Monday, 1 August 2016

Tunes and stuff August 2016

Lots of stuff has been happening which I wanted to share, and also I've been listening to some wicked music too....

First thing is the new compilation that's been released by Futurepast Zine :) It's called 'Vibration & Frequency' and features some brilliant artists. It's available as a limited edition CDr featuring artwork from the infamous COYS1, and it will be available for Digital release too..... Some of the sonic artists that feature on this release you may recognise if you've checked out previous Futurepast Zine music releases - such as Hollow, Krytikal, Analias and myself Rawtrachs. New comers are Fushara (who has released some amazing music over the past few years), Illspirit & Mojolo (who have released some amazing music on After Hour Audio), blacksix & FIRST AID (released music on Noisy Meditation), Chemist RNS (released music with Chameleon Audio) and finally Cat Therapist (who I linked up with at Listening Sessions - actually I've linked up with a lot of the artists at Listening Sessions, so big up Listening Sessions cru!).

The compilation came about really organically, and while I was collecting tracks and looking at the artwork that COYS1 had created, it reminded me of some of the stuff on MoWax, and also the Metalheadz tin box album. There's a great variety of music on this release so go and check it out.

Recently I played some music alongside Hollow for a Chameleon Audio release party. It was unreal. And for me it was quite different because I've usually played a mixture of new and old stuff - this time round I focussed on the newer and unreleased stuff. And people really seemed to feel it. It was also wicked to hear the Chameleon Audio lot play a Chemist RNS remix of Krytikal's 'Tachi'....

A track I have really been enjoying from the Chameleon Audio guys is a track called 'One' by S3 Dubs. It's the tone of the bass, and then it gets switched into another bass sound ...the beats are minimal, and there's a little vocal - a minimal tune that creates a massive impact. It's got a heavy underground vibe which is a trait of the lot of music I'm hearing from the Chameleon Audio releases - watch out for these guys because they are coming on strong - you've been warned!

Another tune I've really been feeling is by a guy called HRMX (I did an interview on him a while back for the Listening Sessions website - This tune is called 'Blocs'. It's got such a wavey, slick, aquatic underwater vibe to it, absolutely damaging, great to blast it out in your car on a sunny day.

Next up is the man like Illspirit. His track 'Sundown' is slick and funky as anything. Styles for miles! Him and HRMX have both been releasing music steadily on After Hour Audio and on their own respective projects. This tune has got a jazzy flavour which I think is awesome, I don't like to compare artists but the vibe really reminds me of certain Lemon D tracks when he did funk and jazz inspired stuff. Keep an ear out for the After Hour Audio guys, they've got a great back catalogue.

About a month ago in Birmingham we had the City of Colours festival, and I had the pleasure of playing on the Rainbow Rooftop for Listening Sessions. It was a brilliant set up there, absolutely spot on. Nice decor, and a Funktion 1 sound system. I played a wide variety of music in my set, one of which was a track by Mandela called 'Cloud Battle'. The EP is really good, and is definitely one for the dancefloor - it has quite a technoey feel to it probably because of the pads, there's effected vocals, and I really like the beat, it's got a breakbeat feel to it.

There's a party coming up in a couple of weeks to celebrate the release of Joe Corfield's mixtape/album 'Transient Sounds'. Fellow Futurepast Zine contributor 'The Deviant' did an interview with Joe Corfield a while back for this blog so go and search out, he's also going to playing at this party too. Yalla put on some great nights so be sure to check this one out:

If you haven't checked out the album already then head over here: I did that this morning, and while I was browsing on their bandcamp page I came across this track:

It's part of an album called 'Drizzle' by Circa. I've never heard of Circa before, but I need to find out more, because this album is absolutely oozing in that 140 goodness. It's really really good.

While I'm on about 140 stuff, I've got one more 140 track to mention. It's by Trashbat, it's called 'Mountain', and it reminds of when he last played in Birmingham for a Listening Sessions party. For me this guy brings an RnB feel to the 140 bpm stuff. It's smooth, slick, funky, real good music, not much else I can write really.....

Right, so moving up the bpm's to some 170 stuff..... I've been digging the releases from Metro's 'Ortem' label. The most recent EP is by Books who's been making some waves. I have to be honest, I don't check for 170 stuff or DnB that much but I am really feeling the stuff on Ortem, and also you need to hunt out a mix that Metro put together about a month back, it's wicked.....

