909originals chats to Tim Green about marking 15 years in the music business with new compilation, ‘In New Light’
Tim Green first burst onto the electronic music scene back in 2006 with the release of the minimalist Little Flies on Four:Twenty Recordings, and to mark 15 years in production, the London-based producer has announced a forthcoming eight-track compilation album, In New Light, on his new For A Memory label.
The In New Light EP sees nine of Green’s artist friends and contemporaries, including Mathew Jonson, Lost Desert, Dave DK, Janus Rasmussen and others, remix tracks from his back catalogue, including tracks such as Her Future Ghost, New Life, Among Wolves and The Incident. It’s set to be released on 26 November, and can be pre-ordered here.
Over the course of his career, Green has put out tracks on labels such as Cocoon, Anjunadeep and All Day I Dream, as well as remixing the likes of Friendly Fires, Paul McCartney, Cassius and Booka Shade.
909originals caught up with him.
Hi Tim, thanks for talking to us. How did the ‘In New Light’ project come together, what gave you the idea?
Initially the idea came from me recently regaining the rights to a lot of my back catalogue. Over the many years of releasing music, I’ve signed a multitude of contracts. They are pretty standard, but most of them have a term, usually of around 10 years. Once that term is up, the label no longer holds the rights to the song and it reverts to me again.
So we decided to take these rights back and consolidate all of the songs onto a new label of my own, which I called For a Memory. This label is to host a lot of my back catalogue, mainly so people can find it all in one place. Plus, this got us thinking that we should highlight this new label and back catalogue by releasing a package of new remixes of selected songs – shining a new light on the older catalogue!
Each track on the album is remixed by a different artist – how did you select the artists for the project, and what does each bring to the table?
It was quite easy to be honest – I believe I am very fortunate and lucky enough to be friends with most of the artists that I love, and am inspired by. So I essentially contacted a lot of my good friends, and asked if they were interested and had time to do a remix.
The response was really positive and ultimately I got back far more remixes then I initially planned. But I think over the years, due to my different exploits in various sub genres of electronic music, I’ve made a fair few connections and friends, culminating in a nice interesting wide array of artists.
I really wanted to include some of these different artists on the package. Like, for example, Mathew Jonson, Dave DK and Quenum, who I would consider more from my past in terms of sound. That’s not to mean in any way it’s an old sound, it’s just a reflection of a sound that I used to be more heavily involved with in my own past.
Then, of course on the flip side, I wanted to mix it in with the newer connections and friends I have nowadays. Like Volen Sentir, Izhevski, Lost Desert, Amonita and Alejandro Mosso, who I think has bridged these different sounds in a similar way to myself. But all of these artists I was really happy to bring together, to hopefully give a nice representation of my back catalogue, but still represent the sound I am pursuing today.
Will you also be releasing new music on the label, or is it specifically for revisiting old tracks?
Yes the plan is to release some new music, but it will always be from myself. Or perhaps a collaboration. So there won’t be any releases from other artists on the label, except if we collaborate together.
It’s 15 years since you first burst on the scene with your first couple of EPs on Four:Twenty Recordings. How has your approach to production changed over the years?
Well I know what I’m doing now when it comes to production, ha ha. I never had a clue in the early days. It was just trial and error. The incredible free resources you can find online now didn’t exist when I started.
So, I had to learn it by myself, or learn it from other people in professional music studios.
We’re now coming out of it, but how was the COVID lockdown period for you. Was it a productive time?
Well, my wife and I just had our first child during lockdown. On the one hand, it was surreal and weird, as we were all alone and unable to see any family or friends for such a long time. On the other hand, we loved there just being the three of us and not being disturbed for so long. It was intense, but amazing.
Also, we loved being together for so long. If I was touring like any other normal year, I would never have been able to spend that much time with my daughter. So to see the silver lining in such an awful time in the world, I think I was lucky to be able to spend such a positive time with my immediate family.
Has it been difficult for you to balance music and your fatherly duties?
It’s been a challenge, but not impossible. I have always struggled with touring and producing music in the studio at home. I prefer to take my time with producing and not rush music. Sometimes the time in between touring is not enough for me to properly get on with writing music. I like to have quite a few free days to experiment.
Being a father on top of this definitely reduces this time even more. But the flip side is how much happiness I get from being a dad to my daughter, which definitely helps and feeds into my music massively.
You have also released music in recent years as Apir and Invisible Minds – do these represent different sides to your musical personality?
Yes, completely different. It takes a lot for me to create an alias, I would prefer if I didn’t have to make any alias monikers. Because essentially all the music is me, so it’s silly to put a different name to it. The alias is there for everybody else to compartmentalise the direction and sound. It gets confusing if people expect a certain sound from me, then hear me play live or DJ, and it’s a completely different sound than they expected, ha ha.
Invisible Minds was an outlet for many years of songs I had accumulated that didn’t fit into any one genre. An outlet where I didn’t have to worry about genres or direction. I just sat down and wrote music. Apir is essentially a darker (and probably tougher) dancefloor / DJ-friendly sound that I wanted an outlet for, as my main passion now is for a lighter and musical based style of house music.
