Up & Coming: Young producer Liam Geddes on his career progression
A little while back I received an EP called Inherit The Street by someone called Liam Geddes. I’d never heard of him before and was really impressed with the four tracks on his EP. I investigated further and eventually I decided to interview him, the reason being, apart from his excellent music, that he’s a young up and coming producer from a small town where there isn’t really much of a ’scene’ to speak of. Here’s a chat I had with Liam recently.
How did you get into house in the first place?
I think my parents planted the house music seed by listening to stuff like New Order, St Germain, Everything But The Girl and also lots of soul music whilst I was growing up. But it wasn’t until secondary school that I really got into house music properly.
So can you remember exactly when you got into house?
It was in secondary school when I got massively into house music (so that must have been around 2005) firstly listening to labels like Defected, Hed Kandi, Ministry Of Sound compilations, etc. Then I went onto more electro-sounding stuff. I used to love producers like Will Bailey and Mickey Slim back then.
When did you first start making your own music?
I got my first set of CD decks when I was about 16-years-old and started to learn the basics of DJing, practicing every day for about five or six months. It wasn’t until I downloaded a copy of Reason 4 on my PC that I started to mess around making ‘beats’. After a few months practicing everyday on Reason I decided I wanted to go college and study Music Technology to learn some more about the program and also music in general as I have never played an instrument in my life!
Considering you’d never played an instrument in your life, why did you decide to start making music?
I think it came when I was learning to DJ really, nowadays you can’t really make it without having your own music so I thought I would give it a go and instantly fell in love with the whole concept.
What exactly did you learn at college that helped you on your way?
I basically got taught the complete ins and outs of Logic Pro as well as studio lessons where we learnt about the mixing desk, recording in the studio and also the dynamics of producing like compression, mastering etc. I learnt so much at college so I couldn’t really pinpoint a specific thing, but my friend called Sam Wallace (Samuel W) who was in my class taught me a lot about mixing and also making sounds from scratch.
Apart from Samuel, did you have any help from anyone?
I started college when I was about 17 with a friend who I grew up with and also DJ’d with, there we met another producer who was an extremely talented guy. He had been producing for a few years prior to college and also knew so much about hardware/software and so on. Us three hung out everyday at college showing each other new music, software, hardware, samples and all that. I would watch his techniques throughout our time at college and ask him various questions about producing and what plug-ins to download. He basically taught me so much to do with producing and I’m so grateful for it [laughs]. Equipment-wise I have only ever produced properly on a MacBook Pro running Logic and also a set of headphones. I finally picked up some monitor speakers the other day.
How long has it taken to get to a stage where you were ready to let other people hear your stuff?
It did take me quite a while until I was ready to show someone a track that I had made myself, you always have that fear of someone turning round and saying it’s shit [laughs]. I think websites like Soundcloud and Facebook help massively in getting feedback about your tracks and also developing your own followers and your own style. I would say it was a good year until I showed someone something I had made.
So which of your tracks would you say tipped the balance and really motivated you to keep on making music?
I would probably say my EP for Love Not Money (called Inherit The Street). The two mates who I went college with moved up to Leeds to go to uni there and I decided to stay at home to work and make music instead. I was kinda wishing that I went up there after all as you can meet so many new industry people there, but luckily they met Luke Pompey who runs Love Not Money Records, handed over some of my tracks and he wanted to sign them, which at the time motivated me more than anything as it was a big deal to me.
How else did you go about getting your music heard by label owners?
It’s extremely hard getting your tracks heard but Soundcloud helps hugely. There you can get a following together and also message various labels and DJs, sending your music around. It does take time though, patience is key! I think by the time I had my first track signed I had been making music for about a year and a half. It wasn’t a great track at all though and wasn’t on a big label.
How did it feel when you first heard back from a label saying they wanted to sign a track of yours?
It is a wicked feeling knowing that a label wants to sign your track, it makes all those hours that you spent putting together tracks worthwhile!
What was the first track you had signed?
It was for a label in London, called Botaira Records. The EP was called Hey Vera. It was literally the first few tracks that I was ‘happy’ for people to hear. Even though now they sound so shit!
So what kind of stuff were you making in the beginning and how has your sound evolved?
In the beginning I was making kind of techno loops and maybe the odd hip-hop beat. Then I started to learn various techniques and get the grip of things a bit better. I love making a lot of styles from techno, deep house, garage, tech house, dubstep, drum & bass – everything really. My sound now has got to be deep house and techno though.
I guess you have a regular job too, how do you find time to make music?
I’m only working part-time at the moment so I have around three days off a week, which is plenty of time to make music. I do need a full-time job to start saving for some studio equipment though! I think because I work on my laptop I can always put ideas down when I’m on the move, I need a few days to properly work on a track though I would say.
Where do you like going out?
I’m from a small city called Milton Keynes where the night life is awful! There isn’t one proper nightclub, it’s all commercial bars and restaurants, so I always go out of town, either to Leeds or London to Fabric.
What artists are you feeling at the moment?
At the moment I’m really into Bicep, Jordan Peak, Washerman, Guti, Raresh, Anthea, Huxley the list goes on and on… there’s so much great music out there.
How about the house producers/DJs who’ve really inspired you over the years since you first got into it?
I’ve always been inspired by Kerri Chandler, Moodymann, Carl Craig, Ben Watt, J Dilla, Samuel W, Jerome Sydenham, Rick Wade and plenty more. I have so many DJs/producers who inspire me.
I noticed some of your stuff sounds quite garagey – were you into garage when it was big?
I was massively into garage when I was growing up, I wasn’t old enough to go to the raves but I used to listen at home for sure! I was a few years too young to go to The Sanctuary in Milton Keynes for Sidewinder though. I wish I could have experienced that! Although the mood in garage nights wasn’t the greatest I heard.
What were some of your favourite garage artists/tracks?
I used to love every release from Nice N’ Ripe, also R.I.P productions. My favourite garage track of all time I would say is Roy Davis Jr – Gabriel, such a cool vibe to that track.
Yeah great track. What are your plans for the coming months? Any more releases/DJ gigs?
I’ve got a few more EPs and remixes lined up, plus I’ve got stuff coming out on; Killax Records, Pura Music, Form & Function and also Music is Love. I’m playing Ministry Of Sound in the Loft Room for No Agenda Music on the 29th September, but other than that I really struggle to get gigs at the moment, which is annoying because I love to play out so much.
I can imagine, so where do you want to go with it all?
I would love to be able to be a full-time producer and DJ, that would be my dream! I can’t really see myself doing anything else. I’d love to tour the world playing gigs every weekend, it would be amazing.
Finally, do you have any advice for other young producers out there hoping to make an impression?
I would say keeping positive is essential, things take time to be released which can be a pain in the arse whilst you’re waiting. Always try to make something original and different to the last track you made. Practice really makes perfect as well! The best way to learn is to spend many, many hours making beats.
For more information on Liam and his music, check out his Soundcloud page HERE.Tagged in: Liam Geddes
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