Friday, November 26, 2010

Interview: Inland Knights - Drop Music

DJ’s, Producers and label owners, Andy Riley and Laurence Ritchie aka Inland Knights are one of the names most people you meet have heard of, whether they like it deep  or a big techier - their reach is global with appearances around the globe and their label continues to produce some of the finest music some twelve years after it all started back in Nottingham's early house music days.

Nottingham boasts rich musical legacy, particularly for house music labels and artists - what is it about the area that makes it like that?
"From the 90's onwards there was (still is) a large free party sound system culture based around USA and UK house labels at the time. Dubby, funky, acidy and deep - hundreds of people around the area and years of parties, clubs, fields, disused buildings etc. The sound that came from these parties has remained intact to the musical productive diets of those around it and once DIY and then Drop Music and other labels sprang up around the area so did more productive talents."
Latest tracks by Inland Knights

The pair met in ’93 and cut their teeth DJ’ing for Smokescreen, the renegade sound system from which they drew their early inspiration. Smokescreen consisted of DJ’s, lighting people, sound people, a truck, a P.A, a generator and general helpers. Old warehouses, woodland, fields, quarries and houses were utilised with the sole intention of having a good time, for free! By the mid 90’s Smokescreen could guarantee a crowd of hundreds in attendance at their parties, and their club nights became local institutions that ran for years with packed dance floors, and still do to this day!.

The free sound system parties are such an important part of your back story, how do you keep that passion alive these days?
"The passion over the years has moved from the parties to the production for sure, But the parties always remain the main source of focus for inspiration when writing music. So I guess there's plenty of good memories and moments to take in still."

By ’98 Laurence and Andy had made the inevitable step into production and Drop Music was born with the release of ‘Inland Knights Vol 1’. After years of beans on toast, spending any spare pennies on vinyl, lugging sound systems around fields and clubs and playing free parties, the brainchildren behind Inland Knights thought it might be time to cash in. Almost all of the early output was entirely Inland knights, despite many monikers - Andy records also records under the guise of Toka Project,  while Laurence is also known as Larry Fives. They've also been Party Criminals, In House Alterations and Big Audio Spidermite over the years.

Drop Music has gone on to become one of the most highly regarded house labels in recent years (with 60 plus releases to date), and Inland knights have gone on to become one of the most respected production outfits in the house world, regularly taking on remix duties for fellow labels and producers. Highlights include the acclaimed ‘Mohammed Ali’ remix for Faithless on Cheeky Records, CD compilations and remixes for NRK and Om Records, Inland Knights first full length album entitled ‘Creative Spaces’, and more recently Inland Knights album to mark 10 years of Drop Music entitled ‘Dust till Dawn’.


How do you choose which remixes to take on - is it a feel or something else?
"Well,, it helps if there's some good samples to work with,, I don't mind what the original sounds like at all,, But it's important to have good samples otherwise you end up trying to polish a poo if you pardon the phrase."

To say thank you to all of the DJ's and house music fans who have supported them, bought their music legally, or been to a gig over the years, Laurence and Andy are giving away a brand new track ‘Don’t Need No One’ ahead of their forthcoming album ‘Inland Bites: Knights Classics’, released through Drop Music in December. 

To get the free track visit and join the Drop Music mailing list. Being on the list will also give future access to free mixes, exclusive pre-releases and all the latest Inland Knights/Drop Music news.



The album pulls together your tracks from a stellar line up of other labels - which ones have a special place in your history?

"For me hot soup and slummin it." 

How would you sum up the sound of Inland Bites: Knights Classics?

"Sound's like an s3000 Akia sampler with no stereo outs put through a cheap desk in a room with no good  bass referencing, by two blokes that love house music and have too much time on their hands and not enough food in their tummies. Somehow it came out sounding OK."

Inland Knights - Inland Bites: Knights Classics (Drop Music) (Preview Clips) by Kahua Music

12 years on since their first release and the duo are undoubtedly amongst the most well known names in deep house, always staying true to the Midlands sound they pioneered back in the days of real free sound system parties held in muddy fields down country lanes.  Their typically bumping, deep and funky take on house music became known around the world and the Knights’ profile as international artists exploded.

After all these years of stepping into the studio how do you keep the label fresh and your sound at the forefront of the scene?

"Just by trying more and more to be satisfied with what we hear."

And that's gotta be music to everyone'sDJ's around the world.


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