45hz022 – District
July 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
District is now a well known player within the Dubstep circles. From being broken to the scene via Distance last year and with constant support from the likes of Youngsta he is fast rising to the top of the scene alongside his sometimes collaborator Sleeper. Fresh from signing to Distances Chestplate Recordings, we caught up with him via email.
Easy, how have things been recently? Can you give a little introduction for those readers who may not be too familiar with your music?
Hi, My names Dan and i make dubstep under the alias District. I’m currently making tunes alongside another producer called Sleeper that focus on the darker sub-heavy sounds.
Distance was one of the main protagonists in bringing your sounds to a wider audience. How did the connection come about?
I just sent him some tunes over the internet. I tuned into one of his radio shows on RinseFM and thought I’d see if i had a shot at the new talent section. I emailed him a link for 3.5 grams and he hit me back straight away and asked if I had anything else. I think at the time I’d only written a couple of finished tracks and ended up having to send him some tracks a week later as well as some stuff I was working on with Sleeper at the time. He’s introduced us to a lot of people and listeners through the show and also to become part of the Chestplate family, which is a privilege
As someone who has come from relative obscurity to being a household name within the scene in quite a short space of time, are there any tips you can give to those who are trying to break through the invisible barrier?
Ha! I’m not too sure about being a household name just yet but if i was to offer any advice about getting recognition it would have to be send it to the right people! When I first sent tracks to Distance i figured if he didn’t play them or wasn’t feeling them I’d make something else and try again. It didn’t seem necessary to post it on internet forums or Soundcloud so that one or two people could hear on their laptops, I prefer to keep things a little bit more exclusive anyway. People like Distance and Youngsta are doing me a favour by playing the tracks on their shows, the very least I can offer back is that they are the only people with those bits.
Sort of tying into that, do you think an artists presence on the internet and the way they carry themselves on it can have quite a big impact on whether or not other DJ’s, producers and bloggers are willing to support them?
Possibly, I do worry sometimes that I’m guilty of verbal diarrhoea at times via twitter but its a bit less boring than static updates about where I’m playing etc. I think that it’s a natural side effect to having these things readily available on phones as well, its very tempting at times to grumble or moan about something straight away. There are times when its funny. Cyrus’ twitter rants always make me laugh. No one really needs to know what your having for dinner, but it shows you’re a normal person still I guess.
When you’re writing, do you have a set work flow or is it a case of whatever comes next?
When I started it was literally a case of piling sounds together until something started to come together. More recently working with Sleeper, we’ve built templates and presets that make the whole writing process a bit quicker. Anyone that has used Cubase will testify that the menu’s can be a bit long, we’ve just tried to cut down some of the time it takes to group sounds together or audition samples. Most of the time I’ll end up making sounds that don’t necessarily work in the track that is being made at the time. If that happens it gets saved as a preset or sample so that its quickly available next time I’m looking for sounds to fit in a tune. A pleasant side effect to this is that we’re using less and less sounds from sample packs and factory sounds etc.
Obviously as a producer, you’re aware of the loudness war, but which side of the fence do you sit on and why is that?
I’m really not too sure where I stand on this, I think people misunderstand what mastering engineers do slightly. Sticking a brickwall limiter on a track so it is as loud as someone else’s isn’t going to make it sound like that tune. I’m not going to tell anyone not to use anything though, I use compression and limiting on sounds when I think it needs it but not too often. I was quite lucky to have a few private tutorials on Izotope’s oZone mastering plug-in last year though so I have a rough idea what to do to tracks before I send it to DJ’s to play out. 99% of the time though mastering highlights something wrong in the mix so I go back into the project and pull things down that way.
The only time the loudness war bothers me is when I’m watching the TV and the adverts come on REALLY LOUD in the break. Fix up adverts (please).
I know the large majority of producers are geeks about certain TV shows, or other things. So outside of the production and DJ’ing thing, what makes you tick?
I don’t really watch a lot of TV these days but I’m a big fan of trailer park boys and the alien movie series (alien, aliens etc). The xbox takes up a lot of time when I’m not writing, I’m playing Skate a lot at the moment because its so easy to pick up and play. I have a pretty poor attention span but when i get into a game I tend to play it for a good few months. Other than that, some mild internet trolling and waiting for whatever crazy meals the epicmealtime guys on youtube put up every tuesday!
Your top five tunes of the moment?
1. Noisia – The Tide
This ones old but still gives me goosebumps. Their productions are always up to such a high standard but i think this track especially is one of their best.
2. Goth Trad – Air Breaker
Just a crazy tune, I don’t think I’ve heard a single song of his I haven’t liked yet.
3. Deleted Scenes – Ultimate moment
Can’t get enough of this, monster track. Nuff said.
4. DJ Madd – Good Old Days VIP
Another example of someone who just knocks out tune after tune, really looking forward to the album later this year too.
5. Biome – Propaganda
I could have picked any tune of his for this to be honest but this was for me (and probably a lot of other people) the first that really stood out and made me take notice/ feel nothing but unrivalled jealousy at how clean his production is.
I think we can wrap it up there, is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Distance for being incredibly supportive and the rest of the Chestplate family, Sleeper, Cyrus, Tunnidge, My family and Sam and Ben @ Esbe Creative who have put up with pretty much seven days a week of sub pressure banging next door through their office walls the last year or so. Props!