Interview with Timm and Ampo from Is It Balearic? Recordings
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Whilst many who are still active players from the original Acid House, Balearic, Rave scenes found that as you get older you need to slow down, Timm and Ampo were already way ahead of them. Not being phased or pulled by trends that come and go, especially in the 1990s, Timm Sure and Ampo curated an extensive knowledge of music across many genres and built on their experience of DJing to crowds at the legendary Venus club in Nottingham over three decades ago. In the subsequent years they continued to champion music that was discerning and timeless. Eventually they took all of their knowledge into the studio, shaping it into the act Coyote and released their first EP in 2006 on their own Is It Balearic? Recordings. Since then they have released a whole back catalogue of rich sounds with half a dozen long players for their own label. We caught up with the Nottingham duo to chat about DJing, how it started for them and what plans they have for their various imprints.
You both resided at the legendary Venus in Nottingham among other great clubs in the city. The city at the time seemed to be doing things in a more discerning way compared to similar large cities at the time. How important was Venus to yourselves and Nottingham?
Timm: It was a great time to be DJing. Nottingham as a place was buzzing and Venus had a very mixed crowd. James Baillie the promoter was always one step ahead of the rest. Without James there would be no Venus.
Ampo: Venus exposed me to some great DJ's that opened my mind musically.
At that time, did you contemplate yourselves as Balearic DJs given many people were trying to get their heads around as to what that actually meant?
Timm: Well we were very aware of it. We went out to Ibiza at that time and to Café del Mar more than Amnesia for me. I just got it.
Ampo: I did not identify with it at that time, I was young and focused on banging it out.
You started the Is It Balearic? Recordings label back in 2006, was it initially as a conduit for your own Coyote outputs?
Ampo: Yes we wanted to put our own stuff out initially then it naturally grew to other artists and to where it is today.
How come it took so long for you to decide to move towards producing your own music?
Timm: We had both made music before and I had two releases on T:me Recordings in the early nineties then a couple of things later on. It wasn't til we didn't need to go into the studio that we really picked up producing music.
Ampo: We didn’t have access to equipment and studios at the time and that we were focusing on Djing were the main reasons.
Right from the off, your productions have been of great quality and have longevity to them. Was there a period before where you were honing your sound to get it right?
Timm: Yes, I think so.
Ampo: Not really, we just wanted to do something a bit different. We were DJing to dancefloors but downtempo music seemed to come more naturally in the studio for us.
Were you surprised by the response to their first few releases, and did that spur you on to commission other artists and remixers, or was that always the plan?
Timm: We always believed in our music and that's why we started the label. Ultimately, it just grew naturally into us releasing other artist’s outputs.
Ampo: I think you are always surprised when your music is well received and glad people like it, I think other artists came as they wanted to be part of the label
It’s a tricky act for dance and electronic artists to master the art of the long player, especially keeping the attention of the listener or trying not to plump it up with filler content. You’ve mastered it well and the downtempo sound remains an ideal fit for longer releases compared to four to the floor?
Timm: I love making albums. it suits our kind of output.
Ampo: We have a constant stream of tracks on the go and albums form from those. We can see clear concepts coming through in the music.
You’ve worked with a lot of artists on the label like Rune Lindbaek, Justin Robertson, Ilija Rudman and Max Essa. Is there anyone who you’ve not worked with on a production that you’d like to (in case they’re listening).
Ampo: Adrian Sherwood, Timm Bjorn Torske - which may be happening soon.
You started the offshoots Magic Wand and Uber, with the former sub label still going strong. What can we expect from Magic Wand in 2023?
Timm: We’ve got more various artists EPs and a couple of special editions coming out.
You’ve got the Coco De La Isla release coming up and what other plans do you have going forward in the coming year?
Ampo: lots of stuff coming out and this year is already full, we have another Max Essa EP, we see Max as IIB resident producer. In addition, Marius Circus, Statues, Dr Bronzer and Florcerer from LA.
How important does DJing remain to you both?
Timm: if you dont DJ you can't call yourself a DJ in my opinion.
Ampo: We love it still. I think we are pretty good at it, we have been doing it for so long, but we dont push it, we really appreciate those who ask us to play music. We both work in music as our day job so are exposed to endless amounts of new music everyday.
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