BPM Counter: Interview With Desy Balmer

You have had a slew of releases come out in 2008, what is the focus in terms of sound when putting out a new release as you have had recent re-works of 80s classics (“Tainted Love”) as well as minimal Detroit techno and electro from Terrence Dixon with a little bit of everything else on the other releases? Is there a formula?

We have no formula other than if I like it then bingo! As a DJ I like to mix it up. As a punter I hate perfect DJ sets of the one mono-toned style. BORING!!!

Garnier, Xpress 2, Hawtin, Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, Layo & Bushwacka, and Kenny Larkin would be some of my favourite DJs, but my all time heroes are Andy Weatherall, Slam, David Holmes and a few locals- David Hales, Iain McCready, Billy Scurry, and Glenn Molloy who would deviate from style and genre really imposing themselves and their taste upon you and simply give you a great night and that’s what I think a DJ and a label should do.

Why should we be pigeon-holed or stuck in a genre? Why can’t labels and DJs evolve? The simple answer is that DJs milk it for the money and while its good they stick to that. I have never been in a position where by I have had to make a decision to milk it or change, I always like to change.

Sometimes you change back but so what, that’s the privilege of owning a label. I don’t want a 2-3 year brand. If I had a dream Nice & Nasty would be to dance music or techno what the like of Staxx was to soul, that is to say, we are representative of good genre defining and genre defying music that made people dance and challenged peoples minds.

I have no time for chin-stroking po-faced puritanical DJs and labels. What’s the point if you don’t enjoy it? The closest formula is that I would not release music that I simply wouldn’t play in a club. I like De La Soul, Jurassic 5, and Public Enemy. I also like the Jam, the Beatles, and Primal Scream. I love the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.

Look at Factory Records and the late, great Tony Wilson, there is a proper label, driven by good music, great vibes and some stylish artwork. That’s my dream actually, fuck Staxx and Motown. I want to be Factory Records! I wish I’d met Tony Wilson.

I communicate with Peter Hook via Myspace and if he reads this no doubt I’ll be blocked but Wilson, Factory, and a few others in Manchester at that time really shone the light for me and I continue to carry that torch. I’d love to have sleeves as collectible as Peter Saville’s or as funky as Mo’ Wax.

Also look at Warp – Aphex Twin to Plastic Man to Nightmares on Wax. Need I say more. Good labels release good music. Good labels work with interesting artists. Too many labels don’t take enough risks. (maybe I take too many).

Is there an Irish sound of techno right now? There seems to be a buzz, especially out west here in the US , is this true and are there artists we should be keeping an eye on or is it all just rubbish?

Ireland has a really vibrant club scene and club sounds tend to mirror the productions so you can expect different points in the techno spectrum to be in-and-out of fashion so to speak.

To be honest though minimal has been the big sound in Ireland for a couple of years, however, Detroit techno was the king before the minimal explosion and there is definitely a movement toward the melodic hi tech soul sounds from the Motor City.

I have been running my label for 15 years and yes you are dead on, Irish producers are really making waves right now. Don’t get me wrong some people like David Holmes have made a pretty big impact, not to mention on Hollywood for example, but fresh young turks like Sian, Japanese Popstars, Donnacha Costello, Phil Kieran, Mark O’Sullivan, and Chymera are hotter than hell.

Look out, however, for Tr-One, Aruba, Jamie Behan, Magnetize, Derek Carr, and Lerosa. Other people I’d personally recommend are thatboytim, Soul AD, Timmy Stewart, Indo Phunqe, Sourcecode, Hystereo, and Paul Hughes. Some of these guys have been around longer than others but now as certain attention is focused on Ireland their quality is being noticed.

There is some rubbish but it’s a small country and many people still have connections to people who could harm me so we’ll stay positive for the time being 😉

The one thing they all have in common is electronic or dance music pedigree. I haven’t mentioned any of the trance music makers and some of them are biting at the heels of Tiesto and Van Dyk- Gordon Couts, Paul Prior, John O’Callghan are following in the footsteps of Agnelli & Nelson but to be honest I can’t comment too much as I don’t really dig them sounds. Nice guys but just ain’t my thing.

