- Published on Friday, 20 April 2018 11:49
A true enforcer of timeless rhythms, with an ability to draw the listener in with a wide spectrum of sounds and moods. A unique thought process when digging for records, searching way above and beyond the ordinary. Over recent years, a reputation has been built solidly around his passion and raw ability to structure records whether playing in a club or after party atmosphere. A journey of all kinds. With successful releases on London based labels Fuse, Infuse and Arupa, the energy does not end in the booth.
It has been a long time coming, join us as we caught up with the natural and humble talent that is, Joseph Williams; he will be joining us this summer on the MEOKO stage at RPMM Festival in Porto (and rightly so).
1. First, thank you for your time and recording a mix for us. Where did your journey with music begin?
It’s a pleasure to finally do a mix! I would say my journey did not begin with electronic music; my taste was varied growing up from Hip-Hop to Blues and Folk. A lot of the electronic music I heard was filtered through my older sister who would play it at home and took me to my first parties when I was around 17/18. I would pair up with her friend who was older so I could get in to over the 21 nights with my baby face!
I was always more inclined to listen to electronic music as I got older. After my first club nights I began collecting for myself, starting with classic/soulful and funky house. From there I was constantly discovering new sounds and different variations of our music. It felt like I stumbled across all the parties and music I now enjoy, but my path makes sense when looking back.
2. What would you say influences you amongst the scene right now?
I value my time spent with friends the most. This could be at a party, or the countless hours we spend playing and discussing music in between. It’s these moments that are influential for me and I draw energy from. Even a simple conversation with a friend Shauny could spark and renew my enthusiasm. Connective moments of shared passion fuel and drive our scene forward and we all experience them in some capacity – these are fundamentally what inspire me to be creative.
3. Where would you say you enjoying playing the most, either past or present?
Can we make it a time during the night? If so, after-parties. It’s where I am most relaxed, I feel less pressure and I can play the music that I enjoy collecting the most. I think there is a certain expectation from the crowd for the main gig of the night and this includes the DJs living up to their expectation of the event. I can definitely appreciate this and to some degree, it can’t be helped.
The after party, however, is where people are (mostly) open to DJs experimenting, so it is a space where the DJ and dancer can subconsciously both transcend the expectation and convention of a standard party and experience sound differently, together. With this comes an atmosphere that permits more freedom, which is always good when playing.
4. Having released on Fuse, Infuse and Arupa which are highly respected labels, are there any labels in particular you would love to work with in the future?
It’s been great working with these labels as the people behind them have been friends and have somewhere along the line, helped me on my journey. I’ve not thought about any other labels to release on, my main focus for now is to simply make the music.
5. Do you have any releases in the pipeline you can reveal to us?
I’ve been working on a first EP, its something that's not come naturally in terms of creating and selecting. I’ve had loads of ideas but none I feel have represented me. Although now I have one more track I’m working on which completes a 4 track EP.
6. This July you will be playing along side many fantastic artists at the brand new RPMM Festival in Porto. It sounds like a great concept they have, how does it feel to be part of such an exciting project? You will be able to pack some special records for that trip.
I’m looking forward to it! The main stages of the festival host loads of different styles of music, so it will be nice for the Meoko room to continue in that fashion and provide alternative and deeper sounds.
Ultimately you can’t fully plan for a gig, but lately when finding music I've been saying ‘yep, that’s for the festival’ - some feel-good sunshine groovers.
7. You recently played at the refurbished 93 Feet East, how did you find it with the new makeover? It is refreshing to see a club being given a new lease of life. Do you think this could have a knock on effect in the city, maybe more day time focused clubs opening?
I think its great that its back. The club was home to a lot of my first parties and raving experiences; it is of course synonymous with Sundays at Fuse. In a way, this club and party was a preamble of things to come for me. The makeover has given it a stripped back no-nonsense feel, and this has been mirrored by the extensive quality on the line-ups every week. I recently had a convo with my friend Zack who is involved with the events in the club and we spoke about the potential it has for so many different types of parties and events.
I hope it does have a knock on effect! I have seen a few cool new spaces pop up recently and have been to some great parties, there is still a lot of passion in London and the city can still be the clubbing capital if we are not limited by restrictions and closures.
8. What can the listeners expect from the mix you kindly made for us, how do you go about compiling online mixes and podcasts?
I’d like to think overall, it represents distinct moods and sounds that I enjoy most and look for when collecting. I love music with feeling. Some of the tracks in the mix I connect with when I’m home or daydreaming with headphones somewhere (which I do a lot). Despite appreciating loads of different styles, on a whole, my taste is definitely dictated by synths, melodies and the feeling they give. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bass line! But I am a listener of music first, and these are the tracks that catch me, so its only natural it follows in my selection when I play. I hope this mix is a snapshot in to what I groove to and reflects parts of my personality.
When compiling the mix I wanted to focus more on my personal connection with the tracks and tried to subdue the ever-enticing factors of novelty and obscurity, as they don't always help the cause. In regards to the structure, I try to be gradual with the intensity in mixes and leave the end dreamy, I left this mix on a lighter note as I try not to take everything so seriously all the time ;)
9. A question we like to ask, if you could choose three records that never leave your bag, what would they be?
I wouldn’t say they never leave my bag, but here are three tracks that I always come round to at some point and have done for a while:
1. Wamdue Kids – Echoes and Instruments
Timeless Wamdue on the seminal label, Guidance.
2. Ricardo Villalobos - H.E.I.K.E. (Ricardo Villalobos Mood Mix)
The man is a major influence for me, probably not one of his most cited tracks – but the simplicity and percussion groove always catches me. It circles round in to my sets every so often.
3. B12 - Debris
Bags of emotion and a record I’ve played towards the end of many after after parties.
Thanks a lot for your time Joseph, see you in Portugal J.
Interview by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Thursday, 12 April 2018 11:59
In recent times, there has not been many more names synonymous with the London scene than, Harry McCanna. Whether, kicking it with his NorthSouth Records family at their local home, The Lion & Lamb, or locking down after parties in off key locations around the city. One thing remains, his unique ability to weave together a wide range of genres with a full understanding of the desires of the dancefloor.
A talent that has been acknowledged across the board; with a recent trip playing several cities in Australia, alongside parties in the UK, Italy and Belgium. The curiosity of this young artist does not stop there, as he continues to build a reputation under the production alias, Henry Hyde. A variation of releases on Undersound, Half Baked and joint outlet NorthSouth Records.
Check out what went down when we caught up with him ahead of his Oscuro London Showcase this Saturday at 93 Feet East:
Harry McCanna Exclusive - MEOKO 251
So, to kick things off, congratulations on your recent debut tour of Australia, How did you find it? How would you compare it to parties in Europe?
Thank you, it was an amazing experience. It was my first time spending a few weeks away ‘touring’ so it will always be a milestone for me.
I think it’s hard to compare the two right now, it feels like Australia’s scene for this kind of sound is still growing. However, there’s some real passionate people both involved in the scene and just generally out partying and that’s always great to see. I definitely felt a buzz and an openness to new ideas at each party, especially in Melbourne, we had a lot of fun there.
