It's a often discussed thing: how artists are influenced by the people and the places around them, embedding their day to day experiences into their craft. One artist who describes his music as "the product of all music I've listened to over the years" is Bristol-based producer, Caski. Hotly tipped, Caski is fast emerging as one to watch for 2016. His output thus far has offered a unique strain of dark and technically meticulous production, championing salutes from the likes of Mumdance, Logan Sama and Spyro while dropping on critically acclaimed labels like Electro Magnetic Fields, Ghost Recordings, Keysound and, most recently, Tectonic.
Recruited to set the tone for our second space in a few weeks time when he'll make his FABRICLIVE debut, we wanted to explore Caski's melancholic constructs a little further so we asked if he wouldn't mind giving us an indication of where he's at currently by way of an exclusive new mix which we could then frame with an introductory interview.
What have you been up to as of late? You recently dropped a collaboration as part of Nurve’s EP on Tectonic – can you tell us a bit about that?
Caski: Of course... I've recently released 3 tracks on Bristol based label 4 Seasons (at the start of February) and as you mentioned the collaboration between myself and Nurve on his EP for Pinch's label, Tectonic. I've known Raff/Demon/Nurve for about 13 years now (most people know him as the founder of M.U.D or as one of the founding members of Macabre Unit). We both come from Bedford which subsequently meant that we would probably both cross paths at some stage, especially both doing music in such a small town. We eventually did and I was fortunate enough to learn a lot from both him and 9er (the other founding member of Macabre Unit). We had done a few collaborations over the years but some were never finished and others were lost in time (to old PCs and hard drives) and never saw the light of day.
'Brain Sugar' was made when I had gone back to Bedford to see friends and family and decided to make a trip up the road to Milton Keynes so we could work on something new during the only day we both weren't busy. So we did, the track gained some great support from Mumdance, Ipman, Dusk & Blackdown, Lamont and more before it eventually got picked to be included on Nurve's EP for Tectonic. It was a specifically meaningful release to be a part of for me due to the fact that my musical journey really took off when I was making dubstep, so naturally I've been following Tectonic for years!
Can you tell us about your first contact with music – what kind of music were you brought up on?
I remember a lot of funk, disco and latin music (from my old man who I have to thank for the Italian half of me!) and a lot of reggae and '90s dance music (think 'Rhythm Of The Night' etc from me old cheese aka mum!). It wasn't until upper school that I had ever really even thought about the concept of being able to make music.
So how did that move to the place you are now – in the world of electronic music?
I mean, nobody in my family is particularly into making music, I couldn't tell you if anyone plays any instruments or anything. I just remember being in school in year 9 listening to a Sidewinder set on a tape with the headphone through the sleeve of my jumper when someone mentioned trying out making music on some software which I believe would have been Fruity Loops or Reason at the time - or potentially even Music for the Playstation to be fair! Since the thought entered my head I started trying to make it work and the rest is, as they say, history. I used to make grime initially, as "Caos", with which I gained support from the likes of Marcus Nasty, Mak10, Spyro and Logan Sama - that support really helped me move into a position where I had other exciting opportunities available to me.
Skip forward to my college years where I discovered dubstep and decided to try making some. El-B and J Da Flex from Ghost Recordings got in touch and signed a track which eventually resulted in my first vinyl release with an El-B track on the flip, which was about as good a start to releasing music as I could have wished for. I was also lucky enough to have been asked to remix the infamous 'Buck & Bury' track featuring Juiceman, which had support from B.traits, My Nu Leng, DJ Q and Dusk & Blackdown amongst others. That actually, as far as I'm aware is probably what started the wheels in motion to releasing a track ('Tunnel Music') on Keysound too!
Skipping forward another few years to 2013 when I moved to Bristol and started experimenting with some slower BPMs and different sounds. I made some very experimental/different music which I was fortunate enough to release on Akkord's EMF (Electro Magnetic Fields) imprint which featured a heavy remix of my track 'Elephant Tribe' by Troy Gunner. From there I've just tried to continue making what feels natural to me and thankfully the support has been consistently amazing from DJs, producers and promoters, as well as those who come to listen to what this music can provide to any bass enthusiast, on a good enough sound system!
How would you best describe your sound?
Non-conforming, abstract in places, predominantly dark, bass heavy, industrial... It's so difficult to pin point exactly what my sound is, but I feel that the best way to describe it is just to say that it's a product of all of the music I've listened to and been influenced by over the years.
How would you compare the material, sound and style that you're releasing now to your first productions?
In all honesty my first productions that I released were under produced (I mean that in comparison to where I'm at with production now), but there's a sense of rawness in those imperfections which my early releases had. It's as though if I'd have made those same tracks now, they wouldn't have fitted in quite as well as they did at that time, if that makes sense? Different influences spur on different ideas and with time, inevitably comes change and progression.
Who or what do you draw influence from? Are there any particular people, places and/or producers who inspire you?
I draw influences from anywhere really; from hearing a sound that catches my ear to anything in a movie, in a tune, in field recordings etc. I'm influenced by other artists such as Akkord, Tessela, Djrum, El-B, Macabre Unit, Nurve, Lamont, Alan Johnson but there's loads more! I've also always really enjoyed the music that labels such as Hessle Audio and Livity Sound release. As far as places go, I think Bristol is incredible for inspiration as there's always so much going on here musically. Equally I can find inspiration anywhere depending on mood and setting!
What are you working on at the moment? Any new releases in the works?
I'm currently working on my next couple of releases with some really exciting labels but I can't let anything out of the bag just yet! I am however, really looking forward to broadcasting my debut radio show on SWU.FM on 4th May this year, the stations roster is definitely an exciting one to be a part of!
Finally, you've recorded us an exclusive mix can you tell us a bit about how you approached your track selection? Is it an indication of what we can expect on the night?
This mix is a culmination of the music that I'm really enjoying right now, mixed with some of my favourite tracks and some super exclusives thrown in for good measure! It's a great indication of what you can expect to hear me play out, but of course I've held some things back for when I'm at fabric on 8th April!
Disclaimer: This mix is not intended to be listened to on laptop speakers!!!