Thursday, June 26, 2008
I was back on Rinse on Thursday (26th 11pm-1am) rolling the grimey, wonky and skippy. No Dusk this month, he was locked in a deep underground bunker, cooking up some mad ish. He'll be back next month.
Blackdown on Rinse June 08
Download the mix HERE
Nu Birth "Anytime (Groove Chronicles remix)" (Locked On)
Brandy "Never Say Never (El-B remix)" (white)
Bird "Game (MJ Cole remix)" (white)
The Ends "R U Really From the Ends" (white)
Roll Deep Entourage "Bounce" (Roll Deep Recordings)
Joker "Dead End" (unreleased)
Jerzey "Allstar Fade" (unreleased)
Zomby "Rumours and Revolutions" (unreleased)
Starkey "Gutter Music" (unreleased)
Sway and Lady $tush "F- Ur X" (from The Dotted Line mixtape)
Geeneus ft Wiley, Riko and Breeze "Knife & Gun" (unreleased)
Brags "Know About Me" (unreleased)
Joker "Gully Brook Park pt 2" (unreleased)
Y.Dot "I'm Not One of Them" (unreleased)
Ghetto and Rudekid "Sing For Me" (unreleased)
Dips "Noodles" (unreleased)
Don Goliath ft N. Dot E "To the Top" (unreleased)
Zomby "Diamonds & Pearls" (unreleased)
2000F & JKamata "You Don't Know What Love Is" (unreleased)
Guido "Time" (unreleased)
2nd II None "Waterfalls (Peveralist remix)" (unreleased)
D1 "Oingy Boingy" (unreleased)
Skream "1 For the Heads Who Remember" (unreleased)
Grievous Angel "What We Had (garage mix)" (unreleased)
Blackdown "Lata VIP" (unreleased Keysound Recordings)
Dusk "Focus" (Keysound Recordings)
Blackdown ft Durrty Goodz "Concrete Streets" (unreleased Keysound Recordings)
Martyn "Broken (Blackdown remix)" (unreleased)
Joker "Holly Brook Park (Forsaken remix) (unreleased)
Zomby "Duality" (unreleased)
Here's a link to download last month's show. Thankfully the lights didn't blow or the station go off air this time :)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Festivals are supposed to be a challenge: an endurance marathon as to how long you can survive without washing or how much you can wake up at 6am sweating in a tent.
The festival, which I got back from on Sunday, is in two parts, by day and by night: both parts bypass the need for endurance or tents.
Putting Sonar By Day in the middle of Barcelona opens you up to an amazing city, much of which feels very Mediterranean but, because it was built in the late 19th century, lacks the ramshackle, Medieval feel.
My favourite part was La Boqueria, an incredible market that reminded me of the Chinatown market in Bangkok, except with less toads in bags and more fish, sausages and olives. While the food itself was pretty incredible, the explosion of colour was even better: worth an addition to any trip.
Even before Sonar got started we saw some great DJs. Flyers on walls all pointed to the Sleaze Nation party at Mondo. We wandered down past dozens of amazing yachts anchored in the marina, before reaching the venue which the guide book said you couldn’t get in unless you arrived in a Jaguar or a yacht, which is never my kinda vibe for a club.
Inside Rustie and Hudson Mohawk were playing to what looked like a dressy Ibiza crowd, most of whom turned out to be Brits, all of whom were loving the mix of wonky, bassline, rave, crunk and dubstep. I’d heard Joker “Holly Brook Park” and I’d only been in the country about four hours, perfect!
Given the setting, and the, erm, beer, I thought it a good idea to text at 2am Joker to tell him even clubs with plasma screens in Barcelona marina on the walls go off to his next level shit. Turns out, somehow, I had his mum’s number.
She calls back the next day trying to work out who the hell I was. She put Joker on the line by which point none of us knew what was going on. I’ve deleted Joker’s mum’s mobile out of my phone now: it’s probably for the best.
Sonar by Day takes place in and around an art gallery, and it was fun to link Mala and for the first time, the mighty TRG, and chill. It was cool to see the tents and stages, but nothing would prepare me for Sonar by Night.
