IDC and your friendly cultural dance dictator
IDC is re-releasing his first electro punk funk single Scratch at the end of the month. It’s ten years since it was originally released, so I thought we ought to find out about IDC and the re-release.
1. How did you get into music and where does the IDC name come from?
I’ve been into music literally as long as I can remember, some of my earliest memories are of whistling tunes in the playground at infants school. My brother collected Beatles records and there was always a record player/radio system in the family front room. I grew up never wanting any other ‘job’ than making music.
I started using the IDC moniker in 2000 when I made a bootleg of an Eminem vocal combined with my own backing track and MTV wanted to use it for something, so I needed a name to put to it. If I was choosing one now it’d be something different as IDC shows up on Google as that big computer consultancy company or whatever it is! [International Data Corporation, a market intelligence firm]
The initials do stand for something, but I’m only going to let on when certain market conditions have been met… [Gah!]
2. You were into bootlegs back in the early 00s (mash-ups) and part of the GYBO scene. Did it have a lasting influence on your music?
The whole bootleg thing was great to start with. By that time I’d been mixing up tracks in Acid software for a couple of years to play in DJ sets at my club nights in London, and the first time I knew anyone else was doing it was when I heard a guy called Freelance Hellraiser played on an XFM show called ‘The Remix’.
I’ve never really been into radio that much because even DJs you like would play a couple of good tunes then a couple that you hated and I find it hard to maintain an interest. But the two blokes who did that show, James Hyman and Eddy Temple Morris, were playing two solid hours of tunes I was really into at the time. Stuff like Death in Vegas, Lo Fidelity Allstars (who I never dreamed I’d end up sharing a label with), Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR stuff, kind of ‘turn of the century cutting edge of rock’n’roll’ and it had a very exciting forward-thinking feel.
So I sent them a bootleg tune on a Tuesday and it got played the following Sunday – Lo Fi Allstars with Sly Stone and Inspector Morse on top. That made me think it was worth making another one, that got played too. Ended up with virtually one a week on their show for the next year!
Through the show the Boom Selection guy who was pushing the ‘bootleg’ thing got in touch and elsewhere online I’d stumbled across the forum GYBO where there was a nice feeling of co-operation and sharing ideas and techniques at that time. By then I’d got to know James and Eddy and told them to check out a few people, and told a few GYBOers to send them stuff too.
As for a lasting influence there definitely is one but it isn’t musical… I learnt that those who protest loudest about ‘being in it for the love’ and ‘not being interested in making any money’ are always saying the opposite of what they actually mean!
3. How would you describe your style today?
I’ve had two mentions in the NME, the first time off the back of the first MTV hook-up and a bit of radio play they named IDC as ‘one to watch for 2001’ as I’d “be keeping copyright lawyers busy”. The second time was much later after I’ve had a few records out. They called what I did ‘dancefloor rock’n’roll’ and that’s pretty much the closest I can think of to describe how I’d see the sound I make as IDC.
4. Which do you prefer, making tracks or DJing?
It goes in pretty distinct phases. I get fed up with DJing when it gets to a point where I’m not listening to stuff at home and getting excited about sharing it with other people, so it’s best to take a step back then. It’s happened two or three times and the biggest break from DJing for that reason was almost four years long. I feel a bit like that right now, but that’s because I’m focused on finishing the third IDC album and no doubt I’ll be raring to go out and inflict that on people when it’s all done.
5. Why re-release Scratch ten years after its initial release? And what were you aiming for when you made it?
The Scratch re-release is about Corsair Record’s 10th birthday as much as anything else. When it first came out it was only on vinyl but it included a ‘free’ CD for people to share digitally. Pretty ahead of it’s time in one way. But iTunes had only just started then and vinyl still sold even for a new artist. So it’s never been released as a download before.
When I made it I was aiming to get beyond the whole bootleg thing and show people I had a lot more to offer. I’d been building up a batch of tunes for a while and really had no idea what to expect in terms of who, if anyone, would like them. When ‘Scratch’ got played by John Peel it was a really big deal for me, and he even got in touch with a really cool message of support, so everything got off to a great start.
6. You’ve a new album coming out in the summer. What can we expect from it?
I’ve never felt any genre restrictions but if anything this one takes everything a step further than before. There’s oboes, backwards guitars, a housey one that I imagine Tiga singing over, there’s another one that makes the Prodigy in their prime sound weedy, and there’s a proper old-skool Avalanches-style sunny day bit of fun that will finally get me on daytime national radio airplay A lists😉
7. Finally, you once said “I just need to get into Pseuds Corner [in Private Eye], then my life will be complete!” Anything you want to say about the role of music in the digital age to help further that ambition?
I’ve just finished a four year stint as a singles reviewer for DJ Mag, trying every single month to fulfil that ambition…
the digital download age has finally seen the means of production truly fall into in the hands of the musical proletariat, but unfortunately it’s led to a situation where Beatport is a North Korean style cultural dance dictator and soundcloud is a kind of Groucho Marx and Spencer’s pound shop.
will that do? (cont p94)…
So, how has Scratch survived the ravages of musical time? Pretty well, actually. Not being part of the mainstream stops it being dated. It’s an angular sort of punk funk tune. Slashes of guitar, bashing beats and a vocal sample or two. The tune’s been updated in a 10YL version. This moves the focus away from the guitars and makes it more of a dance tune. And it’s that bit slower. It’s still not a conventional dance tune. Losing the guitars is fine but I’m not sure slowing it down has really helped. Makes it a bit ponderous and awkward to dance to. But perhaps I’m simply too attached to the original.
Blurb: It’s 10 years since IDC’s debut single announced the arrival of a major new UK electronic music talent and also the launch of Corsair Records. Since then IDC has received many ‘single of the week’ accolades, seen both his albums gain 5 star reviews in the major dance press magazines, had extensive radio airplay all over the world and played headline DJ sets at some of the biggest and best international clubs and festival stages. To celebrate a decade of IDC action and the tenth birthday of independent label Corsair Records, the original four tracks from the ‘Scratch’ EP are now being re-released, along with IDC’s own brand new updated “10YL version”. First time around DJ Mag said Scratch “pushes the boundaries of electro”, DMC Update called it “a number that DFA should be proud to release” and the legendary John Peel played the whole 6 minutes on his BBC Radio 1 show saying “not sure which category of music this fits into other than rather good!” Re-worked as “Scratched” for IDC’s ‘album of the month’ reviewed debut ‘Overthrow The Boss Class’, the original single version has never been available as a download until now. The brand new “10YL version” is shorn of the original’s ‘Gang Of Four’ sounding spikey guitars and also slightly slowed down to create a stomping 4/4 summer 2014 dancefloor killer.