2016 – My Best Bits

Written by Grant Richards on. Posted in Blog

It’s pretty fair to say that 2016 isn’t going to go down as a classic, or if it does it’s for the wrong reasons: Brexit, Trump and the unfortunate passing of many iconic musicians.
To look at the positives on a personal tip, I’ve enjoyed interviewing individuals that I’ve respected and looked up to for years and enjoyed some interesting opportunities with Deeptrak, the production team I’m part of.

What does 2017 hold? Gawd knows but it’s surely gotta be a better one than last year so onwards and upwards…….

Top Ten House Tracks

TIEKS – Sunshine
Full crossover, happiness vibes ahoy. This tune just puts a smile on my face & yeah OK it initially came out last year but it’s given me sunshine through 2016 .

KDA feat. Tinashe – Just Say
Just Say is only KDAs 2nd original track and doesn’t seem to have had the same impact as Rumble, but that shouldn’t detract away from how good the track actually is.

Rudimental – Healing
Not sure what the deal with this track was? It came through originally as an unknown promo and you’d never guess it was a Rudimental track if you heard it didn’t know, which makes it all the more interesting to me.

The Chemical Brothers – Sometimes I Feel So Deserted (Skream Mix)
Skream can put his hand to creating a real variety of different sounds and for that I tip my hat. This Chems remix is epic as you like.

Duke Dumont – Be Here
I admire how DD can straddle the chart fodder and club cuts effortlessly and Be Here sounds quite reminiscent of old Kim English cuts on Nervous back in the 90s.

Sonny Fodera feat. Janai – You & I
A stand out cut from an awesome album. A wonderful intro that lures you in, ready to smack you round the chops when the beat drops.

Marquis Hawkes feat. Jocelyn Brown – I’m So Glad (Paul Woolford Mix)
Paul used a similar piano riff in his Nimmo remix this year but it works so much better on this remix with Jocelyn Brown’s topline and pulsating bassline.

Fono – Feet On The Ground (Got Some Stomper Mix)
Got Some got the right idea calling this mix a stomper! The marching band drum rolls give plenty of energy to a track that has plenty in its OG guise anyway.

Infinity Ink feat. Yasmin – How Do I Love You
This is just a beautiful, poignant piece of music. I always thought it would come with a raft of remixes but as yet there have only been a couple, either way it’s fine in its original form.

Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell (Shadow Child Dub Mix)
You’d find it hard to even really find Dua Lipa under this fantastic glitch twisted dub remix from Shadow Child. There is a vocal mix but this dub mix is where it’s at.

Best DJ Gig

I may well have got a random grapevine dance going at my Kinky Malinki set at Ocean Beach in Ibiza, my fav gig was something else. Now I’ve never really been big on back to back gigs unless it was with someone I know and trust musically, as it can often be a musical mess for the clubbers, but with Deeptrak moving in the right direction Tony and I came together to actually DJ as Deeptrak a few times this year. My most enjoyable gig of the year was with Tony at Circuit (which is now Sankeys East) and he was jamming along playing some popular riffs over our set.

Favourite Interview
I’ve had some frank and honest interviews this year (along with those can’t be arsed ones you get from time to time) and some of those have been with idols, like Roger Sanchez but my favourite had to be sitting down with Defected big boss man Simon Dunmore. To discuss the thoughts and business acumen behind such an iconic label was an honour even if I was shitting my pants a little bit at the start.
Simon Dunmore Interview

Best Party

El Row / Nightowl – Space Ibiza
Even though it was a struggle to get a proper groove on in the main room at Space due to how busy it was, there was a great atmosphere across the club, as there always is at El Row events and to top it off good pals Nightowl were hosting a room and I was also able to witness Dominic Longley play at Space , which is a long way from him learning to DJ in my flat every Monday a few years back. A poignant evening and even more so as it was the last time I’d step inside the legendary club that is Space.

Best House Album

Sonny Fodera – Frequently Flying
There have been some fine house efforts this year with Eli Escobar, Justin Martin, Soul Clap, Mr Oizo but Sonny Fodera has the most well rounded album of 2016 to me.

