LUKE SOLOMON & DERRICK CARTER
In true Classic style, an interview with Luke & Derrick was always going to be a bit different. So what better way to get into the heart of Classic than to get them to interview one another....
Luke Interviews Derrick
Seriously though, what's the big deal with interviews?
I have no idea. As you know, I generally find them aberrant and un-useful. Like you're playing at something but not really. I guess it's a chance for me to show my dynamism and cleverity.
Has there been a day when you have wanted to give it all up?
Like jump off a bridge "give it all up"? Or just like change my name and go rogue "give it all up"? I suppose that happens in small doses nearly every day. So often I would much rather not feel as if I still have to play the game, but life has a way of rewarding you for the effort that you put into it...so I keep on...for now. Plus I do like what I do an awful lot. Having that on my side keeps me keeping on.
You have had an interesting relationship with the UK over the years...do you consider yourself an Anglophile? Would you consider moving here......again? i know you still have your Tesco Club Card.
Well, I'm still not the biggest fan of your sausages and without a doubt, the one way systems are one of the biggest self-masturbatory exercises in the history of man but all in all, y'all's pretty cool. I definitely think that apart from Chicago, there are very few places that I could (A) live and feel comfortable as well as (B) knowing that if I wanted to get into/cause some trouble that option was on the table. London and increasingly, Manchester fit that bill. Though I do find the English Summer to be a dreadful farce. I also still have my Barnet library card if you wanna check out a Renaissance mix CD...
How have you managed to remain in renegade in the city of Chicago.....I have always noted a great deal of bitterness develop amongst certain artists/DJ's over the years...do you ever feel that way inclined? Do you still feel like you need to stay one step ahead due to competition, or do you not get that kind of hunger anymore? Does the night life in Chicago ever bother you at all?
I've stopped trying to be socially acceptable which is incredibly freeing. I trust my natural instincts and find that they serve me well. I'm no longer trying to win a popularity contest nor have I resorted to appearing on self congratulatory "Get me outta here, I'm a celebrity" type adventures. Plus with the dogs, the last thing I really have time for is bitterness. They're some funny little mofo's. Herman does a great Chris Rock impression. Seriously though, I've managed to make it through my angst-y years and come out on the other side relatively whole and appreciably intact. More than I can say for some of our contemporaries. As for the nightlife, 'eh. I find that if I wanna go out, I can. If I wanna get drunk and let my freak flag fly, that can happen. My world doesn't allow for it on a daily basis so I'm fine with fewer offerings. AND...I've been to a fair few new underground gatherings lately. You'd be surprised.
Studio.....discuss.....do you actually use ALL of that equipment? Have you found yourself being very selective of what you use or do you just end up being digital because it is more convenient?
Well not all at once! I have certain go to pieces that I like for certain tasks but in general, everything in the studio has seen some use with the exception of my GML EQ. I just haven't really made any use of it at all...Digital does have it's conveniences but since I don't have to worry about anything other than the electric bill, I can be a bit "long form" without too much trouble other than trying to find shit on the patch bay. And always needing a longer patch cord.
You occasionally like to go off of the radar. Is this a psychological thing? Do you enjoy your own company, or is because you don't enjoy others?
I find that people let me down but I also think it's because I often have unrealistic expectations of them. Sometimes I just don't want to be bothered. Sometimes I just want to sleep and stop the insanity. Sometimes I'm just not feeling public. Sometimes I just enjoy the serenity that comes from unplugging the phone, turning the lights down and watching "Coming To America". I also don't appreciate being judged all of the time. When you work in entertainment there's a huge dancing monkey aspect to it. If I don't have to be "on", I'd just as soon relax and let someone else worry.
TV. Is your passion for "odd" television selection a product of your childhood, or America in general? Is it because you like to switch off? For those unaware, please share your daily choices....
I like odd TV, I think, mostly because it's like the friends that I never had. If I could put a "super posse" together, it would include Judge Mathis, Dorothy Zbornak + Sophia Petrillo, A couple members of the "Bad Girls Club", some of the "RuPaul's Drag Race" girls (especially Shangela) and a chef or two to keep us fed. I have a weird variety of interests which range from really lowbrow shit like "Bumfights" and Jackass type buffoonery, through to my black shit, my gay shit, and then my comedy and my "make the world better" shit. Working up towards the documentaries that I watch which detail various aspects of the human condition and what it means to live on this earth for others.
