There are DJs that are heavily tied to styles, people who go on to become figures synonymous with a certain sound or a particular approach to mixing; and then there are DJ’s DJs – a different breed of people who manage to make the whole process of blending records from disparate genres look (and sound) seamless. Often, it’s not just about beat matching perfectly, it’s as much about capturing a mood and evolving it through your record selections as it is locking on to a consistent rhythm and that’s something that Streatham bred DJ, Steve Bishop, has proven himself to be mightily adept at over the years. As much as his sets under the Oneman moniker may have started turning heads by melding old school UK garage with DMZ style dubstep, he’s proven through his regular presence on London institution Rinse FM that he can do so much more than just marry classics with current beats. Acting as a credible barometer for fresh material from a bevy of influential producers he’s also driven by sounds that drove him to music in the first place...
“I think my first real experience with music was when I was about 11, with Kiss Smooth Grooves ’97 - mainly CD2. It came out during my first year at secondary school and there was a run of tracks on that CD that went:
9. Faith Evans - Stressed Out
10. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - 1st of the Month
11. KRS-One - Step into a World (Rapture's Delight)
12. Warren G - This DJ
These four tracks changed everything about music for me, forever. It wasn't like hip hop was a new experience to me at all; I think it was the calibre of those 4 tracks on a CD like a Kiss FM comp, among bloody Des'ree and The Lighthouse Family, which really blew me away!” - Oneman
It comes as no surprise that Bishop’s been as vocal (through his DJ sets) about his love of underground hip hop like Odd Future as much as he has Joy O, when you learn that the first album he bought with his own money was DMX’s It's Dark & Hell Iz Hot. Fully acknowledging his sweet love affair with Masta P’s No Limit Records and MTV, Oneman’s always seemed to have that edge; that musical multiple interest that can ignite real sparks on a dancefloor through hearing old records re-appropriated into new and weird situational blends. It’s never been about the gimmick of what he’s playing either, it’s all about the way he makes things fit and how it all feels completely effortless as he does it.
“I think my first ‘project’ was probably trying to recreate a DJ EZ mix or something from Pure Garage Vol. 2 and then doing these tapes with my MC mate Andy. It was just us recreating the pirate radio shows we listened to like Milkyman, SMS Crew, Red Alert, So Solid Sundays (all on Delight FM 103). We did a few tapes around that time. I was buying new records; Andy had a bunch of tracks that the guy he bought his decks off gave him - dark instrumental tracks from So Solid, Zoom & DBX, stuff like that - and I’d pick up new Sticky tracks and some of the first proper EastBeat stuff that was starting to hit South London after So Solid gained popularity.” - Oneman
Whether he knew it back then or not it seems that in Bishop’s unknowing emulation of people like DJ EZ (someone he’s cited as a major influence numerous times before) and the MC/DJ partnerships he was making he was destined for radio, a platform that would be a constant outlet for his mixes, from the start.
“Radio was always an opportunity I missed having grown up with garage as an early to mid teen. I heard so many stories at my school of kids going for trial sets at pirates in Battersea, coming out and having their records taken at the bottom of the block and I really loved my records so I didn't ever take that risk! By the time I hit 18 I wasn't willing to let any more chances slip so I emailed Heny G (React FM Manager) and sent him a guest slot I'd been on over at SubFM (one of the first internet stations) and he gave me a Sunday evening show. I started to do those shows with Asbo, my MC who still does my Rinse shows now. It was a cool little community down at React and initially I didn't want to leave, but it kind of fell apart quickly so I took Sarah Souljah’s offer to join Rinse more seriously.” - Oneman
Since then his profile has risen and Oneman’s rightly become an essential part of the station’s roster, broadcasting his own agenda for two hours every Sunday night. He’s already known for his flawless mixing, his impeccable selection and his old meets new school mergers - that’s why he’s already a lot of people’s favourite DJ – but his FABRICLIVE mix manages to cement all of the above in an incredibly understated way. The selection bounds through choice cuts from the last couple of years by Joy Orbison, Fis-T, SBTRKT, Grievous Angel and Mosca to current productions from Pearson Sound, Lando Kal, Teeth and Thefft, all the time peppered by garage classics from Nu Birth, Steve Gurley, Tuff Jam and Youngstar.
“I wanted the mix to primarily be a representation of what I would typically play at fabric in current terms, so bearing that in mind I decided to draw on a lot of new house crossover stuff. The beginning of the mix is kind of a throwback to 2010, where I felt this UK Funky sound really started developing into another darker strand of UK dance music. The rest is really a mix of 128-134bpm music through the years; there’s some old Locked On garage classics in there too… I never really think out these things too much, it just has to make sense when I listen back to it.” - Oneman
FABRICLIVE 64: Oneman will be released on 16th July 2012.
You can pre-order FABRICLIVE 64, and get further info and the full tracklisting here: http://bit.ly/KA5JrC
Oneman will launch FABRICLIVE 64 in Room Two on Friday 3rd August 2012.
Confirmed guests so far include Artwork, Kode 9 and Loefah who’ll join Oneman to celebrate the CD’s release.
For more info on the launch night go here: http://www.fabriclondon.com/club/listing/590