Mumdance (FABRICLIVE 80)
I was born in Brighton.
My mum was into Motown and I think some of my earliest musical memories come from hearing it on car journeys. My Dad was into metal and kind of driving music, more standard Dad rock.
I was big into computers when I was young, I had a ZX Spectrum when I was super young, then an Amiga when I was 9 or so and I spent most of my life on them. As a by-product of that I was really into all the computer game music and the demoscene, especially the Amiga stuff. Being the '90s all the soundtracks were all very rave influenced at the time and I think it set a precedent for my music tastes. Then when I was 12/13 I borrowed a Helter Skelter tape pack off one of my friend’s older brothers and it was game over, it literally blew my mind. Within a week I went and got a paper round and saved up for months for a set of belt drive decks and a mixer (Kam BDX180’s and an Intimidation Apex mixer), then after that all my money was spent on records (my paper round used to give me enough cash for the bus into town and 2 records a week). My room as a teenager was plastered with rave flyers and we used to put on our own parties at the youth club.
When I was in Year 10 at school (I guess age 15) I got my work experience at a record shop in Brighton called Happy Vibes Recordings and through there I met a guy called Dave Stone who used to run S.O.U.R Records. He had an office and studio upstairs and I remember being absolutely blown away seeing Det & Brockie in there. From then I used to hang around the studio just flying and doing odds and ends, just kinda watching and learning slowly but surely how jungle and d&b was made, which gave me a taste for wanting to get into producing music. That was a primary hardware based studio which centered around a couple of Emu samplers and a big Mackie desk.
After that I got myself a copy of Fruity Loops and Logic from somewhere and started making music in my room, but I was always much more fascinated by all the hardware in the studio and used to spend as much time there as possible watching how it was all used (I wasn’t allowed anywhere near it at the time).
After flyering for a few years, when I was 17 I started a d&b night in Brighton called Fallout which I put on for a few years, I enjoyed promoting so much that it became the focus for me for years, I never DJed at any of my own events and I stopped DJing for ages as I didn’t really have time, I was more into partying and promoting. I was still working in Dave’s office and was now allowed to use the studio occasionally when no one else was using it. It was around this time when I was discovering darker garage and early grime and I fully latched onto the sound.
From putting on events in Brighton I got a job as the events manager at Vice Magazine in London, which was amazing as I got to put on loads of grime events. It was through this that one of the photographers Jamie-James Medina introduced me to Jammer and we got on really well and started making music together. Vice have a record label and they put out a band called The Black Lips. They commissioned Diplo to do a remix of The Black Lips and Jammer and I decided to do a bootleg of it. We literally put it together in about an hour or so and I Myspaced it to Diplo and didn’t think anything too much of it. Then a few days later he got back to me and signed me to Mad Decent and got me on some much bigger remix projects for Santigold and Gucci Mane. My career blew up over the course of literally months and I was touring round DJing all over the world and gave me real a taste for travel and spending time with musicians from around the world learning about music, especially Mexico and Brazil.
This period of my career culminated in a 17 track mixtape, entitled Different Circles - The Mixtape which was essentially my first album.
After that I got a bit burnt out and disillusioned with all the touring and partying. I was also unhappy with the way the scene was going and also personally unhappy with my output. I had an idea in my head which I couldn’t get out into the sequencer and it was frustrating.
I decided to go back to the drawing board and took a hiatus to work out exactly how I could realise my music how I wanted it to sound. This was supposed to only be a few months hiatus, but turned into 2 years. In this time I spent all my disposable income on old studio hardware, building up what is essentially a '90s rave producer's studio. I wanted to use all the equipment that my favourite producers from my youth had used, exactly, so my music had a certain colour and feel to it. Although the influences came from my past, my focus was solely on the future & trying to create something entirely new.
After the 2 years, I returned with a mixtape album called Twists & Turns which showcased my new sound.
"I feel incredibly proud to have contributed to a series that I have listened to since I was young."
LABELS & PRODUCTION:
I’ve worked with quite a large number of labels over the years, but I think my most recognised work came from, Mad Decent, No Hats No Hoods, Tectonic, Keysound, Rinse and XL Recordings. I really enjoy doing collaborations and over the years I have worked with musicians from literally all over the world, but these days I work a lot with Logos, Pinch, Novelist and Riko.
I’ve had a long relationship with fabric and I still love it as much as the first day I set foot in it. fabric was the first “big” club I ever went to and also the first time I went clubbing outside of my home town when I was 18. I can still remember the first time I saw the green laser in room 2 & heard/felt the system and I was like “this is it!” It’s always felt like the epicentre of UK dance music to me, especially for drum & bass.
With the mix series, I have been literally buying it since it started; I think the first one I bought was the DJ Hype one (the 3rd in the FABRICLIVE series) and I have been a huge fan of them ever since. I can honestly say that having my name imprinted on one of those silver boxes has been a lifetime ambition of mine and it's a landmark in my career. I feel incredibly proud to have contributed to a series that I have listened to since I was young.
I have been lucky enough to play for fabric for near on 7 years now and it’s always been one of my favourite venues to both DJ at and go to as a raver. I think my first show was 2007/8, they have always consistently booked me and supported me. To be programming room 2 where I have spent hours and hours and hours sweating in the middle of the dancefloor or standing in the corner nodding my head is a huge honour.
The majority of the mix was commissioned especially for the CD and is exclusive to the CD - you won’t hear it anywhere else - paired with some of my own productions and some of my all-time favourite classics.
I wanted it to reflect what I would play in fabric and also what you might hear on my Rinse FM show, essentially collecting as many of my favourite producers into one place and presenting it a coherent manner. I wanted to reflect my past and present, as well as peering into the future.
As with my DJ sets, I’ve made a conscious decision to focus on interesting rhythms and drum arrangements, moving away from the more conventional 4x4 drum patterns which have been so prominent over the past few years.
Another theme which runs throughout the mix is the idea of 'peaks and troughs.' As I get more experienced as a DJ (and I still have a long way to go), I realise more and more it’s not about rushing things and playing banger after banger after banger, you need to take your time with things. Even more importantly, you need the lows and more ambient parts in order for the highs and busier parts to have meaning, otherwise it’s all just noise.
Overall I wanted this to be a mix which people would return to. Although some of the selection might be challenging in places for some listeners, in my own personal experience it’s not the most immediate music which has the greatest longevity - it’s the music which you really have to build a relationship with before you get the most out of it which ends up being closest to your heart.
2015 has been a whirlwind for me already and it’s only just started, releasing on XL Recordings was another dream come true and putting out a dancefloor album with Logos was another milestone which I am very proud of. For the next part of the year I’m going to focus more on producing album projects for vocalists. I’m hitting a number of festivals this year so I will also concentrate on my DJing and performance. I also have plans for a sound installation which I will be revealing more as the year goes on.
FABRICLIVE 80: Mumdance is out now.
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Photography: Jimmy Mould