Medlar has come along way from his humble beginnings in the small town of Radstock, England. Since bursting onto the scene in 2011, Medlar has gone onto establish himself as one of the UK’s most promising producers after playing a pivotal role in the rise of legendary label Wolf Music.
Now residing in South East London, Medlar can be found spending his time jamming out while also searching for hidden gems at record stores like Rye Wax. We were fortunate enough to get him to compile a tape for our MIXED BY series in which he shares some of the sounds and melodies that inspired his upcoming release titled NRG on Delusions of Grandeur. Make sure to read our conversation with him below – where the artist talks about his childhood, his favorite shop that sells jerk chicken paninis, and more!
Looking into your past, it seems that you are a man of many tastes. From UK garage, to hip-hop and disco, it appears that you listen to anything that tickles your fancy. What would you say were your biggest influences in making your upcoming record for Delusions of Grandeur?
Italo disco and dub are 2 sounds which came through, I coincidentally discovered a place near my friend Johny’s studio that sells jerk chicken paninis around the same time, so I like to think it was a subconscious nod to that. (Thanks So Fresh cafe on Old Kent Road).
Although disco has always been at the forefront of the underground house scene, it seems that the genre has grown in prominence the past few years. As someone who made his name producing “deep house,” how do you explain the shift many producers like yourself are making towards more disco-centric melodies?
I think like many of these revivals it came from people gaining access to music that predated them, which was previously tricky to get hold of e.g. people like myself born in the 80s discovering disco since the emergence of youtube and filesharing etc. Now we have really young DJs who have an amazing knowledge of past music which I think is brilliant. House of course came from disco, and though it’s unrecognisable in some forms it’s not much of a stretch to include elements or samples from that era.
A major part of your current day success stems from the friendships you have been able to make during your times living in Brighton. I believe this is where you first teamed up with the label heads at Wolf Music Matt and Stu. Since I have never been to Brighton, could you describe what makes the house scene there so special? And what’s some of your favorite music coming from the city at the moment?
I haven’t lived in Brighton for many years so I don’t have a great idea of what’s going on there now, though where I’m currently based in South London I’m discovering new stuff consistently, and from being lucky enough to help out at my local record shop/venue Rye Wax I’m witnessing first hand a lot of the new independent artists and labels in many genres. A quick look at the schedule for radio station Balamii.com for any given day is a pretty accurate representation of what’s going on musically in my surroundings right now!
Given all the time you have spent with Matt and Stu, do you ever see yourself getting into the same line of work as them? Would you ever want to run a label of your own?
I tried it a while ago and I think if I were to again I’d probably try a reissue label or something, licensing music which has become generally unavailable. If I ever hear friends have made tunes that I’d potentially sign I generally think a more established label would do a better job of all the necessary promotion etc. It’s quite a responsibility! My pals at Rye Wax have luckily started West Friends which is a nice outlet for any sweet fruits that result from jam sessions with friends.
Before moving to Brighton, I heard you grew up in a little village between Bath and Bristol called Radstock. I also grew up in a small-town in America, and although I hated it as a kid, I tend to look back at it foundly in creating the person and professional I am today. What about growing up in Radstock made you the person and artist you are today?
I guess lack of distractions led to friends and I playing about with music from an early age, so am grateful for that for sure, as well as having access to nature which I took for granted at the time but really value a lot now. I would visit my dad in Essex near East London fairly regularly too which let me go to places like Boogie Times records (founders of jungle label Suburban Base Records) which was the most exciting thing ever at the time.
In a previous interview, you said you have tracks on your hard drive that are “pastiches” of previous eras. As an artists that dabbles in emulating dance music’s past, what do you make of the current lo-fi movement? What do you like and dislike about it?
I don’t know a huge amount of it if honest, part of it seemed to me to be a desire to create a new name for something, which of course happens every few years when journalists get bored. I’m a big fan of Ross From Friends though he’s outgrown any genre by now surely!
You appear to be quite the ‘crate digger’, finding a lot of your new music on discogs. What would you say are favorite records at the moment? Any newcomers you feel our readers should look out for in 2018?
Some of these aren’t so much newcomers but; Jay (Intergraded/Siren), Toma Kami, Elles, Weird Weather, Tom Blip, Living, Gigi FM, Ed from Balham, DJ Missed Delivery Slip & Gravy Boat Records
Although we’re a music magazine, we occasionally dabble in other subjects. When did you become a fan of West Ham United and why are they some of the most passionate in the EPL?
As a kid I’d go and see them or Bristol City as those were closest teams, my dad had grown up going to West Ham with his dad who was from Peckham where I live now so was a Millwall fan originally. Like all football fans they can be idiots and unfortunately West Ham have some absolute wronguns, though they’re nothing on their pantomime villain owners. Judging the current table of the NHL Atlantic Division league they’re the Canadiens of the *football world. * Yep