Touched Music Mark World Cancer Day with Latest Charity Record, Covert II, for Macmillan Cancer Support

Martin Boulton of Touched Music
Martin Boulton of Touched Music

Touched release their new Covert II record for Macmillan this weekend. The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight talks to Touched’s Martin Boulton about the release and what made him start putting out records to begin with.

At some point in our lives, we will encounter someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. It is very fortunate for everyone who’s lives have been tainted by this horrible disease that there are charities like Macmillan Cancer Support, who help thousands and thousands of people every day, in both coming to terms with their illness, and making living with and fighting the illness as comfortable as possible.

It is also very fortunate that people like Martin Boulton, who manages Touched Music, are on hand to assist with fundraising for charities, on a large scale. Martin is a humble, unassuming character, but what he has done for charity by way of his charity record releases is nothing short of amazing, and we can all take a lesson from what Martin has done; that we all should do a little more to try and help charities achieve their goals.

Today, February 4th, which is World Cancer Day, sees Touched drop their first vinyl release for the Macmillan cancer charity. The Covert II record, according to Touched, features five “previously unreleased tracks offering a variety of cornish acidic sounds, playful structures and melodies that will take the listener on a journey into future worlds”.

All of the tracks on the record have been recorded free of charge and anonymously, which serves to further the charitable nature of the record – no one artist is going to take more credit than any other. The vinyl release has been produced in conjunction with De:Tuned Records and Designer’s Republic, and paves the way for a full fifteen-track album which is due out in March.

You can purchase a copy of the Touched release over on their Bandcamp page, here, and we seriously urge you to do so, as this is for an amazing cause. The world could do with many more Martin Boulton‘s, The Waveform Transmitter is certain that would make it a much better place.

Covert II cover art
Covert II cover art

Martin took time out of his busy schedule to speak to us candidly about the label, Covert II, and what the future holds for Touched Music.

Waveform: Hi Martin. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. OK, let’s start at the very beginning. What gave you the idea to launch Touched?

Martin: Hi, very nice of you to take an interest in Touched Music and I’m very much looking forward to having a chat with you.

So it all began in 2013 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. it was a very sad time and I wanted to do something to take my mind off everything. I also wanted to give something back to Macmillan, who had been so great. The way they cared for her and did a great job of looking after her, and the support, was just amazing.

I wanted to do something to raise some money, I could have done a bike ride, a run, shaved my hair off (if I had some) but I had always had this idea of making a compilation album with some of my friend and label mates. A few weeks later I had 123 tracks for the first album.

Waveform: Your label does a lot to aid the Macmillan Cancer Trust. Do you feel that more labels should lend their expertise to this kind of charitable venture?

Martin: Yeah I don’t know why all organisations don’t have a week of giving something. If I had to go a week without my wages, for just one week of the year, and I also knew that everyone else was doing the same (professional sports people, TV/movie stars, businessman and so on) I’d do it without thinking. How much would that raise? But, in answer to your question, we could all do more.

Waveform: You’ve had some amazing artists collaborate with touched in the past and with great success; Plaid, Autechre, Kid606, and D’Arcangelo, to name but a few. How do you manage to pull such big names in to support the Touched cause?

Martin: Getting the bigger names at the start was a bit more of a challenge but when I had a few on board I could message them a list of who said yes so far and it would make it easier. Getting some of the names has been relatively easy – “Oh yes, Touched, I’ve been waiting for you to message me.” – if only there were all like that! so where I had to ask one big name to ask another big name and to ask them to tell them about it, complicated stuff. I’ve had to ask labels if the artist was out of reach but most labels have been very supportive.

So I had to ask one big name to ask another big name and to ask them to tell them about it, complicated stuff. I’ve had to ask labels, if the artist was out of reach, but most labels have been very supportive.

Waveform: Tell us about the new Touched release.

Martin: So in 2015 I had the idea to release an album called Covert. None of the artists’ names would be on it, so it would just be all about listening to the music – not about who produced it. It was a big success and we sold out of the CD in 24 hours. Now, Touched is back with Covert II Vinyl 12” EP and full 15-track Digipack CD album in March.

The vinyl is a collaboration with Touched and the mega-cool Belgian label, De:tuned (known for some awesome vinyl releases to date). I had got chatting to the label owner Ruben Boons and he wanted to do something together. We both had the idea for Covert 2 vinyl and it all came together like a dream. We contacted some artists we thought might be up for the idea and, within a few weeks, we had some killer tunes from some killer artists.

I reached out to The Designers Republic again to ask if they would like to help on the second Covert cover. They were in, the plan was coming together. So, months passed and then it all happened. Bang!!! It’s here and I love it.

Waveform: You seem to attract a lot of artists from the IDM scene. Is that anything to do with personal preference, or do you find those artists more ‘willing’ to get on board with this kind of charity record?

Martin: Well I’m into IDM, electronica, and ambient music so I just ask the artists and labels that I’m into. As you can tell from Touched 3, which had 414 tracks on it, I’m into loads of stuff.

I do find the people who populate the world of electronic music amazing. Most of the people I’ve met from being part of Touched are great people indeed; very like minded, not just about music, about most things, comedy, film, fashion and lots of other things. I’ve made lots of new friends thanks to starting Touched.

Waveform: Do you plan to expand beyond record releases? What does the future, both immediate and longer-term, hold for Touched?

Martin: Well, 2017 is going to be the best year yet for Touched Music, every release this year will be on a physical format, vinyl or CD. Some of my favourite artists will be releasing music on touched this year like B12, Karsten Pflum, Exm, Monoform, Paranerd and more.

I did a Touched Live in 2014 in Wales with an all-star line up, so more people keep asking about that, and a few of the artists have offered to play live, so that could be something to plan. Touched will keep going as long as the music is there and the fans are interested.

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