I’ve seen a few festivals over the years – Glastonbury, Creamfields, Homelands, Phoenix, Big Chill, T in the Park – but no one mentioned just how insanely large Sonar is. There were not one but three rooms that you could have parallel parked two airbuses next to each other in. The rooms were cavernous, just enormous, like the main stage at Glastonbury but in an aircraft hanger.
No wonder then that Diplo, a small dot even from our vantage point down the front, chose to play disco house to begin with. As dubstep has exploded in the last two years the relationship between musical choices and scale has become ever apparent. Subtleties get lost in front of a crowd of biblical proportions.
Diplo found room in the end of his set to drop some of the flavours he’s best known for, not least MIA’s “Paper Planes” and Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Durty”, but I’d have preferred him to have taken the massive opportunity presented to him and used it to drop a more daring set.
It was also curious to watch him as a DJ, nervously touching flitting around the mixer, four or eight times a bar. It looks like he’s busy, but if you know how little effect EQ tweaks have, it was definitely a question of: just what is he doing up there?
The same applied to the act that followed him, Justice. Essentially a clone of Daft Punk, they make a massive effort to visually engage the audience. They perform from behind two stacks of Marshall amps (which looked like they’d been hollowed out from where I was standing), rock 80s leather jackets, haircuts like Noel Fielding and a huge glowing cross. Beside the baffling and contradictory symbolism, their music took Daft Punk’s sound and altered the balance in the arrangements between the breakdowns and the full tracks, so just as you got your groove on, you’d be back to filtering again. And while it was a fun set, like Diplo and as I've wondered before about "live" electronic music, it definitely looked like a question of: just what are they doing up there?
It’s hard to answer precisely: they wouldn’t be the first dance act to put on the DAT and act like it’s live. It just goes to show if you turn up with enough rock paraphernalia and glowing crosses, your audience will cease to care how the music’s made.
The dubstep took place on a smaller arena, though still about the size of DMZ. Mary Anne Hobbs mixed it up: it was great to hear grime riddims like “Intensive Snare.” Shackleton felt far less claustrophobic than when I saw him last, perhaps because it was warm and Mediterranean and his setup was flanked in a cascade of decorative lights, but it was really great to hear his detailed and abstract percussion. Am so glad he’s made it to a level where he can perform on this kind of stage.
Having seen a bit more of Justice, I arrived back in the space during the heavy metal track Mala is playing, which oddly, was exactly the moment I left his set at Brainfeeder festival the weekend before. Flying Lotus, also at Brainfeeder, dropped the instrumental of Truth Hurts/Dre’s “Addictive,” which with the Lata vocal samples, is a persy ingle. Buraka Son Sistema put on a good show, with tough and layered Kuduro percussion and a good stage presence.
The rest of the night was all about Theo Parrish though. Bar a few hollow amps, glowing crosses and Teenwolf leather jackets, there’s little in essence difference between Parrish’s meticulous EQing of long JBs records and Justice, but something felt to perfect about the former. How does he make gentle classics sound so fresh and physical?
It made a total contrast for Sonar on Saturday, which by night confirmed my fears about techno. I used to love Detroit techno, I really did, until I’d worked my way backwards through the classics and realised moving forwards wasn’t cutting it. Yet this was apparent again as Jeff Mills tried to re-create his classic, conceptual X-102 project. But if his idea of conceptual engagement is 30 minutes of ambient loops and NASA photos, it didn’t seem to do much for the massive warehouse crowd watching it. But worse still were some of the DJs on the stage Mary Anne had curated the night before.
I’m apprehensive about 4-to-the-floor at the best of times – it’s a rhythmic trap that means that audiences who’re fed it, wont accept anything else – but even within the spectrum of tech/house/garage/hardcore 4x4, there are tens if not hundreds of sub genres and flavours. But the DJs booked seemed to only want to play one flavour: techy but not boshingly hard, cool and never warm, seamlessly mixed without breakdown nor ever moments of true emotional intensity. It began to really grate after several hours. Put it this way, my Saturday highlight was either the double strength Caipirinhas a local friend had earlier led us to down some dark side alley or the dodgems.
