Upon the release of Soul Central’s new single “On The Edge”, which is also a proud debut release for Yoversion Records. We catch up with Timmy & Andy to talk about the track, what they have been up to, Hazey Days at DC10, Bowie and toppings for Digestive Biscuits!
How did Soul Central formulate?…. and is Birmingham really the ‘Geographical centre of the Universe’ (Ward, 2012)
Only a man from outside of Birmingham would ask that question. I won’t validate it with an answer. If you know, you know… Birmingham.. stand up !
Regarding us getting together, it was via my radio show on Choice FM and Timmy giving me a demo of one of his earlier productions. If you want the ENTIRE Soul Central story.. here is a show Timmy and I did together recently, featuring most of our biggest and best productions and the FULL back-story. http://soundcloud.com/andyward/vocal-booth-radio-show-soul
Tell us what you have been up to recently and projects you have been working on?
My life for the last 6 months has been dominated by my Vocal Booth Weekender event here in Spain (where I now live). I started one other project with Deep Josh that we are yet to finish. You find me at somewhat of an inspirational crossroads right now. The club scene took a downward spiral in recent years (IMO) and I lost all interest in it, however I now feel the tide has turned although I am finding it really hard to get the energy to grasp the new opportunities. All of these feelings are clearly documented in my blog which has a great following of loyal friends. I have no desire to reach out to people who don’t get where I’m coming from anymore.
I’ve enjoyed spending more time raising my young children recently. I have also gone back to playing some live gigs on keys, I get bored very easily and started finding house boring and I needed a change and a break from it all . Now I am really excited about getting back in the studio and making some beats again, I’m refreshed!
So its been 5 years since the last production “Time after Time” on Defected, what was your inspiration on getting back into the studio?
Timmy and I have a great relationship and he understands exactly what I ask for. He is the perfect production partner. We are friends first and studio partners second… so who wouldn’t want to get together and have a laugh with their mate and see what comes out of it.. For me, it was as simple as that.
I just thought it was time that we did another track together after such a long time. Again sometimes it’s good to have a break, to change things up , but I missed Andy the ginger headed Raas Claat !
Tell us a bit about the development of your new single “On The Edge” and its direction compared to previous material
There were no desires to make a big track… it was actually meant to be a lot darker than it is. As the elements came together, it just grew into what you now hear and it is one of the strongest things we have ever done. It personifies everything we are about.
Well piano’s have played an important role in Soul Central’s music and we have always till this day had a piano in our family home . I heard a track many years ago at DC10 Circo Loco , maybe the dj just looped a piano part, it was all…..so hazey…. but i do remember the intensity of that build up, so I wanted to tap into that feeling. Andy wanted something old skool sounding so this was the outcome, it started on my dining room table on a lap top because my home studio was not functioning and was a mess of wires! lol. Then we finished in Spain.
You’ve signed it to new label Yoversion Records, what was the motivation behind doing this?
John Jones was one of the first people to contact me after seeing the video we did in Spain. His enthusiasm for the track was something else, and knowing what a nice guy he was, it was a no brainer really. We hope we can look back in years to come and say that we helped set the label on the way to great things.
John Jones is a good friend and he is the label manager . A very big dance label came very close to signing it , but after a few weeks of discussions it never happened . Johns enthusiasm is exactly what we were looking for. He will push this release 110% !
You produced an amazing video blog whilst making the track….. Tell us more about this alcohol fuelled frenzy supported by Effembert???
I have always loved documenting stuff.. It is great to look back on. The video is simply a diary of a few days here in Spain. If you know us, then you know that is us through and through. You really do need to hear the radio show we did to get the perfect Soul Central picture in your mind.. that video goes a tiny way to show it.
Who are you biggest influences?
My friends. Pure and simple.
John Coltrane, Derrick May, Bach, Joni Mitchel…… Too many to mention here
What would you say was your proudest and memorable achievement so far as Soul Central?
