INTERVIEW | Tom Flynn
With Tom Flynn on the rise producing seriously funky house and releasing with the the labels Hot Creations, Dirtybird and Circus Recordings, we were thrilled to get the chance to get more background on his musical outlet. With his weekly radio show Night at the Black, Flynn’s following continues to grow world wide.
Prior to DJing, what were you up to?
I was spending time locked in the studio or in record shops hunting out music.
How has being from Birmingham shaped your taste in music?
I guess it has shaped it in some ways, but I’ve never thought much about it. I try and listen to as much music as possible from all over the world. If anything, internet radio shaped my listening when I was about 14. There used to be a website called DJ central, it had all these mixes from people across the world, I used to listen to people from japan playing all these great records, that really opened my ears to a lot.
Your first gig was a New Years Eve party with friends when you were sixteen. What could we have found on your playlist back then?
Ah yes I remember it well. It would’ve been mainly house, gypsymen – babarabatiri, Danny Tenaglia, sasha and Emerson, half of the strictly rhythm catalog. Records like that.
You’ve spoken before about trusting your ear versus using key identifying software, as well as the beauty of beatmatching over syncing. Do you think that technology has take some of the character out of DJ sets?
It’s taken the risk away. Before, if a record really slipped and you lost the mix then that was that. This is where I stand on this issue, I use traktor with 2 X1 controllers, but I don’t sync, I beat match. I’ve found a really good way of beat matching on traktor, I can speed the tempo of the deck up or down by ‘bending’ the deck, just like you would on a CDJ or turntable. I do this because, one, when the 2 tracks aren’t perfectly synced you get this groove and funk in the mix, and two, because when I tried syncing it felt like it had no vibe in the mix. It was too perfect. What I would say is, if you want to mix 3 or 4 decks together, and blend those in and out, then syncing is very good for that. It makes sense. You can be really creative like that. It makes me laugh how people mixing on CDJ’s try and claim this holier than thou attitude that they’re beat matching. Music today is all made in digital sequencers, so the tracks don’t drift like some of the vinyl records used to. All you do on a CDJ is look at the tempo of the one deck, then match the other deck to it, then press play. That’s basically syncing.
Night At The Black is your weekly radio show. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yeah it’s just an outlet for me to play all the music I want. Sometimes I play disco, funk, house, techno. Whatever I want. I collect a lot of music and I think a weekly radio show is good for me to share this music.
You still enjoy shopping for vinyl. What have been the most recent additions to your collection?
I love it! I just bought an old garage house record called getto kings and a queen – I need you (m-dubs mixes). It’s superb. From about 98. I also just hinted out an old shelter record from NYC. I’m always buying vinyl, the sound is better, the artwork intrigues me and I like collecting, old or new.
Between Hot Creations, Mobilee, Circus, and dirtybird, you’ve had releases on arguably some of the best modern labels around. How has it been knowing that your music is so widely appreciated by both fans and fellow artists alike?
It’s great, someone the other day said to me there’s not many people who can release so diverse as me. Music is just music to me, weather it’s techno or chill out. Too many people are bothered and scared by pigeon holes today. They’re all like ‘oh this is a deep tech house record’. No, it’s not. It’s music. Is it a dance record? Sure. End of.
Most underrated track of 2014?
Wow. Hard question. It’s not a track from 2014, but one of the most under rated tracks for me is traffic signs – the big fake. I’ve been playing that for years now. It’s an absolute smash!!! Honestly, I’ve seen people loose their minds to it. If you play it at the right time it spanks the dancefloor.
You’re about to head stateside for a run of gigs in San Diego, LA and New York. Your latest track on Hot Creations, Take Me Down, is also about to be released digitally. What else do you have on your plate at the moment? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Yeah, I’m also heading to chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Boston and Seattle.
I’ve got my next hot creations EP being wrapped up right now. Really really happy with it. There’s a track I’ve got coming out on Steve bugs poker flat label as part of their 20th anniversary. I’ve a remix coming for Mihalis safras which has been going great, and I’m just wrapping up an EP on defected too.