Thursday, February 04, 2010
There can only be Oneman
Rinse 11: Oneman
1. Double Helix (LHF) – 96 Flavas (No More Games)
2. Ramadanman – Mir
3. Martin Kemp – After The Night
4. The Detatchments – Circles [Martyn's Round & Round Mix]
5. Jazzanova – I Can See [Doc Daneeka Dub-Bump Mix]
6. Kode 9 – 2 Far Gone
7. Martyn – Mega Drive Generation
8. Bassjackers & Apster – Klambu
9. Deadboy – U Cheated
10. Zomby – Rumours and Revolutions
11. Efdemin – Acid Bells [Martyn's Bittersweet Mix]
12. Geeneus & Ms Dynamite – Get Low
13. Smoove Kriminal – Represent
14. Sticky – Jack It Up feat. Marvin Brown
15. R1 Ryders – Rubberband VIP
16. SouLTonic Sound System – The Flying Saucer
17. Bok Bok – Citizens Dub feat. Bubbz
18. Hem feat. Terrible Shock – On a Mission [Shortstuff Remix]
19. A4C – Untitled Mambo [Boogaloo Crew Remix]
20. Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo
21. Breakage feat. Newham Generals & David Rodigan – Hard
22. Desto – Disappearing, Reappearing ink
23. Joker – Digidesign
24. 2000F & J Kamata – You Don’t Know What Love Is
25. Starkey – Rain City
26. Headhunter – Prototype [Modeselektor's Broken Handbrake Remix]
27. Crystal Fighters – I Love London [Brackles Remix]
Mixes by Oneman
Oneman - Winter 2009 Mix by djoneman99 Oneman 2010 Mix by djoneman99 Month of Love Valentine Mix by djoneman99
Download the Rinse FM podcast here.
Blackdown: So when did the Rinse CD come about?
Oneman: Probably about two and a half months ago. Rat had mentioned it to me and I’d started thinking about it but nothing was really set in stone until about October. I didn’t start working on it until Rat properly said. And from the time I started to when I recorded it, it was just under a month’s work. They’re all tunes I like at the moment.
B: So how did you go about picking the selection because you could have gone in several different directions?
O: Yeah so the way I wanted to do the mix… because I thought about it a lot: do I want to put old garage stuff on there? Do I want it to be like my old React FM sets or more like my new Rinse FM sets? But I settled on the idea that I wanted it to be a snapshot of exactly what I like, right now, and that is not so much of the new dubstep stuff and not so much of the new grime stuff, but more of the funky and the wot-do-u-call-it dark house stuff. That’s what I’m into at the moment: producers like Martin Kemp, Bok Bok and Jamie George. People like that are making really good music and it’s back to 130-135bpm again. It’s kinda gone round in a circle.
B: It has a bit hasn’t it!
O: All the values I enjoyed in early garage, especially the bpm, the shuffle, the beat base – it’s all coming back again with this new stuff. The whole 'new Wot Do U Call It dark house, Martin Kemp, Doc Daneeka thing” is that I think it fills a gap in where house is meeting dubstep at the moment and I think its really important and relevant to both scenes, because its like what I hear in those records is what definitely what I heard in dubstep in 2004/05 - just a sense of space and atmosphere, not so much about the melody but just bass beats and weird odd sounds.
B: So why did you choose not to play older garage or grime, as you often have before?
O: Because that’s what I’m known for. I’m known as the dubstep DJ who started playing garage. That was three years ago but I’ve moved on a bit from there. I was thinking: do I want another mix out that has just dubstep and garage tracks on there? I didn’t - and I realise it’s more relevant to incorporate those older garage tracks with the newer funky sound. I tried to do that but there was something in me that really didn’t want to go back too far. I did think about it and a lot of times I don’t actually think about it I just do it, I just play ‘em. This time I did want to think about this mix properly. I remember I was talking to Distance at Radio 1’s Generation Bass and he said the best thing with mixes was to plan them out a bit because you never want to look back and think ‘oh I missed out this…’ So I wanted to make sure I planned this one really, really well.
B: So there’s stuff on this mix that sounds like UK funky and other new stuff that is very close to traditional house, what is it about this space you like?
