Silk 86 On Making Dope Ass House and Disco

With their new storming new disco release out on Monday, we sat down with house duo Silk 86 to chat about collaborating with NYC based disco guru Blamma Blamma.

Hi guys, thanks for speaking to us today. Firstly, could you please introduce yourself to those who aren’t familiar with you. How would you describe Silk 86?

Pleasure guys, so we are Tom and Finn… based in London and we make up the power duo that is Silk 86. The project has evolved over the years, but at its core it’s just us making house and disco music we can get down to. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and if we can give people some dancefloor satisfaction along the way then great.

Where do your musical roots lie and what made you get into dance music? How did this evolve into getting into DJing and production?

Our musical backgrounds are both very varied, from a spot of jazz trumpet (no shit) through to playing drums in punk bands for Tom. Finn used to sing as youngster and got as far as grade two on the flute before turntables took over as teen. But we both had a broad taste and knowledge growing up and i think that helps as you can draw inspiration and idea’s from different sources. We both had dalliances with key albums (Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers etc etc) but i think when you start going out clubbing that’s when interest in dance music really took off for both of us. We both have always had an interest in creating music so the transition into production just happened. DJ wise Finn used to be a hip hop DJ, we’ve had to iron fast cutting between 20 songs in 2 minutes out of him… but he’s still got (some) of the skills!

How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?

We both did music courses, but Finn’s was much more focused on elements of production and engineering so that’s helped massively with the technical side. Put in the hours and you will progress, it just doesn’t happen overnight. To be honest we’ve kinda gone down a rougher avenue with our sound in recent times, finding repeatedly that a good quick idea for a track can out shine weeks of work on an average one. Mixing etc is still incredibly important, but you’ve got to have the jump off point in the first place to make it worthwhile. We’re much more open to dropping projects that we used to be into if they don’t sound good enough. Don’t be afraid to move on to new ideas / ways to look at a track. You could find it all just clicks in a different way!

Talk to us about your latest disco release and the inspiration behind it. You collaborated with Blamma Blamma on Emotive’s debut release and you’re doing so again. Tell us more about your relationship and how you guys met?

So this is slightly complicated… we setup and run the label and drafted in busybody Nick DC from Blamma Blamma to help spread the love. Finn is also the other half of Blamma Blamma, so it’s an intricate setup! It tends to be when the sound is maybe a touch more disco orientated and we’ve bounced some ideas off Nick we’ll do it as a collaboration, although it’s difficult to get Nick on-board with the creative process at times as he’s based in NYC! But it all works great, and for the label we really want to grow it as collective, so it’s good to have other people involved. We do regular events and our good friends Jonny and Wayne tend to play at them alongside us. The label and party carry the same vibe, and they get that, so it works nicely.

Which other DJs and producers do you admire right now?

Plenty to be honest, in terms of (relatively) new artists we’re big fans of Palms Trax and Mall Grab – both on the DJ front and production. Our good friend Ben Sun is also making some really interesting music right now, not adhering to any styles but his own. Francis Inferno Orchestra we’ve also known for a while and he just continues to smash it. Kind of odd that 3 of those artists are Australian but maybe that says something about the scene which has developed there over the years. Also Damiano Von Erckhert, Antal, Hunee all producing the goods on a regular basis. We’re going back to Dekmantel this year (not to play) and there’s always plenty of awesome Djs and sets there which live long in the memory. Highly recommend it.

On the other hand, which are your go to labels?

Utopia, Razor-n-Tape, Superconscious Records, Lobster Theremin (shout out to Jimmy and the guys who handle our labels distro), Shall Not Fade – Who we’re releasing on later in the year, Secret Squirrel, BBE, Athens of the North, Secretaundaze, Wolf Music….

Going back to your own DJ sets… what are five tracks currently in your record box and what is it about them that you love?

Emotive 001-003… Koze Operator Remix, a Razor-n-Tape ‘Controversy’edit (can’t remember the artist name, apologies), Soul Reductions latest release on Takeaway. All either solid records… or we made them haha.

What’s been your biggest achievement or proudest moment to date?

Probably the success of Emotive so far. For 001 we did zero press, not a huge amount of promo and it sold out plus received a lot of support from people we respected. It’s early days but the reaction has been great and it’s a proud moment to put out music that you love on your own terms. Thanks to the people who made it happen! You know who you are…

What are your aspirations for the future?

As we said before, keep Emotive moving in the right direction and working with the people that we want to work with. Play out a lot more, get out of London a bit more often! We’re excited about where we’re at musically and doubly excited that at least to some degree we control our own destiny and output – so we’re in a good place.

Is there anything else you’d like to shout about? Any forthcoming releases, gigs or other projects?

We’re actually doing a few shows in Germany later this month, one is an Emotive show at Ginsburg in Mannheim, then we’re doing a Silk 86 show the day after for a label called Dept. We’re excited about that. Then its focusing on Emotive 004, and also we have a release coming out on Shall Not Fade which we’re super pumped about… So keep an eye and an ear out. Thanks for having us x

Their latest release is available to purchase here from Juno


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