Interview with Andy Compton from The Rurals and Peng Records
Mr Peng is what most call him while others know him for his incredible work either as Andy Compton or as part of The Rurals. Having worked with the best artists and having released a great deal of albums / singles / EPs with his latest out on promo, it was only fitting we have a chat with the man himself.
1. I’m sure when people hear the name Andy Compton three things come into mind; Dj, Producer and a member of The Rurals but I’m sure there is more to this name. What would you like the House Music community to know about you outside of music?
I love my family life as well! I have 2 boys and a lovely girlfriend. I also enjoy taking pics (some people follow me on Instagram). Nature and a vegan lifestyle is also very important to me. Retro BMX's also have a little space in my heart!
2. You discovered House music in the early 90s. Also, you started producing at the age of 16. Would it be safe to say the 90s was when everything kick started in terms of wanting to pursue music and what was your motivation to get into House music?
I was originally in a funk/ rock group, playing guitar, and that’s the kind of music I first started writing and producing! Early nineties I moved up to Nottingham (UK) with my band from Devon, I was only 16. It was there in Nottingham where the UK deep house movement was happening, and when I got a taste I wanted more!! I sold my guitar to buy some decks, and the rest is history!
3. Jazz, Soul and African music define your sound. Whilst growing up, were these your influences to music or you discovered them as the years progressed?
I discovered them later! I'm a very obsessive person when it comes to music, so I went overboard with my love of house! Only to later discover the foundations of house were from disco, jazz, funk and soul. So then I wanted to know everything about that! I'm now a crazy vinyl collector of early 70's music.
4. House Music has evolved over the years when it started to reach a lot more people and take on different influences which somehow led to the meaning/understanding/definition of what Deep House is to either be lost or it was never really definite. For you, what is your interpretation/understanding of “Deep House”?
Deep house to me is a feeling of euphoria and love, through the vibration of sound!
5. Record label owners have different reasons for starting them. What was your inspiration to get Peng off the ground?
It was taking to long for labels to get back to me about demos, and it was a hassle getting paid! So, 15 years ago I realised Peng was the way forward.
6. Still staying on the label side of things, I understand that Peng Africa is a division from the main label but the style of music released on Peng Africa is somewhat different from that of Peng. Why the variations and how is Peng Africa doing since its formation?
Peng is now only used for my own productions and projects. Mthulisi helps manage Peng Africa. We use it for a platform to promote up and coming South African producers and artists. Peng Africa has now more than 30 EP's released and 3 albums.
7. Quite a few producers change their sound either completely or just partially once they have experienced Africa (For instance songs now have a more African feel to them compared to before). In your view why is that so? Is it a case of getting inspiration from the way of life, the culture and the music or is it a way to tap into a bigger market or simply both?
I hear you! But, the big thing I learnt is that South Africans don't want me to change my sound! It's what they're used to and love! The Rurals have been releasing for over 20 years now, and I hear stories of how our music was heard there many years ago! Of course I do get musically influenced by my visits, but I’m mainly soaking up the good vibes, culture and sun!! I've also just started a new group/project with some very talented guys in Soweto called 'Andy Compton's Sowetan One Steps'...watch this space!
8. Having gone through your discography you have been consistent in giving us the best in music whether individually or as part of The Rurals. What has been your secret and driving force to keep the consistency going?
I just seem to somehow tap into the energy of the universe, and let it create music through me!!! I like to work hard and work long hours as well.
9. For those that might not know yet you have an EP coming out this month titled “African King” which is currently a promo on Traxsource. What can we expect from this offering and are there any other upcoming projects people can expect from yourself, the Rurals or artists from the label?
The African King release is on a more tech deep house tip, a bit different for me. But, I like to try many styles to keep things interesting. I've finished a Rurals album for March/ April release, written a boogie/soul album, and am also working on an album with my guys in Soweto, Shamrock, Bongani and Mpho.
10. Lastly, the South African House scene has grown tremendously over the years but there’s possibly still room for change and growth. So what can be done by producers abroad to help our local producers grow and better their craft?
I think it'd be good for producers to learn more about music, and not just do everything on the computers. Decent results come from hard work and persistence. Anyone can dream, but making the dream come true is the hard bit! But...if a farm boy from Rurals Devonshire can do it, then anyone can!!!!
Exclusive interview for Deeper Shades Of House by Miss Cue Note