It's been many years since we last caught up with you, and I'm sure a lot has changed! Last year saw the launch of your own label North South Records, along side Half Baked resident Sam Bangura and Dale Mussington. Where did it all start? How have you found the reception so far?
It was actually December 2015 that we first spoke about starting a label together, then there was about a year of us getting our ideas together and getting in touch with the artists we wanted to work with etc. It took us ages to come up with a name, but when we finally settled on ‘NorthSouth’ towards the end of 2016 everything seemed to move fairly quickly. We didn’t quite know what to expect, so it’s really nice to see that people out there are enjoying it.
It is great to see you are releasing frequently now on personal projects and recently Half Baked. It is Coming up to NorthSouth's third release featuring yourself and Chris Geschwindner, who also featured on the debut release. An incredible talent for sure, is there an umbrella of artists which you have in mind for the label moving forward?
We’ve always had the ethos of working with friends. We’d known Chris Gecshwindner for a few years already and he was the first artist we knew we wanted to work with. We’d spoken about releasing his tracks long before NorthSouth was properly formed, Christian Jay and Bilal were both on the radar from early as well. We really love the individual sounds each artist bring and we’ll definitely be working with all three of them going into the future. We’ve also got plans to introduce one or two new artists as well, but that will all come soon enough.
I love the fact you have an alias when producing, Henry Hyde. What inspired you to use an alternate name for your releases? It's definitely got a ring too it.
Ha! Glad you think so. Henry Hyde first came about in 2014 when I made a batch of tracks that all had a certain sound about them. For me they were the first tracks that I felt really represented me and the sound I wanted to produce. 2 of them went on to be the first Undersound release in 2015 and I’ve continued to work under the alias since, although I feel like the actual sound of Henry Hyde is always developing.
This May, NorthSouth celebrates its first birthday at The Lion & Lamb, the local pub. Do you see this a fitting home for your label and the sound you portray? We think the opening of this venue was a breathe of fresh air in London.
The Lion & Lamb is one of the best things to happen in the scene in London for ages. It feels like a real hub for what we have in London and everyone working there has a real passion for what they’re doing.
We didn’t really plan on running parties as NorthSouth until a couple of months before the first release, although I still wouldn’t really call ourselves promoters, we just bring our mates and our records and have a good time. The pub is so well prepared, there’s not much else we need to do! It’s definitely the right place for us. Long live the Lion & Lamb!
There is a always a certain buzz around the scene in London, but recent times feel like it really is thriving with even more incredible line ups and off key after party locations. Would you agree?
Yes I would. In the last few years London’s underground has faced some tough times, but I would say that it’s coming back even stronger now. As you say there’s been a lot more interesting new spots used for afters, it’s great to see promoters are always looking for different spaces. It’s nice to see some new venues opening as well, Cell 200 and The Cause both look very promising and the recent reopening of 93 Feet East is good news. The overall level of London-based parties, labels and artists has always been high, but I feel like people are really pushing things forward now. It’s extremely inspiring to look around you and see so many people doing great things.
You are known by many for your impeccable selection of records. What are you favourite spots for digging for records? UK and World Wide.
I wouldn’t really say there’s any specific places, obviously the internet can be extremely handy, but you can sometimes miss the more personal experience of actually going and having a look. Whenever I’m visiting another city I like to look for any local spots to have a rummage. Visiting a collection is always nice, you can generally find a more varied selection and it’s just a bit more of a comfortable environment. Shout out to Mr Plasticvinyldog, he’s always got the goodies, and makes a great tea.
You seem to be pushing out a unique sound under your alias Henry Hyde. What kind of set up are you using in the studio?
As I’m still making music from home it’s a pretty bedroom friendly set up:
I use an I-Mac with Logic Pro X, a Roland Octa-Capture interface and a pair of Yamaha HS-7s. As for hardware I’ve got a Roland Juno-D, Access Virus B and a Yamaha TX81Z that goes through a Waldorf filter. I also have a Korg Electribe ER-1 and Volca FM that come out everyone now and then. I’ve also got a cheap mic I’ve had for years that I use to record the odd clap or voice when I feel like it.
There’s always the quest to get more though!
Anything else you would like to enlighten us with, any plans for the summer, releases?
There’s a few nice bookings coming up I’m excited about. Oscuro this Saturday is shaping up to be real fun, can’t wait to play b2b with Voigtmann for the first time. Ojoo’s first birthday in Ghent May 27th should be great, I played for them at their first party last year and was one of my favourite gigs of 2016. Leeds Inner City Electronic festival in June as well, that looks like a cracker. I’ve got a couple more tracks coming out on VAs, but I’d like to focus on doing a full length EP soon. I’ve only ever released a maximum of 2 tracks at one time, so I’m quite keen to get something a bit more substantial out.
We really appreciate you taking out your time to do this interview and thanks for recording a special mix for us, can you tell us a little bit what the listener can expect?
Some old, some new, some unreleased. There’s tracks in there I’m playing out at the moment and some I’ve been saving for a mix. So yeah, a bit of everything really, hope you enjoy it.
Lastly, the million dollar question. Three records that never leave the bag?
Vengaboys - We’re Going to Ibiza
Baha Men - Who Let the Dogs Out
Shaggy - It Wasn’t Me
Words by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Thursday, 15 March 2018 18:58
Join us as we take a trip in to the world of Detroit raised, Magda. Not many words are needed to introduce such a high caliber artist from over the years, a sturdy reputation built upon a dare to be different ethos. Taking music in directions beyond the imagination. The definition of an artist, combining a wide range of aspects; audio, visually and the surroundings they can be experienced.
We discussed exciting new projects regarding Perm Records, and her unique alias under the name Blotter Trax. Live set ups, upcoming festivals and mention of a particularly random trip from Colombia to Margarita Island, Venezuela.
Check it for yourself…
First of all, many thanks for your time and catching up with us again after almost six years. How have you been?
I have been well, thanks for asking. So yeah, let’s catch up! ;)
Just a little bit about your past. It has been an incredible twenty years since you first signed with Minus, touring with Richie Hawtin. Is there any particular memories that really spring to mind when you think of these times? How would you say the scene has changed since then?
It’s crazy to think two decades have passed since I began all of this... Some memories feel like another life. Those early days were pretty crazy, especially moving to Berlin in 2003. Everything felt so raw and free and completely wild, it was a real shock coming from NYC where the nightlife was restricted by no dancing laws and curfews. Berlin was the opposite and I loved it. My first gig was at the old Panorama Bar when Zip invited me to a Perlon night. I’ll never forget asking him what time I was playing and he said 11 AM. I was shocked. I’ve never heard of such a thing, and it was even more shocking to find out that it was completely packed the entire day. That’s the truly unique thing about Berlin, which has also taught me how to play long sets. There are so many funny memories I have of first tours, travels and crazy adventures. One that springs to mind is being on a jet in Colombia, sitting on the pilot’s lap with a bottle of vodka en route to a show on Margarita Island, Venezuela, where we got into a car crash and got help from a transsexual prostitute. I know it sounds like I’m making this up but I’m not.
