For the latest of our exclusive online features, Time+Space Sales Executive Iain McKenzie caught up with Nick Warren – pioneering DJ, Producer and one half of Progressive House and Trance duo, Way Out West. Here, Nick talks to us about his career, the software and hardware he uses and what we should expect from Way Out West in the coming months...
You're busy with a whole host of shows coming up throughout the summer including Amsterdam, Mexico, Ibiza, Rhodes and London, to name a few. With all this going on, can we expect any new releases from you in the next couple of months?
Yes, it’s going great, as well as the DJing, myself and Jody have just finished the new Way Out West album so that’s in the process of being mastered at the moment, remixes are being done and that’s coming out in September. We’re going to do a load of live shows around the album, and with Hope Recordings I am working on a remix at the moment for a band called Graffiti, which is my first remix for a few months so exciting times and all good mate!
It was started by Steve Alexander and Leo Sutherway and they also managed me under Hope Management and they asked me to come on board and get involved in the record company and to run the A&R side of things, so yes, it’s tough these days and it’s tough to get anyone to actually buy any music, it’s more a labour of love but it’s good to find and promote new and up and coming producers who are making exiting music.
How did the Way Out West partnership with Jody Wisternoff begin?
It began!! Back in the day I was very much involved in clubs in Bristol and I started to work with the Massive Attack boys and was their tour DJ, and started to do bits and bobs in the studio with them. Then I started to make my own music but I didn’t have the brains and technical knowledge, so I started to look around and I heard about Jody, but back then he was making mad Techno and earlier Jungle so I thought it would be a good idea to mix his ideas. The whole drum and bass sound with my House and Balearic ideas, which what Way Out West is really. In the early days I was like a slowed down Bukem-style of music, you know, like Breaks and Bass mixed with all the elements of House as well.
Jody recently produced a sample library for Loopmasters' Artist Series 'Future House' – are there any plans for you to follow in his footsteps and produce one yourself?
I don’t know, I have been asked to do it and I have said no so far. Loopmasters have shown interest but it is a lot of work for not a lot of return, and to be truthful, times have changed a lot. I think it would be worth Way Out West doing these type of things and give them away but I am not sure if it’s something I would want to get in to. There is so much to do, I tour so much it would be very hard for me to give 2-3 months to get the content together so I think it’s not possible at the moment. But never say never mate!!
As you've mentioned, Way Out West's new album 'We Love Machine' is due for release in September – what's been the reaction so far to the tracks you've played at your recent shows?
The reaction has been really really strong. Jodie and I have played 4 or 5 of the tracks out in the clubs and they have been well received. One in particular, Future Perfect, has been huge in YouTube, that seems to be where all the promotion is. We put some guys called Our Man in the field who do some great little films for us and we put them up on YouTube and we get thousands and thousands of hits and it’s great promotion. As I said, our album comes out in September and we think it’s our best work so far.
Nick playing Way Out West's Future Perfect at Brixton's 'Twisted Audio'.
You're a fan of Spectrasonics virtual instruments, particularly Stylus RMX which you've been using for some time now. How do you use this within your own productions?
Definitely RMX!! And now the great super synth – Omnisphere – is the big new baby that we are delving in to. It’s something that we strive for – you get so many soft synths which basically have the same sounds that you have heard over and over again and it seems as if the Spectrasonics guys work really hard at creating original soundscapes and sounds that you have never heard before that are being used in dance music today. So I think the sounds you can find in Omnisphere, which you can manipulate, really add a considerable depth to the music we are making. Also, we have used Trilogy so much in the studio, the bass sounds are just off the hook and we are really looking forward to Trilian when it arrives.
Do you ever use sample libraries in the production of your own tracks?
Not really but I am a bugger for sampling – my background as a DJ, and a fisherman as well, is you get addicted to stuff!! Like buying records, which has always been a massive addiction for me and one of those addictions is old 60’s and 70’s and early 80’s synth stuff from Tangerine Dream. I have thousands and thousands that I get inspiration from so I don’t use a lot of sample libraries but I do love to sample. But I do like to get into soft synths like I say, Omnisphere is great for us in the studio.
Your studio gear includes ESI's new ESP1010e multi channel recording interface – which features of this hardware do you find most appealing?
The ESI ESP1010e is great for us and will be used when we tour. I think for the Way Out West live show, Jodie and I are going to be using two laptops mixing Ableton and playing live as well using synths and samples, so yes, the functionality of the ESP1010e will be great for us. Also the ESI GigaPort HD will be great for the laptops and the 8 independent channels allows us to be very versatile.
What's been the highlight of your solo DJ career so far?
I think one of the most memorable moments was Creamfields in Buenos Aries, Argentina. 50,000 crazy clubbers going absolutely mad… wicked never forget it…
But then, as I am always out DJing, the best experience could well be next week or the week after. It’s all about the moment, you just don’t know what’s around the corner…