Kicking off 2022 in true Toolroom style is none other, than Swindon based producer CHANEY who recently landed back on the label with his HUGE Piano House record – ‘Love Again‘. Off the back of this, we also captured a bespoke live performance from the talented artist himself, reinterpreting his latest release along with previous Toolroom tracks.
We caught up with the man like CHANEY himself to ask the all important questions and of course, properly introduce him to the #ToolroomFamily…
CHANEY – ‘Love Again Live Performance‘
Hey CHANEY, welcome to Toolroom HQ and of course, welcome back to the #ToolroomFamily! Great to have you back on the firm again! How have you been mate and what have you been up to recently?
Hey guys, thanks for having me back! I’m great too, I’ve been super busy writing music (as usual) and gearing up for 2022 with all the upcoming releases including my latest single ‘Love Again‘ which is dropped on the label a couple of weeks back.
CHANEY – ‘Love Again‘
You’ve recently returned to Toolroom with your brand-new record ‘Love Again’, but we heard your musical journey started at a young age performing in bands and touring pubs in and around Swindon? Can you tell us about that?
So yeah, I started playing drums years ago, I took a massive liking to music early on and decided that was where I wanted to start at around 7 years old. It then stemmed from there – natural progression lead me to learning the guitar and writing my own songs and then going out gigging. I played around my local area for years, then starting breaking into the London circuit and further afield.
Getting my first laptop with a version of Logic (Version 8 I think) was really the starting point for my future in music production as well as song writing. I really got to grips with it and loved experimenting with my stripped back songs. I really started getting into House music when I started going out and the format of a club night really changed the way I thought about making music.
Was there an artist or album you first heard that inspired you to start making music? We all have a few records like that that you always go back to and listen to!
I always think back to a family holiday when I was around 7 years old and listening to Jimi Hendrix ‘Fire‘ – the drums on that record made me want to pick up the sticks immediately. So when I got back from that holiday I asked my parents (who are massive music lovers) and they jumped at the suggestion.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – ‘Fire‘
So we’ve talked about the early years of CHANEY, but what was the turning point for you and Dance Music?
When I turned 18 – there was a bit of a turning point in life musically because I started going out to my mate’s uni nights and really getting into a new world of music. It was great seeing amazing DJs and discovering music in a different way to before and I’d starting experimenting in my own production with more Dance music. Around 18 was really when I’d say CHANEY started. I stopped going out as Theo Altieri the solo artist and focused on my strong points which was writing music and producing.
When did the penny drop for you, that you were going to pursue a career in dance music as an artist? Was it a natural progression into Dance Music?
I always knew as a young lad that I wanted music to play a part in my life and there wasn’t really anything else for me. But I figured something was a little bit different with CHANEY – it was connecting in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. Annie Mac became a heavy champion for some of my first releases, I was receiving videos from friends in clubs in Australia where Denis Sulta and Jamie Jones were playing my records. I was receiving messages from the likes of Patrick Topping to say how much they loved it – and I could really see how it was having a positive effect in the world. So I guess all of these early moments of CHANEY were building blocks and I knew I would continue to make it happen.
Tell us about CHANEY, what are you REALLY about and what inspires you to create music? Is there anything outside the world of Music that you love?
I just love making music. I don’t usually have an agenda when I sit down to make a tune unless it’s a lyrical idea – it’s the freedom of a blank canvas which actually inspires me. I can sometimes start with piano or sometimes guitar, it might just be a simple little idea or chord progression. In some occasions it can all start with a drum loop and a little sample, but I don’t really have a set formula. Outside of music, I enjoy cooking the most. My blood is Italian and Welsh so I’ve been fortunate enough growing up around nice home cooked food and over the years started making them myself.
So, tell us about how you first got involved with Toolroom? Was it always an aspiration for you to get signed to the label?
Matt from the A&R team reached out a long time ago after hearing one of my early records and I’ve always been very aware and a fan of Toolroom from the early Weiss records. Me and Tim (Morixo) wrote ‘Good For Me‘ and afterwards thought it would be an idea to send their way to hear what they thought. We thought it sounded like a potential Toolroom release and to our delight we were right, they loved it and signed it. So the journey with Toolroom started there.
Morixo & CHANEY – ‘Good For Me‘
You’ve had a string of killer releases on the label, from your debut with Morixo – ‘Good For Me’ to last years ‘Back To Me’ & ‘Need You (Higher)’, those tracks have a very distinctive sound that fit perfectly with the Toolroom, where do you see your sound moving to next?
I actually don’t know, to tell you the truth haha! That’s the beauty of it for me, I don’t have a set formula with my sound and really don’t put myself into any specific boxes. I sometimes struggle to hear my trademark sound – but Matt and the team around me tell me it’s there so I just get on with the creating.
Fast forward, and we’ve just released ‘Love Again’ – a HUGE Piano House tune with a ton of emotion behind it. Tell us a bit about the record itself, what does it mean to you personally and what was the inspiration behind it?
Well I had an idea with the pads and chords. It all stemmed from there, in fact the original idea was pretty stripped back and bare as most of my tracks start. I’d been working previously with the extremely talented Nuala (who featured vocals on ‘Need You (Higher)‘ and whilst having the euphoric pads going I imagined her vocals on it immediately.
It’s weird because we only started working together through the pandemic so only worked over Zoom and not in person – but she seemed to just get it. We’d only sometimes have to chat over a couple of ideas and without saying too much she understood the vibe of the songs and her creative input would always lift a simple idea.
CHANEY – ‘Need You (Higher)‘
As a producer, you’ve worked with a range of different vocalists across your productions, how do you approach working with new vocalists?
Being a vocalist and song writer myself for so long, my approach is usually a little different when working with other vocalists. The main reason I wanted to work with other vocalists is because it really opens up the creative part of my brain and pushes boundaries in my own production.
I’ve also got a secret weapon that not many people know about. I have one instrumental that I wanted to work on with a vocalist – and she really vibed with it and we wrote a great topline idea for it. But after the session, I took the acapella out of the project and started to build an entirely new song around it – mainly because I felt it had more potential. After that, I had another session with another vocalist – and because the original instrumental I used with said vocalist was no longer being used, we worked on that instrumental. After the session the same thing applied – took the acapella out of the session and built another new song around it! So basically – I use this instrumental a lot, BUT it’s never seen the light of day…. yet!
CHANEY feat. Laura Davie – ‘Back To Me‘
Aside from Toolroom, you’ve released on some from Kideko’s Make Em’ Move to Eats Everything’s Edible imprint, talk to us a bit about those releases? As the sound of those records are quite different to what you’ve released on Toolroom.
I produce a LOT of music and I’d say there’s a few different “sounds” you get with me, some of it is more disco and soul infused club-ready, some of it follows more of a conventional structure with a much deeper sound. So depending on the sound – there’s usually a label that wants to get involved and finds an appropriate home. Dan (Eats Everything) heard my EP when my manager sent it over to his manager – and he loved it and started to include it in his DJ sets.
For me, I think there’s something that pulls all of the music together, and same for the audience. Some producers prefer to go under different aliases, but others keep it under one roof for everyone to meet in the middle, like myself.
CHANEY – ‘Lost Inside Of Love‘
What’s next for CHANEY in 2022? Any gigs or upcoming releases in the clip that you want to mention here?
2022 has a lot in store. Loads of new music has accumulated over the last couple of years and finally a lot of them are able to have a moment this year. I’ve got Ministry Of Sound on the 25th of Feb for my first Toolroom debut – so see you at the front and we’ll have a little dance shall we?