Back in the 90’s I befriended someone called Tony Clements (one half and eventually sole member of Distorted Waves of Ohm as time went on) who ran the incredible and quite legendary label Eurk Records. I contacted him through his home phone number printed on the 12" label. Tony’s Dad would answer the phone, shouting upstairs “Tony!!!…phone”…distorted beats in the background.
I remember that first conversation. “I am getting some more studio gear together and think I will be really good at writing Techno and want to maybe release with Eurk” hahaha. I had some studio gear already, and was buying a whole load of stuff at once, which was actually delivered and setup coincidentally by Chris Paynter, who was the other half of Eurk and early releases with Tony under some other names. He worked at Music Connections at the time I think.
I never did release with Eurk, it came close a few times, money often being the block, but Tony and I became good mates, often chatting about Techno, YMO, Kraftwerk, spending time in each other’s studios. He would play tracks he created that never got released, he told me about how he was screwed by lots of people in the industry, it seemed riddled with this back in the 90’s. I was a newly impressionable young kid, full of passion and I think that was exciting for him. He taught me lots, about velocity on the Atari, that I should put bass in my tracks, he introduced Jeff Mills music, and we shared ideas around how we could “wig-out” the SH101. Tony sold me my Nord Modular, and even let me borrow a Pearl Syncussion he had borrowed to help me grow.
I nearly went to the USA with him but was so young and didn’t have money or a passport, so he went with someone else. He called me up once and said “John Peel phoned me up yesterday and popped round as was in the area”, that area being Broadstone, Dorset a place I would often get the bus from Swanage to go see him. I did travel to London with Tony, to do some record shopping and to meet up with the connections he made while out in the states, mainly Adam X. He was Dj-ing in London, I forget the club, it had the arcade machine Defender upstairs, quite a rarity even for then, but I am getting slightly ahead of myself.
Tony wanted me to share my tracks with Adam and maybe get a release out with Sonic Groove, something he had happening for himself. “My boy Martin has some great music you need to hear”. We met Adam hours before his set in his connections flat in London, eventually, it got around to me being asked to put on my tape, and I played what can be described as some rough Joey Beltram style Techno that was really repetitive. I got the sense Adam wasn’t overly blown away by what he heard, but said if I create a demo for him he might release it. That’s all I needed.
After getting back home from experiencing 5 hours of intense bass from Adam’s set, I got to work on creating something of a homage or continuation, a rip-off some might dare call it (it was the 90’s) of Adams recent Graffiti EP. Adam had spoken at length in London about how the mastering and cut on that record wasn’t what he wanted, and how he actually went to blue vinyl as apparently having better frequency response in some of the areas he was concerned about, which from memory was bass and in the hats. He talked lots about the hats, “it’s all in the hats” he said over and over in his New York accent.
My EP was done, I too put loads of time into those hats, loud, chorus poured over them and also crazy structure changes, and yeah…I threw a whole weekend into those tracks, which for me was a lot of effort haha.
The phone rings and it’s Tony, he had posted the tracks out to Adam, and Adam had phoned Tony up from NY…that’s how people communicated back then…“Hey Tony, yeah…your boy’s got no rhythm”.
The demo, rejected.
Me and Tony have occasionally caught up, although I think now it must be close to 10 years since we have spoken. We never fell out or anything just sometimes that happens. I imagine he might well be at his folk’s house still, if I phone I’d expect his Dad to answer “Tony!!!..phone…it’s Martin”. He’d tell the same stories, and I’d tell him the EP we sent Adam is now out on New York Haunted…a fitting name and label all things considered.
Maybe the story has come full circle, maybe there is more to it yet to come, but I thought I would share it.