Best Remix

Alyss – The Talking Palm Tree (T. Williams Mix)
Have a listen to the original version, then take a listen to T. Williams massively slept on remix. Now you’ll realise why I’ve picked this as my fav remix of the year. Heavyweight business
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Top Ten Non-House Tracks

Fatima Yamaha – Love Invaders
From the minute I heard this I was in(vader) love. It’s basically a slice of modern lo fi boogie. I squeezed in a few sets over the year too with the pitch set to warp speed.

Maggie Rogers – Alaska
I found out about this artists from the video with Pharell (below) who caught dem feels from this track. As did I.

Sampha – Blood On Me
I can give you a fact here, Sampha has never featured on a duff track, EVER. How’d you like those apples?

Adibanti – Pearls
Basically a modern slice of subtle UKG, one that would definite be a tune for the ‘gyal dem’ if the radio MC was introducing it.

Whilk & Misky – All By Myself (Mall Grab Mix)
Them slowed down rave broken beats have me all weak at the knees, or kneak at the wees? See what I did there?

Rag & Bone Man – Human
One of those artists who’s voice doesn’t match up to what you think they look like, but you know what? Who cares what he looks like? Just check that voice out.

Children Of Zeus – Still Standing (Lenzman Mix)
If this didn’t come out in 2016 don’t cuss me as I only found it this year and it’s a D&B slice of beauty.

Mura Masa – What If I Go?
TBH I could listen any Mura Masa track. What a talent but I really dig the sweet vocal and twisted drum programming.

ROMANS – Pacify
I seem to have slept on this guy but Roc Nation obviously haven’t as that’s who he’s signed to. An artists that does the lot.

Folly Rae – Hard To Love
Sounding a bit like Delilah, which is never an issue to me, with skittering beats & a pop tinged vocal this track isn’t hard to love at all.

Best Non-House Album

Avalanches – Wildflower
Spotify suggests that I’ve listened to this album the most this year and for good reason. Carrying on seamlessly from where their debut album left off all those years ago.

Best Twitter Follow
The account that has given me the most joy this year has to be @jeansandsheaux so simple but so effective. Picture after picture of terrible jeans and shoe combos. Check it, you won’t regret it.

Guilty Pleasure

I don’t think Bruno Mars comes in to this category any more, does he? If he does it would be him but I think 24K Gold is just a great piece of throwback infused music that everyone should enjoy, thus not making it a guilty pleasure. So I’ll go with me enjoying the duet of Robbie Williams and Emma Bunton singing Spice Girls ‘2 Become 1’ for some Christmas Charity bash.

Proudest Achievement
This year’s proudest achievement came about by fluke really, but fluke or not, I stuck together 30 odd seconds of our Deeptrak remix of B15 Project’s classic ‘Girls Like Us’ over a couple of kids dancing like crazy and 6 months later that video clip has been watched close to 2.9 million times and has helped Deeptrak get that remix signed to Armada Music.

Best Concert

Allen Stone @ The Scala
I’d seen Allen before at the more intimate Village Underground and been blown away, so I was expecting great things. I was not left disappointed. He really is the most engaging artist I have ever seen and I’ve seen a hell of a lot of acts from the greats like Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones to new kids on the block like Ed Sheeran. A lot of people in the UK hardly know who he is but watch this and you’ll get an idea on how great he is…..

Best Film

One thing 2016 has been good for is movies, or I think so anyway from epics like Tarantino’s Hateful Eight to DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar in The Revenant. I also loved Deadpool and was fan boying out to the latest Star Wars instalment Rogue One but my fav film of the year is something that has possibly passed most of you by and it’s a New Zealand poignant comedy flick called Hunt For The Wilderpeople. It has laughs, Sam Neil and an underpinning story that’s rather endearing. If you get a chance, watch it, you won’t regret it.

Fav Kicks

2016 was the year of the NMD and Adidas continuing to bully Nike in ways I’ve never seen before, mainly with the help of everyone’s fav headline demanding rapper: Kanye West. My fav drop had to be the re-re-release of the Air Zoom Spiridon and this time around the Hypebeast/Resellers were on full alert so I’ve not managed to pick more up yet.

Tips For The Future

On a house tip I think I’m going to go with FONO I’ve heard an album sampler (or it may have just been an EP?) but every cut was of a superior level and it’s really only a matter of time before he reaches that next level up where Disclosure sit comfortably.

On a pop tip I’m gonna go with Rag & Bone Man, I’ve been catching up on his older material after catching him on Jools Holland and he is one talented guy with a great voice.

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