A product of the post-jungle diaspora, Mat South has been making, DJing and promoting drum & bass in the east of England for the last 15 or so. It’s a passion, focus and production style that he’s honed over the years and after a few dubstep releases acclaimed by people like Flux Pavilion and Doctor P, he’s now got material forthcoming on DJ Marky’s respected Innerground imprint under the T>I moniker. With a two track digital single set to drop on 4th February and a track on the label defining Sounds of Innerground album in April and a debut in Room Two when the label takes over on 8th February we figured it was high time we caught up with the producer to listen to a mix of his material and better introduce him…
For those who may not be acquainted with you or your sound, can you introduce yourself and your music? How would you describe the music you make?
I come from the jungle era of drum & bass where the music created a groove on the dance floor and not a mosh pit like at some of today's parties, so I try and create a sound that makes you want to get up and dance with percussion or bass-line groove, instead of forcing you to dance with loud screechy bass lines and clashy drums that just make you screw up your face and cover your ears.
In short it’s all warm bass-lines, clean drums and a nice pad or two. I’m all about the progression and making simple effective rollers that people will still listen to a few years down the line.The support and love Dominator and I got for ‘Freak & Dark Age’ that came out last year on Innerground helped me realise that I do have a sound to push on with.
What have you been working on recently?
I've been working on a few bits for Marky for my solo digital release on Innerground – ‘Tragic Appliances’ and ‘Natural Progression’ and then ‘2nd Chance’ for the album. Now they are done and mastered I've started work on several vocal tracks that I made a few years back. I’ve learnt more and perfected my sound to how I want it so I can go back to many unheard ideas I did in my early years of producing and smash them into killer minimal rollers… One to watch out for is a track titled ‘Deepwithin’ (which features on the mix) which I’m really excited about.
How did you get involved with d&b? Who are the producers you look up to? Do you think their music has a big effect on what it is you produce?
I got into d&b straight after leaving school back in ‘95 where I used to nick my brother's tape packs, falling in love with the whole rave scene, DJS like Hype, Randall, Andy C, Krome & Time were my favorites back then and they made me want to get into mixing, so I gave my right arm and some cash to buy a set of battered belt drive decks and started from there...
Regarding my sound, I used to hang out in Al Royal's studio back in the Urban Takeover glory days where he would drill into me about using clean ingredients i.e. "if you’re using a break off a sample pack etc then leave it clean it’s been EQ'd already". So with that in mind I kept my drums, shakers, rolls etc clean and concentrated more on the hook and bass-lines. I really, really look up to people like Enei, Icicle, Lynx and Marcus Intalex as their tracks sound natural. They’re not forced and that's how I’m hoping my sound is coming across.
How does it feel to be working with Innerground? Do you feel a level of expectation considering the lineage Marky has?
I am bowled over by Marky's love for my tracks, he was a hero back in the day, so being part of this label means more than words can ever say to be honest. But yes, I do feel a little under pressure to keep up the quality and momentum with the tracks but so far I’m doing OK and I haven't had the dreaded email of "nah, not feeling it, mate" yet, so it’s all good in the T>I hood.
I do hate rushing things and luckily Marky and Calvin don't seem that way either so this could be a great working relationship in the making.
T>I - FABRICLIVE x Innerground Mix
T>I - Freak
Total Recall - Pide Piper Effect
Icicle - Timer
Total Recall - There’s Evil There
T>I - Pointless Endings
Lynx - Balloons
T>I - 2nd Chance
T>I - Deep Within
Total Recall - Snow Flake (T>I Remix)
T>I - Grudge Fuck
Dialogue - Won’t Budge
T>I - Natural Progression
T>I - Grudge Fuck
T>I - Sound Boy
T>I - Landslide
T>I - Let It Roll
T>I - Tragic Appliances
T>I - Last Call
T>I - Lion Youth
Dominator & T>I - Clubfoot
T>I - Marine Bass
T>I - It’s Alright
Catch T>I in the Innerground hosted Room Two at FABRICLIVE on 8th February where he performs alongside Marky, Marcus Intalex, Logisitics and Nottingham duo, dRamatic & dbAudio.