As most of you reading this will know, the pre-sale is now open for the first new Kniteforce Vinyl releases. These two EP’s are the first new Kniteforce Vinyl since 1998, and I think its a pretty big deal myself. These first new Eps are parts 9 and 10 of the long running “Remixes” series, featuring Scott Brown and Billy Bunter as the two big names, plus remixes by two KF artists and two competition winners. They are excellent releases, all the tracks are authentic to their era, and absolutely blinding, if I say so myself…which I do. And this blog post is here to give you reasons to go buy them if you are undecided, and then to get your friends to buy them as well, and to maybe persuade you to spam the hell out of them if you would be so kind lol. So read on…
1. Its An Excellent Release
“Ooh! Look it! New Recordses!”
This is probably the most important reason on the list. All the others don’t really matter if the music sucks. But in truth, I am not sure I could offer a better product if I tried – not only musically but also value wise. I hate to start this blog post off with a sales pitch, but I am going to because what you get for your money matters. I’m well aware that buying vinyl is expensive, and then the postage costs? They are just…awful. I know. Sometimes when I send something I am like “really? does this parcel get its own private jet for that price?” Unfortunately, there is not a lot I can do about it, except to make these vinyls absolutely worth the money. So thats what I have done, and will do with all future Kniteforce releases. If you buy them you get:
1. The vinyl itself – Three excellent remixes of classic tunes by amazing remixers in an authentic old skool style with colour sleeves and labels. The vinyl is strictly limited to 300 copies (seriously, I cannot repress because of minimum repressing restrictions, and even if I could, I would not) and I have designed the labels and sleeves to be the same as the original series so these will fit seamlessly into your Kniteforce collection if you have one!
2. The vinyl comes with links to both 320mp3 and 24Bit wav versions of the release. I WILL NOT BE MAKING DIGITAL VERSIONS OF THESE RELEASES AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE, EVER. So you can’t buy them on iTunes or Amazon or Beatport or even on the Kniteforce MP3 store. Its the vinyl and the digital, or neither.
3. Each vinyl release also comes with a link to a full KFA digital release. That means as well as the three vinyl tracks, you also get four digital tracks from the KFA E.P, and a further two or three tracks as the Executive Edition on the digital EP. In total, when you buy the vinyl, you will get at least nine tracks. You are, in effect, getting an album’s worth of music.
4. I have included an “idiot” sheet with each release, exactly like we used to with older Kniteforce vinyls back in the early days of the label. It would be worth keeping these sheets as they have the links you need on them, but also because good things could happen if you get 10 of them. Plus, they are funny, and again, authentic to how the old label did things. No free plastic spoon on this one. But maybe in the future…
5. If you add your name to the “message” part when you order, and I will give you a shout out on the back of the next Luna-C project vinyl.
So all in all, it seems to me like a pretty good deal. Don’t you think so?
2. The Philosophical Aspect
“I keep searching, but I just cannot find my rizla”
Like everyone else, I spend a good deal of time floating about on the internet to avoid doing any real work. And while looking at cat meme’s and arguing with strangers about politics, I occasionally read stuff about hardcore music. And when I do, I see the same sentiment repeated over and over again, normally expressed as “The music is not as good as it used to be” or “It was better back in the day” or “Look at this food I ate”. The third one can be ignored – and honestly, no one cares what food you ate so please stop with the pictures of pumpkin pie or whatever. But the other two express a desire for the old school sounding hardcore and raves, and I have been hearing this for as long as I can remember. So long in fact, I think its time to do something about it. Incidentally, its not just me thinking that – all the omens agree, all the signs point to it. Because look…People have a genuine love for old school hardcore. Not just old fucks like me, but new skoolers too. And with all due respect to modern hardcore, it just isn’t the same music at all. They are different in speed, style, sound, and dare I say it, philosophy.
And yet, no one is making proper old school hardcore anymore. Except that’s not true. A lot of people are making it. But it goes nowhere, gets nowhere, and is rarely heard because most of the people making it are doing so as a hobby and do not have the “name” draw they need to take it further, or they have no place to release the music in any official capacity. In this category, you see people like Dj Jedi, releasing new “old” tunes and represses, people like Glowkid, relentlessly pushing that sound on his radio show and mixes, and a whole bunch of talented people giving away their music for free on Soundcloud, such as Nicky Allen. Each of those named are doing superb work, and each have many supporters (including myself) but do not have the name recognition outside of their own spheres of influence.
On the “big name” side, there are a few people finally testing the waters with the new old skool sound. And I don’t mean new tunes with old skool elements in them, or “rave breaks” or any of those other “just like hardcore only new” things. I am talking about making proper, unashamed, old skool hardcore. There are new releases by 2 Bad Mice, Altern 8, Xenophobia, and Billy Bunter & Sanxion, all of which are doing it properly. And this is brilliant, its fantastic to see these names bringing out great new music.…but…What I want to know is, will there be follow up albums from these artists? Because unless these first ones succeed, there won’t be.
