Legendary garage producer DJ Omar joins us in the laser basement this Saturday for Tramp. As one half of seminal act Double99/RiP Productions and one of the co-founders of Ice Cream Records, his reach has spread far beyond the UKG scene, with classic cross-genre track Ripgroove still played out to this day in nightclubs, warehouse parties and other places you find people dancing. Ahead of the party we caught up with the man himself to find out more about what it was really like back in day and how he feels about the scene now...
How do you feel about garage's resurgence and the chart-popularity of house music at the moment?
I love the fact that garage is still going strong, you call it a resurgence, but I don't think it ever really went away. Perhaps it went back to the underground, but now a whole wave of artists and producers are incorporating garage into their club and pop sounds.
What's the craziest thing that ever happened to you at the height of garage's popularity?
I was DJing at Twice At Nice (The End) for Steve Gordon, and my mate Nick Raphael turned up with David Beckham. Andy and Jonny were working with Victoria Beckham at the time as Truesteppers, so I think David wanted to come and see what UKG was all about; the whole place went crazy!!!
What was it like the first time you ever heard Ripgroove played out... and what does it feel like to hear it still played out all these years later?
The same day that Tim Deluxe and I finished it at the studio, I raced to Music House to get a last minute acetate cut… that night I gave the disc to DJ Spoony, and told him, "… just play it!", as he played I hid behind the decks, nervous as I knew RipGroove would make people go berserk or clear the dancefloor… as soon as the bass dropped in after the breakdown the place erupted, then I knew we has something special on our hands.
It's amazing to still hear it getting so widely played from Nick Grimshaw to Annie Mac to EZ to Mosca, it crosses genres and they all still play it. Wherever I DJ, even at events packed with 21 year olds, they all know the track and lose their minds when it's played… Ripgroove definitely has a whole new fan-base behind it.
If you could go back in time to any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen where would be setting the dials to?
Back to the acid house days at Clink Street around 1988, the music was amazing, so simplistic, but super technical at the same time… it seemed like the whole night would race by, an I'd start counting down to the next weekend as soon as morning came.
Who from the new generation of producers is really piquing your interest at the moment?
Disclosure are on point. They sound a lot like our back-in-the-day vibe, but they've managed to put a great commercial spin on things. Mosca is rocking 4/4 nicely, and also Undertone is one to watch. MK is a true master, as he has spanned from old skool to nu skool and is still delivering.
What's the one Todd Edwards track that changed how you think about music?
Wow, there are so many, probably from his earlier stuff I'd say St Germain - Alabama Blues. On that, as with so many of his productions and remixes, he does stuff that no one else can do. GENIUS.
You've stated in the past that film soundtracks have been a big influence on you. What's one that makes your hair stand up when you hear it? And do you think scoring films is something you could see yourself doing?
All the John Barry soundtracks for his Bond Movie scores are amazing, particularly You Only Live Twice. I'd love to do film score. I know it's an exhaustive process, but without a decent score even the best imagery would seem lacking, so I'd jump at the chance to produce a soundtrack.
Who are your dream collaborations past present and future?
When we ere working on our Double99 album, Tim and I managed to work with Don Black OBE. He was the topline writer for John Barry on most of his big Bond scores; that was a dream come true. Collabs that I'd like to make happen are MK, Todd Edwards and Disclosure, three different vibes with whom our sound would produce exciting results I'm sure.
What's your favourite Ice Cream Record and what is your favourite actual ice cream (as it's still sort of summer)?
My favourite Ice Cream Record is probably Obsessed, it was very deep, and we produced it with specialist play in mind, but even now it still rocks and all the cool kids love it. We've just remixed it and the feedback has been amazing, a 2013 take on the original Obsessed. My favourite ice cream is lime and coconut, even with all those calories it’s still refreshing!
Join DJ Omar for Tramp this Saturday 14th September at Dalston Superstore from 9pm - 3am.
Visit the Ice Cream Records website: www.icecreamrecords.co.uk