Regarding the scene, things will always change and we adjust the best we can. I would love for artists and managers to come down to earth a bit more and work with promoters with more realistic expectations so that they can build the scene as they want it.
When you look at future events you have planned across the year such as Time Warp, UP Festival and Houghton Festival, it does not really get much bigger than that. Would you say you prepare differently for these types of high profile gigs than smaller events? Is there any particular parties you always look forward to playing the most?
I usually think about every gig beforehand, but I do prepare a bit more for festivals and shows I find dear to my heart. I particularly look forward to parties where I play alongside my friends in special venues. Houghton Festival, for example, was just that. Playing in the woods, and in nature in general, is incredible. It’s just such a good vibe.
Speaking of Festivals, A fresh addition UP Festival taking place at a new destination for the festival land; Czech Republic. Do you think a festival can play a vital role to a country's exposure?
Absolutely. I must say I usually don't play there and many of my friends don’t either, so it is a great opportunity to expose the Czech people to what we do and hopefully grow something new.
This April your next release under your psychedelic alias Blotter Trax with T.B. Arthur will see the light of day, how did this collaboration originally begin, and what separates these ideas from your other projects?
TB Arthur and I were introduced by our mutual friend BMG of Ectomorph because I was obsessing over TB’s first releases. We immediately hit it off and connected through our shared love of the sound from the midwest growing up. From our first studio session, it was clear we were onto something, and things just flowed after that. The workflow is exactly what makes this project different: we don’t use a computer and we base everything on long studio jams recorded straight to tape. It’s a fast and exciting process because of the limitation of not multitracking anything. Whatever happens, happens, and we have had some wonderful surprises and happy mistakes along the way. These recordings were about capturing great live performances and playing off each other, much like recording a band.
The Blotter Trax outlet is based around all analogue machinery, is this something you have always had an interest in?
I’ve always worked with both digital and analog formats but never strictly analog, and it definitely feels different. You are constantly refining the instruments, how they interact with each other and who you are recording with. It’s about listening and performing, without the visual distraction of a screen.
Last May your first live modular set took place together, can you explain to us a bit about your set up? Would you say you connect with the crowd/audience differently when playing live as opposed to DJing?
We were still figuring out the right set up last year and for that live PA we used a mixture of gear and a laptop. We had an 808, TB’s modular Eurorack, a Roland Space Echo, a Simmons SDS9, and a laptop controlled by Maschine. I had never played live before so it was a whole new experience for me. It’s quite a different feeling to be limited to your own sounds. I felt quite impatient and wanted things to change faster because I'm used to that in my DJ sets. However, once I got into the groove of this different way of performing I really enjoyed it and understood it much better.
In 2016 you launched Perm, a home for innovative visual and music ideas. What triggered the birth of Perm? With new material and events on the way, can you give us a bit more information about what is in store? What is it that draws you towards Berlin?
PERM is a project inspired by my musical and aesthetic influences growing up in Detroit and always searching for the lines between things. It’s a collaboration between myself, Baby Vulture, Hamid, and our visual artist \ // \\\ . I wanted to create a cozy living room atmosphere where PERM can sit at the crossroads of art and club culture, showcasing anything from an ambient performance to a left-field club set. A huge part of the project is its overall production quality with emphasis on sound and visual installations. These change with each PERM event so none are quite the same. It has been a lot of work and experimentation resulting in an amazing learning experience. I'm very excited to launch the PERM label in the next months and start doing events again. Our first one is scheduled for April 26th with Jan Jelinek live and Melina Serser as special guests. We are working with a great new venue called Arkaoda and looking forward to utilizing the space in a new way. What draws me to Berlin is its rich and diverse musical palette: there’s something interesting happening every night of the week and that is a huge reason PERM was born.
The Perm podcast series is nothing short of magical with luscious downtempo and experimental rhythms. When you began the project, did you have certain artists in mind to carry out such a unique vibe?
We wanted to keep the focus on more eclectic non-dance mixes from various artists and friends we like, and respect who have been a part of our events. I'm very happy with the range of the mixes and they definitely carry a unique vibe as a whole.
Is there anything else you would like to enlighten us with from the world of Magda?
Yes, actually I want to mention that TB Arthur and I will be performing live as Blotter Trax May 3rd at Superbooth in Berlin with a very special visual performance by Lillevan. I’m very much looking forward to this.
Thank you so much for the mix, we have been wishing for this to happen for a long time. How would you best describe it for the MEOKO listeners?
Cosmic cats riding through electro space on the psychedelic disco train.
Last of all, a question we like to ask, can you name three records that have rarely left your bag over the years?
A Number Of Names;
Shari Vari (Ectomorph Remix)
Chaka Khan - I Feel For You (Silent Treatment remix)
DBX - Losing Control
Words by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Thursday, 01 March 2018 10:34
The Under The MEOKO Microscope series is back with a bang, as we call upon Czech producer DJ Schwa. We caught up with this talent in an interview to speak about his recent work, plans, Czech Republic and UP Festival. Let’s get into this and check his exclusive MEOKO mix.
1.Hey Michal, thanks for your time and having us. How are things with you so far?
Hi, no worries. I am great. Currently touring Australia. It’s great to escape the winter for a few weeks. And the gigs were all great so far.
2. It barely takes a pair of ears to tell that you have a real passion for electronic music. As a musician's son, How were you first exposed to these sounds and what artists did you grow up on?
Firstly I was exposed to all different genres of music, mainly jazz, through my dad. I would hung out in the studio a lot as a kid and there I would hear whatever he was recording or working on - from classical to pop, rock, jazz and even tv / film scores. Later on, in the 90ties, I got introduced to electronic music through my brother and also through Radio 1. Bands like Underworld, Leftfield, Deep Forrest, Propellerheads, Ltj Bukem, Herbaliser. From there it took a drastic turn into the electronic music world and I started discovering music pretty much 24hrs a day. It became an obsession.
3. As being a Czech, how its scene shaped your music? Please tell us more about Czech underground scene, clubs, records shops, parties, favourite destinations.
I don’t really know how being Czech shaped my music. I left Czech Republic when I was 19 and came back when I was 26. I lived in Australia and I have also spend some time in US. Australia had a huge impact on me. I somehow felt more connected to the world of electronic music as I ever felt in Prague. Even though Sydney is s far away it made me realise that it’s somehow very close and connected to the UK/EU scene. Prague was always a bit disconnected - but that is changing now drastically and I am very very happy for that.
4. What’s one thing that you don’t see enough of in the music industry that you’d like to see in Czech Republic?
Czech scene is very healthy now. But I would like to see more and more clubs equipped with top class soundsystems and well managed Dj equipment.
5. You have your own label 'Beef Records', what made you start your own label? and we also love the name, what made you choose 'Beef Records'?
It was a bit of coincidence. 12 years ago I was co-running label called Tribal Vision and I was working on an electro/techno CD compilation. I had a name for it which I found at local meat shop - Prime Cuts. On the comp I had track by artists like Trentemoller, Martinez, Mos, Peterski etc. When it was all ready we realised it doesn't fit the labels sound. So I decided to start my own label. I have kept the Prime Cuts name for the VA and started Beef records as it was a perfect match :)
6. In regards to your own productions, what projects are you working on at the moment and what do you find the most challenging aspect of producing your own music?