Final tune recommendation from me is by an artist called Slaine (I did an interview with him a while back, this track 'Glider' is wicked, I really like the melody of the grungy kinda bass sound, it's great for driving around in the night time :)

At the end of May 2016, I finally managed to get Issue 10 of Futurepast Zine completed. Unfortunately, I only have a few copies left and they will be going to the new Provide store which is now located in the Jubilee Centre/building in Birmingham. The cover for issue 10 was created by Trav ( and to celebrate we held a party over at the Dark Horse in Moseley which was fantastic. DJs on the night were residents Anjin & Hollow, with guests HRMX, Goosensei and Headgear (who I've also interviewed for this blog :); hosted by Natty D. Here's a few photos:

A photo posted by Futurepast Zine (@futurepastzine) on

A photo posted by Futurepast Zine (@futurepastzine) on

A photo posted by Futurepast Zine (@futurepastzine) on

A photo posted by Futurepast Zine (@futurepastzine) on

Because the night went well and there was some excellent music being showcased, Futurepast Zine teamed up with the Listening Sessions family to do a release a party for the 'Vibration & Frequency' album, here's some photo's and video clips:

A video posted by Futurepast Zine (@futurepastzine) on

I'm really hungry to do another little party, just not sure when yet! Also, got to mention a wicked party I went to organised by the Cache lot, they had some great visuals and the music was top notch:

And that is all I have to report on right now. I've got some cool stuff happening over the next few months but you know how it is - it takes time! Be sure to keep supporting us, it's much appreciated.....


watch this space :)


Oh, one more thing.... Listening Sessions fam are putting together a wicked party over at the Hare & Hounds so be sure to reach!

Oh, I swear one final thing, be sure to check out the Listening Sessions show on Brum Radio, and also the Brum and Bass show: these shows are playing lots of good music and doing good stuff, as are the countless other people out there which I haven't mentioned here - love to ya all, peace.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Chemist RNS’ Favourite Compilations of 2015

2015 was an indescribably bass heavy year for the underground music scene, we’ve witnessed some historic releases from the UK bass specialists both old and new which have reset in granite the foundations of Grime, Garage, Bass and House.  With innovation and progression the name of the game we were treated to some truly great singles and EPs last year across the whole spectrum of sounds but nothing shows what a label and movement is about like a compilation, it’s a way of saying “This is who we are and this is what we do.” 2015 was the year where the humble “comp” has really come into it’s own so welcome to my favourite Compilations of 2015.

Project Allout Presents Lengerz Volume 1 by Project Allout Records

July saw the release of a truly insane 33 track, that’s not a typing error I said 33 track compilation by Sheffield-based Project Allout Records called Lengerz Volume 1.  Featuring absolutely everything and anything you could think of, Project Allout manage to cover every single area of upfront bass music effortlessly and it’s not hard to see they’re never lacking for heavyweight dancefloor bangers! Although my personal highlights could go on forever I’ll pick a few that I especially love and leave you to explore the rest; Moony - Ballin’ (Dr Cryptic Remix), P Jam - Groove, Mr Dubz - Fire Shotz, ANZ - Truss Me, Tuff Culture - You Got Me, J.G. - Trippy (Doctor Jeep Remix), Moony - Deeper, Alias - Captain, Lington - Icy Nova and last but not least, Conducta - Smile.  To conclude I’ll leave you with a quote from Project Allout’s Label Manager DJ Skillz, “There's bangers but then you got Lengerz and now everyone is shouting it #PAR”

Rndm Wrk Volume 1 by Prjkts

Bristol-based Prjkts captured my attention in a huge way last year, in fact they are a massive part of the reason I’m doing this round-up, I was lucky enough to see their showcase back in October and was absolutely stunned by the sounds coming from the whole camp, every DJ rocked the club and the productions were crisp and driven.  I honestly couldn’t say enough good things about what they’re doing for UK Bass music even if I had a million years, so I’ll let this 17 track beast do the talking on my behalf!  There’s tracks on Rndm Wrk Vol 1 that I can’t live without especially Vern & Milla’s “Sub0” and DJ199?’s incredible “Don’t Know Much.”  Other highly recommended selections include Rhombohedral - Surge, C92 - Boddinstrasse, Dankhauz - Technical and Box Traxx - Elevated.  
Label co-owner, producer, DJ and all-round nice guy Vern gives some insight into what started Prjkts and brought us Rndm Wrk Vol 1, one of the finest compilations of the year.
“Prjkts almost started out of frustration, it's given us the freedom to push music that we want to hear regardless of what's going on everywhere else. Running a DIY label is incredibly liberating, it's given us the opportunity to connect with musicians on a global level.  Expect lots more to come!”

