Interview Copyright

WHO: Copyright
WHEN: 30th Jul 2010
INTERVIEWED BY: Toni Tambourine

The Interview Copyright

Copyright are the amiable and energetic duo that have been knocking out their distinctive brand of soulful, song-based house for over a decade now, and have been doing so to an army of loyal fans. Anyone who has heard their fans singing the lyrics to ‘Wizeman’ back at them when they play will understand just how influential these boys have been, and now they’re getting the recognition they deserve.

It’s time to stop talking about them and let them speak for themselves as they discuss, their roots, the highlights in their career and what is means to be officially awarded the title of House Masters…

Q. How long have you both been producing and DJing? What are the most important lessons that you have learned along the way?

Sam: Well, it’s been a journey of 10 – 12 years. It’s been that long a journey! It’s been a good one though.

Gavin: What we’ve learnt is you’ve got to stay true to yourself, you can’t just follow the fashion. Stay with your feeling and make the music you want to make.

Sam: People are now downloading house music from 2 or 3 major websites and it’s very easy for a DJ to download the same thing. When we started out, the DJs who were inspirational to us were playing something surprising in their set. That’s what you need these days, surprises from your record collection! Don’t just play the top 20 downloads, do your thing, get a sound and your time will come.

Gavin: The highlight of this beach party we did on Sunday was when we put on “Now That We Found Love” at the end of the night. This was THE moment of the party, it clarifies what he said, a few surprises.

Q. All DJ and producers have heroes, who for you were your hero's and who do you still look up to?

Sam: When I was younger I bought every single Todd Terry record. Everything he did and everything Masters at Work did. Whatever they did, they did it really well.

Gavin: I’d say ditto for both of those. I’d definitely put Kenny (Dope) in there. In my opinion, he is the number one drum programmer in house music. Tommy Musto, who is an unsung hero, he isn’t around so much anymore. He went on to do the Henry Street label, any time there was a new release, I knew it was going to be good. This was a big influence for me.

Q. How do you see copyright as distinguishable from other DJs out there? What makes you different in sound and style?

Sam: People seem to like our tracks and they are predominantly vocals. We’ve always enjoyed writing songs, and always dreamed or writing that song, like a modern day Dennis Ferrer “Hey Hey”. When a song like that comes along, that pushes us to try and emulate that sound.

Gavin: Another thing is there are two of us but we play like one person. When we are playing, it’s like there’s four hands on the decks! It’s an amalgamation of what Sam likes and what I like.

Q. Surely the best dance music producers are American right?

Sam: There are some great producers in America right now. Dennis Ferrer, every record he makes is potentially a classic. He’s ahead of the curve. In the past our influences have come from America, but they also come from all over the world and they are really taking over!

Q. How would you respond to the statement: Beat matching is easy? How skillful do you actually need to be to be a good dj?

Gavin: I wouldn’t say beat matching is easy. You can learn and have an ear for it if you if you love what you’re doing and love DJing. But you need to know what record to play and when, that’s the important factor.

Sam: The DJing is not the crowd looking at the DJ whilst he’s playing for 2 hours. The DJing is sitting at home, downloading tracks, digging out a classic. That’s the job, you bring tracks to the people. The best DJs like Eric Morrillo, he brings an aura to the booth and the show he puts on. That’s super star quality!

Q. Ok tell me something about what kit you use to get the copyright sound. Don't give all your secrets away just a hint!

Sam: The melodica! It’s a little keyboard with a tube you blow through! But the main hub will be the plug in synths you have on your computer. But we use some old synths, which makes our stuff stand out. Most people use the same synths and plug ins, but we have these synths where the presets are long gone. I love playing with the old synthesizers!

Q. In current times do you think that you could exist solely as producers and not DJ?

Sam: Well, it’s an interesting question. The way you survive in this is to tour with the music you have made. But what if we didn’t travel, what if we stayed in the studio and focused 100% on our production, could we have much more successful music which we could survive on?

Gavin: I think they go together, we’ll be making a track in the week and be thinking to try it out in the weekend. We’ll come back an arrangement is too long, or a sound should have come in earlier. So, one helps the other.

Sam: Our gig at Pacha was like a shot in the arm then you are inspired by that in the studio. Plus you hear new music when you’re out there.

