Sunday, December 20, 2009
LHF: "Keepers of the Light Vol 2"
"Echos from a forgotten past and an unborn future... The plot got thick."
Download it HERE.
Solar Man- "Light and Dark"
Solar Man- "Life Rhythms (Babylon Must Burn)"
No Fixed Abode- "Beginners Mind"
"Do For Self" (SKIT)
Amen-Ra- "Mountain Top Guru"
Double Helix- "Voyages"
Double Helix- "Eastern Philosophies"
Low Density Matter- "Bright Sparks"
Double Helix- "TSR-1"
No Fixed Abode- "Touch n Go 2"
Amen-Ra- "Boiling Point"
Low Density Matter- "Reach out 2010"
Double Helix- "96 Flavas (No More Games)"
Amen-Ra- "Fragments of a Love Story"
"Grit Skit" (SKIT)
Amen-Ra- "Final Chapter"
Low Density Matter- "Midnight Oil"
Amen Ra feat. No Fixed Abode- "Gradual Alignment"
UPDATE: Erm, have you checked this yet? A madness.
Photo by Cayusa.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Last year we finished the year with Trim live in the studio. It's been a great year musically for us on Rinse and we wanted to celebrate that and get into the festive spirit. In 2009 the spirit of house & garage have run through so many styles of music, from new school 2step to UK funky, dark, dubstep-influenced house to grime-inspired no bass workouts.
In this spirit we put together a Christmas special show, rammed with guests, live on Rinse.
The lineup was: Dusk + Blackdown v LHF v Kowton v El-B v Joy Orbison. Bigup Kowton for trekking all the way from Bristol, shout to El-B for getting the curry in before he took the mic. The snow made getting to and from the studio a bit of a mission but it all came together in the end.
DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO HERE!!!!!!
Endgames "Ecstacy (Jam City remix)" [unreleased]
Slide Bros "2-step Lover" [Confetti Records]
Roska "I Need Love" [unreleased]
Hanuman "Bola (Atki2 remix)" [Idle Hands]
Mutaburaka "Dis Poem" [Guidance]
Mood II Swing "All Night Long" [Groove On]
Nubian Mindz "Be Alright" [Neroli Records]
Nu Birth "Anytime" [XL]
Gant "Sound Bwoy Burial (187 Lockdown Dancehall Mix)" [Positiva]
Wbeeza "Heavy Stuff" [Third ear]
Dusk + Blackdown "Dasaflex" [unrleased]
DNG 2 "DNG 2" [white Label]
Joy Orbison "GR Etiquette" [unreleased]
Fuzzy Logic "In The Morning" [white label]
Jammin' "Kinda Funky (Wookie Mix)" [Bingo]
Allstars (Steve Gurley) "What About Us (Crazy Dub)" [Allstars]
Maxine "Crazy" (Sky Joose Remix)" [0181 Records]
El-B ft Mirikal "We Don't Play" [unreleased]
Geiom "Reminissin'" [Berkane Sol]
Zed Bias "Keep it Moving" [Ghost]
El-B "untitled" [Ghost]
Joy Orbison "Waxes & Wanes"[unreleased]
Hard House Banton "Reign" [Spoilt Rotten]
Geeneus feat. Ms Dynamite: "Get Low (Crackish)" [unreleased]
Lil Silva ft Maxwell D "Blackberry Hype" [unreleased]
Steve Gurley "Power" [Power Records]
Mosca "Gold Bricks, I see Ya" [unreleased]
Suburban Lick "Here Comes the Lick (original dub)" [Locked On]
Modeselektor "Art & Cash (Sbtrkt Broke mix)" [unreleased]
Basic Channel "Phylyps Trak II" [Basic Channel]
F. Off Productions "unknown" [F. Off Records]
Joy Orbison "Untitled" [unreleased]
Kowton "Countryman" [Keysound Recordings]
Chiapet "WestWorld" (YoshiToshi)
Burial "True Love VIP" [unreleased]
Woiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!! Worries in the dance!
Our older shows are archived here.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Download it HERE <---- updated link
0:00 DJ Premiere: Beat1 (Instrumentals)
0:41 Wiley / Various Productions - Sinner (Logan Sama mixtape)
3:25 The Heavy - How You Like Me Now? - Joker Remix
8:05 Grievous Angel: We Want You (Belief is the Enemy CD)
8:28 Erykah Badu: Telephone (New Amerykah Part One CD)
12.07 Kryptic Minds: 768 (Tectonic 12")
15:23 Kromestar: BassBin (A Selection of Works CD)
17:04 Pinch & Moving Ninja: False Flag - Kryptic Minds Remix (Tectonic 12)
18:08 Jill Scott: What We Had (Grievous Angel re-edit)
18:56 Jill Scott: Crown Royal
19:54 Blackdown: The Drumz of Shanghai (Keysound Dubplate)
23:14 Silkie: Mattaz (CD)
27:45 Silkie & Harry Craze: Favela
30:28: Grievous Angel: Harpy (Keysound 12)
30:00 23Hz & Numaestro: Zumo - Sully Remix (unreleased)
33:38 Atki2: Time Freezes (unreleased)
37:44 Grievous Angel: Magic Dub (unreleased)
To finish the celebrations of the release of "Margins Music Redux" here's a second exclusive mix from Grievous Angel. Check the clip of "...Margins Redux" here...
In addition Grievous and I have been speaking to Tom @ Fact magazine. As well as the news of the Skream and LV 12"s on Keysound there's word that LHF have signed exclusively to Keysound.
Given we all knew Sully, Grievous, Kowton, Skream and LV were badmen, LHF have been the discovery of 2009 for me. With an EP due on Keysound early next year and an album to follow, I can't wait to share the layers upon layers of their sound.
Like I said in the Fact piece together they've got this sound like Sun Ra's hijacked Rinse FM and is using it to communicate with the heavens. Buried inside one corner of the LHF collective is a junglist fighting his way out: these guys have got drumz. Then there's another part of them that is lost in LA, their wonky beats falling off of the grid. Other members of the collective remind me of Horsepower's ability to transport you to lands far, far away: to Bollywood films or damp Brazilian riverbanks.
I'm just lost in their sound right now...
So, to end this rambling blog post, next Thursday 17th is our last show of the year and to go out with a bang, we're planning a Dusk + Blackdown Christmas Garage & Funky special.
We're inviting lots of special guests: who would you like to see on a UKG + funky tip?
Monday, November 30, 2009
Last week was epic . Monday our first Rinse FM station meeting, Tuesday rolling Clapton deep with LV on a photoshoot, Saturday Hyperdub 5 party which was too much fun, then rolling home double nightbus style with the LHF clan.
Then we rolled up on Rinse. Less talk, more dubs!
DOWNLOAD it here.
**Dusk + Blackdown Rinse FM November 09**
Wiley "Take That" (unreleased)
Roska "Climate Change remix" (unreleased)
Ozzie B "Remix Ting ft Lethal B, Double S, JME, Frisco..." (unreleased)
DVA "Someone is Knocking" (unreleased)
Hackman "Surround 2" (unreleased)
J Kenzo: Conqueror (forthcoming 2nd Drop)
Littlefoot + Spamchop "Mansfield road" (unreleased)
VVV "Blackbox" (unreleased)
VVV "???" (unreleased)
TRG "Groove Control" (unreleased)
Skream ft Jasimine Sulivan "Give U Everything" (unreleased)
Bias and Cole "Rampwidem" (unreleased)
Dom "Mr Fantastic" (unreleased)
Planas "Agbekor" (unreleased)
Dusk "Fraction" (dubplate)
**LHF Showcase pt 3**
LHF "Deep Life" (unreleased)
LHF "Steelz" (unreleased)
LHF "???" (unreleased)
LHF "???" (unreleased)
LHF "???" (unreleased)
Asusu "Small Hours" (Project Squared)
Skream "Sweetz (2005 flex)" (forthcoming Keysound)
Planas "Kutumba" (unreleased)
Terror Danjah "Bipolar" (forthcoming Butterz)
VVV "1120" (unreleased)
Terror Danjah "Creepy Crawler VIP" (unreleased)
Desto "Like Magic" (unreleased)
Trim "Trim Again" (Monkey Features vol1)
Reso "Hyperglide" (unreleased)
Dot Rotten "I'm Not Stopping" (unreleased)
Starkey "Beatingz" (unreleased)
Dot Rotten "No One Knows" (unreleased)
SRC "Tatanga's Kingdom" (unreleased)
Jam City "In the Park" (unreleased)
Endgames "Ecstacy (Jam City remix)" (unreleased)
Jam City "Island" (unreleased)
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Blackdown: So for those people who don't know you, can you introduce yourself: who are you, what music are you into, how long have you been DJing, where do you DJ, what label do you run...?
Whistla: I'm Whistla I run Sub.FM (under the alias Atari-420), I run L2S Recordings, the Future Garage Forum and Future Garage Facebook Page. I've been DJing properly since 97, and have been producing for the same length of time. I got into music from raving to hardcore back in the early 90's and as I got older decided to start producing and DJing for myself, rather than just being a listener/raver. I first got into radio by playing on pirate station Addiction FM, which I then started to assist in the management of until it folded.
I then moved to Eruption FM and moved away from hardcore and into the early breaks and growing garage scenes. I guess my "progress" through music has been pretty "nuum-ish" except that I never did the dnb thing, I went from hardcore to garage & breaks, d&b was always a little too fast for my taste. In 2000 I went on a long travelling spree and went all over Asia and lived in Australia for a while. Once I got back, I got straight back into doing the music thing, this was the very early Forward days, I was playing in various places that had fluid music policies, where i would play dark garage, some breaks, and some classics.
It was at this time I started Sub.FM, I had always wanted to do an internet pirate ever since the early broadcasts that Interface did. Once I started the station, the ball really started to roll, and dubstep became the name for what I was playing, and the growth of the station spurred me on in my own productions and I guess that takes us up to where I am now. You can hear me playing every two months at my residency @ Superdubpressure in Brighton, I also regularly play all over London and the UK, you can catch me @ the next Woofer Attack, and also on my European tour to Vienna and Kiev this December.
B: I've suggested this interview to talk about the term 'future garage' that you coined a while back as a "movement more so than a genre" designed so "garage can have a future" (rather than futurist garage per se). That term has gained some traction recently, can you give me a little background to it? What lead you to head in this direction?
W: Well I think the realisation that what i wanted to make and play wasn't "dubstep" anymore came when I would be at a night and I wasn't vibing like I was before. That led me to think about what I did want; skittery hats, and swing, and shuffle, and drums! And not just bass, though of course bass is still very important!
