DMCWORLD checks in with the band most notable for there 1989 number 12 hit, and Hacienda anthem “Hardcore Uproar”. 2018 now sees a return for this force of nature with a fresh sound that keeps the faith with what Acid and Rave are all about…
The House Sound of Together Volume 3 is right around the corner, what on earth happened to volume 1 and 2? are you just starting at 3 or is there more to the story?
Suddi: Admittedly there has been somewhat of a gap in the series. There may be some people who remember Together from the early Acid House days around 1989, there may even be a lot of you out there keeping the faith… but for those that don’t – Volume 1 was actually a protest record back in 1991. We were trapped in a deal at the time with Pete Tongs legendary FFRR label, being rebellious teenagers with a streak for the dramatic, we decided to have a pop at Pete by calling our first EP away from them “FFRREE at last”. Apparently he wasn’t too amused but it really summed up how we were feeling as kids at the time. We thought we were being funny or clever. Looking back it, it was probably neither haha.
The second House Sound of Together was something of a stand out moment for us. We thought Sasha’s remix of Storming Heaven would be the one people would love most but it turned out to be Phil Kelsey’s production of Love Bug. Phil did some amazing tunes back then with Temperatures Rising and Let Me Hear You Say Yeah so working with him was an honour. We had no idea that the track was getting so big but we had an inking when we saw it bootlegged alongside Frankie Knuckles most sought after cuts.
Matt: Wow yeah, so I was only 7 or 8 the time the first 2 records went to press haha. Even thought I pride myself as a quick starter I’m not that quick. These were before my time, the 90’s acid and rave music has always been something I was aware of in Suddi’s history, my background comes from more contemporary House & Techno sounds but we do share a lot of love for the same kinda music from history and for me it was always a sound I wanted to touch on one day. For me we are picking up the torch from those early records and trying to take it onwards.
So the lineup for Together has changed a bit since the early days, tell us the story behind the new line-up?
Suddi: The original Together were me and Jonathan Donaghy. He truly was one of the most incredible minds I’ve ever come across. Sadly Jon’s life was cut short when we were out in Ibiza promoting Hardcore Uproar. Rohan Heath joined the band for a while after he left A Guy Called Geralds band we made tons of music together (excuse the pun) The first 2 House Sound of Together EP’s were with Rohan then he went onto making the Urban Cookie Collective and the funny thing was, he wanted The Key The Secret to be a Together track and after he went number 1 in a few different countries I think he thought I regretted the decision but I genuinely didn’t because Together were never about commercial success. Even thought Hardcore Uproar went top twenty, it was only due to being so big underground that it crossed over, the demand got so big so really. I love what Rohan did and I’m really proud of his success, Urban Cookie are great but more on the poppier end of the dance spectrum than what I always did. Matt and I had been working together on all kinds of house styles since about the mid 2000’s. We have worked on countless tunes in the time but something really clicked not long ago and it went from us just having a laugh to realising we have to get this stuff out there. It was the right time.
Matt: I think we have been working together on various things under various guises for 15 years plus now. So as collaborators we are no new thing, but touching the old act was something I guess we wanted to do right, so maybe now was the right time? I have always been a bit of a perfectionist so if we were going to do this as Together …it had to be done right and having worked on a few sounds over the year I think we both felt we were hitting on a sound worthy of the name so we went for it. We have a few other things coming up under different guises too, all in the same sphere so it’s an exciting time for us, in a way it was chance that our first vinyl was The House Sound Vol 3.
25 years is a long time out of the game? what have you been up to? What have you two been doing before this?
Suddi: In the last 25 years I’ve taken more of a backseat in music production. I got offered the chance to write videogame soundtracks and I jumped at the chance. I have written hundreds of videogame soundtracks for some massive titles such as Spiderman and The Simpsons but recently after going out to some amazing nights I got the bug to produce dance music again. I have been playing live a lot on the old school circuit and remixing all kinds of people but the club scene had been so amazing recently we felt inspired and had the urge to get back out there. I’ve got a new book out right now too about Acid House that came from a regular column I write about my raving history.
Matt: So my history in music is a little more humble than Suddi’s chart topping escapades, I run a website nodoughmusic.com, which is a record label and a blog launched by myself and my good friend Antonio. My main work is actually as a Mastering engineer / Producer generally working on vinyl records, which has given me the chance to work with some really cool labels & artists over the years like Mr G, Wolf Music, Just Jack, Amir Alexander, Music Is Love, Dam Funk and loads of others…. It’s been a mixed blessing in some ways – when your working on a super high level and come back to your own music after working with people who are absolutely killing it. You have to set the bar higher, this is something I have really pushed both of us on with our new music and I am sure Suddi will attest too. There is far too much filler, easily made, throwaway and sometimes downright boring music in the scene. We definitely didn’t want to be part of the problem and I think we have in the first record made something we can be proud of.
I also did some writing on music production for anyone who is that way interested: https://www.nodoughmusic.com/productionblog/
Why come back and release now? what changed?
Suddi: Why now? 3 main reasons. One it is 30 years acid exploded here in the UK which turned into the scene we know internationally today. Secondly, it’s 25 years since the last EP so made sense too but mostly because we have been writing so much stuff recently that we are so pleased with, we felt it would have been a sin not to let people hear it. We have tried and tested it at some gigs and it’s been going down a storm.
Matt: It may sounds like an easy answer but, truly I think we really naturally progressed into a sound that suited this. We had spent far too much time making music that wasn’t our first love and we have come back to it with a vengeance. That chunky mix of Housey Acid with just the right about of musicality. Shit you can really dance too. Sometimes it feels like proper club music is an energy that you don’t really control, it’s only barely connected to your actual skills and when your on a wave you need to ride it and make the most of it and we certainly are doing that.
