Etui Podcast #41: Quadrant Soundscape

Quadrant Soundscape are Tommy Harrison aka Asphalt Layer and Wilson Logan from Manchester UK. Together, they are the minds behind Dub Explorations, which is a podcast and also a club night. The podcast itself is approaching 100 shows, most 3 hours in length which is an insight into the dedication they have for hunting great ambient, deep and dubby music to showcase and push forward. We sat down with Tommy and had a chat about the podcast and their parties.

How did you meet each other?

I met Wilson in Manchester while he was running his Playground Techno Night, where he booked the likes of Detroit Techno Militia and Radioactiveman. At the time, I was running the very successful Sunday Podcast ‘Dusk Dubs’, which was an eclectic music mixtape series.

As we began talking we discovered a mutual love for Dub Techno and decided to get together for a mix, which was a success, and Dub Explorations was born, and it has grown ever since.

You also throw regular Dub Explorations parties at Eastern Bloc Records in Manchester. How are these parties going?

The music policy is the faster paced Dub Techno, and it is strictly vinyl, we invite our local friends to showcase their skills, and sometimes we invite friends from further afield like El Choop.

In Manchester, the Dub Techno scene is growing, in a town that only really cares from the more harder commercial techno nights. At our most recent Eastern Bloc Party, the venue was full and also full of great people who thanked us for providing the music they love. It was very heartwarming.

What stands Quadrant Soundscape for?

As Quadrant Soundscape, we not only love Dub Techno, but also Detroit Techno, where the idea for The Detroit Experiments came about. We wanted to be able to show our Detroit side, the techno and electro that we love.

We have also shown our love for soul and house music, particularly the Detroit vibes like Moodymann. We held down a monthly radio show in Manchester on MCR LIVE, where we played Detroit House and more Deeper House sounds. Unfortunately, the station closed due to lack of money, we are hoping to find a new home soon for our house vibes.

As Quadrant Soundscape, we have many ideas on what we would like to do, but we feel things work best when they happen naturally. And one of our main thoughts is ‘Quality over Quantity’.

And you also produce music …

Outside of Quadrant Soundscape, I produce music and play live sets as Asphalt Layer. The music has a Dub Techno ethos, but it ranges into ambient and experimental also. I just returned from Above Below Festival where I performed a live set which was both very enjoyable for myself, and well received by all.

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How does an Asphalt Layer track come to life? What gear do you use for producing?

I find that I get to 80% of a track very quickly. I often have a melody or idea in my mind and I get it down right away. Sometimes it can sit there for a while as I work on something else. I like to have a big bank of ‘mini – jams’ as I call them that I can call on when the mood takes. I think when it comes to my music, I try not to be too rigid in the production.

I like lots of movement on the track, small changes that are hardly noticeable but gives the listener a feel of it coming from a person and not a machine. My set up is pretty simple. I use a Korg Monologue to create thick basslines and little strange synth sounds. And I use a Elektron Digitakt for percussion. I have a few other pieces of hardware such as a Volca Sample and a Volca Bass that I feed through different delays, choruses and reverbs. But I’m actually a big fan of using Ableton’s built in synths to create my sounds. The Analog Synth on there is great! 

I also have been playing with the Behringer TD-3 which is a superb synth on a budget, although my 8 year old daughter uses it more than me, the future maybe! 

From what do you draw your inspirations?

My inspirations are drawn wide and far. I was a Jungle DJ in the 90’s, this sound I find very ‘Sci-Fi’ and sparks a million ideas. I rarely listen to music similar to what I’m producing for inspiration as it clouds my thought process.

At the moment, I have a few heavy Dub Techno tracks I’m creating, and all I am listening to are 80’s house playlists. I enjoy all kinds of music, if it gets me thinking and moving, and more importantly, feeling good. I feel really inspired and creative.

I also find lots of inspiration from DJ-ing alongside Wilson. We don’t plan our sets when we play ‘back to back’ so I get instant inspiration when we’re mixing as I hear ideas fresh all the time. A method I sometimes use is to create a 16 bar loop of a track idea I have and use it in the mix to hear how Wilson mixes around it. As a producer, I’ve found this amazing over the years. 

What’s the idea behind your mix?

For our mix, we sat down and talked about the fact that it was going to be an hour only. Most of our mixes range from over 2 hours to over 4 hours, where we really take time to open up and float over the different energies in the records. We wanted to maintain the same energy and range, but make sure we keep the listener hooked, and also wanting to listen again right away. We also wanted to include some artists and labels that feature heavily on our Dub Explorations Radio show, as a way to give everyone an idea of what to expect if they catch one of our podcasts. 

What can we expect next from you?

We have been talking lately about getting some of our more ‘forgotten’ mix series’s up and running again, The Detroit Experiment is long overdue another mix. We also have a few ideas to get some more deeper house mixes going, Wilson has been heavily buying Detroit House records recently and he is itching to get them played.We are also very focused on reaching 100 Dub Explorations in 2022, and the promo’s keep landing with us so we have no excuse not to reach this great number! We will also be putting on more parties at our Eastern Bloc home, so keep eyes open for that. We have also become friends with a group of similar minds who go by the name of Qualia, and we will be playing Dub Techno records at their next party on 9th July at ‘The DBA’ in Manchester which we’re very excited about.

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Listen on youtube:

01 Quantec – Inocybe (Etui Records)
02 Mathimidori – Vibra (Echocord)
03 Rod Modell – Kingston (Echocord)
04 Intrusion – Reflection (Reshaped by Atheus) (Echospace)
05 Frank Hellmond – Lost (Etui Records)
06 Fluxion – Parallell Moves (Vibrant Music)
07 Monomood – Paraseelis (Etui Records)
08 SND & RTN – No Place to Hide (Echo LTD)
09 Dandytracks – Dub Stories About Us 1 (Etui Records)
10 Rhauder & Paul St Hilaire – Sidechain (Dub Version) (Ornaments)
11 Giacomo Pellagrino – Iceland (Insectorama)
12 Zol – Strange (Greyscale)
13 Ekodust – Ekosystem (Insectorama)
14 Giacomo Pellagrino – Forget the Brain (Greyscale)
15 Upwellings – Flutter (spclnch)
16 Ohm & Kvadrant – Langebro (The Persuader Remix) (Kontakt Records)

more information:

Etui Podcast

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