An interview with Alf Bamford aka Technikal
19th June 2008 - interview copyright of Frenzy
Technikal is one of the most respected and talented producers in hard dance. In this interview he tells us about his embarassing moments, a love of hardcore, and Desperate Housewives in advance of Frenzy's Hard Summer Ball 2008 on the 18th of July.
1. Hi Alf, could you give us the traditional Frenzy welcome and tell us your age, current location, current album you’re listening to, fave TV programme, and of course what you wanted to be when you grew up?
I'm twenty one years young, I've recently moved to Southampton from London, and am currently listening to Darren Styles' "Skydivin" album. My favourite TV program is "Desperate Housewives"... yes yes I know! I got heavily into it a few years ago and watch it religiously. As a kid I had no idea what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to work with computers so at least I got that one spot on!
2. You were producing from a very young age, apparently just 13. I guess it was probably quite hard for you to get into clubs at that age so I was interested to know how and when it was you first heard one of your productions in a club and what that was like?
I must say it was one of the most amazing moments of my life! I remember it vividly. It was a Saturday and I'd just had Spencer Freeland from Heat down at my house working on some music. He asked me if I wanted to go to Camden Palace's final curtain Heat event that night. I was reluctant at first because I was only seventeen and hardly looked a convincing eighteen!
I decided to go for it, and we walked straight in - Spencer you legend!. Walking into Camden Palace I was absolutely blown away by the scope of the venue, the loudness of the music, and the quality of the lazers and lights.
Of course the thing that grabbed my attention most was that the DJ Marc French who was smashing out my remix of "Destination Sunshine" to a packed Palace. Goosebumps moment! I think I heard about four more of my tracks that night and it started to dawn on me that my music that I made in my mum's house was starting to rock dancefloors over the UK - it took me a while to get my head around that one.
3. You’ve won a lot of admiration in a very short space of time and have received many accolades such as being shortlisted at the Hard Dance Awards. How have winning awards helped to progress your dance music career?
I've never won first place at a Hard Dance Awards but have managed to pick up runner up in best producer and best remixer three years in a trot, which is still a great achievement for me. I don't tend to look at the awards as trophies though, I tend to let my music do most of the talking. Saying that it would be great to pick up one of the above accolades next year!
4. Within the hard dance scene you’ve ticked most boxes of who producers would want to work with including Lisa Lashes, BK, Rob Tissera, and Nick Sentience. Is there anyone in the scene or outside of it you would still like to work for and why?
The past two months I've been working on my album which is a collaboration project where I'm working with eightenn of the biggest producers in hard dance so any producers left that I wanted to work with I have ticked off for this album!
We've nailed some great tracks so far, and in fact I finished one today with Rodi Style which is absolutely filthy! I've never worked with Andy Farley, Matt Lee (Gammer), Hixxy or Anne Savage - these guys are all doing tracks with me for the project too.
Outside of hard dance, I would love to do tracks with Darren Styles in hardcore and also something with Eskimo as I think he has such a unique, fresh approach to the psy and hard dance sound.
5. As a full time producer of music, how has the decline in vinyl affected you? Recently Tidy Trax have announced that they’re stopping vinyl releases and purely going down the CD and MP3 route. Does that impact on your potential career?
I remember a few years ago when I used to work pretty much exclusively for a vinyl label called Alphamagic. They went into liquidation and I remember thinking this was the end for my full time music hobby! This for me was the beginning for the decline of vinyl, so it's not really a new thing to me.
These days I don't write music to make money as music simply isn't a big enough selling product anymore. Kids have grown up in the age of Napster, Audiogalaxy and Limewire and just don't understand that music.
However, this has created a real shift, where DJ'ing and production now go hand in hand. Nothing is more exciting than hearing your favourite DJ drop their brand new track, and this is what I aim for!
