Interview: Introducing Iron Galaxy
Photos By Julie Hodgins
The newsicmoos team have thoroughly enjoyed the music of which we've heard from Adam Hodgins, or as we were introduced to him as, Iron Galaxy. That introduction came in the form of a remix to a track entitled 'How Long' by Tim Hutton & Tom Findlay under the guise of Sugardaddy, which was released on the seminal imprint and compilation series Late Night Tales. Following up from this, Hodgins will be dropping his next release in August entitled 'Attention Seeker' on Audio Culture; a track that projects a lazy, hazy, sexy take on house, with a steady pace of beat and just enough oomph to even out the sultry, soul-tugging nature of the complete track via the medium of dance. We predict it to be one of the biggest summer tracks of 2012: you heard it here first. We just had to find out more about this Montreal based producer, where the huge range of influences stem from, the forthcoming release and just how he got to this point, by way of London too don'tcha know.
newsicmoos (ns): Hello – thank you for taking the time and letting us delve a little deeper. Firstly, for newcomers to your sound, how would you best describe the music you produce?
Adam Hodgins (AH): Well I'm still finding my feet, but I'm essentially making House and Techno music. A friend and I just finished an Electro thing influenced by people like Claro Intelecto and Drexciya.
ns: What or who do you cite as your influences?
AH: It's all over the place really, from IDM, to rock stuff, melodic noise records, hip hop, shoegaze type stuff etc. I've spent a lot of time listening to Drum and Bass over the years. Total Science, Digital and Spirit could do no wrong for a period in the early 2000s. Reinforced records was pretty influential, Warp Records, EL-P's productions. There's tons of new stuff that's really inspiring. Probably obvious, but 3024, Turbo, R&S, Hot Flush, Audio Culture, M>O>S, Skudge, Delsin, all the Clone and Rush Hour related labels, Hessle, L.I.E.S., Ramp, Push and Run, Granholme, Other Heights, anything Blawan. Too many to mention/remember. Peoples Potential Unlimited have released some DVDs that are pretty awesome visually as well as musically.
ns: Where did your journey with music begin? Can you remember your first record/CD/tape? Were you surrounded by music whilst growing up? What did you listen to? How did your tastes evolve in to the music you produce today?
AH: My first cassette was Fear Of A Black Planet. My first CD was maybe the Melvins? My first record was probably Ed Rush and Optical's Wormhole, a Photek single, or maybe something on Roulé. My dad used to go to the library all the time when I was a kid, borrow music and rip it to cassette so that was my introduction to a lot of stuff. He still does that, but now he'll read reviews in Paste magazine and jump on Soulseek to download stuff. I listened to a lot of Canadian rock stuff like Thrush Hermit, Hip Hop, some Death Metal even and then eventually eased into electronic music, WARP, Suction, City Centre Offices, Hobby Industries, more melodic stuff etc. I eventually got a pair of turntables and started buying some House music but mainly lots of DnB. I picked up a lot of stuff from that 97-02 era. Martyn's "Broken" 12-inch got me excited to look for new records again. There's too many good tracks being released these days to keep up.
ns: What is your production studio set up? What’s your software of choice?
AH: I finally got a real job, so the past few years I've been investing in real instruments. My friend Dave and I have a techno project together called Sex Life, and we combined our setups at his place in Montreal. We have a bunch of analog mono-synths a few poly's, some drum machines and a small amount of outboard gear. I've always worked with Logic so I'm pretty comfortable recording into that, but I'd like to make the shift over to Ableton. It seems a little more creative and logical, but I need to work on getting faster with it.
ns: You recently remixed ‘How Long’, a track by Sugardaddy. How did this connection come about?
AH: The Late Night Tales guys contacted me because they're releasing a mix in the fall and the artist(s) compiling it wanted to license Attention Seeker. I don't know if I'm allowed to break the news on who's mixing that one, so I'll keep my mouth shut. I was surprised that they found me through SoundCloud somehow.
ns: ooo almost an exclusive! Tell us about your forthcoming release on Audio Culture entitled ‘Attention Seeker’... we can’t wait for it! (Official release date: August 20th 2012)
AH: Thanks, I'm glad you like it! It will be my first vinyl release, so that's exciting. It's a one-sided 12" that will have etched artwork on the flip side. It was mastered by Stuart at Metropolis, which is a highlight for me because he cut many of my favourite DnB records and I worked at Metropolis for a short time. Before I wrote that track I had just bought a 909 off a guy, north of Montreal. It had been sitting in his closet for 20 years. As soon as I got it home I wanted to do something with the classic 909 swing. I started with the descending chords made with a sampled pad sound. My other goal was to try and sync the arpeggiator in the OB-8 using a swung trigger, which didn't really work properly, but it was spitting out something interesting when I played some chords, so I built the track around that and the vocal. There's a 101 line in there, a 303, the OB-8 and CS-60 play some pads in the middle.
