For those of you that follow dubstep the name Mizz Beats should be synonymous with your enjoyment of last years’ massive tune ‘Purple Love’ that she co-produced alongside label mate Silkie. But Mizz has been in the music game for a lot longer than that; coming through when grime was breaking in 2005, she worked alongside some of the genre’s elite figures like Wiley, JME, Skepta, D Double E, Lady Sovereign (before she became Sov, obvs) to name but a few. Alongside West London’s Anti-Social Entertainment collective and her production team The Arcade, Mizz has set her sights on stepping out of the shadows and directly into your soundsystem in 2010.
With her debut 12” for Mala’s Deep Medi Musik out this week, we caught up with their latest signing to get the lowdown.
Name: Mizz Beats
Hometown: Brick Lane, London.
So where did you grow up and what were you listening to? How did it influence you in terms of becoming a musician?
I grew up in Leytonstone in East London. As an only child I didn’t have any siblings to influence me musically, just my parents and they are jazz, soul and rare groove fans. So I grew up listening to a lot of producers like the Mizell Brothers, Gary Britz, Roy Ayers, Norman Connors etc. And of course in the 90's I got into hip-hop and fell in love. I have always been composing; I started playing the piano at age of 9, got my first keyboard with a four track on it at like age 11 and was composing from back then. Then at age 13 my parents bought me my own computer for music production use and it all really started then.
Do you make music full time? If not, what do you when you are not making beats?
Yes I make music fulltime. When I am not making music I am teaching young NEET's music production all around London. I love to teach.
You built your rep in the grime scene; for those that don’t know, who did you work with?
I had a few releases; first was with D Double E on Signal, second Wiley, Jammer, Siyer, JME, Ears on Saw It Comin'. Third was my 'Hoodie' (remix) featuring Lady Sovereign, Skepta, JME, Baby Blue, Jammer and fourth was my remix of Roots Manuva's 'Colossal Insight'.
What was the vibe like back when grime was beginning to bubble?
I hadn't been listening to grime much in the early days I was a hip-hop and R&B fan at the time; but through friends and family I had heard a bit of it. But when I started to get involved I never did pay attention to what was going on! I have and still do just spend most of my time in the studio; bit of a saddo really... LOL.
What are Mizz Beats five favourite grime tracks from the early days?
1. D Double - Nasty Dub
2. Dizzee Rascal - Stop That
3. So Solid – Rap Dis
4. JME - Serious
5. Jammer - Murkle Man
What was your first experience of dubstep?
The first time I heard dubstep was actually at Silkie’s house like when I first met him and Quest about 4 years ago. Then Quest and Silkie started to take me out to the raves and the love affair began!
Tell us about your involvement on ‘Purple Love,’ no doubt one of my FAVORITE tunes of any genre last year.
Favourite? No way. Thanks. Ahhh 'Purple Love'... well Silkie had come around to mine to make some tunes and he had laid down these chords for me (used on the pads on the track). When he went home I was just messing around with the chords and I laid down the rest of the beat around the chords but the thing is I was working with the track at 120bpm. As far as I was concerned it was supposed to be some sort of slow jam and that night before I closed down my music program and was just messing around with the tempo, moved it up to 140bpm and had saved the project at that tempo. So when Silkie came round the next day and I opened the tune to play him what I had and when I pressed play it was still at 140bpm and Silkie said 'Oh damn its supposed to be 120bpm' but he then was like 'no leave it, that sounds good' but I was convinced it sounded wrong at that tempo.
Anyway next thing I know he's playing it out and that was it. ‘Purple Love’ was one big accident!
People are going to automatically put you in the dubstep category, but where do you think your music should be place?
I don't believe in music being categorized but hey, they do it and that’s just the way it is. In terms of my sound, I'm part of a production team called The Arcade along with Jay-Retro (my cousin) and Mystro Beatz. We have this 8bit sound going on, we are heavily influenced by computer games so we get inspiration from that.
We work across all genres so I’ve been doing a lot of that for a long time now. I guess 'The Jester' is a small taster of that. But in 2010 you will hear a lot more of that from both myself and The Arcade. We have definitely taken inspiration from production teams such as 'The Neptunes;' they have that unique sound. I also have a record label called 'Versus, inc.' which is a subsidiary of Deep Medi... but watch out for Mizz Beats and The Arcade in 2010!
Where do you see yourself this time next year, what do you hope to achieve in that time?
This year I want to collaborate with a lot more singers, MC's/rappers and just work across the board and with as many people as possible. Also I want to play out/gig more. That’s another passion of mine using Ableton live and playing/remixing live!
Anything else you would like to add...
Thank you to the people out there that support me and the 'horrid noise' that I'm convinced I make. Oh and thank you fabric... can I play at fabric??? LOL
Mizz Beats debut 12”: ‘The Jester’ b/w ‘My World’ is out now on Deep Medi Muzik.