Bob Bhamra is an extremely busy man. When not working full time and managing the joys and perils of a newborn baby (Congratulations!!) he finds time to produce tunes as West Norwood Cassette Library and run WNCL Recordings, a label that has an extremely steady release schedule. Add to this DJ gigs, showering and going to get milk, and there’s not much time left for anything else.
So, I am extremely delighted that, being the supreme gentlemen he is, he managed to fit time in to deliver a brand new, absolute quality mix for the Skirmix series. You never know what to expect from WNCL and his latest mix is no different. Laying down some of his favourite tunes from 2014, he’s put together a perfectly varied mix, taking in everything from World Music to House and Techno.
I couldn’t be happier about it to be honest. Not only do I love his productions as West Norwood Cassette Library but WNCL has been one of my favourite labels of the past few years, bringing out some stomping releases from the likes of Bobby Champs, J Tjin, Kevin Mcphee and the man himself, to name a few. It’s been consistently good and with a busy schedule lined up for the rest of 2014, I’m excited to hear what’s planned.
I fired some questions his way to find out more about his productions, the label and his thoughts for the mix.
Firstly, what got you interested in producing tunes?
Records, always records. A lifetime of being surrounded by round bits of plastic and a slightly unhealthy fascination for colourful record label middles meant that it was inevitable that I would want to see my name on one of them at some point in my life.
As well as producing, you run your own label – WNCL recordings. The sound of the label really started to take shape in 2013 with all the releases, in my opinion, sharing a similar groove.
I know what you mean. Last year’s crop of releases – Bobby Champs, Spatial, Kamikaze Space Programme, J Tijn and Plastic Soul – seemed more cohesive than previous years…possibly. I guess they were all primarily aimed at the dancefloor and a little ‘tougher’ than other releases but other than that, I think they were all quite different to each other.
How would you define the sound of the label?
The sound of the label is defined by the producers on the label…and I have no idea what they’re going to do from one minute to the next, or even who they’re going to be. I like it like that but it doesn’t really help to answer the question!
Are there any particular aesthetics you look for when bringing out a release?
I’m looking to fall in love with a track each and every time. Anything less and it doesn’t make the cut.
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How costly is it to run a vinyl label?
You might need to prepare yourself for losing a few quid here and there. It’s not always for the feint hearted.
Any tips for budding record execs?
Not really – I don’t consider myself expert enough to give advice to anyone else and, besides, it’s more fun to find these things out for yourself.
Are you a vinyl purist yourself?
For DJ-ing? A vinyl purist, yes – a vinyl snob, no. I’m only a purist because I can’t be bothered to work out how anything else works.
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You’ve had your tracks remixed by the likes of Karren, Pearson Sound and Brackles. Are there certain songs you’re too attached to let people remix?
Not really – it’s always quite a thrill hearing what someone else has done to one of your tracks.
How do you approach putting a remix together yourself?
With great difficulty usually. I used to think that I had to like the track before I could remix it but that’s often a hindrance – improving on something that you hold in high regard is usually impossible. But I at least need to be into the project or the label or the people involved. After that, I’m aiming to produce something that I would want to play out or buy in a shop – if I can’t fulfill that criteria, then there’s no point in doing it.
Besides those on WNCL, what producers can’t you get enough of at the moment?
I’ll answer that with the mixtape I’ve done for you – short snatches of most of the records I’ve bought this year or have been given, acting a sort of ‘2014 mid-term report’. Albeit a late one.
Finally, what other releases have you coming up for 2014?
There’s a whole bunch of goodies locked in and ready to go. Right now, the Various Artists remix project We Are Family Vol. 2 (WNCL020) is in the shops, soon to be followed by a series of 6 track EP’s – Ekoplekz (WNCL021) in September, newcomer C.E.O (WNCL022) in October and something fresh from Don Froth (WNCL023) in November. After that, who knows….
A massive thanks to Bob for taking the time to chat with us and for the mix. Invite some friends round, have some drinks and turn your speakers up. It’s a cracker!!
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TRACKLIST -SKIRMIX -WEST NORWOOD CASSETTE LIBRARY
- TENDERLONIUS . Caramel (SOTU)
- EL FRIJOLERO . Lost (Remix 2) (La Mission)
- TREVOR DEEP JR . AXW (HPTY)
- EKOPLEKZ . Ekztatik (forthcoming WNCL)
- DUJIN & DOUGLAS . Eddie’s Groove (Feelharmonic)
- DAMON BELL . Hue-Man Made (Meda Fury)
- SIMBA . Phase Seq One (Black Madonna Mix) (Home Taping)
- RON HARDY #14 . Track 2 (RHDY)
- GLENN ASTRO . Dub Tears (Tartelet)
- GLENN ASTRO . The Dub Track (Space Hardware)
- THE ANALOGUE COPS . The Way We Do (Hype Ltd)
- THE ANALOGUE COPS . Do It Forever (Hype Ltd)
- SEVEN DAVIS JR . Friends (Classic)
- EARNEST & JUST . Still Here (Misterion)
- WEST NORWOOD CASSETTE LIBRARY . Queen Bee (WNCL)
- FALTY DL . Huff & Puff Bruk (Swamp 81)
- GLOWING PALMS . Ask Me After Midnite (Ruff Kutz)
- S3A . Looping Strings (S3A)
- FRITS WENTINK . If I Was To Gravy You (Heist)
- GIRLS OF THE INTERNET . Teletherapy (WNCL)
- DANIELE TEMPERILLI . Bamboo Torture (Slapfunk)
- BLUNT INSTRUMENTS . Dark Chamber (Dungeon Meat)
- PALACE . Touch Me (Hot Haus)
- U KNOW THE DRILL . Stackin’ Papers (Slapfunk)
- GERRY READ . Zig Zag (Aus)
- BOXWORK . That’s His Take (Unconditional Music)
- AWANTO 3 . Su What? (Rush Hour)
- NEIL LANDSTRUMM . Touch My Swiss Cheese (Rawax)
- S3A . The Return Of The Ravist (Phonogramme)
- MOME . D-Side (Marquis Hawkes Remix) (4 Lux)
- DJ HAUS . Clap Yo Handz (Hot Haus)
- MAKAM . Loleatta (Amlett)
- PRIS . Pencil Pusher (Resin)
- JAMES WALSH . Wanderlust (Ste Roberts Remix)
- DJ VAGUE . Porsche Trax (Templar Sound)
- PANGAEA . Mackerel (Hadal)
- THE RAW INTERPRETER . Groove La Beat (Warm Sounds)
- MYLER . Bad Jokes (No Logo)