CS EXCLUSIVE | Touch Tone
LA's Andrew Verner, presently known as Touch Tone, is a producer who's music has a keen ability to transport you somewhere else. A seemingly effortless combination of unique stylistic elements and a certain warmth to his chords make it inevitable for his tracks to leave you in a better mood than when you arrived. We've found his adept catalogue, including impressive originals Home Away From Home and Make Believe, plus ace remixes of artists like Goldroom, Xylos, Dive In, and Crystal Fighters, welcomely soundtracking our past couple of years, and quickly becoming staples in our go-to bag of tunes. There's something to be said for that consistent presence, and the continued turning out of upbeat, grooving, and outright enjoyable jams.
We've become fans, followers, and friends of TT over time, and couldn't be more excited today to be able to give you guys a deeper look into who he is and what he's got going on. Don't miss the exceptional exclusive mix he's put together for us — alongside our interview in which we talk with him about the influence of Mortal Kombat's soundtrack, the dance community's increasing adoption of Disco and House, and of course R. Kelly's unquestionable versatility. Soak it in and enjoy!
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/168312232?secret_token=s-gaBUt" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
1. Touch Tone — Goodbye Summer (Intro) 2. Crystal Fighters — Love Natural (Touch Tone Remix) 3. Zimmer — Sensify Me (Feat. KLP) 4. Profiles — Call Yourself a Lover (Touch Tone Remix) (Alternate Version) 5. Starcadian — Ronnie 6. Basement Love — Boy 7. Goldroom — Catalina (Small Pyramids Remix) 8. Kids At Midnight — Vapours (Touch Tone Remix) 9. Small Pyramids — You Were Mine (Feat. Touch Tone) 10. Snakadaktal — The Sun II (Just Kiddin Remix) 11. Durante — Take a Look 12. Holt Blackheath — Don’t Have to Call 13. Thrillers — Can’t Get Enough
Caveman Sound: First off, give us some words about what went into this mix you’ve made.
Touch Tone: I decided to do something a little different with this one. In the past, I would usually create a mix that was basically me DJing like I would out at a show. This mix is more something to listen to at home or in a car. Theres a few unreleased tracks on here by me and also a couple are of some good friends. The others are a mix between songs I love to listen to in my car and ones I like to play at shows out currently.
The mix starts off with the sounds of a rainy day because even though it doesn't feel like it in LA now, summer is over and I can’t wait for the weather to change. LA is in the middle of a heatwave and I would give anything to be transported to somewhere where its raining right now.
CS: What’s the first dance/electronic song you remember hearing growing up, or that stuck with you in particular?
TT: Honestly, the first electronic song I heard that stuck with me was probably the Mortal Kombat theme song from the first movie. I remember making my mom buy me the soundtrack so I could play it on repeat in my room while I practiced my sweet ninja moves.
CS: You transitioned from Short Circuit to Touch Tone a couple of years back, can you give us some insight into the shift, and what the sound you’re currently creating means to you?
TT: Basically, there was a long period of time between when I wrote my debut EP as Short Circuit and when it was actually released. During that time, I continued to write new music and as time went on there was a gradual shift from an “electro” sound to a sort of “DiscoHouse” vibe. I believed that it would be too confusing for people to hear the Short Circuit EP (Late Night Drive) then immediately hear the new stuff I had started to make that was a lot different.
I feel nowadays as an artist it’s important to have a strong identity and Short Circuit wasn't who I was anymore. The name and sound of the EP represented who I was 3 years prior and a lot had changed with my sound and style since then. The best thing for me to do was start over from scratch and so “Touch Tone” was born.
CS: The sounds of disco / nu-disco / house have seen a big adoption by the dance community recently. As someone who’s been producing in that space for awhile now, why do you think we’re seeing and hearing so much more of it?
TT: I think that the “EDM” craze in America and around the world has opened a lot of people up to electronic music. The big room, popular stuff is kind of like a gateway for most people and after a while they start to delve more into the different genres of electronic music. It’s why you not only see a boost in the NuDisco scene but others as well like Deep House and Techno. I also think NuDisco draws people in because it is familiar yet new at the same time.
