When the words twenty years and techno are placed in the same sentence names like Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, Speedy J and Joey Beltram usually follow, as do labels R&S, Planet E, Music Man, Soma Quality Recordings and Warp Records with their electronic tip. In saying this Tony Scott aka Edit Select has remained somewhat enigmatic even though heavily involved with two of the aforementioned labels.
Scott launched his Edit Select project in 2007 and in doing so eloped from his Percy X, Mion and Recycle monikers of the past 15 years. When embarking on his new endeavour Scott found through the anonymity of Edit Select that the first few years of production had him hidden deep within the techno wilderness, working for a friend on snow covered roofs in Aberdeen in order to get the project off the ground. 4 years later and Tony Scott reveals to TEA that he is finally starting to feel comfortable in his own skin knowing that the music he is making and record label he is running is true to himself and electronic music.
TEA caught up with the Glaswegian gypsy via Skype on his recent tour through the US, where we spoke on the pitfalls of lending your friends records, street side spruiking in Toremolinos, Spain, why Edit Select will always stay true to the four-four beat and some tips on what tea's are best start and end your day with.
I recently read that you lent some your Convextion records to a friend and that you are still waiting to get them back. Do you think you will ever see them again?
The guy I lent them to has been a friend of mine for years and we used to DJ together when I was running my Edit Select night in Aberdeen. I lent my mate those Convextion records to do the warm up set with, that was three years ago. I must have lent him five to ten records and I asked for them the other day and he says he’s only got four, I said bring them over anyway and he still hasn’t!
So you’re a Convextion fan?
Yeah I’m a big fan. I like the way he comes across and what he does with his sounds. I especially like what he did with the on The Labryinth EP on Time To Express. What ever he does he does it well and I like guys that stick to their own thing and just do it. Things have slowed down in terms of BPM from when he was first doing it but even if you play his tunes at minus 8 they are still going to sound great.
I know he is from Texas where a little micro climate of Dubstep is slowly starting to emerge?
To be honest I’m not a huge fan of dubstep. I don’t even really like broken beat which is funny because Lucy from Stroboscopic Artefacts keeps sending me all this broken beat stuff. Female on his first album 15 years ago was doing stuff like that but it wasn't really my bag.
So you’re very true to the four-four structure?
Yeah, keep it simple, keep the ladies dancing and the guys will follow. I’ve never really changed. I started off DJing and really enjoying music when I was doing all the warm ups at the Arches for Slam, I played lots of deep warm up tunes and that’s still what I love doing today. If you play something nice and sultry and don’t go for the obvious banger you’re going to get a whole lot more of women on the floor and then the guys will follow. From there you can drop one or two bangers, that’s my theory on what a DJ should be like.
Did you grow up in Glasgow?
My youth was everywhere, my father left my mum when I was four so my mum took us to various locations but it was mainly Glasgow and Éire. Basically it was wherever we could get a flat or a house, kind of gypsy style but I’m not a gypsy.
Where are you based now?
I’m based between Glasgow and Edinburgh at a place called Undingston.
Is that now permanent or another stop on the gypsy trail?
I have a four year old son now and before we had him I wanted to live abroad, somewhere with nice weather because it prolongs your life. We had a child and opur plans have changed.
How much have things changed now that you have a son?
Its a huge change. It’s something I haven’t really talked about or mentioned before as I keep it private but now I’m in a situation where I have a dog, a four year old son, I’m doing up a house up and I’ve got a four wheel drive. I’m more into the music than ever before. It sounds terrible but music is now an escape from the normal family environment, which I do love but music is a good escapism. Before I had to do music to survive, now I still have to do it to survive but I really want to do it, it makes a huge difference. It all happened when Edit Select was doing really well and then suddenly I had no time, no inspiration and I was constantly knackered.
How big is touring for you at the moment?
I have always got something each month that is interesting. The worst experience is going to a nightclub and having to play something you don’t want to play, or the crowd are just standing there looking at you. I know you can just take the money and run but if I am going to spend my weekend away it has got to be worth more than just money, it has to be fun.
And are you playing at home much? Any monthly residencies?