Techno dullardry aside, Sonar is an amazing festival. If you go, I hope the weather is just as amazing. If it is, you’ll love it...
Thursday, June 12, 2008
So Dusk and I were up on Rinse the other month and clocked a flyer that said “say no to wonky.” I tried to follow it up but big up Mel for beating me to it. Gwann girl!
It was in May I wrote about the outbreak of unstable synths both reclaiming the mid-range from the deadout heavy metal wobble massive in dubstep and ripping through other scenes too. I described the flavour as "wonky" because it, well, seemed to fit. Simon then noticed there were several other wonkys, the rest of which I’d not heard of.
(As a quicky wonky update, the Brainfeeder night is this Sat with an insanely wonky line up: Flying Lotus, Rustie, Hudson Mo, Kode9, Mala and more. I'm deya!)
But the flyer at Rinse belonged a funky event Circle, so it’s unlikely they’d be talking about the same “wonky” as me. What made it even more confusing is that Mel thought it looks like their “say no to wonky” flyer graphically indir-ed the Hudson Mo logo, someone I’d named in my Pitchfork piece.
Turns out there some kind of urban meme collision going on.
Shout to Mel for getting to the bottom of it, with a quick Q&A from Tippa of Circle events.
“Our take on the term ‘Wonky’ is that for us,” says Tippa from Circle, “in terms of house it means poorly produced UK house or funky should I say as this is what all the kids are calling it.”
“Now I’m not saying that all UK house is shit, cause that’s not the case…. Phil Asher, W Beeza, Coopr8, Freerange, Perempay & Dee, Geeneus, Fanatix, Sy Sez & Gavin Peters (Aphrodisiacx), Guy Robin etc… there are loads of acts and producers doing what house is about and producing quality stuff that can rival the us.”
“But we feel the other side of the production which is produced poorly, sounds like a spin off from UK grime and kids using the same loops, same beats, same tribal sounds… And we feel as some of the well known DJs that if we as a whole don’t speak out and try to educate the new producers coming through on how house is supposed to be made and sound, what its meaning and background is, then who will?”
Crikey, as Ben UFO points on the Dubstep forum, it’s like the circa 2000 garage wars all over again.
Back in 2000 as UKG became popular, there was an influx of youngers keen to gain status in a community that had essentially been founded around “the Sunday scene,” one originally run for older, smartly dressed ravers. When the genre got jumped it created a series of dynamic tensions that resulted in an amazing tempo plateau where Zinc’s breaky “138 Trek” sat with Todd Edwards’ vocal chopped US garage. DJ Narrow’s hard 4x4 would ride with r&b influenced 2step. El-B’s dark swing got mixed into Slimzee and Geeneus’ proto grime of riddims like Musical Mob’s “Pulse X.”
Perhaps inevitably, the tensions on the plateau could only be contained for a while: young and old, raw and well produced, feminine and masculine, DJ-focused and MC-based, dark and light, hectic and mellow, road and mature could all sit together only for so long. Check the Guardian piece where the Dreem Teem interview So Solid on Radio 1 and the tensions surface…
"Any tip for ageing rockers like ourselves?" Spoony asked them sarcastically. "How can we stay out there?"
"Give the youth of nowadays a chance to bust through that barrier - 'cause you lot have been there for so long and it's our time now," retorted Romeo.
"Are you saying we must step over?"
"A little sidestep," Romeo suggested. Mega Man added: "Look for new talent that can carry your name when you lot are too tired to DJ."”
Whether Circle feel the same way as Dreem Teem did then or not, there definitely seems to be parallels. As it’s hype grows, funky’s getting jumped by a lot of grime producers and it’s clear the some funky headz aren’t keen. As Geeneus put it in a comment on my blog “let grime be grime and funky be funky!”
