Stamp Mix #12: TCTS


Label: JustUs
Manchester, UK
Sounds Like:
Bondax, Sweater Beats, Toyboy & Robin

Manchester producer TCTS is part of a new generation of producers who are following in the footsteps of Bondax and Disclosure, blessing clubs up and down the country with their soulful brand of House music. Maribou State and Toyboy & Robin are two other prime examples and all three will be joining Jackmaster, T.Williams, Bondax and Ms. Dynamite at XOYO this friday. We’re rarely excited about every single name in a lineup, but this is an exception. Ahead of this highly-anticipated evening, TCTS made an exclusive mix for us and sat down to answer a few questions. Download the mix on our Soundcloud, where there’s also a tracklist available.

Let’s start with a boring one. Anything behind the name TCTS?

Ha yeh, it’s the initials for a band I used to play in a few years ago. When I first started DJing I played under those letters and it kind of just stuck!

How would you describe your music?

I usually just go with House music to be honest. There are so many subgenres that you can be attached to, but essentially it’s all House. I’m definitely influenced most by Garage, Deep House and Bass music. I think different tracks of mine show the influences to various degrees. Sorry that was pretty vague!

How did you get into producing?

I started messing around with DAWs such as Fruityloops and Reason when I was in college, and then when I was at uni I started trying to properly build tracks. I played in bands back then so I started trying to incorporate samples and electronics into that kind of music. Pretty quickly though I got hugely into club music and started focusing on creating that kind of stuff. It took a while and I’ve got some very sketchy demos on my hard drive from the early days!

Do you have a process of making music?

Yeh definitely. I always produce with my keyboard controller, even when I don’t need it – for some reason I like it plugged in incase. I tend to start messing around making a synth patch and then play in some stuff, or if I’ve got a groove idea then I’ll write that and then start playing over the beat. Usually I tend to start with drums, and then go from there.

What are your thoughts on the music scene in Manchester? The Warehouse Project is one of the big flag-bearers for the city. Has it been much of an influence for you in your musical career?

I love the scene in Manchester. I chose to come to uni here because of the music and nightlife. Warehouse definitely takes over the city from September to New Year. I guess it has been quite an influence; I’d never been to a club night on that scale when I first went, and it’s a pretty amazing atmosphere. I’ve seen some of my favourite DJs there, people like Scuba, Jacques Greene, Joy O etc. Having said that though, I think the best thing about Manchester are the smaller clubs – places like Joshua Brookes and South. My boys Toyboy & Robin started the club night/label Cool Kid Music up here, and they’ve thrown some sick parties here with people like Maribou State, Kidnap Kid, T. Williams and so on. 

You’re signed to Bondax’s label JustUs. How that came about? And how is it working with Adam and George?

Yeh they’ve been awesome!  I’d been a huge fan of their music for ages, and first met them when we both played in Sheffield at the start of the summer. In September I got involved with JustUs and they released the 1997/Like This EP. It was a huge compliment to be honest, to be label mates with people like Bondax, Karma Kid and Sweater Beats is a massive deal for me.

We saw them play at Annie Mac Presents in Bristol last year alongside Disclosure and Karma Kid and we got the sense there’s a real family feel about the UK House scene at the moment. Everyone knows each other, is trading music and ideas and pushing each other’s music. The night you’re playing at, at XOYO is another case in point with T.Williams pushing artists like Maribou State, Toyboy & Robin and yourself. Do you think there’s anything to that idea, and has it contributed to the healthy state the scene now finds itself in?

Definitely! It’s quite a small world really and you end up meeting loads of people through playing shows and stuff. Its definitely more fun when you know people on the bill, or the promoters. It’s a pretty great scene, everyone seems to massively support each other, and you kind of bounce ideas around. Personally I like that because when you work mainly on your own its good to get opinions from people you really respect and admire.

What are your favourite three tracks of 2012?

Mannnn, hard to pick just three. These are some from earlier in 2012 that I played out loads. They’re all kind of memory triggering tracks now, takes me back to summery vibes.

1. George Fitzgerald – Lights Out
2. Breach – You Wont Find Love Again
3. XXXY – I Know This Cant be Love

There were so so many sick releases last year though – guys like Paleman, Dark Sky, Shadowchild, Bondax and obviously Disclosure are killing it. Dark Sky’s Black Rainbows EP is one of the best things I’ve ever heard. Also, my favourite song to play out is still Combo’s So Real (Huxley Remix). It came out in 2011 but I look forward to it every set.

And what three artists should we look out for in 2013?

Toyboy & Robin for sure. Those two have been massively supportive of me through their label and they’ve become really close friends of mine. They’re amazing DJs and top producers so its an exciting time for them. Also Queenie – shes a producer and singer from London, who’ve I’ve been lucky enough to work with recently. You’ve probably heard her forthcoming track And Every on Greenmoney rec. She’s massively talented. Lastly I reckon 2013 will be a big year for Polkadot. He’s been creating waves all over blogs for a while so he’s bound to be doing big things in 2013.

I hear 2013 is going to be a big year for JT and Destiny’s child too haha. Very exciting.

Talk us through the mix you made for us.

I kind of just wanted to do something spontaneous as I would live, and play some of the tracks I’m enjoying playing out at the moment. I wanted to include a mix of styles too, from deeper stuff like Paolo Rocco and Chris Malinchak to the massive sounds of people like Woz and Shadowchild. I’ve stuck in something new of mine too, aswell as things I’ve just come across like Crown Duels and Dosage. Theres also abit of Zulu in there, who cant seem to put a foot wrong. As for standout tracks, I love All Shook Up, and Calling Me always get a huge reaction when you play their tracks.

Do you have anything releases, tours or any other plans for 2013 we should know about?

Yeh I’ve been doing lots of studio work with various vocalists and building tracks for the next releases, generally writing loads. I’ve also got a couple of remixes coming out soon. I’m concentrating on getting new music out as soon as possible and playing as many shows as possible. Next up is XOYO on Friday, and then InMotion in Bristol on Saturday which I cant wait for.

TCTS’s 1997/Like This is out now on JustUs via iTunes. Tickets this friday with TCTS, Jackmaster, Bondax, T. Williams, Ms Dynamite, Maribou State and Toyboy & Robin can be bought at the XOYO website.

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