Budding Edinburgh-based producer Kieran Apter makes his highly anticipated return to Chapter 24 this February after last year’s debut hit ‘All I Want’ and scoring releases on Anjunadeep and Hommage. This time, the founder of Edinburgh’s renowned party Tweak_, delivers four top notch original cuts, with an Editions EP slated for later in 2018. The closing track, ‘Remember’, is a tribute to the Grenfell Tower disaster and they are giving away all profits from sales to the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund. Check out the title track from the release exclusively on When We Dip today in full premiere as Apter takes us in Q&A behind the new release.
WWD: What is your first memory of music? Did you grow up in a musical home?
My earliest memories of music are some of the first bits that I bought or was given. I think the first CDs I got were by Will Smith and the Run DMC x Jason Nevins single ‘It’s Like That’. I was only about 7 years old but I knew all the words and I used to sing/rap along with it. My dad is a musician and has always played in bands. He used to play in the Edinburgh samba school and I can remember going along to watch, and even getting a little involved very early on. He was pretty encouraging and wanted me to do something in music.
WWD: Tell us a bit about where you grew up. What was it like for electronic music?
I grew up in a small town outside of Edinburgh called West Calder, which was originally a mining village. I had a lot of friends growing up there and a lot of great times as well. When I started high school I made friends from towns close by, where there was more of a party scene. There were some clubs in the area and we would always manage to get in, even though we were underage. It was all new and exciting.
WWD: ‘The Mirror’ is your second release on Chapter 24, after your debut ‘All I Want’ last year. The label describes itself as being about stories in sound. What’s the story behind your latest EP?
I think the story behind this EP is a combination of the many influences I have, along with a natural progression in my productions.
WWD: When did you decide to become a DJ? Did DJing or production come first?
I got my first set of turntables when I was about 14 – back then I was mainly into hip hop. I would mess around in my room with friends, but had no clue what I was doing really. In my late teens I was really into house and liked the idea of Djing. It wasn’t until my early 20’s, after spending summers in Ibiza, that I decided to develop it seriously. I felt very inspired by my time spent there. Production came a little further down the line.
WWD: The track ‘Without’ on your new EP sees you collaborating with Leon Power again, after he provided vocals on ‘All I Want’. How do you know Leon and how would you describe the chemistry between you both in the studio?
I met Leon about 5 years ago when we were both working together in Edinburgh and we got on instantly. I suppose we look at music in different ways. Leon is a classically-trained pianist and has also been producing his own stuff for a long time. Usually when we collaborate I’ll work on an idea for a while and take it to him, then he’ll jam on it with chord changes and vocals and instantly we have a song. I feel very lucky to be able to work with him, he has taught me a lot about production.
WWD: Creatively, what do you find are the biggest difficulties in collaborating…and what’s the best thing about it?
The biggest difficulty about collaborating with Leon is pinning him down! He works two jobs on top of making music, so his schedule is pretty hectic. The best thing about it for me is being able to utilise his voice and songwriting ability.
WWD: We also noticed you are giving all the profits from sales of your new track ‘Remember’ to the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, in honour of the victims of last year’s Grenfell Tower disaster. How did the fire affect you?
It’s a shocking and horrific tragedy, and I feel deeply saddened by it. The outrageous circumstances in which it should have been avoided struck a nerve. The media also seems to have quietened down on it very quickly, and I don’t believe there was ever an accurate figure put on exactly how many deaths there were. I’m in London a lot these days so the event feels close to home. With ‘Remember’, I wanted to convey my feelings about it and I hope it shows. It’s not something that should be forgotten.
WWD: How do you see your sound evolving, as a DJ and producer?
As a DJ I feel like I’ve definitely started taking a little more influence from disco Playing regularly in different venues I find that certain tracks work better in bigger rooms and sometimes playing the smaller rooms can be more challenging. In situations like this it’s useful to have some real feel good tracks in the bag. Last year I played a lot of stuff from people like Tuff City Kids, Massimiliano Pagliara and Midland. It still connects and fits in well among the darker stuff that I play.
I think that may filter a bit into my productions too – there are some disco elements in ‘The Mirror’ even though it’s a darker track. I’ve also been recording my dad recently on his congas and timbales and working them into tracks. I plan on keeping that up and really making the most of these original sounds.
WWD: Tell us a bit about the Tweak_ parties you run in Edinburgh. What’s the scene like there?
My friend Simon Bays came to me with the idea of starting a party back in 2015. We had both been DJing for a while in Edinburgh, but wanted the chance to play more and really push sounds that we were into. Initially we booked guests for each party, and eventually starting putting more emphasis on the residents. Simon and I both have slightly different tastes, although it all kind of falls into the category of sounds you may hear at clubs like DC-10 or Panorama Bar. We’ve had some great parties (and after parties) around Edinburgh, and it’s been a great platform for me to hone my skills as a DJ. Recently I’ve been a little less involved in promoting to put more focus on my productions.
With regards to the club scene in Edinburgh, there’s some great stuff going on here. FLY Open Air is a brilliant festival which started in the last couple of years. It takes place at amazing locations and brings over the best guests. There are some great regular nights running also, and at times you’re spoilt for choice at weekends with 3 or 4 different parties all boasting very credible bookings. At the same time though. I don’t think that is always for the best – Edinburgh isn’t the biggest of cities and at the moment it feels like there are too many DJs/promoters and not enough dancers.
Edinburgh is also very rich with talent, people like Theo Kottis, Hi & Saberhägen and Telfort have all been making waves in recent times. It’s great to have artists like these representing the local scene.
WWD: In terms of your productions, what’s your favourite piece of kit that you own and why?
I only just recently bought my first synth which is a Korg Minilogue, but while collaborating with Leon we’ve been able to use his Prophet 08 and his Juno 106. I love the sounds coming out of all of them. I’m really enjoying getting to know my Minilogue now.
WWD: Do you have any advice for aspiring producers and musicians?
To be honest I still really feel like a novice myself. I’m constantly learning and experimenting. If anything, I would say: experiment. I found production a bit of a steep learning curve at first, but after a while something clicks and then it starts to become good fun.
On top of that I’d say look for inspiration in everything, it could be what’s happening in your life, a film you’ve seen, a relationship, or even a party you’ve been to.
WWD: What are your upcoming plans for 2018 – which releases should we be looking out for?
I am actually planning on moving to London later this year which I’m very excited about! Release-wise, I have an EP coming out on Hommage which is run by Monkey Safari and Karl Friedrich. The EP features two collaborations, one again with Leon Power and another with my friend Sandeman. There are also some great remixes coming on the EP from Karl, Monkey Safari and Avidus. On top of that, I’m currently finishing off a remix of Alexis Raphael for You Are We, and some more solo stuff. I feel like I’ve mostly been finishing off old ideas for some time now, so It will be great to start working on new music real soon.
The Mirror is out Feb 9 on Chapter 24 Records. Buy here.