Feature: Diesler

Picture of Diesler

Interview by Marc Kets

Burnley native Jonathan Radford has been quietly making a name for himself since his first release "Cotton Wool" got aired on Radio 1 when he was only 20. Under the moniker Diesler he released one of the finest albums of recent years, "Diggin' It Something Rotten" to much acclaim in 2005, a record that didn't go unnoticed by taste-makers the world over and was instrumental in the success of Tru Thoughts when they won best label at the Worldwide Awards in that year. Diesler has also leant his jazzy, disco, broken touch to records by artists as diverse as The Society, Pest, Plantlife and, most recently, The Cuban Brothers all of which bear all the hallmarks of his sound and leave me in no doubt that in time he'll be recording records that will be the benchmarks for the rest of the scene to follow.

Your influences are quite varied from David Holmes to Cherrystones to the mighty Can. What was it about these artists that you drew you to them in the first place, and how do they influence your work today, if they do at all?

I just love their approach to music. I think each artist mentioned there has a characteristic about the finished track which, while it has attention to detail, is less driven about finding about clinical perfection but more a warmth and soul. Whether it be David Holmes and Cherrystones with more sample based music or Can with rugged recording methods. They have an ethos, even if not in style of music, shared by me and my music in spirit!

According to your bio you prefer to walk the walk as opposed to talking the talk, do you think that the music business is awash with people who are in it for the wrong reasons?

Not awash. Not in this scene as far as I know. Perhaps in other scenes but I can't really comment about them as I know very little about them. But that is the nature of any business or industry. You need people who are going to be very passionate about music and those that see it as ones and zeros!

I've asked this question before in a previous interview but it seems particularly apt here, if you could chase someone across the stage with an axe like some of the jazz greats did, who would you chase and why?

Not music related but on more of a football tip. Chris Waddle. Italia 1990. He knows why. Row Z.

You're based in Burnley, not far from the bright lights of Manchester, do you find that living in a more rural setting gives you more freedom and scope to work on your music unhindered by the potential distractions that can be found in a bigger city?

Big time! The pace of life is slower and thing are a little less congested. There are a lot fewer distractions for sure, but where I live there are effectively a pub, a post office and a newsagent. Other than working my way towards an ASBO or something there is nothing to do. Music is a great outlet and a great way to use time kids!!

How did you get involved with Tru Thoughts?

Sent a CD demo in 2002. Rob Luis the A&R boss liked a tune on there and put in on a compilation. From there I delivered enough material for an EP then an album and now a second record. I visited them and we got on from a person-to-person level as well which helps a lot!

Were you pleased to have your first record, "Cotton Wool" played on Radio 1?

Made up! Not bad for your first ever signed track I guess! It was weird to hear my tune mixed into another track as well - kind of my signature tune in a way I feel! It means a lot and even though I have heard it hundreds of times from scratch to on a sound system it still makes me smile with joy.

Being label-mates with the likes of Alice Russell, Quantic, Nostalgia 77 and Jon Kennedy must lead to a lot of interesting possibilities for collaboration. Have you got any projects in the pipeline that you are working on at the moment?

I am constantly blown away with what quality there is on Tru Thoughts - and I am not just saying that either - but I think in order to keep the diversity of the label rich and more importantly my own sounding fresh & different from other producers I'd rather not use the same artists as Quantic or Nostalgia 77 do. I am just concentrating on build up my sound & own knowledge as a producer. Maybe I will do another project one day but and at the moment I am keen on incorporating any collaborations into the Diesler project.

Do you have any set frameworks that you work in, or do you get in the studio and let inspiration take hold?

Sometimes I go in the studio with an idea, sometimes I don't and sometimes I go in with a cup of tea. Go with the flow. There are no rules at all. As long as it all hangs together at the final score then its all good.

Your album "Diggin' It Something Rotten" was particularly well-received in Asia especially amongst the Shibuya set that shops at places like DMR and Jazzy Sport. Were you pleased with how the album was received? How did the title of the album come about?

The album title came from a chat with my best mate who said it about his recently acquired Pink Panther DVD box set. Many thanks to all those people who picked it up in Asia, I have had many a supportive e-mail from there! Shout out to all those who hooked it up out there!

You've remixed quite a varied bunch of artists such as TM Juke, Plantlife and Pest. Do records have to fulfill specific criteria before you touch them?

Sometimes I get asked and sometime do it because I feel I can work it for a dance floor and take a tune somewhere it doesn't go already. I think it is important to get a balance between remixing something you like but something you don't love. Overall the artists who want remixing are hoping that you give your production identity while using their sounds.

Are there any specific artists at the moment that have caught your ears?

Dirty Diggers on Zebra Traffic are firing. Freestyle is a label that put out some top tunes. Gerardo Frisina on Schema is the don and outside of our scene check acts like The Boats on Moteer Records & Pendle Coven on Modern Love. Hot!

www.myspace.com/diesler www.dieslermusic.com

Marc Kets, Apr 2006

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