Richard Charter of Numbers - Full interview transcript
Innovative Glasgow club Numbers reaches eighth birthday
How has this year been for you?
A lot of things have been amazing this year. Being able to release new records from Redinho, Deadboy, Jamie xx and Lory D was a major thing for us because everyone involved put so much into it and the records really show what Numbers as a label and a party is about. They show our range from the harder techno of Lory D, to Redinho’s talkbox electro-funk, Deadboy’s melancholic house and of course Jamie’s steel drums. Another brilliant moment was the release of a Fabric mix CD from our very own Jackmaster in May.
On top of those releases we also had our very first US tour in March which was an intense but amazing experience. We did parties coast to coast, including slots at SXSW, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. And we’re doing a showcase at the outdoor stage at this June’s Sonar festival with Deadboy, Redinho, Lory D, Jessie Ware, Jackmaster and Spencer. Numbers resident designer Adam Goodhand has planned a full-on visual assault too, so we can’t wait.
What was it like having your club night at Berghain?
Loud! It was quite an eye-opener, the club’s one of the best in the world and despite being huge it retains a really underground feel. We liked it so much we ended up going back the next night – hopefully they’ll ask us back soon.
And what about your relationship with Fabric in London?
We’ve done a few parties for them, one this year and three in 2010. The most recent was the launch for Jackmaster’s Fabric Mix CD, where Hudson Mohawke, Benji B and the rest of the Numbers team all did a set. We’re always up for a good party.
How long have you had your Rinse FM show for?
The Rinse show started in May and it’s been great so far. It’s fortnightly, with Jackmaster and Spencer hosting. We’re really enjoying being able to play a wide range of music, newer UK tracks mixed in with our influences from Detroit and Chicago, plus we always manage to get in a bit of Prince. Jamie xx and Deadboy were our most recent guests.
Your Jamie xx release sounds very exciting. How did that come about?
Jamie and his manager got in touch with us a while ago with some tracks – Jamie was a fan of the label. We were instantly feeling the tracks, so plans were hatched, and we ended up getting Jamie up to play a gig for us in Glasgow last December. He also joined us at our SXSW party in Austin earlier this year.
This is his first solo release that isn’t a remix or a collaboration. Jamie’s a genius producer and we’re super excited about the record.
What can we expect from the eighth birthday?
It’ll be a hefty dose of Numbers favourites from the last eight years, plenty of Prince and Drexciya as well as some upcoming exclusives from the label. It’s a party – we’re not there to show off, just to get everyone dancing and having a good time.
Why did you want Floating Points? How did he get involved with Numbers?
We’re big fans of Sam Floating Points’ productions but last year he came and did a two-hour warm-up slot for us at the Sub Club which blew our minds. It was on the same bill as Martyn and Kode9. The guy was dropping Herbie Hancock records into Souls of Mischief and then played Model 500’s ‘Night Drive Thru Babylon’ (Time Space Transmat) which ended up getting rewound by some enthusiastic young ravers. We’ve been wanting him to come back for ages – he comes equipped with his own rotary mixer and is a massive vinyl head whose digging knows no boundaries.
Any big plans for the rest of the year?
We’ve got some more records coming out in the second half of the year – we’re staying a bit tight-lipped for the moment but you’ll no doubt hear some at the eighth birthday party. We’ve got a showcase at Bestival in September, plus more parties in Glasgow after the summer. Watch this space. As for the future, we just want to keep improving, putting on great parties, putting out great music and helping our artists get out there.
It seems like there's a strong sense of traditional funk and dance music mixed with a strong sense of the progressive and new. Where do you think this eclecticism comes from?
There’s eight of us in the Numbers crew and we’re all different ages. We all grew up going to parties at Club 69 in Paisley (run by Rubadub), where we were exposed to the best Detroit techno and electro that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. On top of that we’re all massive hip hop and R&B fans, and we love 80s funk music like Prince, Zapp, P Funk and Janet Jackson. When we hear the new stuff it takes the same place in our brains alongside acts like those we’ve grown up with – for example, when we first heard Rustie it gave us the same feeling as when we first heard Drexciya. We don’t get swayed by trends, we just go with music that excites us – Hessle Audio is one of our favourite labels at the moment, and we love guys like Blawan, Pearson Sound, Mosca and Untold. We continually get excited when we hear good new music and that’s what drives us on.
The Numbers crew is Richard Chater, Calum Morton, Neil Morton, Rob Mordue, Adam Rodgers plus DJ Nok La Rok and Pol Style out in Japan.