Thursday, 11 March 2010

15 minutes with Scope

Belfast’s Ric Mclelland, AKA Scope, has had a dream start to his career, fulfilling his wishes to record for his favourite house labels so early on in his production career, and travel the world DJing in some of the hottest spots. His latest single, “Frequencies”, will be his third now for NRK, and quite possibly will be his “tune to date”. Accompanied by remixes from Steve Bug and Nick Harris, "Frequencies" appears to be blowing up right now, so it seemed like a great time to catch Ric for a quick chat.....

Hi Ric, hope you are well… let’s start off with the new single “Frequencies”, seems to be blowing up the spot, as they say! Can you give us a little insight into the track, how you approached it etc. It’s definitely a very forward thinking sound on that track…
I get really inspired by the music i listen to. A lot of what i have been playing as a DJ recently, has a real 'raw' and 'old skool' House sound to it, with strong Chicago and Detroit references in it. I remember that week i was listening to some Galaxy 2 Galaxy in the car and just wanted to take some of the vibes i was feeling there (and also the tracks i had been playing out recently) into the studio. The track came together quite quickly as i just made some chords and the string i used with them had a lovely spacey sound to it. I was looking for another sound to back the string up and just by accident it feel on an arp, which sounded wicked right away. So that was the core of the track put together really. 'Frequencies 0.020' is just an edit of the main mix and with the arp taken out. Then '0.003' is a more bumpin, techy dub approach to the original. So i felt i had tackled the idea form all angles there to provide a bit of something for everyone ;)

So let’s take it back to a few years back, what was your introduction to house/dance music, and tell us a little about how you got into producing, DJing etc.
Probably like most people my age, i grew up more with Rock/Metal & Hip-Hop. I played drums in a band and to be honest was pretty ignorant to Dance or Electronic music at the time. As you do though when you get older, you start going to clubs with friends. I always remember liking some of the music. The deeper, groovier and more musical stuff they would play at the start of the night. I have always been really hungary for new music, so i really wanted to find out what this kinda music was. Listening to Danny Rampling on Radio 1 really helped me get into House and discover a whole new side to music that i didnt even know existed. Before i knew it i was buying cds left right & centre, going to clubs to check out new djs and then naturally the want to be a dj followed. I moved into Belfast city when i was 20 and was hanging around with a lot of like minded people which was great. There was also a great scene in Belfast at that time. I remember seeing the likes of M.A.W, Ian Pooley, Terry Hunter, Miguel Migs, Onionz, Derrick May etc week in and week out. So inspiring! In 2001 i started running my own club nights and booked people like Tiefschwarz and Rob Mello. A few years later i started dj'n at other clubs warming up for big names (in favour of running my own nights). 1 thing i always noticed though, was that the big name travelling DJ's were also producers too. Again, following the natural progression, i got a copy of Reason and started making some really bad music lol. I was so determined to better the music i was making, so i enrolled for some courses at a local music academy. That really helped to teach me the fundamentals of making electronic music. Then moving on to work with more experienced friends was by far the most important thing. Its vital to keep moving as a DJ & Producer, learning from more experienced people, adapting with technology and being open minded to new ways of developing your craft. I love it though.. I wouldn't be doing otherwise!!

Who/what were your early influences?
Damn, so many. Probably the main things were hearing Danny Rampling on Radio 1, the NRK Nitelife series, seeing Joe Claussell DJ, going to Ibiza, the West Coast House sound, Classic Recordings, Bob Sinclair & Dj Gregory's Africanism project, Kerri Chandler, Miguel Migs, Ian Pooley, Underground Resistance, Ashley Beedle, DiY Records, Farley & Heller, Chez & Trent, M.A.W, Doc Martin.. I could go on :)

You’ve recorded for labels like Large, Forensic, Urban Torque and NRK of course, a lot already achieved since your first productions. What’s been the secret to your success?
I suppose just believing in what i do.. Hard work, determination and staying focused.

