Return to Mono at the Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 9 Jan
Despite his own career as a DJ and producer, and the fact his third album Lux is lined up for release this spring, it’s label business which has been concerning Alex Smoke of late. Having released his first two albums and a selection of 12s on Soma, Smoke (aka Glasgow boy Alex Menzies) has been striking out with ex-Soma employee Jim Hutchison on their own Hum + Haw imprint since last March. ‘When you do anything creative,’ Smoke says, ‘you always want to have full control over what you do. Soma were great to us both, but there’s nothing like running your own label.’
The pair are proud of their work with brand new local producers including Automaton, who Smoke describes as ‘pretty experimental’, and Name + Relucto, while Hum + Haw have also worked with leftfield hip hop collaborators Hudson Mohawke and Rustie. The pair are now signed to Warp, and Smoke speaks of them with pride.
As for his own work, the classically-trained musician is moving away from purely laptop-based sets. ‘I’ve been working my ass off trying to get a new live set together,’ he says. ‘After doing the laptop thing for three or four years, the time has come to start using more hardware. I just picked up a new synth today, and I’ll be running that through the laptop together with a few effects and vocals. That’ll be getting tested at Return to Mono, because it’s always good to try new things in front of your home crowd.’