Simon Baker – TaSimon Baker studied classical guitar and musical theory as a kid, a grounding that undoubtedly put him in good stead once he got into dance music and started producing electronic music himself. His clubbing baptism was in the vibrant northern city of Leeds, and his first productions were released on local Leeds label 2020Vision — the great independent label helmed by Ralph Lawson.
His first release, deep electronic house cut 'The Liptrick' led to a widening of his rep, with subsequent tracks in the past few years appearing on Rekids, Cocoon, Get Physical, Leftroom, Crosstown Rebels and Sasha's Last Night On Earth.
Simon kept his debut album, 'Traces', for home label 2020Vision, however, and started up his own label — co-run with Geddes — called Nofitstate.
“We are off to a great start, just coming up to our fifth release,” Simon tells DJ Mag. “So far we've had quite a few artists involved such as Matthew Styles, Locked Groove, Skudge, Pete Dorling, Kiki & Sasse, Rework and Mr Tophat and Art Alfie — as well as Geddes and myself.” He also has material coming out on Kompakt, Last Night On Earth and Noir Music, and a couple of others in the near future.
This summer the DJ/producer will be playing various shows in Ibiza and Croatia, touring in the States and Mexico, as well as spinning at assorted UK festivals and gigs around Europe.
“It was so hard to narrow this selection down to 10,” Simon tells DJ Mag. “So many artists, so many moments that have shaped my life and career, and so much music around that inspires me on a daily basis. So here are just some that sprung to mind on this day...”
01. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM '45:33'
“This gets played a lot at friends' after-parties. Even though everyone knows this now, I am still a happy man if it comes on. I guess it's like a very cleverly planned-out DJ mix, as it takes you on a journey — and a great journey it is. Pretty much in the same vein as another classic, 'E2-E4' by Manuel Göttsching, '45:33' is an amazing piece of electronic music, in my eyes.”
02. STEVE REICH '18 Musicians'
“A good friend of mine enlightened me to this classical composer, Steve Reich. Since then I have been pretty enthralled by his work — mainly 'Different Trains'. It’s a classical piece of music that kind of sounds like a techno record to me — without a kick-drum. A lot of this music was composed in the '70s and '80s, and was very far ahead of its time — using sampling techniques, which were unheard of in classical music.”
03. BONEY M 'Night Flight To Venus'
“I think this must have been my first experience of disco music. When I was a kid, my dad had this proper old school record player — black glass lid and tan wood surround. He played this, and it was disco of the real '70s pop variety. That classic disco tom-tom beat and vocoder vocals hooked me in. Looking back, it’s pretty camp disco stuff, but I didn’t really know that as a kid — and I still love those drums today.”
04. ADONIS 'No Way Back'
“I guess this takes me back to my old breakdancing days. Classic 808 drum-beats with a super-hooky bassline. You couldn’t help but dance to this (or body-pop if you’re pissed, and think you still can!). I occasionally will still drop it in my set. It was definitely one of those tracks that paved the way for my career in house and techno music.”
05. KATE BUSH 'Cloudbusting'
“Kate Bush has been a huge influence on me, more over recent years when I have been able to properly appreciate just how extreme her talent is — writing and producing everything herself. It just blows me away every time I hear her productions just how much of a musical genius she actually is. I missed out on tickets for her up-and-coming tour, so if anyone wants to sell me one, you know what to do...”
06. CHICAGO 'If You Leave Me No
“A tune from the '70s I absolutely adore. It’s one of those songs that raises emotions in me. I am actually crying now! It was later covered by Lemon Jelly. This is my funeral tune. Depressing I know, but an inspiration all the same.”
07. JOEY BELTRAM 'Energy Flash'
“Classic! Takes me back to the days of the Orbit in Morley, near Leeds. A legendary club I used to frequent a LOT. Sweat used to drip from the ceilings like it was raining. It was the proper rave days, where we would meet up in car parks afterwards absolutely spannered, dancing round our cars wearing woolly hats — Kevin and Perry style. The good old days!”
08. RONI SIZE/REPRAZENT 'Brown Paper Bag'
“When I first started DJing, I DJed hip-hop, then I moved onto drum & bass. Roni Size put out an album that was like nothing else at the time. I was a big LTJ Bukem fan, but this was something else. I can remember the cassette in my car, it didn’t leave my stereo for months. The bassline still sticks in my head to this day. [Sings] 'Dum dum dum-dum-dum, dum dum dum-dum dum dum...' You know what I mean.”
09. THE SMITHS 'Everything'
“To this day I am still a firm fan and never tire of their sound. The dark and often depressing lyrics matched with the melancholy catchy guitar hooks leave me with a smile on my face, even if Morrissey is talking about dying under a double decker bus! Listening to The Smiths cheers me up. Call me weird!”
10. BLACK SCIENCE ORCHESTRA 'New Jersey Deep'
“Junior Boys Own, I was brought up on this label! It was one of the best around. This was one of my faves, and still is to this day. Super classic house music with tons of feeling and emotion. Brings back loads of memories, this one. Another good reason I do what I do now.”
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