Times & Tunes with OOFT!

Ali Herron aka OOFT! Music has been doing the rounds for years with his rock solid original productions and numerous edits. Releasing on Instruments of Rapture, Delusions of Grandeur and Wolf Music, he’s been a long-running regular at Glasgow’s Berkeley Suite, with a former residency at the notorious The Sub Club. Ali also ran the L.E.S.S. Productions imprint alongside The Revenge. Shortly to release his ‘Reclaim Landscape’ EP on Leeds label Clandestino, he has a little chat with Bolting Bits.


INTERVIEW


Can you tell us a little bit about where you’re from and about the scene in your city?
I’m from Glasgow in Scotland, and we have a very strong nightlife scene up here. Considering the population is only around 600,00 we have several truly great club spaces alongside bigger event locations and numerous bars which should really belong to a major capital city. We also have a whole heap of local talent musically, and I’m very glad to be part of it.

Is Sub Club still the best club in Glasgow? What is it that’s so special about that place?
The Sub is definitely still the benchmark for clubs here (and far beyond) and as a purpose-built space still has the edge. However we’re also lucky to have both The Berkeley Suite and La Cheetah which also have world-class sound systems and great regular crowds. A few years back when I was touring around more regularly one of the biggest things that struck me heading to Europe etc is that the atmosphere is really unmatched when it comes to clubs back home.

OOFT! Is it a feeling? Where does that comes from?
It’s a bit of a stupid name for sure! However it’s probably a bit late to change it now. It has a similar meaning to “Whoa” etc, and certainly befits a man of my increasing age and hair loss. Not.

You’ve been playing the good stuff since 2002. Were you a DJ before a producer?
Yes, I’ve always thought of myself as a DJ first and producer second -- I was DJing locally for about 5 years before I went anywhere near the production side of things.

How would you describe your style when you play out?
I like a lot of different styles of music, but the foundation has always been house and disco, and that’s reflected in the way I select and mix records I think. I don’t like to hear too much of one thing all the time though.

Is your taste the same for your productions?
I’ve always made loads of edits for DJ use which could be any style really, but for original material I veer towards the slow-ish end of deep house with a fairly electronic slant.

Have you got a process when you start to produce?
Not really, I generally fire up Ableton and some pieces of hardware and see if anything decent arrives. Or I could start from having a record I want to sample. I have a blank Ableton template set I always start from which has some delays and reverbs etc set up but after that every time is different.

What was the first record you made?
According to Discogs the first proper thing released on vinyl was “This Sound” which was made whilst I was still learning the ropes and had The Revenge guiding me through the production process.

The first one which was all my own work would’ve probably been “Ride In To The Red Zone”

Do you still buy records? What’s the last record you bought?
Yes definitely, although it tends to be old stuff from discogs. I only really buy new vinyl releases if I can’t get a digital version, or if I think something is exceptional. Having said that I got a couple of new-ish things this week, a couple of V/A’s with this as my favourite track:

What’s the hidden spot to buy in Glasgow?
I’m not a massive digger, but I have to say the Palais De Danse shop is sometimes a bit overlooked and always seems to have a nice selection of old and new 12″s.

Are you precious about what format you play?
Not at all. I play both vinyl and digital these days, coming off the back of being solidly digital for about 10 years before that and vinyl only when I started out (that wasn’t a format choice -- it was the only way to get the music back then).

If you could change something about the music industry what would it be?
I have no idea, maybe push it towards having talent and creativity rather than making massive successes out of mediocre acts because they’re perceived as “cool”. But I’ve never really thought of myself as actually part of the industry seeing as I operate on such a small level.

Who do you think is hot right now?
I’ve been digging a lot of the stuff Romain Wax has been doing over the last year or so, from rare edits to original productions. Here’s one of my faves:

Is there a female producer that you rate?
Cinthie has been super solid recently, excellent tunes accompanied by tight production. As I said above we have a lot of local talent here in Glasgow so it would be rude not to also mention both Rebecca Vasmant and Nightwave who are making excellent music.

How did you hook up with Clandestino?
They were actually one of the first crews to book me to DJ outside of Glasgow, must be over 10 years ago now. Since then we’ve kept in irregular contact on Facebook etc. and I sent them some tunes which they ended up liking and signed from there!

OOFT Reclaim Landscape

Tell us about your new release?
I’m pretty happy with all of the tracks on this EP (which is a rare thing for me to say). The lead track channels some late 80s balearic/house vibes and I managed to get that sound across in the production. I also used some of my own vocals in there which is a bizarre thing to listen back but I’m happy with the way it all turned out. The other tracks are probably more current sounding but still have that OOFT! stamp I think.

The past few months have been colourful. From ridiculous storms, to the passing of Weatherall, from a global pandemic, to the death of Floyd George. What is your message?
Be kind, be nice. Help each other. Don’t be a dick.

What’s up next for OOFT!?
Erm, sitting at home for the foreseeable :( Although whilst we’re still locked out of bars and clubs I’ll be doing a weekly live stream from my studio every Friday from 5-7pm BST to remind me that it’s actually the weekend haha.