Right now we got back together with Nick West and we are working on the new Shades of Gray album. I am in Australia for about 2 weeks and we wanted to get most out of my stay - so no beach for me. It’s studio time and gigs. One of the tracks I played at SASH this Sunday and it sounded great. Hopefully the album will be ready for release later this year.
7. You clearly spend alot of time in the studio. Would you like to talk us through your studio, and your favourite equipment when making some magic?
We have multiple studios going. One of them is Nick’s studio here in Sydney where we like to use some classic synths (Moog Voyager, SH101, Juno 106, Nord Lead and Korg MS2000). On the last track we triggered the SH101 with Arturia Beatstep sequencer and somehow we got amazing groove out of it. Something you would never come up with by playing the keyboard. I personally love using the DSI Tempest Drum synths but I didn't bring it here as it was too heavy to carry around while travelling.
8. Please tell us about your projects; Shades of Gray, Komiks Events.
Komiks is a warehouse party concept what we run together with Fatty M and Lumiere for about 4 years now. It became quite successful and it found it’s sweetspot in Pragues underground scene. We are happy that Komiks is doing so well and that many people, even out of Prague, travel to it. So far we hosted artists such as Derrick May, Robert Hood / Floorplan, Fort Romeau, Recondite, Kink, Catz n Dogz, Palms Trax, Baba Stiltz, Makam, San Proper, Dorisburg, Bjarki, Roman Flugel, Cleveland, Trus Me, Artefakt, Monoloc and many others. We also launched a new podcast series;
9. If you had a chance to move to another city; which city would it be and why?
Sydney is my second home. So if I had to move somewhere it would be Sydney for sure.
10. How did first touch with UP Festival Crew take place? How does it feel to be going to play at a major festival alongside many other respected names?
I know Bruno for many years. To be totally honest I wasn’t sure that this will ever happen in Prague and that he will be able to pull it of. But it’s clearly happening and he has my respect and full support. Not just Bruno, the whole crew of course. I am excited to play alongside Ricardo, he has been a great inspiration for so many years. I am not a huge fan of big stages and crowded festivals but UP Festival seems to be shaping just perfect.
11. The venue of the festival looks stunning, have you ever attended an event there yourself? What are your advises to our followers (that includes myself as well) who will visit Prague for UP Festival?
I haven't been there for ages. Maybe like 15 years so I am quite excited to see how it changed. However, it is fair to say, festival-goers wont be dissappointed by the beauty of Prague and yes the venue is stunning.
12. Thank you for the mix, it sounds amazing. Could you tell us a little about the mix you made for MEOKO? What was your approach and how would you describe it?
The mix was made on a fly. Pressed ‘record’ at one of the gigs I played at Sisyphos few months ago. Then I cut 1,30 from it as it was too long and did some basic levelling and mastering. I rather catch the live djing element even if it’s not perfect then doing a studio mix.
13. Last of all, do you have any exciting more exciting news you would like to share with everyone? Dates, releases, collaborations etc?
You should check out Beef records. We have lots of great new music coming out. LP by BUSZ (Pier Bucci & Oskar Szafraniec), 12” by Rico Casazza another 12” by Dircsen with Florian Kupfer remix and much more. Check: www.beefrecords.net and www.facebook.com/beefrecords/
'Vatos Locos symbolizes brotherhood, friendship, family, loyalty and no ego.': David Gtronic Interview & Mix
- Published on Friday, 23 February 2018 19:02
There are many techno producers whose works are devoid of the subtleties that would suggest a wider musical competency and understanding. Then there are those whose grooves are infused with painstakingly produced little details and a sense of wonderment that reaches beyond mere dancefloor functionality. Whether he’s producing thumping techno or downtempo chillout, David Gtronic’s sense of musicality always shines through.
1- Hi David, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us. We wanted to start by chatting to you about Vatos Locos. How did you first end up hooking up with these guys and what does it mean to work so closely with such brilliant artists?
It all happened quite naturally to be honest. I first met Chad and Randall in Orlando, Florida in 2011 while I was studying sound engineering. Randall was just making the transition from Hip Hop to electronic music and Chad was the local favorite. We developed a close relationship by sharing music and inspiring each other in producing it.
I met Hector two years later, in Summer 2013, at Space Ibiza. We got along right away when Randall introduced us; we spent a lot of time talking music, hanging out, and making jokes. He liked my music a lot, and of course I was already very familiar with his. He then invited me to play for his birthday party at Hoppetosse in Berlin along with Randall and this is basically the first time we ever played together.
During this time, I was also introduced to Sece, with whom I’ve developed a close friendship with, and we made the move to Berlin together at the end of summer. Hector was living in Berlin as well at the time, and so we all started hanging out more and more. This is basically how it all started and our family kept expanding with more incredible artist such as Javier Carballo, Hanfry Martinez, Mahony, Pinto, Jamie, Hito etc.
2- What do you feel Vatos Locos stands for and what do you see as the advantages of running with such a tight label?
Vatos Locos symbolizes brotherhood, friendship, family, loyalty and no ego.
3- Obviously you guys are from different places. Aside from music, do you have similar personalities too? And how often do you get together and what’s it like when you do? Is it like a real family atmosphere?
We have similar personalities but in our own unique way. Lately, we have been getting together at least once a month. We are lucky enough to be able to tour together, even if is not an official showcase, promoters love to book us together and this a wonderful thing because there is nothing better than traveling the world with your best friends. When we all get together it feels like a big family. It almost feels not even so ‘work’ oriented, it was all about jokes, eating good food and sharing amazing experiences.
I just got back from our tour in Japan, where I met up with Hector, Chad and Randall. I have to say it has been of the best trips I've had. We met up with Dubfire, where he took us to a very unique Omakase dinner by incredible chef, Nobutaka Ohashi. We tried over 10 different types of ramen and got to explore Tokyo and Osaka together like a big family. It truly felt more like a vacation than a tour of gigs and work.
4- Going back, at what stage did you decide to start taking music seriously?
It became serious from an early age. When I was 18 years old I was already releasing some decent music, which was getting support from some big artists like Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola, Dubfire, Loco Dice etc. This is when I knew I had to keep it up and give it my everything to keep pushing boundaries. I was also studying sound engineering at that moment, so my whole life was revolving around music. It wasn't until I took the next step and left everything behind in United States to make the move to Europe when I was 20. That is the moment when I started touring frequently and making a living just from my production and DJ gigs.
5- And what would you say was your big break for you? Did you have a mentor of sorts?
One of the big breaks I had early in my career, was the ability to work with some incredible artist like Mr. G, Reboot, Santos, Livio & Roby who did some remixes for me back in 2012. Another big break was in 2013, when I was able to participate in The “tINI And The Gang” parties, which started to open up the market for me in Ibiza and Europe. Once we started the “Vatos Locos” events with Hector, he gave me the freedom to express my artistic vision not only as a DJ but, participating in the development of the events and sharing our own ideas for the brand and how the event should be.
