Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One Hundred Project : Solid State

What is on your stereo at the moment?

Al Green 'Love Ritual' then I had Mona Rae 'Do Me'

3 records that changed your life. Why?

Well 'changed my life' is a bit strong, but...

Vice Versa 'Music 4 EP', 1979
This was the first record by the future ABC and came out of their cellar in Hunters Bar, Sheffield, on their own label called Neutron. We were given all the early Neutron releases (and the ABC stuff, later) by Steve Singleton's sister who was my sister's beezzie mate at school, and we were exposed to all the contemporary Sheff sounds through that connection - so, even though we were only 11 and 13 at the time, we were bang up on what the Human League, Clock DVA and all those bands were up to. I remember all the stories, like the utter incredulity that was rife when Phil Oakey got those two townie lasses singing, and Judd from Clock DVA dying 'from drugs'...You felt like you knew all the characters, even though you didn't.

Musically, the Vice Versa EP was quite bleak and quite pretentious, I wouldnt say I loved it exactly - the fascination was more that someone we knew had actually released 'A Record'. Even now, when literally anyone can punt around their own music on a CDR or MP3, having a vinyl record seems special.... back then it was quadruply so.

It was also a fascinating time, looking back now - this record came out at least a couple of years before Sheffield was on the map (as far as most peope were concerned) as any sort of musical hotspot. Very few bands in the city had released a single, and Neutron were practically the only label actually from Sheffield putting out cutting edge Sheffield music. 'Being Boiled' came out on Fast Product, a Scottish label. The Cabs were with Rough Trade. So I suppose this record was part of that process, laying the groundwork for the 'explosion' in Sheffield music that was to come. It was the post punk DIY thing in action, which was very inspiring, even tho I was far too young to do owt myself at the time!

Cabaret Voltaire 'Crackdown' LP, 1983
Still the best Cabs LP IMO, the experimantal earlier stuff maybe had more 'edge', but this was actually funky as well as menacing! It's also the first LP that's almost totally electronic. In fact, the 'electronic-ness' of the early Cabs has been greatly exaggerated - they actually relied a lot on normal electric guitar and bass. John Luongo and John 'Tokes' Potoker (whose names I only recognised years later as well-known NY dance producers) gave it a warmer, cleaner sound, with ots more sequencing than previously. Despite later forays into clubbier music and even House, I dont think they ever bettered this.The name, the look, the attitude, the sound - everything about the Cabs was perfect. I was obsessed with em for YEARS after hearing this.

Mantronix 'Who Is It?', 1986
I used to play this over and over, and I bought the normal 12 AND the double pack! Sonically, it was like the bridge between hip hop and techno - yes techno, not electro! - lyrically, it was a poem to sampling. It was also my standby House-Not-House track - I used to put it on tapes before I had enough actual House to fill a C90 - it seemed to fit the vibe. A really exciting record, still. Has the 'get down' sample from 'Bounce Rock Skate Roll' in glorious, grainy 8 Bit...

Before that there was the Sreetsounds Electro comps and The Message too, of course, but everyone knows about the impact they had... and I'm trying to keep it to 3 records!

What are you looking forward to?

The Hot Coins record coming out on Society, Northern Disco in March, and a holiday at some point.

What couldn’t you live without? Why?

Radio 4. There's just always something interesting on it - though I proper DETEST The Archers! And me and Mrs State love 6 Music too, esp Craig Charles' funk and soul show on a Saturday night. He played Undisputed Truth's Ball of Confusion the other week, which rocked our world.

Most memorable gig?

Johannesburg in 2000... I was in the right place at the right time and landed one of Chris Duckenfield's cast-off gigs (he wont go, for some reason) and had an amazing time out there, playing in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as about 4 radio slots. What an incredible place. And the last gig in Jhb was amazing - man, I'd kill to go back!

Who/what are your influences?

All that crossover scene in Sheff in the mid 80s at the end of the 'industrial funk' era when House was just making it all sound old. Such an exciting time. CAbs, Chakk, Hula, Clock DVA, then Jive Turkey with Winston and Parrot. In more recent times, I've been influenced by the taste of people like Danny Wang, Greg Wilson and Al Kent 'cos of course I love disco, electro etc.

What is the best and worst thing about the city that you live in?

Great atmospheres can be had in Sheffield, but its so elusive! Maybe it's to do with the exact allignments of the planets. When its good it can be REALLY good, but many's the time you wonder why you still bother haha!

Given the accelerated pace of modern culture, what are we due a revival in?

Fuck knows. 1991 House?

Hero? Why?

Bowie would be one just because of his 'sheer talent'!

Is there anything else that you feel that we should know?

Society Recordings will take over the world by 2012. We just need to put some records out and 2008 is my '20th anniversary of being a DJ' year!

Solid State aka Richard Hardcastle - Society Recordings, Sheffield

Solid got his start in making real music in 1985, aged 17. He was recruited to play guitar and programme synths and drum machines in Sheffield bands One Stop the World and Jass, playing alongside assorted Sheffield luminaries such as Pulp's Nick Banks, All Seeing I's Dean Honer, and WARP's Rob Gordon.

