Edge

Silicon Scally says Miami’s ‘heart of electro land’

Accent writer Mauricio Vieira squeezed into a packed Two Last Shoes last Friday for the latest version of FM. The night had a full line-up of electronic talent. Local IDM artists Romulo Del Castillo and Joshua Kay brought back their soulful work as Soul Oddity, of Astralwerks label caliber (Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers). Headlining was English electronic artist Carl Finlow; a.k.a. Silicon Scally, bringing his entire set of equipment-an itsy-bitsy Apple iBook. His hour-long set grooved the house with quirky and utterly original Miami bass, made in the U.K.
Miami Hurricane: First of all, how do you define your music? The revved up beats are not accessible to everyone, it’s clear, but after the fifth selection people were demonstrably digging it, especially with the addition of melodic elements.
Silicon Scally: I find it hard to label my music, but thoughtful electro would do. The live set was put together using nearly all new tracks that nobody has heard. I wanted to ease the Miami crowd into my sound, starting slower and very melodic, and gradually move into the more rhythmic stuff and ending in a mixture of both so that the set had a flow and a purpose.
MH: How did you begin to get involved in this type of thing?
SS: I got involved in the music ‘industry’ in 1990. I was a bedroom musician, and started hooking up with local djs and clubs etc. One thing led to another and more and more records came along. I started a house label, too, with my friend and dj Ralph Lawson. Our label 2020 Vision has been going for some five to six years and we’ve had about 75 12″ out and several albums. This output has given me a decent amount of notoriety around the globe and has also helped to get my electro noticed too.
MH: Where do you want to take your music?
SS: I’m always expanding my music. Of late I’ve been entering female vocals into the equation, and see this as being an exciting development, as well as a sexy one! But overall, I’m heading down a very digital path; I’ve sold all my studio equipment and now just use an Apple iBook.
MH: Who did you listen to when you first got involved?
SS: My first contact with ‘dance music’ came in 1989. I’m from a small town and it had no ‘scene’. I came to a study in Leeds, in northern England, and from here started to hear stuff in nightclubs etc. These were my first tastes of house, techno and so on.
MH: What do you listen to now?
SS: I couldn’t tell you names and still can’t! I’ve not got a record player, I don’t buy records and I rarely listen to them. It sounds a bit strange I suppose being as though that’s how I make my living, but I just prefer to make my own stuff and don’t really pay much attention to what goes on around me- I’m trying to do my own thing and keep it original.
MH: What did you think about the crowd in Miami?
SS: The gig in Miami was so special for me. Of all the electro gigs I’ve ever played, this one meant the most to me. I was in the heart of electro land! And I could REALLY feel it- I won’t ever forget that night- thank you Miami Bass crew!
MH: How is the scene in the U.K. currently?
SS: The scene in the U.K. is very small I think, nothing like Miami. My music is very much a niche market. My house music has a much wider audience though and as such, that pays my bills.
MH: What is your method of composing? Can you list a few things you use in terms of equipment?
SS: My method of composing is quite simple. I sit at my laptop and use Cubase VST5. Within this program I can use all manner of virtual synths, drums and FX processors. I normally start by making some beats using NI Battery, then I’ll gradually layer more and more synth elements using plugs like NI Absynth, PRO52, PPG, Waldorf Attack and a vast range of FX plugs. Once I feel I have enough elements, I’ll build them all into an arrangement, then master it down straight to CD within the laptop. I’m totally digital these days. I used to have a full 32 track studio full of gear, but now it’s just me and the ibook (thank God for apple).
MH: Did you ever have any problems with the setup you have, namely the iBook crashing, putting you in a tight situation?
SS: Solid as a rock so far…I know its limits and never abuse it; the show has to go on. There is nothing worse than a club full of paid up punters watching someone’s rig spin out before their eyes- they didn’t pay to see me clown about with wires and a torch; I want maximum stability.
MH: What were your worst and best performances and why?
SS: Worst performance was in the early 90’s with an indie band I was in. They got me into the band to make it a bit more dancey, but to be honest, they couldn’t cut it and played very badly to my computer tracks. On our final fateful gig, it sounded rubbish, and the whole club started booing and shouting “What a waste of money!”- and they were dead right too! Best gig… There have been a load that I’ve loved. As I mentioned, the Miami gig was super cool. There have been many European gigs too that I’ve really loved. The house gigs in our local town with all our local fans are always great too, they all know the tracks and they’re all personal friends so the vibe is sweet.
MH: When are you coming back to Miami?
SS: I’d come back to Miami tomorrow if I could. Everyone I met was super cool. I’d especially like to say a big thanks to Chris St. Cavish from Mass Transit who got me out there for the gig, to Rom from Soul Oddity for putting me up at his crib and showing me round, and to Alpha 606 for the best laugh I’ve had in ages! There are too many people to list really, but to all that I met- A BIG THANK YOU!
Two Last Shoes is located at 2826 N. Miami Ave., tel. 305-438-0810.

January 22, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.