6- Now, let's chat a bit about the EP on Black Wood. It’s a new label, so how do you know the guys on the label? And can you talk us through the vibes on this EP you were going for?
I met Alvaro and Marcos in December 2016 when I played for their event in Madrid at Reclub which was a Blackwood showcase. I truly think this is where the label took off. They asked me if I had any free music for their new project; I really enjoyed their vision and what they were doing so I sent them some of my new music. Sequence was the first one they chose, so I immediately had an idea in which direction to take the project. Stripped back minimal with simple rolling beats and thick basslines.
7- What does it mean to have the support of labels such as Black Wood? Are you very picky about where you sign your music to these days? What do you look for in a label before you sign your music there?
In my opinion, the market has changed a lot in the past few years. Before, I was always chasing the big labels and DJs to play and release my music, but I found it very stressful to have to wait for months or even years for a decision to come. Now, I mostly make music for close friends and vinyl-oriented labels even if it’s a brand-new project as Blackwood. It is very important for me to have a physical release especially now that vinyl sales have increased dramatically over the last two years. Sometimes the digital market is so saturated with releases that the music can get lost.
8- And would you ever start up your own label? What’s stopping you with doing so?
It’s funny you ask because I actually own two vinyl-only labels as well as managing the digital label for the Capadi Rebels. I also manage all three of the Vatos Locos labels as well, which are VL Recordings, Vatos Locos Limited and the new one VLack.
I wanted to keep the two labels I own as a secret for some time, to allow the music to speak for itself rather than having me promoting it as my ‘new label’ etc. It's not so much of a secret anymore. ‘Tervisio’, one of the labels, made its first release last year named ‘Cheska’ ,which then was followed by a collaboration between Guy From Downstairs and myself on 002 as ‘Unknown Artist’ and Tommy Vicari on 003.
I am stoked to release 004 which is a collaboration between my good friends Guti & Roustam plus a remix from the very talented East End Dubs. The second label is still a secret with all the releases by ‘Unknown artists’ so we will keep it like that for now.
9- You’re actually a qualified sound engineer. How important do you think this is to your understanding of dancefloor dynamics? And do you notice a difference in the techniques and quality of music that’s produced by qualified as opposed to non-qualified, DIY musicians?
I think today it is very easy to learn anything by yourself with all the knowledge that is scattered around the internet. I know so many talented artists that taught themselves everything from watching tutorials, reading manuals, and learning techniques from different engineers. That being said, I think there is definitely a difference in quality from producers that considers themselves engineers and sound designers, compared to producers that don’t look into it this far… Having a deep knowledge of how sounds are engineered, helps you decipher subtle differences and similarities between tracks when djing, allowing you to weave them together in more interesting and seamless ways.
10- Does how you listen to music differ when you are qualified in it or is it very much still a case of, ‘if it moves me somehow, it’s good’?
It differs when you are trained in critical listening and observing certain frequency ranges, as well as space in a mix. When you are not so experienced you can enjoy the music as it is, rather than judging everything you hear in a way that naturally happens once you have a background in sound engineering.
11- And how’s everything going in Berlin? Is it hard to keep restraint there and how have you found the winters?
Berlin is amazing but as I always say, what I love the most about it is that there is always a good balance. If you want party from Thursday-Monday, there is always the option to do that, but if you want to get into a proper routine and work in the studio every day, you can do that as well… Especially sometimes in the winter when the last thing you want to do is go out. For me it's perfect, since I'm always traveling, every time I get home to Berlin I just want to relax, eat healthy and make music. Once the weekend comes, that's the time I get to have fun and party.
12- Aside from this release, what else are you excited for in 2018?
I’m excited for 2018 in general because all the music I've made in the last 3 years is just now coming out so you can expect a lot of releases from me this year. In March, I have an EP called ‘Kshama’ on Dubfire’s label Sci+Tec which will be available for vinyl and digital release. Dubfire has always been a big inspiration for me, so to be able to work with him this year has been a great opportunity. Aside from the production and releases, I have a very good tour schedule coming up; I recently did a tour in Japan as I mentioned before, I have a South America & US tour coming up in March, and an Australian tour is currently in the works… Also maybe an Ibiza residency again this summer… I definitely think this year is shaping up to be one of my best yet.
13- And what’s keeping you busy aside from music?
Well I’m so busy with music that this is usually my main focus, and my work ethic doesn’t allow me to get too sidetracked… I do always try to take time to enjoy the simple things in life, which are also the most important; family, friendship, food, music, and art.
14- If you could lastly let us know about some of the tracks you’re playing at the moment that’d be really great.
- Traumer - Mezon (All inn Records)
- David Gtronic - Kshama (Sci+Tec)
- Ricardo Villalobos - Lazerpresent
- David Gtronic - Break Away (Rich Nxt Remix)
- Bernard Badie - Love Explosion Underground dub)
- Sakro - Omnipresent (Vatos Locos Limited 002
- Barac - Maintain Eye Contact (Uvar)
- Guti & Roustam - ReIntroduction (Tervisio 004)
- Omar - Thanks one thousand
- YYY 750 - A Side
- Ravi Mcarthur - Another Crap Night Out In Eltham
Thanks a lot again.
- Published on Thursday, 15 February 2018 15:28
Okain is part of a wave of artists that began spinning records and producing music 15 years ago in Paris. His first release came in 2007, and launched the career of an exciting new voice in electronic music. Over the years, he has evolved into an accomplished artist with sets in Panorama Bar, Fabric, and some of the finest venues in the world. He has also participated in a lot of projects such as Handycraft, the alias he used to have in collaboration with Paul Ritch many years ago. But most importantly, he has shown a commitment to his very own sound with a steady output of records on labels such as Tsuba, Bpitch Control, and more recently Infuse (Fuse London). After relocating to Berlin in 2011, he has established his own musical imprint Talman Records, where he can freely release the music he loves. As a DJ, the Parisian has grown into an impressive and versatile selector that can pull from a wide spectrum of material from house to techno, both old and new.
Ahead of his exciting upcoming EPs and news, we caught up with Okain to speak about his career and plans.
1- Hi Okain, thanks for the interview! How are you doing today?
Very fine, thanks.
2- How did your NYE gig go? Apparently it lasted for 2 days, is Berlin’s endurance-oriented party culture something that you partake in?
NYE was really cool. It started in Berlin for a gig I did in Anomalie and I flew straight after my set to play in Malaga. It was nice to start the year in a sunny place. Yes, Berlin definitely has the longest parties. I am going out sometimes but I am getting older and I never stay until the end anymore really.
3- What are your favourite places to play in Berlin by the way? In fact I’m moving there soon myself, so any recommendations?
There are many places I like to play : Tresor, Kater Blau, Sisyphos, CDV, Watergate, Chalet, Renate & Panorama bar are some of my favourite spot to play.
