Alex Arnout speaks to MEOKO

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You may not know it but Alex Arnout has been involved in electronic music for over two decades and with a career spanning almost as many genres as it has years, Alex has always prided himself on his musical versatility, as comfortable making classic, four-to-the-floor house as he is broken-beat or trip hop. Fresh off the back of a stellar 2012 spent fraternising with much of Britain's contemporary house music elite, MEOKO caught up with Alex to take a long hard look at his, and the record label's action-packed year ahead.

alex arnout playing - ra

Picture credits to High Chees

Hi Alex, thanks for talking to us. 2012 was a big year for yourself and Dogmatik. How will 2013 build on the passed year?

More of the same really, our release schedule is already sorted till the end of this year so I’m thinking of starting up a sister label to Dogmatik as a way of getting more content out there. There seems to be a lot of great producers coming through this year and I’d love to give a couple of them a push.

Have you moved to your new studio yet? Will that alter your productivity levels? And you'll also be getting back into engineering tracks for other artists?

Just about to move in, we’ve built the whole place up from scratch, we’ve put a live room in there and a record room (as well as a control room) with decks and a couple of sofas so we can really go through our collections, so it looks like I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in there. Looking to work with the same people I’ve been doing work for but not looking at expanding that roster, I’m more interested on working on some new side projects.

Tell us about the Blacklight Sleaze release. Some would say it's quite a bold move to take on a classic like that, though I think you pulled it off.

The response we got on that was great, the original is a tough act to follow but we gave that a fresh remaster and presented it to a new generation who may have missed it the first time around. The remixes were really well received too, Gerd and Dyed did a great job but we didn’t set out to compete against the original, just update it a little.

 

You've spent a lot of time DJing and living abroad over the years and I get the impression that you have quite a connection with Europe and some of its major cities. How do you think that's shaped you as an artist? Has it given you a wider sense of perspective on how electronic music is played and received?

For sure, you can definitely get lost in your own bubble sometimes. I especially try not be influenced by anybody else’s music when I write but DJing is a different matter for me, I still get a buzz from the dancefloor and travelling to different cities that have their different sounds helps me expand my sets.

Why then did you decide to return to London and ply your trade here? Was there something specific about the music scene in the city or is it just because it's so familiar to you?

I came to London in 98’ because wherever or whatever country I was in, I was always looking towards London to see what was going on next, there’s so much going on here and so many different genres to experience. There’s honestly no other place for me on earth that musically excites me.

Over the many years you've been DJing and making music you've touched upon a lot of different genres, from early Chicago sounds to Detroit electro to Broken Beat. Why do you think you've now settled on this deeper, more clubby house sound that we know you for?

I don’t really think I’ve settled on the deeper sound at all, it’s all about not being bored in the studio for me and pushing myself to write different types of music rather than be stuck in one genre all the time. I’m actually writing a lot more varied music this year, from trip hop to more stripped back house grooves, I’ve got a release coming out on ONE Records with Tyree Cooper which takes what I do somewhere else again and with the live room in place, I’m looking at a lot more musical collaborations with a view to do a live show towards the end of the year.

Alex Arnout exclusive mix click here

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You have strong ties with Fuse. How did you first get involved? Do you think the closing of the iconic 93 Feet East and it moving to Village Underground will affect the East London party?

I was introduced to Enzo Siragusa by Clive Henry many moons ago, he asked me to play at one of the parties and our relationship grew from there. I really enjoy playing for them, Enzo & Tony have worked hard over the years to turn Fuse into a credible international party so it doesn’t matter where they have it because the vibe, the people and the quality is always there, as they’ve proved by having successful parties around the country as well as in Ibiza.

Dogmatik has always been about pushing new talent. Could you tell us about some of the new artists you have on the roster in the upcoming months?

Yeah for sure. We have releases by Kuba Sojka, wAFF, Rich NxT, Seb Zito & myself, Reset Robot, East End Dubs, Bubba & T Bone, Dimi Wilson, Daren Nunes, Alison Marks, Smak, Mark Jenkyns, Leon Atter as well as some more established names, so I’m really looking forward to getting all of this content out there.

The label really believed in Maya Jane Coles from the very beginning, putting out several of her first EPs. What was it about her initial productions that you found so arresting? Are you at all surprised at the dizzying heights she's reached?

Well she came to me when she was 18 and her music and production values were off the scale for her age, I always knew she’d do well. The music she has in her is sick and the way she executes it belongs to someone that has been in the music business for 20 yrs. A true talent, I'm very very proud of her.

Finally, you've been around for a while now. How do you keep challenging yourself?Are there specific goals in music that you'd still very much like to achieve?

Well there’s definitely a new generation of producers that are really pushing the envelope by being total musicians and really knowing their way around a computer program. This may seem like a strange statement as it seems to be the norm  nowadays but back in the day you had musicians and engineers not both in one, and it’s creativity like that that keeps you on your toes and makes you want to push yourself that little bit further, so I’m going to get into playing a lot more instruments this year, starting with the bass guitar.