But I still have lots of songs that I think fit more into the darker side of things, one foot into the techno world. I have so many unfinished Apir songs, eventually I’ll get round to finishing them when I find the time.
You previously namechecked Daft Punk’s Discovery as the reason you were first ‘bitten by the electronic music bug’. What was it about that album that inspired you, and looking back, has it stood the test of time in your eyes?
Yeah for sure, it’s still one of my favourite albums ever. I think it has definitely stood the test of time; name me one other artist that sounds like them? Still truly unique and ahead of their time.
The whole concept of this album still blows my mind, and in my opinion was them realising the potential of how futuristic electronic music could be. They really went out there and created this hyper future, fantasy, pop-dance album that influenced so many underground and commercial artists, still to this day, even.
Over the years you have drawn your influences from jazz, soul, funk and a myriad of other non-dance genres. How important is it to you to bring some ‘soul’ into your productions, rather than just rely solely on electronics?
It’s everything to me. It’s the reason why I don’t program my synths on the sequencer, I play them in and practice my parts over and over again. It’s the reason I am in this new genre called ‘Organic House’.
To me it’s essentially fusion music – although not the jazz-rock genre! I feel it’s a lovely genre right now where I can fuse together many different sounds into one song. I didn’t name this genre obviously, ha ha, and I know a lot of people find the Organic House name silly. But a name is just a name for categorising in my opinion, and obviously it’s a reference to live instrumentation and instruments being used in this style of music, as opposed to just electronic instruments.
But like I said previously, I can really explore any instruments and sounds, and fuse them into the music I want to create. My recent All Day I Dream song Moss is a great example of this. I have a jaw harp, harmonica, piano, glockenspiel, violin, viola, female voice, harp, bass guitar, marimba, xylophone, bongos, a full drum kit, clarinet, and timbales.
There are not many other genres of music where I can get away with doing this level of instrumentation, other than World Music and probably a score for a movie.
But all of these live sounds, sounds I can perform and record myself – or manipulate myself to feel more real and give character – in turn provide soul to my music.
You’ve worked with plenty of other labels over the years, but most recently you’ve been closely aligned with All Day I Dream. You are obviously a fan of what Lee and his team are doing with the label/events vehicle?
Yes, massively! I am honoured and so happy to be with Lee and help this incredible journey ADID are on. I’ve been friends with Lee for a really long time now, many many years, but I don’t want to say how many and show how old we are!. Or, truthfully, I’m too old now to remember the number of years its actually been now… 😉
But I’ve been going to the ADID events since very early on, to both hang out with Lee, plus hear the amazing music and enjoy the events. I always found myself making more of an effort to go to the ADID parties than any other party, say, for example, at festivals like WMC, or Sonar etc. I just really felt connected more and more with the music, especially at times in my own career when I did not feel as connected with my own music I was making at the time.
Lee and myself have musically worked together many times in the past; some things worked, and others didn’t. I even did a remix for Lee under my original name of ‘TG’, on a track of his called Raw Dog. It’s not a good remix, so I don’t advise you to listen to it, ha ha. But since the early days we’ve always been friends and tried to work with each other.
He’s always had the door open for me with ADID, but I had to go on my own journey and work out what I wanted musically. I slowly started to change my sound quite a long time ago, and infuse more musicality and intelligence into my music. All with the intention to finally get to a happier place again with my own music, and write music I felt was special.
One milestone step for me was my song For A Memory, which Lee released on his label Get Weird. We talked about it coming out on ADID, but it just never felt right to both of us. I was still transitioning my sound a lot, and ADID was very specific in its sound and direction back then.
But in hindsight, it was a big song for me, as I really didn’t try to sound like anyone else. I just wrote a song that I wanted to hear, and it turned out truly special. I think because it was genuine and I wasn’t limited by any constrictions. In turn, obviously, all of our history together then eventually led me to releasing on ADID. The timing was right, I was comfortable with the sound I was pursuing and composing, and it aligned perfectly with Lee and ADID.
That’s still the same now – we are really well aligned, I think, and share many of the same values and goals when it comes to music and direction.
Now that you’re back on the road, playing in front of an audience, do you think that anything has changed – as in, is dance music/clubbing after COVID a different experience?
Yes of course, it’s very different for all of the obvious reasons. But equally, it’s still got all of the core essentials about clubbing as its foundation, which I think is still mainly based around the crowd and people who make the effort to go out and support parties. The hunger and desire probably stronger now than before.
You have a decade and a half of production under your belt. What advice would you give to producers who are just getting started, particularly given how crowded the industry is at the moment?
I think if you genuinely want longevity, you should be very wary about trying to sound like everybody else just to fit in. Instead, try and be as unique as possible, by being yourself and having something interesting to bring to the scene through your music and productions.
I know that sounds like quite a hard thing to achieve, but I think so many songs and scenes get stale by many songs copying other songs too closely. When this happens often, the width of music in a scene gets really narrow and particular, which doesn’t help the scene or genre of music.
Instead I think producers should experiment more to stand out. This will keep the scene interesting and diverse, plus I truly believe it will get you noticed more and progress your profile much faster than sounding like every other artist out there.
[Thanks to Tim for talking to us. In New Light drops November 26th on For A Memory, and can be pre-ordered here]
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