Truancy Volume 192: Linkwood

Two years ago Edinburgh-based producer Nick Moore, aka Linkwood, released the follow-up to his debut LP System. Titled Expressions, and taking five years to finish, the album went on to receive rave reviews, with many publications tipping its greatness in their end-of-year lists for 2015. Synonymous with the label Firecracker, having been good friends with its founder Lindsay Todd since its inception, the pair kicked off the imprint with a bang, releasing the still much sought after “Miles Away” as their label’s debut. A low-slung house anthem, with outstanding vocals by Joseph Malik and trumpet by Colin Steele, the track paved the way for Firecracker, ensuring Nick’s irregular but breathtaking productions had a home, and an audience pawing after their beautifully designed records. We caught up with Nick to discuss his thoughts on past albums, his time spent in Bristol, collaborations with his brother Tim and the news of a forthcoming label called AD. His Truancy Volume, weaving in sounds in touch with classic electro alongside some more ethereal-sounding selections, is a blissful display showcasing his often overshadowed DJ skills. With music from ERP, Rhythim Is Rhythim, SUED 013 and more, you’re in safe hands for the next hour.

Hey Nick thanks for taking out time to answer some questions and do this mix for us, long-time fan here and Expressions is one of my regular go-to albums. Speaking of the album, considering it’s been two years since the release I wanted a moment of reflection to ask how you look back on it? It must have been a relief for it to be met with such rave reviews after five years in the making. “Heya, and cheers for the hook-up! It’s been a while since I did a mix in the house and it was good for my head to do it. Cheers for supporting Expression, I’m definitely proud of that album. It was a personal record and as a body of work I think it stands up. Obviously with hindsight there are things I might have done different, but generally I’m glad I did it and I was properly chuffed with the work Lindsay did on the packaging and my brother for the insert. Big love to those guys! Once I got the tunes finished it all came together really nicely. I won’t lie, it was hard to finish it though. I had a kid after my first album and then two years after that, me and his mum split up, so actually five years doesn’t sound too bad. They were tough times mentally, but it probably made for a better record in the end. I think people genuinely liked the album as well, which is a great feeling. I still get messages two years on from folk just saying they’re digging it.  The fact the last track, “Love Lost” was so well received was really positive for me as well, as it’s probably the closest I’ve ever got to the sound I’m after. Still miles off and I’ve barely scratched the surface, but then as the cliché goes, that’s what keeps you going!”

You started to release music when you got to Edinburgh but you had already been producing for some time in Bristol. What did you start with in terms of equipment and what were you trying to make? “I did a BTEC course in music tech at Weston-super-Mare college I think in like 96 or 97. They had Ataris and some early Macs and these old Roland sound modules. The guys that ran the course were great, in fact I’d love to hook up with them again, if only to say thanks. They were definitely doing it from the heart and had very little funding. They had a studio room as well with an old Studiomaster P7 desk and some old noisy fx units. A lot of the guys on the course spent their time outside smoking and complaining about the gear not working etc, but I remember just wanting to get in the studio desperately. One of the tutors used to give me and my mate old ADAT tapes and show us how to dub them out on the desk. That and getting my head round old MIDI were great lessons that I still use these days. Back then I was trying to make Basic Channel and Drexciya records and the odd jungle track. They were all total pish though. I wish I’d kept some of the cassettes to listen back to. I’m sure they’d get a few laughs.”

Also this isn’t a question but my mind is a little blown to find your brother was part of Sub Love. I’m sure the name Potion brings back some memories of the older brother DJ in the Moore household, haha. That ‘Underground EP’ is up there for me. “Hahaha that’s cool you know that record. Yeah, he joined Sub Love in like 91/92 when DJ Die left to do his own thing. I was 13 or 14 or something and properly idolised those guys. Jody Wisternoff was an amazing producer and my brother was/is a wicked DJ. I just wanted to do what they were doing. They were playing all the big raves back then, Universe, Fantasia, Obsession etc.”

A lot’s been said about your productions in the past from interviews I’ve been reading but apart from a single line saying ‘you were a DJ long before you could afford studio gear’, there’s not much on your history with solely DJing. Where did you cut your teeth learning or playing as a youngster? What were your first couple of club experiences? “Well my brother had his decks and records in the house so I’d always be in his room when he was out. He had great tunes, it was all Shut Up & Dance, early SS, early Bukem, some Chicago/UK acid and Detroit tracks from Derrick May etc Mainly early jungle and hardcore though. I just loved it all and would spend hours trying to mix like my brother. I’m sure my mum loved it! Earliest club experiences were at the depot in Bristol at a crazy age of 14. I remember the first time was a Top Buzz night. We used to sneak out after my mum had gone to bed and ride our bikes down. Hiding from police etc haha Was the first time I took acid as well. Green ohms were everywhere back then, funny looking back to be honest. I was hooked though, and I’ve never wanted to do anything else since.”

