MUSIC: Richie Haynes and C2E Podcast Get Deep ‘Down Under’
MUSICALLY CONNECTED: Q&A WITH RICHIE HAYNES OF C2E MUSIC (SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA)
About four years ago, Richie Haynes started a podcast “purely as a way for my friends to continue getting access to my mixes from the other side of the world,” he shares with Tania Fuentez Media. The modest mastermind behind C2E Music never imagined how popular his soulful mixes of House music would become while reaching a multitude of Internet listeners who clicked online to enjoy a new musical journey. “I had a lot of content to post when I first started, and with the offering of a regular fresh set every month, it seemed to appeal to a generation that doesn’t go out as often but still wants to keep in touch with the sounds of now,” recalls the U.K. native who resides in Sydney, Australia. Talk about being ahead of the pack! Keep reading for more on C2E Music and what Richie Haynes is up to these days in an exclusive Q&A for December.
NOTE: All photos courtesy of Richie Haynes. C2E weekly radio show is on every Thursday on Pressure Radio (www.pressureradio.com) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. GMT.
TFM: Absolutely hooked on C2E Music, and its monthly mix of soulful grooves online. When did you start podcasting and why? Has it been an effective marketing tool to establish yourself? Who are your biggest fans and what drew you to the deeper side of House music in the first place?
C2E: The podcasts started in 2008 – February, I think. The regular mixes had been going on since 1996 – starting on TDK tapes, 45 minutes a side, then CDs in 2003, which saw the mix reduce to 80 minutes, a format which stayed in place until the recent Pressure Radio shows. I actually gave a ton of my tapes away to some guys in Africa a few years back while on holiday there. They had never heard house before and were blown away, great to witness them hearing it for the first time. I do wish I had copies of those tapes now though!
I started the podcast purely as a way for my friends to continue getting access to my mixes from the other side of the world, didn’t seriously expect it to become so popular! I think I was quite fortunate with the timing. I had a lot of content to post when I first started, and with the offering of a regular fresh set every month, it seemed to appeal to a generation that doesn’t go out as often but still wants to keep in touch with the sounds of now. Both Podomatic and Facebook provided a great platform to market the mixes. I wouldn’t like to be starting out now though, so many people out there doing the same, standing out is really hard. The biggest following comes from the U.S. for obvious reasons, but interestingly it took a couple of years for them to overtake the U.K. Since I grew up in the U.K., my sound and influence obviously comes from there, so you’d expect the Brits to be able to relate. Today, the footprint is truly global which is very humbling since I’m not a household name or producer. The craziest story I heard was when a friend was playing one of my mixes poolside in Kuala Lumpur and someone walked over and said, “This sounds like C2E!” My friend was shocked and I was blown away when he told me. I love hearing from people who follow the mixes, the diversity amazes me. Makes it all worthwhile knowing others out there have an appreciation for great house music.
The move into the deep side is just a reflection of where the scene has evolved. If you listen to the podcast in reverse order you hear the style change according to the dominant underground House sound of the time. I feel lucky to have experienced so many styles and sub-genres and I enjoy weaving them all together for a mix. The deep sound takes me back to when I first started clubbing in ’91, with the simple deep bass and thumping beat. It’s powerful when music evokes memories like that.
TFM: You’re originally from the U.K., but eventually settled in Sydney, Australia. Why the move and how has that been for you as a DJ? Noticed any major differences in the way House music is perceived and promoted “down under?”
C2E: The move to Aus was forward thinking for my family. Since moving here I’ve had the two boys and it’s all about the life we get to live down here. The club scene is nowhere near as rich and deep as in the U.K. and, as you can imagine, it’s a long way from everywhere so international DJs aren’t as frequent. For me, the Aussies have an inferiority complex, they pay homage to the U.S. and U.K. scenes and DJs without celebrating what they have here. With the digital age we all have access to the same music, so it is much more of a level playing field. I mean, I have achieved all of my success since moving here, so it says a lot for the impact of technology on the scene.
TFM: How cool is it that your sons appear behind the decks on C2E’s logo. Are they really getting into music at their age? What do you think about electronic dance music’s next generation of producers and DJs? Is there too much emphasis on style over substance these days?
