock are producing, as it is very different from the older sound of Weekend World Recordings?
Dronelock is as much about process as it is about product. We spend hours sketching sounds, creating rhythms and crafting effects. If we had to assign it a musical pigeon hole it would land awkwardly between Techno & Electronica. Some tracks will be destined for dance floors while others will be heard in the space between shadows. Dronelock reflects a degree of eeriness, and uncertainly a kin to the current economic and political climate, completely different compared to the more progressive, melodic and euphoric sound of the older releases. Dronelock provides us freedom to create. No boundaries expectations, no excuses.
You mention on your website that Weekend World Recordings is going to be working with new and emerging talent. Is there any new talent you can speak about that is due out on the label and that you could recommend to our readers?
We also run an organisation called All Star Entertainment. Its focus is to deliver education and training for young people from disadvantaged areas, schools, youth groups across Yorkshire. We deliver Music and DJ
Technology workshops to young people who don’t have access to equipment or music making opportunities. We encounter lots of new and emerging talent through these schemes but they cover a whole spectrum of music. AllStar allows us to put something back into the community and invest
into the DJs and Producers of tomorrow, we get a lot of job satisfaction and enjoyment from this strand of our work.
The both of you clearly enjoy spending a lot of time in the studio. Are there any funny stories you can tell us about whilst you have been working in the studio?
We have a friend called Richard who is often very outspoken and opinionated. Often wen he speaks its like his head goes bright red and its like steam is coming out of his ears! Martin once built a synth in Reaktor that produced mega random harsh noodles of noise which was very reminiscent of one of Richards outbursts. He decided to put a picture of Richard over the randomiser button which was highly amusing every time it was used. I still laugh about it when i think about it haha.
01 Field Recording Intro
02 Dronelock – Clusters Part 2
03 Yves De May – Transfer 2
04 Rrose – Envy
05 Dronelock – Flocks
06 Plaster – Quasar
07 Dronelock – In Snow
08 Artificial Light – White/Drip
09 Dronelock Sonars
10 Shifted – The Cold Light
11 Dronelock – Excursions
12 Rrose – 23 Lashes
13 Sektor B – The Cold Light
14 Dronelock – Ribbons
15 Dronelock – Clusters Part 1