Ralph Lawson just celebrated last wednesday 20 years of basics...
« At 9.30pm on November 23rd 1991 I played the first ever record at back to basics club in Leeds, UK. I had no idea it was going to last to be possibly the longest running weekly house music club in the world. Over the coming months I will be mixing my favourite musical memories from the club exclusively for this blog and hoping to build the definitive story of the club through features on the key players and characters as well as hopefully comments and content from yourselves. »
Best know as the original resident Dj at the egendary Back To Basics in Leeds, Ralph Lawson has played a pioneering role in electronic underground dance music for the past two decades. Lawson is widely regarded as being one the very best House DJs in the world. He currently holds residencies at Back To Basics Leeds, We Love Space Ibiza and Barcelona’s The Loft as well as regular appearances at Berlin’s Watergate and London’s Fabric.
Always unique, his style has developed over the years to become what is know worldwide as the 2020sound, giving reference to the label he created in 1995 in a country farm which has also gone on to be one of the very best electronic music labels in the world.
« The studio was set up in Hopefield Farm in Rothwell, just south of Leeds. I moved there with Carl Finlow and Fraser Brydson. I’d just lost my girlfriend so I was at a loose end. I picked up a copy of the Yorkshire Post and the first thing I saw was, “Farmhouse for rent, £400 per month”. I thought - no neighbours, it’s going to be an ideal place for a studio. »
Ralph Lawson, about the birth of 2020 Studios.
And, actually it was. This country farm became quickly a creative cell for Ralph and his team. Is in this same house that was born the project of 2020Vision and 2020Soundsystem, a new way of playing, mixing live instruments with electronic Music imagined by Ralph Lawson and his friend Danny D Ward. 2020Soundsystem transformed the clubbing experience into something new by giving the best of both worlds: the continuity and diversity of a DJ mix with the raw energy and excitement of seeing a live band.
“The 2020Soundsystem has its origins in a request from Fat City Records in Manchester to make a mix for their 'Stars on 33' series. I was totally bored of everything at the time and wanted to try something different. I wanted to mix records from 1979-1999 and many weren't done on computers so you couldn't beat match them. I wanted to find a new way to mix them. I spoke about it with Danny 'Dubble D' Ward and he suggested that he played kit over the records and handled any changes in tempo and then made our own 'breaks' coming out of the tracks. I would then mix the next record into the drums that were now tight. Basically the idea worked and I still love the mix we achieved. We left the idea for a while but I became obsessed with putting a band together. It had been a dream since my teenage years and became an itch I still felt I needed to scratch. So when I was sent a demo by two Argentineans called Silver City (Fernando Pulichino and Julian Sanza) that featured live bass and keyboards I put 2 and 2 together and we made 4. Our first gig was at BRB in Leeds in 2003. It was more of a jam over my records as we didn't have any songs. Over time we started to get our own hooks and those then became the basis of original tracks”.
Very ecclectic movement, 2020Vision also became 2020Vision Show, a radio reference for all the electronic music lovers.
Who said that winter was cold ?
From tomorrow and during 4 weeks, listen those special radio shows on Ibiza Sonica every Monday from 20H00 to 21H00. Don’t miss it, it’s gonna be legendary !
To end this post with a musical note, I let you discover the track that Ralph Lawson presents as his favorite of all his huge career… Enjoy !
« My favourite record is our remix of ‘Lovelee Dae’ by Blaze, which was produced by Carl and myself. It was a peak moment in our relationship. I did the beats and the arrangement and he came with his engineering knowledge and keyboard magic. God knows how many it’s sold now, but ten years ago it had done 25,000. It’s in the Top 100 classic records on RA and Beatport. »