O: To me it’s like a broken version of funky, like what all the dub mixes were to garage and what the dub house mixes were to house, back in the ‘80s in New York. To me it’s just the beats and the atmosphere that have been newly created. It sounds like funky it’s just a bit different. I think it’s the beats and the atmosphere that are different because you wouldn’t see a girl with a smile on her face dancing to it, like she’d dance to a Crazi Cousins track. It’s the darker end of the scale, the dub end really.
B: It’s nice because to me it feels like two groups in London having some kind of dialog: the original funky ravers, those who started out being into Fingerprint etc – and we can feel what they’re doing – but then there’s our immediate social group who make beats that fit into the tempo but with slightly different flavour.
O: Yeah. Did you hear Scratcha on the radio the other day? I think he’d played a Bok Bok riddim and said ‘oh this is that weird sound, you can find guys like Oneman and Bok Bok in Shoreditch in skinny jeans…’ Hahaha…
B: But you know he’s obsessed with what he calls “strange” or “weird” people? He’s got these irrefutable funky, pirate and grime credentials but he wants to be “weird.”
O: Yeah I know and that’s why he’s obviously playing the track because he was like “yeah I’ve got another one coming up, it’s all good.” That’s why he wears them glasses too.
B: I think Scratcha’s unique.
O: Yeah he’s brilliant and a really nice guy.
B: He sees that there’s things beyond the ‘ends’ in which he grew up in and wants to move towards them, whereas some of his mates would be like ‘nah.’ Yet through Rinse it’s all become one thing.
[ I’d like to add some thoughts in here at this point, about the blurring of the harcore continuum axis’ this year. While there’s been much debate last year about whether something was or wasn’t part of the nuum or whether you should even be doing that, but I think a lot of observers still use fairly agreed indicators to tell the difference in a nuum context between, say, JME and Haduken. But this year all this stuff like a) funky-not-funky Jam City/Mosca b) Terror Danjah on Mu/Hyperdub c) Roska and Untold collaborations d) Scratcha making an indie/grime mixtape (“No Right Turn”) has really muddied the water in an irrefutable way. The degree of collaboration and dialog is so entrenched that in many cases, i.e. some of the most interesting ones, the boundaries are in some cases jumbled.
But in other cases, it’s less that two groups have met and blurred the lines, more that some of the axis’ have been completely reversed by 180 degrees. I’m thinking particularly of Geeneus and Wonder, both of whom have impeccable grime credentials (Pay As U Go/Rinse co founder and ex-Roll Deep member respectively) who now play the housiest of house. The housier the better, almost tribal house. Wonder plays late night 3 hour minimal sets at bars in Brick Lane and Gee’s sound is ultra percussive and very deliberately removed from grime. I guess I’d ask where this leaves the axis', when culturally they’re as they were but musically they’ve been flipped 180 degrees. There’s also the Azzido Da Bass of UK funky, Bassjackers & Apster “Klambu”, which is a European trance anthem, recontextualised as UK funky banger. Speaking of which...]
B: Can you tell me about Bassjackers and Deadboy?
O: Deadboy is a guy from New Cross. I really like his tunes because they sound organic, they don’t really sound that well mixed down but they don’t necessarily sound wrong. They don’t sound anything like anyone else’s music, especially “U Cheated” and “Heartbreaker” and that new one “If You Want Me,” which sounds like Kode9 doing garage. That Bassjackers track I just found it on a blog and it’s like a commercial house track really… I couldn’t tell you too much about the producers or who they are. Funnily, that track, I played the mix to Loefah on Friday and it was one of the only tracks he went “what the fuck is this? This is amazing.” To come from Loefah, that’s pretty cool.
B: Especially it’s in a house direction that he’s not usually interested in. Because the idea of heading to 130bpm has been around for about a year to 18 months and I remember talking to him about it in that really long interview. I mentioned we’d been working at 138 for years but we we’re slowing down to 130, there’s a gravitation towards funky and while he was interested in trying his 808 thing at 130 Loe was at pains to point out it had nothing to do with funky.
