“It’s a party after all not a conference!”
A chat with… MEDLAR
Medlar took time out to talk to us ahead of his In Deep show here on Thursday 9th July, where he’s a resident.
We first met Medlar when he played back to back here with Leon Vynehall, and decided straight away we had to get him back in asap. His excellent Sleep album was among our favourite releases of last year. We’ve posted his Boiler Room set at Rye Wax below too, it’s a wild ride.
Sneaky Pete’s Hi Medlar – we’re looking forward to your show here next Thursday
Medlar Hey nick, yeah I can’t wait, though slightly sad that it’s the penultimate one
Always great fun to play in that room! I big it up a lot…
Sneaky Pete’s Appreciated!
Medlar Likewise for this residency! Great booze too…
SP As you’ve noticed, the club is pretty small. I tend to warn DJs that playing to a small room is not for everyone. Lots of DJs dig it, but I think being in a small space where you can notice each person’s reaction is a lot harder than playing to a big room.
Medlar I personally find it more forgiving. As no-one can escape (ha), you can go on peaks and troughs of energy a lot more than a bigger room, which requires music more dictated by the time of the night. I find this myself anyway… And particularly enjoy those sets.
SP You seem pretty comfortable in that situation.
Medlar The most fun as a dj is when I’m trying things that might not work… But when they do its more fun for everyone, and I think some people pick up on that.
SP I’d say part of that is having a big bag of records, not just playing the same 1hr set you’re touring with?
Medlar Yeah definitely, I’ve been lucky that I’ve only come to you straight from home or after a gig id treat in a similarly eclectic way. I’m packing a particularly varied bag for this next one, should record it!
SP One of the aims for In Deep was for the DJs be able to come back and play really different sets each time. I definitely think you’ve done that. When you played with Dan Shake, he’s more obviously a House DJ, though still eclectic, and you guys bounced together on more of a house vibe. But some of the all night sets you’ve done, there’s not really been a four to the floor kick drum until well after 1am.
Medlar Awesome, that’s great, and I have to say when I saw the rest of the residents I was a bit humbled! Jon K and House Of Traps are two of my favourite selectors, so I was very chuffed to be on the same bill so to speak. The last one with Dan was great to play pretty much just house after I warmed it up, I’d been playing less house for the couple weeks before that so was nice to do that.
I find I’ll generally warm up too long than play too hard, too early. And again I think the best ones can end up going up and down in energy and tempo all night, planning some more of that for this next one.. But these plans rarely quite work!
Or get ‘stuck to’. It’s a party after all not a conference!
I’ve been playing a lot of ‘disco’ sets which with me has become anything and everything that’s not house that I can play roughly at the same tempo. So electro, dub, Afro, Latin, some pop or whatever
SP That fits right in with what Jon K does, and Highlife as well. But then it’s quite fun to see the Deep Shit guys, who should be eclectic indie boys, get right stuck in to tech house from 11pm.
SP You took a rest from producing and then really got stuck in recently. Your 12″ with Dan Shake is finally out, am I right that you’ve got a release due out any day?
Medlar Yes, I’m loving it again now. I’m almost starting over. The 12″ with Dan should be out at most places now, really happy to get that out finally, I’ve been playing it in most sets for well over a year and it’s really nice to have it out on Delusions Of Grandeur.
Medlar There are 2 Afrobeat remixes I’ve just finished which I’m really pleased with, I can’t wait for people to hear them! Also a couple more collaborative records to come which are both pretty fun, party music.
SP Delusions of Grandeur put out records by Session Victim amongst others, and they also released with Wolf Music, right? Seems like family vibes. I get that feeling with Wolf Music – who filled in for a set you couldn’t make – that they keep a bunch of great producers close and take care of them.
Medlar They’re amazing yes. And have given me lots of support, guidance, advice. Greymatter in particular has had his ear chewed off by me about various sides of the industry since I met him in like 2006/7, when I was an intern at Mr Bongo in Brighton. Matt and Stu are great guys, very dedicated and I’ve discovered so so much music from them when playing together.