Q. Louie Vega, Dennis Ferrer, Bob Sinclar; with this new compilation you’re joining an impressive list…how does it feel?

Gavin: We’re in good company there.

Sam: This is equal to the feeling we had when we were in the Defected offices with our debut album in our hands. We are fans of the other artists who have done this series, so to be part of those who have inspired us is amazing.

Gavin: It’s nice to see our body of work in this. It’s not just of our new records we’ve made this year, but it goes back over 10 years.

Q. Tell us about some of the tracks that really stand out from the course of your production career.

Gavin: There’s a re-edit we did about 10 years ago. We needed something special to come onto at the Soulfuric party during the Miami conference. We put some fresh beats and bass on to an accapella version of I Can’t Get No Sleep, which then turned into a remix!

Sam: People were begging us for the CD, we had done something good. When you hear what you’ve done in the past, you hear the energy. It’s nice to hear years on.

Q. Which tracks off this album work best for you on the dancefloor?

Gavin: There’s a current one. Chris Lake with “La Tromba Risin’”

Sam: This came about after Chris heard a mash up of the original “La Tromba” with “We Can Rise”. This was an easy project because there was agreement between two record companies, so we put our beats from the original with the horns and it’s created this monster anthem! On the album, we’ve got people who we’ve worked with for a long time like Imaani. There’s “Wizeman” which was a culmination of two or three records before. It’s one of our most requested tracks!

Q. Which of the tracks are you most proud of or have been your biggest success?

Sam: There’s “Wizeman”. We are most proud of that record.

Gavin: As a song it touched us deeply.

Sam: “Bulo” with Shovell was a massive international success, we shot a video, it went all around the world. It caught on! There’s a collection of different stories

Gavin: “He Is” with Dennis Ferrer was a big success. We wrote this song, which we sent to Dennis who took about a year to do the mix! He was trying to find the right angle. Eventually we got this mix, and said it sounds good!

Sam: It was great working with Dennis, we left him to come up with this master piece. We didn’t stress at him. If you play “He Is” to some big DJs they are like “You did that?! That was you?!” It was a big big record!

Q. Is it important for a track to have a good vocal for you, or do you need instrumentals too?

Sam: Every time we see DJ Gregory, he always goes in his heavy French accent “Guys, you musta makea more track!” He always wants us to more tracks but after we’ve done a track we always think “Let’s put a vocal on it!” Yeah we always say we must do more tracks but the law of the vocal is too strong.

Q. Outside of Dance music what are your musical influences?

Gavin: I’m an old soul boy at heart. I still love listening to old soul and jazz music. I’m now into Latin Jazz after going to salsa classes with my wife. She play a lot of Latin Jazz piano and I play the flute so we have these jam sessions at home. I enjoy music when it’s nothing to do with producing, I don’t know if that’s an influence, but it’s an escapism.

Sam: When I was my teens, it was late 80’s, early 90’s so dance music was blowing up! My dad used to take me to watch basketball matches where there would be a DJ before it start and I was like “WHAT IS THIS?!” So he took me to Piccadilly Records and Eastern Block. I just bought music and loved it! I was into soul too like Shaka Khan, Steve Wonder. A big regret of mine was a swapped two boxes of my early hip hop collection for a pair of trainers. I needed them so badly!

Q. You’re doing a producer workshop soon at The Roundhouse in London, what is this and what have you got planned?

Sam: We were asked to do a work shop around the event at the Roundhouse as they have a charitable side, involving kids in music. So we’ll be working to inspire, pass on a bit of knowledge and our experience.

Gavin: Over the years, we’ve gathered quite a lot of knowledge about the DJing and the producing. It’s nice to be able to pass that on to the younger generation.

Sam: It’s a two hour work shop, which we’ll condense down into the key things. We’ll be talking about plug ins, the technical side and then going through the business side. Some people make great music but it’s never released, as they may not know how to approach a label properly. This could be a new career for us after DJs and producers, be lecturers. QUIET AT THE BACK JONNY! QUIET AT THE BACK!

Q. Anything else you’d like to tell us about.

Sam: I think we need to sort out the grass routes level, of English football! It’s shocking! The show at this World Cup! I’m going to use this forum to vent! I am tired of overpaid footballers, and it should be about overpaid DJs! Thank you!

Interview by Toni Tambourine

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