LWE Podcast 175: Linkwood

It was nearly ten years ago that Scottish label Firecracker Recordings got underway with an EP of various artists, featuring a track that would quickly become a house classic. All three tracks on the limited run, ten-inch collectible vinyl were of faultless quality, but it was the sprawling, epic house cut “Miles Away” by the duo Linkwood Family that stood out as the calling card for this freshly minted imprint. The label continued on in a similar vein, issuing highly sought-after pieces of wax, adorned with painstakingly crafted covers of the utmost quality. For their part the duo that made up Linkwood Family also continued to push their special brand of organic, boogie and funk soaked house music: Lindsay Todd with his own releases as House of Traps and the man responsible for the artwork on the highly prized pieces of vinyl, and Nick Moore who forged ahead with the Linkwood name, releasing further must-haves on Firecracker, Prime Numbers and Firecracker offshoot Shevchenko. With his brother Tim Moore they further impressed as Discreet Unit and The Complainers, while his debut Linkwood album for Prime Numbers earmarked the producer as one with serious scope. LWE approached Moore to find out more about his musical background, how his engineering work influences his own productions, and to get the low down on his forthcoming sophomore album. We also charged him with the responsibility of putting together our 175th exclusive podcast; an incredible mix of forthcoming gems and contemporary classics from himself and his peers.

Download LWE Podcast 175: Linkwood (84:30)

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Hi Nick, perhaps first of all, could you give us a rundown on your affiliation with Prime Numbers and Firecracker Recordings and its sub-labels. Also, is it your intention to only release on Scottish labels? Is that you doing your part for the Scottish economy?

Nick Moore: Hey! Well Firecracker is my home I guess and it’s run by my best mate so it’s more than an affiliation. It was the first label I released on and I feel proud to be a part of it. And yeah I mean without my unstoppable output over the last few years Scotland would be looking like Greece right now. So I’m doing my bit you know. I am not affiliated with Prime Numbers anymore.

I know that was a fairly long winded question for the first one, not really fair. Here’s an easy one: Did you choose music or did it choose you? (Sorry, reading that, it’s not much better)

Hmm. I think it chose me and then I chose it because I can’t do anything else. I don’t know, it’s a drive thing and I’m sure any artist is the same. Common sense would say quit, do something else, but we do it no matter what. Sometimes to the detriment of our well-being and the people around us. It’s a disease, that’s what it is. We are all sick in the head! I’m certainly not looking for a cure though!

You’ve had several releases with your brother (The Complainers, Discreet Unit, etc). Tell us a bit about your musical relationship with your brother. He’s older isn’t he? Was he responsible for introducing you to a lot of music at a formative age?

Yeah, I blame everything on my brother. If it wasn’t for him I could’ve had a normal life with a house and a car and life insurance, etc. Instead he left drugs lying about the house and an amazing record collection, so that was me doomed from day one.

Where does the Linkwood name come from? Is it anything to do with the distillery?

Yeah, it’s one of my guilty pleasures… shhhh!

A couple of questions regarding some Linkwood Family hits. First of all, the mighty “Miles Away.” What came first, the gorgeous track or the beautiful vocals of Joseph Malik? And how did those Intrusion remixes come about?

Well, Lindsay (House of Traps) and I had started to write a tune for Jo’s album, but I wasn’t happy with it. I just started again one night and knocked up the track in the MPC, knowing Jo would come in and do vocals for it. It was an honor to work with Jo as I’d been a fan before moving to Edinburgh. He just came in and wrote the lyrics on the spot… he’s a true talent like that. It never made it onto his album though for various reasons, so it sat on the shelf for a couple of years with the gaps for the trumpet, which didn’t get recorded until just before it came out. Again, Colin Steele who is an Edinburgh jazz musician came in and did one take of muted and one take of open trumpet and then left. All he wanted for payment was a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. The man’s a legend!!