If you ignore production values (one man’s lack of production values is another’s aesthetic, ain’t that right Bok Bok?), the elephant in the room is the aggression of grime. Circle events are tightly regulated: I tried to get on the mailing list about six months ago but balked at the prospect of having to give information like my mobile number and home address to someone on the end of an email. Yet given urban London, I can understand their interest in keeping the “Circle” tight.
It’s going to be interesting to see how funky develops. On one had you have the sense of déjà vu that being familiar with the London nuum cycles brings, that with the influx will come darkness and an emphasis on MCs agin. On the other you have the assertions that Supa D comments suggest, that these are separate things (grime and funky) and the implication that the funky scene wont let history repeat itself.
Speaking of history, the Guardian article references a photoshoot I was actually at, co-ordinated by The Face, who’s staff at that time included Emma Warren, now of “Steppas Delight” [Soul Jazz] fame.
I was an intern back in 2000, and the shoot was held over two days, so I wasn’t there, in Croydon, when “[Norris ‘Da Boss’] Windross … refused to have his photograph taken with Dee Kline for the Face magazine.” Instead I was there for the first day, that featured El-B, Zed Bias and Jay Da Flex. It would be my introduction to what would, six or so years later, blow us as dubstep. It seems like things have all come full … “Circle.” Meme collision alert number two!
If you don't know Matt Mason, he's my previous editor at RWD magazine and predicted the funky movement years ago.
Anyway, since leaving RWD he's emigrated to NYC and rocked it by writting a book that subtly drags the 'nuum to the Americans: "Pirates Dilemma."
Now, in a new overload media age, I'm a slow reader, so I thought I'd blog it now rather than wait until I finish it in 2009. So far, it seems to be weaving a path between disparate cultural phenomena, finding common cause in web 2.0 empowerment and subversion of culture. Checkit...
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Recently I interviewed Appleblim for the Dubstep Allstars 6 CD sleevenotes. Now the CD has dropped, here’s our conversations in full.
Blackdown: So can you tell me a bit about your musical background?
Appleblim: “I am not originally a Bristolian, I came from Notts and Plymouth before I moved to London in ’94, was there 8 years playing bass in a math-rock / psych band, going to Metalheadz, Jungle Fever, Movement and all the major techno nights like Final Frontier, Bloodsugar as my mates set up a d&b label and played on pirates etc, then 3 years in Bath studying music technology, which is when I discovered the FWD>> scene, then after that started supporting Pinchs early Context & Subloaded dubstep nights, and finally moved to Bristol after the course in ’06.”
A: “Basically moving to London in ‘94 was ‘the one’ really. I’d been going to raves but never really thought of being a DJ. But when me and my mate moved to London we just caught the bug, listening to the radio, of what was going on, picking up our first jungle tunes and stuff. It was actually my friend that got me into DJing: he came into some money and bought some decks. But I taught him to mix because he wasn’t a particularly rhythmic bloke.”
“So I learnt with his records: Moving Shadow, Reinforced, Omni Trio kind of stuff. So I’ve always been around it but didn’t take DJing seriously until Sarah asked me to play at FWD>>. I’d had a few gigs before that, just from putting on a few nights on in Bath where I was at the time – that’s actually how I met Pinch, Blazey and Peverelist. They came over and played basically. Pinch gave me my first gig actually, just in a little room at a drum & bass night, but when Sarah said I should do a warm up at FWD>> it was a bit ‘whoah,’ a reality check.”
B: How had she heard you DJ?
A: “Just from stuff she’d heard me play in the office and generally pushing, stuff I was listening to that she enjoyed. I’d done a little cover on Rinse as well. She was like ‘you should play down at the club’ and it was bonkers really. I’ve had a really steep learning curve. Playing at your favourite club was a bit much. I was never nervous and I wasn’t technically that good at the time. It’s been a bit of trial by fire: chucked in and learning in front of people. It’s been a bit harrowing a few times but it’s sharpened me up. Going from just ‘doing it’ to thinking about how you want to shape your sets – it’s made me think differently about the whole thing. I’ve always enjoyed listening to DJs who took you on a journey, but I’d never really thought about how they did it. It was really good fun to do it myself, doing the warm up slots gave me the freedom to mess around a bit more, y’know?”
