Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Strictly Nuskool Blog Exclusive Interview with INSPECTOR SANDS

The Nuskool Hardcore scene features also its inspector and after all these years he has recently released one of the best and representative Breakbeat Hardcore albums in the history and definetely one of the best highlight releases of 2016 filling our summertime with happiness, uplfting vibes and uptempo attitude.
Adam Wright from Nottingham, the man behind INSPECTOR SANDS, opens his music life files talking about his new work, which is his first personal album out on his friendlly CLSM, his connection with Luna-C and Hattrixx, his first booking as an event organiser getting DJ Vibes to play and many more others.
Shy on the camera but full descriptive on his words.
This is the Inspector Sands!

- A big return and a long awaited Album sees finally the light, and from a quick glance anyone can notice that you're dealing with established and great men, starting from the label (CLSM) to the artwork (Junior Tomlin) as well as special collabs & features.

How long have you working on this material and how you caught up with all these great contributors from Jon Doe to Junior Tomlin and all featured producers?

Wow, pop the kettle on this could be a long one.

I started producing in or around 1996, I went on a 2 day sound engineering course in London (which i don't recommend, there was far too much to take in, in such a short period of time) however it did lead to me getting some studio time at that studio, I booked in shortly after and made what was then a very early version of 'I Call Your Name'. It was horrendous, in that it was produced at 170bpm, but wasn't how I heard it sounding in my head, and I remember being upset that I'd traveled from Nottingham (approx 150 miles away), spent money on the course, a hotel, train ticket the studio time itself, it just seemed like a big waste of money, and money that I didn't have. I was DJ'ing at the time and built up a bit of a relationship with Luna-C, I used to buy all my Kniteforce records directly from him and used to write to him asking him all sorts of things, from the history of Kniteforce to production advice. I sent him a demo tape (and I think I drew something on the case to make my tape stand out from others, though I don't remember what i drew!).

At this time I would have been 16, I didn't have a mobile phone (so I'd put the home phone number on the demo) and the internet was in it's infancy. I got home from school one day and my mum said "Someone called Chris has rang I said "Yeah i'm meeting him in a bit for a game of football" she said, "No, I don't think he is from round here and he's going to Japan" "What are you talking about?" I said, Mum had written something down "Somebody called Chris has rang, he said he likes your track and not to sell it to anyone else, but he's going to Japan now and won't be back for two weeks" "What!!!" I did of course try and ring but no response. Eventually I did speak to Chris, who did like the track, but it needed work, he invited me to the Kniteforce studio's (wow!!) and that was the start of that. I went to the studios probably 15 or 20 times over the next few years and came close to a release, I had an EP was due to be Knitebreed 14, but the label was sold shortly before that and they stopped on 13!! I wasn't really sure of the direction I wanted to go in musically either, I made hardcore, hard house, breaks and happy hardcore but there wasn't a definitive style. I wanted to make something that you could play in any kind of club, you just couldn't do it. The experience was amazing, you could say I studied at Kniteforce and ultimately Chris ended up being a good friend, but there came a time where other things became more important and i walked away.
Letter sent from Luna-C around 1995

I still kept in touch with Kniteforce, KFA had just started when I stopped, and I bought everything that came out on there, but hardly anything from elsewhere. I didn't even listen to anything hardcore related with the exception of Kniteforce. I'm not sure when it came about but Kniteforce started doing a forum, which I used to read. I think it was the start of 2012, or maybe earlier, there seemed to be a lot of noise around wanting the sound to go back to the early and mid 90's. As I say other than Kniteforce, I wasn't listening to anything so I didn't really know what they were comparing the sound to. The comments kept coming though, and I thought for a couple of months, what would it be like to get back in the studio, I had all the old samples/sounds, I had idea's and I wasn't influenced by what was around at the moment because I wasn't listening to it. After seeing a few more of these comments i said to Gill (my wife) that I was thinking of going in the studio again, and she said "Go for it!" so I did.


Owen Palmer was on the forum, I knew he was a producer, but didn't know much more about him. I was impressed how he conducted himself on there, he always seemed to want to help and offer advice to others, he clearly knew the history of the scene and knew what he was talking about. I found out he had a studio and looked up what tracks he had made (under the name Hattrixx), and then I emailed him. We arranged a phone call, where I told him my history and what I wanted to do, and then he invited me to the studio. We got on really well straight away, and the first time i went down we made a great tune 'Feel The Heat'. I always said that i would go and do three tracks, and if nothing happened after those three i would call it a day, it obviously wasn't meant to be. All three of those tracks got signed, the first to CLSM, so it was Owen, who put me in touch with Jon Doe.

