June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Easy man, how have things been since I last saw you?
Things have been good thanks. Just spending more time on my production & djing.
2011 has already been a pretty big year for you. Since confirming for Outlook, what other opportunities have presented themselves?
Yeah this year’s been great so far. It seems like I’m getting a lot more opportunities to play the sound that I’m most passionate about. I’ve been confirmed for a couple of big lineups in London that I’m very excited about, as well as my second international booking of the year in Estonia next week.
For those who don’t know, can you talk us through the process which lead to you collaborating with Jamie (J:Kenzo) and the eventual Rinse airplay via Youngsta? Can we expect to hear anything else coming from you two soon?
Well I don’t live too far from J:Kenzo, and over the last three or four years we’ve played at a lot of the same clubs in Kent. When I first got into dubstep I think there were only four names that I’d heard of based in Kent who seemed to be involved with the sound, (Markomen, Rod Azlan & Stenchman being the others). I remember the first time we played on the same night he gave me a couple of his vinyl releases, then when we both started playing regularly at Dubbed Out we got chatting & decided to link up.
I think Youngsta began playing the tune shortly after ‘The Roteks’ and ‘Nocturnal Feelings’ so, by that point everything J produced was considered gold!
The session was really good, so hopefully we’ll find time to jump on a few more tracks in the future.
Following on from that, have you been approached by anyone to sign your beats yet?
I’ve had a couple of labels approach me for my music, but at the moment I don’t think there’s any rush to sign anything. I’m just glad that there’s been a positive response to what I’m doing, which is encouraging me to improve my production & work rate.
You recently returned from Estonia, how did things compare from your experiences on these shores? Were people more receptive to the deeper side of things?
Yeah it was great! Everyone was really friendly & welcoming to both me, and my sound as a DJ. They definitely seem to be a little more diverse over there. I was in shock when Kode 9 came on one of their main daytime radio stations in the car!
It made me realise how much we take things for granted here in the UK though. They don’t have access to the masses of music nights & opportunities like we do. I met some really good producers that could easily have big records if they lived in England.
Were you introduced to any strange spirits and food or different styles of music?
Lets just say that everyone I met made me try something new, ha. They definitely like to drink their shots in Estonia. As for music; I think I heard a local band playing an Estonian cover of the Ghost Busters theme, which was pretty good!
As for your live sets, do they differ much from your Sub Session mixes or are the mixes a fair representation of what you play in the clubs?
I would say most of the time I tend to play a mixture of styles. I think it’s important to find a balance of sound that fits the crowd & keeps the set lively & interesting; whilst sticking to the tunes that you respect. For me that tends to take the form of some deep/dark rollers, tribal & dubby tunes, heavy tunes (that are good) and some classics. So yeah, you could say that my live sets are definitely down the same vibe, but maybe with a bit more energy?
For someone who has been into dubstep for a while, where was your entry point? Does it annoy you the genre is being heavily represented on the heavier side at the moment and that people are missing out on the stuff with space, pace and massive grooves because of this?
For me I got into djing first. I was playing guitar & keyboards at school, listening to a lot of blues, jazz & rock. As I started to grow up I got really into different styles of hip hop and trip hop, but there wasn’t much I could do here with a guitar or Keyboard. I knew I was never going to be an mc, so I started to get really interest in djing & turntablism. Couple years down the line and I was an amateur hip hop/scratch DJ. I think it was 2006 that I first heard the word Dubstep, which was the hot topic down at the DMC competitions.
There’s been a couple of times where it has looked like we’re fighting a losing battle to remind people what Dubstep really is, but since I started focusing more on the positive aspects of the scene & just pushing the sound I want to, things have already started looking up. For me this has been one of the best years yet for good releases, and with people like Rinse FM & Get Darker showcasing all aspects of the sound I’ve noticed a lot of people exploring & moving away from the more ‘hype’ tunes. It was the same with d&b, which for me became so stale and dumbed down for the ‘ravers’. Now you can see how good the scene is with the more minimal, techy & dark flavors. Im more into d&b now than ever!