I’m playing at Club 69 on November 11th which runs in conjunction with The Rubadub record store, it started 25 years ago. Since I separated from Soma I haven't really been DJing in Glasgow as much. Glasgow doesn't really have a huge techno community, it’s got a lot of good techno people and I’m probably talking out of tone here but it doesn't have what it used to have. There were nights like Pure which went for 15 or 20 years so Glasgow had a big scene, now basically a few small clubs and the Sub Club are the only ones doing techno, other than the Slam guys. I was thinking of starting a monthly night here but I’m still not sure.
There is also the 3:00am closure?
Yeah 4:00am but you can get a licence for 5:00am. There are a lot of after parties going on which give DJ’s that aren’t that big a chance to have a shot, but it’s not like we have a Berghain.
From what I hear the 4:00am closes have helped shaped the intensity of some of the parties in Glasgow?
If you can get people in they will stay and enjoy themselves. Having said that I have only played once here this year and it’s not really my place to call it, but that’s what I see from where I am. The last thing I want to do on a weekend is get dragged out to a club unless one of my mates is playing.
Where did your love of electronic music come from?
I’ve been involved in making techno music for over twenty years now. The DJ side of things started when I was working in Spain in a town called Toremolinos, just for a laugh I was working as one of the guys that gets you into the bars. They guy that ran the bar I was working at used to DJ and he got sick and asked if I could do it. This was about six months before the acid house thing hit, so it was a strange time for it all to happen. I couldn't mix and got thrown straight in the deep end. When the whole acid house thing started it was so exciting to be into electronic music at that point, still to this day that feeling has made me want stay involved in music. The production side of things was actually by default, a mate asked if I wanted to do a tune and it just happened from there, I remember we sampled Tears For Fears.
Was that released?
I used to be in a progressive house band called Havana, we were played by Pete Tong and people like that. Then I went on to Soma Records as Percy X, which wasn’t actually meant to be me, it was just a project that I had that didn’t have a name. I gave it to the Soma guys and then all of a sudden the phone started ringing with people asking me to DJ in and out of Scotland. The Edit Select thing is the first thing that I really wanted to do, it’s the first thing I have really controlled.
Is Edit Select is where you feel most confident now?
Being in a band you are part of other peoples ideas so it’s not really all your input. I have done other projects but they weren’t really me, so Edit Select is now really me. I focus strongly on everything I do now whereas before I may not have taken it as seriously. With my other monikers I put out some good tracks but I didn’t necessarily feel that they were amazing or perfect.
So what are you trying to do as Edit Select is different to what you have done before?
To be honest this is what I have been trying to do since day one, I just haven't been able to do it. I started Edit Select in 2007 and the first track I did was Asperity. I gave it to Richie Hawtin and he played it out and thought it was amazing, I didn’t think it was all that good until I played it out. It was one of those tracks where you think it’s ok and then I played it out at Fabric one night and the place went mad, it was then I thought ok I’ve got something here. I want to people to know my sound and know that I’m not going to do anything commercial, something I get a lot of slack from the missus because I’m not making enough money (laughs), but it’s just not in me and I like what I like, I don't even like commercial techno. Going back to the offbeat dubstep thing, I do enjoy listening to it but I can’t dance to it and if I cant dance to something I won’t play it, I like smooth techno, it can hard and funky but as long as it’s not to confusing.
Tell me about theses “dubs” you have been doing.
To be honest I think it is a different name for what I do. Give me the parts of a track and I’ll take out what I don’t like and restructure it to a way I do like. That has always been the ethic I’ve had with Edit Select, less is more. Not minimal as such but using minimal aspects. With the Speedy J and Stroboscopic Artefacts dubs it was a bit more of a head fuck thing but I still wanted to keep it smooth, they both worked out really well. To be honest it’s quite hard to follow tracks like that up artistically because they were so out there in the first place.
I have seen that you are a big King Tubby fan?
King Tubby, Lee Scratch Perry, Yabby You, all these guys are influential in so many ways. If you listen to the King Tubby’s stuff you can hear a lot of Purpose Maker tracks. What I love about Dub Reggae, Reggae at that sound in general was the way those guys worked. They worked on the beach in a big hut and used what equipment they had, which wasn’t a lot and I like that, I like that approach to working. I don’t like the idea of working in a fully equipped studio with spaceships flying around.
