Scan the credits on any of the high-profile indie-rock records in the British Isles in recent years, and chances are you’ll find Dan Kerry’s name somewhere there. Dublin was behind the board of producers for the groundbreaking first album of garage-punk poets DC Phonets And London Artcore Technician Black Midi, As well as buzz-generating singles Squid; Black country, new roads; And other work he has nurtured through his rapid Wonderground Studio / Label operations.
Kerry’s midas are even more noticeable with sensitive left-field rock bands when you consider his roots as a dance music artist who is a hit single co-author for pop stars. Kylie Minogue (“Slow down“) And Is (“Let me breathe”). As Speedy prepares for the Wonderground Year release, the fourth installment of the ongoing compilation series (the first three were released) 2014, 2016, And 2018), Carrie talked to us about how she kept her ears on the ground, and what she was looking for in a band before inviting them to the studio.
Spotify for Artists: Describe what you do and give a short story of how you got there.
Dan Kerry: On a daily basis, I would usually stay in my studio, just recording with the bands, trying to get the best out of them. I’m really focused on music and A&R; I run the label with two others [Alexis Smith and Pierre Hall] Take care of the administrative side of things.
Early in my career, I was making very underground, electronic content যেমন such as techno and hip-hop এবং and putting it on small labels. But then just for fun, I started making a whole bunch of downtempo materials for my own entertainment. I didn’t really think I was going to get it out, but it was sent to Virgin Records for some reason, and I got a deal as an artist. [in 2001]. It was a time when many major label producers were signing up as artists and got featured vocalists on record. So I was able to create a decent studio using advance and [Virgin] Sia and Emiliana introduced me to a lot of people like Torini, who gave me a voice over what I was doing.
But then I felt like I was in the wrong job because I was expected to tour, and it’s really hard for these singers to come on tour because they each have their own things going on. I think Sia suggested to me that, you know, instead of me being an artist, there’s another job called Producer where you do the same thing, but I can write and create records for her and other vocalists, and then it’s a matter of the artist going on tour. And I never really thought about it! I was like, “It’s a lot more appropriate for me!” I really like being a producer, but I don’t really like being on tour.
Although I’ve done some work by established pop artists, I’ve found myself more comfortable working on a small underground level where I don’t expect to give hits all the time. I started the Wonderground thing quickly which has an outlet for things I can do very quickly and there is no guarantee of any trouble with it once it is finished and we don’t have to wait a few months before it comes out. I read all these things in the all0s that people record a song on Monday and mix it up and then on a Friday afternoon, it has to be on the radio. It really appealed to me and I wanted to get something that was a bit like this.
Were you an artist fan of growing up, the story you heard, or an artist with whom you crossed paths that inspired you to pursue a career?
I’ve taken influence from all over the place, you know, as much as popular music from movie music. I think when I started making records, I got like humans Beck Quite interesting – there were some people who thought they could do whatever they wanted and they could change it. I wanted to change genres, because I was very involved in several tech-houses, and then all of a sudden I thought, “I want to record a guy!”
What are you looking for in the artist you want to work with?
Sometimes, it’s just a feeling. I always like to see bands in a small venue, as the first way to listen to them. What I really like to do is go to the windmill in Brixton and hear something there, because when you stand in the middle of that room, you feel like you’re in a band. It’s so small, and the music is up to you. There is a special feeling where I feel transported, and I lose all feeling in the house. Seeing Black Midi in that situation was really upsetting, because I had completely lost all awareness around me and I was just inside this crazy music. So it’s something that makes me want to work with someone, but it could be something different. It could just be a set of songs. It can even come down to one line of a song – when you hear something that connects to you so effectively, you just want to help the person say that thing as much as possible.
What is the biggest tool for an artist in 2019 from your perspective and why?
It can be a really nice house to play in – a place where people go and you can always play, where you have the beginning of a scene. Like I was talking about the Brixton Windmill এটি it’s a place where everyone always goes to test each other’s bands and there’s a huge variety of cross-pollination. There always comes new combinations, because everyone goes there all the time. It holds 150 people, but if you do a gig for 30 people there, it’s still great. So I would say that the most valuable thing that a band can take advantage of is whatever the equivalent of a Brixton windmill.
What is the best advice for you at the beginning of any artist?
The advice I would give to anyone is to find out exactly Why You’re doing what you’re doing and make sure you’re doing it the way you’re doing it. If a message is coming through the song – if you know it’s a politically motivated thing – you need to make sure that the music you are composing is designed in such a way that it delivers the songs correctly and you can listen to them. But if what you’re trying to do confuses people with how complex and powerful you can play, that’s a different thing. I recorded FONTAINES DC and Black MIDI records really, really differently, because with FONTAINES, I thought the defining thing in the song was the I recorded and mixed the instruments before I recorded the song, and then I put them just above it because it sounds you. Listening is really important. Although it’s different with black midi – it’s a complex mesh of stuff, and so they’re all much more connected together. But if these two processes had been changed, it would not have worked so well.
– Stuart Berman