For me, at least, the word dubstep has come to mean a different type of music to what it meant to me personally in the beginning, which is fine, words and there meanings change all the time. But it did leave a void "so what shall I call this stuff i'm playing?". So I just started saying various different names, these included "Psychedelic Garage" "Detroit 2 Step" etc .. but the one that seems to have resonated with people is future garage, in this way I think its a name that "chose itself".
I also think that "post-dubstep" trying to make one sweeping name to describe various different aestetics is a bit dangerous, I also think the idea of "pushing" a genre name is misguided (this happened loads with dubstep ie. "let's push the sound", of which I admit I was also guilty of). I think "pushing" a sound in that way actually leads to formulaic productions as people rush to make new tunes and "become part of it". The name future garage has appeared as an attempt to help describe the music rather than to market it persay.
In this respect I think future garage isnt really a genre at all, its not a final destination like dubstep was, instead I see Future Garage as a collection of DJ's and producers that share a vision of what garage can and should be, but who all have different visions at the same time. Future garage is like a moment in time, its garage not reborn, but garage re-envisioned. Who knows what will come from it, but its not an end stop, future garage is just the beginning of a new generation using the best bits of garage along with there own aestetics, creating lots of new musical avenues to explore.
B: So, why now?
W: Well I think its happened now due to the general ill fitting "dubstep" tag for a lot of the garage influenced producers who were/are working under the umbrella term "dubstep". I know that dubstep doesnt really fit for me anymore, and the same is true for a lot of people. A new way to describe the music was needed.
B: What labels, artists and DJs should people be looking for in this vein?
W: Some of my fav labels are: L2S Recordings, Night Audio, Bass Machine Music, Furioso, Frisjfo Beats, Smokin Sessions, some of the latest bits on Keysound are big too!
Some producers and djs I'd say to look out for are: Submerse, Littlefoot, Clueless, M2J, Monz, Dawntreader, Erra, Touch, Sines, Demos, Dom, VVV, ReSketch, Synkro, KingThing, Fused Forces, Sully, Sclist, Kanvas, Pangaea, Dokument, Cosmic Revenge, Point B oh and me ;)
B: And Dusk + Blackdown ffs! :) But moving on... you've made a Future Garage Facebook page and now a Forum, which seemed to have helped to bring interested parties together for discussion and debate. Was that the intention?
W: Yes, exactly. There was nowhere for people to go to get info and to communicate with each other, threads on dsf would get lost in amongst the sea of threads that go up there and often go completely unnoticed. I started the Facebook page to try and gauge if a forum would be worth doing, and the response was a resounding yes, so I launched the forum and its been going from strength to strength. It reminds me a lot of the early days of Dubstep Forum.
B: Lots of those interested parties have been through and come out of the dubstep scene. There's lots of different areas of creativity that are being explored by people like this, be that the hyperdub/wonky/synth/hip hop stuff, grime, UK house and funky as well as classic 2step/uk garage styles. Are you open to cross pollonation and interaction with other scene or is the future garage a distinct direction in itself?
W: I think the cross pollonation is what makes future garage what it is. It's something that blends lots of influences from lots of places, but puts it into a garage framework. Thats what makes it future garage, cross pollination within a garage framework. To this end I have been contacted by various producers from other scenes interested in doing future garage releases, one that I'm particularly looking forward to getting released is traditional UKG producer Duncan Powell's forthcoming EP on L2S "Came Into View EP".
B: You've talked a little on the Future Garage forum about your concerns around just the using the term "garage", primarily that "So Solid and the like destroyed any hope of 2step being accepted again in any really serious sense". I mention this because was at FWD>> a few sundays ago for Joy Orbison, a house-influenced artist in a dubstep club, and he'd attracted quite a following, much younger and more student-y than the usual FWD>> crowd. Spyro was on before and dropped Wiley's "Eskimo" and So Solid's "Dilemma" - and like much of his set, these total anthems got air. Which makes me think that to lots of people, there's so much water under the bridge that "garage" might not be a dirty word anymore. What do you think on this point?
W: I think that your right, to a younger crowd the "garage" word isnt so much of a swear word, but it does however have a different connotation of being "mum's music" ie. 18 year olds now, there parents probably listen to old EZ mixes in the car etc... This then becomes the other problem with it just being simply "garage". And to me it really isnt just plain "garage", there are no straight rnb rip offs (the staple of what I call traditional garage) and the whole approach is totally different, its not music designed to get dressed up in shoes and shirt for, its music to dance all night too, too take the dance somewhere new and exciting, rather than music to lear at girls to.
The 2step tag equally has similar problems, but these are more to do with noterirty rather than simply "meh garage, posh birds and moody fellas". With 2 step people like So Solid etc engendered an image that was so alien to a lot of the garage faithful, that they lost faith completely, and in most instances went completely over to house. I wouldn't want to use a name that has such a chequered meaning to so many people. And anyway to say all future garage is 2step would be incorrect.
Photo: Todd Edwards and Whistla
B: The elephant in the future garage room for me is that you can very effectively argue that UK funky is future garage, or certainly UKG mark II. For me any move to revive garage ideas should do its best to work with the energy and ideas of the funky scene, as it has grass roots support in London and tons of momentum. But I sense you're not so keen, what's your feeling on if or how future garage and funky could interact?
W: Yeah your right, I'm very uncomfortable with UK Funky. I don't particularly like the idea of UKG pt2 and I can see the same patterns repeating already that happened back with UKG pt1, the dress codes, the mc's, the "cheesey crossovers", except that its all happened in a year and a half, rather than over 5 yrs. I do however really like the fact that there is UK Funky, as it "leaves us alone" to build our thing without "scensters" trying to jump on it. I guess if pushed to make UK Funky and future garage interact I would have UK Funky in one room and future garage in another. Thats how I would envision it.
I personally dont hear UK funky as being very "garagey." I dont often hear the "swing" and even less "the shuffle", plus tropical beats and soca patterns have never really been my thing. Most UK funky I've ever heard has been either very housey or too broken beat for my taste. I actually hear a stronger Acid House era influence to a lot of UK Funky than a garage one. Future Garage has that indescribable something that I want from tunes, funky hasn't given me that. And trying to "cash in" on the success of another scene also seems slightly wrong, I'd rather future garage do its own thing, on its own terms.
B: While after the wonky debacle, which wasn't intended as a genre name but quickly nobody noticed that detail anymore, I appreciate I shouldnt talk about names too much but I have a concern about the use of the word "future" and how it will be seen, despite your best intentions now. Futurism is a school of thought in itself and to me is one that has been over-used in a musical context. It's also a prophecy that doesn't fullfill itself: you can't be the future forever and eventually you will look and sound dated, just, for example, as (the wonderful) records from 80s Detroit now do. Also it doesnt seem accurate in this case: going back to garage is less 'future' more 'past' or 'present'. What's your thinking on this?
W: Like we have already said, I see this as a movement, not a genre. It's an easy way to find out about a lot of new music that currently has a shared aestetic and complimentary sound. To me saying "future" implies newness and a contemporary approach, and yes the term might sound dated possibly in 10 yrs time, but I am sure that by then everyone you associate with future garage will have been termed something else by someone anyway. Thats the nature of dance music, esp dance music that is made by producers that try to keep moving and progressing in there sounds. Future garage is a movement, taking garage to new places.
Once garage has been given a new future (outside of Time and Envy and one off events thrown by EZ @ the O2) we will be "in the future" once this is the case who knows what we will be calling it? I dont think people should form attachments to names, look what heartache that caused to people that had invested so much emotional attachment to the word "dubstep". The word just lets you know what your getting.
Once its no longer relevant then fine use something else, that is the stage dubstep reached, it stopped being a useful descriptor, and the name we are using instead is future garage, at some point in the future sure people might start calling there stuff something else, but man come on lets not worry about the unknowable, just enjoy the music, as its the music that will live forever and is what truely matters, the name just helps people find there way thru the map of dance.
I wouldnt say people are particularly going "back to garage" either as most future garage producers werent even around for garage the first time round, they are building based on a whole different framework. That is what is so refreshing. Its going forward with all the best of the past as its bed-rock, its not a retro trip, or some kind of nostalgia buzz, its a whole new thing.
Recently United Vibes - aka Vibezin and Amen-Ra (LHF) - put together a series of mixes to celebrate 10 years in the game and truth be told they caught me off guard. Not only are they insanely well mixed and selected but they catch so well the spirit of garage that's in the air right now. They sent me reeling, reminded just how wonderfully weird and abstract the warm house n r&b mutation that garage is can be. They also sent me scuttling off to Discogs.com to locate new-to-me white labels, especially from the man like Steve Gurley. So here they are. Enjoy!
UNITED VIBES 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY MIX PART 1: 97-99 2-Step
"Big up all original garage pirates, special dedication."
Download it here
Skykap- “Ride (U want a ride pt II)
Allstars- “What about us”
??-?? (Emitta Sounds)
MJ Cole- “Shadows” (Ray Hurley Remix)
Slide Bros- “2-step Lover”
Abstrac- “Love Devotion” (Zouk Mix)
David Howard- “Time”
Mr Reds- “Honey”
??-?? (Confetti Records)
Chris Mac- “Alright”
Chris Mac- “Plenty More”
Groove Chronicles- “Hold On”
Anthill Mob- “Give Me”
Hi Times- “Time Will Show Pt. II”
US Alliance- “All I know” (Da Grunge Mix)
D.E.A- “Can’t U See”
Chris Mac- “Set It Off”
Chris Mac- “Rhythm”
KMA- “Kaotic Madness”
KMA- “Cape Fear” (Crush Groove Remix)
Groove Chronicles- “Stone Cold”
Myron- “Get Down” (Groove Chronicles Remix)
"Part 2 of the series. Soulful, dark, fun ,street, twisted 2-step from the turn of the millenium. Essential for all who are diggin for the roots. The celebrations are well under way. Enjoy!"
