Hailing from the quiet city of Reding in Berkshire, Pash followed his music calling and enrolled at the Bretton Hall Arts College near Leeds. He started DJing in 1996 playing Hip Hop and Funk, but it was in college when he got introduced to electronic music. The first contact was through Drum and Bass, but only after moving to London in 2000 he got his head deep into house territory. He can currently be found spending his time between producing the most modern disco edits under his Norm De Plume, working at Delusions Of Grandeur and hosting their podcast and also at a windy beach surfing his board on the mighty ocean waves when taking a break from the powerful sound waves.
We already had the pleasure of reviewing his latest Plumage release back in March and we now have the honour of having Norm answering a few questions for the April issue of our exclusive interview series.
Hello Norm and welcome to We Play Wax!
Your artist moniker is very clever and I find it to be a bit tongue in cheek. How did you come up with it, what's the story behind it?
It was actually a joke a friend made. At the time (2010) I was associated with Freerange Records more than anything else because I’d helped Jamie (Jimpster) and his partner Tom with that label for quite some time and also DJ’ed using my real name at quite a few Freerange events over the years. I needed a pseudonym for the Delusions Of Grandeur Podcast because we wanted Delusions to be entirely separate from Freerange. We don’t do and never really have done much, if any press for Delusions. It’s strictly about the music and we never wanted it to judged in the same way as Freerange. Musically it’s a different sound and we wanted to ensure people didn’t get lazy and pigeonhole it. Anyway my friend Jon said “you need a Nom De Plume” and straight away he said “what about Norm De Plume!” I laughed and it just sort of stuck.
You know that working for a label such as DOG is any vinyl head's dream. How did you manage to land the job and how did it influence your career as a DJ and Producer?
I’ve helped Tom & Jamie at Freerange Records part time and in addition to my full time job since about 2003. At the time when Jamie was setting up Delusions in 2009 I had already started to take my house sets in a different direction, I had started collecting Disco on 12” and started playing a lot slower and introducing a lot more disco and edits. He liked the sound and trusted me to present the Delusions podcast. The podcast has definitely helped to get a bit more noticed as a DJ. Also I get great constructive feedback from Jamie, Matt, Tom & Lou on my production ideas, so I guess it’s helped there too.
Speaking of which, the DOG podcast appeared abandoned for almost two seasons until last week and the Wayward project you did with Matt Maters seems to be a thing of the past. Are we going to hear more of them in the near future?
Wayward is on the back burner for now. Matt (Masters) and I are both very busy and don’t really have time to promote it in the way that it requires. We hope to get it going again soon but we need to find that special venue where we feel at home. The DOGcast is still going, again time pressures mean it is only going out every couple of months right now but I hope to get back on top of it again and get it out monthly going forward.
So being such a fresh name on the scene, I have to ask if you had any prior connection to music, especially to the production side of things. Did you release anything prior to Norm De Plume?
I was lucky enough to do quite a lot of music at school, I played the trumpet & guitar and I went on to study music after my A-Levels, but I was pretty late to start producing electronic / dance music properly. I never released any house music before the NDP name, but when I was at college doing my music degree I made some drum & bass tracks with a friend. None of it ever saw the light of day apart from a white label we put out. It was a single sided press, 100 units! We financed it using the proceeds from an all night party we put on at college!
Speaking of releases, what made you decide to start your own label rather than just get your music out on Freerange or DOG since you were already an integral part of the family?
The Plumage material is just a little too edit / sample heavy to fit on either DOG or Freerange. I also just wanted to create my own little imprint for my own productions. Something with a strong identity (I hope!) and personal to me.
Let's talk a bit about your second release ever. Kolour Ltd always had a history of a pretty exclusive selection of artists, most of them being quite the seasoned veterans. How did you manage to infiltrate their ranks in 2011 with just one record under your belt?
Mike W at Kolour Ltd liked PLUMAGE01 when it was released and asked me to do a release if he could have Franc Spangler to remix one of the tracks, to make a strong Delusions connection/vibe on the record. Franc (AKA Jamie) agreed and that was that. Mike and I had actually already made contact and were already friendly because I’d already been supporting the Kolour Ltd releases on the podcast.
Talking about other artists, I was surprised to read Sound Stream and Studio 45 as your main inspirations. Not many people know about Frank Timm's work, not to mention citing him as an influence. Was it the samples, his cutting and looping skills or the entire novelty of his sound that got to you?
I really like Sound Stream. Those productions are sometimes relatively simple but really effective. Choice sampling, bags of soul and simple sometimes but actually always really creative and cool. Great heavy kick drum sound too! You can tell a Sound Stream or Sound Hack production straight off he definitely has his own unique sound. Which is brilliant.
I also noticed that all your releases are vinyl only. How important is the medium to you? What's your view on the recent vinyl revival? Is this a good thing or a bad thing for the artists and labels involved and why. Are you going to keep Plumage as well?
It’s very important to me. I DJ’ed with just vinyl for years. I use CDRs now too but I prefer to play just vinyl if I can. I just wish clubs would take better care of their turntables and show them a little love every now and then! I think it’s great that people are getting into vinyl, I still think it’s pretty niche but it’s nice it’s happening. It’s a beautiful sound. Plumage will stay vinyl-only for sure.
What does 2014 look like for Norm De Plume? Your second EP on Plumage just landed after a 4 years gap so everybody out there in disco land is keeping their fingers crossed for a fast follow-up to it. Any plans to feature other artists on the label?
I’m going to try and get PLUMAGE03 out much sooner this time! I plan to take it a little deeper but it will always have a heavy disco-vibe because that’s what I love No plans to involve anyone else on Plumage. There’s not a lot of point as a 200/300 unit 12” vinyl release barely breaks even (financially) these days, so I could never really pay anyone and myself properly! It’s just about the love really and showing the world my musical ideas and hopefully forging my own sound.
Thank you for your time and interest and looking forward to hearing the Plumage!