Smooth, thumping grooves from a master of his craft.
Truly Madly—"Truly" to his mates—has a record habit that dates back to the early '90s. In those days he'd buy them in bulk for 20p at the Notting Hill Music Exchange. A decade later, he'd embrace the digital marketplace in earnest (Discogs, as he tells us below, has been his browser homepage since 2002). All the while he was playing out and recording mixes, though he never made a proper go at making a name for himself as a DJ. As he tells it, he simply wasn't tempted, and certainly had no interest in self-promotion (this is reflected in the bio on his RA profile, which simply provides us with a third adverb: "Deeply").
But if Truly wasn't looking for an audience, sooner or later, an audience found him. Today, each of the dozens of mixes on his SoundCloud account—some recent, some 20 years old—has racked up thousands of plays. In house music's digger community, he looms large, as evidenced by headlining gigs at Closer in Ukraine and the Ghost parties in Berlin (his mix for those guys is, naturally, killer). But digger's panache is by no means Truly's only draw. His mixes have a craftsmanship that comes from decades of dedication. Each record contrasts perfectly with the one before it. Deep house thumpers slot elegantly into smooth electro and UKG. His own edits, still pressed to dubplates, further enhance the unique flavor. RA.691, an off-the-cuff tour through what happens to be in his bag at the moment, is no exception.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been enjoying playing records in a lot of different places, and as cliched as it might sound, meeting new people with such a passion for the music. It's festival season, so Meadows In The Mountains was cool again, and I just got back from Slovenia for Od:Vod, which was quite a special one.
How and where was the mix recorded?
At home with two Technics 1200s and a mixer. On a fairly low volume in the early hours of a Sunday morning while everyone was asleep. And wine.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Almost all the records were taken from what was in my bag at the time, a lot of which I always want to play out but don't often get the chance. Podcasts are obviously different to club nights—there's nothing to respond to other than your own whims, so it's basically a collection of those records I picked out, with less thought about the dance floor than how I'd usually play out.
You've had something of a breakthrough in popularity these past couple years, but your history behind the decks goes back much farther than that. Can you tell us what your overall journey as a DJ been like so far?
I was messing about mixing and buying records in the late '80s, but it was 1990 when I got my first pair of Technics and started to take it more seriously. I could either be found on a dance floor or in a record shop pretty much every weekend from then. I played at smaller things but I don't remember having a burning desire to be a gigging DJ—probably didn't have the confidence or think it was realistic. Moving to London to study in the early '90s was a huge influence and I played out quite a bit in '94 and '95. Obviously the record shops and Music Exchanges back then were treasure troves, especially the Notting Hill branch that had a huge 20p floor! They were so cheap you could blind-buy piles of them at a time.
I started a mix site in the early '00s and was also a resident on the EstimuloShow, which specialised in the deeper side of things, but I've never really been good at or indeed wanted to get into self-promotion. About four or five years ago I joined SoundCloud and dumped a load of mixes on there from the last 25 or so years. In hindsight that was probably overkill but I started to get some interest from them. Me and a few friends started a party called SUNK a few years ago and from then on I've been playing out more and more, mainly through word of mouth. Whatever is happening now it feels organic and about the music, so I'm happy about that, even if it has taken eons! I should also say that I owe a lot to friends and musical acquaintances that have been very encouraging and have been into what I play—I wouldn't have got to this point without them giving me a push, so big-ups, yo.
Your mixes make it seem like you have an infinite supply of classy and mysterious club records. What are your record buying habits like? Where do you look and what do you look for? How often are you getting new music?
Often going back through my collection will throw up stuff I'd either forgotten about, never played or dismissed at the time, so that is a fairly regular exercise. Tastes change all the time and for sure there is plenty I will play now that I perhaps wouldn't have before. Apart from that I am still actively looking for music pretty much the whole time. It's mostly online now, Discogs has been my homepage since 2002. I'll also check for new stuff most days too and am lucky enough to be getting sent some promos from like-minded musical minds.
Also I do a lot of my own edits and more involved rehashes /remixes. There is so much music, especially from the early '90s, that has the makings of an ace tune, only to be ruined by a dodgy sample that renders it unplayable. That's the most basic form of it, but I also do more involved stuff with hardware overdubs, etc. These all find their way to dubplates, as I still haven’t embraced playing digital yet. So when I am digging online now I am doing it just as much for what I can edit or rework as much as for the original tunes.
The obsession is still just as strong as it always was, and there's not much like the buzz of discovering something amazing that's completely new to me.
What are you up to next?
Much of the same, some interesting things in the pipeline for next year especially, including a London residency that I am very excited about—watch this space, as they say.
Cheers for the invite :-)