UNITED VIBES 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY MIX PART 2: MILLENIUM 2STEP
Download it here
Pharoah Monch- "The Light" (Zed Bias Dub Instrumental mix)
Zed Bias- ?? (Contraband Vol. 2)
Seven Wonders- "Crazy"
??- "Realise" (Strictly Dubz)
Beat forensics- "Feel It"
Chris Mac- "Baby Gonna Rock This" (2-step dub)
Zed Bias-"Touch Me"
??- "Give It To Me"
Vincent J Alvis- "Bode Killin" (M Dubs Remix)
Blaze and Glory- "Space Funk"
El-B- "Take You There"
United Grooves Collective- "I'm Glad You came To Me" (Steve Gurley
Tubby- "Don't You Know"
Hutchy B- "Can U Give Me"
Jameson- "Slow Jam"
Steve Gurley- "Power"
Nu Birth- "Anytime" (Groove Chronicles Remix)
Groove Chronicles- "Music" (Dub Mix)
Mad Skills- "Big Up"
Beat Forensics- "We can Do It"
Mariah Carey- "Loverboy" (MJ Cole London Dub)
"We salute the underground"
UNITED VIBES 10 YR ANNIVERSARY MIX PART 3: DUBSTEP HISTORY 2
Download it here
Horsepower- "Triple 7"
Phuturistix- "@ Random"
Roxy vs El-B- "Breakbeat Science"
El-B + Roxy- "Passage Of Time"
Horsepower- "Djangos Revenge"
Horsepower- "Rude Boyz"
Blaze- "De Witch"
Nude vs El-B- "South West"
Singing Melody- "If U Like It" (EL-B Remix)
Londons Unique 3- "Dread"
Horsepower - What We Do (Remix)
Horsepower - When You Hold Me
El-B feat. Juiceman - Buck & Bury (Original Mix)
Horsepower- "Hand Of Death"
Alexis P Suter- "All Night Long" (Nude Remix)
Nude- "Picture Dis"
Zinc- "Tonka" (Menta Remix)
Benga and Skream- "The Judgement"
Artwork- "Round Sound"
Groove Chronicles- "Black Puppet"
Horsepower- "To The Beat Y'all"
Nude- "Wake Up"
Daluq- "Oriental Express"
HMP feat. MC Marshall- "Rolling Touch"
Horsepower- "Special 131"
Alley Cats- "Cover Me"
Kings of Tomorrow- "Finally" (J Da Flex Remix)
Part 4 a 4x4 mix soon come!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Mr Grievous supplies a very tasty new mix to mark the arrival of this on Monday...
Dusk + Blackdown v Grievous Angel “Margins Music Redux” [Keysound] in shops Monday 23rd of November and Sully 12 "The Loot remix/In Some Pattern" due soon. Meanwhile over at Fact Mag, I've let a little off about Keysound 16 (Skream lost dubs) and 17 (LV EP). Can't wait for Keysound 18 neither!
Download Grievous Angel's new mix here.
0:09 MF Grimm / DJ Premier - International Rules
2:04 The Streets - Lets push things forward (Roll Deep Remix)
4:50 DJ Premier / Gangstarr: Mass Appeal (instrumental)
5:05 Blackdown: Beta
7:50 Joe: Rut
13:30 Untold & D Franklin: Beacon
14:30 Prince: Soft and Wet (screwed and chopped)
16:09 Pearson Sound: Gambetta
18:08 D'Angelo: One Mo Gin
22:21 Shortstuff: A Rustling
25:33 Prince: Black Sweat (Grievous Angel Refix)
27:45 Musical Mob: Pulse X
27:45 Blackdown: Defocused
28:56 Big$hot: Glitch
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Line up of the year?
Room 1 (10-5)
Kode9 & Spaceape LIVE
King Midas Sound LIVE
Quarta 330 (Live)
Room 2 (12-5)
Kode9 (3 hour set)
See you down the front... first person to shout "got any brostep?" gets a tenner.
Within the general dubstep-grime-funky space, this year has been one of shifting sands and moving boundaries, with much of the change catalysed by house and funky. Exciting takes on these elements have come of late from Kowton, Joy Orbison and Jam City, while Mosca seems to be getting a lot of attention, and that doesn’t even mention many of the flagship funky producers like Cooly G, Crazy Cousins, Roska and co.
As the sands shifted this year, a new artist crept into Dusk and my Rinse FM sets, Hackman, that had a great take on at 130bpm tempo. Like the best of funky, it seems to zig zag between polar opposites rather than choosing one extreme to pursue. Hackman’s sound is characterised by warm analog sub bass and asymmetric percussion layered over a 4x4 base. But there’s an abundance of interesting groove and warm bass in the 130ish/funky spectrum: what makes Hackman’s sound stand out from the crowd is a great propensity for saccharine sweet melodies that contrast with the dark sub and scattered drums. These melodies seem to echo MJ Cole’s turn of the millennium 2step productions, with lush touches despite a tuff club exoskeleton.
So with one of his tracks now signed to a Fabric compilation, here’s an interview and exclusive mix.
Hackman mix for Blackdown: download it HERE.
Hackman "Blacksnake" (Dub)
Hackman "Feel It" (Dub)
Hackman "Multicultural" (Shifting Peaks Recordings)
Hackman "Funky Tune" (Dub)
Hackman "Always the Same" (Shifting Peaks Recordings)
Hackman "Dusk" (Dub)
Rio Rhythm Band "Carnival Da Cassa (Hackman Remix)" (Dub)
Hackman "Illusionz" (Studio Rockers)
Hackman "Pistol in Your Pocket" (Fabric)
Silkie "The Horizon (Hackman Remix)"(Dub)
Hackman & Bluto "Untitled" (Dub)
Blackdown: To start at the top, can you tell me a bit about who you are, where you’re from…?
Hackmann: I'm from a small village I doubt anyone would have heard of in the south west countryside. Music has been a prominent part of my life since a very early age where my parents forced me (though I'm now grateful) to play the piano and violin. From that I've had a very classical upbringing, being in involved in school orchestras and concerts. After finishing school, I'm now at Leeds College of Music, doing a 3 year production course.
B: Tell me about the totally mental animated gif you use on your Dubstep Forum signature? It seems to perfectly reflect the melodic technicolour in your sound. Tell me you’ll use it on any future label art!
H: Ha, found it by chance on someone's MySpace, can't remember who and nicked it, though its from some big American hip hop artists music video I’m now told, like Xzibit or someone, so don't think that’s possible for label art! Would definitely take some inspiration from it.
B: How long have you been producing for and what made you start?
H: For about 2 and a half years. I used to listen to a lot of d&b, and got my first laptop around the same time, which came with Garageband. Tried to make a few tracks on there, which were pretty shit, but luckily my dad got Logic 6 near the same time so was able to start using that. Soon after that a mate introduced me to midnight request line and was hard on the production ever since then.
B: You produce dubstep and funky, when did funky begin to inspire you and how do you decide which style to approach?
H: Its funny, always used to walk out for an extended smoke during Kode 9 sets at DMZ or exodus when he'd start playing funky. Properly started to get into it about April time, when I heard Roska's two EPs, Elevated levels and Climate change. Since then, haven't made a dubstep tune, except for a colab or two with mates, mainly because it doesn't interest me anymore, and the stuff that still does is all this future garage business, especially all the Blunted Robots stuff.
B: Your funky is what has really grabbed Dusk and I this year for our Rinse show, can you tell me how you approach it?
H: I usually just sit down at the computer with no real idea of what I’m going to do. I always start with the beats, and usually aim to get a solid catchy melody over some, in my opinion, nice chord progressions. Then I usually finish with the bass, as well as additional percussion or samples.
B: You seem to have a great balance between clean melodies and ruff sub bass that reminds me of MJ Cole, what’s the inspiration behind this approach?
H: Probably a lot of MJ Cole, as well as all the old skool 2 step stuff, I think that’s the best music around, just wish I’d been old enough to go out to those nights!
B: You also have a great approach to percussion, using great off kilter/asymmetrical patterns in the bars: what’s your thinking on this?
H: I think the rhythms the most important element of a track, I always like to be able to groove to my beats without any other parts playing. Usually put a lot of syncopation to get that swing in, but a lot of it is trial and error
B: One of your tracks has been signed or licensed by Fabric (since announced by Fact Magazine, how did that come about?
H: Through posting my tracks up on Dubstep Forum, they'd been keeping an eye on my MySpace, then when I put up “Pistol in Your Pocket” they sent me a message, was very happy!
B: Where would you like to get to in your musical career, in the near future?
H: Would really like to be at the stage where I’m trading dubs with all my favorite producers and be at the point where I don't have to get a day job.
Friday, November 06, 2009
My Pitchfork End of Year round up 2009 for funky, grime, wonky (I didn't use the word, they added it in, honest) and dubstep.
I wasnt able to use it in full in the piece in the end but the guys at UKRecordshop.com, were cool enough to help with this...
ukrecordshop.com top selling grime mixtapes of 2009
01 Skepta - Microphone Champion
02 Tinchy Stryder - Catch 22
03 Wiley - Race Against Time
04 Chipmunk - I Am Chipmunk
05 Bashy - Catch Me If You Can
06 Durrty Goodz - Ultra Sound
07 Big H - Street Crime UK
08 Newham Generals - Generally Speaking
09 P Money - Money Over Everyone
10 Roadside Gees - Nightmare On Elmz Street
It makes interesting reading. I know Trim capped his pressing size and Aim High 4 & Roll Deep Street Anthems are only just out, but Roadside Gees, Big H (Sick Boy I see ya!) and Bashy are interesting additions in a top grime 10 of 2009!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Five years ago today I started this blog. It was an accident of sorts: I was curious how hard it would be to register for one. Answer: not very. Liberated to write about whatever I felt strongly, I quickly grew to love blogging... and so here we are.
Over the years I've published a bunch of interviews with Dizzee Rascal, Skream, Burial, Burial again in depth, Shackleton, Trim, Skepta, Grievous Angel, Appleblim, Spyro, Mala n Loefah, Loefah, Loefah and Kryptic Minds, Silkie, Newham Generals, DVA, Dot Rotten, Marcus NASTY and Zomby's parrot.
I've documented my trips to Tokyo, NYC once, NYC twice, LDN by night, LDN by Nico Hogg's bike, Southall and China (imagined).
Some of my favourite posts include the What do you call it: funky? with Supa D, Soulja and Gee, *ahem* wonky, where is dubstep, and Trim's flow.
So, as it's traditional to give presents on birthdays, I've got a little something to share: an exclusive vintage mix CD by Hatcha from the foundational days in high quality.
· Download the Hatcha 2002 mix CD: here.
UPDATE: Skream's worked out a tracklist!
Skream and Benga - The Judgment
Benga - Star Wars
Skream - ?
Skream - Dubsteppa
Macarbre Unit - Its All About
Benga - Skank
Benga - Skank VIP
Jameson - Switch
Skream N Benga - WAR BOOTLEG
Dubchild - Roll That,Light It,Smoke It
Benga - The Virus
Skream - The Bug
Menta - Jacknife
Jammin - Tonka - Menta Remix
Benga - Full Cycle
Benni Ill Vs Hatcha - Highland Spring
Skream - Futures Dark
Skream - CapeFear
In the earliest days of dubstep the scene really was a tiny collective, with perhaps no more than 50 or so interested participants. In those times the way music got distributed (long before broadband), was by the passing of CDs, often down at Forward>> and this promo mix CD by Hatcha is one of several he gave out. I have two or three (including the 2005 "Practice Hours" one) and I bet even more exist. They're unique records in the development of dubstep, not least because more than anyone ever has and perhaps ever will, Hatcha singularly had more influence over what dubstep was and has now become.
