Truancy Volume 154: Ploy

When Hessle Audio announced that their first 12″ of 2016 would be a debut from a seemingly new producer going by the name of Ploy, interest predictably piqued at the first new artist to the label since Bruce in 2014. Juno recently described Hessle’s discography as a narrative that is powerfully entwined with the wider happenings of experimental club music and one that comes together as a family of sounds, which explains why the Hessle trio may have been drawn to signing Ploy’s blend of rhythmic elements. Based in Bristol, Ploy’s release comes as one of progression and maturity, having previously put out two records on BRSTL and Not So Much under his own name Samuel. He’s recently followed the Hessle release with a record out on Batu’s Timedance. Peppering his Truancy Volume with a couple of older finds, he’s mainly described the mix as acting as a snap shot of a very current crop of new music that’s he’s been sent of late, including music from Minor Science, DJ Deep, and Spooky J.

So seeing as this is your first interview with us and possibly your first interview under Ploy l I feel it’s good to start with asking how the Ploy alias came about? For those who don’t know you’d been producing under the alias Samuel for a couple of years, we’re keen to know the transition from that name. “Well the little push to change my alias came out of pretty boring admin reasons, but I think it would have happened eventually as the sound of the music I was writing was progressing. As the Hessle record was getting under way Ben UFO received promo from another label with a new chap on the scene releasing electronic music as Samuel. So before a turf war escalated over the rights to this great but highly in demand first name (and rightly so, thanks mum) we thought it would be less hassle to start fresh, and opt for something slightly less generic. My music had moved into a different direction anyway so it was a good time to make the switch, in hindsight I perhaps should’ve done it when I was in the darker territories on the Not So Much record, but there we go. I think Samuel suited the deeper housey vibes for BRSTL and Beats In Space, but considering the more 90s techno influences I’m drawing from for the current material (Jeff, Maurizio etc) I think Ploy works better.”

How did you connect with the guys over at Hessle? Had this been an ongoing relationship for a while or something that’s panned out in last year? “I had been in contact with Ben for a while, sending over various tracks. The first thing of mine he had been playing was my first record as Samuel, a track called “Numberuma”, which later got picked up by Shanti Celeste and Chris Farrell and put out on BRSTL and so we had been back and forth since that record. But then I had a couple of new tracks finished at the start of 2015 (“Helix”/ “Move Yourself”), sent them over to David Kennedy (Pearson Sound) who forwarded them on to the others and they liked them and that’s how the record happened. So yeah to answer your question, I had been in touch with them before but never had the idea of a release come up until those two tracks.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your progression leading to your first proper record release as a producer? Influences, how you were first introduced to electronic music and what eventually led you to attempting to make music. “I’ve been buying records since I was about 14 I think, so I’ve always had a strong interest in music. Through friends and the influence of their older brothers in secondary school I got into hip hop, a little bit of drum and bass, so bought a pair or turntables.” So DJing came into the equation before producing in this aspect? “Yeah, for a long time though I mainly listened to hip hop, UK and US stuff, so there’s always been that element of electronic music in that respect. After buying terrible drum and bass when I was 15/16 I’d been tipped off by someone about dubstep who genuinely told me it was ‘the next big thing’, so I bought a copy of the recent Tectonic Plates CD. To be honest I didn’t really get it until maybe a year or so after when I started going to some dodgy dubstep/ dnb nights in Bristol, I dug the CD back out then and started to enjoy it.

“Then when I was about 18 I was left disillusioned after taking A levels that I had no interest in. I enrolled on to a music tech college course and decided to pursue music. It was then my tastes completely shifted to purely instrumental dance music and my interest in dubstep was in full swing. Also my college lecturer was Skull Disco producer Gatekeeper, so that just furthered and pushed my understanding/interest of electronic music. That was kind of a whirlwind couple of years because the scene was coming out of the tail end of dubstep and moving into the Swamp 81 territory, Boiler Room had popped up and I was going out a bit, but mainly witnessing it through the internet as I had done with music most of my life. The tracks I writing at college reflected that, as they were basically just a complete mess of ideas from all over the shop. I’m waffling on quite a bit so long story slightly shorter – I then did a Creative Music Technology degree at Bath Spa, honed in on a sound I liked and wrote that first BRSTL record. I knew Gramrcy (he also studied in Bath) who lived with Shanti, and I think he passed on the tracks maybe, and then they put them out.”

What can you tell us about the new release on Timedance? Had you known Batu for a while through the Bristol connection? I think the record is a great fit for Timedance, it works well with the ideals of the club night as well as the label. It also has that strain of eerieness that is suited to the confines of the old police station that the party is held in. Omar did the same degree as me so I met him through university. Me, Larry (Bruce) and a couple of other pals ran a club night and we were introduced then. From then on our relationship blossomed and we now all live together in a sort of utopian Timedance commune, the rest is history.”

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve done for us? “Around the time of planning the mix I had been sent a few forthcoming bits and pieces which I was really excited about and had also been picking up a lot of new releases as well. I know that sounds obvious but I spend the majority of my time trawling through Discogs so my sets/mixes are usually unevenly proportioned between old and new. This mix acts as a snap shot of a very current crop of new music that I’m playing (most of which has come out now since recording) which like I said, is fairly unusual for me but I’ve peppered in a couple older finds too. It’s an upfront club mix and I’ve tried to pack it with bangers, so hopefully it’s enjoyed. Also shout to the tastemaker Bandcloud for the tip on one of the tracks!”

What else have you got planned for the future that we might not have covered yet? “Not a great deal that I can talk about officially at the moment, either late this year or possibly early next year I’ll have another record out. That should be coming out on a fantastic label hailing from the depths of Nunhead, which I’m excited about but can’t say much more yet. Then as for the rest of next year, I’m not sure what it holds yet, just trying to get my head down and write more at the moment. I’m also focusing more on the DJing side of things and trying to manage my Paypal crippling addiction to Discogs.”

Tracklist: 

Scott Young – M.O.E.I. – Born Free Records
Huerco S- Promises of Fertility – Proibito
Spooky J – Limbo Yam – Blip Disks
Kit SR- May 28th Before Work – Dub
Samo DJ – Medellin – The Trilogy Tapes
Junes – Trails – Galdoors
Hinode – Musicology – Science Fiction Recordings
DJ Deep and Roman Poncet Present Adventice – Exsurgence (Percussive mix) – Tresor
Dan Robbins – D.B.D (Chanting In The Dark) – Junior London
Gilb’r and DJ Sotofett – Cham Version two – Versatile
Eduardo De La Calle – Quasicalligraphic – Memento Italy
Shelley Parker – Catch – Opal Tapes
Minor Science – Underripe – Whities

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Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

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

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