I recently spoke with Lucy from Stroboscopic Artefacts and he was saying how he likes to signs artists rather than tracks. Can you see yourself working closer with Stroboscopic Artefacts in the future?
I’m doing something which I guess you would call a ‘best of’ remix series of tracks from Edit Select the label, I’m getting guys like Luca and Mike Parker involved. When I am with Luca it’s like I don’t have to say anything to him, it’s just relaxed. I think it would be really good for him and for I to do more in the future and I think it would go very well, it’s just a matter of getting the right bits and bobs together.
Tell us about the label Edit Select. How is it all going?
It was started as a platform for me to work as Edit Select. I made sure I didn’t let out who it was for a while and kept it going even though I knew I might have two or three years in the wilderness. I was working on roofs with my mate in Aberdeen covered in snow just to make money so I could help build the project. It was a huge gamble but it is slowly paying off. I stopped the label and but am restarting it with the remix series I mentioned before.
At the moment it seems like you are quite happy with the Edit Select project all things considered?
This is where I am happiest. I am content but I would like to get things rolling a little bit more. The economical climate has made it difficult for a few years now and with underground techno being as hard as ever to fill the clubs, even if the act is a good producers or good DJ, it’s more about putting bums on seats. That’s the only thing I don’t like about the scene. It’s understandable for Joe Blogs to know about the likes of Richie Hawtin or whoever but there are guys like Mike Parker and Donato Dozzy that may only get one hundred to two hundred folk in the clubs rather than them packing it out. I wouldn't expect more than a hundred people to come see me in Glasgow. I like what the Octave guys in New York have done, they have stuck to their guns and now they are reaping the rewards of a successful night of underground techno. There’s nothing worse than playing to 50 people, I hate it, I’m probably the worst guy to play to an half empty club, I just loose interest. It’s probably a bad thing to say but its the truth, a lot of the music I ‘m playing deserves to be heard by a bigger crowd. When I played at Melt festival people really tuned in to what I was playing and I had them in the palm of my hand, I was so relaxed and it was one of the best gigs of my life, you don’t get gigs like that very often.
From what I have seen your label is mostly your own productions besides a few Gary Beck releases and the odd collaboration?
I also have a french duo called Rose & Ulysse and had them remixed by Ventress, a new guy on Shifted’s label Avian. I thought I’d get some new guys on the label to bring it back it back a bit. I’ve also made one new track which I recently gave to Electric Deluxe as a part of a project I’m doing with Joachim and Gary Beck. I made the track for Gary and sent it to Joachim, it’s a long groove which is a beast on the dancefloor, it’s a really angry tune. It’s a tune that when you listen to it, it doesn't really do anything but when you play it out at the club the place goes nuts, that was meant to be an Edit Select track but we’ve put it into this Electric Deluxe project, Joachim has done an edit and Gary and I have done a few mixes.
So what have you been enjoying of late and what’s up next for Edit Select?
I enjoy using Mike Parker’s tracks as baselines, much of my sets at the moment involve a lot of his stuff with me throwing things on top. I’ve know Donato Dozzy since the myspace days, I think we both admired each others sound as it was quite similar at the time with what we were doing with that hypnotic minimal thing. Lucy when he hits the right note is spot on and Silent Servant is the perfect example of someone who makes warm up techno that can be played in the middle of the night. I am currently working on something with him at the moment. I’m also working on a collaboration with Mark Broom and some other things with Gary and Joachim coming out of Electric Deluxe. I like to take on a few projects and then stop, so once these are done then I’ll start thinking about what to work on next. I would like to do an album but with everything that is going on at the moment it is hard enough to put out a remix. I’ve just finished the first remix for Vince Clarke and Martin Gore from Depeche Mode. They’ve got together for the first time in something like 30 years to make some pop techno stuff for Mute Records. They contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I would be interested in remixing them, I was honoured as the early Depeche Mode stuff was inspirational to me, to all of us I think. As a track it’s all over the place, my mix was just me putting my sound on it and I finished just before we sat down for this chat. I’ve only used one sound of theirs. I also have remixes coming out for Monoloc and Mike Parker on Geophone.