Do you still have a thing for wooden sculptures? And corduroy jackets?
I'm not as big on the wooden jazz or the corduroy any more. That was very 2006...
Do you miss your youth?
I miss it sometimes when I look in the mirror and see the gray hairs creeping in. I still feel extremely youthful so It's not gone too far.
Now that everyone is a DJ and technologies have changed, do you long for the days when it wasn't like this, or are you happy to embrace it and move forward...
I can't fight the world. I'm just happy to still be able to do what I do and that I can eat and pay my bills.
You told me that you thought CD's as a format and even CDJ 2000's seemed like an "old" technology. Why haven't you switched to laptop? What are you waiting for exactly?
I like the CDJ 2000's incorporation of USB and that record box shit is amazing! I got a tour on it in Miami and even though it's some "best case scenario" shit with the company's super setup run by the trained guy making it look mega sweet. I was sold. It actually combines the best of both worlds. I've not completely switched to laptop though I'm trying it out in stages. I got sent some Traktor and now I'm ready to take over the universe.
Do you still buy records? Are you excited by this? Do you enjoy/ miss playing vinyl?
I still buy records. Mostly from Gramaphone and the occasional BM Soho trip (I don't know of many other records stores really). I don't miss playing vinyl out as much. It was a 700lb gorilla! I like the convenience of CDJ's and laptops. Plus if you forget something, you can DL it RIGHT THERE! I likes me some "on tap" shizz. Makes daddy's nature rise...My memory of you playing 3 turntables with one record under your arm and a nitrus ballon in your mouth were very much a part of my younger years. That showed both skill and wild abandon. You can't really do that with a lap top...in fact all you can do is throw your hands in the air and wobble about a bit....
Do you feel the same embarrassment for the modern day DJ as I do? Has the skill and passion for playing music been lost somewhere down the line?
I just think that it's different. Things change and evolve. I'm cool with that. Now the goofy ass clothes these kids wear...that's another topic.
Making music is something you have always dipped in and out of, but I personally haven't heard an original DC record in a fair few years, and I am generally your first port of call. Is there something going on there? Do you feel like you have put too much pressure on yourself to live up to what has gone before? I mean, the longer you leave, the harder it becomes psychologically surely?
I suppose that's a natural place to go when filling in the "why" blanks but in reality, I just haven't had the time or the inclination to do much original stuff. I can still do it if I want to. Remixes are really the same to me as original compositions. I make a beat and then make it jump. No different. What I find is, when it's time to work, I have a couple of hours before I have to feed or walk or tend to the monkeys and I don't like being neglectful of them. So making new records just isn't a priority at the moment is all. Not that I've psyched myself out of it or anything like that. I'll get around to it. I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. I'm just chilling...
Would this be the time to produce and put your stamp on others if that were the case?
Not bothered about jumping into that fracas either. I'm notoriously difficult to work with...
You have always talked about moving forward and not really wanting to stay in one place for too long. Our vision with Classic was always to add a timeline to it. Things came to a natural end, and we both had to take some time out for one reason or another. What was the catalyst for you wanting to do this all over again? Was there a point where you realised that Classic had had more of an impact on your life than you had once thought?
You were the catalyst. If it were up to me, I would have just taken my music and gone off into the sunset. I still feel a little apprehensive about starting this whole dog and pony show over again but I also feel like it's cool to do it now. There's less pressure in that we don't need to find a warehouse to hold product, set up a fax line, etc. It's so much better now. As for Classic, I've always liked it and thought it was great but it's never defined me or been much more than a way to express certain things. I'm not viewing it as a vehicle for social change or anything nor is it going to save the world but maybe, just maybe, we can make music fun again. That's what I'm after.
Your favourite hybrid animal?
Herman. On first look you'd be forgiven for not noticing his gills and webbed feet but boy can that kid go!
Ass or Titties?
I've always been a titty man. Even this morning, I got caught staring at a particularly large set of breasts. There's just something about a nice pair that fascinates me and renders me nearly useless.
What would be your Mexican wrestler name?
El Lagarto Negro (the Black Lizard)
What would be your signature move?
If you could have a theme tune, what would it be?
