Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meet the Mista Men

Mista Men: Exclusive Production showcase

DOWNLOAD it here.

1. Mella Dee - The Way It Was (Unreleased)
2. Loki Boi - One House (MIsta Men's Mr Bumps House Remix) (Young Gunz)
3. Mista Men - Relentless (Unreleased)
4. Mella Dee - Confetti (Unreleased)
5. Mista Men - Hard Drive (Unknown To The Unknown)
6. Mista Men - Babycham (Greenmoney)
7. Mella Dee - Gourmet (Unreleased)
8. Mista Men - Forget U (Unknown To The Unknown)
9. Palace - Mandy (Mista Men Up Norf Mix) (Unknown To The Unknown)
10. Mista Men & Clientele - Juice (Unreleased)
11. Mella Dee & Squarehead - Untitled (Unreleased)
12. Mista Men - Lambrini (Unknown To The Unknown)
13. Mista Men Ft Detboi - I Move Closer (Deep Thrills)

Blackdown: Well to start, it would be good to know some of the basic facts about you guys, how many people produce as Mistamen, where you're based, when you began producing etc?

Mista Men: Mista men is me, Ryan (aka Mella Dee) & John (Woozee), from Doncaster. We’ve been producing roughly about 5 years probably, but under the Mista Men guise for the past 2 or 3 years.

B: Do you produce solo too?

MM: Yeah both do under own separate names

B: Interesting that you guys have the classic 4x4 garage influences but started after UKG had stopped being so active...

MM: It’s probably largely to do with dubstep having such strong roots in garage from my side, it made me really dig deep in, after only really touching on it in my younger days. Plus I'm a big bassline fan being from South Yorkshire its was a big thing here, so that’s definitely played a part as well.

B: Do you see what you do as being part of garage, baseline, both, neither?

MM: Depends on if its Mista Men or solo, I’d definitely put the Mista Men stuff under the bassline name, but I'd say the solo stuff, is more heading to the early days of garage, where it crosses into house territory as well.

B: So what inspired you to go down this particular musical route?

B: OK so, how did niche influence you?

MM: For me there’s a heavy influence, being from South Yorkshire, at the peak of bassline it was always around, and the sound was something I really took to, driving 4x4 that was focused around being fun. And that’s something we've took from the sound now and try to bring it back up to date

B: And when was that? When was the peak?

MM: I'd say probably 2008 regards like when commercially bassline was most popular and well known

B: Was there an interaction between Sheffield and Doncaster, did people make their own 4x4 in Doncaster or was it mostly listening to Sheffield stuff?

MM: There wasn’t much in the sense of producers that I've ever know in Doncaster, and to be honest a lot of the stuff wasn’t even coming from Sheffield after a while, it was all over Yorkshire, Manchester and also the Midlands. Sheffield was just the home for the sound basically with Niche being pretty much the starting point of it all.

B: And for people that don't know about niche, can you explain how it was distinct from garage and how is was similar too I guess?

MM: I think its hard to really describe what makes it different from garage, essentially, its just the continuation of the 4x4 & speed garage sound. I suppose it comes from the basslines themselves, lots of warping sounds, not essentially low end stuff either, it also started to differ later when it got a bit darker and became very MC based, almost like the up north version of grime.

B: And can you explain what happened to niche after 2008 and how it affected you?

MM: Well bassline & niche has always had a bad reputation regards violence with the police, and after the club closing, then reopening as Vibe and yet again having to close, its created a problem of not being able to advertise playing bassline in and around Sheffield and some other cities.I definitely think this affected the scene and people making bassline, it was all around the time the boom in UK funky was coming about, and a lot of people, myself included started swaying towards making the more funky sounds, I think it also had a problem with a lack of quality control at points as well, certain DJs just playing stuff that wasn’t really up to a standard. It's always kept on going, but I think now there is a rise in people who are heavily influenced by bassline, putting there own twist on the sound again.

B: Your stuff seems really close to 4x4 UK garage too, do you feel niche and the interest in garage have converged in 2012?

MM: Yeah, that’s a large part of the change, in some peoples eyes what we make wont be bassline, as its not 140 & does lean towards 4x4 garage sounds, but its the heart of it that makes it bassline for me. There's a few producers such as DJ Q, Checan, Clientele as well, all doing stuff that the main backbone of the sound is bassline, its just adding something different to stop it just being a repeat of what was being made before, I think.