Not long after that, Owen got a big project to work on, this meant a lot of his time was taken up doing this, and as i only had limited availability a lot of time we couldn't find a convenient time. I emailed Jon and asked if he had any studio time available, to which he invited me down and the rest is history. I did a few tunes Jon put out through his CLSM webstore, and it went from there. Jason (UFO) I had one session with, when Jon Doe moved house, we hit it off straight away, made the track in around 6 hours, and sat talking about the good old days well into the evening, ha ha. He's got some great stories.

Can't Stop LP Artwork by Junior Tomlin

The intention was never to do an album, but it got to the point where I had 6 or 7 tracks that hadn't been released. It was Jon that suggested I should do an album, so I got to work on that. You will see through the notes in the album, I thank people for their support through the stressful times of making the album, the stress isn't the production, that's really enjoyable, it's everything else that goes with it, when I decided to do the album everything had to be right, 100% right, so anything that was only 99% right caused me stress, just because I wanted it to be perfect, I wanted people to look and listen to the the album and go wow!.

So I toyed with a sleeve with a disc in, but then thought I'd regret it in a few years, then it was a digipack, but I couldn't thank and give credit to everyone in the space available, so it ended up being a digipack with booklet. So then there is the design, there was really only ever one person I had in mind and it almost never happened. When I was buying records, I loved the artwork on the records particularly Slammin Vinyl, most of them were designed by Junior Tomlin. I don't know why, I've met a lot of people in the scene who I grew up watching or listening to, but I've never been as nervous about talking to anyone as i was Mr. Tomlin.

Now look, he is a great guy and i really had no need to be nervous, it's possibly because I missed two scheduled phone calls with him right at the start, and I believe first impressions go a long way, so I don't know what he thought of me!! I think it was also because if he had said no, there was nobody else, nobody else I wanted to do it, you could have offered me any artist or designer in the world, for this to be 100% it had to be Junior Tomlin. Thank fully he said yes, and what an amazing job.

- How you came up signing to CLSM again? Were there any thoughts or offers from any other labels?

No, CLSM had a lot do with this, from helping with production to advising what to do at each stage. Everything I did, I consulted him on to get his opinion on and so because he helped so much, if he wanted to put it out, I was more than happy for that to happen. Again, I'm fascinated by the history of our scene, and so many great tunes have come out of the CLSM stables, I am so proud to be part of that now.

- Which tunes off this album are your personal highlights, the ones you'd mostly recommend to the fans and what's the reason of that selection?

Erm, well the personal highlight is the album itself, as I said everything had to be 100% so there was a lot of thought that went in to it. I didn't want an album where the tracks didn't differ much from each other, and so tried to do something for everyone. It got to a stage where I had a couple Drum & Bass sounding tracks, a couple of piano based tracks and one vocal orientated track, and so felt I had to write another vocal based track to even up the flow a bit, then throw in a couple of experimental tracks and there is a really good mix and blend. The tracklist was important as well, I couldn't load similar sounding tracks right at the start, if that isn't your preference you'd never listen to end, so it's designed to give a mix of everything.

I recommend all of them, ha ha, no, what's great is the tracks I didn't think people would like are getting some great reviews, 'Superfly' I felt was risk, great track, but it is different, but off the back of that I have been commissioned to do track for a major hardcore label, it seems to be getting a lot of love. 'Rippin Up Showz' I felt was a good track, but that is getting a lot of support from DJ's at the moment, and I've been told it is already in a set list at Moondance at the Olympic Park in September. Even the tracks that aren't everyone's cup of tea is fine too, at least people are listening and if I can bring a few new listeners along the way its all good. 

- Don't want to underrate all other remixes and producers, but I'd like to see your opinion about which remix from the album is your favourite?

Ha ha, all the remixes are amazing, each one as good as the other for different reasons. I'm not a huge remix fan, so this was quite a hard decision for me to have remixes on the album, but I had a thought one evening and it came from there. I'm not a fan because I think if you remix someone else's work it should add value to what they have done already, too many times I've heard remixes where they sound all too similar to the original and in some cases where the remix isn't a patch on the original.
The example that sticks in my head of how it should be done is that there was a track on Kniteforce around 1994 called 'Green eggs' by DJ Ham, the track was an absolute belter, full on breakbeats and pianos and was right up my street, not long after there was a remix by Krome and Time, I remember seeing it and thinking oh no, but when i played it it was just as good as the original but completely different, whilst you could still recognise the track, this was now a Krome & Time track and not a DJ Ham track, and that's how i wanted these remixes to be.