O: Haha, that sounds like him, definitely…
B: So, I like the fact that you broke the mix in the middle with Martyn’s beatless mix of Efdemin…
O: Yeah that was the point at which it was: should I or should I not do this? Because there’s also another mix of that track by Martyn, called the “Dark Mix,” more like an acid house track. But I went with my gut and thought fuck it and went with the beatless thing in the middle. Because it kinda goes from the pacey, dark house stuff into that and then straight into the proper funky.
B: One of the things you’ve always been excellent at is creating a sense of groove but a side effect is to move people in dubstep away from the halfstep idea where you break everything down and build it back up again. But here you did break it down, right in the middle of your mix. So I wouldn’t have expected it from you but I really liked how you did it. The Martyn remix reminds me of an old Aphex Twin track “On.” So, how did you manage to get the Ms Dynamite special you mix out of it with?
B: I didn’t even ask for it! I got an email from Rat saying “here’s a ‘Get Low’ dub from Geeneus,” and I was like [makes sound of filling his pants]. And I was like “[voice of someone trying to play it cool] cheers thanks!” Cos I’ve heard the tune before but I don’t know the tune from the beat I know it from the lyrics and the verse. So when I heard it [from his email] I thought ‘oh this is a good beat.’ I didn’t even know it was called ‘Get Low.’ I heard the intro going “Oneman DJ/Get down low…” and I thought it was a grime MC or something. Then it dropped in with the lyrics and it was like “fucking no way!” I didn’t even know the tune that well and now I had a special of it. It’s great. It’s obviously Geeneus knowing I was doing the CD and helping out with a dub, which I’m really grateful for.
B: It’s pretty nuts, most people would have to get on bended knee for a Ms Dynamite special.
O: So yeah I played it and loads of other funky tunes after the beatless track to bring it down and catapult it back up.
B: The end of the mix I like, you definitely play some tracks that have been some staples of yours, Joker, 2000F, Desto… what was the plan around clustering those ones at the end?
O: I just wanted to showcase some of my favourite 140bpm tunes because the mix is pretty much 130-135bpm, and you can’t play those tunes at that speed, you’ve got to play them at 140 for them to be heard properly. So I thought I’d mix Joy Orbison into Breakage ft Newham Generals “Hard”. I thought I’d mix Joy Orbison in and I’d use the intro and cut it half way through so again you’ve got this beatless part of the mix which allowed me to speed it up basically. Because I’m using Serato with the master tempo on it, you can’t tell it’s being sped up until the beat comes back in and buy that time you’ve gone 20 seconds into the tune… so it’s pretty unnoticeable. Then I locked that there at 140 and mixed the others in because that’s what speed they are.
B: So I’ve seen you use vinyl, CDJs and you’re using Serato: how do you find mixing across these different formats?
O: I’m really, really, really still into vinyl. Purely because I know all my tunes because of what a label looks like, what’s written on it, what font they’ve used, what colour it is, how many scratches are on it, how frayed the cover is. They all come into me knowing my tunes: otherwise it’s a big black disk, I’m not going to have a fucking clue what’s on it. With this Serato thing you’ve got a screen full of words, data and numbers and it’s really confusing. So for me I’m finding DJing out in clubs with Serato a bit of a nightmare…. Not a nightmare but it’s giving me a bit of trouble because I don’t know where everything is. It is just a bunch of words and you’ve got to go through it all. You go from the decks to the computer and back to the decks again. I mean I will get used to it, I’m not going to give up on it but I do prefer using vinyl purely for accessibility.
B: Does Serato allow you to play more upfront selection?
O: Yeah, that’s kinda why I got it because there’s so much music I’m getting sent right now that I like and I don’t want to carry CDs around. I’d much rather use 1210s because they’ve got a bigger plate, bigger pitch shifter – bigger, better, nicer to use. I hate CDJs they’re really small. I always end up knocking something and it goes wrong. That’s why I’m quite happy with Serato as it’s in the middle of CDs and decks.
B: I don’t know about you but I find they make me mix differently. It’s much easier to find the start of a track on a CDJ than vinyl but harder to keep it in if it goes out. How do you find it?
O: I find I mix a lot quicker and a lot better on CDJs. I just glance at the bpm counter, get the track around that tempo and then go from there.
B: They’ll get you in the ballpark. I’ve had Kode say ‘don’t ever trust them’ but they’re usually pretty spot on.
