The Edinburgh-based duo show us how they jack the house on this week's RA podcast.
When the first release on Firecracker Recordings first hit the shops back in 2004, music fans and collectors were scratching their heads wondering where exactly it came from. The lush beatdown-inspired house contained on the lavishly packaged ten-inch suggested that it originated from Detroit, but nothing could've been further from the truth. Firecracker is actually the brainchild of Edinburgh's Lindsay Todd (who now goes under the name House Of Traps), and was created to house a track that was originally meant for the second album of nu-jazz singer/songwriter Joseph Malik. "Miles Away" was a collaboration between Todd and his friend Nick Moore (AKA Linkwood), but after missing the deadline due to musical differences, the pair came back to the track six months later and decided that it was ripe for release.
Two EPs later, Todd's Firecracker imprint have established somewhat of a cult following amongst hardcore house music heads, leading them to repress their entire back catalogue. Moore's solo productions as Linkwood have also found their way onto kindred spirit Trus'me's Prime Numbers imprint, and they've also collaborated together as M For, which is an outlet for their more techno-influenced productions. Todd and Moore's mix for this week's RA podcast sees them showcase their broad palette of influences, seamlessly weaving house, techno, acid and disco throughout its duration, with a sprinkling of well used acapellas. Those wanting to catch the duo in a live setting can check them out at RA's forthcoming party with Mulletover at a secret London location on April 12th. We caught up with Todd via e-mail to ask about the mix, the scene in Edinburgh, and their recent name change.
What have you been working on recently?
Getting the production of EP4 and Vakula EP both rolling. It's a busy time right now as I'm currently hand-printing and stamping all 1000 covers for our first 12-inch project. This is my baptism of fire as I've screen printed before but never on this scale and it's been one of those projects where everything is bespoke from the vinyl to sleeves! Steve Hitchell (Intrusion and one half of Echospace) has remixed our track "Miles Away" from the first EP and this guy knows exactly how to lay down a "reduction"—the very essence of a dub track. It seems like ages also since we recorded the tracks for EP4 but it will finally drop in about three weeks shortly followed by an EP from Ukraine's Vakula. I'm really excited to have this artist on the Firecracker roster alongside Linkwood and Fudge Fingas as he's producing the heaviest house music I've heard in a long time.
How and where was the mix recorded?
The morning after a party here called Ultragroove and was recorded at Firecracker HQ in Edinburgh. We used a stack of vinyl, Scratch Live for unreleased stuff and edits, Rane mixer & 1200s.
Can you tell us a little about the mix?
We wanted to put down a mix that would reflect the label, how we play out and show off some forthcoming releases. That proved to be pretty difficult but we had fun doing it and hope it reflects DJ Izrail's sentiments on the intro!
It seems like the artwork and presentation is a big part of the Firecracker Recordings package. Do you design the covers yourselves?
Absolutely. From day one it had always been my intention to make every Firecracker release a small piece of art that would appeal to collectors and DJs alike and to reflect our common interests in music, comic art, martial arts, sci-fi and beyond! Myself and Tim Moore (Discreet Unit) share the main part of the design process with local artists such as Zixiao Chang and Jamie Wilson contributing to innersleeves etc.
What is the house music scene like in Edinburgh at the moment?
Poor old Edinburgh has been hit by a bit of a clubbing downturn in recent years. There was a time about ten years ago where you could go out to legendary nights such as Pure and Tribal Funktion but a series of fires and a vindictive local council led to many of the venues disappearing. Honourable mentions have to go to nights such as Ultragroove (solid house music for nearly ten years now!) and smaller, newer nights such as Club For Heroes and Jam The Box. Generally though, the best nights happen in Glasgow. It's just a short hop through to the likes of the Sub Club, Soundhaus or Club 69. Our distributors and legendary record store Rubadub is also in Glasgow so were proud to be an all Scottish-based set-up!
You've recently undergone a bit of a name change. Is there any particular reason behind this?
No great reason apart from the new format allows both myself and Linkwood to concentrate on individual projects. The Linkwood Family moniker originated to encompass other artists we worked with at the time such as Joseph Malik and Colin Steele so there may be other projects under the same name in the future.
What are you up to next?
There's the Vakula project to finish, new tracks from Fudge Fingas, Linkwood, House Of Traps, Denaji and some more remix 12-inches coming plus this summer should see a retrospective CD with both limited hand-packaged and general formats. In amongst all this there should be room for some DJing! Linkwood and Fudge Fingas have both been working on albums for Prime Numbers label and Linkwood has also been focussing on various engineering projects.
Linkwood & House Of Traps - Barely Eagle - Firecracker - Truth spoken by DJ Izrail
The Popular People's Front - Get Down Shep - The Popular People's Front
Linkwood - Who La La? - Firecracker
Tony Lee - Love So Deep (Instrumental) - Radar
Arcadion - Ghost Feeder - DC Recordings
Tony Lee - Reach Up (Acapella) - Radar
Q - Voice Of Q - Philly World
Alton Miller - Inner8 (Gerd No Vox Mix) - Clone
Scott Grooves - Adapt - Natural Midi
Pierre's Phantasy Club - Fantasy Girl (Acapella) - SRO
Levon Vincent - Six Figures - Novel Sound
Hercules - Lost In The Groove - Trax
I-f ft. Fred Ventura - I Cut My Heart Out - Clone
The Popular People's Front - My Baby Stays Out All Night - The Popular People's Front
African Suite - Eddy Grant Medley - CDR
Wild Geese - Macho Disco Master - Flashback
Kikrokos - Life's a Jungle - Ron's Edits
Linkwood & House Of Traps - Silver Cycles 1 - Firecracker
Linkwood - Nectarine - Prime Numbers