In an age of social media superstars and ghost producing the true journeyman artist is a rare find. Phutek is one such artist.
Starting as a lighting controller at the age of fourteen back in Coventry’s Eclipse Nightclub during the late 80’s, Phutek learned his trade studying under true craftsmen like the late, great Toni De Vit. Building a reputation as a versatile and imaginative DJ he earned a residency at Liverpool’s legendary night Cream before finding his true calling. Techno.
Now, thirty something years later he is steaming to the forefront of the techno underground with his productions regularly featuring in the sets of Adam Beyer, Marco Carola, Nina Kraviz, Dax J, Slam, Joesph Capriati, Nicole Moudaber, Richie Hawtin and Orbital. And even though his heart lies in the underground, Phutek’s music has been carried to a wider audience of new techno fans recently with regular Radio 1 support from Deadmau5, Eats Everything and Will Atkinson.
As a skilled DJ, Phutek rocks some of the world’s darkest techno arenas like the Dutch brand Awakenings. Bridging genres with his captivating sets, bringing a passion, depth and energy to the dance floor that can only be mastered through years of experience behind the decks.
Hard working and driven, by day he runs his own Phuture Tekno radio show and relatively young label ‘Layer 909’ which have welcomed esteemed members of the techno community like Spektre and Anti-Slam & W.E.A.P.O.N. respectively.
Although he’s not a ‘newcomer’ Phutek is one of the most promising artists of 2018 and a testament to the idea that true talent will always shine through.
We chat to him about his dive into the techno world and his growing success.
You’ve been involved in the dance music world since the late 80s. What has been the biggest change you’ve noticed over the years?
Genre Labelling and the effects it’s had on the whole dance scene spectrum: From how we go clubbing, to how we listen to music, to how promoters devise their nights.
Since the end of the 90’s it’s accelerated more and more, segregating club culture and forming too many different tribes for too many pointless vibes.
If you look back to what most would say was the golden years of the dance scene, ‘The 90’s’ it was pretty much all ‘One love’ under the same musical umbrella. Back then it was down to great musical programming by the promoters…we were able to hear different sounds in one night, under the same roof and the music flowed effortlessly. It was so educational, without even knowing we were being educated on the dance floor. Now you can pretty much predict what you’re going to get from each genre certified night.
For me it’s been a massive change for the worst.
In 2011 you decided to take the jump into music full-time. What sparked that decision was there a defining moment?
I just felt I wanted to up the anti in my involvement in music at that time.
A mixture of where I was in my personal life and a massive desire to put music first in everything I did, hourly, daily and in life in general.
I basically took the same commitment as marriage, but to music.
With so many non-musical factors involved in the modern artists’ career, what do you think is the most important skill or trait needed to ‘make it’ nowadays?
There is not just one single factor…. but one a lot of artists don’t value or know the power of from a few factors is …’networking’ it’s such a valuable factor that I constantly advise aspiring artists to do. Be out there, mixing with your tribe, putting music in the right people’s hands, showing your personality and desire. And sometimes just your face being seen in the right places regularly is so important to future doors being opened.
Techno is currently receiving a surge of mainstream popularity; in the same way deep house did a couple of years ago. Do you see this as a beneficial or harmful thing for the scene?
It’s a positive for Techno for sure. The rise of more ‘super brands’ and bigger party’s has definitely helped gain a lot more younger Techno fans in recent years.
The option is still there for those that want to party in the more underground Techno scene also, which as a balance seems to work.
Positively it creates more awareness to Techno, which in the past has normally been at the end of people’s musical ladders. Where as now, more of the younger generation, are falling in love straight from the start.
The legend that is Carl Cox has been a vocal supporter of your music and has signed a bunch of your tracks to his label Intec . What does it feel like having such an important figure loving your music?
I feel very lucky and very grateful, every new day I count my blessings and i am certainly very honoured. Carl, as I have said countless times, has always been one of my main inspirations for nearly 3 decades now. So much of what inspired me from years of watching his energy that he brilliantly transports through music, has become a big part of how I write tracks. It’s hard to explain as a feeling, but it’s a very personal, satisfying endorsement getting a legend such as Carl continued support.
In a way it completes a big part of what I have always worked hard to set out and achieve in my own musical goals.
My final musical bucket list left to tick….. is to play alongside him.
Your own label is going from strength the strength with artists like Anti-Slam & W.E.A.P.O.N, Ace Alvarez, HP source and Diction all filling the techno charts. What’s next for Layer 909?
Yeah for a Techno label just over two years old, we got a good thing going down.
I aim to continue to work with a lot of the artists already landed on the label, as so many have made some great tracks that are designed for Layer 909. But I am looking to bring in fresh blood. There are a few ‘guilty pleasure’ artists that have not landed yet. Some I have bagged already early on in 2018, some I still need to chase down.
In general as long as the driving Techno sound we are after is still being submitted, I will be happy rolling how we been rolling.
2017 was a big year for you as a DJ and a producer, and this year looks set to be even bigger. What are you most excited about in 2018?
I want to get out on the road a lot more. it’s time now I think for me to show that side of Phutek as much as my producer side.
I know I have a unique edged Techno sound, and I believe it will be infectiously received if I can get the right run of showcasing the sound from behind the decks.
Production wise I am concentrating on solid Phutek Originals all year.
Finally, who is your favourite superhero and why?
Karl Pilkington from ‘Idiot Abroad’ BULLSHIT MAN. (If you know, you know) LOL.
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