Earlier this week,we previewed Simon Baker's upcoming Saturday performance at newly renovated and reopened Space.
The world-renowned British DJ-producer has been making waves in the international EDM scene since the early '00s with releases on the esteemed 2020 Vision label and his own Infant Records.
We caught up with Baker on the cusp of this Saturday's performance to talk about the early days as a Leeds house head and his DJ M.O. as well as his debut artist album on 2020 Vision. Read the full Q&A after the jump.
New Times: You hail from Leeds, a city with a rich and eclectic underground music scene. How did growing up there influence your musical development and sound?
Simon Baker: Leeds played a huge part in what I do today. I was actually brought up in York, a historic and very beautiful city 30 minutes' drive from Leeds, but as a teenager I would always come over to Leeds for gigs, parties and so on. In the end, I decided to make the move. The electronic music scene here is very, very strong, there's so much to choose from weekly. I was a house head from day one, really, from going weekly as young lad to the long-standing club BackToBasics (now 18 years old and still going strong in Leeds) and also the Haçienda club in nearby Manchester. These both played a big part in where I am today musically. I was lucky to grow up around these parts.
What do you consider a succesful DJ set? What sort of experience do you aim to provide people on a dancefloor?
I play mainly techy deep house, but there is so much good music out there. I love it all, from deep house and disco to techno. So if I have a disco groove or more techno beat, I am not afraid to throw it in there. I get bored with the same constant sound, personally. As long as you keep the groove. It's just the way I play and always have. My main aim is to keep people dancing and have a great time, after all that's the job of the DJ, isn't it?
What prompted you to launch Infant Records and what is the status of the label these days?
It was a natural progression, really, a few years ago. I wanted to get my music out there and fast. Infant was great for me in the early days, but one financial disaster after another. I decided to quit the label over a year ago now. Infant served a purpose and maybe I will go back to it one day. For now I am concentrating on my album with 2020 Vision, and various other labels I work closely with.
What have been some of the highlights of 2010 and what do you have in store for 2011?
Well, as mentioned above, my album is due soon, Simon Baker Presents TRACES out in February 2011. So I am hoping for good things with that next year, as I have been working very hard on this for well over a year now. Highlights from this year, there are many. This recent Saturday I played for Circoloco in Leeds and the whole club crouched down to their knees at a breakdown (unprompted by myself, I will add) then jumped up in the air when the beat kicked in! I've seen this many times in DC10 Ibiza, but in Leeds, not so much!
The atmosphere was electric on Saturday. That gig was one of the highlights of the year for sure. I've also played some other very special parties this summer in Ibiza for Kehakuma at Space and updating my studio with shitloads of expensive (not necessarily needed) new gear was another highlight!
As no stranger to Miami, how would you say the crowds here compare to the ones in Europe?
Well, to be honest, I think i have only played in Miami once out of Conference time, and that night it was raining... hard! My gig was meant to be an outdoor thing, so it's kind difficult to know exactly what to expect on a good (non-rainy) night. I do know that over Conference it's great though. Hopefully there will be more of that. Europe is hard to beat, but I am expecting good things.
What can Miami expect during your performance at Space on Saturday?
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Simon Baker doing his thing. And keeping the Miami dance floor smiling, of course!
Simon Baker with Patrick M and Louis Puig. Saturday, October 23.
Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20