I make music now to make my DJ sets as fresh, exciting, and as original as they can possibly be. If you look at it in that way, it has had a really positive impact on my DJ career, and made me really think in a DJ perspective when writing music in my studio.
6. Surprise us and tell us something about Alf Bamford that we wouldn’t normally know? Perhaps an embarrassing and guilty secret, or maybe something from your past that you wouldn’t want your mum to hear about.
I used to be a complete mummy's boy and used to suffer total homesickness up until the age of about twelve! I remember one time going for a five day school trip and having to get my mum to pick me up about three days in because I couldn't hack it. My mates never let me live it down! I got over it overnight somehow thank god.
7. A few years ago there was the Internet rumour that you were in fact the kid from the Frosties’ ads. Subsequently there’s now a new rumour that he is in fact dead so that one’s been disproved. Back in the day though, did you ride off the back of his fame or did you do anything to try and destroy the myth?
Haha! To tell you the honest truth, I opened my sets at Slinky and Creamfields 2006 a few years ago with that bloody song off the advert! Obviously I'd remixed it into something after the chorus but I think I found it a lot funnier than the pissed off clubbers at the front row.
I was lucky to get out of Creamfields alive to be fair, that CD's one for the bin! So yeah I suppose I did try and ride his fame but look where that got him.
8. Given the current political climate of rising oil prices and falling property prices what would you do if you were the Prime Minister just for one day?
To be honest this country is getting worse and worse by the minute and is a complete joke. I wouldn't make my worst enemy the prime minister for the day, so to be honest if you put me in them shoes I'd be finding the nearest shooter and popping a cap in my ass.
All I know is the problems are getting far too out of control to be even remotely salvagable and the longer we leave Brown and his clowns in control, the longer it'll take to fix. Great Britain. Sort it out.
9. How would you describe the Technikal sound? You have a few aliases so could you tell us what they all mean and what type of tracks are released with each one?
The Technikal sound is all about dancefloor friendly, cutting-edge, hard dance music. It mostly delves into the euphoric side, but I've been known to mix it up a bit! I'm a sucker for a beautiful breakdown so you'll hear lots of blissed out sounds usually followed up by shedloads of energy. I like to keep my music fun and innovative.
I also write hardcore under the name Technikore, which is basically how I'd interpret the Technikal sound but at 170BPM! I really do love writing hardcore, as much as I enjoy listening to it!
I've also been doing some electro-house under the name Geno Raymond (which is my middle name), and some commercial dance stuff as Elemental. I don't really use many other aliases these days as I've been focusing my efforts into the Technikal name.
10. We usually let our DJs plug their up and coming productions and news, so is there anything that you’d like to tell the Frenzy massive about that you have planned for the rest of 2008?
Keep a beady eye out for my aforementioned album (we're still debating the name of the project but it should be confirmed soon).
Another exciting release for me is my name track with MC Whizzkid - named "Music For A Harder Generation" which has just been signed to Tidy Trax. It's my first solo Tidy signing since 'N2O' and it's due out on their new CD single format so I'm looking forward to this one! It's done in the 'Supersonic' style of sound, but without the big piano riffs and just pure twisted euphoric goodness!
Also due soon is the remix release of mine and Steve Hill's track 'Impulz', which has new remixes from the legendary S.H.O.K.K. and also a new UK hard trance remix from me and Steve!
11. And finally, what can Frenzy and Bournemouth expect from you on July the 18th when you DJ for us at the Hard Summer Ball 2008?
You can expect to hear some brand new snippets from my forthcoming album, some new remixes I've finished and also some brand new original records. Splice that up with some of my classic sounds and marry it to a big friendly huggy bear and we'll be somewhere close! See you, as they say, on the dancefloor.
Alf Bamford aka Technikal be appearing for Frenzy with Tom Parr and more on Friday the 18th of July when we hold Bournemouth's Hard Summer Ball 2008 at Dusk Till Dawn nightclub. Check out our forthcoming hard dance events for more details.