Hailing from London and Toronto respectively, the international DJ/production duo Samy Nicks & Rekwest took the drum and bass world by storm in the late 2000’s, carving a niche for themselves with a run of bold releases on imprints such as Jaydan’s Smokin’ Riddims, Multi Function, Direct Recordings, and Tyke’s Holographic Audio.
Now 10 years down the line they have just released a collection of their biggest tunes. We spoke to Samy Nicks aka Glitch City to find more…
The album just dropped last week, what made you want to revisit your back catalogue?
We recorded so many tracks over the last decade that never saw the light of day. Considering the time and effort we put into it, I refused to let the music die away on my hard drive without pulling together the best pieces for a finale. We owe it to the listeners who supported us on our journey, and it acts as a sense of closure for me too. Last year, I put out a release on my Amusement Audio label as ‘Glitch City ft Rekwest’ which confused things because the whole point of rebranding was to start my own solo venture.
Rekwest and I were still, occasionally, writing music but I was using my new alias which didn’t make sense. So I had to draw the line and distinguish between what I was doing as a solo artist and what I was doing under my previous alias. That’s when I decided to sign off Samy Nicks & Rekwest with an album.
The 14 tracks we wrote for the album literally spanned across the last decade, hence the album title, and we finished the closing track ‘Bittersweet’ in June, last year. With Rekwest now living in Canada, the time difference and commitments don’t make it viable to write and perform music together.
Do you have a favourite track that triggers a particular memory? Perhaps a story from the studio, about how it was signed, or playing it in a set?
Most tracks I write have a reason / memory behind them. I write music to convey my emotion at that moment in time. So in a sense, writing music is my way of release therapy lol. If I’m happy I’ll write upbeat dancefloor sounds. If I’m low I’ll create something deeper etc. You’ll hear that in the variety of the album.
I’d say ‘Dear Diary’ was the most memorable. Ahead of a Belgium gig, we jumped in the studio and wanted to capture that signature jump up sound of ours, especially when that style was really taking off over there. So, prior to the gig we thought we’d record our own dialogue for the intro (…after a few drinks). At that time, the sub-genre ‘Drum step’ came about, so we thought we’d outdo ourselves by fusing it with the standard DnB drum pattern whilst creating a little story behind it.
Hearing ‘Shells’ & ‘Underworld’ getting dropped by Tyke at Fabric was memorable too. Fabric has always been our favourite hangout which in recent years I had the chance to perform at on several occasions! Hopefully when things open back up I’d love to return.
“Oh, Wow” was written just before I went on tour with DJ SS and the WODNB crew in 2018, so that track was meaningful too, I outro’d every set with it across the states and it went down really well. That in itself was an amazing experience and I have Nick & Leroy to thank for that!
How did you decide which 14 cuts made the cut onto this compilation?
So, Rekwest and I totalled nearly 100 tracks between us. Looking back at everything we wrote, I planned to sell some of the music via the trending idea of USB sticks. I launched the first edition earlier this year. After some thought, especially with the stronger tracks, I felt that we should condense it down and release an official album with the best of what we had written. As mentioned above, a lot of the final cuts were gauged on recognition, support and our personal memories of them.
We love the artwork featuring sleeves from all your releases together! How involved are you with the design side of things? Do you have a lot of input or just leave it to your graphic designer?
Originally, the caricatures were designed by my mate Guy Pittard who does the branding and designing for Chase & Status, Annie Mac and Jax Jones. We’ve used those since the beginning, and I felt they needed to be at the forefront of the album cover. I’ve been working with Suzie Mason on the artwork for this and she did an amazing job handling all my specifics and creating the vision I had for the final piece. It’s the perfect fusion of retro vs digital, blending the old with the new.
Initially, I was going to press a sampler EP of the album to vinyl but my back pocket wasn’t able to afford that. No rush though, I may decide it’s worth pressing a few in the future. I also want to praise Andrew Sappo for the help with mastering the album as he did a top job getting them balanced. It wasn’t easy levelling tracks, especially as neither me or Tom had the original projects for some of the earlier ones.
What’s next for Samy Nicks & Rekwest?
There’s not much more to expect from us as a duo – that ship has sailed. That being said, if we do hook up and write the odd track together, we’ll let you know 😉
How about your Glitch City alias? Anything fresh incoming?
Yeah definitely that’s my sole output now – I’ve been holding back until this whole lock down situation is over. It’s given me time to craft loads of new and diverse music, as well as develop some different sounds and production techniques. I just need to figure out a release schedule, but I’m going to put out a single and an EP on Amusement Audio and I have releases on a couple other big labels too. I’ve also written collabs with some solid artists like Puppetz, Rowney, Raz and my mate Contagion so look out for the new bits, lots to come!