Roadman Joel Presents Roadman Anthems Volume 2 by Tumble Audio

So our journey brings us nicely to Nottingham Not-Not-Nottingham (for fans of Killjoy’s Gyalist Riddim haha!) which is home to the legendary Tumble Audio label and events.  A label a lot of you will be familiar with I’m sure because nobody in a sane state of mind missed the hype Roadman Anthems Vol. 1 created when it dropped in 2014 so you know Joel was under pressure to come up with the goods for the series’ second outing.  Bulletproof selections include Killjoy’s “Tanked” and” Public Enemy,” Joedan & Kontent’s steppy, dark and minimal “Ruggish,” then throw in lengs like Karl Vincent - Mic Check, Prizma - Iridescent, Bassboy - True, Sergic & Lyka - Roadrunner and Archive - This Again and what you have is a sequel that bangs hard, every track keeps you tumbling back to the start to make sure you heard what you thought you heard!  With this being the only Volume 2 on the list I asked head honcho Oliver for a quote to give us some insight into what makes a compilation series successful and this is what he had to say:  “We thought there was no way he could outdo Vol.1, but he came up trumps with this one, Roadman Joel clearly has his ears on the road 24/7.”

Brunswick Sound Volume 1 by Brunswick Sound

Brunswick Sound have their whole hand on the pulse at all times, not just a finger, the 40 bangers from mostly unknown dons from all over not only proves this but it has the whole scene gassed and you don’t have to use your imagination to see why!  I’m at the point now where I’m stressed writing this because I know I have to highlight a few tracks from a wealth of quality music and it doesn’t seem fair because there’s too many I’m obsessed with, so continuing with my highlight-my-favourites-and-let-you-lovely-readers-explore-the-rest mantra here are the tracks I can’t do without: Flint - Turn The Radio Down & JEB1 - Not In A Million Years are the loves of my life since I had the promos special shouts for them! Crimzon - You Got, Secundus - Coins, Meta - Babylon, Jurango - Corrupt Personell and Lyeform - Gravity are all perfection posing as audio but so is everything else on the tracklist. For me it doesn’t get better than Brunswick Sound Volume 1, definitely the most exciting compilation of 2015 and there’s no better way to wrap it than on a quote from the man himself, Label Manager Katsu: “Drawing on elements of grime, club and techno, it's a comprehensive guide to the type of music we promote. There are a lot of talented producers that exist below the radar right now and our aim with this comp was to give them a platform to showcase some of that talent. We're already planning a few EPs which will be out early 2016 so keep a look out for them. And big up each and everyone supporting.”

Next Tune In by Grime Disciple

Where do I even start with Next Tune In?  This was more than a compilation, it was a labour of love from one of the best bloggers to ever grace Grime music and if anyone had doubts before NTI, they didn’t after.  If this was a top ten list this heavyweight 15-tracker would be number 1 for certain, it can’t be easy (or accidental) to create a compilation that sounds like an album when played through but Grime Disciple made it look like child’s play.  Every single track is a highlight so I can’t list them but I will give you the two tracks I’ll never stop playing in sets and they are Vern & Milla - Weirdo Dub and Lington - Jeju Island.  NTI is without a doubt, the Grime compilation of the year if not last 5 years to be honest and if you only listen to one from this list make sure it’s Next Tune In!  Huge thanks to Grime Disciple for sending me a quote to end on.
“There was no real story behind Next Tune In, I just wanted to highlight a mix of people that were coming through, like Beatgatherers and Krud Fam, and also guys that had been putting work in for a while without getting much recognition, like A.T.”

Chip Shop Volume 1 by Chip Butty

Buy Link:

Dr Cryptic’s Chip Butty imprint has been consistently putting out fire for a while now so it was about time they got into the compilation game, and Chip Shop Vol 1 is the best possible way to kick off what is sure to be a legendary and hopefully long-running series of quality comps!  Garage heads will be familiar with the Chip Butty sound by now but for those of you hearing about them for the first time the only way I can describe it is to say it’s been sent back from the far future by the bassline gods, and when you hear bangers like Dr Cryptic’s “Dirty Dot” and Dr Oscillator & Syntex Erra’s “The Unknown” you’ll know exactly what I mean. Throw in some more heavyweight cuts such as 1 Point 5 - Day & Night, Thorpey - Uppercut and AudioSquid - Boogie, and what we have is yet another great quality release from a label that remains dedicated to pushing futuristic bassline vibes.

