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Wednesday 15th, May 2002
Alistair "Ali" Wells

Progressive, still developing and getting better. Styles clashing into each other and giving out new sounds. One label that is extremely good at giving out new sounds is Easy Access, a label James Holden started out together with Silver Planet. One of the artists there is Alistair Wells who produces under the name of Perc. We caught up with him to give you his views about music, what he does and how it feels to have succeeded.

Question: Tell us now. Are you behind Votion on Silver Planet?



Yes that is me, the actual track “Votion” was something that I was initially unsure of, not because I didn’t like it but because it was quite different from the other tracks I was making at the time.
It was promo’d as a mystery release but my name is on the actual credits on the record so it’s not that much of a secret. There is definitely differences between the Perc and Votion sounds.
Maybe the two of them will work together at some point in the future!



Question: When will we see a Perc album?



That’s a hard one to answer. I guess when both myself and Easy Access/Silver Planet are ready for it!
I have always produced different styles of music so an album mixing different types of electronic music would be possible and hopefully it would be something that I would be proud of for a long while after it was completed.
The other thing I have to consider is that if I took 9 months to a year off to work on an album, would anyone remember who I was when the album was finally released!!!!
One day though....hopefully.



Question: Do you use software of hardware when producing?



The only software I use is a very old mid 1980’s sequencer running on an 8 year old PC!
The software is very basic, but I am very quick on it and therefore if I have an idea for an arrangement it can be put into practice very quickly.
The sequencer is only used to trigger all my samplers and synths. Most of my equipment is pretty old and there are a few old analogue synths and effects pedals which help make my sound distinctive from the majority of people relying on software and modern digital equipment



Question: Do you consider your music progressive or techno?



It has elements of both but as it has been adopted by the progressive scene more readily than the techno scene I see it as being more towards progressive.
There is also a breakbeat side to my music which comes from producing drum and bass for a while.
You'll be able to hear this in some tracks and remixers out in the near future.



Question: Who was the first “top gun” to respond to your tunes?



James Holden I guess, but it still surprises me when each week I hear that certain DJ’s are playing my tracks who I never would have imagined picking up them.
Further back I had some interest from the trance scene in and around London and a lot of my tracks were played off DAT, but it never reached the point of actually releasing any material.



Question: Will we see any mix album from you? If so, would it be progressive or techno oriented?



I’ll do a mix album as soon as someone asks!
It would probably be a mix beginning with deep house and techno, building up to a mix of fairly fast progressive tracks mixed with some quality techno. Everything I’m into really, though it may be hard to squeeze it all onto one CD



Question: Do you collaborate with any producer?



I have worked with people in the past but not for a few years and not on anything that has been released
Working in a duo is great for bouncing ideas off each other and is great fun when playing live but I also like to have 100% control so when I have worked with people there is often a few arguments!.



Question: When will you visit Sweden? We need to get educated about the easy access sound



There are no plans to visit Sweden that I know of at the moment but I’m sure the Easy Access crew would love to go there and play.
Easy Access has a wide range of styles on across it’s releases so it could be an interesting party!



Question: How do you manage to keep your quality so high? Your remix of Ben Pound is pure class and lets not even discuss I Make Nuclear and Trailer Perc Trash



I never think of myself like that, but it is great that people are enjoying what I do!
I can’t see the point of releasing a record or doing a remix that is not as good as your last one just for the sake of having another release in the shops, so therefore everything I do has to be as good or better than the last thing I did.
I don't like working to deadlines either though sometimes good results can come out when you are working under a little pressure. I’d rather just keep playing with something till an idea appears though all the noise and then I try and develop that idea into something I am happy with.



Question: How does it feel having a big name now. Being on everybodies lips. Any pressure of maybe not achieve such high score as the I Make Nuclear/Trailer Perc Trash?



I don’t think I’m a big name compared with a lot of the DJ’s and producers on the scene but you do notice your own profile rising and that has to be good for your confidence and to help your tracks be get noticed and be successful.
There was no pressure at all from James or Easy Access to do a follow-up to the first Perc single. The only pressure was from myself to make sure I did something that was a worthy follow up without just copying the first two tracks.
I took just under 3 months to complete the 2 new Easy Access tracks and hopefully the time and dedication is evident when you hear them.



Question: What is your view of all the terror that is going around in the world?



Whilst I feel that I don’t know enough about any particular region’s situation to really comment in depth, I find it very hard for acts of terror to be justified under any circumstances.
There are as many viewpoints and opinions as there people involved and I think that to attempt to build an objective opinion is very hard due to various bias’ and political leanings that every source of information has.



