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Rephlex has spent two decades of rephreshing the parts other labels cannot reach. Kone-R tracks down co-founder and peerless player-of-tunes Grant Wilson-Claridge
Grant Wilson-Claridge and Richard D James (the Aphex Twin) formed Rephlex in Cornwall back in 1991. Two decades later, following a lengthy period operating out of London town, the label base has returned to its West Country roots — yet it continues to bolster a discography encompassing all things visionary, challenging, cheeky and sublime, and plenty more besides.
Grant, who DJs in inimitable style under his DJ Rephlex Records moniker, rephlects on twenty years of raves and releases, and lays out label plans for 2011.
How are you?
Relatively… healthy and happy, thanks.It's been a little over a year since Rephlex decided to start selling digital downloads for the first time. What led to this decision and are you still happy you made it?
We always wanted our catalog to be available online, but we are a small independent with not enough hands or hours in the day so plans don’t always come to fruition immediately. We actually weren’t the last label to manage it, I’m relieved to say.
I have always felt that our catalog should be exclusively available from our own website to further our relevance and emphasise our objectives/results. This may be one reason that some have noticed the launch of our online shop in particular; the fact that one couldn’t find Rephlex on iTunes, Bleep, Beatport etc.How has it changed your attitude towards physical formats, if at all?
It makes me appreciate really great CDs and treasure my favourite records. It also underlines the qualities of cassette tape. The convenience and organisation of files on a hard drive is great too.2011 marks 20 years of Rephlex...
Nice you noticed, cheers… It’s been a 20-year gap year before uni while I work out what to do there! Achieved all the original objectives plus a few more by now.Do you have any special plans to commemorate this milestone or is it just going to be "business as usual"?
I have two or three good ideas that will become reality if I can find the time, finance and space. Don’t want to achieve those at the expense of other things though.The music business has undergone radical changes during the past 20 years. Did Rephlex notice?
Rephlex started some of the changes. We’ve seen ‘important’ people, labels, magazines and formats come and go. One thing you can always rely on is that things will change.What are the 3 most cherished memories you hold from 20 years of Rephlex?
It tends to crossfade into one big blurry memory… The first three high points that come to mind are:Do you intend to do another 20-year stint and be repeating this interview in 2031?
— playing for the British Council in São Paulo with a live batucada band and my mate breakdancing;
— a three-day no-sleep earthcore festival in Australia directly followed by the lushest trip to Japan, meeting Run DMC and Beasties;
— a super fat Turbosound system with a few thousand ravers and 16 of my posse on the edge of the Dead Sea in Israel.
In other words, being in a band of travelling minstrels, taking serious tunes for nice people all over the world, trying to do our bit for science with music.
Never look that far ahead, sounds alright.Rephlex returned to its native ancestral home of Cornwall after many years based in London...
Yeah, London seems no place to raise kids in comparison to Cornwall. When record shop society started fading, the club scene changed. What with the congestion charge and broadband n’all, London doesn’t have half the appeal or attributes it used to for us.What impacts, positive or negative, has this had on how the label is run?
It hasn’t affected the running of the label at all. I miss seeing some of the crew as much as I used to: Luke V, DMX…Rephlex once published a list of places of interest in Cornwall. Are there any addendums you would make to that list today?
There always were; we didn’t put enough time into it really… I recommend Porthoustock Quarry, Chapel Porth, Cligga Head, Roche Hermitage, Golitha Falls, Porthemmet Beach… there are so many cool places. A bloke I met took three years to do the coast walk, let alone inland.You did it your way...
Never found out how to do it any other any better that’s all. Would like to... Is there ‘a way’ (beyond networking with people you maybe shouldn’t be)?But regrets — have you had a few?
No I don’t regret anything. Things could have been done better but they could have been done worse too. A lot of Rephlex action depends on other people too. 20 years so far is a good run and our catalog is among the best, for just one label, in my opinion.You're preparing new releases by Dwayne Omarr, TCM and Zwischenwelt. What else is on the radar for this year?
Really importantly and imminently, Dave Monolith debut album. Outstanding. And more Wisp. Those two guys are hugely underrated or unknown by too many so do check 'em out and help us promote them, so the world becomes a better place. I have seen their music leave people crying, smiling, jumping every time everywhere. I also have the dopest album by Aleksi Perälä which is mental sub bass and pure harmonics like mother nature’s dub. A shedload of absolutely top quality lush dance tunes from Jodey Kendrick (keeping the hot core of acid house, Detroit techno and braindance burning), deep electronics from the D’Arcangelo brothers, the mysterious Steinvord and an audio-visual project from one of my favourite artists, Pierre Bastien. There are a couple of other new people in the schedule too but more info about them later…Anything else you'd like to share?
I’ve shared as much as I can. Happy to go on doing that but nothing to volunteer right now. A couple of tunes maybe… Labyrinth by Stanley Clarke Band 2010, Purplebrainhurrycanehabit by Digital Underground (from Greenlight EP).Thanks very much for your time, have a great 2011!
& u 2
Multi Funk by Dwayne Omarr is out this month on Rephlex