Apart from Aruba and Fish Go Deep though the deep side of house is very much underrepresented. Ireland does seem to be quite techno orientated or at least the proactive are techno mad. I cant get enough of Chymera, Sian, Aruba, Tr-One and Derek Carr and they would represent one side of the Irish coin that is techno – soulful, melodic, DJ friendly.

However, Sourcecode, Donnacha go deep and minimal, Hystereo and Japanese Popstars pretend to be a cross between Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers the other lads like Phil Kieran, Jamie Behan and even Rob and Julian of Static Records, Sunil Sharpe of Mantrap or Mike McCoy keep it simple, keep it hard and rock the dance floor and I must say Irish crowds do like it hard, not fast, but we like an old boogie.

Something I would like people to know is a long time cohort Dave Ingham is arguably the most underrated DJ in the world. Personally I think he is in the top 5 in the world, ever, but other than me few people have experienced him and I find that a shame.

Which DJs have been the biggest champions of Nice & Nasty by playing and charting your releases?

All of them J Seriously though, not enough so Mr. DJ if you’re listening check us out!!! Dave Clarke and his White Noise show have really championed us which is just fantastic. If Kris Needs (Secret Cinema, DMC Update, NME) writes any more superfluous-heavy reviews about us people will start to think it’s me under a pseudonym. We couldn’t pay him to write better things which is lovely.

Since the beginning Mark E G of M8 magazine and Blackout Audio has always wrote kind words whilst we have had some good consistent support from Fabrice Lig, Colin Dale, Dan Curtin, DJ 3000, Carl Cox, Dave Mothersole, Layo & Bushwacka, Eddie Richards, DJinxx, Andy Cato, Alex Smoke, Matt Chester, and more.

We have also had some much appreciated support from local lads here in Ireland – Sean Galvin, Dean Sherry, Gavin Feeney, Sunil Sharpe, Jamie Behan, Mr. Spring, and Mark Kavanagh.

What are some of the essential tracks on Nice & Nasty and what’s coming up in terms of future releases?

Our first release is a classic in Ireland, and I don’t say that lightly. Ubiquity’s “Bolivian Angel” still pops up in the odd set 15 years later. Personally I like “The Tanzmusik EP” by Tekink, I think Spearchukka’s “Exposure Means Addiction” is sublime and Derek Carr’s album Science & Soul, but from the current crop the remixes from Thoverstam are out of this world.

Mark O’Sullivan has produced arguably his best solo efforts with us whilst I will continue to argue with all and sundry that “Eldar Lane” is by far the best thing Chymera has done or may ever do. I like it that much. Plus I think his “My Love” track is ace. Also the Aruba remix of “EF,NG” for Marco Bernardi is top drawer.

For the forthcoming stuff there are some fancy Swedish remixes of Celtec Twinz by Mark O’Sullivan and Thoverstam, the Tyhco’s Comet remix of Tr-One’s “Mystery Train” and the follow up bits from Analog Porcupine Specialist are awesome, more indie and experimental rock-dance hybrid than our normal bits but so what. If it’s good it’s good.

Also keep an ear to the ground for Rabid Romancer. Who knows I may even do some more bits myself, one day.

-Sean-Michael Yoder

Sean-Michael Yoder is a Chico, California-based music writer and tastemaker. Check out more at vinyljunkierecords.blogspot.com

10 Free Nice & Nasty [Ireland] Trax for Download-including Marco Bernardi, Kenny Black, Terrence Dixon, and more

Nice & Nasty Records: www.niceandnasty.net

1 thought on “BPM Counter: Interview With Desy Balmer”

  1. thanks sean for making me sound like i know what I am doing. the support is appreciated. hope the readers enjoy the free downloads. peace.

Leave a Comment