B: This for me is the biggest question with regards to your sound. You're obviously very talented producers, both in ideas and engineering and you've nailed the garage swing when most people can't, but people might ask you, how is it different to 4x4 garage that has come before it?

MM: I don’t know for sure that it exactly is, I think of it more as a continuation of the sound. There was a distinct lack of anyone really trying to make anything that really touched on actual garage, far too much of what was being made didn’t really work how garage should, mellow pads and chords etc, where as for me garage should be a bit sexier and more dancefloor orientated so that’s more what it is all about, bringing back that feeling, if anything the most distinct difference is the combination of the original 4x4 & garage sound with the bassline sounds that have influenced me heavily.

B: You do stand out from the crowd in the way you totally "get" how to make those styles right.

MM: Thanks. I just think a lot of producers don’t really understand what garage is about regards a dancefloor, and specially in the 'future garage' bracket, there seems to be a real lack of the swing and groove needed for it to accomplish what its all about and get people moving.

B: Swing and other things: no rudeness or those dynamic contradictions that made garage so sick. The challenge is though is if you are to reverent to the past you become beholden to it…

MM: Yeah, I agree, I don’t want it to become a case of “we just sound like old garage,” we have to keep progressing the sound but its always going to be important for me, that what we do works out in a club, that’s where the element of combining the more original garage drums, with the more day bassline sounds works best for me, really enjoy doing this in the form of multiple switches and drops to keep the track moving and people guessing.

B: What sort of things do you think about when you write beats?

MM: I mean I've said a few times but its always about how I think a track is gonna feel when your in a club. Because what we make is so dancefloor orientated its got to get me excited, make me personally want to dance, because if we cant achieve that, then I don’t feel were doing what we should be.

B: How do you feel, when immersed in a good dance floor to a really good DJ, can you describe that feeling and what it means to you? Becuause thinking about it, for all of us who are so hooked on club culture, it seems to be something that pulls us back again and again…

MM: I guess its just that feeling of being fully immersed in the moment, where nothing really matters but the music, when the vibe is right, with the right crowd. There’s no better feeling than that. Losing hours without even realizing.

B: Can you tell me about any other acts you rate and relate to in your area?

MM: Not so much Doncaster, but Sheffield for sure, Squarehead & True Fiction as Clientele and on there own are worth checking, some really good speed garage vibes, Checan as well even though he's down in London now is from Sheffield, he's on more of a straight bassline tip, I reckon there all worth watching.

B: I don't know those guys, what's one track from each people should know about?

MM: Checan has to be "Hytz" which dropped on Unknown To The Unknown. Squarehead on his own going for "Steer Me Wrong" its got that bumpy garage/house vibe I tend to run a lot and then the Clientele stuff probably a track called "She Knows" - serious speed garage vibes on that. It's the first track in this video.

B: nice, anyone else?

MM: Off top of my head not really, i mean there's Beneath but he's a given and not from these ways. Walter Ego, his stuff is really good. This is a track he did with a couple of Sheffield MC's.

B: So with these guys do you feel a sense of community or do you all work on your own thing?

MM: Its a community thing these ways I feel, like me & Squarehaed doing tracks together and myself & Checan doing a bassline alias as well. There's a lot of love for local stuff up here for sure, which I think is important build our own up north thing

B: And how did the Detboi collaboration come about?

MM: Just sending Des some bits a while back, mentioned he was planning to get some collabs for Detboi’s last LP 'Curse of the voodoo Drums 2' and we ended up making 'Sanctuary of Love' which was the single release from that, and then we spoke with Herve about doing a release for Deep Thrills, and just decided we would do a EP with Des for that, which became the 'Happen to You' EP. I think our collaboration on the 'Happen to You' EP is the better part, I'm biased towards the speed garage/4x4 sounds though.

B: if you had to be one of the Mister Men, which would it be and why?

MM:  I like to choose one of the cool ones, like Mr Impossible or something, but if I'm being honest the one that suits me is Mr Bump, I'm  overly clumsy, and to be fair the names kind of fitting with the music i guess.

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