CDR Preamble: WotNot Music

Ahead of appearances from WotNot Music people this Sunday June 9th for CDR London, we spoke with Arun Sethi (aka Charo) who juggles time at Imagem PM with beatmaking and label management. Read on to know what what about WotNot. 

First up, congratulations on WotNot reaching the 10 release milestone, you’re building an excellent discography! Please could you tell us how WotNot came to be and your ethos/outlook? How has your creativity progressed from WOT001 to WOT010? And where next?

Thank you! In some ways WotNot started over ten years ago when Jed and I first started making music together, and we’ve been developing our musical knowledge and taste together ever since. A couple of years ago music really started to change and it got us excited – there were so many people out there making great music that we felt didn’t have the exposure they deserved, and we had started to experiment more with our own music, so we decided that we’d try and put some of it out. Our tag line for the music we put out is that it has to be ‘soulful and creative’. WOT001 and WOT010 are both from DA-10 releases and I think listening to the two really demonstrates how we’ve all grown creatively – the big progression is just the fact that the family has grown bigger and bigger, and having so many talented peers has really driven everyone to come up with new ideas and to push the quality of production as high as possible. Hopefully that will continue as we meet more and more talented people and bring them into the family!

WOT010 comes as a limited cassette as well as digital, please can you offer your two-pennies on releasing music in 2013 on digital or physical formats? Is there a market for both?

The format really depends on your story as an artist – DA-10 make music that is completely hardware, so having an analogue product that’s all about fidelity totally makes sense. Some of the music we put out has a completely digital market, some of it appeals to DJs or audio enthusiasts so vinyl makes sense. But vinyl is definitely a risk whatever the release, whereas cassettes are cheap to produce (and a lot of fun too!).

While, we assume, the entire WotNot catalogue gets you going (and understandably so!), please can you pick one track that you keep (re)playing? Why so?

This changes for me all the time. Although we only put out tracks that we love, every now and again we have a track that really defines what we’re trying to do, these are the tracks that I end up rotating because they make me excited about what’s to come. At the moment I’m rinsing Infinity from Belle’s forthcoming Lapwing EP, produced by K15. Also, K15’s 12” (a track called Bordeaux) that will follow later this is year is ridiculously infectious. Before that, Chesslo Junior’s remix of Deft’s Thought You’d Fancy It, and Deft’s remix of Glenn Astro’s Stutter Shades were those tracks. Sorry I realise that’s four tracks!

How does your knowledge of, and work within, a music library organisation feed in to your own music making and sonic ventures?

Starting out as a hip-hop fan and a songwriter, there was a particular structure to my music that has changed since I started working at Imagem – I’ve learned how the structure of a piece of music can have a real impact on how it affects the listener. Aside from that, my work as a producer here means I’m constantly working with, and feeding back on, some amazing producers and composers across all genres. This has inspired me a lot and also forced me to think about what works and what doesn’t work in music in general.

What do CDR audiences at Plastic People have in store for them when WotNot represent on June 9th?

We’ll be going through the back catalogue and picking a few choice favourites, as well as a couple of little bits that haven’t made it out yet. We have new releases from K15, Belle, Deft, U (Man Make Music), Danglo and Glenn Kelly on the way, so we’ll play some bits from those, and maybe a couple of works in progress from me and JJ too!

When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?

It was at Plastic People a couple of years ago, I remember thinking what a great community the London music scene can be, how positive people are. We bumped into Glenn Kelly there, whose EP is our next release!

Who/What has been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?

For me the new Nosaj Thing has really grown on me, he’s one of my favourite producers. JJ’s put me onto Sunless ’97. Him and Deft went to Japan to play a few gigs last month, and he brought a lot of gems back from there. One of them is Metome, and his new EP on King Deluxe is nuts, as is his previous stuff. Also, been getting the library album of the Tod Dockstader CDR remix project finalised, and really enjoying some of the contributions to that!

Please talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)

JJ and I sat down last Saturday to play with my new studio set up. We’ve been routing midi through a Korg Triton and playing with my new SPD 30, the result was two really rhythmic synth funk tracks that I’ve added some guide vocals to. That kind of stuff is coming really naturally to us at the moment.

Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?

I think you want to really test your mix out before you try it on a system as big as the one at Plastic People! That said, experiment. The best thing about CDR, apart from the opportunity to test out your mixes, is the inspiration that comes from listening to lots of different approaches to music.