Third Son is the alias of techno producer and DJ Joseph Thomas Price. Born into a musical family, Joseph studied many different styles of composition from an early age. In Third Son Joseph combines throaty basslines with fluttering synths and heavy percussion and, in doing so, enraptures his audience with a unique and refined sound.
In this interview he speaks to us about his experience within the music industry, journeying from when his initial interest was piqued, to the present day DJ playing to thousands. Take note, because this kind of information can be rather difficult to come by.
From what I understand you come from a musical background. Growing up what kind of music did you listen to; did you play any instruments?
My dad was a lecturer of music at a university, so I was always exposed to classic, jazz and experimental music. Anything you would expect from traditional instruments. My first instrument was the piano and then I moved onto more obscure wind instruments, but lets not talk about that.
By thirteen I was super keen on guitar, mainly because I wanted to play solos like John Frusciante and Steve Vai. Once I reached grade 8 I began transitioning into electronic music writing.
When did you first start appreciating house and techno and what artists initially inspired?
I was really into a band called sky eats airplane. It was rock music but with gnarly electronic synth sounds and FX. I then slowly started to discover bands like Massive attack and Autechre and then had a massive phase in my teens obsessed with Amon Tobin. It’s not technically techno, but that was really the gateway for me
What and why were you inspired to start DJing and producing? Tell us a bit about your first songs and your first gig.
I’ve always made music, whether it was on the piano or when I first found fruity loops on my brothers computer when I was about 14 years old. I used to be really into ambient music, probably derived from a combination of Mike Oldfield and Boards of Canada.
I was in bands for years as a teenager, but my first DJ gig wasn’t until uni, playing in the ‘Alternative' room at a commercial club. The sound system was questionable but it gave me a chance to try out early productions in a big room. I think it’s crucial to learn how tracks translate from the studio to a club as early on as possible, and you can only really do that by playing out.
Tell us a bit more about your early production and DJing. What was your first equipment like?
Production wise, a computer, pretty much. In fact I used to love making beats with Music 2000 on the Playstation as a kid, which was essentially just compiling loops - but it was great fun.
The first DJ rig I had was actually borrowed off my best mate in uni. It was an early version of Serato, some 1210’s, and a beasty old allen and heath.
You’ve come quite far from where you started, so how do your initial gigs compare to the shows you play now? What’s been your favourite show you’ve played?
After starting out at student nights it’s nice to now be playing venues where I can play exactly what I want to. My favourite gig so far was probably Space in Sharm. There were some really great moments, especially when I was playing my own tracks. There’s no better feeling that. It’s pure gratification.
You’ve made a fresh start with Third Son, but what aliases did you release under prior to changing your pseudonym?
Third Son is my third project. Before this I was releasing music under the alias Origins Sound with the same guy who lent me those decks. That project was a crucial part of the puzzle.
New artists often struggle to have their music listened to in a crowded market. How did you go about trying to get your music heard by a wider audience?
I was lucky enough to start with Kal, my manager. We sent out demos straight away and Noir signed my first EP within pretty much a week of conception.
After that for me it was about making as much music as I possibly could without skimping on quality. Signing material to a spread of labels early on certainly helped in getting off the ground, but it’s true - it is hard for young artists as there’s so much noise out there. That said, we’re now better equipped than ever before. Getting mixes out there, locking down gig bookings, and generally being pro-active about what you want to ultimately achieve will help your music find the right people.
Contacts can be very important within the music industry. Did you have any useful contacts before you started working in a more professional capacity?
Actually no, my contact list was pretty poor, but that’s why having a manger was so crucial for me early on.
I’m sure there are many things you wished you had been told before you were signed. What advice would you give to any budding producer or DJ?
To start with, focus on quality over originality. Trying to be original while learning the craft is impossible and you can get bogged down with the idea itself. Reach a point where you’re comfortable creating a range of sounds and original music will come as the sum of your influences.
You just moved from Bristol and are building a new studio. What has this process been like and what notable piece of equipment in the studio?
