Alongside Typesun and JayL, Andy Mac makes up the final third of the FallingUp crew to guest in our Bristol Spotlight series. If you’ve frequented their parties – some of the best in the city – or tuned into their consistently solid show on Passion Radio, you’ll be well acquainted with Andy’s talents as a selector. If not, you can be forgiven. Opting for a method that prioritises considered creative choices, fitted around other work and life commitments, Andy would be the first to admit his output is not prolific. His first, and last, record came in 2011 on Punch Drunk; the excellent Everytime 12″, whose B-side is seen as one of the label’s best. This month, he returns with a double 12″ out on another homegrown label Idle Hands. Much like JayL’s work on brstl, influences from East Coast stalwarts like Maurice Fulton and Kyle Hall are clear. But Andy’s work is also firmly apart of the sound system-indebted house scene that is becoming such a strong feature in Bristol’s musical landscape. Read Andy’s open and illuminating interview below, alongside a reliably brilliant mix he’s put together for us. Grab the free download below, and follow us on Soundcloud to get updates on the tracklist when it goes up later this week.
Regular & Irregular 2×12″ is out now on Idle Hands, available online or in store.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the FallingUp family, hosting Gifted & Blessed and Jay Daniel in quick succession. How did those both go?
Really well thanks, they’re both great artists that we’re happy to support. Both quite different. Gabe (GB) has been doing his thing some time and is definitely walking his own path and putting out some exceptional material with some interesting ideas and perspectives behind it. Jay Daniel on the other hand has really only just started to get his music out there, which is sounding fresh, but he also caught our ear as a really strong DJ who plays just they way we like: diverse, raw, soulful, not averse to taking risks and for as long as he possibly can! He really had people locked inside the music and even came out from behind the decks to dance in the crowd when he played for us!
You’ve been doing plenty as a selector for FallingUp since your last (and first release) in 2011. How is it to have your own productions back in focus again?
Good thanks! The two things bleed together nicely but I try to give them space too. Although they inevitably influence each other, selecting for FallingUp doesn’t have to be the sole factor that informs making music and vice versa. Making music is more open ended in a way because ultimately its down to me unless I choose otherwise, where as FallingUp is always a collaboration like playing with other musicians. So yeah, it’s good to get my own thing across too!
Could you explain the thinking behind Regular and Irregular as a title?
Well, it came into being as something my girlfriend would say whilst she was studying in this geeky, American academic sounding voice. It mainly just used to crack me up which is a completely valid enough reason to use it in my eyes but the notions of those two words kind of sparked a few thought too. Mainly normality, regular things and breaking away from that, also what is perceived as being ‘regular’ in many societies including this one being actually pretty fucked! And the reverse of that I suppose.
A 12″ double pack is quite an unconventional format these days. How come you opted for this approach?
I was freaking out a bit when it was first suggested but actually it gave me more freedom having double the amount of space to work with. Its means I could offer five pieces of a puzzle as individual artifacts or separate fragments. So you don’t have to worry about defining a whole idea in something singular. Its nice to have options too! I don’t necessarily see it as something that you have to listen to from A to D, its more like you’ve got five options to choose from, or five different routes to take. That ties in with the format too because you don’t have to compromise scale and volume. It’s a functional thing meant for use! So it has to be suitably heavy duty. So big up Chris for coming up with the idea, I’m really glad he did! It was a challenge but I would do it again for sure.
The EP is made up productions you’ve been working on over the last two years. Did this length of time present challenges in giving the release a sense of cohesion?
You’d think so but actually it afforded me the time to wait and be selective about what I chose to include and what I thought would fit together. It gave me time to choose more carefully which is a valuable thing! When I finish a track I usually want to work on something really different immediately after, so it meant the tracks could exist in their own space rather than one track being a reaction to the last one and so on. They actually fit together in that kind of way but having time meant I didn’t have to make them like that at all.
Some might be so bold as to describe your work ethic as a little relaxed. Has it just been a case of short, irregular bouts of creation when it feels right, or are you a complete perfectionist, fine-tuning every detail for long periods of time?
Definitely the former, I don’t like to tweak things much at all! I really do like to take my time, but its more because I need the space to make effective choices – especially creative ones – then you don’t really have to tweak things. I wait for right moment then when its done I decide if its any good or not. I might wait a while before anything comes along or spend time contemplating whether an idea is worth pursuing. I’ve definitely been busy with work and life commitments too, so that time hasn’t always been there but also I didn’t want to do anything until it felt right. Hopefully I’ll get quicker though and I aim too but ultimately these things take as long as they take!
We chatted with Jay L a few months ago and he said how his own productions are influenced by what you and Typesun are up to. Collaboration has gone a step further for Regular and Irregular, with them both helping out on a production level. What was their input exactly and on what tracks?
In both cases they added things I could hear that the tracks needed but couldn’t achieve with just me and my sampler. On NOWHERE!’ Jay brought his (Roland) 101 round which we used to work on a bass line together then I took the track to Luke’s house to record some Rhodes and I chose a section I liked that had a really icy feel that worked perfectly as the central region of the track. Luke also played some Rhodes on The Rude Sea, which was already quite deep and grooving but again the Rhodes just adding more musicality to it. I’m really into the idea of working towards having a sense of musicianship in my music, it’s definitely something I appreciate.
Outside the FallingUp crew are there any musical heads in Bristol you’re into at the moment?
There are heaps of really inspiring musical people in Bristol and it would be imposable to name them all! So off the top I guess I’d have say The Kelly Twins – they’re killer DJs and selectors! It’s really inspiring to see them get their label (Happy Skull) going as well, they’ve got such killer taste its gunna be great to see what else they put out there. Pev always has a good take on things too… But like I was saying, there’s so many people doing good stuff: Livity Sound, Peng Sound, Young Echo, Shanti, Gramrcy, Rhythmic Theory, Dubkasm , Hodge, the Dirtytalk crew, plACID… the list goes on and on.
One of the best things to happen in the musical landscape has been the Motorcycle Showroom, which was a building that was set up as artist studios and a space to do shows, but they also did a night there with a handful of promoters. We were fortunate enough to do a couple of things there as well as the DirtyTalk, Housework , People Like Us and few others. It really had a good vibe, it felt like you had freedom and sanctuary there, which is rare and it felt like if you came out to dance you were really part of it too, which I think is also really important and often lacking in most clubs. We were able to set up the equipment ourselves so it was perfect to play vinyl and hire what ever sound we chose to and that all really helped too.
And more generally, who have you been listening to a lot recently?
I’ve been listen to a lot of African music via Soundway and other such labels. I’ve also really been enjoying the Earth Sound 10” series. The first installment in particular is a total KILLER. It’s like an Ernerst Ranglin track somewhere between reggea, rocksteady, soul, and jazz but carried by hand drums rather than a drum kit, it’s heavy and earthy but floats effortlessly! I’ve been enjoying tracks by The Mighty Diamonds, and I just found an Inner Vibes 12” on Firehouse I’m really enjoying. There’s always artist I return too as well like Fela Kuta, earlier Theo Parrish, Slum Village, Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound all those related projects.
Finally, looking beyond the EP release, are there any plans afoot with FallingUp parties or more releases? Will we have to wait till 2015 to hear more from you?!
Ha! Hopefully not but who knows? I have a few more ideas I’d like to get out there.