Artifice Volume 1 by Artifice

Bournemouth and Southampton-based label Artifice should definitely have your undivided attention from now on.  The depth of Artifice Vol 1 is hard to explain, it has to be experienced, it feels like an album a lot like Next Tune In but it stretches effortlessly from pure UKG to hybrid club funk, then to deep house, techno and beyond.  My favourite track by a light year is Bugeye by Vern & Milla, it’s audible happiness, if someone told me to choose between my arm and Bugeye I would reach for a saw.  In addition to my favourite track of 2015 you also get breathtaking garage bangers from the likes of Dynamat with the moody “Strong” and Dosage with the haunted and swingy “Hard To See.”  I also highly recommend Flare’s techno masterpiece “Digital Progression,” Corporal F’s “Gunman,” Spekktrum’s “New Funk” and Chris Darnoc’s “Luke Jaywalker.”  

Southpoint Presents Volume 2 by Southpoint

Brighton’s Southpoint has had a very busy year indeed, putting out a string of heavy grime releases in a short time, bringing a whole new talent pool to the attention of avid grime listeners while maintaining a strong dedication to the best quality music and artwork.  So it will come as no surprise to find out that Southpoint Presents Volume 2 comes just a couple of months after the release of Volume 1,  I know it’s insane but who are we to refuse amazing music that just happens to be free! Impressive as all that is head honcho KXVU explains that this is just the beginning...
“We had to end the year on a high after the incredible amount of support we have already received, so we thought the second edition of Southpoint Presents would be perfect. The end result was exactly what we had hoped for; a serious blend of underground styles ranging from UKG & Grime to Future Reggae. So far the response has been great and we hope to carry on pushing the movement into 2016”
My favourite selections include King Bracket - Purify, Inkline - Brain Storm, KXVU - Frostbite, Eclypse - Classified Riddim and Tengu - Tribal among others but there’s too much fire to mention on Volume 2 so go check it out!

And that’s my selection of the best compilations of 2015 done and dusted, it’s been a pleasure to look back on 12 months of cutting-edge bass music and hopefully I’ve shone some light on at least a couple of comps that you may not have noticed before.    
Thanks to Futurepast, the labels, artists and yourselves for reading.


Quick shout out to Chemist RNS for putting this article together - it was done about 8 months ago, but it's all quality that time can't test. Chemist RNS has been putting out some sterling music with Chameleon Audio, and also on his own bandcamp page

He's also going to be playing back2back with Krytikal at the Futurepast Zine X Listening Sessions party on the 16th July, so make sure you're there!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Interview with Digital

It's not often you get the chance to interview someone that has been a big musical influence since you were a teenager. And, hand on heart, that's exactly what Digital is. My first Digital record was 'Niagra' on Metalheadz, but earlier than that I unknowingly picked tracks up by Digital that were under aliases such as ID4. I continued to collect his releases on Metalheadz, Timeless, Creative Source, Reinforced, Function, 31, Chronic and so on. He's made a lot of killer cuts. But that was way back then, recently he has released the 'Digital Synthesis' album which is an album full of top notch collaborations. Anyway here's the interview:

From your previous interviews I understand that you were brought up on Reggae and sound system culture, but how did you actually get into making music?

I was lucky enough to have musicians around me from a really young age because two of my close cousins were in bands. Lloyd was in a local reggae band called Jah Warriors and they were really good. I recall them supporting Aswad when they used to make heavy dub. The other cousin Keith helped run a funky, pop, soul band called Splash so he was always talking about making records so both my cousins inspired me.

Later in my teens, I got friendly with the bass player from Jah Warriors called Gordon Mulrain. At the time he was getting into producing and he said I could come over to have a look, so I used to sit with him for months on end amongst untold cigarette smoke. It half killed me but I learned a lot from him.

I sat through all that smoke because I felt producing music would help me in my quest for DJ stardom LOL

You played a few months ago in Birmingham at the Skutta Records/Rupture/Listening Sessions night. How was it for you? It was great to have you over in Birmingham!

I loved it because I got to see some people from the scene who I feel I get on with well like Skitty, Theory and Double O and of course the Skutta guys are a good lot! The party was good too

When you first began making music, how did you get your music heard by other people? And how did you get to hook up with Photek?

