The Firecracker and Prime Numbers man offers up a late night house session for this week's RA podcast.
When conversation turns to clubbing in Scotland, most would agree that Glasgow all too often has the upper hand over Edinburgh. Nonetheless, when it comes to deep house, the Firecracker collective are doing their utmost to score a few points back for the capital. Gavin Sutherland, AKA Fudge Fingas, has been on board with them since their inception in 2004, with the gorgeous soulful house of his "Gettin' Together" helping to make the label's lavishly packaged debut 10-inch stand out from the crowd upon its release.
Sutherland's earlier productions on the now defunct Pohm Pohm and Hush Hush labels hinted at his keen ear for jazzy melodies and funky organic percussion, but certainly didn't prepare us for the rich and dusky quality of his Firecracker material. He's also proved to be a dab hand in creating more uptempo tracks for Trus'me's Prime Numbers imprint, with recent single About Time managing to flip between laid back robotic boogie and shuffling 3/4 time techno. Sutherland will follow in the footsteps of his Firecracker colleague Linkwood when he releases his debut album on the label later this year. We spoke to Gavin to ask him about the mix, Firecracker and the Scottish house scene in general.
What have you been working on recently?
Finished a three track 12-inch for Firecracker Recordings, entitled "What Works" which is coming out very soon, with a magical remix from our man in the east, Vakula. Also, I'm finishing an LP for Prime Numbers. It's currently at the final mixdown stage, with Linkwood on hand to help me make it sound good. It's a mixture of vocal and instrumental tracks, with musings on life, the universe and everything. Nothing too ambitious, mind.
How and where was the mix recorded?
In the house, at night, with the lights down low, using two erratic Technics SL-1210s, a borrowed Stanton mixer and a Boss/Roland Space Echo replicant. Oh, and a borrowed Serato unit for the unreleased stuff. All tracks on wax, bar my own and Vakula's which I don't have on vinyl yet. Soon though... Soon.
Can you tell us a little about the idea behind the mix?
Just some deep house music with feeling and meaning. Doing this mix in the wee small hours, in the home environment, with lots of old and new records at my disposal I guess it naturally ended up going down a deeper route. When it comes to house music, that's where my heart lies, but if you were to catch me playing out in public I might play more uptempo, more downtempo, more disco, more soul, more techno... whatever works. It depends on the time and the place. That's what this thing called "house" should be if you ask me... universal music.
How did your relationship come about with Lindsay Todd and the Firecracker imprint?
I've known Mr. Todd, AKA House of Traps, since we were both young men (or old children). He would come into the record shop I worked in (and still do - Underground Solu'shn in the 'Burgh) and spend more time behind the counter than the staff. We got to talking, and drinking... Sharing similar tastes and humour and so on, we became good friends, so when he decided to start a label he kind of had to ask me for some music, or else I would have got upset. Through him I met the brothers Moore, Nick, AKA Linkwood, and Tim, AKA Discreet Unit.
We were all working with the singer Joseph Malik at the time in one way or another, hence his contributions to the Linkwood Family track on the first EP. In fact, "Gettin Togetha" was a track I did just to play at a night which Jo was co-running at the time called Get Together, and also because it was a statement for the time. It was written on the eve of the long running war in the Gulf (occasionally I can get political). Lindsay decided he wanted to put these tracks out... and Firecracker was born.
What with Craig Smith, The Revenge and the Firecracker crew coming through, does Scotland feel like a healthy place for homegrown house music right now?
To be honest, the whole world feels like a healthy place for music right now. I've worked with these guys over the years and really, we're just doing what we've always done. We've all been doing this for a long time so for us it's probably more a feeling of vindication... or relief, perhaps. There's always been great music coming from here, like there is anywhere in the world. There's just been less of a tendency, or even scope for folk to make noise about it. In the past the industry and its workings seemed too geographically removed. That old model's a bit out of date now, what with the shrinking globe we're living on. Great music comes from all around us.
Is there anyone we should be keeping an eye out for?
If you mean up and comers... I'm scared I'll forget to mention someone here (apologies if I do) but there are a few members of the extended Firecracker/Prime Numbers family and beyond, for instance, with forthcoming goodness to watch out for: Vakula, Discreet Unit, Dollskabeat, Denaji and Aquarian Venom, Bakey Ustl, Lord of the Isles, Soul Renegades, IS Records... The list goes on, and on, and grows every day.
What are you up to next?
Musically, just trying to pursue the muse as always without too much thought about "the game." I make music for me and the universe. If other people who are on the planet at this time like it, well then...
that's a bonus. In all other areas of life, I'm just trying to be a good human being, having love for everybody, love for everything...
Weldon Irvine - Deja Vu (Intro) - Cool Note
Fudge Fingas - What Works - Firecracker Recordings
First Choice - Love and Happiness (Acapella)
Vakula - You Can Do - Firecracker Recordings
James Mason - Nightgruv - Soul Brother
Chez Damier & Stacey Pullen - Forever Monna - Prescription
Danell Dixon - I Saw the Future (Intro)
Disco Nihilist - Easy - Construction Paper
Andy Stott - Night Jewel - Modern Love
Symbiosis - Oxygen - Alleviated
KiNK - Kiss The Sky - Boe Recordings
John Collins - All We Need - Underground Resistance
Kevin Johnson - Atonement (Version I) - DNH
Skudge - Convolution - Skudge
Linkwood - Nectarine - Prime Numbers
Fudge Fingas - Mass X - Firecracker Recordings
Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra - Springtime Again (Outro) - Art Yard