John Digweed Talks Bladerunner, SoundCloud and the Future Sound of Bedrock
John Digweed: the man, the myth, the legend. You'll get to see all three when the UK electronic dance music titan alights at Gryphon nightclub this Sunday.
And this is no ordinary club date. It's a stop on Digweed's current North American tour in support of Structures Two, a whopping three-CD compilation album showcasing the very best of his beloved Bedrock imprint. It's also a testament to his enduring popularity and influence on the international EDM scene after three decades in the game.
Crossfade caught up with Mr. Digweed ahead of the show to talk about his favorite film scores, why DJ mix albums still matter, and what progressive electronic dance music means in the 21st Century.
Crossfade: Your new compilation album Structures Two is quite a hefty collection of music. What was the criteria for track selection? And what distinguishes each of its three individual discs?
John Digweed: I am always looking for great quality music for my albums, so I always take my time when putting them together to make sure I am totally happy with my choices. CD One is a mix of blissed-out and downtempo tracks from the Bedrock label. I asked a lot of the producers to make downtempo versions exclusively for this album. I love the mood of this CD and it's perfect for chilling out to. CD Two is a live mix recorded at Avalon in Los Angeles and gives you a snapshot into one of my live gigs. CD Three is ten unreleased and exclusive tracks on the Bedrock label giving you a taste of the future sound of Bedrock records club tracks.
The album is also supposed to delve into the "cinematic" sound of Bedrock. What are some of your favorite film scores and/or score composers?
I love the Bladerunner soundtrack most of all. It's just timeless and I still listen to it many times a year. Also, Ennio Morricone has made some amazing soundtracks over the years
With online audio distribution platforms like SoundCloud and MixCloud, everyone and their grandmother is uploading and sharing DJ mixes these days. Do you think this has robbed the traditional DJ mix album format from the value it had, say two decades ago when you were releasing your Northern Exposure series with Sasha?
You have to move forward with the new platforms that are out there, like SoundCloud, which is a great way of promoting your music and material around the world. The traditional mix CD still has a small part to play out there for collectors, so we try and make our packaging as good as possible for our fans. I am happy that I was part of the scene when mix CDs first came out and helped create some albums that hopefully will be in people's collections for many years to come.
Throughout your career your sound has been labeled "progressive." With so much current fixation on classic retro sounds in electronic music, what do you consider progressive in the new decade? Is any of it really breaking new ground?
For me, progressive was about forward-thinking music back in the '90s. The progressive sound these days is not something that I play or even like, so it's hard for me to comment on that genre. For me, the electronic techno sound that is being produced these days is the most cutting-edge.
Besides Structures, what have been some of Bedrock's highlights this year? And what do you have in store for the label next?
We have had albums -- Marco Bailey's Dragon Man and Guy J's 1000 Words -- as well as great single releases from Oliver Lieb, Alan Fitzpatrick, and Robert Babicz -- all great releases this year. The remainder of the year is looking really solid with quality electronic tracks.
You've been in the DJ game for over three decades now. Do you see yourself staying in it for much longer? What does the future have in store for John Digweed?
I love DJing now more than ever and still live and breathe music 24/7, 365. I am still hungry for new music and finding new talent. Some people can get jaded after doing something for a long time. But I always wanted to be a DJ and I am living the dream -- week in, week out. Why would I want to stop doing this when I love my job and fans so much? My radio show Transitions is broadcasted in over 45 countries worldwide to over 14 million people and the record label is getting better each year. I am in a happy place and I am grateful for all the support that my fans give me around the world -- week in, week out.
What have been some of the personal highlights of your current North American tour? And what can Miami expect during your upcoming show at Gryphon?
I just played a sold-out show at the Mayan in Los Angeles on a Wednesday night, which was amazing. Denver and Atlanta were also really good. One of my favorite clubs in the world is the Vagabond which I love playing when I can, as the sound is amazing and it always attracts a fantastic crowd. Last time at the Gryphon, I had a really good time and I am looking forward to playing some great electronic house music to an up-for-it party crowd.
John Digweed. Sunday, September 4. Gryphon, 5711 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Doors
open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance from wantickets.com.
Ages 21 and up. Call 954-581-5454 or visit gryphon-club.com
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