Soulful & melodic techno from Holland
Glaswegian-born Vince Watson may be renowned for his particularly soulful, melodic brand of electronic dance music on labels like: Alola, Delsin and his own Everysoul imprint, through to Planet E and Tresor Records.
Vince’s skill set has allowed him to work with some of the very best musicians in the dance music scene including Laurent Garnier, Joe Claussell, Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath, Carl Craig, Osunlade, Steve Bug & Josh Wink.
A touring musician, Vince’s live shows are in demand globally, playing at some of the world’s most famed clubs and events including Enter at Space, Ibiza, Berghain, Berlin, Womb Tokyo, a residency at Tresor, Berlin and many events across The Netherlands.
Alongside his touring schedule and studio commitments, Vince’s experience and knowledge is also being put to use by Conservatorium van Amsterdam where Vince is a Senior Degree Lecturer for AEMA, the CvA’s new electronic music school, where he teaches DJ classes, Production classes and Remix classes – paving the way for the next generation to use his knowledge and skill sets to good use.
Hello Vince, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us, we’re thrilled to have you with us on our interview space.
You’ve been making timeless music for over 20 years and travelled for many countries all around the world.
Let’s start from your musical roots: which are your influences during your teenage years?
Thanks for having me! I had my first white label in my hands when I was 19 so my Teens were pretty much a blur in terms of musical development. Essentially, I went from Jean Michel Jarre and The Police to Rakim and Ultramagnetic MCs to Marshall Jefferson and Juan Atkins in 6 years. Pretty crazy when I think about it.
Your life led you to live in Amsterdam, far away from your home city, Glasgow.
What propelled you to move there?
I was playing here very regularly, maybe once a month in various places, and had built up very nice friendships with some promotors and people in the scene in general, so it was the next logical step, however it only finally happened once my (now wife) came to see me play at Studio80 and that was it.
Every producer strives to create their own sound, which is something we feel you have been able to do for your own project during the years.
It’s true that I have always tried to do things a little differently, however I have always believed and felt that by following my instincts the music tells me where to go and what to sound like…I don’t feel like I’m in control of this sometimes. Hard to explain in a small sentence but in essence there is perhaps spooky actions at play (see Quantum Physics).
What do you feel has been the key to making that happen for yourself?
By making music for 1 single purpose alone – the sake of the art itself. Following your heart and being expressive in your music is the only possible route to being timelessly happy with your creations.
The duration of your career makes you capable of thoughtful considerations about the evolution of electronic music and its future. Do you think the techno music scene is saturated or there are still possibilities of expansion?
Let’s Park Covid to the side for a moment – The scene was tired well before that. There is lots of DJs and Artists that were getting jaded playing the same thing over and over again. The proliferation of commercial “techno” and the watered-down mega stage sound in the pursuit of big numbers had a huge impact on the venues and opportunities available to those who were unwilling to follow the trends and wanted to stay true to the art. Covid masked the issue…everyone was on pause. Now things are slowly (up and down) opening up again, the reality of the new fees, lesser opportunities etc is a big discussion among us artists generally. The world as we knew it is different. Saturation played its part, but there is evolution to consider too. Now, all of this does not have to be negative. Every scene needs to evolve or die, it’s just at the moment the “evolution” is not in a direction which is easily consumable for the true artists in the scene. Only the strongest will keep creating Art for its sole purpose and that will determine who will be standing when the “new” rave gimmicks float off in the distance and DJs stop putting hands in the air. The lack of opportunity also naturally breeds creation and new ideas. I’ve heard a few quite interesting things recently which challenge the norm. It remains to be seen how all this is going to pan out, but I for sure will be doing my bit to help the cause with timeless music.
What do you think is different for the days you started?
Every single thing except one – why I make music in the first place. Every single other thing has evolved.
You’ve had a longstanding relationship with Detroit techno legend Carl Craig and the ‘Planet E’ label. How did you first hook up?
He called me when I was living in Scotland and asked me to make an EP for Planet E. I was obviously delighted as being an avid vinyl collector at the time, my Planet E section was almost complete. A few months later ‘Renaissance/Rendezvous’ was sent to him, and I waited nervously for an answer because in that period Carl was going through his more minimal phase, so I didn’t know what to expect, but thankfully he just wanted me to be me and he loved the tracks.
What has Carl Craig imparted to you as an artist and industry professional?