Do you still keep up to date with current hip hop? Who are you rating these days?
Unfortunately not man. It’s amazing how fast I lost most of my scratching/juggling techniques as well. I have a pretty large back catalogue of golden hip hop/ trip hop that I listen to a lot when traveling though. Anything from Jeru the Damaja to DJ Shadow. I’ve just been listening to some new stuff from Jehst though, feeling that!
What are the best ways for more unknown producers to get their music to you or for promoters to get in touch?
The best way for producers, DJ’s or promoters to get in touch is to send me an email here: MosaixMusic@hotmail.co.uk
Any thanks or shouts you’d like to extend?
Just want to say thanks to everyone that’s come to hear me DJ or supported my music over the last few years. Big up to all the cool people, artists, DJ and promoters that I’ve met, and a shout to everyone back in Kent that’s pushing the good music!
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June 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Ruckspin recently recorded a mix in collaboration with Outlook Festival and FACT magazine. The mix showcases his own work, the work of friends and of his band Submotion Orchestra. It is a sublime little trip through the more melodic side of the dubstep circles.
Cliché questions first; Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little background information about how you ended up doing music full time? Did you start on the slower end of the bpm scale, or towards the faster end?
Music has been full time for me since I was at school – orchestras, choirs, and other things outside of school. Classical music doesn’t have any particular bpm, but i guess that’s where it all started. Later on, I began playing with my friends’ garage vinyl, but really started collecting and spinning dnb seriously in my late teens. I’ve always had a fascination with all kinds of music from classical and jazz to jungle and leftfield electronica, so when dubstep first appeared, the variety of everything that began to come from the new genre really excited me, as well as being a great challenge from a DJ perspective – building a set full of all kinds of styles of tune from deep dub techno through to tearing synth-heavy crunk and everything in between.
As well as your own productions, you’ve also collaborated with a lot of other quality producers. Are there certain things about making tunes which you enjoy more when you can bounce ideas back and forth?
There are so many reasons I enjoy collaborating with other producers. Production is always better when you get a second opinion at some stage in the process. It’s usually even better if the producers involved are on an equal pegging in terms of technical ability, and you can get constant feedback and input along the way. In the case of Cymatic, it’s like a full-on producer-fest, where we just geek out in the studio for a week. There are a few other tunes I’ve made with different producers all contributing ideas. It’s really fun and can lead to amazing tunes, but you have to stay open-minded to where the tune is going, and just let it happen.
For a lot of my friends and myself, its been a welcome change to the whole robotic side of the scene, so can you explain how Submotion Orchestra came into being? What sort of musical background did the others guys, and girl come from?
Submotion Orchestra came about as a result of a live orchestral dubstep performance at Yorkminster Cathedral. It was a great success, and soon afterwards myself and the drummer put together a group of local talent to perform our compositions. We started off performing live versions of my existing releases ‘Sunshine’ and ‘All Night’ among others. All the musicians involved have varied musical backgrounds and experience, which is great as it becomes a bit of a melting pot of dub, jazz, garage, soul, and even influences from south american and african rhythms.
Which producers would you say influenced you the most in terms of sounds and studio techniques?
The people that have influenced me the most are my friends, and the people I’ve worked with on music. In my earlier years it was all just experimentation, and it was great to have people to experiment on music with and push production boundaries with. Quark, Quantum Soul, Planas, Reso, J Sparrow, DLR & Octane, Goth Trad all have different ways of working and I guess my techniques fit in there somewhere.
Following on from that, are there any tips you can give to the more bedroom orientated producers out there?
Mainly what happens is you pick up habits more than techniques, and it’s good to constantly challenge yourself with new directions, so you don’t fall into a rut with the same old drum processing or the same tired synth presets. That’s also another benefit about collaborating with other musicians and producers – they will always have a different approach to the same music, and so you will always have to look at things in a new light. On the other hand, you can really explore your own ideas and approaches in depth once you have some time to yourself!
Everyone’s opinion is as valid as the next when it comes to what makes a good tune, so make sure you can appreciate music from as many angles as possible – but don’t forget to stick up for yourself!
