Desyfer’s label Tactal Hots has come on leaps and bounds in 2017. We caught up with him to find out what’s behind the change.
You launched your label back 2010. Where did the name come from? Is there a story behind why you did it?
Desyfer: The name came from an anagram of my friend Scott Latham who sadly passed away in 1996. Scott was the main reason I started Producing music.
Scott and I met through a record shop in our local town, I was promoting a club night and Scott was writing music, so the guy at the record shop thought it would be a good idea for us to meet. We got on really well apart from being (Liverpool and Man Utd fan’s) I was telling Scott’s father recently that whenever I would go round to see Scott he would make me a cup of tea in his Man Utd cup, he wasn’t offering me another cup, it was drink this or go without!
Scott was a great guy and was producing a lot of Garage and House at the time. I was Dj’ing a lot of progressive trancey music. Scott had been asked to write a record for Sasha by a Booking Agent in London who ran a couple of labels. The idea being he would produce a record for a brand-new label and then give it exclusively to Sasha. Scott wasn’t in to that type of music at the time and asked me to help, I’d seen Sasha play the recently and was going to see him a couple of weeks later. The track ‘Phoenix – Rise Up’ did really well and it was a big tune for Sasha in the summer and autumn of 1995.
Starting the label gave me a more hands on control, myself and fellow producer David Fletcher aka FOTN were both unsatisfied with labels we had been signed with in the past, some labels didn’t stay in contact once they had signed a track, or sit on it for a few years, or they wouldn’t report on release dates or even sales. The birth of Tactal Hots Music seemed like a natural progression.
Having followed your label from 2011 onwards, I personally witnessed a huge leap forward in the label’s quality this year. What has been the catalyst behind it?
Desyfer: One of the main reasons I guess is I took a 4 year break from writing music, and just concentrated on other areas in my life and releasing other peoples music. 2016 marked the 20th Anniversary of Scott’s death and I wanted to do something special for that. The connection with Nic Britton (one part of Tilt) came in 1995 when we got Nic to write the piano part for ‘Rise Up’ I also worked with Nic on ‘831’ in 98/99.
And In the past 12 months I started writing again, I had really missed it, so I guess that’s why you have seen more of a concentrated effort.
Would you say Tactal Hots has found its own distinct sound now? Tilt has remixed a couple of releases for you this year. Would you count them as core label artists?
Desyfer: I would like to say yes but then I feel we put ourselves in a hole, I’d like to think we are evolving with our skills and trying new production ideas all the time which give tracks a different feel and hopefully keep them sounding fresh. It’s been great having Tilt on board for 4 releases, and each remix they have done has always sounded fresh and different to the last one. I’ll be having them back on the label soon that’s for sure.
You’re producing under the name Desyfer and really coming up with some strong music and understand you’ve been getting some huge DJ support. Given your production has become really top notch and you have so much experience in the industry, what support do you feel you can give your artists? Are you looking for experienced producers? And what advice would you give anyone looking to get signed on your label?
Desyfer: Yes the feedback has been nice, to think those long hours in the studio have paid off is enough of a positive response for me. After a 4 year hiatus it wasn’t easy at first to get back in the saddle, it took a good few months to get to know my equipment and find my sound again. I think writing again has made me more critical, absolutely about my own music, I am very humble in that regard and know more about what I can’t do as a producer than what I can. I work closely with David Fletcher (FOTN) & Richard Wheatley (Hipnosys) which is great, those guys are great producers and I think between us we have some great ideas and we support each other in a number of different ways.
The labels music I’ve had to get critical with, I have had to say no a few times to producers who I may have released 18 months ago. I think being this critical with myself pushes you more and in turn helps the label and I hope some of the feedback I have given other artists who have sent me demos has helped push the bar for them.
What are the biggest challenges that you currently face in the industry as a label owner?
Desyfer: I think for me it’s about accepting where music has gone with the technology changes in the past 20 years. It’s fast paced and there is lots of it, probably too much in some peoples minds, but rather than fighting the change, we just need to embrace it. We have it at our fingertips and we can share, post and get instant feedback, we can all have an audience through personal networks these days. Margin’s are fine we all need to make some money some where along the line, they be more favourable of course, but hey who am I to change that?
The only thing I have to say with demos is don’t send them via email, we have a submission guide on the website, so please follow it!
What’s been Tactal Hots’ biggest achievement so far or what’s the thing you’re most proud of?
Desyfer: I think being able to create and keeprunning the label running is a big achievement, especially in the climate we’re in with music, it’s never been about making huge sums of money but it has created some life long relationships and friendships, and a pretty good catalogue of music whilst opening the doors to other interesting areas.
Now that your label is starting to become more recognized and trusted, are your goals for the label starting to change? And what does the future hold for releases and label nights?
Desyfer: Late 2016 and 2017 have been really good in terms of the quality of music we’ve released, having Mick & Nic (Tilt) on board as been a top move move for the label (Money well spent!), they are really happy with how I promote the label and how i kept them in the loop on all releases and feedback, which is massively important and the reason the label started in the first place, to hear that after 7 years of running the label is really good, we’re still doing what we set out to.
Moving forward in 2018, it’s important to keep that quality going, keep learning and keep exploring ideas and keep evolving.