TCTS, aka Sam O'Neill, is the latest signing to Greco-Roman, the label that first brought us Disclosure and TEED as well as those Hot Chip cats. TCTS is the initials of the band Sam used to play in when he was a teenager, and he started DJing out using that name. “I intended to change it at some point, and it just kind of stuck,” TCTS tells DJ Mag.
His '1997' track earlier this year on Just Us, a softcore piano house piece, was written when he randomly saw a picture of Drew Barrymore from 1997 that inspired him to write the tune, and this has led to his deal with Greco-Roman, via a number of well-received DJ sets.
“It's been a pleasure to work with the Greco-Roman guys, and I’ve felt really at home with their attitude [to] music in the sense that they’re always looking to keep the music as interesting as possible,” TCTS says. “I love how they just let the music speak for itself, and never compromise for the sake of what's fashionable at a certain moment in time.
Sam says that he tries not to pigeon-hole himself, and is a huge techno fan (something it's hard not to be in his home city of Manchester at the moment), but thinks that coming from a guitar music background has led to him exploring more musical ideas and the whole songwriting process. To this end, his new 'These Heights EP' features a couple of singers who he's hooked up with recently. Shivum Sharma, who guests on the delicately groovin' title track that also features subdued softcore piano pads, is a fast-rising singer/songwriter who Sam was introduced to via his manager.
“The best part about working with Shiv was that he really got involved in the whole song as a body of music, and was always looking for ways to be creative and unusual,” Sam says. “He brought a real moment of magic to the session, and ultimately the release.”
'Over', meanwhile, is more of a skippy garage thang and features Holly Partridge, the daughter of Andy Partridge from wordy post-punk band XTC. DJ Mag, naturally, makes crap jokes about bonding over XTC, and asks were their 'senses working overtime' during the studio session? “I had no idea her dad was in XTC, or I would probably have tried to make similar bad jokes,” he deadpans.
Completing the EP, 'Lose Control' is all distant and twinkling, and 'Do It Alright' is again more of a future garage track with some cute chipmunk-style vox harking back to look forwards. Look out for this kid.