The hardest part is dating it. My educated guess is 2002 or failing that late 2001. You can date stamp it by book-ending it with producers it doesn't feature. At one end you have no Ghost, Zed Bias or warm garagey beats, so that rules out 2000 and early 2001. On the other hand there's no Mala, no Loefah or coki, so that rules out 2003 when "Pathwayz" and a whole host of DMZ other beats began to emerge through his sets. And it's long before he began blew up Scuba, Distance and Caspa by playing their new dubs. There's even a little bit of 8bar grime, from Jon E Cash and Soulo (aka Jameson), which was never a huge feature of Hatcha's sets, though it popped up from time to time.
(To go off on a tangent, this CD is from even before Rinse embraced dubstep but I remember one time a few years later listening to Hatcha on Rinse only to hear him drop a mashup of Danny Weed and Cage's "Creeper" and a Whitney Houston accapella! It was awesome but it stuck in my mind as so out of character, as his sets were 90% exclusive dubstep dubs.)
What this CD does have is shed loads of Benga and Skream plus a little Artwork/Menta and Horsepower. The first time I recall hearing of Benga and Skream is when Hatcha boasted he had two new protégés while in the coat queue for the Maddslinky album launch party at 2002. It was memorable because in those times dubstep (though it wasn't really named yet) couldn't get into clubs like Cargo. It seems unimaginable now that Skream's remix of La Roux is a chart anthem and Benga is producing for Eve but it's true - and that state of affairs persisted for years, really up until DMZ proved you could successfully do dubstep clubs on a large scale.
So let’s say this is 2002. What you do hear is a snapshot of the early Benga and Skream sound. In many ways it was this just a little of a broad body of work - they were prolific writers, with literally thousands of tracks made between them, many now lost due to hard drive crashes and PC viruses - that transitioned dubstep from the dark swung garage of El-B, Horsepower and Zed Bias to the mid era of Loefah, Mala, Coki, Kode9, and of course Skream & Benga themselves.
You can hear the differences. On one hand gone is the housey warmth and r&b soul that El-B scattered in his bassy tracks to create a potent sweet/sour mix. Equally this is before Mala brought this bright spectrum of technicolour to dubstep with expansive, visionary tracks like "Neverland" and "Forgive" (compare Skream's sound here to his 2005 promo mix, where he admits Digital Mystikz gave him a kick up the arse). It's also before Loefah popularised the halfstep beat: the structures here are all 2steppy, with snares on the 2 and 4. (Interestingly, I've since noticed that DJ Abstract's early classic "Touch" is sorta halfstep, with snares on the 3 and 4, though it never caught on at the time).
What you see in Skream, Benga and also Plastician's sound of the time is a vision that's dark, clipped, minimal and grime-inspired. Indeed Geeneus has said in interview to me that he and Slimzee (an early champion of Benga), when they weren’t busy smashing up raves as proto grime godfathers Pay As U Go used to refer to dubstep as "safe grime." Listen to their sound, built on Fruity Loop synths, and there's a coldness to it. The warping basslines, which became a signature at the time, were built on the TS404 plug in. It was to Croydon what the 303 was to Chicago in the late 80s.
While Skream and Benga have since made more emotive records, I'm nostalgic for this era, especially as it now no longer makes up such a large proportion of the output of the scene. But this proportion played a crucial role. Around these times UK garage as a scene was all but collapsed, grime was going it's own angry way and no one wanted to touch what would be dubstep with a barge pole. El-B got frustrated at the darkness in the Forward>> scene and disbanded Ghost to form El-Tuff while Zed Bias began to be interested in broken beats. So as the dubstep scene narrowed while everything around it collapsed, in retrospect these sparse beats acted like a palate cleanser. Some critics mourn loss the house/garage/r&b touches, and with good reason, but the narrowing into Benga and Skream's sound made room for subsequent possibilities. Here was a dark minimal plateau: what can we build on it?
Well next came "Pathwayz" obviously, then "Indian" and "B" and before you know it we're into "Horror Show," "Neverland", "Request Line" and beyond. As Snoop Dogg jumps on Chase & Status riddims it's hard to imagine, but at once stage, indeed for several years, dubstep's flame flickered perilously - it could have gone out. This mixtape is primary evidence of what kept it burning.
So anyway, there it is. I hope you enjoy it. To complete the birthday celebrations, I believe it's traditional to make a wish. My wish is to blog for another five years. God knows who, where or what I'll be in five years time, but I hope I still feel as strongly about music as I did on both November 3rd 2004 and 2009.
· Permalink to the wav: here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Dusk + Blackdown v Grievous Angel “Margins Music Redux” is forthcoming on Keysound at the end of November.
The album is our “Margins Music” totally reworked by Grievous, with remixed art from Stu Give Up Art (Tempa, Rinse, Applepips, Keysound…) and mastered by Jason Transition (DMZ, Hyperdub, Deep Medi, Keysound, too many dubplates…).
The album is part remix LP, part DJ set part dub rework. In late 2007 and early 08 I became enthralled by Grievous Angel’s Ableton mixes that blurred the lines between DJing and remixing. The best of these are here (Devotional Dubz mix and Dubstep Sufferah 3). We offered him the parts to every track on “Margins Music” and told him to mutate its DNA.
And with an odd sense of timing that has absolutely nothing to do with my label organisational abilities, as this release is more than quite late, his 12" for Keysound drops today...
Naphta "Soundclash 1 (Grievous Angel VIP)" / Grievous Angel "Harpy" is out now.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Dun no the dun no: we were back on Rinse FM in October. Here's the show:
**Dusk + Blackdown Rinse October 2009**
Download this HERE.
Dusk + Blackdown "Dasaflex" (unreleased)
Beezy Voodoo "Deja Voodoo (Geeneus remix)" (unreleased Rinse)
Baobinga "Tongue Riddim (Roska remix)" (unreleased)
Slackk "Sweatshop" (unreleased)
Reach and Spin "The Hype (Dubble Dutch refix)" (unreleased)
Geiom & Shortstuff "No Hand Signals" (unreleased Planet Mu)
Funky Hackmann "Blacksnake" (unreleased)
Hypno "Elevate" (unreleased)
VVV "Traverse" (unreleased)
Presk "Gatsch" (unreleased)
Sigha "ABUCS6a" (unreleased)
Grievous Angel "Girl U Know It's True (dub mix)" (unreleased)
Goldie "Inner City Life (Sbtrkt refix)" (white label)
Fantastic Mr Fox & Rich Reason "Bleep Show (Desto remix)" (unreleased)
Brackles "I Love London remix" (unreleased)
Gravious "Lunar Module" (unreleased)
Pinch "Get Up (RSD remix)" (forthcoming Tectonic)
Zomby "Fck Ur Mgno" (unreleased)
Zomby "No Security remix" (unreleased)
Zomby "UFO" (unreleased)
TRG "Stush" (unreleased)
Silencer "Martian Attack" (unreleased)
Roll Deep "Eskimo vocal" (forthcoming Roll Deep Recordings)
Roll Deep "Eskimo remix vocal" (forthcoming Roll Deep Recordings)
Rude Kid "Emergency" (forthcoming No Hats No Hoods)
Kano "Rock n Roller (Starkey remix)" (unreleased)
The Movement (Ghetto, Wretch 32, Scorcher) "Movement Activity" (forthcoming Aim High)
Ghetto "Grimey Activity" (forthcoming Aim High)
Harmonic 313 ft Wiley "Scar" (unreleased)
Roll Deep "Trouble" (forthcoming Aim High)
SNK Beats "Waves" (unreleased)
Scorcher "Dark Knight" (forthcoming Aim High)
Joker "City Hopper" (forthcoming Tectonic)
Sully "In Some Pattern" (forthcoming Keysound)
Flowdan and The Bug "Run" (forthcoming Original Dan CD)
All our older Rinse mixes are archived here
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Zed Bias and friends at the Neighbourhood 09 photoshoot. How many legends can you clock?!
It’s nearly a decade since UK garage was at its peak and decade is, well, several lifetimes, in the hyper evolution of UK urban music genres. Put it this way, if you can be can be a grime MC younger at 14, then you could have been 4 when Architechs “Body Groove” came out.
But despite this chasm of generations, there seems to be some kind of collective memory causing a yearning not just for new vocal funky anthems, but ‘99’s vocal anthem in ‘09. The older smart-and-sexy crowd, 30 in 99 are in their 40s now, and the youngers were in pre-school, yet somehow the demand is there.
How else can you explain the phenomenon of 09 funky remixes of 99-02 garage classics? OK so there’s an obvious cash-in angle but Zed Bias said he was so bored of Facebook requests for the parts and bootlegs having their go anyway, he was forced by demand to reissue it. With that, to date I’ve clocked:
· Zed Bias “Neighbourhood (09 remixes)”
· DJ Zinc “128 Trek”
· Brasstooth “Celebrate Life (Footloose funky remix)”
· So Solid “21 Second (Roska + DVA remix)”
· Brasstooth “Pleasure” (Paleface remix)
· Tina Moore “Never Gonna Let You Go (funky Mix)”
· Heartless Crew “Heartless Theme (Superglue Riddim) (funky remix)
· S.I.A. “Little Man (Wookie remix) [Lil Silva refix]
· Baby D “Let Me Be Your Fantasy (DJ Q mix)”
· Zed Bias "Spare Ribs (Roska's year of da ox mix)"
· Mike Dunn Feat MD Express "God Made Me Phunky(DVA refix)"
· DEA Project's "Love Me (Smasher funky remix)"
· Musical Mob "Pulse X (Lil Silva funky remix)"
· Lennie De Ice "We Are IE (funky remix) - unconfirmed
Geeneus has just gone even further back and cover Inner City’s “Big Fun,” a house classic in the late ‘80s! Monster Boy “I’m Sorry” already got brought back. Drum & bass outfit Nero have done a wobble remix of MJ Cole’s “Sincere,” but that doesn’t count.
Given all this, I think it’d be fun to speculate what garage classics are ripe for a relick. Who knows, perhaps someone from funky will read this and have a go! My longlist includes:
· Reach and Spin “The Hype”
· Double 99 “RIP Groove”
· Amira “My Desire”
· Pay As U Go “Champagne Dance”
· Agent X “Decoy”
· Jameson “Urban Hero”
· Maxwell D “So Serious” – or will his funky vocals negate the need for this?
Leave comments below: what ones am I missing?
