With Mother Recordings releasing their annual Mother Knows Best compilation, we spoke to featuring artist Kevin McKay about his collaboration alongside Landmark and much more!
Hi Kevin, thanks for chatting with us, what’s new?
Thanks for having me! Always lovely to chat to you guys. At the moment I seem to be going through a real creative patch in the studio. I’m having more ideas than ever before and when I sit down to realise them, the process from start to finish seems a lot easier and happier than ever. Its meant that I have a lot more music I’m really happy with and I’m able to have some releases with friends that have asked me for stuff (like this Mother release and I have tracks coming on Nervous and Angelo Ferreri’s Monoside label).
This is your first release with Mother Recordings, how did they get into contact with you to line up the track?
I’ve known Nhan since we were both on Off Recordings a few years ago (his “Perfect Plan” is still one of the best disco house records out there). I’ve also had a few of the Mother crew on Glasgow Underground (Dilby, Mat.Joe, David Keno) so there’s a long standing connection there. With this track, I was about to release it on GU and I was chatting to Nhan about something else and sent it to him (more for his DJ sets) and this release stemmed from that conversation.
Not the first time you and Landmark have produced music. What’s the story? How did you get to meet him and come to start producing with him?
Yeah Marco and I have made a few tracks together. It started off as part of the A&R process. In the past with GU when I’ve seen potential in an artist (and if they are willing) I’ve helped them with production, mix and arrangement issues they might be having. That’s how I started with Marco. In the past couple of years though, because of making more of my own records, I’ve not had as much time to do such detailed A&R. Marco really wanted to remix Romanthony’s “Too Long”. His mix was good but it wasn’t quite right and I didn’t have the time to really a&r it back and forth with him so I took it into the studio to see if I could finish it. That went really well and we’ve kind of carried on from there. He is a brilliant rhythm producer; his tech beats are killer. I like working with top lines, sample manipulation and hooks so the two go well together.
No Scottish and Italian language barriers then?
Haha. Obviously we share a common language in the bemoaning of the state of our national football teams! Seriously though, we both work in Ableton, send projects and stems back and forth until we are happy and chat about what needs done on Messenger. It’s all pretty easy these days to do collaborations. Probably why I’ve done more than I ever have before.
Punchy, and bouncy house music bursting with fun. Do you guys set out producing a track with a go to plan or do you just go with the flow?
Most of the time I’m looking to make tracks that would be first on my set list if I was playing a peak time set. Marco has a similar energy to me and so we haven’t yet had a disagreement about that kind of thing! Although Maybe he just defers to me because of my experience. You’d have to ask him!
Any events booked in for the pair of you?
We haven’t at the moment but I’m hoping to do some GU parties in London this year and our pop-up party at ADE was very successful so I’m sure he and I will be sharing a bill soon.
Let’s talk a little about Glasgow Underground and it’s 20th Anniversary. First of all, congratulations! How has the label changed over the years to stay attuned to modern dance music, yet maintained it’s own distinct identity?
Thanks! In terms of the changes I’m not sure I’ve had to do too much. I guess I’ve been lucky that I’ve always been excited by new music and so my a&r has reflected that. I’ve also always liked at least some of the most popular records of any era so, sales wise, I’ve been able to keep up. A couple of things have changed though. In the 90s I would shy away from certain records for worry that they might be thought of as cheesy and I didn’t have the confidence to ask certain producers because I felt my label wasn’t important enough. Now I wouldn’t worry about either of those things! In terms of how the label is run, the look of the label is one big change. The difference in an effective logo and cover design in the 90s and now is remarkable. What you wanted then was a cool sleeve, recognisable in a store but also with the right info and design to draw people in that picked it up from the racks. Nowadays I think you need a strong brand look so that you get the clicks you deserve but you also want each record to retain the ability to be individual. Otherwise your label can feel a bit corporate and soulless. Hot Creations get that balance right.
How do you think the Scottish electronic music scene has grown and changed over the years? What do you think is yet to come for it’s scene?
I don’t live in Scotland any more but do go up a fair bit and was there for 9 months last year so my impressions may not be the same as a resident! In terms of the scene, I can only really speak about Glasgow. To me the has always had its own sound, that is that there are certain records, DJs and genres that work there more than in other places. Before the internet, the crowds were somewhat reliant on Djs and promoters to supply the music that fitted and sometimes that stifled the natural evolution of the club culture. Now, with everyone online, the city seems to be developing a really strong and varied identity that makes it one of the most distinctive places to party.
Anything lined up for 2018?
Loads! The main thing I’m working on is my debut artist album that is due out in May. It may seem weird for me not to have produced one in the 24 years I’ve been releasing records but I’ve spent a lot of time working on other people’s records! I decided earlier in the year it was about time I stopped relying on collaborators and saw what would happen if I went solo. So far so good!
Kevin’s latest track is out now on Mother Recordings, grab it here…