When not helping to run the award winning festival Outlook, putting on the most underrated club night in the country, managing artists or even making killer beats of his own, Leeds based Ant TC1 still somehow manages to the find the time to head up and run influential drum & bass label Dispatch Recordings.
Still going strong and pushing into its late teens, the label still continues to release the choicest cuts thanks to Ant's no compromise approach, hand picking the tunes that have given the label a reputation for releasing only the highest quality drum & bass.
This approach is perhaps best illustrated by the back catalogue of label staples Octane & DLR and with their latest full length release scheduled on Dispatch, we though we'd talk to the boss man himself to find out just how good it is and to discuss the launch party held in association with Kmag at Café 1001 on 28 September.
You've recently joined the Outlook team, what exactly is your role during the event? Will you be doing the same thing come Dimensions?
I'm the artist management co-ordinator and, yes, it covers both festivals. Most of the work will be making sure everything from A to Z has been joined up for the artists (all 800 of them!) and managing a team of people on the logistics side of the whole operation, it's a big job! Tools of the trade equal a port-a-cabin, a walkie-talkie, up to 40 degree heat, lack of sleep and most probably the palest man at Outlook going red-faced at times but surrounded by heaps of music lovers so I'm sure I'll be in good company.
When not jet setting to some of Europe's best international festivals you're head honcho at the infallible Dispatch Recordings label. What does the day to day running of such a successful and respected label involve?
Thanks for the kind words. A lot of work and luckily through the Outlook role I've been able to pay someone (Alex) to support me as an assistant in the running of the label. It's such a different thing these days, I wish we could go back in time to DAT machines, cutting dubs and phone calls to hunt tunes, my hobby/job would be loads easier haha.
One thing that has always impressed me about Dispatch is it's consistent quality, it's seems you're not willing to compromise on the standards of your releases. Is this done at the expense of other things i.e. time and money?
It's a labour of love! That's the best way I can put it and it always will be too.
Do you feel that the industry as a whole needs to make compromises like this in order to reduce the amount of sub standard and average music being currently made available? The silver lining of this whole piracy thing is perhaps more people like yourself making music for the love rather than the money and the standard improving as a result.
Yeah, it's strange as I never focus on it too much or look too deep into it, I have no master plan, honestly! I just love being able to do what I'm doing.
The next release forthcoming on the label is the new full-length album from Octane & DLR. In what ways does this release fit in with the ethos and quality controls you've set for the label?
The guys material is just absolute quality all round and I think people are really starting to see just how talented they are. I've always said they have a bit of an extra edge to their production and approach to writing tracks, they just don't care about any kind of rule books or set processes when making tunes, there are no rules when they go in and write music other than to be insanely picky about what comes out the other end (the finished product). I'm very confident the album portrays this kind of approach across all of the 17 musical, dance floor and abstract bits on there.
Have you got a name for the release and what can we expect from it? Are there any personal highlights and for what reasons?
Method in the Madness, it's hard to choose as I love it all! I of course worked with the guys on getting to the point with the track list where we he had to struggle to decide what wouldn't go on there, which was a bit of a sad face episode but for us surely being able to throw good tracks off of a good album (tracks I would be happily release as singles!) is a good place to be in. Standouts for me are Bad Touch, Murmur, Set up the Set and Gravity as these all have a slight edge on the others on the album, but it's all bloomin' good, I'm grateful to release music this superb.
Is there ever a conflict working with two people who are close friends from Leeds? Or do you feel the quality of their productions prevents these conflicts from occurring i.e. they make albums that need little work and practically sell themselves?
HAHA!! In a way because the three of us are like best mates or even brothers who have clearly spent way too much time together, so we can be brutally honest in discussion or even arguments, which often stretches to the point of wrestling each other in some kind of movie scene not too dissimilar to the classic "man fight" in that Bridget Jones film.
Speaking of Leeds, your monthly Momentum night at Wire is perhaps my favourite club night in the world thanks to it's great intimate atmosphere, consistent rolling sound and fantastic line ups. Will you be in effect bringing the night on a road show when you come to the Kmag Café 1001 night on 28 September for the Octane & DLR album launch party?
Yeah definitely! The night in Leeds is really about what we're into and us hoping other people like it too, so this is more of what we're gonna bring to Café 1001!
Will we get a full album preview on the night? Who else is on the line up and what can we expect from them and the night in general?
Yeah deffo! There'll probably be a VIP or two or a remix ready by that point even. You've also got appearances from artists on the label such as Cern, EBK and Gusto; we thought we'd keep the line up as close to the album as we could given it's an album launch.
From a personnel point of view what's next after the album launch? Are there more beats on the way and can we expect any of your own productions any time soon?
After my Outlook Festival work I'm in the clear until January work wise, which gives me loads of time to concentrate on two other Dispatch artists joint album; Survival & Silent Witness. The album is killer and just like Octane & DLR's I can't wait for people to hear what they've done. As far as my own productions go I'm absolutely itching to get back and what better time of year than good old English winter to get going.
Words: Sam Oliveira
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