When you live in a city packed with talented artists who are unaware of the other musicians creating in the same genre, what do you do? The answer for dBs Alumni Chris Rich couldn’t have been simpler: bring them all together.
The city of Plymouth has a long history in the dance music world, going back to the early days of acid house, techno and rave music. Culturally, the city has always been one of the UK’s strongholds for underground genres with a thriving scene including countless DJs and producers.
Historically the dance culture had always been underpinned by the amazing venues like the Warehouse, Dance Academy, Candy Store, C103 and the Hub. Alongside dBs Music in Plymouth these amazing spaces were a melting pot bringing people and ideas together and connecting like-minded musicians and enthusiasts. Over time though, following a nationwide trend, many of Plymouth’s treasured venues closed, leaving a social vacuum for the dance music community in the city.
Over time, the damage has started to repair with promoters becoming more innovative with the spaces they use for events, bringing people together again and causing a resurgence in genres like house and drum and bass.
Other styles like underground techno, hard dance and psychedelic trance are still massively popular with music producers and DJs but lack the regular events enjoyed by fans of other genres. The result has been a splintered scene with artists operating in their own social bubbles, often unaware of others writing similar music.
dBs Alumni Chris Rich, who studied Electronic Music Production at our Plymouth campus, has been a stalwart of both the underground techno and psy-trance communities for over a decade in the area. With his work under various aliases collaborating with people in different circles, he spotted the trend and decided to take action to bring underground techno artists in Plymouth back together again.
What inspired the 1928 project?
"The initial idea was to showcase the talent Plymouth has to offer production wise starting with a three track EP featuring collaborations with local producers, including some fellow dBs Music Alumni. Shortly after it's inception I knew I had the opportunity for it to do so much more by connecting multiple artists in the community through a bigger music project"
With so many genres available what made you choose techno?
"There are a few reasons for this choice. Primarily the fact that there are so many awesome producers that I really wanted to connect and ignite a fresh buzz around. The city's techno scene really is filled with absolute legends. Secondly I find with techno I can be more experimental production-wise, I don't like to be confined to any sub genre, and I want the same for the label Digital Mind. Also with the current situation we're in, it seemed the right time to come together and do something new."
With certain social restrictions in place how did the album come together collaboratively?
"I worked in the project with my partner Steph and close friend Jamie Jordan who also manage Digital Mind with me. We gathered all of the contributing artists in to a Facebook group where we provided updates on everything, communicated with each other, shared ideas, snippets of tracks, discussed production techniques, set deadlines etc. The Facebook group was our main tool and became a hive of communication. Through the group, artists made more personal connections with each other where they swapped contact details as well. It really grew from there.
In the group we all put in ideas on the album title, artwork and everything else involved, it was a real team effort. We got our good friend Al Shanka at Deep Beat Audio, and manager of Bom Shanka Music to master the album, which - as always - he did an awesome job of. The final stage was finding a distributor. We went with Beatrising, as advised by some of my friends that run other labels around the world. They take a fee from your royalties, but they distribute your music to every platform and provide constant support and statistics."