They've certainly come a long way from their teenage beginnings listening to "cheesy, Ibiza style house." It was one album in particular that nudged them in the right direction when they started to get serious about buying vinyl: Daft Punk's Homework. "Me and Calum went to school together and he taught me how to DJ in his house one day on a pair of old battered out Gemini decks and a Numark mixer," Revill explains. "That album was basically the one that we were playing when we first got our turntables," Calum adds. "All the Roule records and connected labels, and all that French stuff."
Five choice Wireblock 12-inches
Rustie - Zig Zag
Beautifully packaged as a laser-etched one sided 12-inch, this release hosts what is arguably Rustie's finest moment to date. Prepare for aural inertia as its jittery arpeggio snakes around twisted crunked-up beats and gliding Detroit-esque chords, creating a real "what the fuck?" moment when it hits the dance floor.
Various problems caused the full release of this EP to be stalled until April this year, and it's surprising that there wasn't a rush to get this stuff out earlier. Alex Cortex gives a nod to Detroit with his electro-infused broken techno alongside Bogger's gruff minimalism on the A-side, but the real treats are on the flip. Glasgow's Dave Clark contributes an unmissable slice of jacking micro-house under his Truffle Club guise, whilst San Francisco's Ghost On Tape get spooky with the bass-heavy hypnotism of "Mogadishu Night Life."
Emvee - Glitch Dub / Nocturnal
Upon my arrival at Berlin's Hard Wax record shop, it was more than a surprise to hear the slinky tropical UK funky of "Nocturnal" booming out of the house speakers not once, but twice. Seems even the Germans are getting down to bouncy soca-tinged beats nowadays. On the flip, "Glitch Dub" rides the distorted bass line even harder, adding some wiggle to the carnival-styled percussion and oddly offset synth patterns.
Hudson Mohawke - Oops!
A collaboration with fellow Glaswegians and Numbers affiliates LuckyMe, this saw Ross Birchard take on his first full twelve with his own wonky reinterpretations of hip-hop and R&B tracks. Essential for the snare-clappingly sexual Hud Mo version of Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)" alone.
Lory D - 8 Gate
After going through a bit of a dry spell release-wise, Italian techno and electro hero Lorenzo D'Angelo has burst back onto the scene with a series of releases on Wireblock. The 8 Gate EP is the cream of the crop—three insanely crisp analogue techno tracks in warehouse, acid and jacking Chicago flavours respectively.
From that point on, both Revill and Calum picked up Saturday jobs at Rubadub, which helped them get access to some of the best music around, both in the record shop and in the club. "Rubadub used to have a club called 69, which is out in Paisley—it's one of the most underground clubs you've ever seen in your life," Calum informs us. "It's actually underneath a curry restaurant in a patch of land in Paisley, which is 20 minutes outside of Glasgow. It's pretty remote, and you have to go round the back and into a car park, and then down a little staircase and into the club. Going to stuff like that—not many lights and a massive sound system, just really loud in this crazy party..."
By this point, Calum was undertaking a music course at college, and part of his graded project was to run a successful club night with others in his class. This soon morphed into Revill and Calum's first cooperative clubbing venture, Seismic, which focused on their newfound love of techno and electro. "We weren't even old enough to get into clubs," Revill explains. "At that time I was 16, he was 17, and he'd be staying up 'til three or four in the morning running around flyposting the whole city." The first Seismic events made a heavy impression on Stuff Records owner Richard Chater, who approached the duo to host his label showcase at the club. Sensing a close musical bond, that evening it was suggested that Jack and Calum join forces with Richard and his gang of merry men to start a new clubbing collective, and Numbers was born.
"We're not really a specific genre of music club—it's more just a party club," explains Calum. "I'm not saying that we'll drop an 80 BPM hip-hop track in the middle of a banging set, but we kind of want people to come in at the start of the night and start it off slow." By the time Neil joined the Numbers fold two years later, the party had become quite the tour de force, regularly packing out venues like Adlib (which doubled as a restaurant during the day) and the Brunswick Hotel with the likes of Modeselektor, Secondo and Kode9 as their varied headiners. Numbers is still going strong to this day, and will celebrate its sixth birthday next month at the much-lauded Sub Club venue, which is now their regular home.
