Inside The Track with KORT and Elementary
Tropical Velvet label owner Ben Webb aka KORT had a rather unusual route into dance music. In 2011, he won the a Defected producers competition and signed a publishing deal with the mega label that has seen him rack up a string of impressive releases over the last 4 years.
Elementary is South London DJ/producer/engineer Antony Harper, who has been plying his trade for over 15 years whilst producing and playing US and UK Garage under a host of aliases. Their latest release is the sublime ‘Won’t Stop’ two track EP on Soul Heaven Records.
The first track ‘Won’t Stop Loving You’ features a really catchy vocal hook that really sticks in your head. On a closer listen, it’s actually a re-rub of the lyrics from the Gladys Knight and the Pips classic ‘If I Was Your Woman’. The flip ‘Wanna Come Home’ also features an evocative vocal, but with a more disco influenced backing track which features the sweet blend of classic orchestral, guitar and piano riffs.
With a release of this quality, we decided to find out more about the ideas behind the EP and how it was put together, as we went Inside The Track with KORT and Elementary.
1) Congratulations on your new ‘Won’t Stop EP’ via Soul Heaven. How has the release been received in both your sets and other club DJs?
KORT: Thanks a lot. Both tracks from the EP have been getting really good responses in my sets. The feedback has been great. Producers and DJs who I really respect have given great support, so I’m really happy.
ELEMENTARY: Thank you very much. We have both been playing the EP for some months now at our residencies, road testing and making adjustments. ‘Won’t Stop Loving You’ is a real dance floor hit for my set and ‘Wanna Come Home’ is really cool. The feedback sheet was amazing; massive support from all four corners of the globe.
2) Tell us more about the EP. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted the musical direction?
KORT: Since going solo, I’ve been experimenting with different sounds and vibes. I kept finding myself heading back to my roots of soul and funk. When I started working with Antony we both had the same idea and musically we were both heading in the same direction. Both tracks came around very quickly and they were both written within a couple days. Sometimes in the studio everything just clicks. It’s great when that happens.
ELEMENTARY: Our inspiration came from the love of soul and funk music which is where our production seems to be heading; we like the funky side of house! We found the vocal laying about on an old hard drive and I was immediately hooked.
3) On the production side, what is it about both tracks that make them work?
KORT: ‘Won’t Stop Loving You’ is a very simple track. When all the elements are right, you don’t need too much; just get all the main signals rolling and away we go. I don’t think it’s anything in particular that makes the tracks work. For me, it’s about getting the vibe right. Obviously the vocal and the main musical hook are the stand out elements, but once the groove is rocking, we’re on. ‘Wanna Come Home’ was a slightly different approach. We had the vocal and started playing the instruments to create a smoky, soul house jazz feel to it.
ELEMENTARY: For me it’s the vocals. They are out of this world!
4) Is there one machine, program or technique that characterizes your sound?
KORT: I like to experiment with my sound, but I do take a lot of pride in my drums. Its all about swinging beats for me. I’ve been using Kontact recently for programming my drums, using MPC swing grooves. I also love the Arturia Prophet for bass lines. I’ve been using this for a while now and it really works for me. This has so many good warm sounds.
ELEMENTARY: We use the Arturia V collection in pretty much every production and the Prophet is getting a lot of use at the moment. It has really nice analogue sounds.
5) What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?
KORT: My Juno 106 and the Prophet. These are my ‘go to’ tools every time.
ELEMENTARY: Fab Filter Pro-L for me. It’s the cleanest limiter plugin out there and I use on every single track. No exceptions.
6) Any advice for your fans how to make it in today’s fast paced game?
KORT: Always quality over quantity. There is so much music around and most of it gets lost. Go and see DJs/producers play live that you like, as it’s really inspiring to see what works on the dance floors. Go and meet the right people that you want your music to get to; nothing better than meeting in person rather than sending emails to people you don’t know as it really does help.
ELEMENTARY: Keep it fresh and original. Also be happy in what you are doing.