O: It’s digital: of course they are! But I like Serato, it has a really nice interface and the looping things you can do on the CDJ you can do here too. Cue points you can trigger off your keypad. I think Serato is a near to the future of DJing as we’ve got so far, with a lot of the soundsystem companies tailoring their systems especially for digital. In ten years vinyl is going to sound shit, basically. You’ll have people playing vinyl in clubs and people will be like ‘what the fuck is this?’ Everyone will be digital because all the systems will be tailored for MP3s.
B: My concern with CDs and other digital stuff is the top end. In a club it does sound really harsh at the top.
O: Yeah it’s really crashy… it doesn’t sound clean.
B: Maybe it’s because we’re all used to bassy records.
O: I think it probably is… I think we all probably need to get a pair of earplugs.
B: I do wear them and they do roll the top off, but still, CDs aren’t the same. Sometimes they’re a necessity, especially to play upfront on radio, but in clubs it’s different. So tell me about that Modeselector remix, because it’s really techno and quite different to the tracks on the mix.
O: Yeah that was another last minute tune from the Tempa mailing list. I really like the melody when it switches: it’s really old hardcore sounding. The melody is like hardcore but with techno sounds and a garage beat. I think Modeselector done really well with that tune and it’s great to mix with because there’s hardly any tunes with that sound in the intro, it’s like something Burial would use in his “Distant Lights” tune. It’s that kind of noise I really love.
B: You started the whole mix with a Double Helix (LHF) track that’s kinda junglist and quite a poignant sample in it, what was the thinking on that?
O: Yeah the sample in “96 Flava” “I don’t find there’s enough classics out there” just before the drop is definitely an opening statement I’m happy making with the mix as I do feel that way. The lack of 'classics' over the past five years has kind of lead me to go back around to garage and bring some of those tracks back to life.
B: And then you ended with Brackles’ I Love London remix…
O: Yeah I love that tune, it’s really special. The reason why I finished with it is because it’s one of my tunes of the year and its got that sample in it (“I love London…”) which I thought is so relevant to the Rinse mix.
B: What is it about London that makes music like this?
O: I dunno really I guess it’s being around it all the time and all the different cultures. When I went to primary school I was one of four white kids in my class out of thirty. Most of them were black kids, some of them were Asian, a few eastern Europeans but not so many back then. So language evolves, their parents listen to different things, you get older, you go out… it literally is just living here and being around it all.
B: Well, I think pointing to multiculturalism is a pretty good start to answering the question…
O: Yeah, I think it is, as much is it’s really cliché to point out all the cultures but in my case it’s true. I don’t think I’d be a DJ if I hadn’t lived in south London. I don’t think I’d be doing this at all. I wouldn’t got a pair of decks because my mate didn’t have a pair.
B: Who were the first big DJs that inspired you?
O: The first DJ who inspired me and pretty much everyone I know who DJs garage was EZ. The Pure Garage compilations were our first look into garage. I was in year eight when Pure Garage 1 came out but I completely missed it. But when I was in year 9 Pure Garage 2 come out, I remember it was a red CD and it had “Flowers,” “Buddha Finger” … it had literally every big garage tune all on that CD… “Sometimes it Snows in April”. I listened to that CD about 300 times, just listening to EZ’s mixing. I could reel off all those mixes now.
B: Looking back as a seasoned industry professional, do you not think that maybe some of that was done on Pro Tools, even though EZ is certifiably a badboy DJ?
O: What his Pure Garage mixes? I’ve never even thought about that… it’s never even crossed my mind.
B: Haha, sorry to mention it. And about Father Christmas yeah…
B: I don’t know about Pure Garage but I’ve seen it in other DJ mixes, I used to work with someone who built Paul Oakenfold’s mixed radio show for him, I watched him do it in a Pro Tools-like program.
O: I know EZ is a fan of the Pioneer mixer and I know on his later mixes he’s used a lot of that. And the Best of Pure Garage, the one with Bass, Beats, and Breaks on it, one of his CDs there’s actually a few mini clangs on there. I was doing my mix and was like ‘oh my god, EZ has clanged on a CD: I am fine.’ Everyone of us is OK! I even heard him clang on Kiss, and I was happy. Because you know if EZ clanged then you’re fine, you’re alright.