During the early days of both Seismic and Numbers, the three had already been plotting the launch of Wireblock, and eventually released the disco and italo-inflected electro of Mr Pauli and Geoffrey Tonkens' Bumper outfit as their first twelve-inch, a split release with Jack's electro label Point.One Recordings. People really started to sit up and take notice, however, after the second split-single (this time partnering with the city's ever expanding LuckyMe collective), the debut 12-inch by good friend Ross Birchard (AKA Hudson Mohawke). His bombastic re-rubs of hip-hop and R&B a cappellas (including a grindingly sumptuous take on Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)") lay the foundations for the first full Wireblock 12-inches, and the trio haven't looked back since.
Revill and Calum had previously made connections with both Alex Cortex and Italian techno and electro legend Lory D after having them both play at Seismic, and had managed to convince them to contribute some tracks for Wireblock. According to Calum, the Lory D material that they'd been given was "was one of the biggest drives to start the label because it was like 'fuck, we really want to release Lory D 12-inches... Let's do this!' His 'Road Hog' track was a big tune for our club, so we just booked Lory D and got him over, then told him we were starting a label. He came over and really enjoyed himself, and he just wanted to put that stuff out. It was great putting out the first record he'd had out in about four or five years."
After a split 7-inch with both artists (given away for free at a Numbers New Year's Eve party) and Lory's first full 12-inch on the label, the Wireblock crew began to look closer to home for their next release. Rustie, AKA Russell Whyte, had already released his first two EPs on Chater's Stuff imprint, and Revill had been putting out his more traditional electro material as Voltaic out on Point.One, so it made perfect sense to welcome him in to the Wireblock fold.
The full-blown sensory assault of "Zig-Zag" was his contribution, a track that was paired up with a spectacular laser etching done by Neil and fellow Numbers member Adam Rodgers' Remote Location design studio, who recently completed work on the new Warp Records website. "It's nice to produce things that aren't standard," expounds Neil. "Vinyl's there to be listened to, but it's also nice to have something to look at which isn't just a nice picture sleeve—add a little bit of extra into the production as well as the sound of it. The Bad Science [Rustie's forthcoming EP] sleeve is just getting finished off, and that's got a UV gloss on it. A spot varnish finish, so basically it raises up little bits of the sleeve, and just gives them a really nice shine, so that's quite cool... Keeps us entertained, anyway!"
The Bad Science EP is also an exciting release for the trio on the musical side of things, as they've drafted in Drexciya lone surviving member Gerard Donald to provide a remix under his Heinrich Mueller pseudonym. "We knew that Rustie was a big fan of Dopplereffekt and Drexciya as well, so it made a lot of sense to get him to do the remix," states Neil. "It was a very natural thing, and we were very keen to make it happen. He's a bit of an elusive character so we weren't sure what he'd say or if it'd come off, but he was really keen straight away. We just shared the parts by e-mail, and it was good when we had him come over and play Numbers, because we actually got to meet him and chat to him about it."
The label's latest release is the debut 12-inch from Birmingham-based UK funky producer Emvee, who takes the soca-tinged percussion that funky followers have become accustomed to and adds a thicker, distorted low-end to satiate the bass addicts on the dance floor. And therein lies the beauty of Wireblock: You can rarely anticipate what's coming next. There aren't many other labels around that would go from UK funky to Drexciyan electro in the space of two releases. But as far as a manifesto for the label's output, the trio like to keep things simple. "If you can dance to it, then that's the only real prerequisite," Revill explains, before adding that he thinks that Wireblock is a "techno label, because even stuff like Rustie's tracks, to me—some of them are just slow techno... Space music, you know? When Juan Atkins coined the term 'techno' and it was all about breaking boundaries, I think that's what he was talking about, not just about 130 BPM 4/4 music. It's about a lot more than that. We never set out to be eclectic—it's just got that hook. All of our stuff's got that hook that just makes you want to dance, and make you go up and ask the DJ 'what the fuck is that?' You know what I mean?" We certainly do.