by Margaret Chrystall
NOTCHING up their 400th single for record label Soma, Slam DJs Orde Meikle and Stuart Macmillan also keep their DJing reputation refreshed by constant touring.
On Saturday, that means Inverness is treated to the Soma Summer Party – hosted by 10 Years of Robotone – and featuring Soma’s own Secluded (Hans Bouffmyhre) plus locals Alan Macpherson and Alan Grant.
But now after their 17th year of masterminding the Slam Tent at T in the Park, Orde and Stuart – like the rest of T – are preparing to move the 20 miles to the new site at Strathallan Castle for next year.
So what will it mean?
"I’ve seen some photos of the site, but we won’t really know till we get up there!" said Orde.
"But I think the Slam Tent may be a little bit further away because we are so bloody loud!"
Yet work on next year’s Slam line-up has already started, Orde confirmed.
"We’re literally putting the feelers out for next year’s line-up as soon as we finish. And a few people have been contacted already. It’s changed for us because it used to just be Saturday and Sunday, but now that it’s a four-day event – letting people come in on Thursdays – we get the tent open for the early-doors arrivals."
The Soma label is 23 years old this year – with radio, mastering, a DJ school and Soma TV with a bank of video sets.
"We’ve just done the 400th 12-inch release. the way music is made now – especially dance music – is very much software-based. the size of the laptops and the computers and the power that they demand has increased exponentially in the last 10 years.
"So much of it is done inside laptops which means we can work in airport lounges or in front of the TV, in a hotel room when you are away or on a plane.
"We try and follow a reasonably flexible routine where we tend to be working at weekends two or three nights, Monday is our day off to be with the families, then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we try to get into the studio.
"At other times we decide to just take two weeks off and work on things.
"We’ve just finished working on our album Reverse Proceed.
"We decided to take that outwith our own studio and work with an engineer called Simon Stokes. He’s a producer called Petrichor on Soma and he has his own studio and that was nice, to get us out of our own comfort zone and distractions and go and work somewhere else for about two months putting the album together.
"There was a lot of toing and froing, but it eventually got finished and we are both really happy with it.
"The album will drop in mid-October this year.
"The idea behind it and the type of tracks we were wanting to achieve was already in our heads before we even get to the studio.
"I think people will notice quite a difference.
"It’s an album that is written as a journey and it’s just over an hour long.
To be fair, there isn’t really a dance track coming in until about 35 minutes into the album. so it’s very much a kind of sonic journey for the listener.
"The first 30-minutes-plus is quite ambient, quite atmospheric and was written as that. Every track was written in a sequence, so it was composed as a journey, not as individual tracks. It’s more like a mix we would do in a club, maybe, over a whole night, but condensed into an hour.
"But there’s no set time on making the album, let alone an individual track. They very much have a life of their own.
"You just follow your nose – and your ears!
"We’re very much enthused by equipment and trying to use it in strange ways, trying to get stuff out of it that isn’t just run of the mill. So there was a lot of experimenting on this album. And because it was being written as an entire piece of music, that obviously threw up its own inner challenges along the way. But we got there in the end.
"Most of the people who have had a chance to listen to it have liked it as well.
"We have quite a lot of our friends working on remix projects.
"After the album there will be other people’s interpretations of different tracks.
"And we have a kind of surprise up our sleeve for the middle of next year with some very interesting interpretations – hopefully – of certain tracks off the album by other artists and people that we know and respect personally.
"So the release of the album in October is only part of the story with this concept!"
The Slam DJs appear at the Ironworks, Inverness, with Secluded (Soma Records), Alan Macpherson and Alan Grant on Saturday. More details: www.somarecords.com and follow Orde and Stuart on Twitter: @SLAMdjs and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SLAM.soma