B: To be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you clang!
O: Oh I have, believe me. I definitely have, I definitely have had my fair share.
B: Sorry I’m not having it but anyway… so for people who are perhaps starting out as DJs, what are your tips for beatmixing?
O: Literally practice mixing. I would say kick all bad habits, like slowing the plate down with your finger.
B: So how would you recommend slowing it down?
O: Just by the pitch. Ride the pitch, just keep your eye on it. And keep your ear open and you’ll hear it. As you move the pitch up and down, you’ll hear it. And if it’s a bit too fast and you’re on +2 then pitch it down to the light for a second and then back to just below +2. Ride the pitch. When you touch the plate – which I’ve been doing for years and have been getting myself out of recently – you hear the [makes the weird noise of record changing speed]. But if you ride the pitch you take all of that out. you’re just going faster or slower really, without any force on the plate.
B: So you said that it’s bad touching the deck for slowing it down, does that apply to speeding it up?
O: I don’t think it’s that bad for speeding it up. You know when people pinch the middle and speed it up like that or lightly brush your finger around the label just to speed it up, but I wouldn’t push the record as it does the same sort of thing [makes the weird noise of record changing speed].
B: Yeah, Deep Thought calls that “wanging the mix” as it makes a “waaANG” noise when you do it.
O: Hahah, yeah that’s right. You’ve got a wanger… “Oi, we’ve got a wanger…!”
[ It strikes me here that what Oneman is describing is correcting the pitch once already in the mix, i.e. you’ve taken the crossfader over to introduce the second record, before you’re sure the two tracks are at the same speed and in phase. Many DJs ensure the two tracks are already safely mixed long before they do this, but it takes time. The ‘wanging’ noise is irrelevant if only you hear it.
The ability and balls to be able to correct your mixes once they’re already public explains how Oneman can mix two tunes so quickly – he knows he can correct the mix as it happens, which for many people is a gamble (if the records go out, one of them is faster but you don’t know which) but a calculated one if you’re that capable and confident of correcting any error seamlessly. I think this is very much part of what makes Oneman such an amazing DJ: he can mix “faster” than most other people, more accurately and for longer.
Dusk and I have sometimes remarked at gigs that we wish he’d sometimes play more of the tune he’d just brought in and is now mixing out of, just because we like his selection, but frankly if you, me or anyone else could mix to these kind of levels, we probably would. I mean: you would, wouldn’t you? - Blackdown]
O: So I try and stay on the pitch now and it is a lot easier, I’ve seen Hatcha do it ridiculously. He’ll just go from +8 to -8 in a second and it will be locked.
B: Hatcha is a bit of a good DJ…
O: Yeah, just a bit haha…
B: You’re amazing and keeping stuff locked forever but what I like about Hatcha’s style is he’s amazing at using the two records to make different rhythmic patterns.
O: Yeah I know what you mean, he done that with “Red” and Ms Dynamite’s “Ramp” – both Menta tunes, recently when I played with him on Kiss. It was ‘wow’ … and the way he mixed in “Red” as well, I’ve not hear anyone mix it in like that.
B: Well, “Red” is an original Hatcha tune. Velvet Room headz called the version that came out “Red 2” because Hatcha had the original version of “Red” on dubplate that didn’t do much…
O: I think that was the one he played.
B: It’s got none of the phased breakdown it’s just a really linear DJ tool.
O: Yeah I think that’s the one he played, I’ve never heard it before. But yeah, Hatcha’s a dubplate don, really.
B: Yup, he’s a total hero of mine: it’s good to have them.
O: Yeah definitely.
B: So you were on React FM for ages and I know it was, ahem, under negotiations with Soulja for a bit about coming on Rinse.
O: So Sarah wanted me to come on Rinse from early, I’d been on React for about five months and that’s because I’d played at DMZ and at FWD, got an agent so she was interested. And I said I’d do it if I could keep my React show, but she said I had to do Rinse exclusive. At the time Heny G was at React and we are really good mates and he’d built something there that I thought would be really good so I wanted to stick it out for a bit but then some new people got drafted in and Heny left and it just went dead. The FM wasn’t on for four months, the stream hardly ever worked due to problems with their internet, it was a bit of a shambles really…
B: And you got locked in the studio a few times!