Even so, it seems to me that everyone is, at last, facing in the same direction, and these different elements can come together and create a vibrant, “new” old skool scene. I am not talking about giving it a new name or anyone trying to organise it – I have seen people attempt that with “4 Beat” and “Hardcore Breaks” etc, it never works. There can be no ownership, no forced branding. It will happen organically, or it won’t happen at all. Or rather, it IS happening – but will it survive? Thats the question. A lot of people are finally starting to put their money where their mouth is, on both sides. Artists are saying “Ok, I will take the risk and make an old skool release, on vinyl” (This is the risk I am taking too with these new releases) And fans of the music are actually using their hard earned cash to buy them.
And this is the core thing, the basis for all that could be. Without the new music, nothing happens.
So if you are reading this and want there to be a new, vibrant, old skool based hardcore scene, all these things have to happen together – there has to be new music from old skool artists, legacy artists, in the old skool style. It has to be released in a way that makes money, MP3s just don’t do that, and anyway, they simply do not have the same…power…that a vinyl release has to legitamize the sound. When old skool artists do that, it opens the door to the new artists, the ones that have the talent but are not being heard. I know its not fair, but its just the way it is. You need both – the old guard to open the door, and the new breed to walk through it. Neither are enough on their own.
3. The Financial Effect
“Pictured – Actual MP3 Profits this year”
Money. Like all things, it comes down to fucking money. I wish it didn’t, but it does. As I mentioned in my support for Dj Hams album project, artists should get paid for their work, and in the current music industry its nearly impossible. Because philosophy aside, we all need to eat. Yes, making music for the love of it is great – and lets be real, if you are in the hardcore scene, thats why you are doing it. But if you want a dedicated scene, there have to be dedicated people – and that means people that can afford to spend ALL their time on the music, not just 3 hours a week. I’m not just talking about producers – I’m talking about rave promoters, Djs, radio hosts, studio engineers and musicians.
One of the reasons the vast majority of old skool artists left the hardcore scene or stopped altogether was simply financial. Most ended up getting a “real” job, because they simply could no longer afford to spend time and money on a scene that doesn’t pay them. Or they moved to other scenes that would pay them. Its not a question of love, its a question of actual real issues like paying rent.
For any sort of resurgence of an old skool hardcore scene, there has to be some money in it. And that means making music that makes a profit. Once you have music that makes a profit, you can have events that pay Djs to play at raves that make money for people who will pay to hear it. Its the central trunk of the tree that everything branches from. And weirdly, in 2016, a good way to make money selling music is vinyl. MP3s make so little, and thats a problem in itself, but they also do not give you any sense of real accomplishment. There is no “product”. Have you ever spent time just looking at and enjoying the feel of a vinyl record? As an artist, I have to say that is one of the best things ever, This is MY record that I made. Look at it. Hold it. Smell it. And play it, I suppose lol. You can only do one of those things with an MP3. And as a buyer of music, its so exciting to get a brand new vinyl record – getting an MP3? Its just…its not the same. Its not the same at all.
While any scene has to have a solid financial basis, a very big part of the thrill of making and owning music is having an actual beautiful object at the end of it, and that feeling of achievement as an artist, or of owning something precious as a buyer. So again, it comes down to this – if you want this sort of music and this scene, you have to buy the records. You have to buy mine, and Billys, and Alterns (lol) and etc. You will also need to go to the events and all that good stuff.
I know its expensive, I know vinyl is an old format, and I know, I know, I know. But if you don’t support these releases, they won’t happen again. And I mean actual financial support. Liking this blog post is nice, sharing it on Facebook is nicer – I am grateful for both of those things – but likes don’t make this work. Money does. Thats the unpleasant bottom line that no one likes to talk about, but there it is. Lose money, end of. Break even, can’t grow. Make a little profit, grow a little. Make a big profit, fuck off to the Bahamas. lol Im kidding. You know how it goes.
Right now, we are at a crucial moment, a rebirth moment. If these albums from old skoolers do well – and if the new Kniteforce vinyl does well – other old skool artists will release new material or get involved in the scene. And that will open the door to new artists releasing material. Meanwhile Djs will want to play it more, and promoters will want to do events. In fact, Djs ALREADY want to play it, and promoters ALREADY want to do events. We all fucking LOVE the old skool. But we can’t keep playing Sonz Of A Loop Da Loop “Far Out” and fucking “Searching For My Rizla” by the Ratpack. No matter how much we love it. We need new music with that old ethic and vibe – thats the difference between a dead scene and a live one. And this is the best opportunity I have seen to make that happen since the early 2000’s.
4. The Selfish Factor
“This photo was taken in 1843”
Unlike many of my contemporaries, I did not have babies when I was in my twenties, or when I was in my thirties. I stayed sprog free for decades. But all things change…and so at age 43 I have a baby, and its the best thing ever. Unfortunately, it turns out, babies are quite expensive. And, also, they take up a lot of time. As FP would say – Who Knew? So I am sitting here writing this while he squirms about and gets angry for no reason at all, and I feel its only fair to put my cards on the table, next to the bottle, the wipes, a vomit soaked rag and an assortment of dummies and toys, and tell you this: No matter what happens, I will always find a way to keep making music. It has been, and will always be, a huge part of my life.
