Behind the Beats: Jordan Bruce
The music industry is chock full of multi-taskers who consistently impress us with their ability to play many roles at once. A prime example of this is Jordan Bruce, who manages to split his time between producing and DJing as [Aura] and now Yard One, representing some amazing artists and labels at Dispersion PR, and managing Tact Recordings alongside three of his fellow music-makers, all 4 of which live in different parts of the UK. We recently got to catch up with Jordan following his new release, Apportion EP – a split with Adventures in Daydreams, about the past, present, and future of Tact and what makes it special. Enjoy the first edition of our Behind the Beats music industry interview series!
RP: Tell our readers a little about Tact and its development thus far.
JB: Tact was launched in 2012 with the Double Down EP from label co-founder RJ Fletcher, we pulled in our favourite Detroit house head Rick Wade to kick things off and we saw support from the likes of Gerd, Melon, Christopher Rau, Raresh and Ethyl from the get go so it was really exciting to see it all kicking off. We’ve gone on to release a string of vinyl releases and some digital only EPs since, featuring the likes of Duijn & Douglas, Oli Furness, Luke Black, and Isherwood, all of which also received some pretty amazing support, so we’re just pushing on with everything, trying to let things blossom organically and striving to deliver unique and interesting content through the imprint.
How has the geographical separation of you and your partners panned out?
It’s been difficult for sure, we’re all aware that we don’t get enough of a chance to talk things over so it can be restrictive for us, but we manage to maintain enough momentum with our schedule that it works. With us being a relatively small independent label at present there’s not so much pressure on us to be together and constantly focused on it, but for sure if it were to reach a point where the label had expanded and was releasing more content, we’d need a base and to put a lot more focus on scheduling and putting plans together.
You’re coming up on your 3 year anniversary! Any special plans in the works?
We don’t have any huge plans to mark the anniversary, I’ve always had a funny stance on small, still blossoming labels doing things like that. Until you’ve reached a point with the label where you can truly look back retrospectively and highlight something special, like 10 or 20 years, then I think it’s best to just keep doing what you’re doing to reach that point. We’ve now established the label to a point where followers are aware of what we’re about. 2015 is going to be spent releasing material from myself under my newly formed Yard One alias and material from co-founder Richard Fletcher with his production partner Alex Brown as Adventures In Daydreams, we just released our split EP and we plan to continue this format to really unleash our new sound throughout the year.
What’s your proudest accomplishment of the label so far?
There’ve been many. The actual inception of the imprint and receiving our first test pressing was a really special moment for all of us. It’s also a real gratification to see some of the artists we’ve worked with go on to do great things, we released some material from Oli Furness and Isherwood in the early stages of the label and both those guys are really on-point at the moment. I think the proudest moment probably hasn’t happened yet to be honest, we all still have a vision of presenting our passion and discerning sound in a broader sense so the best times are probably still to come.
Describe the Tact sound in 5 words or less.
Raw, eclectic, tasteful, smooth and mind-expanding (electronic music).
You’re both a manager of and an artist on Tact. How has being on both sides impacted each other? Has your perspective as an artist changed since you started working on a label?
Well I personally have only just started releasing material other than remixes on the label. I’ve always wanted to be behind the scenes with the label, curating rather than driving, but I’m now happy with the way things have transpired and with my own level of production so I feel it’s the right time to unveil my productions though the imprint.
How do you find new talent? What do you listen for in music you’re looking to sign?
Much like many other labels, the majority of our roster is for the most part confined to our crew, personal friends, associates and recommendations etc. With there being so many of us involved we constantly receive great material so we don’t have to search very hard, we’re surrounded by some incredible talents so great music’s always coming our way. We recently opened up the label’s demo policy as we were previously not accepting them, we do receive tracks and I stay on top of the submissions but a lot of the demos we receive just don’t feel right, whether it be the sound isn’t quite right for the label or the artist hasn’t presented themselves in a way which seems enticing. It feels more natural working with people we know and are aware of what they’ve been doing throughout their careers, or if their career’s non-existent we at least know the motives behind them wanting to release material with us. At a time where electronic music is probably the most popular in the world there’s an overkill of material coming out and it’s hard to gauge why certain people want to release music, is it really a passion or an image to some? The majority of the time though you can hear the answer to that in the music. As mentioned earlier though i think we’ve found comfort in releasing material of our own so that’ll be next year’s focus.
We would say Luke Black’s recently released Reflector EP lives on the outskirts of dub techno with lovely little twinges of house thrown in there for good measure. What’s your view on genres – do they actually have meaning in today’s music climate? Would you consider Tact to be affiliated with one or more particular genres?
Genres obviously have their use to section off music for buyers, it’d be a hellish nightmare searching for music on digital stores if everything was bundled together, but to be honest with my own material and the records coming out via Tact I’d prefer to just call it Electronic Music or Electronica. The sound of the label hasn’t been pinned down at all, we’ve meandered through a variety of styles from the bass heavy sounds of RJ Fletcher’s ‘Saw Erect’ and my ‘Floating Glow Reshape’ of Duijn & Douglas, through to dropped-tempo deepness from Isherwood with ‘Black Keys Moogs and Phatty’s’ and more techno-centric cuts like Duijn & Douglas ‘Zucht Nog Eens’ or Mr.G’s ‘Tiltered Remix’ of Oli Furness. We’ll always switch things up, it was never our intention to be a trend label with “let’s release House/Techno/Bass” solely in mind. We just want it be a representation of what we love musically, across the board. I’d like to see some J Dilla style Instrumental Hip Hop and Ambient/Lo-Fi works coming out via the label at some point in the not too distant future.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to start their own label?
Spend a lot of time thinking about why it is you want to run a label, spend more time putting plans together and sourcing advice on the ins and outs of running a successful label. We live in such an age where there’s tons of useful advice at your fingertips so take advantage. The problem seen a lot these days is a lack of attention to detail and an overkill of frankly mediocre music. You can do nothing better when wanting to start a label than putting pen to paper with a release schedule based around material that’s going to be beneficial to your label and not just another release to get lost amongst the masses.