B: But didn’t you play at the Skull Disco parties in Stoke Newington?
A: “Yeah but then again it was more just like I wouldn’t have said they were good sets. I wouldn’t have said they were good sets, just more of an opportunity to hear the music more. And to hear Shackleton’s music more: and his music wasn’t being heard many places. So it was a place to hear that stuff loud. But that was playing recently bought tunes for the fun of it. I’ve been chasing producers around for new music since I very first discovered FWD>> and I gradually ended up getting given a few things: it’s a real addiction. Some DJs have the strength of their mixing talents to see them through.”
B: Despite all the stress, it must have been fun playing FWD>> though?
A: “Yeah it’s my favourite room in the world.”
B: Yeah it’s my favourite room too, that space between the pillar and the decks.
A: “There’s been so many moments. It’s very strange going from being a raver who was there obsessively down the front to going to someone standing behind the decks. It’s definitely an honour: I’ve had countless epiphanies down there, so if I can give people a few of those then that’s my job done.”
B: I remember coming down to see you early in 2007 and leaving feeling you’d really discovered your ‘sound’ as a DJ...
A: “Yeah I remember and was really proud of that because before I’d felt that I’d either tried to fit too many or the wrong style into my sets. But I made a conscious decision, and Sarah [from Ammunition/FWD>>/Tempa] had told me this too, to stick to my guns. Sarah had said that’s why she’d asked me to play there. Not that it’s ‘don’t play to the crowd’ but you’re here because you have a certain selection and taste. And I was like, yeah I should just keep drawing for the things I like listening to, because if you lose a bit of the floor, gradually you’ll get it back again."
B: Do you think you need to be stubborn as a DJ?
A: “It’s that age old thing: do you want to be a party DJ or do you want to be someone who carves something a bit new? But playing down there is so different to someone who’s employed in a bar to keep people drinking, you have carte blanche. So even if there’s only ten blokes down the front going ‘oi speed it up will ya, we want ‘dubstep!’ sod it, the boss has told me I can play what I want so I will. Take risks. Even Hatcha playing the Mystikz. I remember the first few times he did and I was confused and I stood still for a bit. I remember Youngsta playing breaky or early grime but then to hear this weird odd offkilter stuff... it was weird but then look at what it did. But you’ve got to be brave like that, definitely.”
B: So is this CD ‘about’ your sets at FWD>>?
A: “Yeah, pretty much. I guess being given the opportunity to go to other places shapes what you do and how you want to approach selecting tunes but FWD>> is the one for me so if something works there then that’s what I’m happy with, y’know?”
B: So tell me how things have evolved with Shackleton? You were first best known together with Skull Disco but now have both developed unique but different styles.
A: “Shackleton was never from a dance music background, whereas I was. I’ve been into it since I was a little kid. For Shackleton DJing was never part of it and he was always not every confident, and in terms of finding tunes and playing them to people that’s not something that was ever going to be a buzz for him. He is about making his own rhythms and trying them out. It’s a completely different way of looking at things. So it makes sense that we’ve drifted our own ways. But the stuff he’s doing with his live set is incredible, I’m so pleased to see him go from struggling to do things on turntables because that’s the way we’d seen it done – you go cut your tunes and you play them – but he’s just taken it on somewhere else completely. Every time I see him it’s mad, I see it taken on a step further, becoming just totally himself. Really incredible, y’know?”
B: While his music is quite technical to mix, you both share a love of bass and percussion: is there no way you could try to find room in your sets?
A: “I think for that reason I was always quite scared of playing Shack’s stuff, because of the percussive nature of it: if you’re not confident as a DJ it’s hard to pull that off. But I think we have got really different ways of looking at music and while we have a lot of shared tastes we have things we probably don’t understand about each other’s way of looking at things. And Shack is single minded like that, y’know? Which is brilliant because I think that comes through in his music. Whereas for me I’m not a creator in the same kind of way. I’m more the person who used to carry tapes and records around to people’s houses, being the one sat next to the stereo going ‘oi, check this out!’ That’s what I feel like I’m still doing now. So it’s kind of a different thing but nice we’re still in touch and the whole Skull Disco venture has got a long way to go in lots of weird different directions. It’s great to be involved.”