Recently, our cover of ‘Strings of Life’ played out as the closing track on “How Clubbing Changed the World”. That was a very proud moment, knowing that we have been heard by so many people over the years who appreciate work we did. I personally am very proud to have had a track signed to Masters at Work, as well as having very strong records on some of the world’s biggest labels and compilations. I am honoured to have travelled the world thanks to the success of Soul Central, although as I have already mentioned, due to poor decisions by agents and promoters I have done some pretty horrendous gigs too. Again, there is loads I say about this on my blog at www.djandyward.net. I find myself becoming more and more outspoken as time goes on, trying to share my experiences with others, so they can use the information to their advantage.
Definitely Strings of life. Derrick May has and will continue to be a huge influence on me, he is like the Bach of our generation . People are still playing strings of life. Frankie Knuckles dropped it last week at Pacha Ibiza and he dropped the fader and you could hear the crowd singing along. It is the 1st track Andy and I produced together back in 2000, it was an ice breaker , a project to see how we both worked and to see if we could work together and it’s still doing the damage to this day thanks to Derrick May !
Andy we know your considered as one of the kings of social networking with countless followers/friends across all platforms……. How important do you feel it is to integrate these mediums to achieve greatness
Well, as I was saying… I love to share with people and so the social networking aspect comes/came easy to me. As Myspace became Facebook, I found a new army of friends who helped me create my baby, the Vocal Booth Weekender. Most of my efforts all go into that now. I don’t see the point of having thousands of friends for the sake of it.. I actually don’t have many friends on a personal profile on Facebook after having 5000 of them wiped out by some jealous prick who hacked my account a few years ago. I also had over 5000 fans on my DJ page. That page was deleted. It is so easy to ‘Like” something now, that I don’t get bogged down in numbers. I know that the 2000 new friends I have following me are all there for the right reasons and I go out of my way to keep in touch with them as much as possible.
I have got no inclination to ‘play the game’ any more regarding the whole marketing machine for my own success, that doesn’t motivate me but inspiring people does.. tbh you are lucky I’m even answering these questions ! HOWEVER.. if you are serious about getting success in this game, then you do need to have a very strong strategy and learn what does and doesn’t work in reaching out. I now have a Websites and Marketing company to help show people these strategies. www.wardswebsites.com.
Timmy, for all the tech geeks out there…. Tell us about your studio set up and how you keep those magical fingers in shape?
Well I’m running logic 9 and I am not one for gathering loads if soft synth plugins cos I don’t have the time to sit down with them. I like massive and sylynth and the Korg stuff , I like classic sounding stuff. I have lots if analogue gear , Fended Rhodes, Hammond Organ with Leslie.
Getting your fingers in shape ? Practice !! I have just learnt the whole Ziggy Stardust album and other classic Bowie and Roxy music for 1 gig I covered for a band called ‘The Major Toms’ that was cool but hard work, I’m proppa in shape now, you wouldn’t wanna get in the ring with me !
So whats coming next…… plans for the future ?
There is no shadow of a doubt there will be more from Soul Central in the studio. Tim is keen to travel the world sharing his sounds in his DJ sets, while I am content at home building websites and complaining about how it’s not like it used to be.
After this release let’s see what the future holds for Soul Central, we are both gracefully relaxed about the future. I have a track out soon on Grant Nelsons new Deep Fried label. Gig wise I am looking forward to the vocal booth in Spain then I’m off to Vietnam for gigs , a real cool venue called “Blanchys Tash” and some studio work with an artist called Suboi, then off to the Culture One festival in Bangkok which is AMAZING !
and finally……. leave us with a pearl of wisdom that people can take with them on their life journey…… a gift from you as it were
Go out of your way to help others. Share your knowledge and take in as much as you can from others… learn from THEIR mistakes. Follow your own path and think long and hard about what you want out of life and how you can achieve it. There are no shortcuts.
Put some cheese on a digestive biscuit and top it with strawberry jam. Fucking BAD BOY !
Don’t eat the yellow snow …..
Soul Central “On The Edge” is released on Yoversion Records 3rd September 2012
Its available digitally from Traxsource, iTunes, Beatport & Juno
Check out the brilliant video blog here
2012 Yoversion Records