– How would you best describe the music you make?
I don’t know; it gets categorized as lots of things. Maybe futuristic techno? Affie Yusuf called it ‘psychedelic voodoo music’, and I like that name. I’m hooked on drum machines; punchy, pulsating sounds and tight, intricate percussion, but I also love using sounds that wouldn’t usually be found in this kind of music, and lots of harmonic elements too.
– What was the first record you bought? Do you still play vinyl?
The first music that I bought on any format was probably some kind of trance music when I was very young, but I just check my discogs purchase history and the very first vinyl record I bought was Francesco Fiore’s Solution EP; fantastic music! I still play vinyl and my label Tribal Pulse presses vinyl also. It’s a real shame that it’s not used by more people, because it’s a fantastic medium. It feels good, it sounds good and it helps create a bond between the listener and the music.
– What was the last record you bought? Why?
I bought a few records the other day. One by Inigo Kennedy, some stuff by Uner and also some by Peter van Hoesen, and a couple of bits of more ambient music. I buy music frequently because it brings me a lot of happiness. I’m always on the search for new music and sounds that make me go ‘wow’. Music is such a powerful tool that can alter your mood and your perception, but it’s overlooked by so many people.
– What’s your favourite record shop in Glasgow?
To be honest I get most of my music on Juno, Discogs, Beatport, Bandcamp or on promo these days, but I very occasionally go to Love Music or Rubadub. I went into Guitar Guitar the other day to buy a drum machine. You can’t buy records in there but I had a great time playing with some of the machines!
– If we had 48 hours to go clubbing in Glasgow, where would you recommend?
There’s almost always a choice of decent events on in Glasgow over the weekend. We put on our Tribal Pulse nights every couple of months at Saint Judes, so it’s maybe a good idea to start there. They bring in some big names; Edu Imbernon and Uner are recent hightlights. A visit to Subclub is essential; they’re soundsystem is fantastic, and they’ve been going for over 25 years now! The Art School is also a really nice venue with a lot of space when it’s all open. There are very strict licensing laws in Glasgow so clubbing usually only happens between certain hours, but there’s a DJ booth in my living room, and there’s usually someone or other spinning tunes at my house most of the week!
– How has the scene up there evolved since you first became involved?
I came here 9 years ago and to be honest with the financial crisis and the general commercialization of electronic music, I don’t think I’ve seen too many positive changes in that time. People have less money to go out, and the spread of piracy means that kids don’t spend money on music. They don’t have that personal relationship with music any more, just a hard drive full of 60gb of pirated tracks that they don’t even have the time to listen to. Having said that, lots of clubs have really good soundsystems now and the city continues to produce talented DJs and producers, so I’m interested to see what the future holds for Glasgow, and I’m excited to hopefully play a part in it!
– What’s the record that you play most when you’re happy? What’s the cheesiest record in your collection?
There are so many I could choose from! Maybe Bedrock’s ‘Heaven Scent’ (I think I have at least 5 versions of that), or ‘Sunshine’ by Tomaz & Filterheadz. Ask me tomorrow and my answer might be different!
– What’s the rarest record in your collection?
Probably the white label test pressings from our Tribal Pulse records; there were only five made! I’ve got a lot of old white labels and test pressings, but I’m not sure which is the most rare. I don’t really care as long as they sound good!
– What’s the most ridiculous record you own?
I probably own a few pretty ridiculous records but the one that springs to mind that I play with any frequency is Oscar G and Ralph Falcon’s ‘Dark Beat’. The vocal almost taunts you and the sparse arrangement and the big horns make it quite unique. Baguette by Mauro Picotto is another pretty crazy record in a different way; hard, menacing Italian techno. It’s an absolute monster!
– What’s the campest?
I don’t know if I play camp records? I made a disco remix of a track for Detox Recordings from Detroit called ‘Everywhere I go It’s Disco’. I suppose it’s pretty camp!
– Which one really showcases your eclecticism?
You’d have to have a look through to get an idea of where my tastes extend to; from total horizontal ambient to thumping energetic jungle and from Kings of Tomorrow to Go Hiyama. Some more eclectic records that I drop into sets are the UNKLE remix of Ian Brown’s F.E.A.R. and Photek’s remixes of Jakatta’s ‘So Lonely’, and sometimes I’ll drop some older stuff like Suburban Knight’s ‘Moon Rays’, and ‘The Beginning’ by Derrick May is another favourite of mine.
– Who would you most like to go clubbing with dead or alive?
There are a lot of people in history that I’d love to meet; it’s a hard choice! Maybe President Kennedy, Gandhi or Einstein or Jesus, or maybe a music legend like Ron Hardy or Larry Levan. You’d never run out of tunes!
– What’s the one record you still reach for more than any other?
There isn’t one in particular. I have a bunch of records that i’ve played more than any other, and that probably includes a lot of Robert Babicz, Hardfloor, Plastikman, stuff off Bedrock etc.
– And what track has been a constant in your sets over the past while?
Nowadays the records I play the most in sets are probably my own, because I make them specifically to fill holes in my sets, and I want people to hear my music. They always get a great reaction! I’m playing my new EP Stars/Green Symphony a lot, as well as tracks like ‘Collage’ and ‘Tokyo Skyline’ that I’ve released recently on Tribal Pulse.
I play such a wide variety of music from so many artists that it’s almost unfair to pick names, but Ayahuasca (Edit 1) by Hermanez, and Metallic by Johnny Kaos are two tracks that have really been doing the damage for me recently.
– What’s the most embarrassing record you own?
I don’t think I’m embarrassed of any of my records! I was really into trance music and some of the more commercial sides of dance music when I was a teenager, so I think my CD collection probably contains some music that I don’t want to hear any more, but I started to collect 12”s in my 20s, and I love every one of them!
– What’s your guilty pleasure music wise?
I don’t know if I have a ‘guilty pleasure’ either. I listen to whatever makes me happy, and that could really come in any form. I listen huge amounts of all different flavours of house and techno, as well as loads of breakbeat-oriented styles, lots of chilled out and ambient music, and some stoner rock and things that fit into some more unusual genres, but no fabricated cheesy pop music or anything like that. What’s the point in listening to Calvin Harris when you could be filling your ears with Marco Bailey? People are crazy!
– What are you working on right now that’s got you excited?
Making music excites me. Every day is an experiment, and I’m working on new tracks whenever I can free up the time. Stars/Green Symphony got a fantastic reaction across the board and now I’m trying out new ideas and aiming to put together more pieces of music that transport the listener and tell a story. Apart from that, we’ve got some absolutely fantastic releases planned out for the second half of this year on the label, and I’ve got some exciting gigs planned both in Glasgow and abroad this Summer.
– What’s next for Boom Merchant?
I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. We’ve just put on a Tribal Pulse event here in Glasgow, and we have two more planned for August and October, and then we’re off to ADE! I’ve got a load of other gigs, travels and projects to keep me occupied in between those, and of course I’m going to enjoy the sunshine. It’s Summer after all!
Interview by James Hopkins