B: In many ways you’re central to the faction that has pioneered this dubstep/dubby techno axis. Tell me about the trip to Berlin...
A: “That was an amazing trip, in the early days of us getting any bookings anywhere. One of the things that Shack and I had bonded over, in terms of what we listened to, was all the Burial Mix stuff. So getting booked to play Berlin it was like, of course we’re going to go to Hardwax and Dubplates and Mastering, as places we’d heard about for so many years. I’d been a big fan of the whole Chain Reaction sound since working in a record shop in ‘97. So we went and cut some dubs at Dubplates and Mastering and met the people who run the shop and it’s just completely fascinating, as these are the dudes who were the first to set up a dance music shop in Germany. There’s a lineage there.”
A: “But it was funny because they don’t keep posters up outside the shop, in fact they’re quite militant about taking them down, but they left up this huge one that had a photo of Shackleton raving at Subloaded with his arms in the air and another weird one of me. I think it’s still there now. They love Shackleton, it was a real buzz. I got to meet all of them, they treated us like family. We didn’t realise they’d been such fans since the first one: you put the records out and you don’t think about where they’re getting to. But they’d been really interested, so to meet those people and know they were into our music is bonkers really.”
B: And then you took it a step further with the T++ connection...
A: “It was literally through that meeting and that I’d been chatting to one of them, Torsten, online before, to do with stocking our records, and I said to him oh can you get me the details of T++ and he said, ‘oh you do realise this is me?’ And it’s like oh, you were Resilent, Erosion and Various Artists and all these things that I absolutely used to love. It was wicked and mad to think that the music in England makes waves over there in the same way that it was making waves back then for us. They’re as obsessive and fascinated by the whole dubstep thing. He sent us music, we struck up a friendship and did a real nice job on the Shackleton remix. His remix of “Vansan” isn’t going to come out on Skull Disco so I’m definitely thinking about it for Applepips and there’s this really nice techno basically thing he sent us – most of the stuff he sends isn’t as he’s moved into this really strange breaky chopped up stuff – but there’s this one thing that is the straightest thing he’s done in a while and I absolutely love it. But it’s a case of the label being established before I approach too much. Once the new release is in the shops I’ll feel more confident but it’s definitely something I want to do.”
B: I like the idea of you taking Bristol dubstep and Berlin dubby techno and exploring the space between the two and finding something that’s neither.
A: “I love the shared area between them and I’ve decided that ‘Pips is going to explore any one of them. Hopefully people will know that it’s going to be just, good interesting music rather than one particular genre. Because you find that people are listening to all this other stuff even if they’re making techno, so let’s bring it all together.”
B: The mix nails the state of the dubby techno/dubstep sound really well. But I have two concerns with this interesting direction. One is that it will just become 140 bpm techno, with little elements left from the dubstep side of things, like an edge or bass or swing or odd rhythms. Also it's a fine line between having a little dubbed out breathing space and totally clean formless e-lead headspace, where you move from the London/Jamaican-influenced dub to empty anodyne techy headspace. The edge, the rudeness of the bass could get lost. Do you think either of these concerns are valid?
A: “Completely. For me, it’s about the swing. Now, you may say that some of the tunes on this mix are essentially halfstep, like ‘Harajuku’ or ‘Moog Dub’ , even ‘Circling’, but I fell anything I play with that kind of halfstep feel must always have a swing or funk to the rhythms around the main kick and snare…for example, ‘Lean Forward’ - one of my all time favourite tunes, regardless of genre’ -essentially has that halfstep kick and snare pattern but there is so much funk and swing going on around that in the percussion etc that you don’t even really notice…”
A: “I think there’s a lot of genre blurring going on, and like you say its sort of a danger that it will become 140 bpm techno, but the answer is exactly what you have said, it needs to retain some funk and swing. Having said that I try to just view great music as great music, and always have, so that I might play a tune by a ‘dubstep’ producer that sounds essentially like a ‘techno’ tune… in the end, if it moves you it moves you… also there is so much funk in say, the hi hats and rhythms of Derrick May, whilst some boring techno can be very straight and unfunky… there is always those that have the funk and those that don’t in any scene!”
