Truancy Volume 144: Tom Dicicco

Since debuting on Baud back in 2010 with his still much sought after Material Things EP, Tom Dicicco’s palette of dubbed out techno aesthetics has found a home on labels such Traut Muzik, Semantica and Stockholm LTD. The last two years have seen Dicicco’s label skills from running Inner Surface Music with AnD, translate to Run Out Run; an output for music that he’d initially set out to be just for his own productions but that soon gave forth releases from Marc D’Cantu, Killawatt and John Osborn. With an upcoming release on Delsin we caught up with Dicicco to chat about the EP, as well as talking about a new label he’s setting up with good friend and fellow producer Bodyjack. He also takes the title of mixing our 144th Truancy Volume, which gives us a little sneak peak at a collaboration with past Truancy Volume mixer Endian as well as a host of other music, old and new. Dicicco had a reasonably quiet 2015 with a single release on Off Minor Recordings, but he confidently assures us that time was well spent producing a load of tracks that will see the light of day this year on a number of different labels.

Hey Tom, thanks for taking time out to do this mix and interview. Seeing as we haven’t interviewed you before for the site I thought it’d be good to start a bit back and talk about Inner Surface Music. Can you run us through how you met Dimitri and Andrew and what went behind setting it up? I understand you moved to Manchester in 2009 for university and the label started in 2011, so I can imagine those were a good two years in terms of connections and things kicking off for you. “Thanks for the invite! I met Andrew and Dimitri while I was studying for my degree in Manchester. I used to shop at Eastern Bloc records when I first moved and not long after I arrived my Material Things EP was released so I dropped a copy in at the shop and as Andrew worked there we got chatting and through that I struck up a good friendship with Andrew and Dimitri and the rest of the Eastern Bloc crew. We started exchanging music and meeting up in the studio and from there we started talking about the possibility of working together. We did work on some tracks, (which are sat on a hard drive somewhere). Eventually we decided to start Inner Surface and the first release was Wireman, who sent some demo tracks over, which we were really into. Around that time we also used to meet up at the Baked Goods office and go through tracks, see what worked and what didn’t. I appreciate that period as it gave me a good insight into the planning and distribution of each release.”

How did those Angus Tarnawsky and Grey Branches releases come about? You seemed to have produced two completely new aliases for the label with those two records. “Both of those connections were more to do with Andrew than me. He hooked up with both of them for the music and I was very happy to have both of them on board and was very happy with both of the releases. I did a couple of label nights with Angus, he’s a very talented guy and of course to have Yves be a part of the label was an honour.”

How much of what you learned from Inner Surface Music translated to setting up Run Out Run? It seems to have turned into something more than you had originally planned as well right? I’ve also noticed that you might be possibly setting up another new label with a good friend of yours. Is that still on the down-low? “I think having had the experience of running Inner Surface for two years definitely put me in a good position to set up Run Out Run. It definitely made things a lot clearer as the beginning of Inner Surface was more of a learning curve. Originally it was just going to be a label for my own music, but as time went by and I met other artists that sent me music that I was really into I thought the logical thing to do was to get it out there. I’m very glad I chose to do that as it would have been just as easy to think ‘no, I’ll leave it as it is’. So me and He/aT a.k.a. Bodyjack decided after many conversations and the realisation that we both have a lot of music sitting on hard drives that we should make an attempt to get some of this music out there. We decided that rather than using the current labels we’re running to release it on why don’t we set something new up, which is how we came up with the idea of Kintsugi. It’s inspired by the ancient Japanese method of pottery, and each release will feature two tracks from each of us plus a locked groove on either side, which are called the ‘veins of gold’. There’ll be a bit of a running theme throughout as Chris loves a good story, so keep an eye out for that! First release will be out around September time, and we’ll also be doing a release party for that too, which will be in conjunction with Vintage Future in Northampton where I have a bi-monthly residency.”

You recently tweeted how you find “it’s amazing how much of an impact you can make putting sound to vision”. As someone who works in both fields I’m interested to find out what you were talking about when you tweeted this. Any other great examples that come to mind? “I have this fascination with an image perfectly complementing the sound or vice versa to create a really powerful experience that can really stir emotions. I’d say film composers like Hans Zimmer are the masters of this. Also recently I was watching The Revenant and at times what I was seeing and what I was hearing was so powerful yet if you was to take one of the elements away it wouldn’t have had nowhere near the same effect. Another good example was the film/documentary about Kurt Cobain that was recently released. There were these animated scenes that were combined with Nirvana tracks and sound effects and the impact they had was very powerful. Almost too intense at times, but the message was very clear and they definitely succeeded in what they were to trying to portray through sound and vision.”

