Producers, DJs, long-term music fanatics and now – perhaps most life-changing of all – fathers, Copyright are Sam Holt and Gavin ‘Face’ Mills, the UK duo whose considered and mature approach to house music has earned them a place in electronic music history. After 15 years, Copyright can count a studio album, headline gigs at some of the world’s biggest clubs, their own label Copyright Recordings and dozens of acclaimed singles amongst their achievements. Add to this a longstanding relationship with the mighty Defected Records on which the majority of their music has been released, and it’s easy to see why the name Copyright has become synonymous with quality, earning Holt and Mills thousands of fans around the globe.
Copyright’s catalogue is exemplary: a feast of thoughtful, evocative and heartfelt house music, the quality in which can be heard from their earliest productions to their most recent. From initial releases on Joey Negro’s Z Records (‘We Get Up’) and the legendary Soulfuric imprint (‘Bulo’) right up to recent releases Cross My Heart EP, ‘My Desire’ (feat. Donae’O) and ‘Say My Name’ (feat. Yasmeen), their tireless work ethic and undeniable talent has richly coloured everything that Copyright have created.
Although it was their music that initially put them on the house map, it is perhaps with their DJ sets that they have truly cemented their reputation. With roots deeply planted in an eclectic array of music from an early age, both members’ musical knowledge is seemingly infinite, with the result that no two Copyright sets are ever the same. Faultlessly and zealously delivered, you’d be hard pressed to find a duo that rocks a dancefloor with as much vigour and aptitude as Copyright.
Recently Holt and Mills took two months out of the studio to relocate. The fact that this was their longest break in over 10 years should give you some indication of just how much time these boys spend making music. “Records and remixes are your calling card” says the duo’s Sam Holt. “And in such a fast moving environment, you need to make sure you stay relevant.” For some, staying relevant might involve bandwagon-jumping; moving on to the next ‘in’ sound to avoid falling by the wayside, but this is something Copyright have always staunchly opposed. “There have been times where it seemed vocal house was totally out of favour” Holt continues “but there is always a core fan base. If you keep the music coming and stay true to your roots they will stay with you.”
Truest of all perhaps was Copyright’s debut artist album ‘Voices and Visions’ which came in 2008 and spawned singles ‘Free’, ‘I Pray’, ‘In Da Club (Shake Sh*t Up), We Can Rise, Deeper and the anthemic 'Wizeman’. Then in 2010 they joined the likes of Louie Vega, Dennis Ferrer and MK as their remarkable discography was celebrated as part of Defected’s House Masters series on a 2 CD retrospective of their very finest production and remix moment.
Since 2011 Copyright have also been weekly hosts of the Defected In The House radio show. Consistently the most downloaded dance music podcast on iTunes, the show reaches hundreds of thousands of listeners all around the world and has grown into the foremost house music show on the airwaves, something in which Copyright have played a key part. Add to this a residency at Booom!, Ibiza back in 2013 – one that is set to continue in 2014 – and Holt is understandably confident about both house music in general and Copyright’s role within it.
“It feels like there is a scene again: a global scene” he reports “And at the moment the trend seems to be towards deeper, more musically rooted music. House music has its roots in disco, soul and jazz even. So the fact that deep house became so popular again means the latest wave is more musical than it has been and actually links back to the origins of house.”
And so onto the most recent development in Copyright’s long history: fatherhood. Has it changed the way the group operates? “Having young families means we’ve just changed the way we work” admits Holt. “You need to grab an hour here and there making music, in reality it’s quite a good way of working, because most often the best results are pretty instant. We’ve also started doing things separately and then collaborating over the internet.”
Mills is also a fan of the new way of working: “One of us starts a track, just a rough sketch of an idea, then we bounce the files over to each other to continue the vibe. It’s exciting to hear how each other has developed the idea. It has already given birth to some great new tracks that are going to be coming very soon. After working for so many years in the studio together, working like this gives us a fresh perspective and space to develop ideas.” “It’s quite a cool way of working as it brings a new dimension to things” concludes Holt” and after all this time changing things up is definitely a good thing.”
The fact that Copyright has lasted this long bodes well for the future, with neither party’s passion for music production having waned. And while one of the stand-out qualities of the duo is without question their seemingly relentless consistency, long-term fans may have noted a slight change in their recent output; a movement away from the vocal-led production with which they made their name to rawer, deeper sounds. “We’re really happy with the direction” reports Holt. “The most important thing is that we still love making music and having the being in the lucky position of playing it to people on weekly basis. Our lives have changed massive in the past three years, but our enthusiasm for the music hasn’t changed one bit.”