To answer your question, no, Casino Times is not a world-wide, syndicated publication that covers news and goings-on for gambling establishments. However, you’d be correct if you said that Casino Times is a pair of forward-thinking, UK house producers that refuse to be pigeonholed by sub-genre classifications such as “Deep House” or “Nu Disco”. For Joseph Spencer and Nick Church, the need to continuously push their personal boundaries as artists is paramount to their entire arrangement as artistic partners. To create sounds that stimulate both the head and the heart, as well as the body.
Launching their project in 2011 with a single track for then burgeoning, Sccucci Manucci, the reception was instantaneous, gaining the pair nods from Solomun, Jamie XX and Wolf&Lamb, to name a few. With subsequent remixes for the likes of TEED and sharing the stage with Morgen Geist and Todd Terje, whilst on the eve of their second EP’s release, I caught up with Joe and Nick for a quick chat:
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RiCHARD.GEAR: Ok, just for posterity: Full names, ages, favorite fruit and donuts or bagels?
Joe Spencer, 24, Bananas, everyday. I even take them to gigs. As for bagels and donuts, I don’t discriminate.
Nick Church, 25, Apples, bagels with salted beef, mustard and gherkins.
RG: How did you two meet, was it a friendship that bore a musical partnership or the other way around?
Joe: We met at University in Oxford both studying the same course…
Nick: We ended up working on lots of projects together for University… We did a really broad course so one day we could have been soldering PCB’s and the next making video packages for the University’s TV station or performing live Aphex Twin style compositions… I think we knew as we worked so well together in the classroom and the fact we have a laugh while we were doing it, so it seemed only natural to start working on our own project outside of our studies.
RG: Nick, you work for Sean Brosnan and the good people at Future Disco/NeedWant, which is also where Casino Times released their debut EP… how did you hook up with that camp?
Nick: Our manager Matt sent Sean the demo of ‘I Wanna Know‘, probably in early 2012, when they where working on a club night together at Corsica Studios. Sean was really into it and wanted to do a full EP, fast forward 9 months later, the EP dropped and I continued to stay in contact with Sean after.
I saw back in April of last year that Sean was looking for someone to come and help with some stuff around the office a couple of days a week so I applied and was successful (woo!) So far it been a great experience working for both of the brands and we’ve got some really exciting stuff coming up over the next few months that I think is going to turn a few heads!
RG: Can you explain your production process a bit? VST or hardware? Ableton or Logic?
Joe: We tend to switch around with VST’s a lot as they all have their pro’s and con’s and it keep things fresh for us. Software wise it’s a jump between, Reason, Ableton and Cubase and on the external side of things… All the tracks we’ve made for the last two EP’s have mostly been made of samples we’ve taken from old records whether it’s a percussive loop, a snare hit, or a weird chord from an old rock record. There is so much music we go through on a daily basis trying to find the most interesting sounds that we can recycle and make our own.
Nick: We’ve also been trying to get more hardware involved and that’s not just limited to keyboards and drum machines…
RG: Can you talk about your ‘Casino Edits’ series a bit, when can we expect the next instalment?
Joe: The ‘Casino Edits‘ is really an extension of us going through all these records and finding great loops.
Nick: The initial idea we had was to make an entire mix just full of all these rough edits we had made. When we started working on putting the mix together it became clear to us that though the edits all had that same kind of grittiness and choppy style they didn’t seem like they would fit together in a mix, as even in ‘Casino Edits #1’ you can hear how different the moods are in the A and the B side.
Joe: Not wanting us to just sit on them, our manger suggested getting them out on wax, so we reached out to Phonica and they pressed up the record for us and took care of distribution. All of them where hand-stamped by us so you know they’re special. The next instalment will hopefully be out by the summer.
RG: Where can folks see you perform live in 2014, residentcies? tours?
Joe: We are just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on some more dates in the UK and Europe that we will be announcing soon. Other than that it’s lock down in the studio as we want to get another record out before the summer.
Nick: I think after the summer we definitely want to try and go a bit further-a-field as well, we would love to come and play some dates in the U.S.
RG: Can we get a Top 5 from each of you?
1. Rick Wilhite – What Do You See? (Rush Hour)
2. Johannes Volk – Glare (Tief Music)
3. Lord of the Isles – co2o (6mins) (Permanent Vacation)
4. Midland – Realtime (Graded)
5. Francis Inferno Orchestra – Vibrations (Let’s Play House)
1. Audion – Freds Bells (Spectral Sound)
2. Gardens of God – Apena (Ellum Audio)
3. Tyson Ballard – All Day (Voyuerhythm)
4. Brioski – Rough Sailor (Throne of Blood)
5. Belfie & Alex Tea Presents Chicago Stories – My Funky Valentine (Robsoul Recordings)
RG: Open mic, anything you want to plug? Shameless self promotion!
Our new record is being released on Wolf Music on the 27th January, please go buy it so we can pay our rent.
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