The re-appropriation of these urban anthems bares all the hallmarks of the hardcore continuum: consuming, mutating and taking ownership of great riffs and moments in raving history so that it can be loved again by a new generation.
Grime MCs have been doing this of late too, over a much shorter times span: not unexpectedly given grime MCs, trading in a ghetto reputation economy, seem to feel they only exist or matter for as long as the words are coming out of their mouths and their name is on everyone’s lips.
Dizzee bars are a favourite, probably given the absence from the scene his success has caused. P Money, currently everywhere with his “Money Over Everything” mixtape, did it well on “P is a Rascal” on his previous CD, taking classic Dizzee bars, so embedded in anyone’s consciousness who saw him at this time, and remixing them line by line. In truth, so dense is the language that the grime MCs engage in dialog with each other, that they’re regularly remixing and re-appropriating their own bars. It’s just a fine line between a send (named, direct diss), "in-di-r" (unnamed, indirect diss), tribute (attributed) or remix.
I’m not saying funky doesn’t have anthems with identity of its own, it does in abundance from Kyla “Do You Mind” to the “Migrane Skank.” But I guess this all goes to show the strength of Simon Reynold’s “sceneius” idea, where a scene contains the collective gene pool of ideas, rather than one lone genius. The funny thing is, given the way scenes cluster so tightly around a few ideas (tempo, beat patterns, aesthetics, track goals etc), it’s amazing that the collective memory can last this long.
I suppose this phenomenon has existed since rave and before, with garage remixes of jungle classics etc, but what’s striking here that how within funky there’s acute memory of ’01 UKG anthems but selective amnesia as to ’02 proto grime classics (dubstep didn’t exist til 2007/8 in “road” eyes), like there’s some kind of membrane short-circuit from one bubbling, smart-and-sexy-yet-soon-to-be-ruffed-up-with-‘skank’-youts scene to another, almost ten years on.
Here come’s the lick again, it may taste familiar.
PS Bassjackers & Apster "Klambu" = the Azzido da Bass for 2009?
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Exclusive Kowton mix
Download it HERE.
STL - Bird Art (Something)
Andre - Moments in Life (Mahogani Music)
WBeeza - He So Crazy (Third Ear)
Soundstream - "Live" Goes On (Soundstream)
Kowton - Stasis (G mix) (Keysound)
DJ Abstract - Touch (Tempa)
Kowton - Looking At You (unreleased)
Pearson Sound - Wad (Hessle Audio)
Kowton - Countryman (Keysound)
Emvee - Nocturnal (Wireblock)
Kowton - Metronome (LV Remix)(unreleased - Nakedlunch forthcoming?)
Joe - Grimelight (Hessle Audio)
Peverelist - Bluez (unreleased - Punch Drunk forthcoming)
Guido - Beautiful Complication (Punch Drunk forthcoming)
Blackdown: So Kowton, tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you currently based? Where did you used to be based?
Kowton: I’m in Bristol now, I’ve been here a year or so and its working out well. There’s a lot of good things going on here, I’ve probably been to more decent nights this year than in the rest of my adult life. Under_Score, Tape, Crazy Legs, Dubloaded, Focus and SeasonFive have all been putting on forward thinking acts regularly. One of the best things I’ve seen was Bruk’s night where all sorts of quality music went down ‘til 4 in the pitch-black windowless basement of what at street level looked like a dead normal cafe. St Paul’s Carnival was magic too.
K: Before I moved down here I was in the Lake District and you don’t really get much in the way of nights up there, if something good happens its usually because someone’s stepped up and put the time and effort into organizing an outdoor rave or a party in a village hall or whatever. It’s pretty fucking parochial! Most music I’d hear up there would be either sat smoking in cars or playing records round people’s houses. If we wanted proper nights out it was always a question of driving down to Manchester or across to Leeds which was always well worth it but just didn’t happen that often.
B: When you first started sending me tracks, it must have been about 2005. Your take on the dark Youngsta halfstep sound stood out. Can you tell me about the music you were making then?
K: About that time I was living in a box room in Manchester and in retrospect pretty ridiculously depressed over very little, I was going through a stupid amount of skunk and only really going out to go to college or to the pub. When I heard tracks like Loefahs’s “Horror Show” or D1’s “Crack Cocaine” or even melodic bits like Cyrus’ “Indian Stomp” it was just like an echo of my mood, all dark and melancholy and smoked out. I guess making tunes like that gave me a sense of purpose so I put a lot into them, I wish I’d been a tighter producer back then though so maybe I’d have been better at getting my ideas out. It was like a fucking compulsion though – I’d stay up ‘til six or seven every morning, pass out with the computer on, get up at 2 and see if anything I’d done the night before had worked. I wrote a lot of tunes but it was a pretty horribly isolated loop to live in.
B: Where you used to live, I remember you sampling the clanking of boat riggings and singers on the ends of piers, how did these experiements turn out and do you think they had value?
K: I think they turned out ok. There was a track called “the Gift” that I gave away a while back that had some of the recorded vocals in it and it sounded alright, but then it might have sounded just as good with an Beyonce acapella or something. That latest track “Looking at You” has a recording from an indoor market in Bristol that I did in the background and I think it definitely adds something, most probably just helps keep things sounding grounded in the real world.
Probably when I was recording stuff originally it was in some vaguely pretentious “oh I’m recording stuff this will make things good” fashion, rather than being about the value using recordings could add to a tune. I still think its important to source original sounds though, films are amazing for them. Someone has spent months with best gear on the planet just building this artificial world of noise and all you have to do is spend half an hour recording and chopping and those sounds are yours. Its an advantage of the decline in music sales that no ones ever going to chase you up for sampling anymore unless a track goes massive.
B: These days you've, ahem, dropped the bpms and upped the groove, moving to housier realms. Can you tell me about how you got there?
K: Just a slow change in listening habits really. As the number of what I saw as essential dubstep releases started to wane a bit I started buying loads of Berlin and UK techno and a bit of US house after not really buying any 4/4 records for a few years. After a bit I began to try and incorporate various aspects of techno into the music I was making - automating reverbs and delays and fading levels rather than dropping elements straight in and out the mix.
Obviously at the same time as this loads of heads were on the techno/dubstep thing and I’m not too good at working when there’s too many people doing the same thing from the same angle. After a bit I figured rather than making dubstep using techno production styles I’d try and flip it and make techno or house using the same sounds as I would were it a dubstep track, Countryman and a tune called Headaches were the first examples of this.
In some respects having the kick on every ¼ note gives room for the rhythm and the groove to be a little wilder, the kick acts as an anchor for it all and if the tempo’s slower that equals more space to swing the percussion. If you start pushing the kick out of time a bit too then it gives thinks a nice lolloping feel, Theo Parrish plays a lot of shit that just kind of falls along really gracefully.
I want to get more into this cos I find the idea of groove proper interesting, this notion that you can have exactly the same elements in exactly the same order but by moving any of the hits a fraction of a second in either direction you can create a very different feel. It gives so much possibility, it’s like adding another dimension to writing music.
Grievous Angel taught me years ago about capturing grooves so you don’t have too switch the grid off, you just fuck it up. Since then its become a bit of an obsession, sometimes it gets in the way of song writing cos the grid is so stupidly off-kilter that even though the drums sound good its impossible to sit a decent bassline in there and the tune gets lost and I’ll have wasted a day.
B: Your current productions seem to fit in with both house and techno, yet still have that darkness, a dubby edge from dubstep...
K: I think though no matter what I try and make it comes out sounding dark, it’s just a reflection of my personality unfortunately. Hopefully though most of my stuff has a little a bit of light once in a while.. A lot of the stuff I love has that dark/light thing going on: if you’ve got the bass and the drums grinding away beneath then you get the balance with some colour on top. From people like Slam and Two Lone Swordsmen through to classic Dillinja, even Villalobos or Surgeon. Shit where they make you wait for the “good bit” where the tunes really rolling and all in the elements are bouncing of each other.
B: Is this deliberate? Do you strive to have a tension between the elements in your tracks?
K: If there’s tension its just because I try and make sure everything goes together. The bit I enjoy most about writing music is auditioning sounds through the sampler, I’m not a musician so I don’t get off on writing hooks and I’m not that interested techy stuff to be too clinical about mixdowns, that end of things is just very much a case of do what needs doing.
For me it’s just about putting together sounds that compliment each other and trying to give that space I just created some motion, sometimes that’s about switching things, sometimes its about changing the levels or whatever. I use a lot of delays and reverb because that’s how I’ve always done things. In contrast I really like the Pearson Sound tracks for being so sonically dry, they sound sick on a big rig, same with the new Untold bits – I reckon that’s the way a lot of people are going to be headed.
B: How do you feel about UK funky?
K: I don’t know enough about it to be honest. I was slow getting on it and though I know about the big tunes and bought the 12”s but that means nothing really. I dug the Marcus Nasty rinse sets from last year and the Cooly G Fact mix and the bits that you and the Hessle gang play but its dumb to pretend I know too much about it. Roska was good when I saw him Bristol.
B: How do you feel about Berlin/minimal?
K: I’m not as interested as I was in the linear Berghain type tunes or the dub-techno end of things, but the Ancient Methods 12”s have been great and I really love the Anstam tunes, T++ is still a big influence. The bit I’m most interested in though is the kind of slow house Workshop have been putting out because it’s heavy and got a shit load of groove to it. I’ve been buying up the STL 12”s on Something since they’re absolutely brilliant. On a similar tip, I caught Move D twice at Free Rotation, once in front of about 40 people in the café tent on Sunday afternoon and that was a real treat to behold, the shit he plays just seems to make people smile.
The stuff that gets labeled “minimal” I’m generally not into but then I don’t go looking for it and so I’m not that informed. Discussing what exactly “minimal” designates is a bit of a nightmare in itself I find. I’ve seen some dull sterile music this summer that I guess fits that description though – it’s not really minimal in the true sense of the idea though is it? From reading Sherbourne I hear identikit deep-house is all the rage now..
B: Is minimalism ultimately a dead end? Or not... :)
K: Psuedo-minimalism is a dead end for sure, its all too easy to slip into though. I love the Puritanism of the concept of minimalism, though I think it requires some serious concentration to execute with conviction.
Rob Hood, Loefah, Basic Channel all did fucking amazing bodies of work as minimalists and its some of the most emphatic and enveloping electronic music created. Tunes like Artwork’s Basic G too, its incredible and yet less happens in the course of the tune than in the intro to most tunes.
The problem is its just so often the idea is used as cover for lack of ideas of laziness. I think in a club its nice too mix it up too – an hour and a half of Dettmann’s skeletal techno was too monotonous for my tastes though I dig his records as individual works.
B: What or who musically inspires you right now?
