Roots & Influences: #005 Fred Holt (Playback)

Introducing the Roots & influences series. A weekly mix showcasing the music driving and inspiring some of Melodic Distraction’s favourite artists and DJ’s.

We are honoured to welcome Fred Holt, organiser of Bristol-based club night Playback. A fresh series of parties showcasing new talents in the house music scene recently with recent guests including FYI Chris and Hubbie Davison – the man who rose to fame for his mash up of Donna Summers and The Commodores.

Over at Melodic HQ, we’ve got this mix on non-stop repeat, it is unlike anything we’ve been sent before, combining a vast range of genres; thrown into a single hour so effectively. Fred Holt is definitely one to look out for. What better way to introduce and guide you through this mix than the man himself. Without further ado we hand over to Mr Holt for a track by track reflection of his roots & influences. Big up for this quality mix!

Doing a ‘roots and influences’ mix gave me the perfect opportunity to dig back through stacks of old records, CDs (and previous iTunes libraries!) and really think about what influences my selections as a DJ. The mix represents a complete mixture of music, composed mainly of old tunes I grew up listening to, some of the earliest electronic tunes that I first heard, up to some newer stuff that’s really inspiring me at the moment. I tried to let tracks play for as long as possible, as I think that’s really something that gets missed from a lot of mixes these days, and selected a wide variety of stuff that I think sums up my influences really well. After selecting the tracks, I did a few takes of the mix, and then picked the one that I thought had the best groove and feel, even if it had a few mistakes. No postproduction apart from a bit of compression and level adjustment.

The mix starts with a selection of ambient/modern jazz cuts, which I spent most of my time at school listening to. Being a drummer, I’ve always loved rhythm, syncopation, and off kilter sounds so jazz was always an easy in for me. Playing in big bands and smaller jazz trios meant that this was pretty much all I was listening to through my teens and 6th form. When I really started to get in to electronic music, I loved the deep, but still grooving house tunes that just made you want to dance, so included a selection of those, many still with percussion and jazz influences hanging about! I’ve essentially always been a sucker for tunes that have that ‘feel’ and just make you want to dance. An old music teacher always used to go on and on about ‘feel’ when listening to music and playing in bands, and I never understood it initially. I always thought I was playing my drum parts to the letter, but it wasn’t until one actually sits back and listens that you can get in the groove. This mix is definitely one to just sit back and feel, and if you fancy getting up for a boogey then feel free…

The mix was recorded on two Technics turntables and an Allen & Heath xone 22 mixer, using mostly vinyl, with some digital bits using a pioneer CDJ 850.

Thanks to the Melodic Distraction guys for asking me to do one, and I hope you enjoy it!

Track list:
Harvest Time – Pharaoh Sanders, 1977 [India Navigation]

What is there to say about this tune?! An incredible 20-minute journey through ambient soul-jazz from the 70’s, and a record that I accidentally picked up in Rat Records in Camberwell about 7 or 8 years ago now. I used to listen to the full 20 minutes of this before bed when I was a teenager, simply one of my favorite records I own (good luck trying to get a reasonably priced one now!)

Kammermusik – Bugge Wesseltoft & Henrik Schwarz, 2014 [Universal]

Another free jazz type record, with the incredible Norwegian Bugge Wesseltoft playing the piano over the more electronic elements from Schwarz. Heard this soon after it came out and been listening to it ever since, just a perfect track and one crosses the boundary between electronic music and jazz perfectly (listen to the whole album!!)

Pound for Pound – The Bad Plus, 2012 [eOne]

I went to see these guys shortly after this album was released at Ronnie Scotts jazz bar in Soho, and they simply blew me away. Bought the Cd of the album (‘Made Possible’) as I walked out and keep coming back to it.  A wicked collection of free contemporary jazz tracks. This tune is the perfect example of modern jazz for me, with those mad syncopated drums I couldn’t not include this.

Miles Away – Linkwood Family, 2004 [Firecracker Recordings]

The first release on the awesome Firecracker recordings label, featuring this hazy jazzy vocal track from the Linkwood Family. I found this in Sister Ray records on Berwick Street, and always feel it was a gateway record into more electronic sounds from the jazzier stuff that I’d been listening to before!

A Mix – Marcellus Pittman, 2006 [Unirhythm]

An absolute master of his art, the bass line in this just gets me everytime, and its one of my favorite house cuts. I suppose this track is just a classic for me, and is exactly the kind of proper deep house that influences me when I’m deejaying.

Brenda’s $20 Dilemma – DJ Sprinkles, 2009 (Kuniyuki Dub Remix) [Mule Musiq]

A wonderful remix of DJ Sprinkles from Kuniyuki Takahashi, featuring almost all my influences under one roof! A house based kick drum with mellow chord stabs and percussion going off everywhere! It can be slightly sinister almost at times but its just got so much groove to it I had to have it in! This is a record that has it all!

Luvmaschine – Luvless, 2014 [Tsuba Records]

A near flawless record of low slung deep house music from Luvless. Although it came out fairly recently, this is exactly the sort of house music that got me hooked when I first heard it, I mean try and not be relaxed by this tune!

Theo – Move D ft. DJ Late, 2007 [Workshop]

I was shown this record about 6 years ago by a friend who was way ahead of me in terms of the electronic music scene that I was at the time, and he told me to give it a listen. I was instantly hooked, with the A side track ‘Theo’ being a house cut I’ve always loved (and on a wicked label to!)

Permafunk – Paxton Fettel, 2011 [Great Cottage Workshop]

Again that Rhodes piano jam had me hooked the instant I heard it, fusing jazz licks with a deep moving bassline, tip!

Bermuda – Harvey Sutherland, 2015 [MCDE]

Out last summer on Motor City Drum Ensembles ever reliable MCDE label, this one is a perfect example of what’s influencing me at the moment. Summer comes round a lot quicker with this tune on…

No Possible (Joystick Jay’s Vulgar Distractions Edit) – Fela Kuti, 2011 [Disco Delicious]

Had to get some Fela Kuti in somewhere, an incredible artist! This one is an edit of ‘No Possible’ that came out on Disco Delicious a few years ago now, unfortunately I only have the digital at the moment, anyone have a vinyl copy going spare? Shouts to Arun Salhan for showing me this one!