- Words Cal McIntyre
Manchester-born and London-based artist TCTS, aka Sam O'Neill, takes us down the pathway of the years that ignited his passion for electronic music in his latest mix for Notion.
TCTS effortlessly blends house, experimentation, techno and splices of pop to create a sound and energy that is entirely his own and is transformative whether it’s on the dancefloor, festival grounds and at an afters.
In 2012, the acclaimed UK producer, artist, remixer, and DJ hit the stratosphere with his prolific track “Like This”. From then onwards, the way TCTS churned out anthem after anthem cemented himself as one of the great tastemakers of UK electronic music. If you’re more of stay at home and chill type of human, then TCTS blesses us with his taste on Kiss FM every Friday night from midnight so you really have no excuse.
The best way to describe the soundscape TCTS has created is the feeling it brings you as if you were experiencing the euphoria and freedom in a rave for the first all over again.
Listen to the eclectic mix on SoundCloud here.
Take us through your mix – who have you included in it and why?
This was such a fun mix to put together, I really wanted to go on a journey through some records that made me want to be a producer and DJ and showcase an era that for me was super formative and exciting. I was a student in Manchester and the local promoters were killing it with who they were bringing to the city. Seeing people like Dark Sky, Deadboy, Mosca, etc at venues like Sankeys and Joshua Brookes week in week out, whilst figuring out production and the type of music I wanted to write. At that point, most of my music discovery was done by following early YouTube music channel pioneers like Hurfyd, Eton Messy, TastyDubz, etc. UK club music was doing really weird and exciting stuff and it was fun to get swept up in.
When did you first start listening to this kind of music?
After people started moving away from dubstep and back towards house type tempos, and there were labels like Hessle Audio, Hemlock, LuckyMe, Aus etc pushing the envelope in what was being played in the clubs. I feel like Joy Orbison’s Hyph Mngo was a real crossover release that blended that future garage / UK bass sound into a more house leaning style… so I guess sometime around then.
When did you start making music?
I have been playing the piano since I was pretty young, and then I started playing the guitar too and knocking around in bands through high school and college, so as I was growing up I was trying to make music in some form or another. It wasn’t until I was at University that I got hold of a copy of logic off a mate and started using YouTube to learn how to produce and write house music.
How has the music you’ve included in this mix shaped your music?
I think one of the things that always drew me into this type of sound, especially the first half of the mix was the melodic element and the musicality. Tracks like ‘Another Girl’ or ‘Butterflies’ are so melodic and that’s always resonated with me. Daphni’s ‘Ye Ye’ is one of my favourite bits of music, I love how driven it is and how moody the bass notes are when they come in. I feel like in some way I channelled that mood when I was making the bass in ‘Not Ready for Love’. Blawans ‘Getting Me Down’ is such a perfect use of a pop sample and putting it in a quite aggressive club record is genius. The second half of the mix goes down a more straight-up house path, from artists like Dusky who were super influential, to Ben Pearce’s ‘What I Might Do’ – which came out on MTA Records who I ended up releasing 2 EPs with.
Who’s your favourite artist in this mix? Why?
Quite hard to choose… Daphni has released so many records that I love, both as Daphni and as Caribou. Same with George Fitzgerald and Dusky. I guess they’re all artists who can get quite moody and melodic as well as clubby, there must be something in that.
Which is your favourite track? Why?
I’ve already talked about Daphni so I’m going to say Jacques Greene ‘Another Girl’. I’ve loved it for years and I always will, it totally sums up that time in music for me – those big fizzy chords, a sample RnB vocal and big analogue drums – an absolute classic.