How much does your production method change when remixing a non-techno track like what you did for Depeche Mode?
It does. A big factor for taking on the remix was because of who it was. If it’s a Speedy J remix I’ll do something a bit more out there because I have more parts to work with, but as this was me building more a track and putting in samples, it was a different approach. It is an honour to work with Depeche Mode and it is also an honour to do stuff with techno guys like Speedy J, Lucy and people like that that. A lot of the time I have said no to remixes and people don’t understand, they think you are being cocky or whatever, but there is no point in me doing a remix if I can’t make it into something really good. So yes there was a very different approach to the Depeche Mode remix.
You also enjoy collaborating with others?
Sometimes it just turns out that way after sending an idea to someone, they can come back to you asking to get involved. Sometimes it is different like with Dustin Zahn, his music is a bit different to mine and he likes what I do and sometimes I like what he does, so the two of us are thinking of doing something together just because it might be fun. Other times you will bump into someone at a gig and you’ll get talking, half the time it doesn't happen but sometimes it does. Bill Youngman has sent me some sketches and so has Dadub, so these are some projects I’m sitting on which may come up next. With Gary, Joachim and I working on Back Pack Poets, we all have to meet in the one place when producing. The good thing with collaborations is you might not have an idea and someone will send you and idea and you can work out the good bits and take out the shit bits, from there you can take it in a direction rather than sitting in front of a blank canvas and thinking what am I going to do?
Marcel Fengler’s Berghain 5 was recently released. How big was that for you having Bauer licence your track for Len Faki’s Berghain 3?
That’s possibly the track that everyone knows me by, it’s like the track of Edit Select. I think when that came out everyone was expecting another one and then another one but that would have just been impossible. I made that track to start sets with and I think it gives the DJ the chance to go in any direction from there. I think after that a lot of people thought Edit Select is on the map now and I think that definitely put me on the map. It was nice to be involved with Len Faki and The Ostgut Ton guys at that time.
How important do you think the mix CD is now?
I think it has a big role to play to people with people that aren’t totally involved in the music industry directly. It’s great for people who go to house clubs and then stumbled across a CD where they don’t even know what the music is, so in that respect they are great. Although now we have the podcast which is basically the new mix cd.
The mix CD now seems to heavily rely on the use of unreleased tracks.
People are getting more and more frustrated with Soundcloud so the mix CD does work. There are a lot of good DJ’s around who aren't getting a shot, if only each city had their own Berghain and Panoramabar.. If you are playing at Berghain you’re now a superstar, I’ve not seen anything like it and I think it is very healthy.
Maybe more clubs just need more intimidating doormen?
I think it’s the good old Ibiza ethic of the mixed, gay and straight which really creates that crazy atmosphere, mix that up with techno and you get an amazing freak show. I remember the early days of Space, I went to Space when DJ’s like Dimitri from Amsterdam were playing, he was playing a lot of R&S tunes and that was the first time I heard techno being played properly.
I think Berghain will be here for a long time, just like Fabric in London. These clubs have a certain feel and have been set up correctly from day one. That’s something that I should have done with the whole Edit Select thing, I should have set the foundations and taken it from there. That’s why these clubs are so good because they haven’t skimped on the sound system, they book the right DJ’s and let the right people in. I think that’s what it’s all about in general.
Let’s speak about your time on Soma. How important was this label for you and how important do you think it has been for Glasgow and techno in general?
Soma was, is and probably always will be the most important label full stop. People like Alex Smoke, Funk D’void and Slam have brought so much to the scene. Soma gave people a chance to actually become something just like what Berghain has done with its residents. Soma is the longest running independent label and is run by the right guys, Slam. They always keep things ticking over quite nicely which is something I’m not good at, I’m always thinking what can I make that will last.
And finally what is your favourite tea?
My favourite tea is Twinings English breakfast in the morning and in the evening I enjoy Twinings camomile and apple.