O: I got locked in the studio twice! I’d forgotten about that.
B: Asbo was quite concerned about how you were getting home!
O: Hahah. Good times…! That was really hard to get out of that studio because it had those gates at the front… it was under some arches of the tube line in Hammersmith. They had these big iron gates at the front which had serrated tops which you couldn’t climb over. They weren’t like spikes: they were worse than that, they were twisted bits of metal…
B: And you’ve got a record bag…
O: I’ve got a record bag, the gate is 9 feet tall and I’m about 5 and a half, so that was a bit of a nightmare, but I think we got out of there in the end, cut free. But back to Rinse, I decided to do it because it’s just so much more professional. I did a cover for them when they were over in the Bromley-by-Bow studio and I really enjoyed it. So Rat and Sarah offered me a weekly or bi-weekly show. I’ve had it for about a year now and have been enjoying it. I feel like they do a lot more to help their DJs, which in turn you get more exposure from. I definitely think my money is going a lot further than it was at React, especially with the new studio, how it looks in there. Ah mate it’s just so nice: have you seen the new signs as well? I looks like a proper station now. It’s a really nice place and I’m happy on there. Management are wicked, Rat’s really cool.
B: The audience is pretty cool because you’re half London, half global.
O: Yeah, it’s half FM listeners in their car or something, and at my time 11-1am, you get a lot of people locking in from the States.
B: Did you find that the DMZ gig was a turning point for you as a DJ, or where there other gigs that turned more heads?
O: I think that was the one really, because I think a lot of people were surprised about how much garage I played. I know my agent, Belinda, she first saw me there and one of the main reasons she said she wanted to work with me is that she was there all night and when I came on not only did everyone start dancing but all the girls came to the front and started dancing because they love garage. It was definitely a turning point for me because people realised who I was and what I was doing. It was the last set of the night and I was just so chuffed to see so many people stay there. People were getting a bit tired after Plastician, because it wasn’t Plastician’s best set I remember, but anyway. I was just so chuffed to see everyone who was there at 5am still there at 6am. Pretty much everyone stayed for the whole set.
B: I’ve got this theory, let me run it past you. I think a lot of people came into dubstep around the DMZ 06 era, many of them from drum & bass who were looking for something dark but not as hectic as d&b in 2006. I think a lot of people who came through had this thing about garage being shit. My theory is that you were one of the key people that turned that perception around.
O: Yeah a few people have said that to me, they’ve said the whole resurgence of garage is purely down to me and I do think I did have a hand in it.
B: I think you definitely spearheaded it. So my point is around the perceptions of people who would have come to DMZ and whether they still think garage is a dirty word or not…
O: Yeah I think what they think of garage being is the Sweet Female Attitude or Artful Dodger type sound, which is kind of 2001, champagne and charly… which it wasn’t really. I think the garage I play is more club music like the dubstep I play is club music, the El-B’s or Wookie’s, that sort of stuff. I can’t see any difference between that and early dubstep or any underground stuff really: dark beats and dark bass. But I love girly garage tunes too…
B: And you’re not afraid to play them either!
O: Yeah, I don’t give a fuck, music is music. It’s one song, it only lasts three minutes!
B: Yeah but certain DJs are afraid to show a feminine side in their DJing.
O: Oh, well I love it. You can dance to them type of tunes, properly. I can’t dance to “Spongebob” the same way I dance to “What you do” by Colours.
B: I won’t dance to “Spongebob”… I will leave the venue!
O: So yeah the older, girlier garage tracks I’m not afraid to play at all.
B: To me the joy is zig zagging between the bassier stuff and the vocals. Straight vocals can get a bit much but if you get the sweet and the sour in there together it’s perfect.
O: I totally agree, I try and do that as much as I can. These days, especially in clubs, I seem to start out with r& remixes. 702 the Resevoir Dogs mix, Amira “My Desire,” Basement Jaxx “Red Alert remix”, “The Boy is Mine” – them garage remixes from around ‘98-99, I’m playing loads of them out now for the first 10-15 mins of my set, all the classic vocal tracks that are really fuckin girly. They always get a party started: they always do. If I start with “Boy Is Mine” garage remix, when the bassline comes in, everyone knows it, straight away.
