Q&A :: Future Classic

September 7th 2012

When all three Future Classic DJs realised their taste in music was rather “schizophrenic”, they thought it would be a good idea to combine their tastes into an 80-minute mix. Good thing their distinctive music tastes are pretty damn neat, huh? The Flog’s Jayne Cheeseman got on the phone to Nathan Mclay – one-third of Future Classic DJs – and got a little excited as they started talking about one of her favourite Swedish acts, Little Dragon. They also talked about how Nathan got asked to start his own label. Seriously.

So you set up Future Classic almost 8 years ago! It’s now one of the most respected labels operating out of Australia. What lead you to start it all? How did you start working with Chad and James, the other two Future Classic DJs?

I was working for another music company called Inertia at the time. Inertia was a company that I most wanted to work with because they were working with labels that I really liked and I still like: Warp, Ninja Tune, XL, Beggars and people like that. My job was to, and this was back in the day of 66k internet, to get up the first deal they had with iTunes which was launching at the time and also build them a web store, selling music on the web, downloads and things like that. So I was travelling to Europe on their behalf as part of that job which was really exciting and when I was over there another distribution company asked if I’d like to set up my own label because I was DJing and had some Australian music that was exciting me at the time and they liked it as well.


So we set up a little vinyl label called Future Classic back in those days getting 12-inches into Europe mainly and the UK. Those were Australian artists like Deepchild and people like that who at the time it was some if their first music released that they’d had outside of Australia.

Ah that’s really weird that you mention Inertia; I intern there at the moment.

No way, ah that’s great. They’re such a great bunch of people. I worked there for about 5 years.

Yes, I do love it there!

When I was still at Inertia, Chad was working out of a terrace house at the time. He was the first full timer. Then James; we met James about three years ago through FBi. I was doing a show, Chad was doing a show and James was doing The Onset and he applied for a job that we were advertising at the time as a ‘Digital Renegade’ and he got that job and soon became part of the family and we started DJing more together. I guess all three of us would play individually and together, and people would just start referring to us as the Future Classic DJs as the three of us, or whoever was playing. So that kind of stuck and since that’s our little team and we continue to do Saturday Sunset on FBi.

Yes, of course and with the label you have certainly worked with some remarkable artists, with their records and on tours such as Flight Facilities, Anna Lunoe, New Navy, and one of my favourites, Little Dragon! Those are some amazing acts to hold your name to. Does it ever just blow your mind, working with such talented artists?

Little Dragon’s amazing. Yukimi from Little Dragon is amazing. Seeing her perform, prepare for shows, just her whole nature is lovely. Also people like The Whitest Boy Alive; just such characters that it’s amazing being able to hang around and look after them. The Australian artists are kind of equally amazing. People like Flume, Flight Facilities, New Navy and all these guys. I think we are so lucky to have such amazing artists here in Australia and Sydney. It’s great.

We are truly, very lucky. *Prepare for smooth segue* I’ve also been lucky enough to have a sneaky listen to your new compilation album, which has almost two hours worth of exclusive tracks, remixes and some damn neat tunes.

Nice, thanks!

What was the whole process of creating this compilation? Were you working on it in your time in Europe as well?

Yeah I actually did the final mix in Berlin at the Beatport office. The continuous mix version is that mix that was done in the studio. Putting it together, we started commissioning the 10 exclusive songs, I guess three or four months ago, and eventually got them back. So it was preparing at the start, but then the final moment doing the mix was just 80 minutes oh doing it and then it was over (laughs). So then I guess we wanted to make sure that there was an element of, that it wasn’t too computer created. I kind of think that’s the attitude we have when we are playing at parties and stuff like that, to keep it a little bit human and a bit fun and try and not take it too seriously.

Well it’s brilliant. It’s got a real mix up of different tunes. I’m really getting into it at the moment.

