Clyde Rouge talks about keeping it pure and doing things his own way.
Tell us about you Clyde.
Clyde Rouge: I got my first set of decks at about 18 years old. I had messed around on mates decks for a couple of years prior but never really got the hang of it till I got my own. I’m 34 now so I suppose I’ve been at it for around 16 years. I was late in the game for production and only started with that about 4 years ago. Right now I’m living in a small costal town in the north east of Scotland called Lossiemouth. I’m beside the sea so it suits me fine.
What made you get in to dance music?
Clyde Rouge: I have an older brother so growing up I never got much of a say in music to be honest. We shared a bedroom so it was basically case of I was going to listen to whatever he wanted to listen to. Like many people first getting into it back then, I listened to a lot of shite but he quickly steered me in the right direction as I got a little older and started going out. The Global Underground series was my first real introduction to more, underground dance music.
Where was your first gig?
Clyde Rouge: My first ever gig was at a place called The Loft. I was offered the warm up slot at my pal Chambers’ night. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and ended up playing 130+bpm Breaks to a 10pm crowd… with poor beat matching thrown in for good measure. I was shitting myself at the thought of playing music to people and my hand was shaking every time I put the needle on the record. I can’t say I enjoyed it much but it was a good lesson.
How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning?
Clyde Rouge: Very. I never had a computer until I was in my mid 20’s and it was so shit my mate Buckle called it ‘The Typewriter.’ I’ve never been great with computers and when I first opened Ableton I couldn’t even get it to make a noise. Any noise. I also don’t really have any kind of musical background, or know any music theory. In some ways this has helped as it stopped me from working within any ‘rules.’ I’m fairly comfortable writing music now and I work around all of this by keeping things simple. I don’t write complex melodies and I have very few plug ins and sample packs. I like to get on with it. I’m not the kind of bloke that spends 3 hours tweaking a kick drum. I can’t be bothered with that.
Talk to us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
Clyde Rouge: The Neyan EP was written after returning from this year’s IMS in Ibiza. I met up with Sam Dexter from Glasgow Underground’s A&R out there and he gave me quite a few insights into the music business and some good advice. Shortly after returning I sent the track to Glasgow Underground as a demo, for various reasons they couldn’t take it but Sam was really digging it and featured it on their radio show. I then took the decision to release it on my own label but package it as an EP with three very different tracks so as to try and catch a wide audience. I asked Alec Araujo if he fancied doing a remix, it was bit of a long shot but I was delighted when he agreed. Even more delighted when he delivered his remix. It takes the track in a totally different direction but works so well. I wanted something deep and moody in there from myself as well so, ‘Tamil’ delivers that. I feel the EP is diverse but the tracks also work well together as one release.
What’s the music scene like where you live and how often are you playing?
Clyde Rouge: On a commercial level it does’t really exist unfortunately. My nearest gigs of this sort are 40 miles away minimum. I am very fortunate though to be involved with a crew of party people who throw private events a few times a year on various patches of privately owned land. These gigs are a bit more underground and so much fun due to the vibe set out by people in attendance.
Which other DJs or producers are you liking right now?
Clyde Rouge: Alec Araujo who remixes on this EP is up there on my list right now. For Techno I often play a bit of CJW who owns WireLab Records, he’s really consistent. Matt Sassari, Hollen, Deetech I really like also. A lot of these are Techno producers although I’m not a full on Techno DJ by any means. CL-LJUD as well, I could go on for ages.
What are your go to labels?
Clyde Rouge: Glasgow Underground for sure, they offer a good mix of my kind of Housed up Techno and decent Tech House. I’m a long time fan of Audiojack’s Gruuv for Deep Tech and House.
Tell us about your DJ setup
At home I have a Traktor S4, a set of Technics 1210’s and a Pioneer DJM 900. For giggng I like to use the S4. I know a lot of DJs frown upon this because of the whole beat matching bullshit but the way I see it is, I played records for well over 10 years. I don’t feel I need to prove that point anymore. There’s so much more you can do with 4 decks within Traktor and personally, I’d rather push that envelope than spend my time beat matching. That all being said I will occasionally play out on turntables if I’m playing with mates on a back to back for instance. Occasionally play out on CDJs also but if I can’t use the S4 I’d rather use a set of turntables and Traktor Scratch. I’m just more comfortable on them than CDJs.
What’s been your biggest achievement
Clyde Rouge: I suppose it would have to be my recent EP (The Connected EP) which reached no.6 in the Beatport Progressive House charts and no.27 in the overall release chart. I recently discovered that there are producers/labels out there who actually PAY to get their tracks into the Beatport charts! What the fuck is that about? So when you’re up against that it makes the result more satisfying. Knowing that you got there through honest hard work. Also the fact that it was on my own label made it even better which is something I’ve built from the ground up. It’s not like I had a major label behind me to help push the release. Hopefully I can improve on that with this EP ;o)
From a DJ sense I’d say my biggest achievement was playing the main stage at last year’s Groove festival at Loch Ness. I was on pretty early but getting to share a stage with the likes of Leftfield, Boys Noize and Mark Knight was a good experience.
What can we expect from you soon
Clyde Rouge: Lots more music. I have about another 3 EPs of my own work scheduled for release on Chief Rouge Records before 2017 is out and also Tech/Progressive Techno EP comingon B-Tech Noir soon. I’d love to have one of my own EPs pressed for vinyl release, maybe in 2018.