One for the heads.
Lazily lumped in with the UK's dubstep/bass music scenes, Bristol's Jules Smith has in fact been crafting top-shelf house music for over five years. His operations in the genre predate his hometown's more recent fascination with the sound, evidenced by music on his own (now seemingly defunct) Caravan imprint and releases for Ripperton's Perspectiv. Smith has appeared to keep an open ear at all times, absorbing influences in a contemporary sense while jumping in the studio regularly with an array of collaborators—Appleblim, Will Saul, Borai. It's with his most recent partner, Berlin's John Osborn, that Smith seems to have settled into something like a steady groove. The pair recently began the TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) imprint, and through their DJ sets and 12-inches have been finding kinship with New York/New Jersey deep house practitioners like Fred P, Joey Anderson, Anthony Parasole and Levon Vincent. TANSTAAFL 003—featured here with the excellent "Transcending Biology"—puts its own distinctive spin on the group's impossibly smoky aesthetic.
It's taken us a little longer than usual to release Smith's mix, but that's actually allowed us to properly soak up what we reckon might just be one of the better house and techno mixes of 2012.
What have you been up to recently?
Attempting to work in my studio, readying TANSTAAFL 003 and trying to achieve a 180 kick flip.
How and where was the mix recorded?
2x Technics 1210s and a Technics SH-DX1200 DMC mixer that needs a service! No fancy mixer with FX or filters, just two channels and EQs.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I wanted the mix to encompass what I do in the studio as well as on the floor so I got some of my original productions that I'm happy with cut onto dubplate and mixed them up with artists I feel I have a sonic affiliation with.
There are quite a few New York producers who appear in the mix. Would you say that you share a similar outlook or particularly identify with those guys?
Yes I do but I couldn't put my finger on why that is. I've always felt a strong musical connection to NYC that's harked back to my teenage days. I was always obsessed with most things New York. From Glenn Branca to Sonic Youth, Blondie to Kool Herc, Public Enemy to Velvet Underground, Suicide, Television, MARS, DNA, James Chance to Larry Levan, Paradise Garage, The Loft are all things of legend ever since I can remember. And now there's these guys like Levon Vincent, Anthony Parasole, Fred P, the Voodoo Down crew from Brooklyn and the Bunker crew. Of course we can't forget DJ Qu and Joey Anderson over in New Jersey.
I just really love the attitude of the music that comes out of that city or area. It's really raw and loose and it doesn't try too hard—it's just very natural music with no frills that comes from the heart. I don't know what it is but I feel I can sonically identify with those guys more over any other sound.
We concluded in our Real Scenes film last year that the scene in Bristol was in really good shape. Would you say that's still the case?
Yes most definitely, the scene here is quite healthy now. A lot of people are traveling from all over the country to come and party in Bristol—we've been doing it for years and now it's really great to see Bristol on the map for techno and house.
What are you up to next?
A collaborative project with Will Saul is forthcoming on Aus, plus my second Skudge EP is in the pipeline for next year. Naturally there will be more TANSTAAFL bits on the way and we've signed tracks by Tazz, Jilt van Moorst and KEL (Elias Landberg / one half of Skudge) all forthcoming next year. I'm also working on tracks for Skylax and more bits for Skudge too. I'm also keen to get something done for one of the Firecracker sub-labels from Glasgow, so I've got a lot of time to invest in the studio over the coming months. Also got some great gigs coming up, including our bi-monthly TANSTAAFL at Tresor residency, Eastern Electrics NYE, fabric and my Panorama Bar debut all on the horizon.