Vince Watson Interview

Vince Watson is a DJ’s DJ. The Scotsman now has his roots firmly in Amsterdam as he churns out bomb after bomb from his home studio. As a mentor and lecturer to young producers with his own music technology academy, there is no question that Vince Watson knows his way around music making and its future! We are thrilled to have him on London House Music to talk about his new album ‘ Another Moment In Time’, amongst many other things…

LHM – Hello Vince. Where are you today and how are you spending it?

Vince Watson – Today is a studio day, its raining outside…I like that cosy feeling, it makes me create music that fits the scene out the studio window. But i’ll probably doom scroll for 8 hours instead.

LHM – You are a born and bred in Scotland. Is Amsterdam your forever home?

VW – Never say forever. At this time in my life, its the perfect place to be for my whole family…life changes and you have to roll with it. We shall see. I don’t ever see me going back home unless its somewhere in the nature. Amsterdam is the right place to be for us.

LHM – Such a rich dance music scene in the Dam. Who are the front runners making music on the Amsterdam dance scene in your opinion?

VW – In house, Retromigration is killing it and of course Dam Swindle. In Techno, there is just too many to mention – its a techno paradise. Yes the city has such a rich history and culture, but it is changing a lot. There has been a real shift from the underground to the ‘overground’ as the dutch kids like to put it. Its gone very commercial in many aspects, inevitable I guess to some degree but now everything is ‘techno’ when its actually not. Im sure its not just an Amsterdam thing…

LHM – What’s the best record shop in Amsterdam while we’re on the subject of the city?

VW – The obvious answer is Rush Hour, but don’t overlook Killacuts and also Deep n Dance, you find some great stuff..although im not vinyl shopping anymore, that ship has passed for me.

LHM – Are we likely to find you on the club scene in the Dam when you’re not playing?

VW – Im always around somewhere…I try get to as many shows as I can, but my work for Conservatorium takes a lot of time, and I have concerts to attend as well as organise. You’ll see me backstage a few times though 🙂

LHM – What’s the club that most international artists want to play at in Amsterdam?

VW – I guess there is a few standouts. Shelter for the sound, Lo-Fi for the vibe, Paradiso for the history and view, Woodstock for the beach vibes. To be honest, most of the home grown artists play at all the dutch venue’s. Its one thing they are very good at is promoting from within really well, they like their homies and are quite patriotic.

LHM – When did you start to DJ Vince? Where were some of yourearly gigs?

VW – My first DJ gigs were at my school lunch club when I was around 13. The school had a small community area above the Gym, and eventually we ended up taking over it at weekends and I somehow persuaded the school to purchase decks and give me a small budget of 20 pounds for vinyl per month, so instead of buying chart hits, I went straight to 23rd Precinct in Glasgow to buy Detroit Techno and House….they had no clue what I was doing…but everyone loved it. We went from being a pizza lunch club to a proper community but we got kicked out after a fight broke out, typically. That was the start of the journey for me. My first proper residency was for Dave Angel who wanted to start a monthly Rotation residency in Glasgow. My first International gig was in Moscow to DJ at Propaganda. Can’t see that happening again anytime soon…

LHM – What kind of stuff were you playing in your early days?

VW – For me is was Trax, Plus 8, Transmat, Relief, that kinda of stuff. Amazing times. I was also still playing HipHop and Electronica at times. I just couldn’t get enough of it all, because everything was new..all of it. Nothing had ever been done or heard before.

LHM – You’ve played around the globe in your DJ lifetime. Is there somewhere that struck as the most special and for what reasons?

VW – The world is a big place, I’ve collected so many magical moments and memories. I would say that the best moments have been the people I have become close friends with from around the world – that’s a special thing. In terms of places, I had a real love affair with Brazil for around 10-15 years but that’s simply vanished, I’ve not been there for over 10 years now. Tokyo was my 2nd home and I still love it dearly. I would say Tokyo for me is a special place because of the musical culture, the people, the food, the fact that even though is very westernised not compared to 20 years ago, its still so different for us. Recently though Colombia has started to infect me…I’ve now been 3 times in recent years and its a special country for Techno, no doubt. Perhaps Amsterdam is the most special place since its where I met my wife and we now have a family because of that gig.

LHM – As a pioneer of the house and techno sound in Europe, how much of your influence comes from the Motor City of Detroit and its techno culture?

VW – Pioneer might be a strong word there, but I try to give something different but thank you anyway! Detroit is and always will be a huge inspiration for my music. In fact inspiration is too weak a description. It’s in my blood and soul. I’m not from Detroit, but I feel I have the same gene’s as those guys over there had. I think the fact Derrick and Carl trusted me enough to remix their tracks is some kind of proof of that. Funny story is that I stupidly wanted to say goodbye to the genre with the DnA double album, thinking I had done it all and had nothing new to give the sound….then the album blows up and does really well, and I realise how stupid I was being. The next DnA has started.
Releasing on Carl Craigs Planet E early on in your career, has meant that all the Detroit heads have mad respect for you.

LHM – Who are your idols of Detroit from yesterday and today?

VW – You have Derrick and Carl obviously, but my other idols from back then were Claude Young, Stacey Pullen, Kenny Larkin, Richie Hawtin, Mad Mike etc….now my Detroit idols are Jon Dixon, Waajeed and happily Carl is still doing his thing.

