Sandra Marron discovers Carl Finlow’s dark side as his Silicon Scally persona puts in a live set at Freq
Carl Finlow aka Random Factor aka Silicon Scally has worked with all the greats in electronic music. In fact, he is one of the greats himself. Along with Ralph Lawson he was responsible for the highly revered 2020Vision remixes; he’s worked with some of the world’s greatest musicians, producers and DJs including Swayzak, Josh Wink, Felix da Housecat and Luke Slater. His recordings have been released on dance music’s most pioneering labels, including Paper, Warp, Klang and our very own Soma, so Glasgow is in for a rare treat this fortnight as he dons his Silicon Scally hat and teams up with the Wee DJs and Freq to bring his darker side to the Subby. He’s very much looking forward to the trip. ‘It’s the only occasion I get to hear my stuff out really because I’m not a clubber anymore - those days are long gone,’ he laughs. ‘I’m a retired raver, that’s what it says on my passport.’
He may be a retired clubber but his music is still very much a part of clubland. While his live gigs under his Silicon Scally pseudonym are a bit of a rarity in the UK he relishes the opportunity to play live and meet people that have been ‘buying my records for years.’ Finlow’s live sets have changed substantially over the years, particularly with the advent of new technology, which makes him a much happier traveller. ‘I used to do the live sets with keyboards, real equipment and stuff years ago but it was such a drag, literally. Once the laptop started appearing and the new software it became a no brainer for me really. When I play live now I arrive in the country or wherever I’m playing with a backpack, a keyboard, my computer, a change of clothes and a toothbrush and passport and that’s it. It’s really easy for me to travel around and play my music anywhere I want to and to continue making music while I’m on the road. I write music on the plane, burn the CD on the train and get back to my house with a finished product.’
Finlow is a huge Ableton Live fan and believes the programme has changed the face of dance music. ‘It’s still quite surprising to some people that it’s possible to do absolutely everything on Ableton, no hardware just the computer,’ he says.
In addition to his live sets he is also working for the first time in years with another partner, renowned Parisian DJ and resident at Laurent Garnier’s Rex Club, Djulz. They are currently experimenting with different sounds in the studio and it’s looking like the results may well be on the minimal side.
Finlow is enjoying the collaboration. ‘It’s good to be working with Djulz; he’s given me a lot of fresh ideas and energy. He’s a good few years younger than me plus he’s a really good DJ, one of France’s best, so he’s always got new ideas and records for me to listen to. Because I never listen to modern music at all.’
No modern music? Then where does this electronic frontrunner get his inspiration? ‘I’m in my Mike Oldfield period at the moment,’ he proudly admits.
Silicon Scally plays live along with the Wee DJs at Freq at the Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 20 Apr.