Good music has a timeless quality and the truest test of quality is best judged over time. With that in mind we touch down with Mjazz head honcho Tony Justice to discuss the "Nostalgic Futurisms" LP...
Whereas many album projects claim to be "future retro", few actually live up to the claim. Let's be honest, you can't get more authentic than an album made of original works, remixes and works inspired by nostalgia? How was the "Nostalgic Futurisms" project born?
The best projects I find come about organically. I had been listening back to loads of DAT tapes and listening to loads of old tracks and samples from years gone by. Amongst these was the original loop that was used in the Soothe my soul remix. I started to have a play around with it, sent my workings over to Diamond Eye to have a play with and the track "Straight Up" was born. As well as this there were a few lost tracks on the DAT and a sort of timeline theme started to develop the notion that these tunes from the past were futuristic when they were made and could still be now. We started to gather some new productions that were inspired by the golden era to see if we could join the dots.
It has the feeling we were after of nostalgia, but of something that is current now and into the future. Also because all the tracks have been collected over different time periods. It has an archive feel about it and has a uniqueness in the levels and EQ, whereby you can notice nuances in volume and mixdown between the tracks, which used to be the case before the same software and techniques became endemic across the scene.
"The best projects I find come about organically."
The album takes us on a journey from the core of the 90's intelligent sound right through to modern day revivalism. There is certainly something to be said for reinterpretation in a a new context. How did you you assemble the artist line up for the album? Were all the new tracks written especially for the album?
With the exception of the older tracks- Icons, Krash, the Revolution track, we started to gather tracks specifically for the project. The artist line up consists of guys we work with closely- Diamond Eye, Metro, Cuelock, Paranoid Society, Momentum who I have worked with for years and always some unknowns like Stereotype who were friends of friends who had a track that we liked and fitted in. All the new tracks were written for the LP and the artist were just given the brief to write something inspired by 95-96.
Although some of the tracks were made 15 years apart, the is a cohesion through a common characteristic. Maybe it's lush pads, original breaks or just a vibe... Did the journey into Mjazz past rekindle the essence of what drove you to originally set up the label?
I think it shows that futuristic vibe. The combination of the break, the pad, the way the tunes have been approached and is a testament to the music and the guys who have made it. There is a definite strand that is holding it all together, quite what it is I am not sure, but it's a lot to do with the personnel and the music. I think over the years MJazz has always strived to set itself apart from day one. One of the first releases appears on the LP which is Glider State's "Nostalgia" and our aim hasn't really changed. The aim was and always will be to release good forward thinking drum & bass and related genres, and yes I couldn't help but get a bit dewy eyed about the past!
Mjazz is no stranger to going the extra mile when it comes to custom packaging and solid physical product, what have you done for "Nostalgic Futurisms"?
I have said in the past about being interest in the art and artform of the whole process of making and releasing and producing records, music and so on. So I always like to go the extra mile on the physical product and give the fans, the buyers something special to buy. It's about making the whole thing a bit of art, and this project has a very limited CD and package.
"There is a definite strand that is holding it all together, quite what it is I am not sure, but it's a lot to do with the personnel and the music."
Everything is hand sprayed and stencilled, from the sleeve to CD itself and it has one of the arrows with it used in the stencilling process. There is a sticker based on the artwork and the sleeve itself is based on an old review page from a music magazine, with the Nostalgic track list set as a review. Each one is 100 piece unique and sprayed by myself with some help from Scott Metro. I want it to be something I would buy myself.
What are the stand out tracks on "Nostalgic Futurisms" for you and why?
I really love all the tracks on the LP but if I had to choose "Satellite Respond" has such a futuristic vibe but a real nod to the past, the "Straight Up" tune really brings an old idea up to date, Cuelock's "Decent Minds" and Jason oS's "Flatline" really finish off the whole CD really strongly. I feel it's a really strong project and flows from start to finish.
You've had support from Rinse FM's DJ flight and LTJ Bukem, how has the initial response to the project been?
So far so good, people are enjoying the project and supporting the tracks so that is really good, the packaging is looking awesome and lots of people really love the look of it as well. I think it's got a good concept that people are getting on board with.
"Nostalgic Futurisms is out Monday 10/12/12 on strictly limited custom packaged CD and digital."