As you may or may not be aware, every time we release an artist's CD on either of our ongoing mix series (fabric/FABRICLIVE) there happens a lot of behind the scenes conversations that are all part of the preparation. One of these is a tailor constructed artist biography that's written to give the press extra background information on the artist in question: where they were born, where they grew up, how they got into music, etc etc. In truth, these biographies often become quite enlightening documents in their own right and from now on, in the week before we release the mixes to the public, we'll be publishing the biographies here to give you, our faithful readership, the exact same additional insight.
Flava D - fabric 88
I was born in Bournemouth. Throughout my childhood I spent a lot of time between there & Birmingham, due to having some family living up there. I think going between two completely different places, with different atmospheres & cultures it made me more open minded.
My auntie was a massive music head. She would often blast out one CD repeatedly all day. Her musical tastes would vary from the likes from ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill’, to Nas ‘Illmatic’ - to an EZ or Todd Edwards mix. My mum has always been into her R&B and swing. And my dad... not really much of a music head but I recall all the long car journeys with Jamiroquai or Simply Red on repeat for weeks.
I think all these different contrasts of musical presence in my childhood has definitely moulded my production style into what it has become. I remember being 11 and pinching my auntie’s garage tape packs and playing them in my mum’s car to and from school. I remember how cool it used to make me feel, blaring them out with the window down, thinking I was so cool, ha ha!
At the age of 16, I got a part time position in a local record store ran by a well-respected vinyl DJ. I was a keen breakdancer those days and it all started from me using the room in the back to practice, and one day I saw my boss on his PC building a beat on Ableton. He ended up burning me a copy to take home & play with it.
About a year later, I was heavily into making hip hop instrumentals. I created a Myspace account and that eventually became my source of income. I never had internet in the home those days, but I did go out and buy a pay-as-you-go internet dongle. So I was selling beats for around £20 a go via PayPal transactions. And if someone wanted an exclusive, I’d charge £50. The internet was terrible, uploading one wav would take half an hour, and use up all my data so each time id sell a beat, I’d be topping it up again. There were even times a couple MCs would buy a top up voucher and send me the 16 digit code, instead of PayPal transactions, ha ha! I actually made close to a grand from all this in the end in the space of a year, which to me back then was a heck of a lot. Wiley got in touch with me though Myspace one day after I’d dropped him a message to check out my music. After talking some more, and sending over some of my grime collection, he was paying me for each beat, 5 times what other people were buying them for, willingly. One day he transferred me a lump sum, and that was how I ended up living in Kent for two years to get away and focus on concentrating more on what I wanted to be. Utmost respect to Wiley for all the help he has given me.
But of course, once I joined Butterz that’s when I started making real money.
"The first time I played fabric was at our first Butterz event. I was nervous about playing here at first. Having heard so much about its godly reputation, I had to be on point. It was also one of the largest club crowds I’d played for at that point. I don’t get to play in London often but it’s always a real treat when I get to play at fabric. And the best place to test out new ideas. I don’t get to play on sound quality like that too often!"
LABELS & PRODUCTION:
‘Hold On / Home’ was my first release. ‘Hold On’ was the first tune of mine that had caught the ears of Elijah & Skilliam, which led them to approach me about signing the track. This was my first time going through the process of organising a release. Those days all I knew about was making tunes. Seeing my tune on a vinyl for the very first time in Soho’s BM store was one of the proudest moments of my musical career. I learnt a lot from that whole experience which enabled me to think about how I could make the next release even better.
‘In The Dance’ has become one of my power tracks in my set. I never expected it to blow up as much as it did. Another one I’m proud of. This one was released on Champion’s Formula Records. It’s sick that two years on, it’s still getting reloads regularly wherever I play.
‘More Love’ is my most personal project yet. That truly was like a musical diary of mine at the time. I had some negative stuff going on in my personal life and I really think the listener can feel that in the music. I also really expanded my production capability on that project. I was a little apprehensive about what the feedback would be like, because it was different to my previous releases, but it went down well. That definitely had an input on my musical confidence to continue being... me.
t q d - we’re all about having fun. Nothing forced. If we’re all in the same spot at the same time and hear one of us playing a quick loop of an idea and like it, more time we’ll just “you know what would sound sick with that...” And that’s how all the ideas begin to combine. That’s how it happened with ‘Day & Night’. Us all being such passionate UKG heads, and we’re so often together, it was always bound to happen that we would join forces somehow, and since we did, I’ve been having the best time ever!
The first time I played fabric was at our first Butterz event. I was nervous about playing here at first. Having heard so much about its godly reputation, I had to be on point. It was also one of the largest club crowds I’d played for at that point. I don’t get to play in London often but it’s always a real treat when I get to play at fabric. And the best place to test out new ideas. I don’t get to play on sound quality like that too often!
I created an intro especially for this mix. I wanted it to build from a dark vibe into something more bright. So when you listen to it, it’s like the tune takes you on a journey. I also wanted to try and make something completely different to anything I’ve ever made previously. So I was challenging my production capabilities too in a way. I thought carefully about how the next track ‘Whistler’ comes in. Rather than the intro fading out, or mixing it in, I played in the chords at the end to fit with the key of ‘Whistler’, so it almost feels like it’s one whole track. The general vibe of the mix starts off calm, then builds up towards that signature bass style you’d expect from me. And as you approach the end of the album it winds down. I wanted to create a variety of styles. There are some tunes that you can listen to in front of a sunset with a pina colada, and others in there that will make you pull the dirtiest bass face. My personal favourite on the mix is ‘Searching’. I made this on the plane flying back from a gig in the US. I had the most beautiful view of sunset lit clouds from my window. And that’s when I started that track, it has a real dreamy vibe.
I decided to produce most of the mix. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone & do more than mix some of my favourite tunes from other artists. Rather than use a track by people that I rate, I thought wait, why not make a track together instead. It would make the whole project that little bit more exciting, presenting a track list with a bunch of tunes that no one has even heard yet.
More Flava D music, t q d, travelling the world and new horizons.
FABRICLIVE 88: Flava D is out now.
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