Perc harnesses toxic energy for ‘Three Tracks To Send To Your Ghost Producer’

By Dan McCarthy

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The record’s gritty industrial sound and provocative title is a self-proclaimed response to the ‘endless wave of rip-offs, rehashes, and re-edits’ of his 2017 album Bitter Music.

In the EPs opening track ‘Toxic NRG’, Perc’s determination to deviate from his plagiarised work becomes clear. It gathers momentum from its trundling rhythmic beginnings, eventually developing and increasing in pace until it morphs into a frantic, industrial floor filler. The track’s ominous and heavily percussive sound displays a progression in Perc’s production style and suggests that he harnessed some personal frustrations during recording. I spoke to him ahead of the EPs release to find out more.

How far was the experience of being ‘ripped-off’ a driving force behind this EP?

Perc: It was definitely one of the driving forces for writing the EP and the direction it took. ‘Look What Your Love Has Done To Me’ was so successful for myself and Perc Trax that it really took me by surprise and introduced me to all the positive and negative consequences that having a minor ‘hit’ brings. Since that track was released there have been many close copies of the track, plus at least 30 unofficial edits and remixes, some of which were just put up on YouTube and Soundcloud, some that have been given away as free downloads and others that have been sold through the usual dance music download stores.

One label signed a track which used a cut up of the main vocal hook, then commissioned three or four additional remixes of the track, fully promoted it to DJs and then sold it as a digital release. They claimed they did not know where the vocal was from and then that the vocal was being sold as part of a sample pack of vocal samples, though they could not provide me with any information of the actual sample pack. All this took a lot of time and mental energy away from pushing my own music and the Perc Trax label forwards.

Musically I wanted this EP to be an attempt to push my music forward rhythmically and sonically, without any big hooks. I wanted it to be more groove based and raw, still sounding like me but also showing the next step forward in my musical journey.

Is the ominous sound of your productions derived from channelling and expressing negative personal experiences?

Perc: My music is definitely influenced and reflects what I have been through in my life, but a lot of that is positive uplifting experiences rather than negative ones. I like to think of my music as energetic and passionate rather than aggressive or violent. I think it is a common misconception that if you write darker music you must have some messed up dark past or a tendency for aggression. Some of the most commercial pop focussed dance music I know was made by people with very shady backgrounds. It is too easy to make these quite connections between the music and the person creating it without fully knowing the facts. Sometimes you are right, but very often you are not.

Why do you think this sound has become synonymous with hedonism and escapism for partygoers?

Perc: People want to think they are engaging with a serious type of music rather than something cheap and disposable. It just feels more ‘real’. Dancing to darker, harder music it can be cathartic but there is also a trend right now for older brighter rave based sounds creeping into the music. I hear less of the really industrial harsh sounds and metallic percussion now than I was hearing a few years ago and more driving acid lines, rave stabs, classic vocal samples and breakbeats.

Where do you most enjoy performing? Are there certain locations where you feel your music is more highly appreciated? 

Perc: Of course, there are some crowds that seem to be more into my music than others. More heads down, losing themselves in the music with less filming on phones and texting friends. Generally, though this cannot be attributed to certain cities or countries, it’s more on a party by party basis.

In Colombia recently there seemed to be a lot of excitement, but this was also the first time I had played in most of the cities there, whereas in some European cities where I have played more times there is not that raw feverish excitement as I arrive in the venue, but my sets are still well appreciated.

In terms of places I like the most it changes all the time, but I feel very at home in the DJ booths of Tresor in Berlin and Corsica Studios in London, mainly because I’ve played in these places frequently, but also because I can rely on the crowds there to be open-minded and enthusiastic about what I do.

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Cover photo via Facebook