Thanks! Yeah we had to work out how to piece together our kind of schizophrenic music tastes, from ambient music, to indie, to house music and bass all in one eighty minute mix so I guess that was the parameters we had to work within. It felt like a good project to do and it’s been fun and I guess that’s the most important thing.

It looks like everyone was willing to give a little, or a lot to the creation of this magical album. Were the many, unheard exclusive tracks made especially for the compilation?

Yeah there were exclusive originals, then there were exclusive remixes and they are only available on the compilation. We just thought, “What would we want when we’re getting a compilation?” and the idea of having music that’s not available anywhere else was pretty integral in that idea. Also I guess giving us the ability to work with some other artists that were not necessarily working on larger projects, just with one off tracks which – people like Danny Daze, Worst Friends and those sorts of artists were able to give us and there’s a couple of other things on there that are kind of previews of forthcoming records or EPs. We’ve got one artist called Tigerskin who has given us one track from his four track EP that is coming up and so on. The Flume track that’s on there, “Tropical Sun” is only on this compilation and he kind of wrote it especially with us is mind. We’re always feeding him new music so he’s taken that on board and given us a great jam.

Yes, well the Flume track has already gone viral – everybody is loving that one, but for those of us too eager to wait until the release date, there’s the pre released copy on Beatport as well as a 12-inch vinyl sampler. In my experience samplers are always good things, like chocolate or bits of fruit at a famers market. What will we find on the 12-inch sampler?

(Laughs) So on the sampler we’ve got a remix by Perseus: a crazy guy from Texas in the States who did a remix for Jeremy Glenn who’s a Canadian artist that got a lot of love online. He did a new edit for the compilation so we put that on the 12-inch vinyl, because it hasn’t previously been on vinyl before. Then we put the Danny Daze exclusive track on there, a remix by DJ T from “Get Physical” which we put out last year which got a lot of love, especially from Europe and then we put a Soul Clap remix of another American artist on the vinyl, so four tracks which we thought would be nice in that format. We still like making records so we end up making vinyl of just about everything we release. Then you can get the 10 exclusive tracks on Beatport at the moment and also the full mix. It will be available on iTunes and everywhere else on the 10th of September.

A lot of people are looking forward to that! Of course we can always catch you on FBi’s sunset show on Saturday nights. Quite often I’ll tune in before heading out myself, but what do you do to prepare yourself for a night of spinning epic tunes?

We always dive into our laptops and try and find all the essential stuff for the week that we want to play. It’s usually quite fun to have more than one person on the air. It always creates a nice dynamic where you kind of bounce off each other and when we are partying together and playing together as well. Each of us have slightly different tastes on it all and I think that makes it slightly more interesting. What we do to prepare? We need to get inspired by the week’s music.

So you try and play as much new stuff as you can?

Well we try and keep the show with very much, really new things that we’ve got that week. Obviously we draw on some of the other stuff that we’re still liking, but we do try and play really new stuff every week.

I was kind of thinking… your company itself is called Future Classic. Do you –

We play old songs too, yeah! But when we play old stuff it’s like 70s old. We like to bring out a lot of classic old school 70s and 80s and it’s just old Fleetwood Mac tracks, so on and so forth. We do also play a lot of songs by new artists of old tracks. That’s one of the things that keeps it interesting.

What: Future Classic DJs Compilation
Who: A mix of original mixes, remixes, edits and exclusive tracks involving the following artists: Danny Daze, DJ T, Mario & Vidis, Flume, Tigerskin, Worst Friends, Perseus, Jeremy Glenn, Pharao Black Magic, Slow Hands, Gung Ho, Softwar, Soul Clap.
When: Released on September 10th. Or if you’re really eager you can grab a copy from Beatport as well as the sampler from the Future Classic shop. http://www.beatport.com/release/future-classic-djs-compilation/944064 http://shop.futureclassic.com.au/product/future-classic-djs-vinyl-sampler-12
How Much: You can grab the pre-released copy for $12.99 and the vinyl sampler for $16


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