4- Hope you don’t mind reminiscing about the past for a bit… I was wondering about the scene in Paris back in the middle of the 00’s. It’s amazing that the scene is so strong right now but I always feel like it must have been a fun time to be part of something a bit more “underground” — less people but perhaps more dedication… Or maybe it’s just romanticism on my part! What are your thoughts on this, your best memories and parties from that time?
Yeah, you are right. Early 2000 there were a few big parties running but things went bad in Paris party wise around 2006/07 until 2012. Now it s stronger than ever but it was not the case few years ago. Still, at that time it was nice to be a part of that scene. Less people were involved so we all knew each other and there was no competition.
5- And do you keep an eye on the French scene’s recent evolutions?
Yes for sure - I always have an eye on what is happening in France.
6- Let’s speak about your own label, Talman. I know you used to be a label manager but did you learn anything the hard way with this adventure? What would be your advices to someone starting a label?
I haven’t had any bad surprises, to be honest. I was a label manager for two labels before so I knew exactly what I would have to do. Advice-wise, I think it’s important to have your first 3 releases ready before you start the label.
7- How did the first VA on Talman come about? Are they all friends?
Yeah, all the producers on the first VA are all friends of mine and they make music that I play a lot in my sets. It will be the case again in few months when I release a single from two friends and great producers.
8- Your contribution to the EP is named “Belle Maison”, which means “Beautiful house” in English. But actually it’s a reference to a speech that you sample in the track by l’Abbé Pierre — a French popular figure that always sided with the disadvantaged — where he criticizes the dominant class’ hypocrisy. I feel like our music scene tends to be navel-gazing at times so it’s quite refreshing to hear someone tackling politics. Is it a subject that’s close to your heart?
Yes it is. Even if house and techno music is a club and party music, originally I think there is still place for a political message sometimes. I used another speech a few years ago with a release I produced under my real name, Samuel Thalmann. It’s called ‘Basic Economic’. It was on a vinyl only release on Alljacks.
9- Do you plan to keep the label open to other producers after this VA, or is it mainly going to stay your own outlet?
It’s not only about me anymore as I have an other release from two producers coming out before the summer but I will still release my own stuff on Talman. The next release is from myself and will come out in early May.
10- It seems like you’re doing less collaborations these days, is it a sign that you feel more confident as a producer?
I don't really think so. It is just the way it was. I am back working with other people in the studio. Hopefully I will have a new collaboration out before the end of the year.
11- I read the article about the pains of DJing on vinyl, but I understand you remain attached to the medium, why is that?
Yeah, I am very attached to it. I think it’s the best way to collect and consume music. It’s harder to play them in clubs as most of the time there could be some technicals problems but that should not be a reason to stop releasing vinyl and buying them.
12- I’ve read that you’d love to collaborate with Q-Tip and make some hip-hop in general, have you tried your hand at it yet? One of your recent tunes is named “Boom Bap”, is it a hint at the kind of beats you’d be making?
I do make some hiphop beats sometimes, but I always kept it for myself. But who knows? That could maybe change in the future.
13- By the way, being French myself I have to ask… are you more into American or French rap?
Both! But when it comes to American rap mostly east coast and I have to say that I mostly listen to 90's Rap. It s hard to find something that really excites me in hiphop today but it still happens sometimes.
14- Your next release is coming out on Fuse’s sublabel Infuse, does it mean we can expect to catch you in London anytime soon?
I am coming to play for my friend Alex Arnout this month and hopefully somewhere else soon!
15- Actually, what else’s in store for you and Talman this year?
Talman 05 in May and Talman 06 not so long after. The first from myself and the second one a collaboration between two producers.
Okain’s Magic Box EP (featuring a remix from Rich NxT) is out 19/02 on Infuse. Listen/pre-order the release here
There’s a quiet revolution happening in the world of herbal medicine and pharmacology, and its name is CBD / MEOKO speaks to Herbalist Haskel to find out all you ever wanted to know about legendary CBD oil
- Published on Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:43
There’s a quiet revolution happening in the world of herbal medicine and pharmacology, and its name is CBD. More and more people are using CBD oil to relax without the psychoactive effects that sometimes come with smoking Cannabis use. But more importantly, CBD is starting to become recognised within government organisations and the people public as having a large number of potential health benefits.
MEOKO has recently formed a partnership with a distinguished figure in herbal medicine known as Haskel Adamson, who prescribes and blends extremely high quality CBD oil based on a wealth of knowledge and clinical experience. Everywhere I go, people are asking after the oil hence we have put together this feature to give you as medicinal information as possible.
We spoke to the venerable Medical Herbalist to find out more about the CBD phenomenon on a biochemical and practical level, and are very excited to share the results of this in-depth interview with you.
How did you start working with CBD? Did you have a moment of realisation where you decided that giving this substance to the people was an important endeavour for you?
Yes, I first found out about CBD or cannabidiol after a couple of my patients asked for my advice about using cannabis oil in their protocols for cancer treatments. One had secondary brain cancer, and everything I read suggested the importance of using a CBD-rich strain of cannabis.
So, I came across CBD initially as a component of cannabis oil to calm the psychoactive side effects of THC rich cannabis oil, and also with its own anti-proliferative effects in cancer.
Then I came across its benefits for epilepsy. It was this medical benefit that promoted CBD to mainstream medicine, and allowed it to be legalised throughout the States. I saw first hand the benefits of CBD to the epilepsy patient, and realised the importance of promoting this herb.
What past training and experience do you have?
I studied Herbal Medicine at university - firstly Chinese medicine at Middlesex. I love the holistic energetic practical philosophy of Chinese medicine. Then I did a BSc degree in Western Herbal medicine at Westminster University. This combined for me the scientific basis of herbal medicine with medical sciences.
I was also lucky to have Christopher Hedley as my teacher, a legend amongst modern Western herbalists. He combined the science and art of Herbal medicine, and encouraged us to connect with plants out in the field, as well as in the lab and the clinic.
Other than that I’ve always been fascinated with manufacturing my own remedies. The way a cook will refine a dish over many attempts, improving it each time.
Testomonial from client this week..
"just wanted to send you a quick email to share the amazing results I have had from CBD. When it arrived I was on a bad week and ended up having a week off work with my ME.
I started taking a drop 3 times per day initially . No obvious signs of improvement the first coupe of days. I was taking maximum dose of pain relief and low dose amitriptyline.
Must have been Thursday so 4 days when I realised I hadn’t taken pain relief . Leg pain had reduced massively. I have not taken Amitrip since and am virtually pain free at the moment.
When back at work last week I reduced to 2 drops per day and found towards end of the week I had forgotten on a few occasions to take in morning so maybe 1 drop per day .
It feels like it has reset me if that makes any sense !!
I wouldn’t have classed before that I was depressed but constant pain and anxiety as to whether you are going to be able to do the next day what you need to must have taken it’s toll.
The inner buzz of happiness I now have is euphoric!!
I have just started sharing my oil this weekend with my husband who I hope will be able to come off his anti depressants which he has taken for many years!!
Could you explain what exactly a cannabinoid is? When was CBD as a molecule and effective substance first discovered?
CBD was first discovered in 1940 at the University of Illinois, but seen as a toxin and not studied further there.
