After making his initial splash in our world with an EP on Pinch’s Tectonic label, the East London raised producer DECiBEL has been making a lot of music. Now freshly signed to MistaJam’s Speakerbox stable he’s preparing for a summer of festivals and, if our recent conversation is anything to go by, a whole heap of releases. Ahead of his appearance in Room One on Friday, where he joins people like A-trak, Just Blaze, Zinc, GTA and Martelo on the bill we thought it be useful to catch up with him to see exactly where his heads at ahead of his work appearing on Big Dada’s Grime 2.0 compilation and again on Tectonic. He also came bearing gifts offering up a free track to commemorate the second time he’s played here in Farringdon…
You’ve done a bunch of varied things: DJ residencies, releasing on Tectonic, making grime and trap and working with Flowdan etc etc, so I’m just wondering like, in terms of unpredictability, what drives you do all this stuff?
I've always been a cross genre DJ (and my mum will say I’ve got a short attention span) so it's always felt natural to jump from different genre's and ideas. As a resident DJ I'd find it quite boring if I had to stick to one genre for 4/5 hours so I just applied my DJ philosophy to my career as a producer. Variety really is the spice of life and it’s fun to sit down with a melody or idea and not be bound to the rules of any particular genre and not really know what I’m going to end up with.
How did you first fall in love with all this?
Growing up in East London I was hooked on pirate radio… DeJaVu and Temptation were the ones for me. In London the pirates really do provide the soundtrack to your life. It’s everywhere: on the radio at home, radio in the school common room and on our walkmans at the back of the bus (pre iPhone days). It’s just everywhere, its bigger than radio, it’s a culture and lifestyle… grime, garage, jungle, dubstep, gossip, beefs, etc… I was lost when I went to university up North. Thank god for 1Xtra and Radio 1 after 7pm!!
You’ve just signed with Speakerbox right...?
Yes, I signed up with them late last year.
What does that association give you do you think?
Obviously as Mistajam is the Creative Director it means I immediately get a very big co-sign on my work and instant feedback from an industry tastemaker but I liked the family vibe I got from it… It’s not too big – it’s currently just myself, Majestic & Second City. I got the impression they'd have time for me and I wouldn't get lost on their roster but most importantly they understood what I wanted to achieve and that I enjoy making music in more than one genre.
Where do you want to take your career?
To the top, ha ha… Nile Rodgers is my inspiration, I just finished reading his autobiography. He didn't make songs or tunes, he made HITS!!
What else is coming up for you?
Festival season is about to start and it’s my first time being booked for so many so I’m really excited about that. I’m also doing a Sound Design course at Point Blank so I can better create the sounds I hear in my head.
Yeah. But where to start…?
On Speakerbox: ‘Steal’ (trap), ‘Know’ (house), ‘Glut’ (trap) and the ‘Wot EP’, which RL Grime & Annie Mac Have Been Supporting.
On Tectonic: my second EP for Pinch's label featuring ‘Whirl’ (140bpm techno), ‘Poke’ (140bpm acid).
On Four40: ‘Work It’ ft. Slick Don (grime)
Plus I've also got tracks on Big Dada's Grime 2.0 Compilation and the Tectonic Plates Vol. 4 Compilation
Can you tell us a bit about the track you’re giving away?
It’s called ‘Daft Pitch’ and it’s one from my book me to hear it collection. I like making edits and tracks for DJ sets only, so there's always something special to hear at my live shows. My girlfriend’s dad loves trance and had ‘Pitchin’ on in his car when he was dropping me to the airport. I had Rick Ross ‘I'm A Boss’ on in my headphones and I was just like "Damn… that ish works!!" So I bought the synthapella version and got chopping. It’s been a club favourite for a while so I thought it was time to let it go and let other people enjoy playing it. Call it a gift for you guys inviting me to play fabric again.
Massive shout to Grooverooms Audio as well, they managed to turn round a new master in a day. I had to make sure it was perfect.