UNT Records rises from the ashes this week as promising Canadian producer and new owner John Norman sends the blood once more coursing through its veins with a powerful new two track EP, a release, which features also the talents of Alex D’Elia.
Having already garnered the attention of heavyweights like Kevin Saunderson, Adam Beyer and Richie Hawtin, his latest piece will certainly aid the growth of his reputation, once more stealing the spotlight of the underground.
We sat down with John this week to find out all about the new release, his role at the imprint and the passion he shares for the sounds of Detroit.
WWD : Hi John, great to have you here. Thanks for joining us!
Thank you very much for having me.
WWD : Your new EP “Verb” is forthcoming on UNT Records, a label based both out of Canada and Spain, what can you tell us about the imprint and your role there?
The label was founded in 2007 in England by my good friend Jozef Mihalik and last summer he was looking to sell the label. Around the same time I had started to make plans to launch my own label here in Canada, but instead I took over what he had already begun. It was perfect timing really. UNT Records was one of the first labels I released music on, and in many ways has been my “home” label, so becoming the owner of the label and keep the tradition of uniting and nurturing new emerging talent seemed a natural step. Jozef still plays a small role in the label keeping me aware of emerging artists in Ibiza when I’m not there. But, I’m now the full owner of the label, and make the final decision for the music we are releasing.
WWD : Focusing on the EP itself, what was the creative process behind it like? Has the track been long in the pipeline?
Growing up playing in bands as a bassist I always worked closely with the drummer so with techno being a very rhythm driven form of music I almost always start out the drums and work my way through the bass and then over to any fx and added tension or releases after I’ve sequenced the track out. Very often my inspiration comes from my surroundings and my travels to other cities, but this one was actually inspired by some vocal techno I was hearing in that moment. Initially I put this track together to include on another release, but once everything started happening with becoming the new owner at UNT Records I decided to use it as the lead track for the relaunch of the label. Moving the label over took a little while and the track went through a couple incarnations to get it to the version released on this single. In the end that little extra time helped the track a lot and I feel it is a strong release.
WWD : I know you’re a fan of the White Isle, are plans afoot yet for a return to Ibiza this Summer?
Yeah, I have been traveling to Ibiza for a couple years now and I’ve quite enjoyed my time there each year. I have had some really fantastic times playing for Savannah Club, and Ocean Beach, and last year at Bora Bora. I love the contrast of the nightlife with the beauty of the island. I try to spend a little time each visit exploring the nature and history on the island, as well as the club culture. I’m heading back again this year, but later in the season, and look forward to what that timing has to offer.
WWD : Alex D’Elia features brilliantly on the release. What was it you were looking for when you selected him as a remixer?
Definitely. Alex has been doing some great work over the last while. I recently invited him to do a guest mix on my show “An Obsession With Sound” and when I was looking for a remix, Alex was the first on my list. I’m really happy he agreed to do the remix, it really rounds out the release perfectly.
WWD : The sounds of Detroit have been a great influence on your work to date. Can you give us three classic cuts that left a lasting impression on you?
Songs, on the whole have less of an influence on my work than one might think. I am more influenced by my travels and the surroundings I find myself in, but if I had to pick 3 classic Detroit cuts that I would say represent my state of mental being when writing music, this would be them.
Rhythm is Rhythm (Derrick May) – Strings Of Life (Original Mix) [Transmat]— I definitely did not hear this track when it first came out as I was about 7 years old. I think I first heard this tune around 2007 when I started getting into techno music. I don’t think I quite appreciated it then as much as I did a couple years later when learning more about the originators like Kevin, Juan, and Derrick. Today, this song puts an ear to ear smile on my face every time I hear it just as a classic cut should!
Kenny Larkin – Metropolis [Plus 8] — It was 2000, I had just started DJing and I was short on records. I think I had 4 or 5, so when I came across a huge used record sale at a local shopping mall I spent the better part of the day picking through all the really crappy old records they had there. Then I came across this record. It was driving, it was fast, and it had loads of drum sounds that really appealed to me. I’m sure that it altered the course of my musical tastes. I still play this record from time to time, all the tracks are great but I think Metropolis is my favourite on this record.
Finally, a classic cut selection from me is not complete with out the inclusion of one of my biggest influences, Richie Hawtin. This one comes in the form of his alter ego, Plastikman. I was first introduced to Plastikman, surprisingly not through the Plus 8 record I had found picking through all those records, but rather through my girlfriend at the time (now wife) in about 2002 when she played me a cd that had this cool looking martian dude on the front and the name Plastikman. This was the Sheet One album and right from the opening track DRP, I knew it was gold. The space and width of the soundstage in this track, the less is more approach, the clarity of the sounds within it have all greatly influenced my approach to music production to this day.
Lastly, can we expect more new music coming from you over the coming months?
Yes, most definitely here’s a few of the confirmed tracks:
Red Square – Growl (John Norman Remix) [KMS Records]
Dantiez Saunderson & John Norman – Get Back [Natura Viva]
Rafa Ortega – Drift Mode (John Norman Remix) [UNT Records]
Alessan Main – Hypnotic Calling (John Norman Remix) [ALSS]
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