You had to be able to identify the track but the remix had to be the remixers track not mine. Now, i'm sure without doing any of this the remixes would have done an amazing job anyway but here is what i did. Luna-C and Fracus & Darwin only had the vocals no other parts or audios from the original so they had to create a track from scratch just with the vocals, in fact I wouldn't allow Luna-C to listen to original in case he was influenced to produce along the lines of that. Both tracks (i'm sure you will agree) are incredible, and just what I wanted.
Chris' remix had to be slightly different because the vocal is just one word, so he was given a bit more to work with, but also given full creative rights to do whatever he wants, he was continually in touch to let me know how he was getting on, but again another great remix, another great Chris Ross track.

- What type of equipment you've used for this Album in overall?

All sorts, but my favourite piece of equipment was a 30cm ruler bent on a flat surface and then slowly pulled to the middle of that surface and a empty margarine tub, half filled with dried pasta occasionally shaken on the offbeat!!! Four different studio's far too much equipment to list, Software wise, Cubase was used in every studio and the sampler took a hammering in every studio also!

- Rewind now back in your beginning in the scene from 90's and your role co-running the Sub-Sonic raves.

Can you tell us few bits about these raves and how was it back then?

Wow, pop the kettle on again. This was a school project and it was run by Iain Fox, with Gavin Chamberlain, I only really got involved on the last two. So, from what I remember they managed to hire or use a local nightclub every few months to hold an event where local DJ's or friends played hardcore music. Whilst it was popular with the youth, from what I remember any profits they made had to go into a community trust and that was managed by a local Police officer. I think the first few events had a few hardcore (as in regular) followers and made a little money but not much. I made friends with Foxy around 1993 i think and I had some decks around that time, he used to come round for a mix. One day he was round and I had a copy of Eternity magazine where there was an interview with DJ Vibes and a contact number in case you wanted to book him. He told me he had a date for the next event (a Tuesday night in April) and wondered what it would be like if Vibes was to play. I rang him there and then and we got a price, which was way out of our budget, however it was still achievable, there was still a bit in this community trust and we both had paper rounds!

SSP pres. Intensity 11.04.1995
We booked Vibes who wanted a deposit, so we borrowed some money off my dad and it was all done. The night started at 7pm, I rang Vibes at 7:30pm just to check he was on his way, now I'd only seen this club (The Regal) on a friday night and it used to get packed, it was probably a third full at the time i rang him. He told me he was on his way and asked if it was busy. I said no, not really and then Vibes told me he had to get off straight away after as he had a gig in Birmingham. Vibes got there about 8:45pm ready for the 9-10pm set. I have two clear memories at this point, the first is a guy who right from the start told us Vibes would never turn up to play a gig in a small town for a group of school children, he brought his record bag waiting to asked to play when Vibes didn't up.

There was a little chill out area, set slightly back from the dancefloor, only with room for about 10 people at the front of the club, I walked Vibes through the club and we waited in there for the DJ that was on to finish his set, not knowing that guy was already in there. I walked round the corner and he looked at me with a grin on his face as if he was going to say something, then suddenly he went as white as a sheet (as he had obviously seen Vibes follow me in) picked up his record bag and stormed out he club. I laughed, just as i laughed, Vibes turned to me and said "I thought you said it wasn't busy Adam?" I told him I didn't think it was, and he looked up and the dance floor and said "No, you've done alright son" He went on, played an amazing set, including an extra half an hour, we had to be thrown out by security because nobody wanted to leave.

DJ Vibes

After that, Vibes said that it was the best midweek gig he had ever played at. I've still got a recording of the set, I might put it up one day, but it was a great night. We made enough to pay everyone we had borrowed money from, paid the DJ's who didn't think they were getting paid and still had money left over that went back into that community pot. We were on a high, but a few months later the club got knocked down and over the next 6 months was rebuilt, we tried to get a night at the new venue but nothing ever happened. I also don't know what happened to the money in that community trust, but the next community project i knew of they built a skateboard park a few hundred yards away from the club, I like to think the money went some way towards that (you never know they might give us a plaque one day!) 


A few months after, Iain got a call saying we would be interested in talking to the owners of Derby Assembly Rooms about a potential event. The Assembly Rooms was a huge venue, that held conventions, concerts and at one stage the UK Snooker championships, apparently it was struggling to attract the youth in though. We went for a meeting and showed the owner what we had done, at that point we started talking about possibly hiring the venue for an event. We went for a second meeting, at which stage we discussed costs for room hire, security, first aid, sound system, the bar everything, it came to thousands of pounds, and for some reason at that point we said "yes"!!

