Interview: Those Beats

IMG_4563 Those Beats are a duo out of Glasgow who are quickly becoming the talk of the town with their latest release for deep house heavy hitters, Glasgow Underground. Combining a keen sense of melody with bass friendly house music, they’ve carved out a unique space in house music that makes perfect sense both in late night warehouse parties and in your headphones on a rainy day. Already seeing support from the likes of Eton Messy, Sasha, Groove Armada, Psychemagik and more, “Lead Me On” is one of the hottest tracks at the moment, and we were lucky enough to have a few words duo.

Who is Those Beats?

Those Beats are Mark Scott & Brendon Hislop, we come from Glasgow and are basically good pals who enjoy making music together. Mark is the more mature member and also the brains of the operation while Brendon is, and always has been, a bit of a lunatic with a keen ear for what makes a good tune.

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What are your musical backgrounds?

Mark In my early teens I got into jungle & techno and started MC’ing to it. Not before long, I was MC’ing in clubs in Glasgow. From then on for a good few years, I MC’d to diffent types of music in various clubs, predominantly in Scotland but sometimes in England. In my early twenties I wanted to do something more creative, so gave it up and decided I wanted to produce music. I basically spent the later part of my twenties cooped up in a room learning to produce music. Working in such isolation took it’s toll and I eventually lost direction on what I wanted to do, basically becoming detached from it all. I met Brendon through our respective partners (now wife’s) and the more we got to know one another, the more we realised that we enjoyed so much communality, so we decided to pull our resources together to make house music.

Brendon My love and appreciation for early electronic dance music definitely came from my Mother. She used to take me to school every morning, and we would listen to bands like Yazoo and Depeche Mode. We would drive through the school gates with the music up full, and I thought I was the coolest boy on the planet. When I was a little older, a lad who worked with my dad gave me a tape that he had picked up in London which had the track “Voodoo Ray” (A Guy Called Gerald) on it. I was instantly hooked on house music and have been ever since. I Started collecting vinyl from quite a young age and can remember saving all the money I could to go to a record store in Glasgow called 23rd precinct where I would buy house and old disco vinyl from a lad called Billy Woods – I still miss those many weekends spending hours digging through crates to find those hidden gems.

The biggest influence on my House music background would be the legendary Subclub in Glasgow where I have pretty much spent most of my adult life partying and being schooled on real house music by the residents Harri & Domenic. We had the pleasure of DJing there for the first time back in June

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How’d you come to Electronic music?

Mark Growing up I was always drawn to the likes of rap and hip hop, even when I was young. Pop music didn’t really interest me, and I never really felt like anything that belonged to me. It was in high school that I got introduced to jungle music. A small group of friends would pick up all the different mix tapes, usually from clubs based in London, with dj sets from people like Fabio & Grooverider and Randal. One of the first tapes I got was a Grooverider tape and it just blew my mind. The energy on the tracks and the sound, which at the time sounded like nothing else on the planet. That was what actually got me into electronic music. Using technology to make music. From there on, I just got involved in anything I could with electronic music.

Brendon See my first answer above

What’s the writing process like between the two of you?

Mark We tend to work on small batches of tunes over the course of a month or two. Usually at the start, we decide the type of style and sound we want to go for in the tracks, and then we get a bank of sounds and ideas together. From there, we either bounce the ideas (usually loops) back and forth between each other or spend time in the studio together until we know we have enough to make a track out of it. We are both pretty busy with general life stuff too so it’s really just reliant on any spare opportunity we have to get tracks together. We also try not to spend too long on making a track - we try to get them down while we are still excited about them! There is nothing worse than spending so long on getting a tune together that you lose sight on whether it’s actually any good or not. If we get to that, point we just call it a day, bank the sounds, and move on

How would you describe the “Those Beats” sound?

Brendon Haha Who knows! I guess – just enough melody to give you some sort of mood while maintaining simplicity in the structure, so it can serve its function making people dance. In terms of production we just tend to try and get a mix between older classic sounds and newer production styles. Quite a few people have said we have “our own sound”, but to be honest, we don’t hear it. We just do what we like at the time and that tends to change quite a bit.

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How did you get the hook up with Glasgow Underground?

Mark The hook up with Glasgow Underground actually stemmed from Brendon playing one of our tracks at an after hours warehouse party called Substanz. He was on before Mia Dora and Al (Mia Dora) had heard our track and asked what it was. Al then contacted us to say they were putting a mix together for a Berlin radio station and wanted to use the track, which we were obviously buzzing about. A few months later, Kevin McKay from Glasgow Underground contacted us saying Mia Dora had sent him our track and he was maybe interested in releasing it. We then sent him the batch of tracks we had put together. Kevin seemed to really like what we were doing and offered us the chance to release a 4 track EP on his label. Since then we have built up a great relationship with Kevin and the other lads on the label such as Mia Dora and the very talented Illyus & Barrientos who are absolutely flying right now.

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“Lead Me On” is massive, how has the reception been?

Brendon The reception so far has been mind blowing! We’ve had support from people like DJ T, Groove Armada, Jozif, Sasha, and Noir. It’s quite an upbeat track, which is something different to our usual sound but we are absolutely delighted with the buzz around it.

What are some of the songs that got you into dance music?

Mark I’m no good at remembering names of individual tunes but stand out albums for me are: LTJ Bukem’s – Logical Progression and DJ Shadows –Endtroducing. (I’ll probably be kicking myself after the interview when all sorts of names start popping into my head).

Brendon A Guy Called Gerald’s “Voodoo Ray” would be the song that initially got me hooked but some of my favourite tracks ever would be Jaydee’s “Plastic Dreams,” Moodyman’s “Shades of Jae and Ron Trent’s “Altered States.”

What are the few tracks you’re into the now?

Hmm tracks? Hard to say specific tracks since there is a lot of great music out right now. Absolutely loving anything that comes out of the Innervisions label. Acts in particular that are stand out right now for us though are Lake People, Powel, Mia Dora, Mario Basanov and Daniel Bortz.

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What are your thoughts on the current popularity of deep house?

Mark It has gotten pretty popular lately but it’s not something we think about actively. House music is something that has always been there for us, even when it wasn’t hip, and you best believe it’ll still be there for us when it’s not the flavour of the month.

What’s next on the horizon for Those Beats?

We have loads of new music coming in the near future but the two releases we are most excited about are EPs coming out on Mia Dora’s new Posterboy Records label and a release on Nik Mercer and Jacques Reanaults Lets Play House label. Over and above that, we just want to build on this buzz we have around us at the moment and continue to make music.

We have also had the pleasure of being involved in a new night called "Solstice" in our hometown, where we have DJ’d alongside Jimpster, Daniel Bortz, Ten Walls, Marek Hemman, with upcoming nights alongside Osunlade and Josh Butler.

Hello. Friday. Remixes.

Hello. Friday. Remixes.

Drartz: Rapture Feat. Lyn Acton

Drartz: Rapture Feat. Lyn Acton