In 1963, a chemist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Raphael Mechoulam - determined its exact structure. The following year his research group also isolated THC for the first time, and managed to synthesise both cannabinoid compounds. In 1993 they also discovered the endogenous cannabinoid that humans produce themselves ,and called this anandamide after the Indian word ‘ananda’ meaning bliss.
A cannabinoid is any substance either biological or manmade that interacts with cannabinoid receptors found in animals to alter neurotransmitter release in the brain or body. There are two main receptors in the body - CB1 and CB2 - which some cannabinoids interact with.
CBD and THC are strictly speaking phytocannabinoids (phyto=plant), and are the two most prolific phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. There are over one hundred different phytocannabinoids which have been identified from Cannabis sativa. Cannabinoids are also found in other plants such as Echinacea, tea, and chocolate.
CB receptors are found all over the body and brain, and in startlingly huge amounts (more than any other G protein-coupled receptor). This had led to some speculating that as humans had an evolutionary relationship with cannabis, grazing on it as a food and medicine throughout our evolution, to the extent that we may suffer from not occasionally ingesting cannabinoids.
What was your first personal experience with CBD like?
My first conscious experience of CBD was from the Californian ACDC strain of cannabis. I found it incredibly relaxing with no psychoactivity, and decided that this is the kind of cannabis I like. CBD relaxes me whch helps me sleep more deeply and for longer, which sometimes I find really useful. I wake up refreshed and clear headed as well.
My first ever experience of CBD (what I would call unconsciously) was when I was 17. Not being a smoker, I used to eat pieces of hashish, which was the only cannabis available in the late 80s where I lived.
Of course, I didn’t know I was experiencing CBD and I was more interested at the time in experiencing the psychoactivity of THC. Many strains of hash contain CBD as well as THC, particularly old strains that haven’t been bred with modern hybrids. Sadly many hashish growers have bred with modern hybrids to increase the THC levels of their plants.
Why do you think CBD generates such a positive, popular response amongst the people who use it?
Firstly, my experience that I described in the last answer is quite often the case for first time users. People often feel the relaxed state it brings immediately, and of course this feeling is something many of us seek amidst the frenetic pace of our lives. Knowing that a substance can relax us as well as having neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits for body and brain makes us feel even better about taking it.
The fact that it was made famous for its use in treating childhood epilepsy, makes people trust it a safe plant to use.
Thirdly for cannabis smokers it’s a form of recognition for the herb they use, as being recognised for its medicinal qualities. They see how these benefits will eventually lead to the legalisation of all forms of cannabis in the future.
A very recent WHO report supported CBD as a safe substance. What do you think the main barriers are to fully regulated CBD being offered to the public?
Well CBD is actually perfectly legal in the UK. The rumours of it being made illegal stemmed from the medicine control agency MHRA clamping down on some of the medical claims that CBD oil sellers were making on their websites. CBD isn’t classified as a medicine. It hasn’t gone through clinical trials costing millions, and so medical claims are not allowed. It won’t be long before it’s prescribed on the NHS.
How far are we from a legalisation policy like Colorado or California, and what are the current European laws on CBD that you take into account?
We are still 20 years behind California, believe it or not. In 1998, they voted in California to allow the public to buy cannabis for a wide range of medical conditions including anxiety and depression, so anyone who wanted it could get a prescription. This year they voted to make recreational Cannabis legal, and the same is true in Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska.
European countries all allow CBD to be sold, but we are still behind US states such as Colorado and California. They have been the states pushing the technology of CBD extraction forward, and their laws allow for Cannabis strains high in CBD to be bred, rather than hemp strains.
What’s the medicinal difference between THC and CBD for people who aren’t familiar with the different compounds associated with cannabis?
THC is a psychoactive compound. It’s the bit that gets you stoned, high, and a thousand other words to describe a range of feelings that include, euphoria, relaxation, heightened sensory perceptions to sound and touch. It relaxes some and stimulates others, calms some and puts others into paralysing anxiety.
Medicinally there is sufficient evidence to state clearly that it relieves neurological pain, kills cancer cells, helps reduce nausea and loss of appetite in those with serious diseases such as cancer and HIV. It is used on a daily basis by millions to relax and aid sleep. Its side effects include: anxiety, abstract or philosophical thinking, disruption of linear memory, paranoia, dry mouth, auditory and visual hallucinations at high doses.
These side effects are usually greatly reduced, if not obliterated completely, by the inclusion of CBD in THC rich cannabis. CBD is the yin to THC’s yang.
CBD is mood-altering, but in a much more predictable way than THC. It’s generally calming, so much so that it is being studied for its anti-psychotic effects. One study in Sweden showed that it compared favourably to conventional anti-psychotic medicines. This is ironic as Cannabis (usually high THC and low CBD strains, commonly sold in the UK) is considered a major trigger of psychosis. If more UK recreational growers would grow strains with at least 10% CBD in them, I believe it would help reduce cases of cannabis psychosis. CBD is known for its pain-relieving qualities, but more for inflammatory pain than neuropathic pain.
What is the difference between cannabis and hemp?
Both Cannabis and hemp are the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The difference is the same as you see in tomatoes. Some are tiny and some are huge. Selective breeding over millennia and in different geographical locations resulted in these differences. Hemp has traditionally been bred for its fibre for making cloth, rope and building materials, and also seed. Growing it for CBD is a new thing.
There’s also Cannabis that grows in warmer climates and is grown for its flowers, which contain variable amounts of THC/CBD and other cannabinoids and many various flavonoid and terpenoid essential oils. This was traditionally grown for medicine and recreational or spiritual use.
Hemp has relatively small amounts of CBD in it, so the CBD is extracted from the whole plant (and fields of it) rather than just the flowers. Cannabis plants have been bred (varieties such as ACDC and Charlotte’s Web) with flowers that have really low levels of THC and really high levels of CBD.
Something we discovered in our research is that the receptors for CBD are found all throughout the brain and body. Could you explain this for us in a little more detail?
CBD is much more complicated to explain its action than THC. THC interacts with CB receptors, but CBD has very weak affinity for these receptors. Its actions come from reacting to many different non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. These include serotonin receptors, known for producing a range of effects that can help in the areas of anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.
CBD also reacts with the vanilloid receptor TRPV1, known to help regulate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.
CBD acts as an antagonist against GPR55, meaning it blocks its action in the body. GPR55 when triggered can induce rheumatoid arthritis and metastasis in cancer. CBD has been shown to block these effects. CBD also exerts an anti-cancer effect by activating PPARs [peroxisome proliferator activated receptors] that are situated on the surface of the cell’s nucleus.
PPAR-gamma activation also degrades amyloid-beta plaque, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is one of the reasons why Cannabidiol, a PPAR-gamma agonist, may be a useful remedy for Alzheimer’s patients. It seems to have many neuroprotective qualities. As you can see there are many varied ways CBD works throughout the body, and an overall theory for the wide-ranging benefits of CBD has not been discovered yet
What kind of health benefits can you get from CBD by using it as a food supplement? And what are your recommended ways to get it into your food?