C2E: I’m so proud to have my boys involved with the logos. Bailey was only 10 months old when the first logos were done. Both boys hear the music every day and love it. When my eldest went to his first pre-school disco he came over and asked if I could play some House. That made me smile. The other day he was playing in the garden singing Gusto’s Disco’s Revenge! My youngest is a real mover and I’m convinced he’s destined to end up doing something music or dance related, which I would love to be part of.
If I’m honest, I don’t see much difference holistically in the producers of yesterday vs today. I do think they were more innovative back then purely because it was so new. House has been around in many forms for over 25 years so being original these days is really hard. There is definitely a 20-year cycle, in the 90s it was all about Disco, in the 00s it was the Electro 80s rehash, and today we see the 90s U.K. sound on its second outing. The one thing that is different is the access we now have to music, and the ease with which producers can create and distribute. It’s double edged, yes it means there is much more rubbish to wade through as you don’t have the vinyl press costs, record shop and physical distribution filters that ensured only tracks of a certain quality were available back in the day. Having said that, how many tracks have we heard in the last five years that just wouldn’t have been possible using the old model – would the Tribal African sound and scene have exploded if it all had to be pressed and shipped from South Africa? Gems are harder to find these days, but it makes finding them more rewarding.
TFM: It may look easy on a laptop, but mixing isn’t for everyone. Describe some of the essentials involved, including equipment must-haves. Which do you prefer, live sets in the club or studio production?
C2E: Having started with vinyl and gone through CDs into digital I have to say for me it’s vinyl and digital only. I am not into all of the snobbery you get from vinyl vs digital DJs, it really is all about how good the end product sounds. I don’t see the point of CDs anymore, they are barely more hands on than digital and much less convenient. Looking back, I never really connected with the little shiny discs. Ironically I have recently hooked the 1210’s back up and I’m loving it. It is very different to digital – you can actually follow the flow of the track by looking at the surface of the record. For that reason, I think everyone who can, should do both. For me, it’s a set of trusty 1210’s with a Pioneer mixer into Denon DN-MC6000 controller using either Virtual DJ or Traktor. As for club vs studio, again very different. Go back 10+ years I would say club every time _ there was a big enough scene and knowledgeable crowd to ensure the sets and nights were BIG. Today, I enjoy reaching people all over the world, albeit not face to face. You play and have to think differently in terms of flow and programming. Live is about the now with immediate feedback from the listeners, so easier to stay on point. Studio is knowing it will be heard over and over, on the bus, at the gym, the beach, work, before a night out which makes the programming much more interesting. Doing Pressure Radio live and recording as a podcast is a nice mix of the two, we have a great live chat room for the feedback and you know the podcast will be listened to time again.
TFM: One of Roland Clark’s songs, Connection, talks about a “feeling” House music can evoke on any given occasion. Have you had one of those moments in the scene as a DJ and a househead? Inspiration for your track listing comes from …?
C2E: The biggest buzz for me is listening to new tracks for the first time and hearing that sound or vibe or hook that just makes you stop in your tracks. There have been too many to mention, but Kem’s Heaven is one that gets me nearly every time I hear it. My inspiration for the track listing is all about the transitions. I love moving from one style into another, that’s what ensures you don’t hear the same thing for more than say 20 minutes in a C2E mix (I would get bored listening to it otherwise), unless it’s heavily themed of course like the Latin mixes, or the MAW series. I also think it’s one of the things that differentiates the C2E sound from other podcasts.
TFM: Influential figures to watch in electronic dance music. Who is your greatest influence creatively?
C2E: Current people who I have my eye on include, Joss Moog, Sean McCabe, Groove Assassin (going stronger than ever), Kyodai and everything on Local Talk label. On a recent trip to Amsterdam I met the Salvador Brothers, guys in their 20s spinning tracks as old as they are, mixed with the new sounds. That filled me with hope for the future of the scene, those guys are doing some great things up there with other locals.
Greatest influence is a real tough one, Grant Nelson certainly played his part with Nice ‘N’ Ripe and Swing City, along with Dave Lee (Joey Negro) and of course MAW (Masters at Work)! The great thing about House is that it’s like the Internet, it’s a collective with us all playing our small part to produce something much greater than the sum of its parts – and the result is something I am very proud to be a part of.
C2E Music: www.c2emusic.com
C2E on Podomatic: c2emusic.podomatic.com
C2E on Facebook: www.facebook.com/c2emusic
Pressure Radio: http://pressureradio.com/