K: I’m not really into lists of names but everyone I’ve mentioned so far, generally anyone who’s making involving, grooving and occasionally colourful music. I really like what Guido’s doing with female vocal tracks, and Peverelist’s Bluez is a percy at the moment cos its heavy as fuck and emotive. Geiom is pretty seriously under-rated I think. Mala always. FXHE.
Also good DJ’s who build sets properly are inspiring me massively right now, some people are just next-level and I’ve got a lot of respect for that.
B: What drives your musical direction these days?
K: Listening to new and old music, its literally fucking endless how much there is to go through. I used to have these phases of just shutting myself off from new things in case they were doing what I was trying to do better or something stupid but there really isn’t time for that. Everytime I hear something done in a new way I have to stop the track that’s playing and boot up Cubase. What I end of making generally sounds nothing like the thing that inspired it still.
B: Can you tell me about "Countryman" and "Stasis (g mix)"...
K: Countryman came straight from the film – me and a flat mate had been working through his collection of Reggae influenced films and he was egging me to make a tune from it. There’s a “Babylon” too which is a bit shit, “Rockers” never made it past the sampling stage.. Anyway, sampled every standout noise in it and built it up from there. It started out as a proper bongo workout using a loop from one of the percussive tracks on the soundtrack but after a bit though we chucked that. I was listening to the T++ 12”s a lot at the time I filtered everything down and just let the layers ride over each other. It took about a week to balance the automation out. The room it was mixed in has weird acoustics so I mixed the kick way too loud but I guess that’s what makes it a bit different.
Stasis started of as an experiment trying to build a vocal pattern like in Cassy’s “For You” where the different snippets get increasingly more involved with each other, then cos I’d just got some demo of a new echo plugin ended up all dub-techno sounding. The original Stasis is a techy post Rhythm and Sound tune, its nice and stuff but.. With the mix that’s on the record I was going for an Artwork meets Todd Edwards vibe – the drums are definitely 2-step but the variation is subtle and they just go on. If I’d done it proper there’d have been no breakdown I guess. I definitely want to take the garage drums at slower tempo thing further still.
B: Your music has an edge in it, like '05 loefah/youngsta halfstep but isn't as comically aggressive as a lot of 09 dubstep - do you exercise restraint in your aggression?
K: I’m not sure restraint is the right word – I’m not holding back on the nastiness, rather just starting off with the intention of keeping things sounding low and rolling. I read a good quote on FACT from Regis where he said about how he wouldn’t try to make anything deliberately dark and aggressive, yet his stuff certainly sounds that way to most people. In the same the way I’m not about aiming to sound ‘dark as fuck’ or whatever – space and movement are the important aspects. With the mid-range stuff it seems to be concerned only with the tear-out to the detriment of everything else.
B: Is it important to understand scene's lineages when you're consuming new music or do you enjoy the excitement of finding new music without being aware of its exact context?
K: Yeah I think it has to be important to understand where things come from a bit, obviously not down to every last detail but if you feel you’ve got an interest in a scene or a sound I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to check what came before. Its just the best source of inspiration there is, you start to see lineages in styles and method and patterns emerge. Idea’s getting echoed through different generations of producers.
At the same time finding stuff out of context is so often like a breath of fresh air. After a while obviously that scene or sound just becomes part of what you’re about but its definitely one of the most satisfying things about being deep into music. I’ve been listening to some of the WBMX radio sessions the past month and I’ve no-idea what a lot of the stuff they were playing is, same with a lot of the UK Funky I hear and like. I think for a while I was too concerned with knowing everything all the time - I’m trying to see stuff from a broader in perspective now. It’s daft being too limited to one thing.
B: How do you think things have changed in the last ten years where the consumption and creation of music can be so separate in an internet era? as you say "dark garage in the lake district..."
K: I think the key thing thats changed is the reach and effect of influence - the options regarding what you choose to expose yourself to have just been blown wide open, at the same time its now possible to have an input from a remote location was in what might have otherwise been a very localized scene. When the only way to know about new things happening was via print obviously word about scenes that were low to the ground wouldn’t spread until it was deemed hype enough to be worth column inches, and by that point you could argue that the peak of creativity might have been passed anyway. Now it’s instant. Obviously you need to be open to finding new things, but if you are its so much easier to find things than 10 years ago. As kids we used to ride an hour on the bus to go to Our Price ‘cause that was how you got new music in the Lakes.
B: How has the ubiquity and cheapness of music production software changed music scenes in the last ten years?
K: Its certainly made it easier to get involved, I mean the financial threshold you have to step to in order to get professional quality has dropped by thousands of pounds. A lot of people have access to a computer and that’s the only bit you need pay for really. I’m guessing there’s probably a fuck load more music being written than there was and I presume the number of tunes is accommodated to an extent by the number of digital only labels and so on. It’s effect is diluting but perhaps that’s irrelevant, talent always surfaces I hope. Maybe a lot of people wouldn’t have got into music without the opportunity things like cracked software present, me included.
All photos taken exclusively for Keysound by badgyal Bristol photographer Liz Eve. Find her at www.lizeve.com and on Flickr.
Kowton's "Stasis (g mix)/Countryman" is out October 19th on 12" and digital on Keysound. Hear it here.
Monday, September 21, 2009
We were back on Rinse FM Thursday 24th at 11pm.
DOWNLOAD it here.
Tracklist Dusk + Blackdown Rinse September 2009
Slackk "Fire Flies" (unreleased)
Lethal B and Donae'o "Flap Your Wings" (unreleased)
Ozzie B "Maybeee Ting" (unreleased)
Roska "Without It" (unreleased)
Dusk + Blackdown "Dasaflex" (unreleased)
Maxwell D "Iron Monkey" (unreleased)
Unknown "Because of You (Zed Bias club mix)" (unreleased)
Geiom "Luna" (Soul Motive)
Silkie "The Horisons (Funky Hackmann refix)" (unreleased)
Mark Pritchard/Blen "Africa Hitech" (unreleased)
Hard House Banton and $tush "We Nuh Run" (unreleased)
Grievous Angel "Move Down Low" (Souljazz)
Geeneus ft Katie B "Good Life" (unreleased)
Desto "Cold refix" (unreleased)
Sully "The Loot remix" (forthcoming Keysound)
Geiom + Dawn Treader "Toscani" (unreleased)
Basement Jaxx "Scars" (Sbtrkt remix)" (unreleased XL)
D1 "Just Business" (unreleased)
***LHF Showcase part II ***
Kryptic Minds "768" (unreleased Tectonic)
SP "Taiko" (Tempa)
Peverelist "Jarvik Mindstate" (unreleased Punch Drunk)
Skream "Sweetz" (unreleased Keysound)
Starkey "Black Monolith" (unreleased)
Starkey ft Badness "OK Luv" (unreleased)
Ikonika "Fish"(unreleased Hyperdubstep)
Lethal B and Silencer "Don't Run It Up" (unreleased)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
One of the many things about doing a radio show is that it forces you to seek out and listen to new music. Over the last two years we've come across some great producers I didn't previously know and one of them is Desto. His productions have be consistenly great since "Disapearing Reapearing Ink" turned our heads, so it seemed only right to ask the guy for a few beats and words of his own.
**Desto mix for Blackdown**
Download it HERE.
Desto "Broken Memory" (forthcoming Ramp Recordings)
Jtreole "The Loot [Sully remix]" (forthcoming Keysound Recordings)
Asylum Seekas "Magic Words [TMU remix]" (dub)
Tes La Rok "Mandem" (dub)
Desto "Ice Cold" (dub)
Desto "20/20 Hindsight" (dub)
Sully "In Some Pattern" (forthcoming Keysound Recordings)
Desto "Disappearing Reappearing Ink" (forthcoming Ramp Recordings)
TRG "Strobe Lick" (dub)
Tes La Rok "Inta" (dub)
Desto "Dark Matter" (forthcoming Noppa Recordings)
- "Wizard Of Wor" tease-
Khid "Emptying The Ghost Of Her" (dub)
Desto "Can't Take It" (dub)
Desto "Overkrookd" (dub)
Computer Jay "Maintain [Ikonika remix]" (forthcoming Ramp Recordings)
Clouds "Napalm" (dub)
Desto "Stay Strong" (dub)
Desto "Gremlinz" (forthcoming Noppa Recordings)
Desto "Cold [refix]" (forthcoming Noppa Recordings)
Blackdown: So Desto, tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you currently based?
Desto: I'm 28 years old, based in Helsinki, Finland. I started dabbling with music production in '93 with a 386 PC and tracker software which was the only cheap option for sample based music production for a kid at the time. The sound quality was much worse than the samplers back then so it was by no means going anywhere but it was a lot of fun. Sample size was very limited and to work around that took some creativity. Sometimes we'd make tunes of all styles that were called chiptunes that were less than 10kb in size, some of them sounded decent still. This taught me things like how to construct a variety of sounds from a single cycle of a sine wave.
The sound at the time was on the hardcore tip and me and my friends were crazy for it. In '94 I met the fella later known as Tes La Rok. I remember we bumped into this record store in '94 with a Moving Shadow compilation playing and walked out with a copy each. We were mad for the Metalheadz, Photek and the Bristol guys. Tes lived in the east and i lived in the west 1.5h away so we just talked about music a lot and exchanged tunes trying to produce jungle. This was in the days of no internet but there was a vibrant tracker scene supported by guys running BBSs on their home computers. What it meant was kids had files hosted on their computers and you could access them by using an extra slow dial-up connection. People were sharing their tunes of different styles uploading and downloading stuff one at a time and making up what could be described as tracker music labels. It was all good fun.
The music making started getting a bit more serious and around '98 Tes got his first release while i was falling off producing as I couldn't really afford any studio gear and felt DnB was getting boring with everyone jumping for the roller beats instead of the complex rhythms and aesthetics of the early days. The next years went by with me buying soul & funk breaks and hiphop, playing them at b-boy (breaking) events and actually breaking and eventually travelling the world with it which i've been doing for 12 years now.
Dubstep was really the first genre of electronic music that awakened my interest again in '06. I'd kept producing on a dated platform and at a slow pace but hearing the new sounds i started getting back into it. I had a lot of injury time from breaking and had to think of something to do. I called up Tes who i'd not had too much contact with for the past years and he told me he'd already been whipping up dubstep rhythms for a while. My studio was very dated so it took some time for me to get my hands on a new laptop and Cubase in late '07 which was a big step forward. I 'launched' the Desto project then. I felt i'd made music for long enough without making anything out of it apart from a couple of small releases and i thought i'd give it a go. Early inspirations include Youngsta & Tasks sets on Rinse. The tunes Youngsta used to play still make the hairs on my arm stand up. The people behind these tunes get my utmost respect.
