Caught In The Cross Fire - Talking European hard dance with Iain Cross
Reported by Jon-Brown
Submitted 12-11-08 13:38
Iain Cross really is one to watch out for if you’ve not heard of him already. In anticipation of this weekend's forthcoming Resonate gig at The Old Firestation in Bournemouth; whereby he is resident and this time around shares the line-up with Dark By Design, M-Zone, Cally & Juice and many others, I felt it a good idea to grab him for an interview.
From early Prodigy to banging hardcore (all of the old school ilk of course), right up to the present day surges of all out mayhem of a European variety tailored by the likes of industry King Mark EG; Iain Cross is a promising young artist that has been in love with hard dance in all its guises for quite a few years now. Those that follow and fully support their hard dance scene in the South especially will have heard his name by now particularly if you were a regular at the Country Club where he both promoted and played for quite some time.
Making his mark in the Studio and having done so for many years with the full support of the legendary Jon The Baptist on their original collaborative project High Fish Recordings (UK) and now steering his own course as part of the new found ‘audio:tech’ label, Iain continues to set targets for himself as Producer, DJ and Artist only to find that he smashes them very quickly, always changing, evolving and re-defining his sound in more interesting and creative ways on a regular basis; much to the entertainment of his many followers who now spread around the World as it goes.
I caught up with Iain for a talk about the past, present and future of being caught in the Cross fire.
Let’s start with the bare basics – what inspired your passion for hard dance?
It was in the early 90’s when I got hooked on dance music, listening to acts like the Prodigy and early Fantazia live tape packs. This underground sound just sucked me in from all the other commercial music that was around at the time and this then grew into the early hardcore years of ‘92 onwards. Then in ‘97 when at Dreamscape, I heard Mark EG playing European trance at 6am, this sound just blew me away and I’ve been a slave to hard trance ever since.
You started out as a Promotions Manager – for who and where? Tell us of your experiences.
Back in ’99, I started helping out a bit with promotion at the now legendary Country Club. This grew into a full time job along with being a main room resident from 2000 to the end of 2002. The whole aspect of promotion was slightly different to the way the promoters do it these days, the internet is used as the main output. I spent most of my days driving all over the South Coast in a battered out old 1 litre Ford Fiesta dodging the old bill whilst slapping posters up on every blank wall in sight!
Life can be difficult as a Promoter – did you find it challenging? Were there high points and low points?
I had a small go at promoting; we held three events with the first one selling out big time. The last two events were good parties with good numbers but we ended up losing a bit of money, plus I was spending more time running the events than working in the studio so I knocked it on the head after a year.
Were you DJing and producing then – in what order did you start your progression as both performer and artist?
I’ve always been a DJ at heart, playing my first gig to over 400 people standing on a flight case to reach the decks - when I was 14! Not much taller now either, haha. Then the next natural step was production and a few of us set up a studio in ‘99.
Describe your style as a producer and tell us of some of your releases to date?
I worked for many years alongside Jon The Baptist and we had many collaborative releases on Future Sound Corporation (Italy), De Novo Records (UK), Bare Cheek Recordings (UK) and High Fish Recordings (UK).
My style as a solo producer changes all the time as I love a lot of different music styles. One day I could be making the nastiest hardstyle, then later that night I’m laying down some funky electro beats or uplifting trance, but all of my solo releases represent what I like to play in the clubs.
You keep a busy DJ diary too, which seems to have been quite consistent over the last decade, give us a rundown of what you’ve been doing and where you’ve been playing and some of your favourite memories?
I’ve been very lucky to have always had bookings all over the UK and even a few dates in Europe, plus some wicked residencies throughout the years and there’s definitely been some mental nights!
Some of my fondest memories are from the Country Club years as this was the birth of hard trance in the South West and where it all really started to happen for me but, one of the highlights has to be playing at Q-Dance in Holland to over 4000 people, it was amazing.
You also worked at Chunes – how were those days and how do you think traditional record shops stand up in now in the digital revolution?
I loved working in Chunes. Any DJ will tell you working in a record shop has got to be their ultimate job. It’s definitely hard times for the independent record shop with the digital age fully upon us now, but you can’t beat record shopping in stores like Chunes (Weymouth) and Deckheadz (Taunton). It’s the whole vibe of the place, the characters you meet in them and the pure history of vinyl. DJs should support their local record shop as it’s the front line to the clubbing culture we all love.
You had your own label up until 2005 – High Fish Recordings, what sort of releases were being put on the label, how did it go and why did you stop?
High Fish was a team project with Jon The Baptist, Dave Spinout, Meri from Chunes and me. We had four vinyl releases with great success. In 2005 all of our music styles changed within Hard Trance and we all had solo projects that we wanted to have a crack at so we gave the label a rest. However, High Fish is still running as a digital format under the management of Dave Spinout and DJ Tricky. These boys have a lot planned for next year!
You’ve now of course turned a corner and had new beginnings with Audio Tech which is your new label – talk to us about that and what inspired the creation of it?
I’ve been writing a lot of hard techno with The B.C.R Boyz during this year, we’ve also had releases on their label Bare Cheek Recordings. I wanted to start getting some of my solo hard trance tracks out on the digital scene so I set up ‘audio:tech’ and the boys set up Quantum Flux for their techno productions. The first release on ‘audio:tech’ has gone better than I imagined with full support from Mark E.G, FJ Project, Phil York, Organ Donors and loads more. It hit number 3 in the ‘Track It Down’ Hard Dance chart and it’s being played at lots of massive events worldwide.
You are a Resonate resident and will be working with the guys there again on the 15th November for the Dark by Design Heaven & Hell Album Tour – how did you get involved with Resonate and also – A&E Management and what led to your residency? Will we be hearing some fresh and brand new Audio Tech material there?
I played as a headline guest for Resonate in the early days, now it’s been about four years since Stu made me a resident for the night. I’ve loved being a resident and it’s so wicked to see Resonate becoming the brand it is today. The level of sound, stage production and line- ups at the events are now awesome and the 15th looks like another storming night and people who’ve never been to Resonate at The Old Firestation should definitely pick this night to pop their Resonate cherry!
A&E is the next step for me as a DJ, plus it’s given me more time in the studio to work on my production. As for new ‘audio:tech’ stuff, you’ll hear all the forthcoming releases for the label up until Feb 2009 and, as always there will be some proper sneaky ‘Cross Edits’ made just for this night!! (laughs!)
Thanks for the spending the time and we’ll see you at the weekend! Before we go though – give us your shout outs and thanks.
Cheers for the interview Jon, loving your work as always man.
Just a few shouts - to my beautiful girlfriend Miss Loopy One (Lou) for keeping my hair so erect- (laughs again very loudly), all the Resonate HQ & A&E team, The Bare Cheek Family, The Atmosphere Crew and not forgetting all the wicked ravers that make this happen! Cheers!
Interview compiled and conducted by Jon Brown for Resonate HQ. With thanks to Iain Cross, SL-DJ and Adam Symbiosis.
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Photos courtesy of Iain Cross. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Jon-Brown:
Viva La Hard Electrik! The Scott Attrill Interview
Meet the Fathers of Hard Funk - Kamui
Friend Of Kristian, Star Of Turnmills – A Pick Me Up Is Just The Thing For Matt Loraine
Sure Feels Good To Darren Styles
Hard He May Be… But DJ Kristian's No Psy-Co
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.