INTERVIEW – Colin Dale headlines London House Heroes
London House Heroes returns on 24 May with a very special guest and Londoner who has been a key component in the house music scene since the 80’s. Colin Dale is also no stranger to 89 Great Eastern Street with some stunning sets in the basement at East Village so we are very excited to welcome him back to the address and Trapeze. We caught up with Colin for a little chat to dig a little into the past and a look to the future.
LondonHouseMusic.com – Thanks for taking this time to speak to us, especially after a weekend in Berlin and I hear you are over run by builders at home! What were you up to in Berlin?
Colin Dale – I was Berlin to do Tresor Club with the legendary Chicago hipster Tyree Cooper..this is the second time I’ve joined Tyree for his monthly residency there in the last year or so, but I have played Tresor back in the mid 90’s quite a lot as well. It’s an amazing space with 2 dancefloors now set in an old power station right near the old Berlin Wall. The Techno floor had a cavernous sound system that really has to be heard to be believed…I simply love it there.
LHM – So you’ve been a visitor to Berlin on numerous occasions then. I would imagine the Berlin sound sits quite well with you.
Colin – I’ve been going to Berlin since about 1993. Back then I was playing quite hard techno which suits the club down to the ground but on most recent visits guesting for Tyree my set has been more on the deep / tech house tip. I like to think I play right in the middle of Techno & House as it gives me the freedom to swing either way. I usually start quite deep and go upwards from there. What’s great when I hook up with Tyree is that you can hear anything from old Chicago Acid through to Nitzer Ebb through to brand new up to date beats.
LHM – Bringing the chat back round to London, in the early years you cut your teeth working with Tim Westwood at jazz funk parties in central London, learning the ropes promoting and getting your first break behind the decks from Westwood too. How did you make the transition from this into house music, was there a particular stimulus that assisted this and where did you discover this music?
Colin – I was into music before Tim gave me a chance behind the decks, as when I was in my teens I was very much into broadcasting and did hospital & community radio. I even did a radio presentation course back in the day. Tim taught me quite a lot back then which still holds true to me today, he’s a DJ with a great work ethic. Back then I was playing Disco & Jazz Funk but it was getting a job at Mi Price records (a wicked House music store at the time as Jazzy M used to work there) and getting access to very early House / Italio / Industrial music that made me focus on Electronic music. At the time I was part of the original pirate radio Kiss FM and when they came back with a legal licence I started an electronic music show called ‘Abstrakt Dance’. In the last hour of the show I did a feature
called ‘Outer Limits’ playing very obscure Industrial, EBM, Detroit and even audio plays occasionally. It was a very conscious decision to make the whole thing left of centre as back then there were not many people doing it and I wanted the show to sound different, hence the name ‘Abstrakt Dance’
LHM – How was the transition at Kiss from pirate to legal FM station? DId it change the stations outlook at the time?
Colin – It didn’t really change the outlook to begin with, but as time went on things did progressively get more corporate but as shows were specialist after 7pm (and Kiss FM did have some fantastic specialist DJs) there was a great balance which worked very well. One thing I did note is that Kiss FM becoming legal really did shake up radio as we were the first Dance music station to hit the airways in the UK.
LHM – I remember listening to Colin Favor and then you straight after and being totally sucked into the sound and ethos of what was happening at the time. Were you aware of the influence you were having across the airwaves and how would developing?
Colin – In all honesty I wasn’t aware how much it was having an influence as the whole House thing was exploding and moving at pace, we were all sucked up in it. Colin Favor and I linked very early on, mainly I think as we were both very open minded in regards to music and I also had great respect for him as I’d followed from his nights at Camden Palace & Shoom with Danny Ramplin. I think it really started to hit me in the mid 90’s when I started travelling and playing huge parties like ‘Street Parade’ in Germany and travelling to far flung places all over the World. I still get people come up to me today who tell me that if it wasn’t for the likes of Colin & I they would never have got into Electronic music. To me that’s ‘job done’.
LHM – Moving forward now and without trying to ignore many of the successful years you have had but unfortunately we haven’t got all week to chat! In 2005 you set up Wildlife:AM, an artist management company. Did you feel from all your experience, this was a natural progression for you? You had of course by this time played across the globe, set up your label, released and remixed innumerable tracks so, without being frivolous to your business, was this something new to get your teeth into or was there a
particular reason to set up Wildlife:AM?
Colin – The reason about Wildlife AM was really out of necessity in the beginning, as I’d had a falling out with the management I’d been with for years. It left a very bitter taste in my mouth and never again wanted to be at the hands of management who didn’t really give a toss about their clients. Moving on I was able to pick up on hot new talent and it also put me in a position to use my experience with DJs / artists that haven’t been in the music business to long so don’t know the in & outs. We’re actually going through a re-vamp / new site at the moment so it’s looking very good on the horizon and are we are also planning to carry on our series of Wildlife parties in the summer. With Wildlife AM I get to keep everything in house including the record label which suits me just fine as I get to do things my way.
LHM – Abstrakt Dance Records seems to have gone through periods of activity over the years, has there been any specific reasons for this?
Colin – We did a slew of recording in the mid 90’s while at Kiss FM but took quite a long hiatus as I was recording a lot for other labels and doing a series of compilation albums for large independent & major labels so Abstrakt Dance kind of suffered for a while. About a year ago we revamped and started doing releases again.
LHM – You and label partner Jules Dickens have been pretty active over the last 12 months with some great releases on the label. Do you have any forthcoming releases personally or any exciting new artists or projects you can share with us?
Colin – The next single is from Thomas Gandey called ‘I Wanna Know’ which includes remixes from the taMe outfit who are super hot at the moment. Following that we have the second single from myself and also have planned singles from Jules my label partner, David Holness & Andy Casselle.
LHM – On a DJ level, I mentioned earlier of your recent visit to Berlin and of course you are with us in our basement on the 24 May. When you play at venues you know so well, do you tailor your sound to the venue and sound system you are gracing?
Colin – There’s only one thing I tailor my set for and that’s the people in front of me when I play. It’s great that I do know the Trapeze system well as it makes me feel a lot more relaxed when I step up and take the decks…….it has a fantastic sound system.
LHM – Our basement seems to just lap up your house and techno style, packed with soul and warmth on our sounds system. Is there any track you can pick out that will be a banker within your set when you visit?
Colin – I’m really feeling ‘Roberto Rodriguez Loving Me, Loving You’ at the moment. This is what I called tech house! Also dropping a few 303 sounds at the moment as well.
LHM – I think this will have to be part one of an interview as we have missed out so much and would love to catch up with you again and fill in the blanks. Thanks so much for your time and cannot wait to welcome you on Saturday 24 May.
Colin – My pleasure Barry…..anytime
Colin Dale plays the basement on 24 May and is supported by resident Stuart Patterson plus headling up from South London (via South Afrika) the Sertiba Cartell DJs Craig Vandel and Michael Perry will warm up the basement up in fine style.
Upstairs DJ Soulprovyder, Ms Marcia Carr and Martin Lodge take care of a credible party mix of disco and funk old and new in the transformed Trapeze bar.
Tickets are only £5 with NO booking fee, just click on the link below.