Push comes to shove, what is your favourite Scope production/remix to date?
I really couldn't just pin down 1 track. Maybe 'Strung Out' on UrbanTorque. My 1st release and possibly my biggest. Everyone was on that track. From Eric Prydz to Fish Go Deep. The same could be said for 'Omoplata' on NRK too. My fav Scope track to play out is 'It's The Funk' on Detroit's Kolour Recordings. But quite possibly my favorite track (which no one fucking picked up on at the time lol) is 'Love In Space'. It's a beautiful track and i'm hugely proud of it. I reckon if Levan was still alive, he'd be playing it.. Timeless House music! Thankfully though, Miami based Dutchie Music who signed it have got a few great remixes in on it from Roberto Rodriguez and Brendon Moller under his Beat Pharmacy guise.

So what is the scene like in Belfast now? You play regularly at Yello club which seems to be the leading party in the city right now..
Belfast has a great scene of DJs and Producers, but there is a lack of faith from venue owners and strict licensing laws in the city which really hold back the scene. In Belfast i play exclusively at Yello and have done now for 3 years. They have a good music policy and have brought over some wicked djs. They also host UrbanTorque and Buzzin Fly parties every quarter.

Who are your favourite artists/labels right now?
I really respect the artists and labels who are keeping it House. So many artists and labels that im into right now but heres some names of who i'm diggin in no particular order.. The Revenge, Roberto Rodriguez, Massimo Di Lena, Alex Niggemann, Lovebirds, Chris Lattner, KiNK, Uner, Coyu etc etc.. Labels: Freerange, Diynamic, NRK, Kolour, Compost Black Label, Fear Of Flying, Einmaleins, Rejected etc etc.

Aside from house music, what other music do you listen to?
A lot of lounge, downtempo, disco and jazz funk.. I have a massive selection of CDs, so i like to just go a grab a few and listen to them in the car throughout the week.

What are your plans/aspirations for 2010?
To keep making music and travelling as a DJ. I've been doing this for a while now, so as the honeymoon period is over i'm really looking to focus on quality now. Making quality music, releasing on quality labels and playing in quality venues. My 1st child will also be born in April, so thats another good reason to slow things down and make what i'm doing really count.

Who would be your dream DJ/artist line up for your party? You can choose DJs and bands….
Wow, I suppose there is a few ways of doing this. I think probably the best way would be to have just my real DJ buddys playing. Friends I have made over the years in the industry. Good fun and good music is by far the most important thing there! If it was something i was promoting, I'd probably have like a live room with Bent & Crazy P, an eclectic room with Giles Peterson, Jazzanova, Atjazz and Domu and a house/techno room with Joris Voorn, Dennis Ferrer & DJ Sneak. Then if my imaginary budget could stretch, i'd have Francois K, Danny Krivit & Joe Claussell host a Body & Soul room. Haha, thats more like a festival line up!! :)

What are your all time top five house music records?
FUCK.. Now you're putting me on the spot. I have a kinda top 10-15 in my head. Hard to pick 5, but heres a go at it..

Kerri Chandler - Track 1 (Atmosphere EP) - 157 Shelter Records (1993)
Dubtribe Soundsystem - Do It Now - Imperial Dub Recordings (2000)
Metro Area - Caught up - Environ (2001)
Africanism - Block Party - Yellow Productions (2000)
Black Science Orchestra - New Jersey Deep - Junior Boys Own (1994)

What are your current top five house tunes?
Ha.. This is a lot easier now..

Ercolino & Durango - Repeal (Alex Niggemann Remix) - Moonpool
Roman Alfieri - Hell's Smile - Strictly Chosen
DJ Sneak - Something - Magnetic
Scope - Runnin The Game (The Revenge Rubdown) - Large
Scope - Frequencies 0.100 - NRK

"Frequencies" is out now on 12" vinyl, and will be on sale on Beatport as from 22nd March 2010.
Purchase 12"
NRK Music on Beatport

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