Question: If you could choose any producer to work with in the world, who would it be?



I don’t know, I never feel myself to be in the same scene as most of the progressive and trance producers so it would probably just be someone who could teach me some new technical skills and tricks or someone who had a better grasp of melody than me.



Question: The internet is becoming big, do you use it? If yes, how much?



I use the internet as an information source and to keep up to date on various musical matters but I am not a real net addict and could quite get by with only checking the web every now and then.
The internet is a great development but if your on-line persona becomes more important than your real-life existence then you need to get out more



Question: The MP3 scene is exploding. What is your view on mp3’s?



MP3’s are fine as a way of music to be passed around and for people to check out tracks that they would not have any chance of hearing but the free distribution of music can harm record labels especially the smaller independent labels by eating into sales.
Hopefully vinyl sales will not be too affected as people still want music on that particular format for DJ-ing purposes.



The way mix CD’s are available on certain sites weeks before they are released must be a nightmare for the companies that produce the C.D’s though and I could see this really affecting sales.



Question: What production are you most proud of?



This is always changing depending on what I have been listening to and what feedback I’ve had.
At the moment it would be the new Perc single on Easy Access called “Morning, Evening & Afternoon” and my track as Spartak on Choo-Choo Recordings called “Swallows & Amazons” which is getting played by a wide range of DJ’s.
Of my remixes again it’s hard to pick one but I still love my Perc mix of Rhythm Unlimited’s “Feel This” on Silver Planet. This came out around the same time as my Ben Pound remix on Easy Access and I still love the sound of it and the arrangement. I played it out recently and it went down amazingly well which always makes me love a track or remix again.



Question: If you could remix one tune out of any tune in the world, what would it be?



Probably a vocal tune from a different scene to the ones I work in.
I like it when tracks are totally re-positioned by a remix but still work in the new style, like the Photek mix of Zero 7 last year.



Question: If you could choose any producer to remix one of your tunes, who would it be, and what tune?



It would be interesting to see what James Holden and Gwill Morris would do to one of my tracks especially after they had hear what I’d done to their “First Light” classic (as Ogenki Clinic.) and as I know their sound really well.
Apart from them probably anyone whose music I like and who are at the top of field, someone like Adam Beyer, Satoshi Tomiie or Technasia or even some of the drum and bass producers like Andy C or Bad Company.



Question: Do you have any summer anthem planned for us? Something that you feel will be hammered all through summer or do you want to give us a little tip?



Well hopefully some DJ’s will be playing “Morning, Evening and Afternoon” on Easy Access over the summer even if it just off CD before it comes out later on.
It is quite a “big” sounding track that is made for peak-time moments in big clubs.
Remix-wise there is a set of Perc mixes of Nicholas Freeman on Limbo Records which I am really happy with and as I have mentioned above I am currently working on a new Perc mix of “First Light” by Ogenki Clinic which is nearly finished and which I hope compliments the original version.
Nothing is confirmed with this and it will be interesting to see Gwill (Morris aka Silver Planet’s Main Element) and James Holden’s reactions when they hear what I’ve done to their track.



Question: The progressive house scene has gone into a more deeper and darker state, not being as swirly and uplifting as it used to be. What is your view about that?



I think it is just a cyclical thing, as one sound reaches saturation point and begins to crossover into the mainstream then certain members of a scene will react against that and try and strike out in a different direction.
As well as the progressive scene, drum and bass is a perfect example of the ways very technical dark, minimal tunes have given way to more lighter vocal based tracks which I’m sure will lead to a renaissance in the darker sounds again fairly soon.
I don’t really see myself as belonging to a particular scene so it don’t feel the need to fit in with what the current accepted sound is.
I’d much rather do my own thing that I am content with then it’s a bonus if anyone else happens to like it.



Question: Do you admire any other producers that are not in the dance scene?



I like a lot of Timbaland’s stuff and he seems to be have a talent for making accessible sounding music but using a lot of interesting and occasionally experimental sounds.
Apart from here there are always odd tracks from scenes outside of dance music that catch my attention for some reason but there is no one producer who really consistently impresses me



Question: If you were forced to produce a tune for a “commercial” artist, who would that be and why?



I guess someone who had a big enough name but also enough talent to make in worth doing without it looking like a blatant attempt to earn some money.
When dance artists collaborate with commercial artists it rarely seems to work, either the original artist is impossible to recognise within the track or the dance producers sound is so watered down that it is worthless them being involved.
Someone who was also better looking than me would be nice as well, so we could put them on the sleeve!!