Well one of the theories for the wide-ranging health benefits from cannabis, both THC and CBD, and other cannabinoids, is that we have evolved as humans eating this plant through the seeds. It is such an easy plant to grow that it spread throughout the world millennia ago.
By using the seed as a grain and making a kind of porridge with it, it would have been a staple in our diet. So much so, that we have developed this incredibly widespread endocannabinoid receptor system throughout our bodies. We have 10X more endocannabinoid receptors in our body than opioid receptors. By not eating Hemp on a regular basis we deprive this system of crucial nutrients (cannabinoids) and this can trigger many neurological and inflammatory disease processes.
By eating hemp oil and taking CBD oil regularly (or occasionally), we reduce the likelihood of the diseases listed in the answers from the previous question.
Apparently, CBD is great for inflammation as a main cause of aches and pains - how does CBD work to make this better?
CBD reacts with many neurotransmitters that reduce inflammation, such as the Vanilloid receptor TRPV1. It also reduces our sensation of feeling pain.
What kind of doses and methods of ingestion would you normally advise? Also, how quickly does CBD take effect in the average person?
Well I sell two different strengths of CBD, so that depends on if you are using the Normal or the Plus strength. Dosing is such an individual thing and as a medical practitioner I know that what will work for one person won’t work for another. So, the best I can do is suggest a dose range, and recommend that people start small and build up to a dose that they find effective. I’d say that the normal range is designed for people in fairly good health, who are looking for a CBD oil to help boost their health. Dosage is between 5-50 mg per day (2-20 drops).
I start at such a low dose as some people are sensitive to lots of medicines. Most people though will need 4-10 drops before they notice a relaxing feeling, which is the most likely the first change to be noticed. For pain, it may take a week to start noticing pain reduction. I notice the relaxing effect of CBD immediately, and I’m a pretty average person. The Plus range of CBD oil is four times more concentrated, and designed for those recovering from more serious health issues, or those who know they need a stronger concentration.
Are there any good sites you can suggest as reference for people wanting to read up more about CBD and its medicinal purposes?
My favourite dedicated CBD info website is https://www.projectcbd.org.
Granny stormcrows list is also an amazing medical resource made by a retired nurse, collating all the medical studies done on Cannabis.
Can it be used with conventional medicine?
There have been few studies that have found problems with people using CBD and taking prescribed medicines. But theoretically it could slow down the metabolism of medicines through the body, as CBD and other plant cannabinoids can potentially interact with many pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450, a family of liver enzymes. This key enzyme group metabolizes most of the drugs we consume, including CBD, and more than 60% of prescribed medicines.
One study of patients taking 40 mg daily of CBD showed no interaction with liver enzymes. Another study involving epilepsy patients found that on taking 25mg per day, this slowed the metabolism of the patients other anti-epileptic medicines so that they had to reduce the amount they needed. In a way this was a win, as they reduced their pharmaceutical dose. So patients on other prescribed medicines should perhaps tell their GP that they are taking CBD, so that their GP can monitor if it is affecting the metabolism of the other drugs they are taking.
I have heard that CBD can help one with all types of addictions including smoking. Could you explain a little bit how this works?
This effect is likely to be related to CBD’s action on the neurotransmitter serotonin. At high concentrations CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, directly causing an anti-anxiety effect. The serotonin receptor is implicated in many biological and neurological processes relating to anxiety, addiction, appetite, pain perception, nausea and vomiting. CBDa is known to have a particularly high affinity for the 5HT1A serotonin receptor.
Talk us briefly through the manufacturing process. Which part of a cannabis plant does CBD come from?
The manufacturing process of CBD is very different depending on what plant material is used. Both types of CBD I sell are extracted in carbon dioxide (CO2). This is considered the gold standard of cannabinoid extraction. It uses low temperatures and no solvents to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material. The CO2 is put under incredibly high pressure and low temperatures, which turn it temporarily into a liquid. This liquid is forced through a chamber containing the plant material, and CO2 acting as a non-polar solvent extracts just the oil soluble constituents of the herb. This is ideal, as these parts are the most therapeutically active.
CBD from hemp involves collecting from huge fields of hemp and extracting a paste from the whole plant, stalks, leaves and flowers. The oil usually contains around 8% CBD and CBDa. This is how my “Raw and organic CBD” is made. It’s crucial that hemp CBD is grown organically as the plant is a bio-accumulator, and would absorb any chemicals used to grow it.
Modern CBD from specifically bred strains high in CBD and low in THC is made from just the flowers. These flowers also contain a huge concentration of essential oils, and the level of CBD in the resulting oil contains around 85% CBD and 15% essential oils. This is how my CBD oil “Colorado Gold” is made. The essential oils are an important part of therapeutic effect of the plant. CBD made from flowers will have a greater number of essential oils in it, as well as higher concentrations.
What are the most common misconceptions about CBD that you would like to see cleared up?
One is that its illegal. It most definitely is not! The medicine control agency (MRHA) said in a statement that it’s a medicine, implying that it should only be sold if its licenced as a medicine. This was 16 months ago and they haven’t done anything about stopping people selling CBD. This does leave sellers and people who find it so useful in an awkward place of not knowing, but I conclude that the MHRA know they can’t really ban it now as too many people find it useful, and they know they can’t go against the will of the people on such a big scale.
What are the benefits of buying quality assured CBD oil from manufacturers such as yourself in comparison to what you can get over the internet? Is there a differing quality for different CBD oils?
There are huge differences between companies selling CBD. It’s a new market, and business people always jump onto new markets when there is money to be made. So, buying from a reputable company is important. I’m not a big company but I have been working with this medicine with my patients for the past four years, and turned myself into an expert over that time. I take a personal pride in selling the best and using the best ingredients in whatever I make for my patients or customers.
It has taken me quite a while to find suppliers that are big enough to have the technology to supply the consistent quality and quantity I need.
I find that companies advertising CBD by percentages very confusing and in many cases, they are using percentages to baffle customers and it is not an accurate or easy to use way to describe the concentration of the CBD in the bottle. Much simpler to accurately state the amount of CBD in the bottle in mg.
What do you hope people will experience with CBD, and in what ways do you hope they will use it?
The benefits of CBD can be very wide ranging. The relaxing effect is one that I would expect people to notice most obviously. It’s not in a sleepy way, but it’s a relaxation that brings a calmness allowing you to get more done as the distractions of the wandering and worrying mind slip away. I find it gives me a deeper and longer sleep. Yet I wake alert and positive, unlike some other sleeping medicines and herbs.
Knowing that it is being studied for serious neurological and degenerative diseases also gives credence to its neuroprotective healing potential.
I hope people will find relief from pain with CBD oil, and that those with serious illnesses will find relief and a greatly reduced severity of symptoms, and I hope people will find profound healing.
Finally, what do you think CBD could offer the world/humanity if quality was regulated and use was freely available?
Man I cant answer that question. It will catalyse the dawn of the age of aquarious and there will be universal love explosion and unicorns will rule the world peacefully and dolphins will rule the seas.
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Interview by Nicole Venter and Anna Herbs