B: X-Men aka Wookie remix!
O: Big tune! The way the bass works they play one note and then the same note 1 octave above after it, so the bass is ascending...
B: This ties back into my theory about how you converted people from thinking that garage was terrible, because there was definitely a point when I realized that you were playing those records to people for the first time. Digging into those classic record was like having an arsenal of dubs.
O: I guess it was, especially for that crowd as well. Cos like you say, to that crowd, that is a new tune.
B: The mix mostly avoids 140 bpm until the end, what is your take on how dubstep is going at the moment?
O: You can say ‘this is dubstep’ or ‘that is dubstep:’ it’s subjective and everyone has an idea of what dubstep is, but what I think dubstep is and what is was when I started listening to it in about 2004-05, what dubstep is known as now it’s completely changed. If a CD came out now called “Now that’s what I call dubstep 2009” I’d not expect to like one tune on there. I’d expect it to be all big crashy snares, halfstep beats and kinda chainsaw wobbles that have no kinda depth or listen-abilty really, it just makes you wanna go nuts. It makes kids want to lose their shit: and which is what kids want to do and when I was 15 or 16 I bet…I bet if I was 15 in 2009 and I heard all that stuff I bet I’d love it. I’d probably think it was great but I’ve been through my 15 year old phase.
B: But at 15 you were listening to Pure Garage 2!
O: I dunno, everyone was listening to garage back then, everyone was happier back then. You could go to school, you could chill in the playground with a girl and listen to Upfront FM tapes from yesterday.
B: Or… what was that one that Youngsta used to be on, Freak FM?
O: I never used to get Freak, it was an east London or Essex station. I could only get Upfront or Delight FM. Delight FM was my station, two or three kids in my school went on it.
B: Hatcha was one of them wasn’t he?
O: Hatcha was on Upfront, N Type was on Delight. My first girlfriend ever, in secondary school, her big brother was Neutrino’s best mate. So I used to go around her house and Neutrno would be sitting there with her brother, Patrick, listening to garage munching pills doing hundred mile an hour head nods. So we used to go down to Delight and have a look around the studios, but not really when anyone big was on like So Solid, but it was always good to go down there. But Upfront and Delight were really the only two stations I could really get down here, where I live. My mate used to get really really good reception of Delight in Clapham. But whereas Upfront is in my area, I could get that really crisp, so we’d basically just swap tapes all the time.
B: I worry my perception of London pirates is now distorted by how good Rinse is. There used to be a broad collection of good ones, like Déjà Vu, Freak, Heat, Axe, Raw Mission…plus Delight, Upfront and Rinse. Are there any other pirates you still listen to?
O: Yeah the whole funky thing has pumped so much life into the pirates. I’m always checking for pirates in my car because it’s the only time I get to listen to the radio. If I’m at home I’ll listen to a mix that’s on my computer or go on beats or something. But when I’m in my car I make a point of not putting on any CDs, especially when I’m in London, because I like to see what’s out there and I’ve noticed you’ve got Ice Cold FM, which is doing really well again now and there’s Live FM UK which is 101.5FM, which is probably my favorite station at the moment, they’ve got some of the best funky DJs on there playing some ridiculous music, playing so much of the newer darker stuff. I sure there’s a few more. So it’s Rinse, Ice Cold and Live FM I’m checking for at the moment.
B: What about Ustream and your “Yard Sessions”, because your use of that is like a long tail pirate station. How did that come about?
O: That was just a random idea. Elijah from Butterz invited me to a chat website called Tiny Chat and it was him, Joker, JD Dready and DJ Yasmin and some other producers all in some webcam chat room thing. We were all talking about gigs and catching jokes and being a bit stupid and I got a bit bored to be honest so I was mucking about with the settings on the side and the camera and audio settings and my external soundcard showed up on the thing, so I realized I could use my soundcard instead of my mic, and play tunes. So I was playing people tunes and it was radio quality. So I left that chat room and made my own one up and did a little test run in there but the thing is from that, people can join your chat room and they can plug their webcam or mic in and talk over what you’re doing which is a bit long. So I tried to find one website that could just have one person broadcasting. And I remember seeing Snoop on Twitter saying “come on my UStream channel, I’m just smoking” because he does a “Wake and Bake” show where he wakes up and smokes weed. So I was watching the Snoop “Wake and Bake” show and thought: fuck that’s such a good idea! So I set up a UStream account and plugged my soundcard in, had a test run and yeah that was it. The rest is history.
