Most of you will know forensic records. From its early beginnings in 1997 we initially had a quality deep house label but as time progressed the label moved forward evolving into one of the UKs premier prog stables finding favour with all manner of top flight DJs. This week I got to catch up with Chris Scott one of the founding members of the label and all out super producer/DJ with the likes of Echomen and Lexicon Avenue. . 2021 looks very interesting..
Firstly Chris, how did you get into dance music and what tracks inspired you?
As a kid - hearing electronic music on John Peels show really triggered it...
I used to listen occasionally to the show but after Joy Division lost Ian and reformed as New Order they did a 'Peel Session' and I heard 5-8-6. It was so different and hypnotic, unlike anything I'd ever heard. From then on i'd tune in with the tape on pause and record.... anything sounding electronic in the first few seconds I released the pause and recorded.
Forensic was set up back in 1997.. can you give us a bit of background on who was involved and what the ethos behind the label was?
At that point Scott and I were releasing on quite a few labels and I was doing various other things (major and indie/underground) but we honestly felt we needed a home and a focused output for our studio endeavors (that sounds better than "fuck all this malarkey sending stuff off let’s put it out ourselves"... but looking back, that's really what happened - we wanted a home for our stuff and likeminded producers to contribute.
Is it fair to say that the label has covered a couple of different musical styles since its conception?
Well I totally agree of course. I mean, the original tag line devised by the house music oracle Bill Brewster (original partner in the label) was... 'Deep House From The Deep North' . Within 3 years that original sound had mutated naturally. Scott Bradford ran the hugely influential 'Shindig' club night here and influences affect. I've said this many times, I see house music as a movement and movement is just that. It has to be fluid and non-constricting.
Many of us in the PHC Facebook group are still very fond of much of the back catalogue. How do you personally feel it has stood up over the years?
I have to say thank you to that and big love. I'd like to say that most of the catalogue has stood the test of time on the emotive side of things. Production wise is a different thing when it comes to that period of time and technology infancy. Sonically, with the tech we had in the early days (pre DAW and trying to multitrack live midi analogue equipment manually) and with the medium of lovely vinyl having its medium restricted regarding frequencies - I'd like to think we did ok.
I’ve got to ask you about your production aliases. You recorded with Anton Fielding as Echomen and Mooncat, Mark Armstrong & Scott Bradford as Lexicon Avenue, Scott Bradford as New Phunk Theory, Little Green Men and Third Movement.. list goes on.. how did you get into production and which alias would you say was your favourite to work with?
How I got into production follows the earlier question about getting into electronic music. My best friend through comprehensive school (High School) was Peter Ryding who recorded the rave classic under the name Zero B ... Lockup / Module on FFRR in 91. Then in 92 I had my first break as Little Rascal with Moving to the Beat on Circuit Records which then got licensed to Deconstruction.
When we were kids we used to listen to these electronic records together and got into the Street sounds Electro stuff (pre house). We wanted to know how it was made... so used to visit music shops in Newcastle and mess around with the equipment. We saved up working paper rounds, milk rounds and Saturday jobs etc . Bought bits of kit and experimented with them... that was how it started really.
I really can’t pick a favourite project though.. Honestly, I've made some lifelong friends through this and that’s my favourite part of it.
One of your most popular projects was Lexicon Avenue. Where did LA draw their inspiration from when developing their sound and can you pick one track that nails the LA vibe?
Doing the harder remixes for Deep Dish really was the thing that pushed us to try and go a little darker.
We started LA with 'Here I am' on Forensic ... I had a friend in college who knew a French poet that also played flute weirdly enough... got him down to the studio for a jam and made that first track around the bassline, beat and chords that I'd put down - we arranged it and put it it out ... Deep Dish loved it and asked for harder remixes, so we went wild. It was an experiment for us 3 at the time but seemed to work.
The LA project in particular lent their magic touch to a number of truly staggering remixes. If I asked you to pick out two that really encompassed the LA sound what would you go for? For me - along with the obvious Depeche Mode 'Only When I lose myself' remix it has to be our remix of My Release by Medway and the genius that is Jesse Skeens. We got ripped off on the OWILM remix as everyone knows but there was something that really came together and made it feel right when we did Medway.
Alongside all the production you were doing some DJing, how does playing records compare to actually producing them?
That's a tough call. It’s an amazing feeling when something comes together in the studio. When all the hard work clicks and you are pretty sure you have a great result. On the other hand - when a crowd reacts to a DJ transition, it lifts them and they go nuts - there's such an elation. Then again, there's the feeling of DJing when you've just mixed the next track in, the crowd go wild and the next track is your own creation... so equal pegging I think..
Over in the Forensic Facebook groups I’m seeing lots of pics taken at various locations around the world, did you get to do a lot of travelling with the brand and your DJing?
We have been lucky enough that people have enjoyed our sound enough to visit, play and meet some incredible people around the world. Still do. 2 weeks before lockdown I was in Russia playing for (and with) some amazing people and friends. We have been doing this internationally for 20 years and I'm so very grateful for every single one of those trips.
The Forensic logo is arguably one of the best in dance music and running up to Christmas Forensic t-shirts became available which I can personally vouch for as I picked one up. We then had many pics circulating on social media of owners in the tees, was this originally a nostalgia thing or a clever bit of marketing running up to the launch of the label?
It was born out of setting up the group on the restart of the label with my close friend Peter May.
I'd suggested starting the label back up again a couple of years earlier and another mate ... Les Chrisp had campaigned for new Tee’s.
So we just thought if you're lovely enough to go get one - be lovely enough to share yourself wearing one on the group.... it kind of spiraled from that... there's been some great pics from it.
So, February 2021 has seen the relaunch of the Forensic label. What made you decide that it was perhaps time to get things going again?
I'd been talking to Scott about it for a while and he was totally behind the idea of me rebooting it. Peter and I (Yellowknife) discussed the possibility and he kicked me up the arse and said just do it. So here we are. There's a lot of great new music and producers out there at the moment so revisiting the older tracks from the label with new interpretations alongside new material which we feel fits with the labels MO is our plan.
How do you feel about launching with all the restrictions on clubbing currently in place?
Good point and it’s a tough one... we feel that dancers are still going to dance.. our release plan is to have tracks that will appeal in the kitchen and on the dancefloor pre and post restrictions.
You’ve kicked off proceedings with a very strong remix package around Mooncat ft Ferank – Hear What Was Said. Everything I’m seeing is very positive on this one, you’ve got a no5 Beatport chart position and some fairly hefty names supporting. Can you give us any hints on who the label have got lined up for remix duties on future releases?
It's a great result for us. The response to the reboot and first package has been incredible.
Next up for a rather special new vocal track is an amazing remix by Michael , Levan and Stiven Rivic, who have delivered a masterpiece and another remixer (can't name until delivered) is on that too..
We also have some amazing old and new names lined up.. I know it’s a cliche but watch this space x
Well its all looking really exciting Chris, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us, look forward to everything that's coming. we wish you all the very best..
Thanks Jay been great speaking to you..
Visit the following for more information on forensic records.
To purchase the latest forensic release plus all of the back catalogue.
To check out some of the forthcoming 2021 forensic releases the PFG podcast recently featured a very special Chris Scott guest mix.
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