Over the last couple of years we have seen great success with your music. What were you doing before you started producing?
I’ve been making music since around 2000 but it was more jokey tunes for friends to listen to. I’ll still get in the car now and they’ ll play ‘Beatrix Chopper’ which consists of chopped vocals from a 12″ I have of Beatrix Potter’s tales narrated by Wendy Craig. It’s very explicit! I was working for an estate agent firm before my first release on Soul:R though. I like property but I love listening to and making music – it was the obvious choice to pursue my life-long dream.
You had a huge release on Soul:R a few years ago. Do you think this made you push yourself more in the studio?
I do. I’ve never been the most prolific producer out there but I always have ideas. At one stage I probably put myself under too much pressure to churn out tunes but realised quickly that quality is more important than quantity and learned if I’m not vibing then it’s best to give it a break for a bit. Having said that, you can often find me in the studio fourteen hours a day – stomach rumbling because I’ve forgotten to eat. What’s breakfast?
Do you personally think that your music production has gone up another level?
I feel it has – it had to. There are so many producers upping their game that it’s the natural progression. Having said that, I was given some great advice a couple of years ago that it’s 75% vibe and the rest is the final mix. I do feel it’s important to mix down tunes as well as you possibly can – not only to make the mastering engineers lives easier but also for playing out purposes – but don’t lose the vibe of the track. I listened back to some tunes I worked on a few years ago and there is a huge difference in terms of how they sound sonically.
Your forthcoming EP on Integral is sounding great. Do you have a personal favourite track from this EP?
Thank you. My personal favourite has to be ‘Rinjani’. My brother told me about his trek up Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in Indonesia and I felt inspired to write. It’s my interpretation of what he encountered along the way – hence the rain, wind and thunder samples – and his ultimate sense of achievement he felt at the end.
Do you prefer vocal samples or actually working with a live vocalist?
Hmm…it’s a tricky question as I enjoy both. I love working with samples as you can take a tune you know and put a completely different and creative spin on it. However, I always relish a challenge and find live vocals present me with one. It will take a lot longer for me to be happy with the end product but over all I was happy with how ‘Bedouin’ (featuring Steo) turned out. It was definitely a learning curve but I learned a lot and plan to employ the methods used for future projects.
Have you ever scrapped a tune but then realised it had potential?
Yes. It might come as a surprise but I originally scrapped ‘Rinjani’. I originally started the tune about four years ago and it’s quite different to the version that is due for release on Integral Records. I sent it (the original version) to a few labels but after a general lack of interest I put it to one side doubting I’d ever go back to it. A few years later, I thought I’d revisit it after going through my ‘old projects folder’, re-structured it and added a few more elements. I’m really proud of how it turned out.
What’s been the best highlight of 2014 musically for you?
It’s really difficult to pin it down to one but I think the highlight of 2014 for me has to be playing two gigs in Russia – Breeze in St. Petersburg and Treasure Island in Moscow. Not only were the nights firing but the people were amazing and I got to witness the phenomenon that is the ‘white nights’ – I was in a bar in St. Petersburg and one of the promotional team, Natasha asked me ‘what time do you think it is?’ The sun was still out so I said ‘about 8pm?’ It was midnight! I feel privileged to have witnessed it. Another highlight was hearing LSB’s ‘Walking Blues’ for the first time and falling in love with it.
2015 is nearly upon us. What can we expect from you?
There are a few things in the pipeline which I’m unable to divulge at present. However, expect more music, an EP for Spearhead and I have a few gigs with the likes of Lenzman and Ivy Lab lined up already for the early part of 2015. I’m also looking forward to getting in the studio for a few collaborations with people I’ve respected for years.
And finally are there any other producers we should look out for in 2015 that you are liking?
There are a few obvious ones like Calibre and Ivy Lab but I’m really feeling LSB’s output lately. He’s really come into his own and it’s great to see the recognition he deserves. It couldn’t happen to a nicer lad. I look forward to everything that Eastcolors sends me too. Watch out for some of his forthcoming material. It’s neveroyatnyy!