CS: We've been listening to your remixes for a year or so now, and can honestly say we’ve loved every single one. What's your process for selecting an artist/track and creating the remix?
TT: There is no one single process, some of them have been commissioned by the artist, others are artists that I have found and feel like they have a unique sound or something about them that excites me. Two were just classic songs that I love and wanted to take a stab at. For every remix I release there are probably five that I started and just didn't feel like they were up to par. It’s very important to me to not just take a track and make it club friendly but to reinterpret the song in my own way and bring something unique to it. If I feel like that isn't happening then into the folder of forgotten songs they go.
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/113311049" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
CS: 'Home Away From Home' and 'Make Believe' were both successful singles for you, how has your sound progressed since those releases? Any plans for new original productions?
TT: My sound has stayed similar to those singles but I feel like my songwriting and production has improved since then. I have learned a lot since “Home Away From Home” came out and I am excited for people to hear what I have been working on. There are definitely some new originals waiting to be released, right now I am just trying to figure out the best way to release them to ensure they reach their full potential.
CS: You’ve been a part of the Binary Records family for awhile, a big stamp of approval in our books. Tell us a bit about that relationship.
TT: My time with Binary was amazing and not only impacted who I am as a musician but also as a person. Those guys are like family to me and we still help each other out whenever needed and come out and support for shows all the time. Being a part of Binary taught me a lot about not only writing songs and production, but the music business itself. This scene can get frustrating and at times you can feel really alone, its nice to have a group of guys who you can always turn to for help and advice whenever needed. Can’t say enough good things about the founders of Binary (Josh and Kyle) and all the artists and people we have worked with.
CS: Give us the top 5 artists you’re inspired by right now.
TT: Prince, TheDream, Drake, Kanye West, Trust
CS: Your music is the soundtrack to what city?
TT: Well, being born and raised in LA, I don’t think I could write the soundtrack to any other city. Los Angeles has inspired me, so many other artists and so many songs, it’s amazing to think about. This city lives and breathes in the music of the artists that call it home and there is no one style of music or mood that can fully represent this place. Since there is no way I could claim that my music is the soundtrack to all of LA and its diversity, I would have to say it is the soundtrack to a dingy club on the east side on a hot summer night. At least thats what I imagine when I listen to a lot of my songs.
CS: Scenario: You’re partying and playing a late night set Friday, and a have a midday poolside set Saturday — what are your 3 essential hangover aids to ensure a successful back-to-back weekend?
TT: This exact scenario actually happens to me once a month (the woes of being a working DJ in LA, right?). My three essential items for ensuring a successful weekend are as follows.
1. Burritos: The perfect combination of grease and starches to settle the alcohol left over in your stomach. LA has plenty of selection when it comes to amazing burrito places but I find myself at the Del Taco by my apartment more often than not.
2. Coconut Water: Not one of those puny little vita coco bottles, I’m talking the huge container meant for like 3 people. Serve ice cold and drink the entire thing within 30 minutes.
3. Sunglasses: Preferably the darkest ones you can get to protect your eyes and brain from the scorching LA sun.
CS: If you had to listen to one track on repeat, for an entire weekend — we’re talking cooking breakfast, getting ready to go out, during a late night hookup — what would it be and why?
TT: R Kelly Ignition Remix. I mean, is there really any other answer? I can't think of any other song that you could wake up to and have it put you in a great mood, go out and party to then come home and make love to. Only R Kelly could write such a song.
CS: What else have you got in the pipeline you can share with us?
TT: Well, I’ve got a lot of originals either done or in the works. I also plan on working on more remixes and playing out more during the end of 2014. When and how the original tracks will come out is still something I am working on at the moment. Stay tuned!
A massive thank you to Andrew aka Touch Tone aka Smooth Operator for connecting with us on this feature. Stay up-to-date with him via the links below if you aren't already, and keep your ears perked for those forthcoming originals!