Label Love #35: Kick + Clap
With new labels popping up left, right and centre it can be difficult to get yourself heard. Fortunately for Kick + Clap they've got a man with connections at the helm who'll be able to make sure they stand out from the crowd. Aside from being the drummer in Django Django, it turns out that Dave Maclean is a bit of a crate digger with a strong nose for fine vinyl. For the drummer in an indie band you'd be surprised just how far his knowledge into certain labels goes and it seems as though he may well have found his true calling as the head of his own label. Here's what happened when we spoke to Mr Maclean all about his new venture;
Why did you decide to start your own label? How are you hoping it'll stand out from the rapidly growing crowd of independent labels?
I've been dreaming of doing this for 20 years. I used to get really into certain labels like Relief Records, Dance Mania, Strictly Rhythm or Djax-Up-Beats when I was at school and starting to DJ and record collect. Those are some of the labels who have inspired me to do this but it was just about waiting for the right time. Django Django took off so I parked the idea until I had a break and could focus on it. Tommy from the band did the art for me so I had no excuses! It was time to do it. Like with Django Django, I don't worry about what other people are doing or if it might fail. I just focus on it being good.
Is there a particular framework/concept you'll be working to with the releases on the label?
It's my idea of dance floor music. But that can be almost anything. I've always been into DJs who take the dance floor on a journey like Optimo, Andy Weatherall or Coldcut. I don't care about genre. I know when I hear something if it's right for me to play out but it could be a Dancehall or Hip Hop thing… a House thing, Techno, what ever. It's basically going to be filtered through my personality as a DJ and what I like to hear when I go out.
What sort of sound are you hoping to curate with the label? Have you already got the first few releases lined up?
The first release was Neil Landstrumm. I wanted him to launch the label because he's one of my favourite producers and because he understood what i was on about when i described the project. Also he's Scottish. Warlock is up next. I was blown away when I heard his music on Kool London. Right up my street so I had to contact him. I remembered him as a DJ in the early 90s when I was collecting rave tapes and flyers.
Then I have Tom Furse from The Horrors doing a kind of space disco/electro EP and a collaboration between Bullion and Rye Rye thats quite dancehall. Also I teamed up with L-Vis 1990 and made a track called MSKTO and were going to do a couple more for an EP. So it's varied but it's all great stuff.
Where will you be sourcing material for the label from? Are you encouraging people to send their sounds to you or are you actively searching?
Yeah people can send stuff to me. I have a lot of pals doing things and I'm asking them. I listen to certain radio stations all the time in the car to hear new stuff. It's coming from different places.
Which record labels have been the most influential in your own musical journey?
I was really into Relief Records as a teenager. And Dance Mania. It was the sound. It sounded alien to me. Exciting and raw. I'd been into harder edged stuff but this had a groove, it had funk. So I've been collecting them since about '94. But loads and loads of labels really. Hip Hop labels like rawkus and fondle 'em were big for me. Early on when I was getting into Hip Hop, Def Jam was important. Suburban Base, Basement, Moving Shadow, Metalheads and loads of other jungle and hardcore labels. Mo Wax was very important for me at the time, I loved that label. Jammy's and Digital B for dancehall because I liked the electronic rhythms… So yeah, different labels for different sound that I was into.
How do you as an individual ‘consume’ music most? Is it at home on speakers, on your headphones on the move or something else?
I only buy records. I've only bought records since 1987 when I bought Yellow Submarine on vinyl. Well apart form my rave tape days. At home I listen to music on my laptop but mainly stuff I'm checking out. I'll then listen to it properly at the studio. I love listening to pirate radio in the car.
I hear you're a bit of a crate digger – what's the best record you've found in a big ol' vinyl box?
I once bought a huge box of record from Oxfam in Angel years ago. They were worth a lot. The one that went for the most on eBay was a very obscure 80s UK boogie LP. No idea no what it was but it was worth a lot to a few folk! I used to spend a lot of time digging in charity shops. It's the thrill of the hunt!!
Will the label be sticking to vinyl releases or will you be releasing music across all formats? (Except Betamax, of course)
Ha, I'm not really a retro fetish guy. I don't love vinyl because I think its hip, it's just all I know… and if it ain't broke! Also, you can't go out crate digging for MP3s.
Are you going to be releasing your own sounds through the label? If so, what sort of music will it be? I hear you're into dancehall and acid house…
Well this collaboration with L-Vis 1990 will be out this year. I have a load of old stuff from before Django Django that I might put out. Old Chicago house sounding stuff… Some Dancehall riddims. Some stuff even done on an old tape four track! I might use them as a basis to start something new though, we'll see…
You're listed as 'drummer/producer' in your Django Django role, do you feel like you'll be able to handle the added responsibility of running the label along with everything else?
Well that's kind of why I'm running it through Because Music. They are so supportive of all my daft ideas! They were up for this and excited about it from the first day I met them so it's great to have it up and running. You find the time to do the things you love. I don't have a TV.
Describe Kick & Clap in 5 words.
Twelve inches of sheer joy.
If you could release any record from musical history, what would it be? Is there anything that you'd like done differently with the record?
In the context of this I'd say Flash by Green Velvet. I bought that on Open Records the UK double 12" release with all of the Relief remixes when it came out. I was utterly blown away. I still play it all the time. To me it's modern funk. It caries the flame of James Brown. its just raw and alien and basically just incredible.
What's your next 6 months looking like schedule-wise? Have you got any days off booked in?
Not many days off. Django Django is on the road so it's all about bringing the extended live mixes of the new album out. That kind of ties in with the ethos of this label too so it crosses over. Maybe we'll find time to come up with release for Kick & Clap who knows. Lots of great stuff lined up though so it'll be a busy and exciting year.