Interview: Slam DJs at the Riverside Festival this weekend

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Slam remained on the cutting edge and firmly at the forefront of musical innovation. The forward-thinking techno producers’s recent Transmissions: Glasgow compilation showed a continued commitment to the future, this time centred around the talent of their home town and focusing on the burgeoning techno scene which they have helped shape in the city.

Over the past few years the pair have also developed Slam Radio, an underground online broadcast with some of the best DJs and music in the business, to a far-flung and loyal weekly following.

As Slam, Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle were at the vanguard of Glasgow’s underground house music scene in the late 1980s, then instrumental in the explosion of the UK techno scene through the 90s and beyond. In a quarter of a century of exploits with Soma Records, they have travelled far and wide, leaving scorch marks on dance floors across the globe.

Closer to home, since 1997, Slam have been instrumental in the development of the Riverside Festival with some of the world’s best known DJs and live acts playing alongside ground-breaking talent.

Their firmly Maximum Pressure club events at SWG3 are among the best parties in Glasgow.

Slam take to the main stage at the Riverside Festival on Sunday night.

Glasgowist spoke to Stuart McMillan

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With the way events like the Riverside Festival have grown, and the reaction to your Maximum Pressure events at SWG3, do you get the sense electronic music in Glasgow is winning over a new generation?

Yes, definitely. It’s our aim to try and keep things fresh. Bring over new acts and develop new concepts to keep things not only exciting for us but for a new audience too.

Glasgow has always had a strong electronic music scene but now there is a new, younger audience embracing the music too.



This year, how much of your time is focused on Glasgow, how much do you find yourself off DJing in other cities?

It’s hard to give a percentage but definitely more focus has been given to Glasgow this year as we launched our new concept for Maximum Pressure events.

You had a fantastic year in 2017 celebrating the anniversary of Soma Records, what did you take away from that in terms of looking back at the first 25 years?

It was good to celebrate the heritage, however, we very much took a fresh approach. Engaging new artists that have been fans of the label.

I guess its taught us that by having a strong focus on what we want to release pays off.

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A recent suggestion was made, that Glasgow should encourage more music tourism to the city, including techno tours, what’s your thoughts?

Yes, it’s a nice idea but we have to be more progressive in terms of licencing hours first.

Glasgow has always been a weekend party city. I’ve seen this happen in other cities like Berlin and Amsterdam so with the right attitude from everyone it could work because we have the right venues, the right DJs and the passion for music.

When you approach a festival like Riverside, how much of your set is made up in your mind already, how much will be a reaction to the mood of the crowd or your own snap judgement?

People ask this question all the time. And the truth is we can’t really plan a set because myself and Orde play back to back so I have no idea what he’s going to play and vice versa.

I kind of like the idea of living in the moment and reading the crowd to me that’s what DJing is about.

Soma Skool returned this year, to offer advice on the music industry. Should more creative people in the west of Scotland be looking in this direction for a career?

It depends. I never really feel music should be looked at as a purely a career choice, its something you feel and something that you want to do because you have the passion for it. Soma School aims to offer useful advice for the people who have that passion already.

Crowd at Riverside Festival

Crowd at Riverside Festival

What other plans do you have at the moment?

We are currently writing a new album which will be different to what we normally do.

We are preparing a live show for some festivals this summer. We have a few more up and coming EPs for Soma in the pipeline.

And a new label concept to drop soon.

After you have been away touring, what places in Glasgow do you most associate with being home when you return?

I love the West End of Glasgow and now Finnieston. I moved to the West End when I was very young and I still miss it when I’ve been away travelling.

What records are permanently in your record box right now?

Oh, actually a lot of older ones that I’ve recently rediscovered, some old Chris Liebing stuff Some Nietzer Ebb stuff. Too many to mention. Some Slam re-edits of special tracks that we love too.

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