I’m now living in east London with a basement studio complete with LED ceiling (It came installed). For me the acoustic of the room is paramount, so probably my mega thick rugs and base traps. The Aira stuff is pretty fun to jam on and I have a couple of analogue keyboards, but I have so many great soft synths that I’ve used for so long now I feel I can pretty much create any sound from them e.g Arturia, Arp 2600, Jupiter 8, Sylenth 1.
You are currently signed to Sincopat. Why did you decide to sign to the label and what about their philosophy and sound attracted you to them?
I’ve always loved their music, more consistently than any other label actually. I also really like the way they work. They’re professional and uber cool guys.
You recently released your Get to the Chopper EP on Sincopat. What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any new music or exciting gigs?
Got a few follow up EPs with various labels, 303Lovers, Definitive, Underground Audio, and an EP with Einmusika that i’m looking forward to. Gigwise, I’m playing quite a bit in europe and the middle east at the moment. Doing my first India tour in November so pumped about that.
A man of somewhat mystery - going by the name Vanilla Ace - this producer is next up to take us deep In The Mixdown, with his latest release ‘Work On You’. This eclectic groover sits itself in the depths of deep house, while spinning a slick set of disco stabs that makes us all kinds of giddy. Released on April 7, the track leads the 19th instalment of the Collected Works compilations series from the influential Berlin powerhouse Off Recordings. Having only tipped radars in 2012, Vanilla Ace has already delivered his 99’s worth, with releases on Toolroom, MODA, Suara, OFF Recordings, Ministry of Sound. The following ‘Work On You’ is guaranteed to make the dance floor melt, and is certainly not one for the flakes.
Here the track - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-zUwgOiLoc&feature=youtu.be
‘Work On You’ featured as the lead track from the 19th Collected Works compilation EP series from Off Recordings. How did your track find its way into featuring within this series?
Once I had made the track, I had a feeling it would suit OFF so sent it over to Andre Crom and he loved it after playing it out a few times.
Why do you think this track suits Off Recordings, and how do you feel you compare to the other producers on the EP?
OFF always put out classy pieces of house music and 'Work on You' fits nicely with the current direction and style they are going. The other producers on the EP are great and all have a certain style. I'm probably a bit more eclectic than most as I don't just sit in one genre of house or nu disco.
What was your initial mind-set going into ‘Work On You’ and what did you want from it?
I discovered the vocal on an old house acapella vinyl I have had for years, not even sure where I got it, but once I heard it I knew it would work in a jacked up bouncy vibe with a killer bass sound.
How do you normally start your production process?
I usually start by getting some drum loops going and then fitting the vocal around it to make sure it’s going in the right direction. Once that’s done I start with the bass sound and atmospheric parts.
Which VSTs have you used to produce this track?
It was a mix of Arturia stuff, Mini V for bass and CS80 for the synth sounds.
When you were creating ‘Work On You’, how long did you spend on the arrangement?
The arrangement didn't take that long as I knew how I wanted it to be. I DJ on Serato, so I always have a good vision of how the sound wave should eventually look like.
How did you make the main bass line?
This took a while as I didn't want it to sound like a generic style, so I experimented with a number of ideas on the Mini V. Once I had one that had me moving in my seat, I knew I was onto a winner.
Do you mix and master your own tracks?
I try and do as much as I can but usually I'll send to an engineer friend to beef up and mix down properly. Mastering is usually done by the label.
What do you do if you lose the flow and inspiration? How do you recharge?
Have lunch! Go for a walk, check your emails. Listening to some new music helps as well.
Did you test ‘Work On You’ out in a club before sending this version to the label?
I always test new tracks in my sets before I send to anyone, I've made the mistake in the past of sending tracks to labels without road testing them first. Gauging the audience reaction is a must, there is nothing better when someone comes and asks you what something is that you just made.
Putting the glitter ball into hard graft, ‘Work On You’ is a testament to the careful craft of fine-tuned mechanics. Made with the dancefloor at heart, it’s been tried and tested within its valentine, and even been given clubber kiss over approval before dropping on Off Recordings. A stand out amongst the EP, Vanilla Ace is clearly cooler than ice. Headlining the next Raw Silence Pacha London party on April 25, make sure you get down so Vanilla Ace can make his magic ‘Work On You’.