Demonic Possession are incredibly proud to present an exclusive interview with one of the finest producers ever to grace the dance music scene!
Jack Smooth was responsible for production at the legendary Basement Records during the golden era of darkside in 1993, and churned out an alarming number of huge tracks over a few years - so much so, that entire sets could be made purely from his music! Read on. . .
DPR: What's your name, where are you from?
JS: Ron Wells, London
JS: Everyone in house music was called 'Jack something' in the mid-eighties. I used to beat mix well enough for some not to realise another tune had started so I thought why not 'Jack Smooth'?
JS: Kraftwerk and all of the best Acid House acts (Phuture etc), plus the best techno acts (Model 500 etc).
JS: DJ Loftgroover introduced me to Basement Phil in 1991. Phil released a few of my tracks and then began to send the local young talent over to my studio and asked me to give them some help and guidance on production. After a few successful releases I volunteered to become in-house producer and Phil obliged.
JS: "Jungle Techno" simple as that... 4/4 Kick, techno sounds, lush pads over heavily cut layered breaks - the focus was on making original music as opposed to relying on a sampler but some of the basement artists did take a few liberties with sampling. I didn't overly approve and advised that sampling should never really become the majority component of the tune.
* Roland JX8-P (tek basses)
* Roland SH-101 X 2 (tek riffs)
* Roland Juno 106 (pads)
* Roland MKS-70 (pads)
* Roland JV-1080 (pads and tek sounds)
* Korg Wavestation A/D (pads)
* Korg 01/W (tek stabs) - you need to be a good programmer to realise the potential of this unit - as in the stabs from 'Plight of the Innovators' and 'No 303' were made on this (using the in built waveshaping functionality).
* Novation Bass Station (acid)
* Yamaha TG500 (pads)
* Ensoniq ASR10 (drums & slicing loops)
* Boss SE50
* ZOOM 9010
* Ensoniq DP/4
* Zoom 9030
* modified Allen & Heath GS3 32 track desk
Now it's mainly mixed 'in the box' with some external Nord, Novation, Waldorf, Roland and Korg synths... I'm still using Cubase. I love it!
JS: You won't want to hear this but... "don't give up your day job"; MP3 has killed the middle tier for music earners. Back in the day a modest success (a few thousand copies sold on vinyl) would make you a couple of grand - now within hours, days, tracks are free to download and are shared freely - in this respect making it pay has never been harder.
* SBH - Push Up The Levels
* Ruff With The Smooth - Twisted Girl
* Jack Smooth & Wax Doctor - Unfriendly
* Jack n Phil - Tek Trak
* Jack Smooth & Wax Doctor - What's Goin' On
JS: Hearing 20 of my tunes (played by other DJs) in one night, it was ridiculous.
Also Loft Groover once did a whole set of my tunes at Orange.
The queue of people trying to see what I was playing at Obsession, Birmingham was amusing because every track was unreleased and just had a number with a question mark on it to keep everyone guessing. I eventually ran out of tunes after about an hour and a half and think I asked Fallout to go on early, whoever it was smiled and said "you're taking the piss!".
JS: That's easy. . . digital is progress at the expense of being able to make money.
JS: To be honest I can't comment on this because I just don't hear much these days. Running businesses keeps me out of clubs so I don't get exposed to new music like I used to. If it helps I like Ozric Tenticles, particularly Spirals in Hyperspace.
JS: There will be a special ltd vinyl pack at some point, but at the moment work is taking priority.
JS: Just search for 'ronwellsjs' which will throw up many ways to contact me. I'm busy doing work related things at the moment so please don't be upset if I turn down any offers - I have to properly consider usage of time before committing to do anything.
Check out the Basement Records back catalogue >HERE<
Jack Smooth's Soundcloud Page >HERE<