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Harderfaster interview with yer man Karl Davis

Reported by K8-e / Submitted 02-07-08 20:01

I met Karl Davis a few years ago when he first played at CyberKitten and knew then he was a thoroughly lovely chap with a really defined style. One of Ireland’s finest hard house exports, Karl flies the flag for the Emerald Isle with visits over to the UK to play for nights such as Hi-Oktane, Hostile and Storm and he firmly believes in keeping the drumbeat going for vinyl with his Pure NRG and Hardsounds labels. With his recent signing to Precision Artist Management and some stonking tunes due for release I thought it was about time Karl got the HF treatment...

I always go back to the beginning at the start of an interview. I like to set the scene for people who my not be familiar with you and your story. So what is the Karl Davis story — where did it all begin for you and how did you end up in the crazy world of hard house?

Howdy! It all started when I started listening to an old radio show Mark Kavanagh had here in Dublin, that show and Mark’s music got me into the hard house sound. I got the DJ bug a bit before that when I heard a mix tape of Carl Cox, live at some rave recorded in ‘93 I think? I have always loved the fast energetic side of music, but saying that my favourite band are the Beach Boys.

The first few releases I had were on 12inch Thumpers and Bullet Proof Ltd; I then had some on Passion Records, Redemption, Toolbox, Delete the Week, MadCow, Infectious USA and KungFu Wax. Elbow Greeze was signed to both Tripoli and Vicious Circle but now I’ve put it out on Pure Nrg. So in between having tunes on other labels I set up Hardsounds and Pure Nrg.

Tell me a bit about each of these labels and your ethos behind each?

I set up Hardsounds with John Kerrigan mostly to get our music out and of course other producers and DJs who we admired and tracks that we liked. We have had some great tunes from the likes of Marc Johnson, George E, Dom Sweeten, Steve Maynard, Nardi and Dwyer, Lucyfur, Steve Gillen, Gary Cooke, Grady G, Wayne Reid and two from Rodi Style.

I set up Pure Nrg as I was making so many tunes and doing collabs I get very restless and I am always thinking of the next tune. It’s great to work with the likes of Dom Sweeten, Mik Cree, Frank Farrell, Dave Owens and WMD, they are so easy to get along with.

Pure Nrg has had some mighty releases from Ben Stevens, Equinox, Defective Audio, a Tinrib Remix of ‘Skoolz Out’, Dave Owens, myself and Frank Farrell as well as a remix from myself and Dynamic Intervention with a load more to come from me, Ian M and Dom.

You are passionate about continuing to press vinyl. This certainly isn’t unique to hard house but we are one of the genres continuing to hold on longer than most — why do you think that is and why have you personally resisted the digital lure for your labels?

I think pressing records has that magical ‘real DJs’ type ethos to it, there is a great sense of achievement having a tune on vinyl, and keeping the ‘dream’ or ‘scene’ alive. But digital is here to stay so after vinyl sells the pressed units, it makes sense for labels to put tracks up for digital download. I have put some Pure Nrg back catalogue up on, and soon on the Flash Point and Tidy sites. I have Pure Nrg 10 – 14 ready to be pressed on vinyl so deffo keeping the wax spinning.

You’ve been responsible for some hard house beasties in recent years, what Karl Davis tunes can we look forward to being released soon?

‘Elbow Greeze’ — Karl Davis & Defective Audio (Pure Nrg 9) is out now along with Pure Nrg 10 — ‘Raver’s Disco EP’ featuring ‘Twisted Disco’ by myself and Defective Audio and also including our remix of Equinox — ‘Disco Trashed’.

Out soon:

‘Bleedin’ Mental’ — Karl Davis Ian M
‘Spaceship’ — Karl Davis Ian M Defective Audio

‘Afterparty’ — Karl Davis & Defective Audio
‘306 Stylee’ — Karl Davis

‘Beatcore’ — Karl Davis & Frank Farrell
Remix — to be confirmed

‘Rave in Space’ — Karl Davis & Frank Farrell
B Side to be confirmed — I’m working on a few tracks.

Production-wise, is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you would like to and what are your plans in 2008 for collaborations?

I would love to do a tune with Equinox as he makes some quality hard house, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys — I’d say he is amazing in the studio, it’s obviously not hard house but the man is a genius.

Which producers do you feel are defining the hard house scene right now?

It’s hard to say, there are so many as on this board and you could list nearly every one who uses Banging Tunes. There’re some talented people posting away every day on that site. It’s great to receive tracks from people to play out at gigs. Obviously you look at Dom, Dynamic Intervention, Equinox and Tinrib, but there’s so many new stars on the scene, so it’s all good.

What’s your favourite tune of 2008 so far?

Umm at the mo I am digging Karim — ‘Diablo’; the Adam M remix of Diddy — ‘Give Me Love’; the Valex remix of ‘Ease the Pressure’; Dom [Sweeten’s] ‘Bad Guy Smoked’; the two tracks I have done with Ian M; the list goes on an on.

You play in the UK fairly regularly for promotions like CyberKitten, Hostile and Hi-Oktane to name a few, and of course in your native Ireland. What’s the differences in the crowds and how do you perceive both scenes to be faring currently?

It seems to getting better from what I have seen. The UK attracts a lot more of a diverse crowd than what we get here, but both sets of crowds go mad. Our events are probably smaller but we make a lot of noise and throw some mad shapes ha ha. I am playing at Planet Love — one of only a few hard house/Nrg DJs — so that will be good. The event holds 18,000 and has a wicked line up! It is great to have these big events happening and I can not wait for it. Banging beats all the way!

