Alex Smoke live at Edinburgh club Definition
The Glasgow-born, London-based techno DJ is set to appear at Sneaky Pete's
Alex Smoke has just moved to London but he misses his home town. ‘Glasgow has one of the strongest scenes globally,’ he explains. ‘Very supportive and wide-ranging. It’s a culture that’s very proud of music and very explorative. Paris is stagnant, for example, but Glasgow is dynamic.’
His own productions have helped feed that dynamism. Starting with releases on underground label Savalas, moving to Soma then setting up Hum+Haw. ‘Jim [Hutchinson, who runs the label with Smoke] was finishing his contract at Soma and had always wanted to run a label. It was just the right time and place, Soma never placed any limits but with Hum+Haw I could put out anything I wanted.’ Which included an (unfortunately unfinished) hip hop album.
You can spot Smoke’s classical training in his multi-layered minimal constructs rooted in his love of Detroit techno and hip hop. ‘I bought a computer and realised you could make anything, buy a machine and bosh – anything you can think of you can make. It’s very democratic.’ He makes it sound easy but his ‘melodic melancholic electronica’ (in his own words) shows a deep understanding of song structure and time signatures.
He’s used to playing far bigger venues than Sneaky Pete’s so this is a rare opportunity to see one of the most distinctive techno producers an intimate setting. ‘Alex is actually the first big guest that we have had at Definition,’ explains promoter/DJ Mark Balneaves. ‘We have focused on being a residents’ club, with occasional guest appearances from local “up-and-coming” DJs/producers that we admire. We booked Alex as an early fourth birthday present to ourselves and as a Glasgow lad he meets the local criteria but admit that on this occasion we have stretched the definition of “up-and-coming” slightly.’
Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Sat 23 Jul.