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Clubbing: THE DJ Q & A; THE digital age is revolutionising dance music, propelling how we consume clubbing in a new way. At the forefront of this is Soma, one of the most respected independent labels in the industry. It is preparing for a future away from vinyl, embracing new technology and even branching off onto their own show on Xfm Scotland. Dave Clarke has been at the label from the start and is still pushing boundaries... SOMA.

Byline: stuart barrie

Q HOW'S life in the Soma stable?

A GOOD thanks.We did well with albums Slam Human Response and Vector Lovers Afterglow this year and Andrew Weatherall's Sci-Fi Lo-Fi Vol.1, which was a mixture of rockabilly and punk so a bit risky.

Q IS it becoming harder to be an independent dance label these days?

A IT has always been hard. Most indie labels have other sources of income than just the music or else they would not survive and the scene is tougher now that at any time in our 16-year history.It's hard because everyone can rip and burn their own CDs and vinyl sales have declined with so many DJs and consumers going digital.

Q HOW would you rate the current crop of Soma stars?

A WE have a right motley crew including The Black Dog, My Robot Friend, Slam, Let's Go Outside, Funk DVoid, Silicone Soul, Vector Lovers, and Octogen.They have their own strengths and individual sound - some are established veterans and others are debut artists, as has always been the way with Soma. We rate them all highly.

Q EVER tempted to ditch the underground scene and go for hits like Hed Kandi?

A NO, we love the music too much and are still on a mission, providing an alternative to the likes of Radio1, an antidote to the bland mainstream.

Q HOW has the decline in vinyl buying affected Soma?

A IT'S made us more resourceful, vinyl was bread and butter for labels like Soma for a long time. Nobody was going to get rich selling vinyl but, having saved it in the Eighties, it was worrying to see the decline. But that's life.

Q WHAT has the label been doing in the digital world?

A WE are promoting all over the world digitally and are one of the biggest labels on beatport, which is the biggest DJ site for downloads.We were selling mp3s in 1998 so have 10 years experience and have had 10 years witnessing and being part of the changes.

Q HOW does that work for DJs?

A DJs will buy WAVs (higher quality) or MP3s and either burn them to CD to play using cdj1000s instead ofTechnics decks or they will use software like Serato Scratch which allows them to manipulate and play files using pieces of vinyl or CDs as controllers.

Q HOW important is it to be embracing new technology at Soma?

A IT'S natural that labels like ours are well placed to prosper in the new world. I remember using a fax machine when that was new, then email and web when dial speeds made it frustrating as well as exciting. We are now utilising the web for mass marketing like we could never do before - for example My Robot Friend's new video has had 20,000 views onYouTube in 10 days.

Q HOW would any budding producers out there get their demos to you?

A WE like to receive downloads and my partner Glenn is the person to send links to, via glenn@somarecords.com

Q HOW'S the radio show going on Xfm Scotland?

A THE Soma show is a great outlet for our music and our DJs who play across the board underground music.

Q IS it true Silicone Soulhave moved to France?

A HALF of Silicone Soul is living in France (Craig Morrison). That's a benefit of the digital age in that they can still make music together by swapping files over internet.

Q WILL they be splitting up?

A THEY are working on their fourth album and putting together a special mix of their music over the last 10 years.

Q NOW the dust has settled on Andy Weatherall's rock 'n'roll mix album for Soma, how do you look back on the album?

A A GREAT ballsy release by Soma, who go against the grain as much as we go with the flow.

Q WHO'S next in the Sci Fi Lo Fi series?

A LOOKS like Rob da Bank thenTom Middleton - both have interesting off the wall, left field ideas for eclectic mixes.

Q YOU also started the brilliantly entitled Soma Coma series, how was that?

ASOMA Coma is a great chill-out CD and we have loads more material to do part two next year.

It has been greatly received and showcases another side of the label.

QYOU share you name with a famous techno legend, ever tempted to get behind the decks?

AIF I'd got behind the decks then we'd never have managed to run a business as well, everyone else was either a producer or DJ in the team.

I am happy compiling Soma Coma and telling people what the track order should be on their next album lListen to Soma on Xfm Scotland every Sunday morning from 2-4am and anytime at www.xfmscotland.co.uk

'We are on a mission to provide an alternative to the likes of Radio1, an antidote to the bland mainstream'
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 14, 2007
Words:831
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