Common Factors: The ‘Ransom Note’ Mix


Common Factors is the meeting of minds of producers James Welsh and Alexander Church. The pair, both based in rural Yorkshire, have had their fair share of individual achievements stretching back decades: Alex with his Configurations of Self imprint and output both solo and in various groups like Dronelock and Figure-Ground, and James with his long-running partnership with Phantasy Sound and work as part of post-punk group The Rise.

Like their name suggests Common Factors celebrates their combined influences, at times conjuring up an early 90s nostalgia, and their shared passion for synthesisers. The beginning of the year saw their debut release (we got the premiere of ‘Modelling‘) on the newly-founded sub-label of Alexander’s imprint, and they’re already gearing up for instalment number two in April.

We handed the reigns over to them for this week’s Ransom Note mix which is a fusion of recent Common Factors productions which showcases the different sounds at the core of the project.

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?

Common Factors is a collaboration between James Welsh and Alexander Church. Both us live in rural Yorkshire and share common interests in synthesisers, photography and electronic music.

What does your music sound like?

Our music sounds like a history of electronic music and sometimes stirs up nostalgia from the early days of us listening to mix tapes in the early 90s. Common Factors aims to be a fusion of different sounds that we like. All tracks are created in a very fun and improvised way.

Where was the mix recorded?

North Yorkshire

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

Wherever you like

What should we be wearing?

Whatever you like

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

We are currently discussing a new project that will be creating tracks purely from found sounds we have recorded across Yorkshire. Once we have them all done it would be great to get a generator and process them all through a modular effects unit and record a mix sat on a Cliffe overlooking the sea with spectacular views. Something about that is more appealing than a club setting.

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

The mix is a combination of lots of different tracks we recently created in an improvised way. There is a fusion of styles so they all kind of belong together.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

There are far too many great mixes produced over the years spanning different eras and styles. From the early days of vinyl sets to improvised live sets using modular set ups. It is a very difficult to pick one.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

Alex: Two Kam belt drive decks & a Kam mixer, now it’s two Pioneer Vinyl Decks / 2 x CDJs / Pioneer DJM V10 Mixer

James: 2 x vestax decks & Stanton mixer, now it’s 2 x Technics Decks / 2 x CDJs / Allen & Heath Xone 92 / Pioneer DJM900 Mixer

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Alex: Track that I start with – I always like the beginning over the end.

James: In the moment, I think the first track is more exciting. More risk involved.

What were the first and last records you bought?

Alex: First vinyl – Hardcore Uproar – Together. Last vinyl was – Yu Su – Yellow River Blue

James: First vinyl – Josh Wink – Higher State of Consciousness. Last vinyl – Peel Dream Magazine – Agitprop Alterna

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

Alex: Neuroptic – Epiteth

James: BBC Sounds No8 in Mono

Follow James Welsh and Alexander Church