LHM – How long has your label Everysoul been going? What was its musical mission in the beginning and what is it today?

VW – Everysoul was started around 2010, it took me a while to get going with it….and it’s only at release 24 after 13 years…it’s all my own releases, so I want to keep it quality over quantity. The label was started essentially to release any music I wanted across many genre’s. It gives me freedom to do what the hell I want and not be strangled by other label plans, timings, restrictions. The ethos remains the same today, and the output will venture out a bit more in 2024 to different styles. Exciting projects coming.

LHM – Tell us a little about your Sphere moniker.

VW – Sphere was actually just my techno alias at that period because VW was contracted exclusively and I could not use it. At the time I thought it was a good idea to split my music up anyway, keeping VW for house mostly. It never really worked out the way I expected.

LHM – And the Amorphic project. How does this differ from your Vince Watson output?

VW – Amorphic is the techno project I always wanted. Dark, hypnotic, energy, trippy. There is a lot of quite simple polyrhythmic techno out there that’s not so engaging, so I’m trying to build something a bit different again. Especially with the Livesets I’m doing as Amorphic, which are hardware only. It’s a very different expression than the musical VW. I’m not sure how it comes out the same brain to be honest…

LHM – You’ve worked with some hefty names over the years. Who was your favourite to work with and why?

VW – Difficult one…not sure if any are favourites as such, I have good experiences with most of them. I’m just happy they respected my music enough to work with me or trusted me enough to deliver something
strong. I would say Laurent Garnier has perhaps given me the most mentorship or advice out of everyone.

LHM – You’ve played for Richie Hawtin, remixed for Derrick May, released on Planet E. Are there any more ambitions you have or have you ticked quite a few of them off?

VW – Oh my bucket list is enormous and I will not stop until they are ticked. That’s kind of my life mission…if I set about something, I will find a way. One thing I am now getting much better at though is recognising and appreciating my ticked list so far….I used to be ‘ok cool, next’ but I now am grateful for all my experiences much more since I became a father. I’ve been doing this now for 30 years which is crazy, but I feel I am just getting started with a lot of new things. I’ve no clue where this relentless desire or creative spark come from, I just keep going incase it stops.

LHM – The summer has passed much too fast. What has been a highlight for you over the last couple of months?

VW – My summer went from the literal highs of the Scottish Highlands to the absolute lows of a post-Covid lung infection, a car crash and theft lol. My summer was stolen from me. I drove home to Scotland from Nl in my car and we had a great hiking trip, then someone smashed into the back of us and we couldn’t drive home. We got flown home and a KLM cleaner stole my AirPodsMax that I left on the plane…then I got a 4 week long lung infection and couldn’t talk or breath. Nice! Now im back to business and ready to rock in time for the album launch.

LHM – As a master producer, do you still push yourself to learn new techniques and skills? How?

VW – Always trying new sounds, always trying not to do the same thing again and again. I have a new project coming next year which will show this more than anything I’ve ever done. The first 2 albums are completed and mastered already…it’s an IDM/Electronica project and I’m so excited about it. Im working with Metofa for visuals and a live visual concert. That’s enough info for now 🙂

LHM – You are a mentor to young musicians in your daily work. Have you had a mentor over the years? Who was it? What was one nugget of wisdom they imparted to you?

VW – Yes I have 6-8 mentor students per year, its a really important aspect and I wish I had a mentor to talk to anytime I wanted. For me, as I mentioned, Mr. Garnier and I have talked about many things over the year. There is one thing that Christian Smith said to me in Glasgow around 2004 that resonated to this date. ‘Don’t get lazy after a big release’. I actually proved him right not long after that and regretted not listening to him and never did it again.

LHM – What or who do you think is the most exciting thing to happenin dance music right now?

VW – Musically, I would say the merging of classical and electronic to really modernise soundtracks and home listening music. Industry wise, its got to be Aslice. If all DJs just get behind it and support the scene we grew, it will make all artists, DJs and fans happier and rewarded for hard work.

LHM – I am called to action by your ridiculously good new album ‘Another Moment in Time’. Give us the low down on this magnificent piece of work.

VW – It’s been 21 years since its predecessor, although 14 albums came in between…it was time for it. I wanted to do a deep house album again, and ended up with so many tracks of different styles, so I realised I had two albums on my hands, split it up, fine tuned the selection and Another Moment In Time was born.
It represents where I am musically and physically right now, with an evolution in my house sound and the artwork representing the Dutch flag somewhat. There is a lot of shit going on in the world right now…we
need as much good music as we can get. Hopefully I am putting my small tiny stamp in the positivity box.

LHM – If you had to go to a tropical desert island, what one piece of kit would you take from your studio?

VW – I used to say my SH101, then it was my laptop…but now I would say the Akai Force. Its such an underrated machine, even Akai didn’t realise it until users started using it. I love it as a creative tool. It’s limited in certain things and I think that pushes the creative envelope a little. I’ll sneak my laptop in my bag though..

LHM – Do you have a music guilty pleasure and, what is it? Would we ever catch Vince Watson listening to disco or Balearic?

VW – Right now I have Boxer Rebellion ‘Diamonds’ playing in the background, that’s probably a surprise. I have a few nice playlists of alternative music that resonates musically. I like many many things.