Your Delsin release, which is out next month, has been garnering a lot of great support lately. As your debut on Delsin can you talk about what went behind putting this release together? “I’ve been in contact with Marsel and Thijs for about two years now and in that time I’ve been sending tracks and we’ve built up four tracks for the EP that we feel worked really well together. I am super happy with it and very proud to be releasing on such a great label.”

If you were to describe the changes from your early productions to say the music you’ve released in the last year or so, what would they be? “I’d like to think they have improved, haha. Aesthetically I think there is a lot more detail now than there used to be, and that is something I try to focus more on when producing. When I first started I was over-compensating with bass and kicks so my tracks were very bottom heavy. I think they’re a lot more balanced now, but still keep a focus on the bottom end. I am focusing a lot more now on the musical side of things, such as chord progression and layering to create different atmospheres, which is also something I never really did before. I think you can hear an example of this on ‘Extracting The Error’ on the Delsin EP.”

Which of your peers keep you hungry and on your toes production-wise? Have you got a regular person you fall back on for feedback as well? “I am always looking forward to the next Conforce record because I never really know what to expect and that’s a really good thing. The ‘Vulcan’ track on the Clone Basement Series blew me away. He is definitely a person I admire and when you look at the amount of work he puts out under the different aliases the quality never drops. I think as I have been working closely with Delsin over the past couple of years they have been the first port of call for feedback on tracks with Marsel’s trusty star rating system!”

I understand you’ve been working on a live set too. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Plans to premiere it any time soon? “I’ve been working on the live set for a while now, so far it’s going well but I still don’t feel it’s ready to premiere yet. I’m still trying to find the best way to present it using the equipment I have so it’s still in the planning stages, but it is progressing, and I hope at some point in the near future it’ll be ready. One thing I have found is since I integrated the Octatrack into the setup it’s opened up a whole world of possibilities. I want it to be 100% ready in my mind before I even think about the possibility of performing out and the Octatrack is a big learning curve, so there is no rush.”

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve done for us? “The mix is a mixture of some older tracks, some more recent tracks and there’s an unreleased track in there from myself and Endian. I wanted to create a mix similar to how I’d play in the club as I really enjoy starting deep and building things up to a peak. This is another thing I have a strong visual attachment to, I like to psychically be able to see and feel momentum progressively building through the dancers in the club and their reaction. I picked out a bunch of tracks I wanted to include and went from there. It’s a one-take mix on two decks and a CDJ and was recorded at home.”

Lastly, what else can we expect from you in the near future. You had a fairly quiet 2015 but from what I’ve gathered from your Twitter is there should be a good backlog of Tom Dicicco releases coming up this year? “Yes, 2015 was a very quiet year for releases, but this was mainly due to me trying to build up a big folder of tracks that I was really happy to send out, so 2016 will be a lot busier. First up is my Delsin EP, which will be in shops May 16th. After that I have a four-track EP coming out on Athens-based Lower Parts, the Kintsugi release with He/aT will be out in September and I have a two-tracker at the end of the year coming on John Osborn’s new Tanstaafl offshoot DRED after the Sven VT release. There’ll also be more to come on Delsin in the future, so stay tuned.”

Tracklist:

Never Be Again
Bruce – The Trouble With Wilderness [Idle Hands]
Tom Dicicco – Morph Cycle [Delsin]
Benedikt Frey – Can’t Joke With DXY [Creme Organization] 5. Cory James – Find Your Dive [Behzad Et Amarou]
Skee Mask – Shred 08 [Ilian Tape]
DJ Qu – Do This Here [Yygrec]
Nick Sinna – Realtime (Conforce Remix) [Prime Numbers] 9. Robert Hood – Form [Dekmantel]
Endian & Tom Dicicco – Untitled
Mike Dehnert – Echo 8 [Clone Basement Series]
Mella Dee – Deep Soul (Endian mix)
Shifted – Chapter 69 [Our Circula Sound]
Developer – Tesla On The Radio [Developer Archive]
SNTS – Oblivion (Polar Inertia Remix) [SNTS]
Area Forty One – Orbiting [Delsin]

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Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

OG at Truants / Graphic Designer / DJ as Melmoth Twitter Soundcloud

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