B: Could you ever imagine a scenario in the future where you didn’t go on a radio station and just used UStream to broadcast?
O: Yeah definitely, I don’t see why not. Especially wit the whole Facebook, Twitter, up to the minute information.
B: Because if blogs are basically one person broadcasting their viewpoint rather than a whole magazine’s worth of writers, UStream is like a video version of pirate radio but just your one vision.
O: And it’s at home with your set up, that you’re used to, so that’s always going to be good. And you’ve got every record you own near you as well, it’s not like you have to bring a select bag: there’s so many pro’s to it.
B: That can have it’s pitfalls though when one record is playing, you want to mix in another but you can’t locate it in the collection! Finally, can you tell me about Asbo, as he’s such a charismatic host and a real part of your Rinse show?
O: Asbo is a great MC we've been mates for nearly 10 years, both from Streatham. I love the way he hosts a set. He likes to keep the listeners entertained with a few jokes and funny one-liners that will often rhyme as well as holding it down in a professional manner. He has a real natural approach to hosting that fits perfectly with what I do.
Rinse 11 mixed by Oneman is released is March 1st
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you're officially weird too by the way martin. the first time i properly spoke to scratcha, on the phone, he was on about the weird thing. said it was people like me, you and sinden.
scratcha's a national treasure as far as i'm concerned.
Nice interview thanks. Ever since you bigged him up in your Pitchfork column a while back, I've been following his progress. Loved his Winter / Autumn mixes from last year - bring on Rinse 11!
I do miss those 128 kbps React sessions a bit though.
@ tom, i'll take that kind of weird as a compliment!
Nice one. So happy he's playing Dub Infusions on february 26th. Looking forward to that.
really great read.
respect for playing "girly" stuff.
best dj around.
Big interview! Leading the way with the new technology, Ustream is the future!
I first heard of oneman back from your pitchfork column in march of '08, roughly. ever since i've been keen on hearing more from him. he's a fabulous dj and i have loved all i've heard from him since. thank you to him and you fine fellows.
LOL Upfront used to be my station, that was the one I always used to listen to in Brixton... Hatcha was great on it but I remember him being on there fairly late in its lifecycle. People like Emma Feline were big. They also had fucking Monster Boy who was shit.That was a great station, I can't find any recordings of it now though.
"I’ve got this theory, let me run it past you. I think a lot of people came into dubstep around the DMZ 06 era, many of them from drum & bass who were looking for something dark but not as hectic as d&b in 2006. I think a lot of people who came through had this thing about garage being shit. My theory is that you were one of the key people that turned that perception around."
that sounds like one of my pet rants from 04, apart from the oneman saviour of shit garage for the unwashed d'n'b massive...nice interview BTW:)
even in 06, mainstream dubstep sounded so far removed from garage that ex d'n'bers still thought 2step was shit
kinda like tech steppers back in the day coming late to the party and not feeling the original junglist vibes.
and i was wondering when something like Ustream would happen. never understood why anyone wouldn't stream video along with audio from a gig if they could. pay a subscription and theres money to be made from bedroom/gig tv especially when you thrown in the associated advertisements
Nice interview, can't wait to hear the mix.
wicked interview. I have the exact same issues with traktor as he does with serato. does my nut, and you'll never fully get used to it!
Really enjoyed the article. I used to host a show on react in 2008 (roughly for the first half of the year). I always enjoyed Oneman's shows there for his selections and mixing as well as for Asbo's excellent hosting skills. There were an awful lot of very talented people on the station and I was honored to be able to be a part of it. I found one of Oneman and Asbo's shows from React that I recorded and uploaded to Getdarker. Here it is, Enjoy.
oneman.&.asbo - react.fm.june.08.2008
A looong enjoyable read!
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