TR20 are have long been a pairing to keep an eye on. We catch up with the guys and premiere their brooding techno rumbler ‘Red Baron’.
Hi Jack and Josh, tell us about you and how you first got hooked?
TR20: Jack was given a copy of a ‘hardcore’ tape by an older kid when I was in school, I guess I was around 12 years old at the time. It was a recording of DJ Easygroove, playing at Fantasia. So that sparked the initial interest, then like so many UK producers and DJs we discovered Pete Tong’s Essential selection and the Essential Mix. Many a Saturday night were spent turning over cassettes in the wee hours followed by detailed analysis in the following weeks. At some point Josh’s dad got some decks, belt drive at first and then some 1210s, from then on all spare money went on vinyl. There were no local places to get upfront music so we used to phone around record shops all over the UK and they would play tracks down the phone.
How did you come up with the name TR20?
TR20: It is the post code of West Penwith, Cornwall, the area we grew up in. It doesn’t hurt that it sounds a bit like classic Roland Drum box either.
Where was your first gig?
TR20: A barn at an illegal rave, this must have been just before the criminal justice bill came in. We were still in School!
How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning?
TR20: Jack: It was pretty hard, in some ways it still is. Computers were not powerful enough to do everything in the box, I spent my first student loan cheque on music gear, I bought a PC with Cubase and a mixer and sampler and some monitors and had couple of other bits and pieces, a crappy Roland Sound Canvas which really I had no idea how to operate. To recall anything you had to do midi sysex dumps into Cubase and then send them back to the hardware to restore the settings. Switching between tracks to ages. Modern computers and DAWs make all that stuff much easier, although we do still love hardware, we don’t bother with sysex, we just record everything as audio. So the technical aspect I think has largely got a lot easier, but you still need to learn what sounds good, how to use your ears and the artistic struggles are still there; Inspiration, self confidence, integrity, those aspects some people find easy, but for me there is always a certain amount of struggle involved
Talk to us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
TR20: This latest release is a bit of a departure for us, it is proper techno, heavier and a darker than the stuff people might be expecting from a TR20 release. The label wanted us to work with a theme, each release being in some way representative of a different decade of the 20th century. So this release is based around ideas and events of the decade from 1910-20, obviously that was the decade when world war 1 occurred, so heavy, dark, angry and oppressive vibes abound. So ‘why Machu Picchu?’ I hear you say. Well, it was ‘discovered’ by an American in 1911 and he brought to the world’s attention, I forget his name and he made famous, so that felt like interesting theme, the rediscovery of an ancient city, full of mystery and wonder (and a bit of wonk for good measure).
Hush Hush are a new imprint. Why did you choose to work with them?
TR20: Hush Hush head honcho Andrew is a great guy, he puts a lot on the line to bring talented DJs to his events and he lives and breathes the scene. When he said he was starting a label we were first in line. We know he will put his all into it. He asked us to deliver a Melodic Techno sound, which the label wants to push with their releases. we’ve had a listen to the releases that are lined up after ours, from Jaap Ligthart & James Haidak, along with Andrews own ITMS76 moniker. The signs are really good and we’re already looking at some other Techno ideas for the next few month or so.
What’s the music scene like where you live and how often are you playing?
TR20: I live in the arse end of nowhere in Yorkshire, so locally there is not much of a scene, but Hush Hush are putting on some great events in Leeds, they recently had the likes of Oliver Koletzki and Reinier Zonneveld playing, before that there was Digweed, Dave Seaman, Pig & Dan, you get the idea.
Our next gig will be the Tarnished Tracks party in Amsterdam with Dale Middleton
Which other DJs or producers are you liking right now?
TR20: Baime, Just Her, Gab Rhome, Dahu, Tim Engelhardt, Patrice Baumel
What are your go to labels?
TR20: Stil Vor Talent, Steyoyoke, Selador, Constant Circles, Einmusica, Lowbit, Vivrant, Blindfold
Tell us about your DJ setup
TR20: XDJs and 1210s and a Pioneer mixer
What can we expect from you soon
TR20: We have a 3 tracker due out later this year on Pete Oak’s excellent Blindfold Records, this is much more melodic and uplifting fare and we have another EP coming out on Pete Bone’s Red Ant too.