We’re very happy to present a new interview series presented by UK techno don and Clergy boss man Cleric. We’ll be showcasing a new concept from Cleric entitled his B2B Interview Series and first up is the formidable, The Lady Machine.
Cleric has been on top of the UK techno scene for well over a decade and in recent years has cemented his name as one of the most influential British techno producers of the last ten or so years. Cleric embarks on a new project in conjunction with Four Four Magazine and his event series Kerobokan Events. Cleric will be interviewing artists that play at his new night, Kerobokan Events in Fold London. The concept is really fresh as its seldom that you get hear two artists speak to each and the contrast that brings opposed to a journalist speaking to an artist. So without further adieu we present Cleric and The Lady Machine’s conversation.
Cleric : Hey Cami, firstly I’m super happy we were able to confirm this date. We actually tried for our first date, but you’re in high demand at the moment and rightly so!
TLM : Hey Jorden! I am also super happy to be playing at Kerobokan. Thanks for having me! Very much looking forward to it and to be playing with you! 🙂
Cleric : I’m personally loving the sound that you have been pushing through your productions and DJ sets. I would say it’s a nice “tip of the hat” to a more classic style of techno, but do you feel any pressure to change what you play to suit the current trends in our scene?
TLM : First of all, thanks for the nice words! I do not feel any pressure at all. I am confident in what I have been doing and the sound I have been pushing for a long time. Trends come and go, I have seen many since I started playing records and it doesn’t bother me. I know what I like and what I try to convey so for that matter I will continue doing what I love. That’s what makes me happy 🙂
Cleric : How would you tend to navigate if the DJ before you is playing 155+ BPM?
TLM : It really depends. This doesn’t happen very often though! It could go both ways: I’ll either follow the fast energy until I find my own feet or I might just completely switch it up. I guess it depends what kind of venue and crowd I am playing for.
Cleric : You just mentioned about playing records, what makes you continue to stick with playing vinyl? Do you ever find it hard on the road with poorly serviced technics or vibrating booths?
TLM : The truth is, it’s always a risk. Even when you soundcheck it’s still possible to run into problems during the set for many different reasons. When a previous DJ is not playing vinyl, the turntables could need repositioning, re-setting up again, or the sound needs to be adjusted. Sometimes the pitch on the turntables can be stiff and that doesn’t help when pitch riding. Not to mention problems with feedback, that can happen quite often. But to be honest, even with all these potential issues, I quite enjoy the adrenaline somehow. I mix better with vinyl. I briefly attempted to use CDJs a few times but really did not vibe from it. Nothing against anyone else using them but CDJs did not strike a chord with me. You might see me eventually using it once or twice but I really try to avoid it. Another point I want to make about playing vinyl is all the other processes that go on behind it. The whole chain of pressing my label’s records to vinyl, buying from a distributor, bandcamp or a shop supports so many different people involved in the scene. But I am curious to hear what you think as well. What are your thoughts about vinyl?
TLM: Do you ever play vinyl on the road?
Cleric : Ah the uno reverse. (Laughs) I wasn’t expecting a question back… It’s a great point you made about what the vinyl industry represents in terms of the support chain for the independent. I come from a family of vinyl addicts and have two labels, Clergy and Projekts that have been pressing since 2014. For me having something physical that someone could stumble across one day after we’re gone makes it priceless / timeless. Weather they like it or not is another thing haha. Regarding playing out on vinyl, my first decks were a horrendous pair of plastic belt drive IONs. As soon as I went from bedroom to club I noticed these recurring issues you mentioned. Maybe this was just because they were unprofessional set ups in early days. These days I play a lot of edits and unreleased tracks, so playing digitally gives me the opportunity to road test new studio music. Although, during lockdown I realised there are more and more vinyl only tracks I want to play out. So I have been toying with the idea of adding a technic to my set up alongside the CDJs. Lets see.
Cleric : This leads me perfectly onto our next question. I understand you have an EP upcoming with our headliner of the night, Luke Slater?Congratulations! How did this come about? Do you know of an estimated release date yet or is it still a bit hush hush?
TLM : Thank you! Yes, that is correct as Luke had briefly spoken about it on his Instagram when he announced he was playing at Kerobokan. At the moment there is no further info about it. I’ll let Luke do the honours 🙂 But I am really looking forward to playing with him, as well as playing my first gig at Fold. I heard so many good things about it. I am so curious!
Cleric : Yeah, its a really special club, It has everything, the sound, vibe, even the view from the smoking area is a piece of art. It’s feels a bit like a flash from the past in terms on not seeing any camera phones on the dance floor. They’ve also developed a really nice core group of attendees which creates a very positive dance floor.
Cleric : It always intrigues me to ask other artist what other genres of music they would listen to. I remember years ago Marcel Dettmann posted about how he listened to the interstellar soundtrack while he was travelling through airports. Do you have any go to travel playlists or any different genres you like to listen to? who are you listening to at the moment
TLM : I don’t tend to listen to music whilst I am in transit because I want my ears to have a break from the constant music over the weekend. So I do not have a travel playlist in that regard. I do listen to different music styles at home. Yesterday I was playing Music for Airports by Brian Eno. Right now I am listening to Rhythm & Sound. It all depends on my mood at the moment. Do you tend to listen to music whilst you are on the road or not at all?
Cleric : Rhythm & sound are great, so you tend to play a lot of downtempo dub or ambient at home. Regarding travel, i probably should give my ears a rest more than I do, but I did get some noise cancelling headphones for the plane and its probably one of the best purchases I’ve made.
Cleric : How are your sets usually constructed? Do you play more recent tracks than old, or is it generally a mix of both
TLM : It really depends on the set time and the event to be honest. Being flexible is key so it doesn’t get boring or too repetitive. I try to not think too much and just follow the intuition whilst playing. Normally I have an idea of how I’d like to start my sets and it works but sometimes I have to completely switch up from my original idea. The rest I basically just wing! It keeps me engaged and thinking throughout the set. My mind needs to be busy! I really enjoy getting in the zone and focusing when mixing,
sometimes I even forget to drink water and so on. The way I construct my set is basically by matching tracks I believe blend together. Obviously knowing my records helps. Since I play vinyl I like to organise the records
inside my bag in a particular way that I can spot them easily but after 20 min I start to make a crazy mess around the booth with records everywhere and inside different sleeves. I have been working on how to be tidy with that for the last 20 years but because I want to mix records at the speed of light there’s no time to stay organised. (Laughs)
Cleric : Well I can’t wait to hear you play on Saturday for the first time live! It’s been a pleasure talking to you, it’s a strange feeling interviewing someone for the first time. Especially for a dyslexic that failed in School. (Laughs) I look forward to meeting you in person.
TLM : This was such a fun and nice chat! Really enjoyed chatting with you. I’m so much looking forward to Saturday! See you soon 🙂