You have been signed to Precision Artists — the new kid on the block for some of the hard house scene’s heavyweights and fastest up and comings. How did this come about?

Ah I just threatened them to a naked mud wrestle and they caved in to let me join, always works. I am looking forward to this, the list is amazing — that would be one savage club night if all the DJs played on the bill. Dave and Sarah have got a great line up there at the agency, all my favs are on it. Really happy to be part of the team and look forward to some banging nights ahead!

Could you ever see yourself moving to the UK to pursue your DJing?

Nah I can’t see that happening, I like the over and back at weekends, no sleep and a truck load of coffee in work on Monday. The UK is cool but home is home and it’s only an hour over and back, same time as going to work. The busier the better for me as I am restless at times, but the wrinkles are creeping in from lack of sleep!

Another fine import to the hard house scene in the UK has come in the form of Rodi Style, Tidy’s latest whizz kid. Some might not know you actually signed his first track ‘Messing with your Mind’ to Hard Sounds and that you played for Ben in Canada at an event risking life and limb at the Rash Hotel, tell me more!?

Yep Hard Sounds was the first label to put a track from Ben out, we are the Simon Cowell of hard house, the wax factor!!

I had an amazing time in Canada, Ben (Rodi) is a sound bloke and we hit it off with the same silly sense of humour. I played for Ben on the Friday night, and on the Sat we were playing in a club about three hours from his home, the hotel looked like it should have been knocked down, but it was a fun night, smelly carpet, smelly bed, smelly shower, wonderful! And it had what looked like a hole in the ground with water in it for a pool, septic is not the word.

What are your plans for 2008?

To moonwalk and run a mile in a minute.

Just to keep enjoying the music, meeting new people, clubbers, DJs etc. and spread the hard house sound to some other counties in Ireland. I am playing at Planet Love here in June to 18,000 people — that will be great and I am planning to give out couple thousand mix CDs so that should spread the word a bit.

Cool! Time for a few quick fire questions:

Beer or vodka?

Beer and Guinness — ohh I can feel the hangover.

Favourite film?

I have three so I’ll cheat the question.

1. Scarface — gangsta
2. Blazing Saddles — funniest film ever
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Original) — a film you grow up with and the one million re-runs at Christmas.

Hoovers or Horns?

Hoovers please!

Friday or Saturday night?

Both and sleep Sun night.

Thanks Karl!!

Photos copyright Karl Davis. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By K8-e:
The One and Only Eddie Halliwell
PunchFunk & Geushky Presents "Let's Make Rave" with Ian Void & Chris Vaux
Cream @ Amnesia - Ibiza 2010 - Reviewed
Pure Gold: Interview with Will Gold
Turning the Corner - Interview with IAMX
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

From: Karim Lamouri on 3rd Jul 2008 11:05.15
Nice read. Go Karl!

From: Devo on 3rd Jul 2008 11:58.18
Good stuff Karl.

From: Getonit on 3rd Jul 2008 12:17.17
Great read. Top bloke 2. Hope to have him back soon to play Smile

From: Redrum on 3rd Jul 2008 17:40.52
Karl you crack me up lol. I remember that Mark Kavanagh radio show..I used to love that too! I love your dj sets and productions especially 'Elbow Greeze'. Keep up the good work mate .

From: Steve Gillen on 3rd Jul 2008 20:59.50
Nice one Karl. Cheers for the mention. Slayer Look forward to working on a new track with you fella. Thumbs up

From: karl davis on 3rd Jul 2008 21:43.55
Thanks Kate for the interview :-)
and cheers all for the kind words!!
Hope to see ya's all soon

From: James Nardi on 3rd Jul 2008 22:17.33
Such a sound bloke. Big respect to you Karl.
Hopefully see you very soon mate.

From: Firefox on 3rd Jul 2008 22:47.58
Wicked read, good stuff Karl mate, keep it up!

From: Jazzy on 4th Jul 2008 08:57.41
Great guy and even better DJ!
Really good read babe - keep doing what you're doing!
Hope to see you soon Big grin

From: karl davis on 5th Jul 2008 22:24.01
Cheers all, hope to rock it out in london soon!

You all keeping well?

From: Keith Allen on 9th Jul 2008 04:05.21
nice read karl!!! Big grin

From: karl davis on 9th Jul 2008 21:41.36
cheers keith m8

From: SAMSON on 13th Jul 2008 13:08.03
Good Stuff Mate Smile

From: George-E on 14th Jul 2008 21:45.36
I'll never forget the mad times had, incl. my trip to Dublin, thanks for all your support in 'my time' and for taking on 'Freakin it' which turned out to be most prob. turned our as one of my most successful trax...I miss those times, but such is life and she moves on! Keep flying the flag high ya leprechaun u! ;-) Cheers!

From: karl davis on 15th Jul 2008 19:51.26
George E, how the hell are ya man, one the soundest people I have ever met :-) you still in London, pop you an email hook up for a beer next time I am over.

Cheers Samson, and Mr. Nardi hope your well dude loving your tunes as always!!

From: George-E on 15th Jul 2008 22:29.35
Heya sir...I replied indeed and yes a Leffe or Hoegaarden for me please haha! Yeah leme know whenst about again!

From: Paul Batten on 16th Jul 2008 14:22.00
Wicked read! Long time no see Karl, hope your cool matey!

From: karl davis on 16th Jul 2008 18:26.18
Hi Paul, not bad m8, hope get back over your side soon, how you keeping m8 you well, still hammering sloppy jallopy wkd tune!!

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