His chords are a special, special thing that inspired me immensely over time. There are just so many blissful tracks that have his signature sequences. Many have copied him in the past, I may have been guilty of that as well at some stage, but his ability to find the perfect sound with the perfect chord progression challenged me to rise to that task in my early days.
You founded ‘Everysoul’ in 2010. What is your favorite record from your own catalogue and why?
Well, my little label hasn’t had that many releases, as I always focus on Quality over Quantity and since its only my own productions, I’m limited now to 2-3 per year especially now that I’m doing vinyl runs again. So, there isn’t a huge catalog to choose from…. but since your question asks about productions, I’ll park the remixes that have been on there and only focus on my own tracks, so I would say the entire DnA concept, the original 18 track album, this DnA [re]Sequenced LP and the next edition in 2022 is my biggest and most accomplished project to date.
It’s almost a natural progression for many producers to start their own label but not everyone does it.
It can be a pain in the arse sometimes, especially if you are featuring lots of different artists. There is so much to do to make sure Artists get publishing/Mechanicals/Royalties etc., it can be a headache. It why I have generally kept my own stuff on the label as I don’t have time for clerical responsibilities to run a big label well. That said, Bandcamp has opened a Pandora’s box of opportunity that no independent artist should ignore.
What was the main motivation behind starting your own imprint and what plans & aspirations do you have for the label in the near future?
When I closed my Bio label down it was a great feeling. It had run its course and the music it released really did serve a purpose at the time, but I needed to move onto something fresh. Everysoul was started simply as a home for me to release more music more regularly and not having to rely on other labels schedules. In 2021 its a total shitshow trying to get tracks signed by a label and have them released within 9 months. Sometimes you just wanna get stuff out so making your own decisions makes a big difference. The label will grow a little more in 2022 with bigger releases but I have no intentions of really going for it full on, unless a release makes a huge impact, then I will hand over the running of the label to management and just focus on A&R.
Being an excellent live performer brought your career to a top level in the electronic scene. When people talk about you as an artist, the discussion often focuses on your live show. How does your live set affect your process once you get into the studio, when it come to make music?
I play so many variations of new things together that (pre-covid) it really shaped how my eventual releases sounded. Having that insight into what works and what doesn’t really make the difference. In all those years touring I was using a lot of different gear but always with a laptop. Now thankfully I am no longer using a laptop on stage and going fully hardware and getting that screen barrier away from the stage. I’m excited about playing live again when things open up fully
So what do you have going on in the studio at the moment? Any forthcoming projects or releases we can look forward to?
I’ve been working like an animal through Covid, that was a perfect opportunity for me to really get a big repertoire of music to release and I have so much new music coming I’m starting to forget about some of it! I’ll try to summarize – There will be DnA [re]Sequenced Part 2 in 2022 as well as a new Vince Watson house LP ‘Another Moment in Time’ which reflects what we just all went through and is a follow up to ‘Moments in Time’. Ill also be releasing Mystical Rhythm on vinyl again due to demand, which is quite incredible after 20 years. Singles will be forthcoming on Sacred Rhythm, Get Physical and Tribe under Vince Watson…but there is also something different coming from me. The artist project is called Amorphic and launches in February with a self-titled label focusing purely on dark techno and again a hardware live show. I’m so excited about it…and I think when people hear and see it live, they will be very surprised. It’s been coming for years and years, I just never had the time…Covid made it possible to get it ready. I hope you’re ready 🙂
As you know we’re great fans of your music since a while and it’s a pleasure to have you onboard on the podcast series. What kind of mix have you prepared for Sounds From NoWhere this time, did you have a certain focus in mind before making it?
I always approach these mixes with 2 things in mind – What style of mix have I not done recently (to keep things fresh). And what high quality music am I going to use. I generally try and build up sets and rarely just play a set from start to finish with the same tone or feel. I’m a storyteller and I always find a way to have a story arc (same with my albums too). Mixes need to take listeners from where they are to somewhere else in their minds and I want people to trip out to it and let it flow.
Leave us with a track that has remained a firm favourite of yours and tells us why?
Saint Is – Indana – I FUCKING love this track – the chords (very Carl Craig) and the Demented Drums vibe to it…. I think I’ve been playing it for 2 years in the middle of my sets to give the crowd a breather – it’s amazing for that and a brilliant track to bring them back up again with a killer track afterwards. Special track.
Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us, we greatly appreciate your courtesy.
Thanks for having me and letting me do the mix for you :).