B: How did you go about approaching the mix, in terms of how you wanted the direction of it to go?
A: “I wanted the mix to be a representation of what I play in the clubs, a mixture of unreleased exclusive dubplates and some big tunes that I helped to break, things like RSD’s pretty bright lights, Peverelist’s ‘Infinity is now’, and Martyn’s remix of Broken Hearts. I was amongst the first to play these tunes out, and wanted to give more exposure to tracks that I really think are phenomenal.”
A: “I like to build a set, not always start with bangers, I like to create an atmosphere, obviously it’s a bit of a cliché to start mellow and work upwards but I find it works for me, the harder tracks have much more impact if you have played some spacey-er, deeper, more ‘head’ music first. So this is what I tried to do with the mix, moving through spacious dubby tracks like ‘Gather’, ‘Circling’ and ‘Moog Dub’, then heading into reggae drops and 4x4 techy stuff with ‘Babylon’ ‘Bad Apple’ and ‘Percession.’”
B: The mix is hung on two real emotional peaks for me, sticking out almost like the pillars of a suspension bridge: early on with Pinch’s “Get Up” and later Martyn’s “Broken Hearts remix”. How did you go about ordering the tracks?
A: “I wanted to include get up as I personally love the song, and it is a SONG rather than a track and I think that’s very important for this scene, it’s the same with ‘Reminissin’ by Geiom… these are two tunes that always make me sing along and give me a shiver down the spine. The same with ‘Broken Hearts’, for me it’s a real emotional track so I wanted to give something like that towards the end of the mix to show that its not just all about taking it harder and more banging.”
Dubstep Allstars 6 mixed by Appleblim is out now
PS who knows the story of how Appleblim got his DJ name? My lips (sic) are sealed. Hehehe…
As part of this month's Pitchfork column, I interviewed hype new grime producer Rude Kid. Here's the full transcript.
Blackdown: How long have you been producing?
Rude Kid: “I’ve been producing for four years, two years properly. Mostly grime – I can do anything – but right now I’m doing grime.”
B: Where are you based?
RK: “East London, Ilford, Redbridge side.”
B: In grime, most people seem to want to be an MC. Why did you choose to be a producer?
RK: “I always liked making beats. I always wanted to let out what I was thinking at that time on a beat. If I was angry, I would make a dark beat, feeling happy a happy beat. Y’know? Them ones there. Obviously I used to spit, to MC but now I’m onto the producing, fully.”
B: You’ve worked with a lot of east MCs, but are you part of any one crew?
RK: “I’m in Alien Music. That’s like my team, MCs, DJs, producers – basically all my guys. Marger, Death Star, Danny D, Kwam, Champman, Nut Case, Rico ... and there’s more. We’re on grime mostly.”
B: So tell me about some of your recent beats, they’ve been getting a lot of attention...
RK: ““UFO Mode” is going to be on my 12” EP release on No Hats No Hoods in June, with “The Best (instrumental),” “Bandannas On” and “Alien Skank.””
B: You’ve got this alien theme going on, what’s that about?
RK: “That’s just my beats, my style: alien music. If you listen to my beats they have a little thing to them: they’re different to others. So that’s why it’s called that. I’m not obsessed with aliens or nothing. It’s not dat. It’s more about being different from others, being alienated, that’s more of the meaning.”
B: That’s cool because as a producer it’s essential you sound original...
RK: “... yeah that’s how you get more noticed, so it helped me a lot.”
B: Do you use samples from films?
RK: “Yeah, like on “UFO Mode” and I’ve got a next tune that Maximum’s playing recently called “Exist.” I just go on YouTube and type “aliens” and if I hear something I like I get someone to rip it for me. That’s it bwoy.”
B: So how did the tune “Sing For Me ft Ghetto” come about?