With a lot of music coming out every week the scene is saturated, whats the most important thing when it comes to it. Speaking as people who are starting a fresh but have also been around for years?
Suddi: The most important things in making dance music is creating a killer drum track but if you can give the people on the dance floor something unique too you’re into a winner. At least, you should be. The production is also key. You get that right with the right riffs and you’re laughing. Fuck chucking cakes into the crowd, give people some proper beats and basslines. I have noticed that underground music has got so good recently and the production quality is essential. There are some killer tunes out there that don’t consist of a lot but just rock cos they are so well made.
Matt: For me the most important thing is to push yourself and be different, and when it comes time to decide if you release it or not. Be Real. If its cookie cutter shit, bin it…move on…get better. It sounds harsh but its the best way to treat yourself in the long run. No patting yourself on the back for a release that sells 5 copies on Traxsource. If you speak to a lot of big artists, often they will only release a small percentage of the tracks they actually make, quality and consistency are the two things that power you on the most in this cut throat industry.
Oh and never give up and enjoy the process. If you’re in this fucked up business well then you may as-well enjoy your time spent here.
How are things different between the early days and now? whats good whats bad? what would you change?
Suddi: The scene did stagnate for a while but it is amazing again right now. To be honest, we’re not snobby about it and would never say it was better back then cos there are some genuinely awesome nights going right now. So I’d hardly change a thing expect maybe the mobiles. It is such a vibe killer when there something there taking selfies and not interested at all in the music and you can end up with a sea of phones across a dance floor. Clearly these people do not care about the music! Stay home and do your selfies or just tweet about it later when the nights over. John Digweed had the right idea recently asking people to put their phones into a bag at the start of the night! Genius idea.
Matt: I agree completely about pictures in clubs, they really changed the whole dynamic of a night out. Although I don’t think Digweed invented that little trick Suddi, plenty of places doing it for a while. Glad there were not so many around in my early clubbing days too haha. Also they all stare at the DJ now…when did that happen? It’s not a visual show worth watching unless you a DJ geek picking up tips, lets get back to the underground and rooms so dark and smokey you cant see your mates never mind the booth.
One thing I have noticed lately, and I think its a good thing generally, there is a lot more genre- defying crossover music around. Producers not sticking to the rules. In a way I imagine it was back in the 90s when there were no rules. Maybe were coming full circle in terms of creativity?
So is this a retro EP at heart or something new?
Suddi: It is definitely something new but with so much cool retro-sounding music out at the moment, it made a lot of sense for us to put something out with a retro vibe especially cos of our background and history.
Matt: Although we absolutely wanted to hit a certain note with the Together record. We also wanted it to work in a contemporary way. We are both huge fan of modern Acid and more ravey House music and the people killing it nowadays, so we tried to make something that had a lean back to the original Together records but also stood up on its own. Which I think so far has played out really well with the people supporting the record like Jon Dasilva and Danny Tenaglia from the traditional side and newer people like Posthuman, DABJ, Man Power, Christopher Rau and Honey Dijon. Timestreching Acid was always our goal. We have stuff coming up that takes inspiration equally from Acid, Disco, Italo, Techno and House music… for me any good set is without borders.
Will there be more from you guys? as Together? what other stuff do you have on the go?
Suddi: We have actually got a stack of tunes ready to go. Some will come out under Together but we are going to be releasing under different names too depending on the sound. We have some cool stuff planned under our “Shadow of the Dragonfly” moniker so keep your eyes peeled for that stuff.
Matt: This is the first record of many, we are hopefully gonna hit the ground running too. All on vinyl, all worth a listen. We are gonna get involved as much as possible so watch this space.
There are some amazing Acid, and Rave records coming back into the scene – which artists and labels are showing the way forward for you?
Matt: There are some people really pushing things along nicely right now, FIO and his Superconscious, DABJ always deserve a mention, everything Mr Oli Furness does for the rougher end of House. The guys from Studio Bauhaus like Kornél Kovács…..Mr G just dropped and unbelievable LP too “A Part Of Me Vol 2” with Vol 1 nowhere to be seen as yet? There’s too many to mention, and too many sounds too like Lone brining his unique stuff at the rave end of things…anyone involved with Dekmantel kicking ass.
Suddi: For me Posthuman, the guys behind the I Love Acid nights are making some cracking stuff. Type 303 has released some banging tunes recently. Loved the recent Marquis Hawkes album. As always loving Daniel Avery’s output and the new London night and label Downfall have some pretty infectious releases out right now.
The record really has a sound to it, tell us a bit about the production and how you guys worked?
Matt: Most of our records start life as live jams, so we work with a lot of hardware, Octatrack, TB303, Ghost Mixer, Dave Smith, Deepmind12(secret killer once you turn down its FX) and others. As a mastering engineer I have been a studio geek and building my kit for a long time. Having a horrid digital sound is something I really cant stand, getting a good listenable tone on your music is part of the job and something we really enjoy. A nice warm gritty sound we have even done records to Studer Reel to Reel in the past so that’s something we may revisit soon.
Suddi: I am a collector of 303’s! I have 6 hardware 303’s! All by different manufacturers. Amazingly, I actually prefer some of those non-Roland ones the most! The TT-303 by Cyclone is brilliant but the real beast is the RE-303 which we have used extensively on this EP.
Suddi: We have some really exciting stuff coming up. We have made sure we don’t just put out everything we do, as Matt said. Making sure the tunes are right is really important and I think some of the tunes we have planned for the next lot of releases will really do the trick on the dance-floor.
Matt: We all need to keep pushing new sounds and things that channel the spirit and energy of 1989, and other times in history where music literally came to the rescue for the youth. UK needs the 3rd summer of love.
Find our new record here: https://suddiraval.bandcamp.com/album/the-house-sound-of-together-volume-3