10th February 2023
Interview: Amy Bell
Rushing with the energy and euphoria of acid house and the massive early 90s mega-raves, new Scottish DJ and producer ARKLEY drops his Channel A EP on February 10th via Spirit Of Rave Records.
Loaded with hypnotic 303 synth pulses, irresistible M1 keyboard stabs, uplifting gospel vocals and banging old school house rhythms, ARKLEY continues his signature reworking of classic 90s dance sounds to create three vibrant modern tracks.
Thanks for talking to ReVamp, can you give us a back story to who you are?
Great to chat! I'm Arkley, a Scottish producer/DJ currently based in York, UK.
You released your single ‘Rave ‘92 (Everyone Dancing)’ back in 2022, which has gained you widespread support, what would you say has inspired your music since then, knowing you have such general support?
Rave '92 changed everything for this project. I had initially been making 90s big beat inspired tunes that were influenced by the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx. I was just messing around when I made Rave '92, trying out various early 90s dance and rave sounds for fun and it all just clicked. The reaction was awesome and it really inspired me to explore the style further. I'm now well and truly hooked on the 90s rave vibe and finding fresh ways to rework those sounds.
You are releasing your new EP ‘Channel A’, on February 10th, how are you gearing up for the release of this new EP?
There is so much going on! Since finishing the tracks, I've been working on a bunch of guest mixes including one for BBC Introducing. I love to create a real atmosphere for the music through graphic design. So I've designed individual sleeves for each of the tracks with a Peter Saville / Hacienda aesthetic. I've also made a series of videos which re-create the old CEEFAX teletext designs calling it AFAX - I've had a lot of fun with that! For me, having a visual world which accompanies the music is super important.
What would you say was the most challenging part of the recording and writing of this EP?
Trying to strike a balance between using 90s dance sounds and making the records sound fresh and modern. It's hard to get that balance right, but hopefully I've managed it!
Would you say ‘Channel A’ is something different, and in what aspect is it different?
I grew up playing in guitar bands and writing songs in the traditional way, so I think I bring a slightly different vibe to dance music. I put a lot of emphasis on melody and the way I use vocals and dynamics in the music. Some of my big influences, like The KLF, Orbital and 808 State, are perhaps also a bit out of the spotlight at the moment.
Your mission is to bring back the 90’s rave culture, what do you think was so great about that culture, and what did you use to listen to growing up?
It's the energy, positivity and pioneering attitude of those times that inspire me most. It's the first time that equipment like samplers and drum machines were available outside of expensive studios, and a whole new generation of producers were pushing them to their limits. The music is often also very celebratory and euphoric, which really resonates with me too. I guess I romanticise it a bit as it was all before my time! I got into dance music at the end of the 90s, listening to stuff like Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy.
What is next for you after the release?
I've already got a load of tracks nearing completion which evolve the sound on 'Channel A'. I love the way music moves so fast these days. It's so inspiring to make a track and know you can get it out while it's still fresh and exciting.
You can stream ARKLEY's new EP here.