Lee Spence a.k.a Pirate Copy is a name that comes with great pedigree, the Manchester based producer heads up the internationally recognised Kaluki brand as well as continuing to dominate the Tech House scene.
His vast experience of the industry has led him to releases on the likes of Moon Harbour, Sola and Material as well as performances at Fabric, The BPM Festival, Parklife, Space Ibiza, elrow and We Are FSTVL.
‘Tribal on the Terrace’ is available to download here.
Lee kindly sat down with XYST for a catch up – read what he had to say below.
Your latest release ‘Tribal On The Terrace’ continues to gain widespread support across the scene, how did it come about and where’ve you drawn influence?
It came around toward the end of last summer and was based around a bunch of records I was playing in my gigs. I went into the studio with a rough idea and a plan to make something quite rugged – tribal house with an original vocal which wasn’t a sample, something that would sound different and stand out. Once the basis of the track was written, a friend of mine wrote and sang the vocal which I loved straight away. He wanted to remain anonymous on this record for one reason or another, but some people have guessed who it is 😉
Some people may recognise you for your previous Ellesse moniker, was it a conscious decision to move away from that sound with the launch of Pirate Copy?
Yes, I felt I had got stuck in a bit of a classic house sound and was struggling to find a way forward. Pirate copy was actually supposed to be a live act with 3 people performing live, but as happens in life, sometimes it didn’t click and I decided to continue on my own with a slightly different sound. It has been a good move for me I think, I’m happy and working hard to be more creative and make more music when it feels right.
Have you picked up any production tips or wise words of wisdom from artists you’ve become friends with over your time in the industry?
Yes, I have actually, I’ve been in the studio doing some collabs this summer and picked up some nice shortcuts and tips from the likes of Max Chapman, and also from DJs I have been on tour with around the world. One beauty from Richy Ahmed is ‘only play stuff if you think you would play it in 5 years’ time‘ – it’s a pretty good filter when you consider how disposable music has become these days..
We can’t not mention the rise of Kaluki, did you realise you had something special in the early days that would grow to the scale it has done?
You know what, it’s been a strange journey for Nick and I. It only really started as a one off, then went monthly at Sankeys in Manchester – and even weekly at one point. I would say it’s only really been the past 3 years where I’ve really thought “Christ, we’re actually on one now, this is happening big time” – we’ve had residences all over the world, tours, albums, several agents… I really feel like it’s just getting going and we’re going to create something special over the next 5-10 years!
As Manchester residents ourselves we’ve seen the city dramatically evolving each year and you yourself have played a massive part in its nightlife with your time at Sankeys. There are new venues popping up almost every week, what’s your opinion on the direction it’s heading in?
Manchester nightlife is in a strange place right now, it has such a huge scene, it has a big festival, the Warehouse Project and tons of big parties, but I feel like it’s missing one amazing club that’s open every week that the people of Manchester consider home. It will come along, it’s just getting harder to create this kind of space in Manchester with all the residential apartments under development. But I’m sure somebody will unlock that code soon enough…
It’s an interesting move to see venues such as Manchester Academy who are primarily band focused now opening their doors more freely to Electronic music events. Was this one always in your sights?
Well, yes it’s been overlooked for many years by the promoters of Manchester, but we had a look at it recently and it has been revamped, has an amazing sound system and a huge capacity – we thought we should give it a go and the events have been really well received by all, so watch this space for more of the same…
What’s next for Pirate Copy and Kaluki?
I am trying to work hard in the studio, as well as keep up with all of the event stuff, tours and album work that’s constantly happening. Today we are close to confirming our Ibiza schedule and that will be at a new venue for us, so watch this space…