B: In the last year or so your productions have been consistently great, starting with "Disapearing Reapearing Ink", can you tell me a bit about your sound and where you're going?
D: My sound is really a mixture of all the influences I've had since I started listening to Kraftwerk at the age of three. It ranges from the hiphop of the 90s to Warp sounds of the same era to jungle to soul. I go back to my old records for inspiration. I feel it took me a while to get used to Cubase and not being too concerned by genre definitions which at the time I got into dubstep were somewhat more vague than the 'recipe' that seems to be popular nowadays. Back then it felt like dubstep was welcoming producers to come in and bring their own influence with them. For a while I tried forcing myself to the halfstep style but I later realized there were enough clones around (and they were doing a better job than me as well) so I decided to go with what ever I felt like doing. I just get up in the morning, down a pint of strong coffee and see what happens.
B: You're played by dubstep-affiliated Rinse DJs like myself, Dusk and Oneman but to me your sound is more like grime or w*nky, more HyperGrime than Hyperdub: is grime an inspiration at all?
D: Grime is definitely one of my inspirations. I'm not the biggest grime connoisseur at all but I have a little section of old Alias, Black Ops & Eski stuff in my record shelf. I've actually bought my best grime records long after it was originally released, a lot of it from Dead-O and the other heads out here who were into grime in it's golden days but I heard it back when I started getting into dubstep. I just recently listened to some of my earliest '06 productions and found one of the tunes having the exact same drum pattern as Ice Cold which is one of my recent more grimey tunes so the influence has been there all along. Then again I'd say hiphop has had a much greater influence on my sound so it's hard for me to pinpoint where it all comes from. The biggest part of my record collection is still soul, funk, jazz and hiphop.
It's fair to say my sonic travels have taken me rather far from the 'core dubstep sound'. I think it gets more interesting when there's less boundaries. I like to keep it around 140bpm though as I'm still very much attracted to the DMZ nights type of dubstep aesthetic although my tracks might not directly imply this. I feel the possibilities with this sound are still endless. It might just take some coffee to realize it.
B: A lot of dubstep is trying to be dark now, almost comically so (except the joke isn't funnny). Your tunes, like lots of synthy, grimey, w*nky stuff is full of melodic light and colour: do you see music in this way too?
D: When a sound gets popular and more producers get into it the clichés are bound to get emphasis - indeed even to a comical extent. After EZ Rollers and the others pushing the effective straight roller beat in the late 90s DnB was never the same again. When every producer and DJ went for it the effect was gone. Being dark for the sake of dark in dubstep works in a similar pattern. But there's still great dark dubstep around.
I love the aesthetic of - for example - Mala and Loefah... I'm really glad these guys are back into their production after a bit of a break. With my music I always try to bring something of interest to the table (with varying results obviously) and lately it has been a lot of the synths i've finally afforded and dry sounds instead of dub echoes and dark atmospheres. Like you mentioned above dubstep has plenty of that. I've been trained as a classical pianist for 10 years when I was a kid so I guess to an extent the melody comes from there. And Kraftwerk. The 'wonkiness' (or post-Dilla sound as I see it) comes from the hiphop. I'm not that great at doing spacious tracks either so I've played with melodies instead as it comes naturally. I've been experimenting with space a lot more just lately though so we'll see what comes out of that. As for visual arts I draw inspiration from anything from Style Wars to old PC CGA graphics to Dali to Commodore 64. I try to approach music differently each time to keep it interesting, it can be drawn from visual arts to dance to just audio.
B: You're based in Finland, right? Can you tell me about the scene where you live, what nights go on, what DJs and producers should we know about...
D: Firstly, Helsinki inspires me. I love the city. It's streets and dwellers are a big part of my music and my part of the city, Vallila is just sheer inspiration. I could write a book on this but moving on...
I'm lucky to live here. The scene here is vibrant and Helsinki was one of the first places that for example N-Type, Chef and Pinch played outside the UK. This is due to Tes La Rok, Dead-O, RPK, Sire and others pushing the sound at an early stage. Nights like Slam It and Alas have been pushing the sound forward and doing the groundwork when the turnout for the parties wasn't that big. They've always made sure the soundsystem is weighty and provided the Helsinki dubsteppers with the full spectrum of the dubstep styles from eyes down vibes to the dubby to the techy to the ravey to whatnot. Due to this the artists they bring over can genuinely do their own thing during their sets without having to worry about playing the biggest bangers. Unless of course playing bangers is their thing.
A guy called Didier (of the Soul Investigators fame) bought dub cutting equipment from Jason at transition a few years back and at the beginning of 2009 opened Timmion Cutting Laboratory here in Helsinki. It's been great for the dubstep scene here, we can get direct feedback on the tracks and cut fresh dubs on the day we have a set. It's like having our own little Transition studios over here which is just a lot of fun. I cut all the music I play out so not having to order from the UK has been a big help. The smell of fresh plates before a good night is priceless.
There's a lot of good producers out here. I included tracks from Tes, Clouds, TMU and Khid in my mix, other producers include Non Person, Late, RPK, Teeth... The list goes on and I'm happy to say more and more producers are stepping up. It's lively out here I tell you.
B: What music (producers, DJs, scenes) are inspiring you right now?
D: All my old records, special mention to RZAs production on Tical which I keep going back to. The positive vibes of the finnish dubstep scene. As for dubstep producers there's too many to mention... Guys like Tes, Clouds and the rest of the local fellas, Mala, Kode9, Loefah, Coki, El-B, Benny Ill, Cyrus, Sully, Untold, Skream, Benga, Peverelist, Fantastic Mr. Fox & Rich Reason, Zomby, Joker, Silkie, TRG... The list goes on. As for DJs, seeing and hearing Oneman mix out here was a big inspiration. The whole thing him, Brackles, Shortstuff and them got going on is interesting. ASE in general and the Transition show is always a pleasure to listen to on Rinse. One of the most important inspirations has been the trips to London for DMZ and Forward. The trips have been very inspirational. I got a lot of love for London streets as well.
B: You've got a release forthcoming on Ramp ("Disapearing Reapearing Ink"/"Broken Memory") and had a release on Argon and BoomBap. What imprints inspire you?
The ones coming out very soon are a 12" on Ramp and a double pack EP on Noppa. There's more to come from Argon hopefully and others but more on that later. As for labels I'm feeling apart from the ones mentioned, Hyperdub, Deep Medi, Wireblock (for releasing Rustie, bless them!), One Handed Music, Lucky Me, Hemlock and Keysound definitely. And no, you didn't have to extort me with dirty gossip for that one, Keysound has been a buy on sight label for me for a while. There would be so much more but an endless list of music would be pointless.
Photos by Anssi Räisänen http://www.chiefgarage.com/.
On the 26th of September, I'm going to be talking at UCL as part of their Creative edge: Reconceiving Suburban London program. I've been asked to talk a litte about our album and video, but most excitingly I'm going to be chatting with photographer Nico Hogg about his work. I think George Infinite and John "Woofah" Eden will also be there.
Following that Dusk and I will be DJing back in Bristol at Monster Bass 3, on an insane line up that includes Mala, Heatwave and Warrior Queen, Mungos Hi Fi and Monkey Steak. We're preparing an extra-bashy, no f**king about set... I can't wait.
Finally We're playing at the ManSedanse festival in Tampere, Finland on the 9th of October alongside Desto, Appleblim and Clouds. Woyyyy Ooooiiii!
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Blackdown: So when did you start DJing?
Marcus NASTY: It was about 2000, because I was playing garage, 2step garage.
B: Obviously you’re pretty well known as the head of N.A.S.T.Y. Crew, but in those times what were you playing as a DJ personally?
MN: The 4x4 stuff, Sticky, Jameson and then it kinda evolved into grime because Jammer stepped in with his tunes.
B: So when did you start getting interested in house?
MN: Well basically, when the grime scene died there was nothing for no one to do, everyone started playing old school garage and stuff. People were playing house but it was taking ages for everyone to get into it. I thought, ‘hang on, this ain’t us, this aint our music,’ because we came from grime, jungle, garage. So to go to house it was like ‘whoah, this is a bit too, erm, soft.’
MN: So I started asking all the UK producers, ‘have you started to make house?’ and they said, ‘we have but it don’t sound like house.’ So I said ‘just send it to me, let me see what it sounds like and I’ll see where you’re going wrong.’ So they sent me all their stuff and bit by bit I started playing it all and I ain’t looked back since. I just took everyone’s stuff and started playing it on radio and I’m taking from Donae’o, to Crazy Cousins, Naughty: everyone. Even down to that Apple tune “Mr Bean”: originally that was made as a grime tune.
B: Yeah “Mr Bean” and “Seigeliser” were a bit a head of it’s time y’know?
MN: Yeah yeah, definitely and it’s still one of the top tunes right now. There’s a vocal of it about this year, “Are You Gonna Bang Doe” by Funky D.
B: Are you playing that tune at the moment?
MN: I do but that’s because there’s a little hype for it in Napa but to be quite honest I don’t rate it because it’s like, it’s so simple it’s going to encourage other MCs who ain’t got no talent to talk shit on good tunes. Screaming “Oi you/are you gonna bang?” isn’t really saying anything. And I think it’s quite rude as well. But because there’s a hype around it, I will play it.
B: Yeah, I much prefer the original instrumental. So, when you said ‘the grime scene died’ what year did you mean?
MN: Well I wouldn’t say it died but the MCs involved weren’t getting much help from certain DJs. In a grime rave you’ll find the artists arguing on stage. It’s not the ravers. Nine times out of ten they’ll be up on stage warring each other, that’s what killed the grime scene. Added to that it turned from a dance music into a hip hop sound. That is what killed it. So it turned into more about the MCs than the music. You’ll go to a grime rave and there’ll be 20 minutes of jumping about and telling each other to ‘suck their mums’ and that will be it. And then the rest of the rave will be bashment and r&b.
B: Or it will get locked off haha…
MN: And everyone has a part to play from Wiley to Lethal B – all those little wars just fucked everything up. No one wants to see big arsed men arguing on stage. That is what killed it, nothing else. There’s no one else to blame for it. It’s not the industry: it was all our fault.
B: It’s weird because a lot of those artists think that’s exactly what grime should be. And a lot of grime fans think that’s grime at its best.
MN: Yeah but that’s because that’s what they’ve grown into. But what it was before was we could go down raves, hear a couple of lyrics, couple of bars. But then it just changed.
B: How do you see MCs in funky?
MN: Some of the grime MCs can not make the crossover. Like Ghetto does not sit right on funky. But at the same time Skepta, JME and Frisco do. So I dunno, that’s a tricky one. I think the way everyone’s jumped on this electro thing and tried to crossover, that is going to be the nail in the coffin.
