Interview: Slam talks SOMA500

Glaswegian duo Slam (Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle) have been on the go since the eighties and recently celebrated the 500th release on their own record label SOMA. SOMA500 includes remixes of Roberts Hoods ‘The Bond We Formed’ and Carl Craig’s interpretation of Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom’s ‘Relevee’. We talked to the lads about the special release and their future plans for Slam and SOMA.

Congratulations on the release of SOMA500, how has the reaction from SOMA fans been so far?

It has received great reactions so far better than we could have wished for. Remixing both Carl Craig and Robert Hood on the same release was a pretty special moment for us.

A huge amount of work and effort must go into 500 releases, did you ever think SOMA would make it that far?

Soma has always been a fairly organic affair. We usually plan about six months ahead and no further than that usually at any point of the labels existence. A lot of planning went into this especially because this came on the back of our 25th anniversary box set vinyl release. Firstly we had the box set. And then we followed up quickly with this release. Two milestones that just so happened to collide round about the same time.

SOMA500 consists of remixes for Robert Hood’s ‘The Bond We Formed’ and Carl Craig’s interpretation of Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom’s ‘Relevee’. What was your thinking behind the track selection and why did you opt for reworks instead of originals?

Firstly the remixes for Robert Hood were of a track that appeared on the Soma 25 compilation. The reinterpretation of Carl Craig and Delia Gonzales was something that we made a while ago just for us to play in our sets. We decided that this was ideal for the Soma 500 release because these are two producers that have been constant for us throughout our time at Soma. They both inspired us initially to start a label. And both producers are still very much respected and are still very much relevant now.

You have included two reworks of Robert Hood’s ‘The Bond We Formed’, is this something you initially intended to do?

No not really. Every remix situation is different. The first remix has a really contemporary feel and is more akin to what we do as Slam now. The second remix is the same sequence through a different sound source. We often do several versions of the same track. Because we like to work quickly and feel inspired by that quick hands on method of working. The second mix had that classic 90’s old school feel. So the first mix  is very much the present and the other mix nods a little more to the past.

Music has become digital to the point where most of us no longer buy music, instead we pay to stream it. You have released SOMA500 on both digital and vinyl platforms, what was your reasoning for doing so?

It’s still very important for us to release vinyl. Partly because we have always done so. And partly because there are still lots of DJs playing vinyl. I love the idea of a tangible product when you can hold it in your hand, look at the artwork. Not every release on Soma will get a vinyl release. Because sadly these days it’s very easy to lose money. Which is a real shame. We both personally still buy vinyl because a lot of great music is released on vinyl only. Hardwax in Berlin has an amazing vital selection for example.

It’s very easy for people to be lazy when looking at digital sites. The most interesting DJs we hear are the ones who look harder to find the gems. That might be an old record or one which came out recently on vinyl.

Now that the release of SOMA500 has passed, what are the plans for SOMA for the future?

We are currently putting together the roster of artists and releases for the next six months. As Slam we have another three track series releases coming and another two EPs for Soma proper eminent. There are Slam mixes of Radio Slave’s Grindhouse coming out in January 2018. We are also toying with the idea of doing another Slam album at some stage. But we are really into the idea of not using any for four four rhythms at all. We have been touring so much at the moment it’s really hard to find the downtime for the studio. But we’re kind of workaholics when we’re not DJing we’re producing etc. We’re quite dull really haha.

Finally, it would be rude not to ask about you guys yourselves, whats in store for Slam for the near future?

We have been planning our new series of events Maximum Pressure which will see four editions a year with bigger more focused line-ups and longer opening hours. There is a new venue attached, The Galvanisers Yard which is very industrial and fits perfectly to what we want to do with the aesthetic and production, which is kind of anti EDM in every way, and more in line with venues like Berghain in Berlin and Kompass in Belgium.

The Halloween Edition already sold out a few weeks ago and we’re looking forward to the second edition on NYD 2018 with ourselves Alan Fitzpatrick, ‪Jeff Mills, Paula Temple, Radio Slave, Dr. Rubinstein and Edit Select.

We also continue our monthly residency at the Sub Club where we can invite artists to play in a more intimate setting.