FCL’s ‘Vocals for Everyone’ EP on We Play House Records was hands down one of the releases of last year. The work of Belgium duo San Soda & Red D, a youthful producer and learned DJ (who is also the label owner of We Play House), whether your favourite was the deep gospel of ‘Let’s Go’ or the old school jack of ‘More than Seven’ and ‘Let’s Go Seven’, it was the sound of timeless house music.
Having recently turned Stuffa’s ‘Proof’ into a similarly moving ten minute epic, earning themselves entry into DJmag’s Killers section, they touch down in London this weekend (Saturday 26th February) at nofitstate alongside Geddes and Tom Demac (live), who are launching their new murmur compilation.
Ahead of the gig we caught up with Red D. For your chance to win a pair of tickets to the gig plus a copy of the new murmur comp e-mail a contact phone number to [email protected] with the words ‘Pick me, pick me’ in the subject line. We’ll announce the winner on Thursday.
FCL is yourself and San Soda. How did you become friend and what kind of dynamic is there between you in the studio and on the decks?
“San Soda walked into a bar called Clues one day when I was playing there with Tyree Cooper. Clues is the only valid musical place in my hometown Deinze and a place that is essential to everything I'm doing. I've been playing there once every Friday for the last 14 years and I have been able to get loads of 'big' name DJs to play there for a small but dedicated party crowd, people like Boo Williams, Vince Watson, Jori Hulkkonen, Mike Grant, Kenny Larkin, Charles Webster and more. And I do mean a party crowd, because these people are not trainspotters, they're not scouring the net for every single release, they're not on websites or forums spreading their musical wisdom, they just like to party and hear good music. They to me are the best crowd you can have to play good music to, because that's what you can do, just play good music, without thinking politically correct, or without playing what is 'hot' right now. And one night San Soda came in with some friends and that was when he discovered house and met me and the other Clues residents and people. A while later he joined the local football team of which I'm the goalkeeper and that's when he gave me his first demo, ultimately leading me to start We Play House Recordings as an outlet for his music. Before you ask it, we still play football together every Saturday! FCL is actually the acronym of our team, FC Leiejongens.
“Our studio dynamic is one of a veteran DJ (i.e. me!) and a very talented producer and equally dedicated DJ. San Soda is the musical and technical guy, I try and channel and structure everything and I take care of lyrics and vocal arrangements. On the decks we just go with our flow and see what happens. There’s no strict plan of hierarchy. We might play back to back all night, or one of us might go dancing or mingling for a while and then the other plays alone. Musically we’re very close to one another so it’s pretty natural for us to play together, although we do like to challenge and surprise each other.”
‘Vocals for Everyone’ EP lived up to its name with all the tracks being caned by everyone. After the bleak bleeps of the minimal years, who do you tip as new age divas? And what are your favourite old school vocals tracks?
“The minimal years completely passed us by. As did any other hype or trend. All we care about is good music, from house to disco to techno to more. As a consequence, I’m not gonna tip this or that. I firmly believe that good music always surfaces, irrelevant of the genre the media wants to bring forward as the next big thing. Favourite old school vocal tracks? So many! But I’m always up for vintage Smack Music Productions, Kerri Chandler, Blaze, M.A.W., tracks with India, Michael Watford, Anthony Flanagan. And please let’s not forget the real disco divas from back in the days. That’s where the basis is!”
You set the bar mighty high for your first release together. What’s coming next for FCL?
“We don’t really feel we’ve set the bar high. We just do what we feel and see what happens. The last thing we want to do is ‘plan’ another ‘Let’s Go’ or ‘More Than Seven’ because there is no formula to it, at least not to us. Right now we’re finishing WPH 012 (titleless so far) which is gonna have two new tracks, one of which with a full vocal, another instrumental. To us they are a fitting follow-up to ‘Vocals For Everyone’, for others this might not be the case. We’ll see!”
For those that don’t know the label, can you give us a brief potted history, who the artists are and what you look for with each release?
“The philosophy of the label is releasing music I like to play, music that I consider to be good house music, period. I don't care about hypes or trends, or people who say "this is in, this is out". I've been DJing for close to 20 years and listening to music for close to 35 years and I have 100% faith in my own judgment, so that's the criterion: my taste. And I started it to release music of San Soda. This evolved into releasing other artists’ music as well, but almost all of them are friends, or friends of friends: Reggie Dokes, Russ Gabriel, Maxim Lany, Lemakuhlar, James Teej, Dynamodyse, etc.”
Belgium is famous for its beers. What’s been your favourite tipple over your almost twenty years of gigs around the country?
“San Soda and I are famous for drinking Duvel, a heavy blonde beer, and usually the only one they have in clubs, the main reason we always drink it really, because there are some many others! Westmalle, Westvleteren, Rochefort, the list is endless.”
We know you play house but can you give us a bit more of a sneak preview of what will be in your bag for the party?
“Nothing but good tracks in my ears. I never buy anything I do not consider to be really good. As usual it’ll be a mixture of old and new, house in its broadest sense, and often even further than what people would consider house to be.”