Interview: Jack! Who?

Iain Kirk aka Jack! Who? has been pushing techno to the world for many years with a refined skillset that includes selecting quality music and having his finger on the pulse of what’s new.

His mixes offer an amalgamation of rawness and intricacy and his productions showcase a seasoned knowledge of the studio. Since 2013 he’s also been behind the wheel of DEAD CERT. Records, alongside longtime friend and fellow producer, William Welt.

We caught up with the Sunderland native to discuss his future plans for both Jack! Who? and DEAD CERT. among other things.

Hi Iain, how are things going in your world today?

Good mate, thanks for hitting me up. Kind of in between locations at the moment, I’ve been visiting Manchester a bit recently and thinking of maybe moving here if things align a little more. I’m in no rush, just dipping my toe in the scene because there’s a lot going on to discover.

How did you decide on your DJ name by the way?

Many reasons all rolled into one. I liked the fact it simply looks different with the special characters on, so it’s kind of tongue in cheek. It’s also relative to the jackin’ sounds I like to play as a DJ as well as hypnotic, heavy and deep styles. It pulls in a little nod to Detroit and the dancing styles on TV shows The Scene and The New Dance Show. You can see it in many track titles and hear it in many vocal cuts in the music too, that adds a nice twist into sets as well.

I can see you’ve had some pretty nice coverage on your collaborative music with William Welt, how did you find the experience?

It was great to finally release the tracks as a strictly vinyl only package on our label DEAD CERT. with my close friend Will as we’ve known each other for over fourteen years. To get support on BBC Radio 1 from B.Traits was, of course, a dream come true, I like how my name sent her into a spin of confusion when she shouts us out.

You just mentioned you run the DEAD CERT. Records label, how is that coming on?

Myself and Will have been running it for over 5 years now and it’s continuing to grow, getting love from Richie Hawtin on BBC Radio 1 to Rødhåd and Cari Lekebusch. We are so tied to the epicentre that we just keep pushing forward, putting out new music and enjoy seeing things pop up.

We’ve had artists like Petter B, Audio Injection aka Truncate, Eomac, Hans Bouffmyhre, TWR72, Paul Mac and many others, with the latest EP sporting a remix from UK legend Kirk Degiorgio. We like to straddle the line of presenting quality emerging talent with super consistent established names, to help forge our underground sound that’s club ready.

You also run a website known to fans of techno, when did you start it and what’s the idea behind it?

I began the project in 2010 and it’s just had its 9th birthday, I’m set to record a special mix for that very soon that will exclusively contain tracks by guests of the podcast series itself. It can take along time to get together each year and I push myself to make something quite complex but still accessible to the average listener.

The website itself is a great avenue for me to showcase new music in various forms from artists on the cutting edge of the scene to the most notable. People drop me messages of how they appreciate the work a lot, which keeps me on track that the music community enjoy the content.

Where do you see the future going and have you any plans coming up?

Plenty more of the same really. A main aim is to break artists through the label and really pick out killer tracks for DJ’s to use, but not being afraid to show new and abstract styles with an electronic soul.

I have ideas running through my head daily and have a list of names and words I reference for various things that come up. It would be great to see more of my projects come to light, such as a deeper techno label I have already created a concept for, that literally, no-one knows about apart from the artist to feature on the opening release, maybe one day we can discuss that.

Before finishing our chat, have you a couple of tracks you want to share that you’re feeling at the moment?

Oh definitely some slightly leftfield ones that have stood for me recently that I’ve featured. Tripeo’s recent one being a perfect mix of quirky, abstract and vibing sounds: Tripeo – Pandora’s Box [Tripeo]. The second one is a newish alias of an established artist who has been appearing on Shlomi Aber’s Be As One until now: LATHE – Werk [On Edge Society].