The remixes came about as Lindsay had been chatting to Stephen Hitchell (Intrusion) through Rubadub from Glasgow, who distribute both our music. Turned out he knew the track and was well up for remixing it. I was an avid Chain Reaction/Maurizio collector in the 90’s and was a fan of Stephen’s work as he and Convextion for me are the only people to properly carry that sound on. He’s a real master craftsman and I loved both his remixes he did for us. I remember hearing it out on a proper system for the first time and it blew my mind.

“Barely Eagle” samples the inimitable Dennis Parker track “Like an Eagle.” Where did you first come across this secret disco weapon?

It was one of Lindsay’s secret weapons. He used to drop it a lot back in the day when we played together and I remember us chatting about troubling the chorus — that chorus does things to people on a floor. Haha! He brought it down to the studio and we just got busy. It was another track that sat about for a couple of years though. I have a bad habit of thinking everything I do is a pile a shite. Think it comes from living in Scotland for too long. I’ll no doubt get grief for that but fuck it, it’s true!

For that matter, how did you meet Lindsay and are we going to be treated to some more Linkwood Family releases?

No, that name no longer exists but we will get in the studio again at some point. I hope so anyway!

So your first album Systems was a sleeper hit in 2009. You’ve been working on a new one haven’t you? What can you tell us about it? Was the recording process similar to Systems?

Yeah I’ve been working on a new one, for waaaayyy too long, but you know what? I’ve had a hard fucking three years (no violins), and I put my hands up, mainly for the benefit of Rubadub and Lindsay, who have been beyond patient! It’s been a hustle and if I’m honest, I haven’t coped too well, but I’m surviving and the music is flowing again. Best thing to come out of hard times is you know who has your back and who doesn’t! Anyway yeah, the album is me going back to what I love the most — just deep electronics and trying not to worry about things too much. Process-wise, I think I’ve always worked in the same way, just to jam until shit sounds good to me and try and mix it down, then edit it five years later. Hahaaa!

Given that a lot of your music has a pretty organic feel to it, will you be assembling a bit of a band to tour the album?

I’ve definitely thought about it and I’m lucky enough to know some great players round these parts, but this album wouldn’t work like that, I don’t think. I am actually in the process of getting a special mixer made so I can take my machines out live. There’s nothing out there that suits my needs so I came up with a design and I can’t wait to see it made. Hopefully it could become a product as well… we shall see.

Soon I want to start playing only my own stuff, live and CD’s. It has to feel like a DJ set for me, though, and I’m working on it. I want to blend the two together seamlessly so people can’t tell if I’m live or mixing. And I’ll be able to respond to the crowd properly. That was my major gripe when I’ve played live before. Feeling stuck with your tracklist etc. I’m sure other folk have ways around that these days though, but also I’ve seen at a lot of gigs when an act comes on to play live, punters can stop and stare rather just getting down to the music. I’ve had an MPC with me before when DJing and no one even noticed. They were just dancing! So I’ve always wanted to expand on that I guess. It feels like a natural step for me now. And a new challenge.

As well as making your own music, you also engineer for others. Do you find working in that capacity then informs your own work?

Yeah. I love tweaking outboard as much as synths and samplers and you learn something new with every job. It’s rewarding as well when you help someone achieve what they’ve been after you know.

Are we likely to see further collabs with your brother? Anything in the works?

Oh yeah definitely. He’s actually got himself some gear at last and is busy writing. We don’t live in the same city anymore so its not as easy as it used to be but he’s already got some jams that just need a bit of love and a mix-down so hopefully soon they’ll find their way onto wax.

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us?

Well I thought, I’ve got test presses of new Firecracker material, a couple of wee jams from my album and a record bag full of gems so why not mix it all up? I had fun doing it. Hopefully that comes across but obviously its always different recording a set in the studio to hitting record at a gig.