It is much harder now as I have much less time. I used to write a few tracks a month – whereas in the six months since he was born I have made one new track and a few remixes. It is getting easier now that baby Wilder is out of his cry / poop / eat / sleep / cry phase. But still, I have to consider carefully what I am going to do with the time I have, and like many of my contemporaries discovered, suddenly it matters that what I do isn’t a loss financially or time wise. I don’t care if I live on beans. Babies do, and if you don’t feed them right, you go to jail lol.
And so, I very much want these records to succeed. As a record label owner, I will continue to make certain that KFA keeps going. I love modern hardcore, and the group of KFA artists I have around me now are both my friends and my inspiration. And running an MP3 based label is not overly difficult or time consuming. Making music though? Thats another thing altogether. As a musician, I have always tried to do it all – every style, all the time. But as a father, I am finding I have to be a little more precise in how I use my time. I love modern hardcore, but old skool and breakbeats is where my heart is. And I love releasing music in any format, but if I can do vinyl? I will do vinyl. Even though running a vinyl releasing label is about 40 billion times more work than an MP3 label. Thats how much I want to do it. So I openly admit that I selfishly want these records to do well.
But its not just that. My selfishness has (good) repercussions.
Since it became known I was restarting Kniteforce as a vinyl label, I have been inundated with music from producers. Some of it average, sure, but the chance to get things on vinyl has meant people have bought their very best work to me. So most of it has been stunningly good. And I want you to hear it. I have KF66 – KF71 lined up already – but only if these first two sell well. I have a bunch of new artists as well as material from original KF artists, and we are talking fucking brilliant tunes. I have signed Alex Jungle, whose 4 track EP will blow you away, I guarantee it. Dj Ham has said he is willing to make new tunes for Kniteforce. I have spoken with one of my all time music heroes and they have agreed to do a remix for me for the 12th and final “Remixes” EP. Basically, I have so much amazing music for you and I want to put it out and I want you to hear it and be as excited as I am about it. But it all goes nowhere if these first few don’t sell.
I want to emphasise that its not JUST the money, or EVEN the money for myself or many of these artists. Its just the key factor that everything else hinges on, unfortunately. For most of us, one of the biggest draws is simply the opportunity to have music on vinyl. And its the type of music – old skool allows the artist such freedom compared to almost all modern styles. Its the prestige of having a vinyl release (vanity, sure, but we all have it). All of these things excite the artists involved, and that makes for exciting music. If these releases do well, there is so much more that can happen. And I want that.
I want that really badly.
5. The Future And What Could Be
“look, there it goes…oh…you missed it”
All of the first four reasons I have given are for right now. But the success of these first few vinyls will (I hope) have an effect much larger than that. Let me give you some examples. Would you like new tunes from Justin Time, or Acen, or Hyper On Experience? or Austin? or NRG? Or any of your long lost music heroes? I would. But how do you get those older artists to make mew music? Or new old skool music, I should say? Well, some just won’t be interested. They will have moved on to other things, or not be contactable, or whatever. But some are just like you and me, loving the old skool, missing the old days, wanting to make new music in that style but certain there is no market for it, and also not having any way to release the music they make in the first place.
Now, imagine that we have had five or six new Kniteforce releases, all in nice sleeves, all have sold out, all have made a little bit of money. You all know me well enough to know I won’t be spending the profits on a helicopter or heroin or any other things beginning with “h”, like heaps of happy hens. After paying for basic survival and feeding Wilder more than a few beans, I will spend it on the music, as I have always done. I would then be in the perfect position to call up some of these older artists and offer them a deal – maybe I will pay them an advance or outright for some music. They would get a proper vinyl release. I don’t know. But I would have the power to at least try, rather than the current situation which would be “will you spend days making a new old skool tune to sell as an MP3? I can give you 26p and a button for the trouble”.
Its a big difference.
And my label aside – others will release new material for their own pleasure if they see it is worth doing. New and old artists will give it a go. New and old Djs will play the new stuff – success breeds success. It just does. And obviously, should the current crop of new old skool styled vinyl do well, a bunch of people will jump on the bandwagon. But here’s the thing – that will be fine. Because if you wanted to jump on the bandwagon of any other scene, you would need to just copy the format others are using. And the greatest thing about old skool? There is no fucking format. So even the band wagon types will have to bring something to the table other than copying someone else. You certainly won’t be able to copy Kniteforce, none of the next EPs I have ready are anything like each other, except they are all superb, proper hardcore.
Then again, maybe I am wrong – thats how I end most of my blog posts. I am a dreamer, and this is a dream I want to be reality very badly. Maybe I am kidding myself. But I look around, and everything in me says “Now. Now is the time. This could happen.”
But it will only happen if you support it. If you make it happen. So as ever, as always, it is up to you!
Here are the links to the pre sale of KF64 and KF65. The vinyl is being sent from the UK. The Kniteforce Bandcamp website is being jointly run in the US by myself (being bossy) and in the UK by Dj Jedi (doing the actual work). So you know you are in good hands!