I tried to put everything to work. I try not to have any tried or tested methods aside from boring stuff like the way I bus drums and compress certain things. I've been trying to get out of my comfort zone and try something different each time. Using drum machines to trigger synths or filters etc. I've been getting mixed results and I'm a bit of a slow worker, but getting my hands on real gear sometimes pushes me in areas I wouldn't normally go. That makes it fun to get in the studio. I'm not an analog purist by any means, but I feel like I'm jamming a bit more when I'm outside of the computer.
ns: You’re based in Montreal – what’s the scene like over there? There’s loads of quality stuff coming from Canada at the moment, whether it’s bass, house or disco. Is there a nurturing scene? Is there a close-knit community of DJs/producers? Anybody we should be keeping an eye out for?
AH: Montreal is great. It's a big city, but it feels like a small town sometimes. I'm pretty disconnected from any particular scene, but I've slowly been bumping into people. I'm friends with a few of the Turbo Records guys and the ESL Crew who have a Saturday night slot on Nasty FM. There's a lot of dedicated people in this town, putting on shows etc. ESL and Booma brought in D'Marc Cantu recently, Boomclap with Ben UFO and MikeQ, Night Trackin' had Martyn, Lookout put up Bok Bok, Bassdrive just had a DMZ night. DJ Lexis runs musicismysanctuary.com which supports a lot of Montreal artists. He's done a few editions of the "24 hours of vinyl", where he schedules a load of great Montreal DJs from the different scenes to do a vinyl only set. It's UStreamed for 24 hours straight each time.
As far as Montreal artists, I'm sure you're already aware of anyone I'd mention. Jacques Greene, Lunice and Ango are obviously getting busy. The Footprintz guys have finished an album that should be out soon, which I'm sure will be big. Mike Mind's been getting back in the studio. Any time I shoot Grown Folk a message they seem to be in a different country playing a show. CFCF put out Exercises recently and always has something on the go, Sinjin Hawke just announced a 3 month tour, Sibian and Faun had a track out on Numbers this year. Toronto's not that far from Montreal and it's home to Gingy, Bordello, Basic Soul Unit, Adam Marshall, Milano, Kevin Mcphee, Nautiluss, Exeter, Azari & III, Egyptrixx. Caribou and Junior Boys are close Toronto, as well as Jessy Lanza, who has almost an album's worth of amazing songs ready to go. I know I'm leaving out a ton of other great producers.
ns: Name 3 tracks you’re currently digging / playing out.
AH: I'm excited for the new South London Ordnance 12", which is the next release on Audio Culture. I've been playing 'Harrier' and a bunch of his tracks for months. The new Jacques Greene on 3024 is amazing, everyone's digging that release I'm sure. Only mentioning 3 is pretty hard, but I've been listening to the Tin Man remix of Recondite's 'Petrichor' a lot lately. Every day there's something new.
ns: We ask all producer’s this – can you tell us one fact about yourself that isn’t out there already?
AH: I was an intern at One Little Indian for a short period and I got to see half the office made redundant during my time there. There were auditors lurking about for a few weeks and then one day everyone was gone. I'm allergic to white nectarines, which is annoying. That's two, I have so many secrets.
ns: Apart from the release on Audio Culture, what’s forthcoming for Iron Galaxy?
AH: I have 2 tracks done for a 4 track EP that should be coming out on a new label. I'm also trying to do finish some tracks this summer that will hopefully become an EP for the Audio Culture guys. Besides that I have a project called Sex Life with my friend Dave. We're currently finishing up some tracks for Turbo Recordings which should be released this year if all goes to plan. I also just got word that there may be a 12" of my 'How Long' remix. Tensnake did a re-edit after the digital release, so they should be putting that together on vinyl.
ns: Any final words, shout outs or advice for the readers of newsicmoos?
AH: I'm not one to give advice, but thank you to Simon and Mike at AC and all the people who've sent me nice messages about my music recently. Hopefully the future stuff won't disappoint.
We'd like to thank Adam for taking the time and letting us delve a little deeper. You can show full support for him via his soundcloud, twitter & facebook pages. You can also share via the social links below.