Then, inspired by the clubbier, dance-orientated black electronic sounds played by Winston and Parrot at Jive Turkey (original home of the WARP Records sound) he began Djing his still pretty meagre collection of House, Rap, Soul, Funk and Go-Go and promoted his first dance club, 'Kangaroo', in 1988.

Kangaroo appeared alongside Jive Turkey in an NME 'Acid House Special' in Nov 1988 before problems at the venue put it to rest. Richard then played the Sheffield warehouse and college scene for a couple of years, put together a few mix tapes, and adopted the DJ name 'Solid State' in 1990, playing on the Shamen's Synergy Tour date at Sheffield Uni. He first gained wider DJ recognition for his Palais residencies, playing at hugely popular nights such as the 1500 capacity Compulsion and Jam Factory during 1990-93 with Shelleys kingpins Dave Seaman, Dave Ralph and Sasha, and his Saturday afternoon pirate radio shows on SCR and Fantasy FM were essential listening for many in Sheffield at the time.

At the end of 1992 he resurrected Kangaroo and drafted in Notts party kings DIY as well as future TOKO and Guidance artist Pat Barry, with whom he would later collaborate on his own releases for those labels. Pat's other major contribution was in introducing Solid to the deeper side of Disco and Balearic music, beginning a discotic fascination that lay the groundwork for Society a decade later.

In 1993 he was involved in bringing Tony Humphries and Justin Berkman to Sheffield in an exclusive 'Ministry on the Move' event at Sheffield University, with a specially hired sound system. During a fallow period in the Sheffield club scene he played extensively the free party scene with Smokescreen (later the Inland Knights) and his old hero Winston Hazel through to 1994, when he took 9 months out to teach English in Istanbul.

Suitably refreshed, returning to Sheffield in mid 1995, Richard was one of the original team who started The Republic (later Gatecrasher), making DJ appearances alongside Harvey, Norman Jay, Derrick Carter, Derrick May, Farley and Heller, Andrew Weatherall, Nightmares on Wax and many others. Richard was recruited for versatility and his ability to play a diverse selection of music at a time when many DJs were either 'House' or 'Funky'...

Between 1996 and 2002 Richard teamed up with, the TOKO boys, Pat Barry and SWAG, and released vinyl for Toko, Cookhouse, Chris Duckenfield's Primitive and Chicago's deep house legends Guidance Recordings, on the strength of which he played a mini tour of South Africa in 2000. From 1998 he also became a regular spinner at Scuba, Sheffield's longest running and best loved 'real house' night, and at NY Sushi, where over the years he played alongside the Unabombers, Greg Wilson, Sean P, Idjut Boys, Swag, Nuphonic, TOKO boys, Bjorn Torske, Winston Hazel, Chris Duckenfield, Mantis Recs and numerous others. Always a DJ with a passion for the wider spectrum of black music, he became terminally disillusioned with the 'House DJ' treadmill after his eye-opening trip to South Africa in 2000... So when a friend approached him with the idea of a night 'joining the dots' between old classics and new, Richard totally ran with the idea - and Society was born (quite literally) on the 4th of July 2003, with Richard as resident.

As well as monthly slots in Sheffield, over the past 4 years he has represented the Society sound at like-minded events in London, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Stoke and Birmingham. Society guests have included Daniel Wang, Recloose, Greg Wilson, Al Kent, Balearic Mike, Greg Belson, Sean P, Kelvin Andrews, Ichi One, Red Rack Em, Balearik Soul, Deepsoul3 and many others. In 2005/6 Solid State released 2 edits EPs Product of Society' Vols 1 and 2, and after something of a gap in their output, Society Recodings has 4 releases scheduled for 2008, including mixes from Chris Duckenfield, Small Arms Fiya, Toby Tobias, The Black Dog, Trulz and Robin and more.

Solid State - Live in my basement mix


Madre - ‘Final Funk’
Product of Society - ‘Extended Juice’
Bohannon - ‘Dont You Be Ashamed To Call My Name’
Pimp Daddies - ‘The Vibe’
Small Arms Fiya - ‘So Easy’
Tik and Tok - ‘Crisis’
Black Joy - ‘Moustache’ (Prins Thomas Disko Dub)
Al Wilson - ‘Earthquake’ (Al Kent Edit)
JJ Fuchs - ‘Stick It In the Middle’
Terry Brooks - ‘Pressure’
Alfonse Mouzon - ‘Space Invaders’
Ray Parker Jnr - ‘Invasion’
Pointer Sisters - ‘Dare Me’
Love Birds - ‘Modern Stalking’
Sleeque - ‘One For the Money’ Dub
Roundtree - ‘Hit On You’
Michael Wilson - ‘Groove It To Your Body’ Inst
Product of Society - ‘Space Boogie’

Download the mix from Trackwerk here.

1 comment:

MrB said...

The Rat Trap !!!!!

Bloody hell, that was one of our regular student haunts back in the late 80s, 87 I think.

Sarah has a Rat Trap badge on her biker's jacket lapel.

Nice one.