There’s the new Unthank 10” from Denaji on there, which is great. In fact I played the whole record, including the DJ Sotofett remix of the A-side. Also a test press of Panoram’s album for Firecracker arrived just in time for the mix. The track I used melted my brain when I first heard it. I love this guy’s approach to sound… another real talent out there at the moment. I recently did an edit of a track by Specter and Chicagodeep which came out on a new label (Perpetual Rhythms) run by Chicagodeep himself and Talue. It was great to be asked by them and was a pleasure all round. They had a 12 minute track basically and I chopped it down and added a bit of Juno etc. Anyway that’s on the mix as well. I managed to get an album track of mine on there by triggering it from the MPC… worked OK but I couldn’t mix it so the set has some stops and starts and a few sketchy moments, but overall it turned out alright I reckon. Hope you enjoy it.

What can we expect from Linkwood over the next year?

An album on Firecracker, a new Shevchenko 12″, the birth of a new label with a bit of help from Rubadub, and there’s a few remixes I’ve done which are coming out soon and still a couple to finish. Next one coming out (early September) is a remix I did for Inkswel from Melbourne. He’s been a big supporter since day one, sorting tours of Australia for me etc. It’s coming out on his Hot Shot label through PPU and features vocals from Merwyn Sanders of Virgo Four. The originals are great and there’s also a GB remix sharing a side with mine I think.

Worth a mention and a shameless plug is our first four Firecracker 10″s have been collated as a CD and is in the shops now.Firecracker: The Early Emissions even comes with stickers! Kinda funny for me listening back to it all, but I think it holds up OK. My only mission in this game is to try and make music that hopefully has a bit of shelf life. Or at least doesn’t annoy me in 20 years time! Probably why my discography doesn’t even fill a page. But yeah, I’ve been off the road for a wee bit now, sortin’ life issues and new music. I’m looking forward to DJing again and building the live set I mentioned earlier and trying to let more people hear what I’ve been up to.

Gar  on September 2, 2013 at 9:01 AM

I’m a huge fan. Very excited about the new album!

hakim  on September 3, 2013 at 11:33 AM

yes… spacey…

Alex  on September 4, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Excellent mix, incredibly unpredictable and unique.

Joe  on September 7, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Awesome, best podcast I have heard in ages, wish there was a tracklist.

J.Knecht  on September 11, 2013 at 1:40 AM

Loved it.

bastien  on January 24, 2014 at 6:41 PM

excellent mix, really enjoyed both listening and reading..

Trackbacks

Linkwood – LWE Podcast 175 | The Hipodrome Of Music  on September 26, 2013 at 7:23 AM

[…] read interview […]

Mix Of The Week | Hometown Social Club  on October 31, 2013 at 4:35 PM

[…] earphones in recent weeks that have aided those laborious and tortuous commutes to work and more. Linkwood’s mix for the Little White Ear Buds site is a belter for one.  A beautiful journey through deep, soulful […]

LITTLE WHITE EARBUDS: LINKWOOD · TSA Artists  on May 22, 2014 at 9:05 AM

[…] It was nearly ten years ago that Scottish label Firecracker Recordings got underway with an EP of various artists, featuring a track that would quickly become a house classic. All three tracks on the limited run, ten-inch collectible vinyl were of faultless quality, but it was the sprawling, epic house cut “Miles Away” by the duo Linkwood Family that stood out as the calling card for this freshly minted imprint. The label continued on in a similar vein, issuing highly sought-after pieces of wax, adorned with painstakingly crafted covers of the utmost quality. For their part the duo that made up Linkwood Family also continued to push their special brand of organic, boogie and funk soaked house music: Lindsay Todd with his own releases as House of Traps and the man responsible for the artwork on the highly prized pieces of vinyl, and Nick Moore who forged ahead with the Linkwood name, releasing further must-haves on Firecracker, Prime Numbers and Firecracker offshoot Shevchenko. With his brother Tim Moore they further impressed as Discreet Unit and The Complainers, while his debut Linkwood album for Prime Numbers earmarked the producer as one with serious scope. LWE approached Moore to find out more about his musical background, how his engineering work influences his own productions, and to get the low down on his forthcoming sophomore album. We also charged him with the responsibility of putting together our 175th exclusive podcast; an incredible mix of forthcoming gems and contemporary classics from himself and his peers. Original Source: LWE […]

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