Craig Richards is the renaissance man of the clubbing scene. He’s a real creature of the night, but one of sophistication. If you’re turning out for a night on the town (even if it is to the grimy underground) you’ve got to make the effort. He knows the importance of dressing well, and from this flows his singular charm. But his eccentricity doesn’t stop there: as well as churning out set after set of kaleidoscopic, floor-trembling sounds at his Fabric residency, he collects art, paints, produces music and heads up his The Nothing Special record label. The latter is what we’re going to focus on now.
Craig’s suited and booted image doesn’t really match up with his productions, which are nothing less than pure filth. They grab you by the hips, and send waves through your whole frame – the sort of effect that can only be achieved by such an accomplished resident DJ, seasoned in the subtle dynamics of the dancefloor and all manner of electronic genres from the past 20 years. He made his name as a breakbeat and electro DJ in the duo Tyrant with Lee Burridge, and also had strong links with the Drum and Bass scene. These strands still show through in his Nothing Special roster with artists such as Calibre, but, nowadays, Craig mainly uses the label to showcase the best in techno and house, mainly from producers and DJs who span both the old and new school of electronic music culture.
Once again, the incongruity of the labels’ cute, cartoony artwork (produced by Craig himself) and the distinctly rugged aesthetics of the music is testament to the label owner’s kooky, yet culturally engaged, character.
With five years of releases, and with Craig’s four hour set at Butter Side Up coming up, we thought we’d do a little spotlight on The Nothing Special. Here are five highlights:
Manchester’s Trevino, who also has his fingers in the pies of drum and bass and dubstep, produces yet another huge techno track, this time remixed by Josh Brent aka Schatrax, who has been self releasing now-valuable minimal and techno since the 90s.
This is from January 2016, on an EP of remixes of Tim Wright, another techno producer who’s been doing his thing since the 90s. Richards’ remix is a real pinwheeler of a slow mo tech house track, glazed with dreamy vocal cuts and a hardened with delectable electro beat.
A big room banger with a twisted bassline whose title says it all, really.
As mentioned earlier, Calibre is a drum and bass legend. He’s a master of the liquid craft, but turns to techno for this Nothing Special release. The rhythms remains interesting, and the vibe maintains intensity. One of the YouTube comments says ‘You can tell he moved to Berlin.’
We end on this absolute stinker of a tech house record from the man himself, released in 2013. This sound defines peak time: an unstoppable groove laced with wobbles, bleeps and odd vocals, thrusted along by those throbs of mammoth bass.