A chat with Stelios Vassiloudis (Bedrock Records)
Your It Is What Is album was released on Bedrock Records in November of last year. Does having that kind of validation for your music from such a prestigious label affect your creative process?
I'm far too self-conscious and insecure about my music to allow for any measure of complacency to rear its ugly head. However, when John [Digweed] and the lovely folks at Bedrock expressed an interest in putting together my very rough demos for an album project I felt very honored indeed, as well as enthusiastic about taking on such a new and exciting challenge. Once the actual work and chiseling started, I think the resounding, dominant feeling I was left with was a benign form of panic and restlessness.
I’ve spent a lot of time with It Is What It Is, and “Reaching” is one of the defining moments of CD2. Was deciding on a track to remix an easy decision?
Thank you, I'm glad you like it. Choosing singles from an album is very much a "group" decision. Obviously, Bedrock have a very loyal and well-informed following so I think it's always a good policy to stay faithful to the "sound" and aesthetic your label is associated with. In keeping with that, the decision was a group effort, John knows what he likes to play, Scott [Dawson] the label manager knows what he can market well and how to put together the package- and then there's me... I get to throw in my 2 cents at the end. haha
Samuel L Session’s remixes are, as expected, sublime slices of melodic techno. How did you decide on a remixer for “Reaching”?
I've been a fan of Samuel's work for quite some time now. Apart from the fact that we all felt he'd be a very suitable match for the job and that he was indeed available and willing to do it, he's one of the people that's been in the top 10 of my remixer wish list for ages!
I imagine you’ve been road-testing your “Reaching” mixes. How have they been received? Any memorable reactions?
I actually haven't had a chance to play them out. They were both done over a very quiet season so there isn't much to say, unfortunately. I also feel very awkward about playing my own material- it usually takes a while for me (after someone else has taken the leap of faith) to work up the courage to present my music to a crowd. On a lighter note, the bonus of having someone as reliable and busy as John at your disposal to give you feedback, more than compensates.
Are you planning on revisiting any other tracks from the album?
Yes, I think there are plans to do one more single at some point later on. In addition to this, I believe we're planning to do a larger remix project/release of some sort, but the label's policy on this kind of inside information is to keep my mouth shut for as long as humanly possible.
Another project of yours is Wiretappeur, a partnership with Florian Kruse and Nils Nuernberg. Are there plans for a follow-up to 2011’s “Everybody Loves Ice Cream” EP?
Of course! We're always shooting ideas back and forth and working on material that we might be able to share and cross-pollinate. Unfortunately, we live at opposite ends of Europe and all have our own crazy schedules to deal with so it can be quite hard to all sync up and write music.
How are things shaping up this year for your label, Dieb Audio?
Things are looking quite good for Dieb Audio. I'm actually not as involved with the day to day running of it as I used to be. John Dalagelis is chiefly in charge of things and he suffers my occasional, half-assed A&R interjections and casual suggestions. I'm really proud of the catalogue behind us though. Over the last years we've had an incredible wealth of talent involved, and we’ve been lucky enough to work with some really nice people. John's impeccable taste and enthusiasm has taken things to the next level, I think. He's developing a very particular and distinguished "sound" for the label to be associated with.
Given the current state of the music industry, how do you measure success from a label standpoint?
That's a very tricky question and very open to subjective judgment. A lot of labels still in operation have the fortune or misfortune (depending on your perspective) to have been in operation and enjoyed much better days. In that regard, the economics of running a music label today are mostly tragic, by comparison. However, as many labels broaden their palette of activity and begin to serve multiple functions (mostly promotional) there are different ways to evaluate success. Many labels have branched out into fully fledged booking agencies, club nights and in general, serving as vehicles for their artists to showcase their music, regardless of revenue.
Which producers or labels are really inspiring you right now?
That's always a really difficult question to answer! Believe it or not, I still draw the same amount of inspiration from the "older" producers as I used to. I guess your primary influences have a way of leaving their mark. I still love producers like Slacker, Martin Buttrich, Russ Gabriel and Funk D'Void. As far as labels go, I have a really hard time remembering all the names (especially since the advent of CD's and MP3's has all but eradicated the visual stimulus we associated with music when records had physical sleeves, etc.) but off the top of my head I'd say: Freerange, Poker Flat, Delusions of Grandeur and Kompakt
Can you give me a little preview of any upcoming projects you’re currently working on?
I've tried to keep things a little fresh by doing some remix projects. I did 2 with my buddy Sasse: one for the excellent Flow Vinyl and another for a good buddy of mine who goes by the name of "One of Them." It's a fantastic little EP due out on Chris Fortier's inimitable Fade Records imprint. On the solo front, I've just completed a couple of new tunes that I was intending as a single package that have been picked up, split up and re-packaged for 2 upcoming Bedrock projects I'm (typically) not allowed to discuss. There's more going on in the studio, but I'm sure talking about studio stuff at any greater length is guaranteed to bore anyone reading this to tears!
Buy 'Reaching' remixes now on Beatport.