So Craig, you’ve been around for while but you’ve found your biggest success over the past couple of years through your 6th Borough Project work, what happened between you and Graeme (The Revenge) to create such a fresh and unique sound?
Yeah I’ve been djing/producing for about the last 20 years with varying degrees of success but most definately getting back on the rise over the last 2/3 years. With myself and Graeme there’s no grand plan. We’ve known each other for about 10 years, hanging out, doing studio sessions, remixing for each others labels. The 6th Borough Project came about initially as just as outlet for us to make contempary/dj friendly versions of old tracks we like and are influenced by so we could fit them into our dj sets.
We read somewhere that 6th Borough Productions generally start with your box of records. Do you still dig for old records to sample, or is your current output the result of years of buying records stocked up for future 6th Borough treatments?
I’ll always be diggin’ in the crates! First and foremost I’m a collector, been at it proper since I was 14, I’m 43 next month so it’s been a long haul. The djing/producing came as a natural progression from this. When we do a 6th Borough session I’m always sifting thru my collection for inspiration.
Together with Graeme you run your own label Instruments of Rapture, which is quite the talk of the town. How did the label come about and why do you think you’ve had so much success with it?
The label is really Graeme’s baby, it came about initially as an outlet for the edits we had been doing as there seemed to be a demand for it. It taken on a life of it’s own and peeps seem to have faith in the imprint. We’re always looking for new material so anyone please feel free to send your demos;) The next release came about that way. Craig Bratley sent me a track I loved it played on some radio shows/gigs got a great feedback, Graeme loved it, signed it and should be out very soon. It’s a belter!
A big part of the label is your commitment to vinyl, in an era of declining vinyl sales and labels refusing to press releases to wax. What’s the future for vinyl, do you think the disco/edit resurgence can spearhead a revival?
I think that there will always be a specialist vinyl market, however small. It will always hold an appeal with some people because of the physicality of vinyl and the collectability of it. I do feel a little bit of a fraud though because these days I very rarely play vinyl anymore, for practical and other reasons. Still I think we do our bit for keeping vinyl going and the amount I’ve spent on it over the years I think paid my dues
You spent some time as a DJ in Manchester many moons ago, tell us a little bit about that time in your life…
It was in the late 80’s and I would say I was more of a punter than anything else. It was Hacienda on a Friday, Maine Road on sat afternoon then Legends Saturday night…..those were special times!
You’ve appeared in print courtesy of legendary author Irvine Welsh, how did you become his ‘favourite DJ’?
I know Irvine from years ago through mutual friends, before he had success as a writer. He would always be popping up at clubs I’d be djing at. A great writer and a great lad.
Edinburgh seems to be a bit of a hotbed of underground musical output right now, although from afar it always seems to sit in Glasgow’s shadow. Has the city got much to offer in clubbing terms these days?
Edinburgh’s always had that creativity and I’ve never felt that we’ve been in Glasgow’s shadow. I enjoy that they get more press as it leaves us to get on with it without be tagged on some stupid new trend. Club wise right now though Edinburgh’s going through a tough time but there are a signs of recovery with nights like Heavy Gossip etc I think slowly but surely some of the younger crowd are tiring of generic style bars and processed music.
Your night Audio Deluxe has welcomed most of house music’s greats over the years – who’s been the best person you’ve ever played alongside?
Very difficult question, far too many good nights to whittle it down. I’m just lucky that over the years I’ve been able to play with and become friends with some of some of my greatest contemporary influences. It also been refreshing that no matter how big or small the guys are they’re all good people, I think in 15 years plus of promoting our partys there has been only one wanker I can think of, that’s not a bad average in a business that can be full of egos.
As well as your 6th Borough Project output you’re making waves as Soul Renegades with Ricky Reid, how does your approach to Soul Renegades differ to that of 6th Borough Project?
The Soul Renegades with Ricky Reid let’s us express our self in a completely different way to 6th Borough. Like Graeme, Ricky is supremely talented dude but it’s a totally different approach sonically and with studio gear we use but I enjoy that scope. Doing both these projects let’s me explore all sorts of music I enjoy without being pigeonholed, it give me real freedom which is a blessing.
What’s on the horizon for Soul Renegades?
Just steady working on new material, look out for lots of new Soul Renegades material dropping this year.
Your ‘6th Borough Blend’ mixes have become ‘keepers’ at Development HQ the past couple of years – how do you go about planning and putting together those mixes?
The mixes are something I’ve always done its just that now it’s much easier to let people gain access to them now. In the old days of cassettes it was more of a thing for friends, a local thing but now you do a mix put it on Soundcloud and the whole world can listen. We I comes to doing it I never plan anything really, just light up, press record and see what happens!
Which other artists are you feeling right now?
Another question I always have trouble answering! Too many artists old and new that are still hot but I must say all the Ron Basejam stuff in the year or so has grabbed my attention for sure.
You make your Development debut on Friday. What do you know about the party and what can we expect from a Craig Smith DJ set?
I’m really looking forward to playing Devolpment. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the party and can see by the previous line ups for each one that it’s a proper do! I never plan out what I’m gonna play so I’ll just soak up the vibe and take it from there, but whatever it is it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be deep, it’s gonna be soulful!!