2014 has already got off to a promising start with the announcement of some hugely anticipated material from one of 2013’s top vibe curators, MadTech Records. Their first release see’s up and coming singer/songwriter ‘Redway’ lay some sublime vocals over duo of productions from MadTech regulars Thefft and Citizen. The a double A-side release, ‘We Turn / Fishtank’ from Robbie Redway, better known as simply Redway, comprises of 2 big hitters and its no surprise why Robbie has been added to MadTech’s roster for 2014.
‘We Turn / Fishtank’
First up on the EP, it’s the classic summer vibe from Citizen on ‘We Turn’. Lush low passed pads take us back to the beach as Redway’s vocals which sit as a gorgeous harmonic compliment. Soulful subtleties along with a rolling bass-line induce a craving for the dreamy breakdowns, of which there are many. Vintage house with a modern twist, total cocktail on the beach style perfect for uplifting the end of winter blues. A certified dance floor belter on our hands!
Secondly, Thefft delivers a total ying to citizen’s yang. ‘Fishtank’ see’s Redway’s vocal take a more prominent role, sitting on top of dark and industrial sub and mid range bass. Robbie’s poetic style vocals take on a haunting persona giving the whole piece a sense of contempt. The slightly lower tempo gives a dark sort of moodyness to a well glued track which sits perfectly on the flip-side to ‘We Turns’ more dance floor appeal.
We managed to catch up with Robbie this week to grab some of his views on the house music scene, and what’s up and coming from him this year.
1. Hello Robbie, congratulations on the EP set to be released this January, how does it feel to be the first singer/songwriter and musician to release their EP on Madtech?
Hi, yeah it’s a nice feeling. It’s my first release in the massive umbrella of the genre we call ‘dance music’, so that’s cool, but I’m not sure how significant it is that I’m a singer-songwriter, as the production was done by 2 guys who have already released on Madtech (Citizen and Thefft). These guys both massively put their stamp on proceedings. It’s great to be given the opportunity just to get it out there, hopefully the reaction will be friendly.
2. We have already seen the success of Alex Mills and her unique vocal range on Madtech already, do you think its hard to stand out on in such a predominantly DJ and sample driven industry these days?
It’s always difficult to stand out in such a congested industry, but I wouldn’t apply that to singing in particular. If anything it’s easier to stand out as a singer than, say, an instrumentalist or producer, as a voice is genuinely unique to the person who uses it. That’s part of the reason it’s so distressing to hear auto-tune and vocoders in such abundance in modern music (although two of my heroes, Justin Vernon and James Blake, both use vocoders extremely well). Samples are re-used over and over, as are synth sounds etc, so I have a lot of respect for producers who manage to find a consistent ‘sound’ and who are instantly recognisable through their music without being samey or mundane. That’s harder than being a good singer, and takes more work.
3. We expect you will be quite busy this year, what can we expect from you in 2014, any projects lined up or other releases in the pipeline?
If all goes to plan it should be a busy year for me, yeah. As we speak I’m in Ewan Pearson’s studio in Berlin mixing an album I’ve written with Midland, who’s an old friend from my days in Leeds. It’s going to be a fully live project, launching over the next few months, under the name AKASE. We’re all pretty excited by the results so far. I’m also featuring on a new EP by Pedestrian to be released some time soon, as well as spending my spare time working on my own material.
3. And finally, what tracks are you feeling right now from any genre?
I’ve been a bit late on this one, but I’m really feeling the Cloud Boat album ‘Book of Hours’, it’s got a really nice balance in terms of tradition and experimentation. There’s a new EP by Dutch producer Presk called ‘Saluki’ which sounds brilliant, that’s out the same day as mine I believe (27th Jan wink wink). Arcade Fire continue to smash it with each album they make. Connan Mockasin is someone doing something really different right now, as is John Grant. These guys have imaginations I can only dream of.
Redway’s ‘We Turn / Fishtank’ is out on MadTech Records 27th January 2014.