We recently put some questions to Brighton-based DJ/producer/label owner collective, Soft Rocks (well actually, one quarter of the outfit, Chris Galloway). Between them, Soft Rocks have been incredibly busy over the last decade or so, putting out a steady stream of records, running various labels and DJing in pretty much every corner of the globe. We wanted to find out a bit more about the collective and see what’s in store for the future.
Before we get to the interview, you should definitely check out this cosmic 2hr mix by the guys from last year – it’s absolutely essential listening.
YAMB: Can you tell us a bit about the Soft Rocks setup? There’s 4 of you, right?
CG: Yes, me, Piers Harrison, Bobby Coulman and Andy Simms. Just 4 friends with a common thread who got together and decided to make / play make music
YAMB: What does the name Soft Rocks mean and how did you come up with it?
CG: Bobby came up with it… not sure where or how he thought of it but I do remember him mentioning he liked the contrast of something light but hard?! He has a very vivid imagination.
YAMB: You guys are credited as early purveyors of the re-edit. What inspired you to go down that road?
CG: Not sure really…at the time there wasn’t that many people doing them and it was just an easy route to start getting into producing records, that then lead to remixing and making original stuff.
YAMB: What are your views on the re-edit scene now? Do you think you could have helped create a monster?
CG: As with artists making original music there’s always going to be good and bad. I hope any edits we have done have longevity. I personally don’t buy that many because there’s not that many I like but there’s always a few people you can rely on to nearly always deliver (Idjuts / Dmitri / Danny Krivit / Ashley Beedle).
YAMB: If you could remix any track what would it be?
CG: Anything on Dennis Wilson’s ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’.
YAMB: You guys have had several labels and release on other people’s labels. How do you decide which music goes where?
CG: Well, we try and release as much as we can on our own labels but if someone comes along with a lot of enthusiasm and a good network to put out anything of ours then we will always be happy to try and accommodate them.
YAMB: Are you fans of the Internet for searching for new music or will you always prefer digging in record shops?
CG: I’ll always prefer the latter but time to do it is probably the biggest problem so obviously the internet is a bonus there.
YAMB: We read somewhere that you used to sell records privately to some pretty big names, such as Andrew Weatherall. How did that come about and is it something that you’re still involved in?
CG: I still am involved in selling records with the shop I part-run with Aidy from Vinyl Underground in Brighton. Selling records has changed massively since I first started in the early nineties. I was doing record fairs / paper lists and hooking up with people like Andrew, but with the advent of the internet, I saw the change coming and how many of those old style record dealers were struggling to keep up with it. I decided to scale it down quite a bit and concentrate on other things, and having a young daughter to think about other than myself was also a major factor.
YAMB: Are there certain records you hold back for yourself or do you believe in sharing all music?
CG: Of course and purely for the reason i don’t want to play the same records as everyone else
YAMB: We’ve heard that you have your own stretch of beach in Brighton. Can you throw parties there or is it just for relaxing?
CG: Yes, we have a private beach. It’s just next door to Norman Cook’s. We mostly use it for skinny dipping and BBQs.
YAMB: You guys seem to travel a fair bit DJing most weekends across Europe and further afield. Do you enjoy being on the road?
CG: It’s nearly always fun but there are obvious downsides to it as we are all busy people with a lot of commitments outside of DJing. I’m currently doing a music degree for instance, and we have just started delving into the world of ‘pure data’ and believe me, you need to be fully focussed to understand that shit.
YAMB: Do you have a favourite place to play?
YAMB: What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played?
CG: An early pre-Soft Rocks one in the top room at the old 333 club in Old Street, London. A guy I used to know was the resident there and asked me to stand in as he was away. It was a long set, 5-6 hours or something, and I played it all. I kept noticing a guy just standing there looking at me (the whole night) and at the end he came up to me and said, “Can i ask you something?….How do you keep it so fuuuunnnnkkkkyyyy?”
YAMB: There’s been talk of a new label, Sun Sea Sound. Would you like to tell us a bit about it and what you’ve got planned?
CG: Yeah, Andy and I decided to do something outside of Soft Rocks. Personally, I get sent a lot of things that never see a release and we have many friends who give us stuff to see if we want to release and there’s never enough time to do it all, so another outlet is a good idea. Just currently working out a release schedule but Dean Meredith / Mindfair will be an early release for sure…pure summer vibes and perfect for Sun Sea Sound.
YAMB: One track that’s really doing it for you at the moment?
CG: Tiago – West Sonic Vibe. Great guy, great DJ and an exceptionally good music maker! Lucky for us, it’s coming soon on mine and Piers’ Vibrations label!
YAMB: If you could banish one record to hell for eternity, what would it be?
CG: There’s quite a few and far too many too name and shame, especially some that I’ve / we’ve been partly responsible for in reviving / playing over the years!
A huge thanks to Chris for talking to us. Keep up to date with the latest goings on from Soft Rocks by joining their Facebook group here and you can listen to a whole bunch of awesome mixes from various club nights on their Soundcloud page.