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Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon discuss the re-launch of The Classic Music Company

Written by Michael

April 22, 2011 8:57 am

“He once rescued me from a toilet”

What the fuck Luke? Check out this frank, humorous exchange between Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon on their re-launch of The Classic Music Company.

Derrick Carter: Luke Solomon; Barnet resident, hair enthusiast, all round lovely bloke. People don’t know Luke like I know Luke, he’s a good friend. Beyond the well renowned bits that people would want to hear about. We don’t have that kind of relationship. Only in joking, but it’s like I know that I could trust Luke, were like brothers. It’s a nice way to go. It’s not like; ‘oh did you play this dope party last night?’ ‘Yeah man and I rocked it’. We don’t do that, if he sends something and I play something I would say yeah you know it went down well, and then it’s off. Our relationship is not based in the DJ world or music industry apart from this thing we do together which is Classic and a shared love of music. But Lukes ace in general.

Luke Solomon: This is my friend Derrick Carter. He once rescued me from a toilet; I was asleep on the floor after being put there by Derrick in the first place. We both share a fondness for alcohol, not to advertise it, but it I kind of am because it was maybe the foundation of our relationship. From that point on we discovered that we liked different kinds of music, unusual music, things that not everyone liked and our relationship grew from that and we became good buddies. I think I’m one of the few people that can tell Derrick how it is. I think I get a bit of respect from Derrick because of that, because people can be a little scared of Derrick sometimes.

Derrick: little old me??

Luke: Derrick is…That’s all I need to say about Derrick.

You were talking about how you liked records not everybody else liked. Was this the catalyst for you two guys to get together and start the label?

Derrick: Na, I think we were drunk and came up with some brilliant ideas which we do. Then the ideas got legs in the form of an old friend who decided to put together a distribution company exclusively to distribute our drunken ideas and that’s where it started. It wasn’t like we had this crazy plan for domination or anything like that, we just came up with some stuff and found somebody who was gullible enough to believe it and it turned into something by sheer force of our personalities and our will to see something happen, also the good will and kindness of strangers and then some of our friends who got on board and brought us really good music.

Luke: I remember in like 1995 before we had the record label, we went and toured it. We were trying to come up with a name for the label; we were driving past a sign and they were advertising those McVities Classic Chocolates and thought ‘that’s a good name for the label’. Born out of what Derrick was saying, being hung-over after parties and being idiots. I remember going and breaking the news to our gullible friends who had a distribution company. I remember getting a phone call from Ralph Lawson saying ‘are you sure you want to call your label classic…that’s a lot to live up to??’ Everyone was voicing concerns saying ’it’s a big name to live up to’.

Derrick: I do remember sitting in the upstairs room in a house, mine after a while, sharing with Luke at the time in Barnet. I even had a Barnet library card along with late fees of about 800 quid for an Earth Wind & Fire CD. The downstairs was the office / music room, I was sitting there trying to write the first statement of what we were trying to do or be. For me it took shape as I started thinking about it and thinking that this could be really cool. Luke had worked at labels and we had both had our own. We kind of brought our collective knowledge in and decided and lucked into a situation that allowed us to be as personable as we are in our real lives but into a music context because I think a lot of times in a music context people want to force you into something that fits into a convenient or easily marketed or nice tidy package, whereas neither one of us are anything like that. I am not convenient, not easily marketed, none of that.

Luke: That was a common bond between us. To be so contradictory to anything that any one ever tells us or wants us to do, we just do the opposite.

It sounds like you two have got some punk rock in you?

Derrick: I guess but I think I’m more a brat. I’m more of a spoilt brat that is just kind of NO!… ok maybe

Luke: Not being told what to do, I’ve never liked being told what to do ever. Even now.

Derrick: Neither have I. And that’s the thing, music; it was kind of getting stale. Music as a business is stale anyway so us being able to do what we wanted to do was a good thing.

What was it exactly about this statement that you put together, about the label. What is the philosophy for Classic? Back then and Now?

Luke: I don’t think we set out to have one but it kind of grew with us. With Classic the first ten releases were a real defining step, we started to realise what was going on. We had Seasons the first compilation and Derrick had written some notes about it and what it had become. Then the music started happening and the things like the Matthew Herbert record, DJ Sneak record and Chris Nazuka record came in. Then all of a sudden there was something happening that we were excited about. And the philosophy just kind of happened.

Why did you choose those people?

Derrick: It wasn’t like we wanted to put out a DJ Sneak record or like we had a laundry list. It was people we knew and hung out and associated with. Like Mathew used to come down to Bar Rhumba when Luke and Kenny were doing Space parties on a Wednesday. That created this pool of talent and fun and excitement and help to crystallise a lot of relationships just because you’re there and you’re being silly and wild and you could get away with murder, maybe not everybody else could but we could. I would like steal a case of beer, and they would just say put it back with no police or anything. They would just say ‘Derrick put it back’.

Luke: It was wild and I think that was a real melting pot. Everything that we did, we were living together, we hung out, Wednesday was pre empting the excitement of going out. The music was kind of important at Bar Rhumba as it was kind of a big thing. It was a real testing ground for both of us. The first time I heard ‘You Can’t Hide From Your Bud’, first time I heard any single Classic record at that period of time was in that club. Whether it was played by Derrick, me, or Kenny Hawkes. Before playing we were like check this out or play this or give us an acetate. Then the excitement happened out of that.

Derrick: That was an awesome room to test things in. It was an honest litmus of the time in terms of the people we met there and the ability to work that room around and the things we were trying out. We would get stuff cut at Whitfield Street around the corner. Just have an acetate that evening and try it out and think man this is good.

Luke: I remember ‘You Can’t Hide From Your Bud’ it was one of those, Derrick played it to me when we were at their house and I was like ‘this is mad’. It was one of those records quite rare these days were you hear it out and you see what it does to people, just destroys people. That was a really exciting time, which was the time when we thought this could be a proper record label.

I think our philosophy for Classic has never been about us trying to hunt down the next cool thing. That’s kind of what exists around music now. Everything is definitive, the sound of a record label or saying that we can’t put something out because it’s not something we would put out. Me and Derrick have such a broad taste in dance music. Even though we’re known for playing what we play or doing what we do. I appreciate what Derrick plays but I can’t play what Derrick plays. I think that’s the point were we met in the middle like there was somewhere were Derrick had his thing I had mine and there was a point in the middle. Like in school where you have two circles and there’s the bit in the middle that overlap…

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