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Soundcamp Spotlight: Joe Roche

Soundcamp is a 12 week programme that gives up and coming artists the opportunity to develop their performance and music business skills, delivered in partnership with Youth Music. The Soundcamp Spotlight series is a new feature that aims to shine the light on Soundcamp artists and share their story with our audience.

To kick off this series, we sat down with DJ, Producer, Label Owner and Project Facilitator Joe Roche.

Could you please introduce yourself. 

Hi, I’m Joe Roche and I’m your new favourite DJ. Only messing (not really), I live in Salford and I make and play tunes for a living, which is unreal. I run an online record store, record label and event/music brand called Do As You Please.  

When did your musical journey start?  

My parents co-owned a nightclub that booked DJs like Utah Saints, Sasha & Nightmares on Wax in the early acid house days. I was brought up around these people and that scene so I suppose it was from about 1994.

In terms of DJ’ing and making music though coming up to the 10 year mark now, mad.

How would you describe your production and mixing style? 

I like groovy party gear to be honest. Love the old Chicago/Detroit styles, French house, chunky Glasgow/Scottish style house and techno. Early 00s breakbeat as well if the crowd is up for it. Also, more recent bouncy deep and tech house, like Gene on Earth and Huerta have changed the game for me. 

My style is kind of a culmination of all these influences. I like to be eclectic and versatile with my DJing, and I feel this shows in my production as well. I’d love to have a track of my own to play at any time of day or night, in any type of venue. 

At the end of last year you participated in Reform’s Soundcamp bootcamp, a project to cultivate 16 of Manchester’s promising artists. Why did you decide to apply for this programme? 

I finished my DJ & production degree last Summer, and I was looking for my next step into the industry following that. The programme just seemed perfect, for real life, guided mentoring and learning. I’ve worked with Reform since 2016 as a participant and I know the quality of the courses is always high, but this seemed like a bit of a right of passage as an artist and I was incredibly keen to be amongst the local talent who were going for the positions. 

What were your Soundcamp highlights? 

You know what, the whole thing was absolutely class. As cliche as it is, every session and every little success for not only me, but for everyone else I was lucky enough to be on the programme with, was incredible. Having different mentors from different disciplines teaching you all their industry tips was definitely a highlight. The initial bootcamp process was unreal as well. Having like 30 creatives in a room with all the tools they’d need to create tunes and just setting them off is easily the best idea ever made.  

The final showcase of everyone sharing their work is something I’ll never forget, too. Unbelievable talent, and all on our doorstep.

Soundcamp Showcase at We Out Here Online & On Air 2021

Since the Soundcamp Showcase, you performed a mega one hour live set at Manchester International Festival. How was that experience?

Well it was mega, obviously! The whole experience was amazing and it was nice to do it in the place I live. All my other larger event experiences have been elsewhere, so having a lot of familiar people and places around me was ace.

I actually managed to produce the whole set in about 4 weeks, which is something I’m really proud of. This set was following the previous live set I did for We Out Here Festival a few weeks before, which meant everything was really fresh and I had the drive to up the level of my performance.

The stage and crowd were class and to be honest it was a really proud moment for me all round.

I even made the visuals!

You’ve frequently been involved in Reform’s projects, both asa participant and as a facilitator. DJ sessions has been your most recent facilitation project, where you’ve been teaching participants DJ skills and helping them connect with potential promoters. What do you think draws you to facilitation? 

Well, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to pursue music and production as a career, and now I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with an amazing company, teaching people everything I’ve learnt to better their lives and careers. The industry isn’t a level playing field, but there’s plenty of work there, people just need a leg up and some confidence with what they’re doing. I love sharing my eureka moments from over the years and to be honest, I learn as much as I teach a lot of the time. Plus it’s a right laugh and you meet about 8 million people every time you do a project.

What are you hoping your next steps will be? 

I’d like to get some serious production work done now I’ve settled after uni and Soundcamp. Everything was too up in the air over the past 12-18 months to get my head down and find a flow with making music. I’d love to get some more label signings under my belt, new club residencies and hopefully expand into having a team representing/helping me as an artist in terms of a manager and agent. 

Anything upcoming that you would like to shout out?  

Yeah, we’ve got an event at Eastern Bloc on December 11th which I’m well buzzing about.Vinyl only, loads of mint up and coming DJs, come through its gonna be well good. Any Leeds heads reading this we’ve also got Distrikt booked on Tuesday 21st for the Do As You Please Christmas do. Next year loads of events gonna be happening so keep an eye on the socials and

Also we have another vinyl release scheduled for next year on the label. Massive release in my mind, can’t wait to share that with the world.

What was the last event you went to? 

Back to Basics last weekend, prohibition theme and incredible line up. Also have to note, went to fabric for Craig Richards, Francesco Del Garda, Bradley Zero and loads of other heads at the start of the month and that was INCREDIBLE. fabric is one of the best clubs I’ve been to hands down, only £15 a ticket as well, buzzing.

Are there any local artists/musicians/collectives that you would like to shout out? 

Yeah, I’ve been playing at Joshua Brooks quite regularly recently in the club and bar, massive shout to Sharples and the guys down there for having me and for what they’ve done with the venue. Absolutely love the space and the whole team are wicked and an absolute pleasure to work with. 

Big shout to my friends at Surco, who invited me to play and celebrate their 6th birthday in October, unbelievable achievement from them and buzzing to see where they go.

Finally a huge thanks to all the Reform, Rhythm Lab and Soundcamp staff and artists that have made this chapter of my journey so class and memorable. You’re all ace, long live Reform. 

And finally…What has made you chuckle recently?

Back to Basics 30th birthday at the Warehouse in Leeds. Loads of wicked characters and the whole night was absolutely class, but just bonkers and well funny. Also watched Jason Manford taking a scam call and having them on today, which was hilarious.

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