Question: Is James Holden still a crazy bloke? Remembered him from Lovely Day here in Sweden, when he and Luke Brancaccio ran around with switched name tags. I took both of their tags though. Buy a beer to him from me next time



James is crazy but in a nice way as he is only a part-time crazy person which makes it a nice surprise rather than his craziness becoming annoying.
He seems to be becoming quite a double-act with Luke, so you probably caught him at the worst possible time!!
I’ll make sure I get James a beer for you next time I see him, it’s been a while since I’ve seen James really wrecked so maybe your beer will be the start of a big night!



Question: Whats the name of the next Perc single. Or does Votion come first?



The next Perc single is “Morning, Evening & Afternoon” as I described above and is one of my tunes that I am most happy with.
It’s backed with a tune called “Remachined” which is the first of my breakbeat tracks to be released and should show another side to my producing, it is already getting play from the DJ’s in the breaks scene and it is great to be accepted by a another group of DJ’s.
Hopefully there will be a new Votion single in the not too distant future, there is a track at the moment which is being thought about but nothing is confirmed at present.



Question: Any advice to the young producers out there waiting for their big chance?



As a day job I A&R for a group of record labels ranging from deep house to tough minimal techno so I get to hear scores of new tracks from both unsigned and established producers.
I think a new producer has to have something special or different to get noticed, to me this means working within a scene but adding your own new angle to the basic elements of that scene.
This way DJ’s and producers can see how the new producer's tracks will fit into the existing scene but the tracks will be fresh enough to warrant taking a chance releasing a single by a brand new artist.
The worst thing you can do is really copy an established artist as that will nearly always turn out looking like a bad imitation of the original artist and will show a lack of ideas from the new producer.
I am lucky to work with the labels I do as whilst I don’t sound like most of the other artists on the label, they are still willing to work with my tracks and let me try out new ideas rather than trying to bend me towards the sound the label is best known for.



Question: How do you feel about todays trance scene? Is it good, bad or can it get better?



I think the trance scene is still strong, to be honest it has been a while since I really followed the scene closely.
As a scene the best thing about trance is the way people make an effort to get ready for a night out which make the night itself seem like more of a special event.
The problem with a lot of scenes is that a lot of the clubbers are quite reserved and are afraid to really let themselves go but with trance the fans really go for it and when a trance set is put together properly it can still rock!



Question: Last but not least, is there anything you would like to say to the trance.nu users?



I just hope the site’s readers keep up a healthy interest in the music but remember that scenes develop and that you must develop with it. People should always look for new exciting music both within and outside of their favourite scene.
People should also remember that there is a world outside of scanning the internet and DJ-ing in your bedroom and if you remember that then hopefully the music you love will stay fresh and exciting to you



Names: Alistair Wells

Aliases: Perc, Spartak (Choo-Choo Recordings) and Ali Wells (various labels).

Age: 25
Website: None at present but it’s always worth checking the sites of the labels I record for.

Nationality: British

Favorite dj: Too many to choose from and whilst I see a lot of great entertaining DJ’s it’s also been a long time since I saw a DJ that really blew me by doing something new.

Favorite producer: Too many again to choose from again, but anyone that does something that sounds good and offers something new will be my favourite until the next new producer comes my way.

Favorite tune: Sorry too many to mention from loads of genres but probably some old Aphex Twin material like “Ageispolis” or “Polynomial C”

Favorite remix Any mix that turns a track on it’s head rather than just subtly tweaking it, like the old Acen hardcore remix or classic Tenaglia and Timo Maas remixes of various artists.

Favorite cd: Of all time, Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works 85-92”.

Currently a mix CD from Christian E.f.f.e. and Niki B (who are signed to my Premier Sounds label) playing live at their residency in a club in Genoa, Italy which was stunning.

Favorite label: Apart from the one’s I record for!!!

Probably of all time: Eye-Q/Harthouse and currently Hooj due to it’s consistent quality combined with it’s diversity.

Favorite food: Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits (but I eat far too many of them!)

Favorite drink: Stella Artois

Favorite movie: Meet the feebles


Discography:



Ben Pound – Turned (Perc Remix) [Easy Access]

Perc – I Make Nuclear / Trailer Perc Trash [Easy Access]

Votion – Votion / Strider [Silver Planet]



And Forthcoming:


Perc – Morning Evening & Afternoon / Remachined [Easy Access]


Trance.nu would like to thank Ali Wells and Easy Access.


A Special thanks to Gemma for making this possible.



For more information:


Check out www.silverplanetrecordings.com

www.silverplanetrecordings.com/easyaccess/


Written by:
Proximus

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