ANDY VAZ & YORE RECORDS 2010: TEN QUESTIONS INTERVIEW AND EXCLUSIVE LIVE SET
Since its inception, textura has followed Andy Vaz's career, both in the music he himself has issued and in his curatorial role as the label manager for Background Records, A Touch of Class, and Yore Records. Since releasing .xtrak's Back_Up EP in 2007, Vaz, in partnership with with Alessandro Vaccaro (Persistencebit Records), has issued more than twenty releases on the Cologne-based Yore, and the label's profile has progressively risen thanks to stellar outings by artists such as Terrence Dixon, Rick Wade, Alton Miller, Drivetrain, and Kez YM. We're honoured that Vaz not only agreed to update us on Yore's current and future activities, but also created an exclusive live set for textura readers to dig into while reading the interview:
ANDY VAZ: LIVE SET, JANUARY 2010 (textura exclusive)
1. First of all, can you tell us a few things about the live set you've created? What tracks are included and is it all material that's been previously issued on Yore?
Well, it's an exclusive live set for textura but, being a studio mix, it wasn't recorded in a night-time live environment, which sometimes can be a little tricky as far as bringing energy into a set that's recorded without a crowd reaction. So my aim was to try and get my head into the situation by recording it late night in the studio to give it a similar vibe while still maintaining the optimal sound quality of a studio mix-down. I think the set has the right balance in the end. It features a Disco Edit of “Onemore Round” I made a few days before recording the set that is so far exclusive to the Live mix. The set contains previously released and unreleased material, such as the opening track featuring Detroit vocalist Eva Soul, taken from the forthcoming Split EP pt II with Patrice Scott that will be released on Yore sometime in the summer.
2. I know that a new Yore venture is the web store. Can you tell us what that's all about?
Yes, our most recent focus has been getting our own store going for both digital and vinyl. In times like these, hardly any retail store is able to carry a large back catalogue of labels anymore. And with Background, A Touch of Class, Vazbit, Soundvariation and Yore, we definitely have a lot of music available, that unfortunately can't be purchased anywhere. So it seemed logical to offer a solution to make the material available to the heads out there. There are so many great records that are forgotten in today's market, which is a shame. Also the shop gives us full control and gives me the opportunity to feature some of my old-time favourite releases on the site, so these pearls don't remain hidden away and people can become aware of their existence. It's worked out great so far. We'll regularly feature some of the old favourite releases on the main page, and we've sold a good number of copies of these featured releases, which proves that the model makes sense and that our customers don't just follow the current trend. They're looking for the Deep, and they're looking in the right place at Yore-Shop.de.
3. You've managed to establish a consistently high quality level in the Yore releases to date, largely due to the artistic talent you've featured. Were you just lucky to have people like Alton Miller, Drivetrain, and Kez YM cross your path, or did they contact you? How did some of these signings come about?
I came across Kez YM through MySpace and, after being blown away by his talent, offered him a three-year exclusive deal with Yore. We're both very happy working together and it's been a win-win situation for both of us so far. We toured Kez the first time in Europe last year and the tour was a great success. He killed it and his DJ skills and taste in music were simply mindblowing! We're currently booking dates for him for July, 2010 and also have a split EP by Kez YM & Rodenion in the pipeline; after that we'll try and get the Kez YM album together.
Alton Miller contacted me about a release, which led to us doing two of his releases plus the collaboration with him doing vocals on my Different Hours EP. Drivetrain heard about me from another friend in Detroit and sent some material my way, which was great since I had been into his music for so long but wouldn't have thought about getting in touch with him. He's also working on a follow-up EP, and we'll definitely continue working together.
4. You've issued an incredible run of Yore EPs but only two full albums, Rick Wade's The Good, the Bad and the Deep and Terrence Dixon's Train of Thought. Are there more full-lengths in the pipeline? What else is in store on the release front for 2010?
As I mentioned, we're slowly preparing for the Kez YM album; however, we're not going to rush it. It will come, but the music is not there yet, and we are under no pressure to get it done and released. As for other upcoming Yore Releases, we recently signed Dutch newcomers Morning Factory and have their first release ready to go. I think it will do its thing out there. It combines the deep and the funky and will definitely be a Yore release for the dance-floor. Then there will be a Marcello Napoletano twelve-inch and the already mentioned Split EP pt II with Patrice Scott plus the Kez YM & Rodenion split EP too.
5. One thing that stands out for me is that Yore's output has gotten funkier during the past year or so, and the move is away from techno towards something closer in spirit to Deep House. Would that be an accurate characterization of Yore's current sound (to the extent that it can be spoken of in general terms)?
Yes, totally. Deep House all the way.
6. Who's one artist whose material you'd love to release on Yore, and what were your own favourite recordings of 2009 (Yore or otherwise)?
Scott Grooves would be the one. I loved his Riddum Collection double twelve-inch and all the other things he released in 2009. Great stuff. We've recently been talking about things, but nothing has been decided yet. Fingers crossed!
7. Let's talk specifically about your own music. One of the latest Yore releases is your own Shadow City. How has your own style evolved over the past five years or so, or even since Yore's inception? How has the music of the other Yore artists influenced your own, if it has?
That's hard to answer. I feel like I've been sort of jumping all over the place from release to release, and even if it doesn't always sound like a logical progression from the outside, my concept is real simple. I make whatever I feel at the moment; there is no plan behind it, like, “Oh, now I'm going to make Deep House!” or “Now I'm going to do this or that!” I just let it ride and see where it takes me. There are exceptions, of course, such as when I decide to work with somebody like a singer because obviously then it's going to be centred around that and is more likely to be House.
8. In terms of your current production process, how much of a given track is purely computer-generated, how much of it is derived from samples, and how much of it is natural sounds recorded live?
I don't record natural sounds at all. The music is 50% external gear and 50% computer-based. I definitely prefer using my drum machines rather then drum samples. If I use samples, I sample from records. External Hardware Synths create most of the sound, but I also use virtual VSTs also.
9. To what degree is your music influenced by the forms associated with Chicago, Detroit, and Berlin?
There is definitely a big Chicago-Detroit influence in my sound, for sure. That's the sound I started with and have been heavily collecting until today. A huge percentage of my private record collection is Chicago House and Detroit Techno/House, etc. I don't have any Berlin references in my own music.
10. I know your musical interests extend into other areas beyond house music. What other stuff are you listening to?
Jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, and more and more disco the older I get. That's what got me started doing some Disco edits recently. They won't be released; I'm just doing them for fun or to maybe slip it into a live set from time to time.