B: Funny you say that because I much prefer grime MCs on funky than when they do electro. Most electro with grime vocals, with the exception of Wiley “Wearing My Rolex,” just feels wrong.
MN: It is. I think it is wrong. I think they should stick with it and get on with it. You see like with the bassline scene, all the MCs fucked up the scene, but now they’ve gone backwards, made it more vocal and now it’s coming back up and that’s what grime should have done but they didn’t. They chose to jump ship instead.
Who didn’t help the most, was Cameo. He was classed as one of the top guys in the grime scene and he just jumped ship straight away. Westwood is now the number one grime DJ, imagine that?
B: Not Logan?
MN: No, Logan don’t even come close. Westwood’s doing more for the grime scene than Logan all day long.
B: Haha. Westwood is pretty big but I rate Logan more for grime.
MN: Everyone rates Westwood because he doesn’t jump from scene to scene. He hasn’t done what Cameo’s done, going from scene to scene. Westwood’s tried to help every scene. He’s even tried to help the funky scene. He done a Westwood TV and he made me bring all the funky, grime, dubstep and bassline MCs in one room (part 1).
B: So how do you look back on the early N.A.S.T.Y. Crew era?
MN: I think I made a lot of mistakes. I went away for a little while and then came back. Instead of dealing with things diplomatically and listening to each individual member and their problems, I listened to the original members who were in fact jealous of the new members, who were in fact doing better. I acted on what they said and I shouldn’t have. Me kicking Jammer out of N.A.S.T.Y. Crew was a big mistake, and I will say that happily. Everyone who was in N.A.S.T.Y., I’m now friends with. We’ve all sat down and spoke about it. For the break up of N.A.S.T.Y. I still blame Sharkey because of jealousy. But in any crew you can only have two top merkers who get bookings – and that causes the rest of the crew to have bad feelings.
B: So everyone who was in N.A.S.T.Y. you’re cool with? D Double, Footsie, Ghetto, Kano…
MN: D Double was at my birthday bash but the one I haven’t seen in a couple of years is Kano.
B: But he’s on a different path these days…
MN: I think he tried to be a diva and I think it worked against him because now he’s not really doing much, at all.
B: But it’s cool that you get on with the rest of them…
MN: Yeah I’ve been with them all in Napa, well Jammer’s gone back now, but we can talk to each other and where we went wrong. All the grime lot do work together, apart from the ones who kinda blew up… Wiley, Lethal kinda keep themselves to themselves now. Dizzee.. but Dizzee does come back and try help everyone.
B: That’s good because one of the problems with the grime ‘scene’ is the members often don’t help each other.
MN: Everyone was against each other. “Let’s clash.” And even I went along with that and that is not the way, that is what killed grime. All the ‘let’s go and merk’ shut down the scene. But I always say this: we are to blame. There’s no one else to blame. It’s no one else’s fault: it’s our fault. Entertainers who were doing shit raves: the last big Eskimo dance in SE1 ended in total mahem because we were all fighting on stage. Wiley threw bottles at the bouncers, the bouncers tried to beat up Kano, we were fighting SLK: it was just pandemonium. The crowd got involved, they started throwing bottles at the bouncers, they rushed the bar, they rushed the cloakroom. It was just out-and-out war, I swear there were three different rooms full of fights.*
B: Yeah, Eskimo dance was pretty legendary.
MN: It was the biggest and the last one. That was the end of the grime scene right there.
B: I think it would be unfair to only talk about grime with you as you’ve done a lot in funky recently. So how do you feel about all the attention funky is getting right now?
MN: I think it’s good. Personally I think we need to differentiate between the vocal funky stuff and this new MCing on funky stuff, because that is what is kinda putting people off funky at the minute. The “Migrane Skank,” “Oi You Are You Gonna Bang,” “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” – all that stuff it’s just rubbish. It’s people trying it: there’s no future in what they’re doing. Peope like Versatile and Donae’o, they’re the future in what they’re doing, they’re actually making tunes they’re not just making up nursery rhymes and sticking them on tunes, so I rate them guys.
B: I agree with you on the nursery rhyme thing but also just making UK funky sound like US house is a really hard route to go down as well, because it’s really hard to compete with them boys as they’re already established.
MN: What I think is we need to keep it to ourselves which is a house base but it’s got influences from grime, jungle and garage. All the influences that were there before and that’s what makes our sound, our sound. That’s why it will grow and we’ll be able to play our music in other countries. All those other DJs who think they’re gonna get somewhere playing house or minimal-tech, they’re not going to get no where. They’ll only ever be big in England, because they’ll never book us to play US or German music, they’ll just book their top guys. And that is now even more obvious because me as the first person who just played strictly UK funky – I play all over the world whereas the others don’t and they were the so-called top boys before.
B: Yeah I agree 100%: it would be hard to be bigger in US house than Masters At Work or someone…
MN: Exactly. You’ve got a lot to compete against, and as I said, it’s not our music. I think everyone should stick together and… you see Cameo, he’s a major problem. He’s the guy that will take your tune, play it no matter of the quality, and wont even try to tell you ‘you should do better.’ When that “Oi You…” tune came out, because it had a little hype he jumped straight on it, bringing the geezer in. Fair enough, he’s improved a bit now but that is not the way forward because it encourages people to not bother, so just come up with any random crap. I got a tune in the post the other day called “Lipsing,” about kissing girls and people who deny kissing girls, and it’s quite fun, I think it’s better than “Migrane Skank.”
B: Is that the Scorcher thing?
MN: Is that Scorcher? Ahhaha… that is actually quite funny. People will go mad. But I dunno, all the nursery rhyme stuff needs to stop. All the MCs just talking about themselves and their cars on tunes needs to stop. Just need to make. Proper. Tunes. And then this ting will go on and we’ll have our own worldwide scene. There are people in the US. People send me tunes from Toronto. Spain… all over the place. So people are getting involved with the funky scene. It’s a big movement we just need to keep it constructive.
B: Obviously you were on Déjà Vu before, what made you want to join Rinse?
MN: Basically Deja had looked after me for years but when I started playing UK funky, they weren’t supporting it. Even when they were having raves, I was the number one DJ on their station and they recognised that but they wouldn’t put me on their flyers. They were like ‘oh we don’t do UK funky events.’ I was like ‘have you even heard me in a rave?’ there isn’t any such thing as a UK funky event. Their aint, their aint at the minute. There’s just house events and what happens is people book me as the difference so you have different kinds of DJs playing different kinds of stuff but Deja wouldn’t recognise that. So because of that I left them as I knew Rinse pull push anything new and anything that’s going on and they will help you. So I just thought: Rinse. They were offering a lot more.
B: You’ve done well to walk into Rinse, which is the strongest radio line up, and be one of the top boys as well…
MN: There was always that: people kept saying to me ‘don’t go to Rinse’ there’s loads of top guys on there, you’re just gonna be a little fish in a big sea, and I was like ‘no, I’m gonna do my thing.’ And I done it, I got back to number one on another station within a month or two.
B: So tell me what it’s like to do your Rinse show…
MN: You see Rinse yeah, it’s a big difference. Deja’s London based whereas Rinse is worldwide. So when you get people from all over the world just sending you messages about your show while you’re on there live: it’s big. I love it. Rinse is a big difference. Their station sounds different to other stations. Rinse have had this… sound, for years! It’s like an echo kinda sound. Compared to other stations it sounds different. And they’ve got the best system, ever. I actually love it, I can’t get enough. I try and go on Rinse as much as possible. I ring [management] at 8 a.m. every morning ‘is there a show? Is there a show? Is anyone not turning up?’ I ring them 3 in the morning ‘is there show, can I go on?’ I just love DJing. But Rinse for me, out of all the stations I’ve been on, they’re the best. I’m 100% happy with the move I made. I actually tell myself off for not making it sooner. I love Rinse. I’m 100% Rinse: they’ve done it. They make the difference. Deja is about Deja: Rinse is about the scene. And they’ll support that scene. And they listen to me: I give them advice as to what DJs are good and they’ll go and get those DJs and get them on the station. I can respect that. Deja would let me go on there all the time but they wouldn’t let me have no input. Deja they just want your money: Rinse is a business. Straight up and down business and I like that. Deja they’d let anyone have a rave, it was just so over-familiar, friends and that.
B: So tell me about Napa: describe it for those who haven’t been, because it’s quite important to funky…
MN: I think all the little holiday places are important to funky. The only one that got to Ibiza this year was Crazy Cousinz but I would like to take it there, and Dubai – but people have been calling me from Dubai to go there so I’ll be there soon I think. So I’ve done Gambia, Berlin – got Toronto coming up. I’ve done Northern Cyprus, the Turkish side. I was meant to do Malia but I missed my flight.
B: Gambia’s interesting because people talk about the African or Afrobeat influence in funky…
MN: I went there and they’d never heard UK funky before. I went with As It Is TV and like when I played “African Warrior” they went mental. They actually went real mental, they went crazy: it was a lot. I was quite surprised because they were well into the music, straight away: nothing long.
B: So where do you think funky can go next?
MN: It can go big on an international level and for other DJs to play on an international level. I’ve never tried to just keep this scene to myself. I’ve pushed other DJs and given tunes to other DJs, showed them where they can get tunes and educated bare people. They will tell you I share my stuff. They way I see it is one man can’t make a scene big. The more people involved the bigger the scene gets. I’ve actively encouraged some of the grime DJs to cross over. Shame on me but I did haha…
B: What, Mak 10?
MN: Mak10, even Spyro I got playing funky. Vectra, Maximum: loads of them.
B: All those DJs who play with Pioneer CDJs [which have massive pitch range, up to +100 rather than +8 on vinyl Technics, and pitch correction algorhythms], it’s quite possible to blend the tunes together.
MN: Yeah if you listen to Spyro he plays a full on mixture.
B: Yup, Spyro and Maximum are pretty incredible DJs.
MN: Yeah definitely.
B: So tell me about the mix CD?
MN: Rinse has mixed listeners so I wanted to do what I do on my show, which is just a mix of everything. Just do me. I’ve done a mix CD for someone else, and it’s just all commercialised crap. Whereas the Rinse one is what I like, underground and a mixture of both. It’s more of what I’m into.
· Marcus NASTY plays Beyond at Plastic People on Thursday 3rd September. His show is Wednesday 7pm-9pm on Rinse. Marcus NASTY’s mix CD is forthcoming for Rinse, release date tbc.
* Footnote: While researching Eskidance flyers, I stumbled across this, Woebot's review of Eskidance which correlates exactly with Marcus' account. Respect!