In addition to that not only did we book one headliner (Vibes had been good to us, so he was in again) we booked two!!! (DJ SS). I can't really recall the thinking, I'm pretty sure we thought we were guaranteed to get our money back, but we signed the contracts there and then, although I remember they wouldn't let me sign some of the contracts as I wasn't 18. Anyway we had the night, it was on!

Vision event wt. DJ SS & Vibes 16.11.1996

My memory of the day was it was great, we set up from 10am, everyone there loved it, after DJ SS has played i gave him a tour of the venue, I think he was interested in putting on a night (and i heard afterwards a few Drum & Bass promotions had been in touch to ask how the night had gone) . I told him I wanted to go into production and own a record shop, he told me "Don't own a record shop, produce but, don't own a record shop" remember at that time he owned 5HQ, how right he was with that advice, shortly after it all became downloads. Vibes played another excellent set, but my overall emotion was a little upset knowing there wasn't going to be another event. We needed 268 to break even, we got 61, those 61 I'm sure enjoyed themselves but that was a very hard lesson.

- Entering one more essential part of your music life which is Adikted to Dance Records.
How you decided launching you own (vinyl/cd) label and why you stopped it?
It's been many years of absence...Have you ever thought re-launching it maybe?

It wasn't really an official label. I started doing gigs above a pub in Derbyshire called Adikted To Dance. The idea was we would play all kinds of dance music in an upstairs room while all the cheesy or commercial stuff was downstairs. I used to get a couple of local DJ's to come and play, but because we weren't attracting anyone after a while they weren't bothered. The exception was Danny Nightingale, who has gone on to do really well within the house scene, I actually went to school with him. He would turn up every week, no matter how many people were there and play for nothing, a great example to all budding DJ's.

I knew someone who worked at a pressing plant and talked him into pressing a few up (and it was a few), they were white labels and i just wrote ATD 1 or whatever it was on them, cd's were the same just printed up, and i handed them out for free at a couple of the gigs. I suppose when you see them, snapped or being thrown about, you think, there is no point to this so i stopped doing it. 
It won't be re-launched, no, it just goes down as another part of the journey. Our busiest night, I remember was a Sunday night before bank holiday, we actually had more people upstairs than was downstairs, then the owners shut the pub early and everyone had to leave!!

Vision Event buzz
- You've been already signed to many great Hardcore labels like CLSM, Kniteforce, KODE 5, Bassface and made that big album now.
Are you satisfied with your work so far and what's next for you?
What can we expect after this Album?

Satisfied yes, I'm loving it!! As I say, I told myself three tracks and that was it, unless people like what I do and the feedback has been that people do like what I do, I've already been commissioned for a track for a major hardcore label on the back of this album, so that's going to be coming up. I've also got a couple of EPs planned with remixes from AoS and Sam-B, and a few other bits in the pipeline too. Before all that though, I'm going on holiday!

- Five words to describe the 'Can't Stop' album.

Oh man, the rest of your questions have been really good, why five?
Perfect gift for someone special!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Adam I would like to thank you a lot in person for this interview and all good music you've been sending me to play out to my show.
'Can't Stop' LP is definitely on the elite of Hardcore albums in 2016.

The scene needs to get albums like this one and is pretty impressive and full on breakbeat hardcore work! Big up

Aww, thank you mate, cheers, good luck to you!

INSPECTOR SANDS 'Can't Stop' album is out now on CLSM.
Features 14 massive vibes of Breakbeat Hardcore including also mixes by Fracus & Darwin, Luna-C, Chris Ross and collabs with CLSM and Hattrixx.
Artwork by Junior Tomlin (
Order your CD/Digital copies on his bandcamp page HERE


01. Motivader
02. Superfly
03. Feel The Heat (exclusive album mix)
04. What A Rush (exclusive album mix)
05. Can't Stop (featuring Si Genaro) 
06. I Call Your Name (featuring Charley) 
07. Rippin Up Showz 
08. Lay My Beatz
09. Superfly (Chris Ross Remix)
10. Can't Stop (Luna-C Remix)
11. I Call Your Name (Fracus & Darwin Remix)
12. Dance (w/ Jason UFO - exclusive album mix- bonus track)
13. Did I Dream (w/ Hattrixx - album mix - bonus track)
14. Hard Daze (Inspector Sands & CLSM Bring Back Breakbeat exclusive album mix Again Remix)



(All pictures are taken from Inspector Sands personal archives and used with his kind permission)

GL0WKiD Interview with Inspector Sands (a.k.a Adam Wright)
Strictly Nuskool Blog - 13th July 2016

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