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:: Spotlight :: Copyright – Worldly Wizemen

By: Tim McNamara

‘Oh God it’s early,’ Copyright’s Sam Holt mumbles as Mediasearch gets him on the phone at his London home at 8:30am. Used to late nights and early mornings as one half of the world-renowned Copyright duo however, Sam quickly perks up in typical ‘deep house soul-dier’ style.

‘You wouldn’t get my partner out of bed at 8:30 mate, so you got me!’ he laughs, referring to his production and DJ partner Gavin ‘Face’ Mills. The laughter is understandable given the success the two have enjoyed in recent times. Long-time label artists with revered UK imprint Defected, Copyright have released dozens of forward-thinking proper House cuts on other labels including Soulfuric Trax, MN2S, Z Records, King Street and their own Copyright Recordings imprint and in doing so have firmly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the international scene. And now, down the phone from rainy London, Sam assures us the best is yet to come.

The pair have just returned home – briefly - after a whirlwind Australian tour which included two lauded sets at Sydney’s Arthouse and Melbourne’s Alumbra, in addition to an in-store appearance to promote their new Defected mix compilation, Alumbra In The House.

The project has seen the popular Melbourne club join forces with Defected for a 2CD Australia-only release mixed by Copyright and local DJ-producer DJ Jorj. Featuring upfront cuts from Copyright themselves, Kings Of Tomorrow, Quentin Harris, Osunlade and DJ Gregory, the release has already set tongues wagging and promises to further build the House genre Down Under. The concept is, Sam explains, expected to become a regular tactic of Defected as it continues to branch out into new territories.

‘Defected want to reach out and do a few territory-specific compilations in countries,’ he says. ‘It’s something that going to happen in a few other territories where there’s some partnerships with some good clubs, where we can get some good residencies going and [where we can] try and build from the ground up.’

Having wowed crowds Down Under, Sam and Gavin are now Miami-bound for the 23rd Annual Winter Music Conference where they will play Defected’s showcase event alongside the likes of Joey Negro, DJ Spen, Hardsoul, DJ Gregory, ATFC, Aaron Ross and label head Simon Dunmore.

Armed with several new tracks including the already red-hot ‘Wizeman’ featuring long-time collaborator Imaani and the Miami monster ‘Shake S**t Up’ featuring Mr V and Miss Patty, the duo are looking forward to showcasing more material off their forthcoming studio album – ‘Voices And Visions’ – to be released in May on Defected. As Sam explains, fans can look forward to more thumping, tribal beats, deep House and dancefloor destroyers.

‘There’s a whole album of new tracks, all house tracks, all peak time, club tracks,’ he rattles off enthusiastically, including, he adds, collaborations with Jazzy B from Soul II Soul, Shovell and Imaani.

For Miami, however, Sam and Gavin both hold high hopes for ‘Shake Shit Up’. ‘We’re really excited about that one,’ he says. ‘We’ve already got remixes in the can [from] Chocolate Puma and Jimpster, they’re absolutely banging.’

Quizzed on his thoughts on the annual Miami Conference – in recent years much maligned and criticised for its format and attitude – Sam is typically forthright.

‘I’ve been for the last ten years; I didn’t actually go last year for the first time, he says. ‘In effect there used to be two conferences going on: there was the one everybody went to with the badges and then there was rest which was all sorts of DJ-producers and industry crowd who would hang out at top hotels and do business.Now it seems it’s changed to a platform for record label showcases where people will put on a party and promote it.'

‘It has changed; in the traveling we do in a year we can see everybody we would normally see at the Conference so from that respect we’re lucky. I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity to go to Miami. It’s a great chance to have a week in the sun, go and hear some great music [and] go to some parties. On the down side [though] you can struggle to get in a club because the door staff are a nightmare and the prices are extortionate.

‘It always seems a shame to me why there isn’t a European Conference in Ibiza at the start of the season. That seems to me like something that could potentially be huge but whether that ever happens or not I don’t know.’

Predicting the future of international music conferences may not be Sam’s forte, but he doesn’t need a crystal ball to predict that he and Gavin are going to be racking up some serious frequent flyer points in 2008. By mid-May, Copyright will have completed sets in Spain, Portugal and Holland in addition to a four date tour of India and a two date stop off in Japan.

‘Our life is one big tour,’ Sam says laughing. ‘Even last year [without the album] we took in every continent. This year it will be focusing on the album and doing more dates and we’re really looking forward to that.’

Anchoring international Defected In The House events has seen Copyright rightly attract a dedicated worldwide audience and Sam has high praise for the Defected imprint, explaining why it continues to succeed in an increasingly tough industry.

‘The reason they survive is that they continue to develop new artists and also work with very established artists,’ he says. ‘And because they have that wicked balance going they have a very strong catalogue and strong offering so they always have their finger on the ‘quality house music’’ pulse.

‘Simon aside from having a great bunch of people there, has a vision. He knows the music that he wants to put out and that’s good quality house music. He takes the best of what’s going on at the time but sticks to a kind of style that is a Defected sound and that sound is something we play and something that encapsulates a lot of the artists on the label.’

‘We just feel so lucky to be a part of it all.’

‘Alumbra In The House’ mixed by Copyright and DJ Jorj is out March 29 through Defected/Stomp.