From DJ to Producer to Label boss for Music Is Love Records to soon to be running a music management and promotion service, MIL-MGMT, Manchester’s Oli Furness has been a busy man. We caught up with him to discuss some of his highlights in 2014, and what he has in store for 2015.
Your extremely unique sound has a very raw warehouse vibe. What are some of the artists that you grew up listening to that have influenced this sound?
Yeah I suppose they do, its an unintentional thing, I think its the nature of the way I make music as much as influences to be honest, I mean if (like I do) you record machine jams then preen after the very nature of that track will be driven by the machines looping and pushin forward, which is my take on the essence of warehouse music so the process and the sound marry together, one is a result of the other.
Artists I grew up with would be quite varied I suppose from the big party antics of Jon Carter during the early 2000’s to Sasha, Guy Called Gerald, Steve Lawler and old Chicago tracks Dance Mania, Derrick Carter, etc.
Right ok my studio at the minute is at a lovely play, all machines sync’d tight, new mods on my mixing desk, its a haven to be in at the minute, but I digress in the studio at the minute is Roland TR808/707/626 ,SH101,Juno 106, Alpha Juno, DX7, Oberhiem 1000, Elektron a4, Elektron Rytm, Mopho, fx pedals etc. I’m sure theres a few other bits but thats the main deal for the moment. Essential equipment for me at the minute is the 2 Elektron machines, the A4 & the Rytm. I sold my 909 to buy these machines so it was a gamble, but it paid off. I am completely in love with them. Solid machines from top to toe. Huge recommendation from me!
Selling the 909 certainly is a gamble, but it sure does seem to have worked out just fine. 2014 saw some massive releases from you, on a number of our top labels including Music Is Love, Morris Audio, NDV and more. But one release that really did damage for us was ‘Something Special’ for our buddy Owain’s 124 Recordings on their 124 is 2 LP. How did this project come about?
Ahhh yeah man, well that was actually an old project I did a while ago, it was wrote about the first time I went to meet a girl in London on the train, the train samples in the track are from the actually train etc. but anyway Owain had it for a while playing it out and we ended up discussing the track a long time after I’d made it for some reason one thing lead to another, its quite different from the tougher stuff my ear is lending itself too at the minute but its lovely to have the memory of that day etched into a piece of wax, surely the most beautiful thing about vinyl 🙂
It’s always special to have a physical copy of any form of art! Digging back a bit, one of our favorite Oli tunes is your Warehouse Dub of Jackmaster K’s ‘Emotions’ this one always get a great reaction for us – are you still dropping this one in your sets?
You know what? I don’t think I’ve ever even played that out! haha. It’s only recently I’ve started having the confidence to play my own tracks out and I’m playing ALOT of them out now, mainly just to hear how they are vibing on the floor, arrangements etc, so I definitely need to revisit this one at some point. Thanks for the reminder
Ha! Well, we have had the confidence to play your tunes for some time now, and Emotions does the trick! Aside from the studio, you were extremely busy with gigs this year, including a few with Steve Lawler’s ‘Viva Warriors’ at Sankey’s in Ibiza. How was the vibe at this event and on the island in general this past season?
Yeah man its been a great year, I also hold down a job working on an oil rig for 2 weeks at a time, so I could be playing more and be in the studio more but this is life right, every hour is a prisoner! The Viva Warriors parties in Sankeys Manchester & Ibiza were (I know obviously I’m gonna say this), but they really were fantastic parties. For myself on so many different levels, to have my label stand along side the might Viva Music is a great boost for us to let us know the label is gaining reputation and respect, also the fact I got to push quite a tougher house sound than is usually heard in Ibiza but it being received really well. It’s the first time I’ve met Steve, and for a guy a grew up watching dj, buying his records etc, he was an utter gent, charismatic and a really collected person, a true inspiration to me if I’m honest.
As for the island scene I myself have never really been a big fan of Ibiza, the very few experiences ive had out there contained big party scenes so I never really got to experience a villa party or the old town and I have to say I’m in love, I feel a real magnetic force in the hills so there are plans are in place to move there for the summer haha.
It’s always good to meet someone who you admire, you lives up to your expectations in person! You will be closing out 2014 at Sankey’s in the UK, playing NYE alongside one of the most solid lineups that we have seen in some time, including Kerri Chandler, Move D, Liam Geddes and more. What do you have in store for this night?
Ahhhhhhhhhh man, I am fucking hyped for NYE. To be fair, I had some amazing offers to play abroad but to have our label take over Sankeys MCR on the biggest night of the year is a real honour and I have a feeling shit is gonna pop off in a big way so there was no way I wasnt gonna be reppin!!! I think as it stands I’m gonna play twice that night upstairs for midnight and last set down stairs, so its gonna be big energy, love, compassion and bombs all night long.
That’s awesome! Once we turn the clock to 2015, we understand that you will be launching your label and music management company ‘MIL-MGMT’ what will MIL-MGMT ethos be and what was your driving decision to start this company?
Yea thats right man, this is a project that has gone from conception to final product quite quickly, this is basically down to the team I have working with me, they have been very vocal in the development of the business so we all have a serious knowledge pot to draw from.
MIL-MGMT music management and promotion service. We have taken the proven expertise in running successful digital and vinyl labels and put that at your disposal, what is truly important to a successful release and what makes any label a success is not just about collecting dj quotes and sending emails, but working for true support and coverage for a record, generating true excitement around that release. This needs a personalised service, carefully bringing together all the elements from controlling the sound quality, through promotion to djs and blogs and magazines and the release to the public for sale. This is hopefully gonna work in a 2 tier way, we will hopefully do our bit to keep the standard of music released high using our teams abilities and also giving labels with true intent a fighting chance out of the gate.
Sounds like you have a great direction for the company. Outside of the studio, you recently completed a dope chest piece, was this one a long time coming (looks beyond painful)! Any more tattoo work coming up?
NO man it was a bit of a spur of a minute thing, I’d just split up with a girl and wanted to turn a page kind of thing, it hurt like a motherfucker I’m not gonna lie, but its dope and I’m really happy with it. Im actually having an old tattoo removed then to replace it with a new one to complete my sleeve.
As the year is coming to an end, what were 5 tunes from this past year that have rocked the floors for you.
Ok 5 tracks that have absolutely done it every time ive played them are:
I wouldn’t say this are my 5 favourite tracks of the year, but if you wanna bang that drum these will work 80% every time.
80% of the time, they work every time.