RK: “Basically that tune was getting a reception and then Wiley wanted it and Ghetto wanted it. So them two had a little thing over it but obviously Ghetto wanted it a lot so he done his thing on it. So that’s it. Obviously I didn’t mind who vocalled it, Wiley or Ghetto, because they’re both big. But Ghetto had an idea for it, so Wiley let him have it and I made Wiley another one with similar sounds. Ghetto’s doing a video for it as well. It’s in progress.”
B: How did the vocal sample in “Sing For Me” come about?
RK: “It’s not a sample, it’s a singer. When I was doing the beat I wanted a girl to just do me a jingle at the beginning. But randomly she did the singing in there too. It sounded good so I kept it in there. From there, I gave it out to a few DJs and that was it.”
B: Obviously grime these days is all about mixtape CD, what does it mean to you to get a vinyl release?
RK: “As a producer, that’s the only thing I can release properly. If I didn’t release it through vinyl it would get leaked, eventually. Me releasing a vinyl I will be making a bit of money from it and obviously people will think “yeah, he’s released something” so yeah I did want to release something and No Hats No Hoods, they’re good at releasing, distributing and promoting things.”
B: There aren’t that many people putting out grime 12”s now are there?
RK: “Them and Logan’s Ademantium music. I could put it on a CD but someone would just rip it and send it to everyone, so it would get leaked. But ripping from vinyl, you can tell so if DJs play that then... they’re not proper DJs are they?”
B: You seem to be getting a lot of support from Maximum as well as Logan, is that right?
RK: “Yeah Maximum and Logan, they’re the two people who’re playing me the most. And Scratcher DVA. But Maximum and Logan are like the two biggest DJs in the scene! So really that’s helped me a lot. So them banging out my tunes has helped.”
B: So your MySpace has an ad for studio time, do you work as an engineer there?
RK: Nah that’s just my cousins’ studio, I’m helping him out. I’m still studying. I’m at uni now, doing a music degree. I’m gonna do music, get a degree in that and have something to fall back on. You need a backup.”
B: Yeah, especially since it’s really hard to sell music these days...
RK: “...yeah it is, grime anyway. It is hard to sell grime. “
B: So when did Logan and Maximum start playing your stuff?
RK: “Last year, but it wasn’t a lot. Tunes like “Alien Skank” were getting played but not a lot. I think Logan played a vocal of “Bandannas On” by Griminal. Then a lot of people were asking for tunes.”
B: So who have you worked with, vocal wise?
RK: “I’ve worked with the whole scene: Ghetto, Lil Nars, Griminal, Black the Ripper, P Money, Little Dee, Badnesss, Jendor, Fudaguy, Dot Rotten, Brutal, Lauren Mason... there’s more people but I’ve fully forgot. And I’m going to make a few tunes for Skepta’s album. I’ve sent tunes to Ny.”
B: So how does it work once you’ve written the beat?
RK: “If I think a beat will suit Ghetto then I will ring him, tell him about it then email it to him. Then if he likes it, I’ll go studio with him. The MCs use proper studios, they don’t have their own. The MCs book the time – I go there and give them my input.”
B: What do you think of the grime scene right now?
RK: “It’s good. The only thing is there’s talent out there but they’re not getting brought in. The same people are getting played over and over again. But there’s so much talent out there... obviously because I was one of them, not getting recognised.”
B: But you’ve done it...
RK: “Obviously but that was due to hard work. So obviously them people need to do that too and they’ll succeed. Though obviously some people get lucky and make food.”
B: What other producers to you rate?
RK: “Manic is good. Dot Rotten. Scratcher DVA, Terror Danjah, DOK: they’re big. Wiley, Rapid, Skepta and more.”
B: Is it me or are the number of producers in grime getting smaller?
RK: “They’re not getting smaller it’s just that people have their own time. You can say [a certain producer] had his time – he’s still doing his thing but there was a time when it was all about him. He had hype round his name. Now, I’d say – well bwoy – it’s me I reckon.”
Read a full article on Rude Kid, alongside The Bug and 2562 in this month’s Pitchfork column.