After the feature with the brilliant Olie Bassweight debuted the new ‘FatKidOnFire Presents‘ series at the end of March, I was unsure how we’d be able to progress with it – in terms of the frequency, the participants and how #1 would be received.
Which is why, some two months later, we’re only now launching FatKidOnFire Presents #2. But, I think you’ll agree (once you’ve read on), #2 has been worth the wait.
“The Chord Marauders are a community of artists diggin’ up rare musical booty from all four corners of the world. In the form of a bi-annual compilation, they aim present the finest specimens of melodically-oriented beats in and around 140bpm.”
I spent some time talking to the collective’s spokesman/founder/ manager Geode two weeks ago, a week before their debut compilation album launched. During our chat, he explained the origins of the collective and what to expect from its future – and then produced one of the finest mixes we’ve had the pleasure of hosting here on FatKidOnFire.
So here it is: FatKidOnFire Presents #2 – Chord Marauders…
Yes Geode! How’s it going? Yes yes! All well this side, thanks for having me on and respects to the FKOF cousins.
For those who’ve been under a rock recently, what can you tell us about the Chord Marauders? Are you a collective or a label or both or…?! Definitely a collective. The fundamental principle was to have a platform to showcase and sell material by Congi, Jafu, B9, myself and other like minded artists. We also wanted to have that personal touch with our listeners rather than going through conventional labels, distribution and online retailers.
We don’t have contracts and everyone keeps a large chunk of the profits – it’s based on trust. That’s not a dig at labels – there’s advantages for going that route – but with most of our target audience already following us on Facebook and SoundCloud we thought ‘why not’?
At the moment, we’re focusing on our bi-annual compilation, but we’ll also be doing some featured artist releases, mixes and freebies in between.
If we gain enough momentum in the future, we hope to branch out the platform into events & merchandise. I’d also like to bring more artists, designers & creative people under our ‘roof’. We’re currently trying to push the concept into nights – in fact Congi and I will be representing the Chord Marauders in New York on the 26th July.
In terms of you as Geode, rather than the collective, what made you decide to do your own thing? I sort of shot my gun a little on the previous question haha! But yeah, more importantly than cutting out middle men, it was an opportunity to have artistic control over what, when and how I released. I wanted to push a particular flavour of 140 which emphasises music, jazz, grooves and rhythm with a deeper edge, avoiding that shmalzy ‘chillstep’ vibe – and this was a feeling shared amongst the founding members.
A more minor consideration was that music sales generate pretty paltry returns with artists rarely receiving any of the money from royalties, so I wanted to try a more balanced and immediate selling model. That’s not to say I won’t also be releasing with other labels in the future however!
How did the collective come together? Did you recruit the rest of the guys and how did you all come together – given the geographical locations of the Chord Marauders members? It’s all happened relatively quickly and entirely online. The original proposition was mine but we all chose to move ahead together – I picked Congi, B9 & Jafu for their shared ear and unique production styles.
After that, everyone chipped in with ideas, music, design, promotional links, money, experience & inspiration – that’s another beauty of the collective. What it became is a product of everyone’s input and it couldn’t have worked any other way.
Given the frequency young labels seem to be popping up these days, is starting one or your own collective something you’d recommend doing? I can’t comment on labels – but if you have an original sound, a like-minded crew, a decent online presence and some success with previous releases then there’s no reason why creating a collective like ours won’t work for you. Having a strong musical direction and building a relationship with your community are the two most important considerations.
What’s your most valuable production tool – the one item in your studio you couldn’t do without? Probably FL Studio. I’ve used it for 10 years and somehow I’ve never been able to achieve the same sounds in other DAWs like Reason or Cubase.
Who inspired you to start making music? Of your inspirations; who would you want to collaborate with (dead or alive)? Looking back to when I started producing, around the age of 13-14, I can’t remember the impetus coming from an artist or even a genre but more a curiosity to make interesting sounds and manipulate samples. A lot of that came from a very encouraging musical family with friends in the industry who pointed me in the right direction. Collaboration- & inspiration-wise, probably Benjamin Britten – I often use his string motifs in my music and as a cellist I love orchestral music. But Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Bill Evans would do as well!
‘Groove Booty‘, the debut Chord Marauders album, came out last weekend. Having listened to it for a week or two I can’t wait for the next volume in six months’ time. How do you put the albums together? Thanks a lot man.
I think the way we’ll approach the next one will be quite different to the first. The first compilation was an amalgamation of 3-4 months worth of the best unreleased tracks from the Marauders. We then approached our guest artists, Billit Noble & Facta & K-Lone, whose material could give the compilation something different: more depth and variety. We rolled with them ultimately on the strength of their submissions – ‘Courvoisier‘ and ‘Voodoo‘ – which are incredibly well-crafted tracks, which I’m honoured they’ve allowed us to use. Keep an eye out for these guys, they’re gifted.
In some ways, the selection process was quite chaotic but I think we ended up with a balanced body of work. For the next one we’ll have our ears to the ground earlier, looking for more guest artists and music that fits the bill.
You hinted at it earlier, but what can you tell us about your plans for releasing individual tunes down the line? Will you be doing vinyl? I can’t really give too much away at the moment, but there will be at least two releases between now and the next compilation if we can move effectively. Vinyl has seemed popular and I think we’re at a point where the distribution and finances can be made possible, but that’s one for the pipeline.
From Groove Booty or your own back catalogue, which one tune would you want to be remembered for? Hmm, that’s a tough one because I hear a lot of the faults in my old tunes. The one I keep coming back to and putting in sets is probably ‘Transfix‘, I think because the arrangement is least challenging.
Any final words? Just wanted to finally say cheers for the great questions and respects to Wil & Olaf for the feature. Also a big thank you to everyone who’s supported our first compilation.
1. Geode – First Contact [dub]
2. Ipman – Radiate [forthcoming Wheel n Deal]
3. Facta & K-LONE – Voodoo [Chord Marauders]
4. Jafu – Afraid of You [dub]
5. Jafu – Fever [forthcoming Deep Heads]
6. Anex – Bella [Deep Heads]
7. D-Operation Drop – Origami [forthcoming TUBA]
8. Geode – Jade [dub]
9. Geode – Tesla [Innamind Recordings]
10. Geode ft. C Tivey – Ruh [Smokin Sessions]
11. Congi, Geode & B9 – Scrumpy [Chord Marauders]
12. B9 – Lasone [Chord Marauders]
13. Jafu & B9 – Zephyr Night [Chord Marauders]
14. Geode – We Are You [Chord Marauders]
15. Feloneezy – Where U From [GET SOME Free]
16. Congi – Towards Light [Chord Marauders]
17. B9 – Tackle Box [Chord Marauders]
18. Versa & Rowl – Theory of One [Deep Heads]
19. Trashbat – Clear Tides (Jafu Remix) [dub]