I was reading that most the studio gear you used on Expressions was sold to help fund finishing the album but that you were slowly re-building post release. How’s that been going? “Hmmm not great to be honest, but machines are only tools and they come and go. As long as I have an MPC and my Juno I’m ok. These days I prefer smaller setups anyway. The gearlust thing faded a long time ago, although synthlust is hard to ignore. If I could, I’d have a house full of synths. As long as I can still make tunes I’m happy. I used to have rooms full of gear, but I only miss a couple of pieces if I’m honest.”

Although you’re well known in taking your time with your original productions, you were tasked with remixing “See You Monday”, a stone-cold classic from Herbert, last year. How did this come about and were you initially swayed at all in accepting this? “I was asked by Tom Verhoeven from Curle Records, if I wanted to remix a Herbert track, and I was buzzing thinking maybe it was some new crazy big band stuff etc, but I won’t lie, I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was his older stuff. Mainly as I loved those tracks from back in the day and didn’t think they needed remixing (again). I nearly didn’t do it and there were no separate parts. But I just took a two-bar loop with no kick into the MPC and the core of the track wrote itself in one night. Add some strings and voilà!! I’m glad I did it though and the response from folk was great, so props to Herbert and Tom for giving me the opportunity.”

Whilst doing the research on this, I was amazed to find out you made one of my favourite tracks from 2010 with your brother Tim, in the form of Discreet Unit – Shake Your Body Down. What can you tell us about making this track, and why no more under this alias since 2010? “Hah you have been doing your research. Yeah, we don’t live in the same city any more so it’s hard to make tracks together. “Shake Your Body Down” happened one afternoon, (the initial jam anyway). My brother bought some records at a charity shop on the way down to mine and that track is made purely from one wee session sampling those records. I miss working in the studio with my bro. There is always a good energy when he’s in the room and something different always comes out of it. Hopefully we will make some more tracks soon. He’s always sketching his own stuff as well, which needs to see the light of day as some of it is heavy!!! Maybe reading this might make him do it.”

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve done for us today? You seem to have pulled for a lot of electro for this one. “Yeah, I’ve always been an electro head, I love it, and I always weave some in at gigs. More so recently actually as I’ve noticed crowds being way more receptive to it. I remember people actually getting annoyed some years back if I’d mix it up, cleared a floor before with electro. I’ve never understood that though. It’s got the funk and folk should just be able to move to it without thinking. There’s so many people doing the rare disco/house thing and corporates pimping the house scene that folk (or at least people that maybe come to hear me play) appreciate hearing it out. Props to the electro guys that have stuck to their guns over the years. I can feel a new wave coming soon definitely. Part of the mix was actually me trying to remember what I played at Tresor the week before with some chilled bits thrown in. Couldn’t remember much in the end but for an hour mix it’s cool. Hope you enjoy!!”

What else have you got planned for the rest of the year (and 2018) if it hasn’t been mentioned already? “Well as I write this, my first EP for my own label, AD, is in production, which I’m pretty excited about. I’ve been boring mates for years saying I’m going to do it. So, it’s good to get that rolling. The label is basically a way for me to release tracks that, maybe are a bit different, or a bit rougher round the edges than the stuff I do for Firecracker for instance. I have tons of material – sketches and tools and drum tracks etc. And I just want to get them on to vinyl. It’s an itch that needs scratching. I also have an EP coming around the same time on Firecracker. The A-side is actually a pretty fast electro number. It started life as a wee swan song to my 909 before I sold it. Looking forward to getting that out, as its probably one of the strongest things I’ve done. Plenty of gigs lined up for the rest of the year. Actually, talking about Bristol I’m playing at Bodygurn on November 17 with House of Traps and DJ Crud. It’s a Firecracker takeover all night!!! Strasbourg the week after for Les Ills at La Rafio. Also got to mention, I’ve just joined the On Board Music booking agency and we are having a big On Board/Firecracker get together in Berlin in January at ://about blank!!! Cheers again. Adios!!”

Linkwood: Facebook, SoundCloud, Resident Advisor, Booking Agency

Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

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

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