Pirate Copy: I feel it's important to be inspired and follow your own path

Today we are pleased to welcome our next guest, Pirate Copy!

A leading artist in today's electronic music sphere, Pirate Copy's discography boasts releases on some of the scene's most revered imprints, including Sola, Relief, Elrow and Moon Harbour to name a few, whilst his own label, Kaluki, has become a bastion for contemporary house since its inception fifteen years ago.

Most Recently, the Manchester based artist made his debut on Hot Creations with 'You Need It' featuring Hattie Snooks. Out now, the impressive release also features remixes from US icon Harry Romero and Spanish rising star Miane. In light of the release, we caught up with Pirate Copy. Find out more below!
Hello Lee, it's a pleasure to have you with us today ahead of your upcoming Hot Creations debut. To start off, how are you doing and where are you chatting to us from right now?
— Hi, I am good, actually feeling very positive and have had a great start to the week. I am at my home studio today, same as most days...
'You Need It' featuring Hattie Snooks is set for release on 26th November, congrats! Pirate Copy and Hot Creations is something we imagined to be a great fit and it has turned out as a super release, as are the accompanying remixes courtesy of Harry Romero and Miane. What can you tell us about this release and how did it come to find its home on Hot Creations?
— Yes I am super happy with this release. RE the track, when I was happy that it was totally finished, I had a feeling this was something Jamie may like, so I sent it to him direct, I hadn't sent him anything for maybe a year or two as I just wasn't sure they would be right for him. But yes he came straight back this time saying he was into it. After he had tested a few times on the road he got back in touch to say he wanted to sign for HC and I was over the moon! We discussed ideas for remixers and both agreed that Harry and Miane would be perfect remixers for this track based on a shortlist Jamie had suggested.
Hattie Snooks' vocals create a powerful atmosphere across the original and remixes, how did you and Hattie come to work together on this one and what was the collaborative process like?
— Yes I agree, Hattie's vocals are very present on all mixes. Sometimes you find remixers can just use small parts of the vocals, or ignore them altogether but I think it's a testament to the quality of her vocal that it's prominent across the mixes. Regarding with collab, we didn't have all that much contact really, due to covid/lockdown. I had been searching for a certain singing style, when I heard her work I thought it would be worth a try. I passed her the dub... She wrote and sang the vocal, sent it back and I worked on the arrangement, adding some effects... It wasn't that difficult as she had done such a great job and it just worked really well with my instrumental.
It's been a great year of releases from Pirate Copy leading up to the Hot Creations debut, but on top of this your label Kaluki Musik has also had a brilliant year; welcoming the likes of Ninetoes, Darius Syrossian, Latmun and many more. How has the year been for you from your perspective?
— Yes I mean... coming out of the worst year imaginable for the live music industry with lockdowns and closure of music events, the second half of 2021 has actually been quite the whirlwind. Gigs went from zero, back to playing every week and the crowds have been huge in the UK at places like Warehouse Project ect. It was fantastic to get back to doing what I love and to also hear the music again in clubs and festivals, and not just at home, that was extremely special. In the lockdown when all we could do was be home and make music and focus on our label (Kaluki Musik), it had its best ever year, in terms of sales, charts etc, so that was one of the positives... I think without that I might have lost the plot completely!
This year Kaluki celebrated 16 years, a seriously impressive feat and testament to the strength of the brand and its sound. What does it mean to you to see the brand where it is today and what has the journey been like for you?
— Yes means everything to me.. It is a long time for a brand in this scene to stay relevant and continue to grow, as it's a very competitive industry, and somebody always wants to take your place. But I feel like we are still growing, pushing forward with new ideas, new music and passion, our shows are getting bigger, we are going into new directions, going on tour, and looking forward to our birthday in Manchester in December, that will hopefully be the icing on the cake at the end of the year.
— We'd love to hear a bit about your story that led you to your career in music? How did it all begin for you and what first inspired you to get started?
— Ok so yes I ditched a career working in IT support in 2000 to focus on my career as a DJ and promoting events. I had fallen in love with the music of Masters at Work, Erick Morillo, Daft Punk, DJ Sneak, Derrick Carter, Roger Sanchez, Danny Tenaglia during that time and I knew for sure this was what I wanted to do. I had several residencies playing vinyl in Manchester and became a resident at Sankeys Soap. That is where Kaluki began, as a monthly event.. And where I started to work with Nick Yates, my partner who is the promoter and booker for Kaluki & Paradise. We also started the label and on our 10th anniversary we did our first world tour, which was amazing and we haven't really looked back...
Could you tell us who or what styles have been your main musical influences throughout your life?
— So as a kid my house was always playing motown, Michael Jackson, Prince, reggae, UB40, soul, ska. I think that those early days always stay with you... I still play those albums at home now. As a teenager from Manchester, how could I not get into the phenomenon that was Oasis, they were my favourite band for sure as a teenager. Later on as I got to an age where I could go to a club (17 for me), I kinda had the epiphany moment one night when I heard Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You, Armand Van Helden - You Don't Know Me and Cassius - 1999 on the same night, they were all new records and I was like wooww this is it... This is me. I then bought decks and became a vinyl junkie and record shopped pretty much every day for the next few years. I was into soulful, funky house at that time, later I got into deeper records, minimal and techno, I traveled to Berlin many times and went to Berghain/Panorama Bar and Watergate and found that really inspiring, that was the early influence for Kaluki and the new alias that was Pirate Copy. So today, you could say that yes my sound is probably a mashup of all of those influences.
Given your years of experience both as a successful artist and label head, what advice would you offer to an aspiring artist in the early stages of their career?
— I would say to try to be yourself, be confident (something I haven't always found easy) and believe in yourself. You need to be dedicated and do it for the love, I feel it's important to be inspired and follow your own path. If it doesn't happen for you overnight, stick in it for the long run and eventually with hard work, passion and perseverance you will find your place.
Thank you for chatting with us today Lee! To round things off, is there anything else upcoming from yourself or Kaluki that you'd like to share with us?
— No problem, I've enjoyed the interview. Next up on Kaluki is a 16th anniversary special and I have a wicked collab with a talented young producer called Nicolas Caprile that's pretty special...