Preston's Cottam came to attention in 2009 with a series of limited edition 12"s of deep house and nu disco. Since then the father of three has been making a name for himself on a variety of respected labels and will be joining us in the lazer basement for Supermax's night bumpin’ disco and deep jackin’ house next weekend. Resident Sigmund K caught up with him for a chat and recommended we listen to Cottam's latest mix...
Sigmund K: Cottam, for those who don't know you, am I right if I introduce you this way: you grew up in raves near Manchester, then got into DJing but put your decks away when your first kid arrived. You then got a copy of Ableton and build tracks in your free time. Then one of your mates advised you to release them, so you decide to do so but undercover... that's basically when it starts working out for you, you go back to DJing and start releasing on many labels including Use Of Weapons, Wolf Music, your own imprint Cottam, and recently on AUS Music. What am I missing in this very unusual career?
Cottam: I actually got into DJing before I'd ever even been to a party but that’s definitely what got me hooked, those early parties have a lot to answer for hahahaha. I played many many places around the local area for years but nothing very serious. My decks only got put away after my third child; three children take up a lot of space and time and nothing was really happening gig wise for me so I thought it was time to move on (not from loving music you understand). I started messing about making stuff on Ableton while my partner, Sian, was expecting Jacob, who’s now three. It wasn't a conscious decision to keep the first releases undercover.... the guy at the distribution company just suggested leaving them blank with a colour code and I was just happy to have some of my music out. Yeah, after those first three releases the DJ work started to come again and then I got taken on by Warm Music and it's all gone from there really.
Was your first decision to release undercover reflecting your desire to be "underground"? I am saying this because I know that you used to go to many raves, listening to the likes of Surgeon, Regis, etc. Are they still a big influence for you today?
There was no plan to be underground on my part.... the distribution company (Rubadub) may well have done, thank god. They really looked/look after me. As for Surgeon and Regis and the old raves, yeah they were a big part of my life, and although I wouldn't really buy much of the harder material these days I still have a soft spot for all their music. I do dig them out at home from time to time and get lost in spinning them, great stuff to DJ/create with so it's always fun.
Your recent release on Aus is a bit different from your past releases, are you still experimenting through your productions? Are you still exploring new styles and kind of tempos?
I just enjoy making stuff. I haven't had much time at all recently but that’s all gonna change in September when my youngest, Jacob, starts nursery. I'm gonna have 5 afternoons a week free... Can't wait to get stuck into it. Hopefully you'll hear my sound evolve after a few months. The plan is to try all sorts, if it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't! But I intend to enjoy myself and give it my all.
So you have been DJing around a lot in the past years, do you have a good experience performing when you come to London? Do you like small venues like Dalston Superstore, with a smaller capacity but maybe a much stronger contact with the crowd?
I love small venues and I love big venues (if they’re good), but yeah, small venues are my kinda thing. Nice and close to the crowd is the way I like it. Nice small place, good set up/soundsystem, good crowd, big smiles... that’s what it's about!
What are you preparing next? I guess that you must be quite busy at home, how do you see your career evolving in the next years?
I'm just in the process of finishing another EP for Aus Music and another in my Cottam series. Also got a remix of Jamie L coming out soon on Paper Recordings. Got another slightly techy thing coming up on an old friend’s soon to be born label.... Apart from that I'm just plodding on until September when I'll be able to fully immerse my self in making stuff. I really can't say how my career will evolve... I'll have to wait and see...
Finally, is there a track that you always take with you before a set, like a lucky opener or a dance floor killer that you have to play?
Big tracks I take everywhere....
New World Aquarium - Trespassers
Femi Kuti - You Better Ask Yourself (Jose Marquez remix)
Levon Vincent - Double Jointed Sex Freak
LTJ - Mellow Mood
There's far too many mention and I don't always play them.
Cottam plays Supermax on Friday 22nd June from 9pm - 3am alongside residents Sigmund K, Carlos Baffo, Eugene & Mortimer, Gunther Schlass and Educate.
Photo credit: IGR Photography