Where are you based?
Guildford, Surrey + London
Where do you work? What do you do?
I’m npm’s founder and label manager. I take care of all things administrative at the label: booking mastering dates; setting deadlines for our artists, lay-outers and press sheet writers; trying to make sure everyone sticks to the deadlines; coordinating schedules with our PR agency, our distributors and our manufacturer Handle With Care; coordinating schedules with our PR agency Tailored Communications, our distributor Kompakt and our manufacturer Handle With Care; handling third party licensing; social media; and accounting sales for all our releases and artists. I’m supported by Nico who’s our main graphic designer. He takes care of most of the artwork and layouts with releases. I also work at BBCR1 as an Assistant Producer.
What are you listening to?
Can’t think of anything in particular at the moment. It differs daily. I’ve been re-discovering a lot of Burial recently, in particular his Untrue album as well as Alva Noto’s earlier stuff. Brian Eno too, his Music For Airports and Apollo albums are some of my favourites of all time, it also urges me to buy a DX7 and a Prophet 8…
How do you discover new music?
I often buy new records and get tons of promos, and when listening, my mind makes all kinds of references to classics and super new tracks as well. I imagine how these might sound together or one after another.
For me, YouTube is one of the best platforms for finding new music. I think it’s amazing that especially older and obscure records are able to find a second life, all thanks to the amazing channels and communities. Dedicated YouTubers uploading forgotten gems are saints in my opinion. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of DJ sets uploaded which can also broaden your discovery.
The variety of music you can find on the internet these days is insane and I think Bandcamp, in particular, are leading in that, having said that I find the layout very annoying so don’t really use that too often. Traditionally going into vinyl stores and spending hours searching through records just never gets old and for me, Berlin is the place to do that.
What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?
Over the past few years, I’ve really gotten into vinyl (especially during lockdown) There is so much detail in vinyl, that it seems like you have a private concert in your studio. You can appreciate the ‘art’ more when you have it physically. It’s like, I guess, saying if you enjoy viewing art you would much prefer to go to a gallery than view it on a screen. I read a quote once saying “Listening to CDs makes you feel like you’re there, listening to vinyl makes you feel like they’re here.” Actually, I ripped a track from a CD the other week to play on a guest mix for Dublab Brazil.
Actually, I just bought a Technics RS-B555 to add to my studio for recording and listening. I have seen a fair few labels re-introduce cassettes (particularly with ambient EPs) which I would love to check out. When it comes to analogue vs digital, I don’t think it has anything to do with being “better” and everything to do with what people prefer. You can write thousands of pages of how they are “the same/different” but that doesn’t change what people think… but I prefer analogue.
Where do you do most of your music listening?
Mostly when commuting but I also use that time for podcasts. I tend to have time to myself most evenings where I can really get into the ‘zone’ of finding / listening to music which will be in my studio. I tend to listen through my Adam monitors or HD25s.
How do you find and listen to pre-release music?
Working in radio helps a lot, I get pre-releases sent to me everyday for feedback and promotion. Also with the label, I get a fair few demos sent to me every couple of weeks. Even if they do not fit the label, I still really enjoy listening to what producers come up with and try to give feedback where I can.
“I get a fair few demos sent to me every couple of weeks. Even if they do not fit the label, I still really enjoy listening to what producers come up with and try to give feedback where I can.”
What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
I tend to stay away from Spotify / Apple Music because the streaming ‘pays’ are awful and unfair, the music industry is a cruel world and it’s now even harder since streaming has been introduced. I will try and buy as much music as possible, it’s where most of my money goes whether it’s digital or physical. Of course the benefits with the internet are there is just an endless library of music across multiple platforms.
How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
You can’t keep track of everything because there’s so much music out there. Even though I might be quite a diverse DJ. I don’t want to try and stay on top because that’s impossible, I’m constantly trying to find good music. New and old. That’s all I can do. I have my idea of what I like and what I want to present and I’m trying to stick to it and that’s all there is to it.
“I’m constantly trying to find good music. New and old. That’s all I can do. I have my idea of what I like and what I want to present”
Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
It’s actually a really good question because I have different views about this. I tend to be quite secretive about music, I rarely give away ID’s in set’s if asked.
But I understand that it’s one of the most frustrating things to not know the name of an absolute gem of a track!! I guess it falls to you to keep digging around, you’ll find it eventually.
Anything you want to “promote”?
A full schedule of really exciting releases on the label for the next couple of years, we have our first release on our sister label next year from a Russian based artist called Nocow (heard it here first). We have two parties scheduled for next year with more on the way!