Sneaky Pete’s Can you give away any details about who you’ve been collaborating with on these new records?
Medlar There’s one with Ishmael, another Wolf Music artist who’s been a mate for years as we went to school together. And one with FYI Chris, neither are confirmed yet but I’m certain we’ll be releasing some music together soon!
SP Oh cool, FYI Chris is due to play the club soon!
SP We’re always keen to find out about other clubs that share our outlook. Have you played anywhere great recently?
Medlar Well I have to mention Rye Wax which is the record shop in the basement of the Bussey building in Peckham. Some good friends run the shop (Tom Unlikely and the FYI Chris guys) and it’s become a nice little hub in peckham along with some other spots like YAM Records. Rye Wax is a venue too and is a similar capacity to Sneaky’s so it has a comparable vibe there I think. It seems there’s a little cottage industry forming in the immediate area too, soon I’ll be moving into a studio with a rehearsal room, mastering house, vinyl cutting house and 3 record shops within walking distance, which is really exciting!
Medlar Also I must mention the Lightworks guys at Factory in Plymouth where I played the day after the gig with Dan Shake. They were given a budget of I think £100 to ‘refurb’ a venue and I thought it was awesome!
Sneaky Pete’s I would really like to know what they did with £100!
Medlar What they did with the £100 I can reduce to 2 words:
It had zebra print walls before apparently.
SP Haha if I had £100 budget I think I would get zebra walls!
Sneaky Pete’s No one knows it but when we were rebuilding the club that became Sneaky Pete’s , we found the plaster walls from a previous place called Abbar. That’s a ABBA + BAR = ABBAR.
They had these amazing tropical sunset murals all over the walls
Medlar Should’ve left them under some curtains to pull out for the Highlife guys!
SP When Sneaky Pete’s ends one day, they are hidden behind our soundproofed walls, and someone will uncover them again.
Medlar The circle of life
SP Haha yeah that would have been sweet for Highlife. However, obviously, Sneaky Pete’s is a 1,000 year Reich and will never end. Just dispelling any fears there…
Medlar I’m totally on board with that. A superior race of party box.
Sneaky Pete’s Let’s talk about gear for a minute.
So I’ve mentioned before that your music sounds a lot more musicianly than most dance music producers… You can play instruments pretty well, your style isn’t just buying a sample pack and joining the dots on a PC…
Medlar Both my new collabs are pretty much MPC jams. I’ve discovered I love collaborating on MPCs, no one needs to see a screen so someone can wander off or get distracted by something but still hear everything that’s going on.
I could romanticise sampling all day but it’ll be really waffly and boring so I won’t, I do love it though. Most of the stuff that’s sample based I’ve actually done on a computer as I’ve become very used to working that way and obviously it’s way quicker and more convenient. But I do have some synths and drum machines and to be honest I think I bought them because they’re fun rather than using them in everything, but the stuff I’m generally doing now is less reliant on longer samples and more complicated bits of audio so I’m enjoying jamming on hardware a lot.
I’ve been making or finishing most stuff recently on a battered little netbook I bought to take to Australia and has somehow become my main machine, so laptops can be cool but I think it’s good to have some limitations, the danger with them is endless options.. And getting distracted by viral videos.
SP Oh yeah like what?
Medlar Goat videos are my favourite. Goats are better than Cats. There I said it..!
And Jeff Goldblum laughing for 10 hours will never get old.
SP We’ll take your word for that haha.
Medlar I’d actually love to use more guitar, there’s a track on the recent Sotofett album that’s pretty much a drum beat and 2 guitar tracks that’s been on repeat at home recently! I’ve been kinda obsessed with harps for a while too. That’s my new plan for when I’m 70: Learning the harp.
SP With that in mind, what are your current top 3 instuments?
Medlar Harp, clarinet, bongos
SP Alice Coltrane would be proud.
Medlar plays Sneaky Pete’s this Thursday 9th July as part of his In Deep residency. This is a change of date as Joy Orbison will be playing on Friday 10th July.