craig bratley talks & Exclusive Mix
We sat down with Magic Feet Label boss and Bird Scarer releasee Craig Bratley to talk about everything from failing to convince Weatherall to start up a confectionary inspired sub label, the world of slo-mo and the Adriatic. He was kind enough to drop a gem of an exlusive mix for us ahead of his appearance at the more and more excellent Electric Elephant festival this year, too. You can listen to that whilst you read…
Read on….Where are you from, where are you now?
I would love to be able to come up with something interesting a la Space Dimension Controller and say I'm from Mikro-Sector 50 or something, but the truth is I'm originally from Cleethorpes.
I'm currently at home in Lincoln. I tend to split my time between Lincoln where I work, and Leeds, where my girlfriend lives
What was the music of your teenage rebellion?
Acid House, which led onto Jungle, Techno, House, Drum and Bass etc
Your next single is out on Mr Weatherall's already highly revered Bird Scarer label. How did this come about? Must be quite an honour to be championed by Lord Sabre himself.
I initially sent the track to Tim Fairplay and Sean Johnston. Then a couple of weeks later I went to Beacons festival and Andrew and Sean where playing. Sean played Obsession and Andrew signed it there and then, which was incredible. I nearly blew it by saying he could only have it if he started a new label called Wevvers Originals but, fortunately for me, he chose to ignore my drunken nonsense.
Yeah, to have someone like Andrew championing you is amazing and to be releasing something on Bird Scarer is an honour. I have such a a lot of respect for not only what he does but how he does it.
I'm completely obsessed with Analogue Dreams – the record you end our Electric Elephant mix on. Like an incredible long lost Balearic classic from a long lost Factory/Creation records b-side. Found the perfect home on Is It Balearic really didn't it? What was the inspiration for this record? Might you just make a whole album like this one day? Please?!
Yes, I was really happy when Tim and Ampo picked it up for Is It Balearic. I think as a producer you always want to release records on labels that you respect and whose releases you buy. I couldn't think of a better home for it.
I suppose the inspiration came from years of listening to electronic music. Its all in there really, the 808 bass line is from drum and bass, a bit of balearic, a bit of Detroit techno, a bit of electro, a bit of 90's rave piano lol
I would love to do an album, its just finding the time. I've got a full time job as well so its not easy.
Tell us about Magic Feet the label. What's its mandate? Where is the image taken from?
I initially had the idea to set up the label to release my own material, then I heard a track a friend had done ('No Use' by Four Walls) and thought it deserved to be released. Then the label just kind of took on a life of its own. There's no real mandate as such, I'm just releasing music I like. Its quite an organic process. All the releases have been different in style but I think they all have a particular feel to them if that makes sense.
The image is of the magician 'The Great Cardini' . He would create a skit in which he played the part of an elegant but slightly inebriated gentleman bemused by the mysterious appearance and disappearance of cards, billiard balls and other objects.
I do all of the artwork and I don't profess to be a graphic designer. Once I came up with the name I realised the logo either had to incorporate feet or magic and something about that image appealed to me. He looks quite refined.
There's so much utter dirge passed off as music these days only out there because of the internet but then equally there's some of the most incredible aural delights ever being made. What's your method of wading through the world of the online landfill to find the good shit?
The democratisation of music is definitely a double edged sword.
Have you seen all the new digital releases every week? Ive tried to go through them, I really have. It does make if difficult for new producers to be heard. Thats the reason I'm an advocate of vinyl really, its not a quality thing, I'm just lazy.
I tend to visit a lot of the online record stores, listen to mixes, listen to things on Soundcloud, recommendations from friends etc.
Describe the the world of the slow mo that you've been co-opted into of late? It's some exciting shit!
For me its just a continuation of the things that have gone before it, things such as Cosmic, New Beat, Italo, Balearic, early Acid House etc. The slower BPM allows more of a groove, more hips, less fist pumping.
But yes, there is some fantastic music around.
How important is the A Love From Outer Space / Crimes Of The Future scene for injecting that element of newness, education but most of all fun back into a very commodified scene of late.
Very, I think its provided a bit of a focal point for the slower stuff, brought it out of the shadows and shown that its not just back room music.
Those guys really know how to DJ, from the warm up to the last record they are on it. Its not just deep house for 5 hours.
The last A Love From Outer Space was fantastic. I was fortunate enough to play for the first two hours and then go off and enjoy myself. So basically I got to play some records, hear some amazing music and meet some great people. What more could you want? They have such a strong following.
Talk us through your Elephantine mix you've done for us and EE.
The mix is very much how I like to build a set up and the sort of thing you will hear me play if you make it out to EE.
I also thought It was a good opportunity to showcase some of the labels output and some of my forthcoming material.
Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?
I think when I was younger I was definitely a kick drum, but these days I would like to think I'm more of a hi hat, working away, helping to keep things moving forward.
What's the story with the World Unknown release I've read about?
Yes, Andy is going to be releasing a track of mine. I'm not sure if it will be on World Unknown or another project he is working on to be honest. Again it's something a bit different, its got a bit more of an electro feel to it.
You're playing out at the stupidly good Electric Elephant festival this year in Croatia. Have you experienced the Adriatic before? Will you be setting sail on one of the Argonauty boat journeys.
No, I've never been before so Im really looking forward to it, Ive heard so many good things about it.
I don't have any tickets for any of the boat parties Im afraid but I'm hoping to stow away on a couple if I get the chance.
Is Adriatica the new Balearia?
maybe, I'll tell you in July : )
What is Balearic?
Everything and nothing, a feeling
First and last record bought?
I think the first one was Nick Kershaws 'The Riddle', I got it from Woolworths. The last one was something by Antoni Maiovvi, I can't remember what it was called.
Whats the best piece of music youve ever heard?
That's such a difficult question as its likely to change on a day to day basis and there are some incredible pieces of music out there.
Ill go with Force Legato 'System', just for the effect it and other similar music had on me at the time.
When I first heard it, it blew my head off
Whats your favourite place on earth?
I would have to say either the studio or any place with good music, my girlfriend and good friends.
Do you still read books? I find it increasingly difficult these days but still try to make time what was the last book you read?
I do struggle to find time if I'm honest, I'm fortunate enough to have access to a library at work but all I seem to do is get philosophy books out and returning them un-opened .I think the last book I actually managed to finish was The Cosmic Serpent:DNA and the Origins of Knowledge. I read that on holiday last year.
Complete the sentence: I'm proper techno because…..I've got a modular synth
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
My modular synth. I'm obsessed with the one Im building, I've literally just spent days reading about and watching clips of analogue filters and debating which one to add to my set up. Of course the proper Gear Slut response is to buy them all
Finally, big question: Zapp or Zappa?
What's your answer to everything?
'Go on then', often gets me into bother and I really should learn to say no.
I've become completely obsessed with that Letta Mbulu record that you featured on a mix of yours recently. Young Marco played this M'bamnia record the other day when he was out at this festival with us recently and with the two I've just discovered a whole new world of music I never really knew existed. Can you recommend some extra curricular listening to get us started please?Have you heard Shina Williams & His African Percussionists – Agboju Logun?
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. See you on the Adriatic!
Thank you, see you out there !
Electric Elephant happens Thurs 11th Mon 15th July 2013 The Garden Tisno, Croatia.
Check www.electricelephant.co.uk for full details, line-up and ticketness.