Something with a lot of bass and big booty backup singers on it. Singing about nothing but being on point. Boogie-acious.
Derrick Interviews Luke
How do you think Classic is going to fair given the current industry conditions?
I think you can only ever be positive about a life/career you have chosen, and all that goes with it. I am optimistic that we have chosen a great time to do what we’re doing , and I think that we’ve always unknowingly adapted in order to make things work. The days of great sales have been and gone, but, in hindsight, we lost all that money anyway, so what's going to be different exactly?
Why is Classic important to you?
I think that has only come clear in more recent years. After the inception, the growth, the wonder years, the crash, the heartache, and now the water under the bridge, I think I am now enjoying the legacy. I always wanted to be a part of something that left some kind of musical dint on people’s lives; it feels like a real accomplishment.
What makes you keep on when your get up and go has got up and gone?
I think it is the constant reminder that I could do nothing else. I couldn't go and get a job, I couldn't work for anyone else and I could never admit defeat. With all those things as a reminder, I kind of have no choice.
Do you still go record shopping?
I stopped for a while apart from discogs second hand buying. In more recent months I have been buying a lot of current vinyl only releases. There seem to be a lot more around and I find it quite exciting. I missed the routine of heading into town, going to Record and Tape Exchange then coming home with a bag of new records if I am honest. And if I am really honest, I only do it online now, so ignore the last statement.
Favorite hybrid animal?
The Squidgeon. Some may like to think that it were a combination of a squid and a pigeon, but that would be kind of ridiculous and pretty impossible for both parties. This is a squirrel pigeon. Possibly the most annoying combination of animal ever bred. I would own a fleet and release them on my enemies.
If you had to be either a mad scientist or a different, shorter mad scientist, which would you be?
Wow, that's a real conundrum for me. I think the different shorter mad scientist may have become a mad scientist in order to cope with height "issues." So there would be a conflict of minds there. And definitely issues. So I would go with the mad scientist. Plus it would be easier to reach the test tubes on the top shelf.
Have you ever had it blue?
My nick name is actually Blue , so yes I have.
As a traveling DJ, do you get tired of the job? Do you ever wish that you could split the two?
Either be a traveller or a DJ but not both?
There was a stage in my career when I was terrified of flying, and traveling became a real psychological battle. Now I am older and I have kids, I kind of secretly enjoy it. I miss my family naturally, but it gives me time to catch up with friends, watch films and read books. I often wish I could be more selective and afford to take time out to just be in the studio, and then just take time to be on the road, but you have to take what you can get and be grateful that you still get it in this day and age.
Why is Barnet so hot right now?
It's always been hot for me. I just think there have been times when it has been a little misunderstood.
If I held a pot luck dinner and asked each guest to bring the dish that they were "the iceman" of - the one that no one else could ever hope to better, what would be your contribution?
Mango hedgehogs wearing Dre headphones that I fashioned out of cup cakes.
Do you still make mixtapes?
Podcasts yes, proper mix tapes no. Although I still have a tape player, and I still have all my tapes, and some of yours for that matter.
I see you like to podcast...is it weird making them without an audience present? How do you psych yourself up for it?
I think it is a totally different vibe. I am a big show off and love an audience and with that in mind, I perform differently "live." I treat podcasts as an exercise in learning new music and also practice at playing it. Home schooling if you were.
I'm working on a line of shoes, wanna be a foot model?
I have weird toes, could that be an issue?
Now that you have kids, do you "dad dance"?
The good old fashioned "guff."
Perpendicular or parallel?
I go for the more complicated a word is always.
Have you seen those "Transylvanian chickens"?
Also known as the Naked Neck Bantam Cock? No. But you probably have.
How do you feel about re-entering the record label business as an elder statesman? Do you have a unique insight now or does it feel like it did before?
I like to think I have unique insight yes, and often get asked for advice. I give the wrong advice naturally as I am keeping all the correct advice for myself, but don't tell anyone. It feels a little different this time, I feel wiser but not bitter, and that's not a bad thing. I also still feel young and idiotic, which is also not a bad thing.
I like fuck off orange t-shirts...do you?
I like "fuck off orange" t-shirts on black people.
Ass or titties?
Do I have to choose? That's like asking "weekend or weekdays."
Where's my Casio drum machine?
Next to your silver Roland drum carrier.