When it comes to playing out, are you still playing via vinyl or have you gone over to the digital side?
I’m still a vinyl addict, though I have cut down recently. I’m finding that as much as dnb and dubstep consumers still support vinyl production, the mainstream genres along with house & techno have gone fully digital. This has a knock-on effect on the underground genres too.
I rarely take vinyl to gigs any more because a) i’m old and my back can’t take the amount of tunes I want to take now, b) when i turn up at the venue, the chances are the decks will be poorly serviced (if there are any at all) because not many DJs use vinyl now, c) everyone is so keen to hear new unreleased material that I can’t afford to cut enough dubs, let alone simply wait for vinyl releases, d) I want to hear my tunes on a loud soundsystem with lots of bass, and generally that means the architect of the venue, as well as the technician, needs to know about how to avoid feedback if I want to be able to play vinyl properly.
When I play at my own night, I mostly play vinyl. Anywhere else I wouldn’t like to take the risk. It’s a real shame but I guess it’s part of the technological evolution and we either have to embrace it or soldier on, bearing a cross of 3 trolley-bags of vinyl and some spare needles everywhere like I see one DJ in leeds do. He has my full support but I fear his defiance is in vain.
With what you mentioned about the orchestral involvement at Yorkminster, is that something you’d like to do on a larger scale across a tour or do you not think it’d be possible?
I would love to do something like that again. We were given 1 month to put the entire thing together last time, so I’d love to do it over again, with some more time to write and arrange everything, as well as time to do some proper rehearsals. Everyone that was involved expressed a wish to do that again too, but I’m yet to figure out how best to mic up a full orchestra including church organ, drum-kit, grand piano and synth sub-bass on a 15k soundsystem in a cathedral with 12second reverb…
The day will come though, I’m sure…
Anyone you’d like to thank or big up?
Bigups to all the ranking records gang, cymatic, submotion, central beatz, outlook festival and all the promoters and djs who i’ve met so far, all the producers I’ve worked with, all the bands I’ve done remixes for, and all the great soundsystems i’ve had the pleasure of playing on. Bigup also to the people that have an opinion about, search for, dance to, buy, talk about, and listen to new music. The world would be rubbish and boring if you people didn’t exist.
June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
Parties are by and large judged on their turnouts, quality of music and the sorts of people that end up shuffling through the doors on the night. Taking these facts into consideration, Dubbed Out smashed the life out of this party.
Anyone who has visited The Loft before knows the place is an absolute bass trap at the best of times. This time was a little more special thanks to the installation of two of these beautiful stacks on the day.
Opening proceedings was resident DJ and top notch producer Mosaix. Bringing forth a fresh selection of dark minimal beats and exclusive dubs that put the system through its paces giving Maidstone a lesson in how to do things proper. Keep your eyes out on this blog for an interview and exclusive studio mix coming soon…
Second to step up was Bannerworx and safe to say this man provided the set of the night for me and the large majority of ravers in the room. Mixing old classics with new dubs he powered his way through a set that turned the room into a dingy, dark sauna. He’d hinted at something big for the end of his set earlier on before doors, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Audio from the set is available at the end of this post as an exclusive free download!
N-Type is a name that has been synonymous with the dubstep scene since the early days. One of the best Dj’s in the business and one of the funniest radio hosts you’re ever likely to hear. His set was full of big, brash tunes with unashamedly punishing sub weight. His label Wheel & Deal is set to release more amazing music in the near future too, so keep your eyes on that.
By the time Bar 9 took to the decks, I started flagging, hard. What I caught of their set seemed to be an all out tear out tour de force and the punters were lapping it up. So much so the dance floor was bending.
As always a big thank you to Mosaix, Liam, Matt and the rest of the Dubbed Out boys, Liquid Christie for providing jokes on stage banter and warming the crowd up. Bannerworx and Shak for being thoroughly nice blokes and the sound technicians at RSH Audio for providing a ridiculously weighty Funktion One rig.
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Kent promoters take note, this is the standard you should all be following.