Photek used to hang at a record shop I used to go to run by Rob Solomon aka Universal on Creative Source and one half of Origination, the other being Photek.

Certificate 18 owner, Paul Arnold, ran a local record shop so it was easy for me to get music to him. My first release was a collab 12" on Certificate 18 with Danny C. We went by the name of Authorised Riddim.

Photek was releasing amazing forward thinking tracks on Certificate 18 at the time and I was amazed by them so I asked if he'd give some tips and he said, "yeah come over." We got talking from there really. He saw I was keen so, Rupert, being the superb man he is helped me with my attitude because the dedication he has is second to none.

There's a white label of yours I've got, the etching on it says 'FLAVA', but one of the tracks was released on Platinum Breakz 2. What was the score with that? I think I got the tune in 96/97 but the compilation was out a couple years later.

I'm not sure what your talking about but my track on Platinum Breakz 2 was called Metro. I was in jail when they were putting Platinum Breakz 2 together but fortunately for me Kemistry & Storm found Metro on a DAT tape I sent them so they used it. That cheered me up in jail I tell you!!

[Note from interviewer: after a little digging around I came across this: ….. I'm a bit of a freak like that and had to go searching LOL]

Can you name 10 tracks that had a big impact on you from when you were young up until now? And can you say why they were a big impact on you?

1) Big Daddy Kane - Raw - Cold Chillin. Bad arse rapper in BDK, Marley Marl provides one of the filthiest riddims

2) Public Enemy - Rebel Without a Cause - DEF Jam. Attitude, tough breaks and so many memories of trying to scratch - I failed miserably!

3) Prophecy - Fabian - Black Swan. You won't find a better Bassline than this one.

4) Doc Scott - Surgery - Absolute 2. Hypnotic! I've enjoyed myself to this track plenty of times.

5) Photek - Ni Ten Ichi Ryu - Science.  Listen to this track to make your own tracks sound rubbish (Time to up some gears).

6) Manix - You Held My Hand - Manix & Rufige Kru remix. Filthy, lush, soulful, dubby, and innovative. Just damn right flipping great!

7) Digital & Spirit - Phantom Force - Phantom Audio. Self Gratification.

8) Source Direct - Secret Liasion. Weirdly this a grower. I've always loved it but now I think it's one of the best tracks Source Direct have ever done. Each time I go back to this track it sounds better. I'd really love to have more music like this to play now.

9) Doc Scott - Here Come The Drums - Reinforced. I love the original, the remix and the mix on Metalheadz 001. You don't often get remixes of the same track that are as good as each other. Big ups to Scotty!!

10) Q Project - Champion Sound (original mix).  When I listened to this back in the day on my Walkman I walked with a bad bwoy limp. I thought, "This riddim is filthy, I wonder what RAGGA RUDE BWOY made this." Then I met Quiff LOL love ya mate!!

I think out of all the Jungle/DnB artists, you are one of the few that is still smashing up dancefloors in your own unique style - what's the secret?

I) I simply love what I do.
2) I don't know any other way to make music LOL.
3) I'll be DJ'ing with a zimmer frame at some point because I'm going nowhere!!
4) Dedication and will to do well.

What side projects have you got going on? I know that you've made and released other types of music?

I don't really have side projects but I do like touching on different genres now and then although, it's nothing too far away from what I'm doing already.

What artists do you recommend Futurepast Zine readers to look out for?

I'm not being biased here, I'm saying it from a vibes perspective because his tracks are dubby, techy strong, heavy and rolling - and his DJ sets are the same. I like the fact that he makes the kind of music he actually wants to play. I don't understand artists who produce music they don't want to play in a club.

Naturally talented with an eclectic taste in music means Response, will be an interesting artist year after year.

What plans have you got for 2016?

Apart from taking over the world with my boyish looks I plan to release some music:

January: 31 Records 3 track EP
February: Function Dubz

April: I have a collab LP called SYNTHESIS featuring a few artists from the label and a few new ones. Vinyl will consist of 16 tracks released in 4 parts, 4x12" with 4 tracks on each record and 18 for digital download.

Out Now:
Trident Code EP (aka Digital, Flava, Horrific James)

First World Problems (Digital, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Response)

Rejection EP (Digital, Response)

Respek Da Foundation EP (Digital, Response, Dub Phizix)

Big up Digital, thanks for taking the time to do the interview and provide some interesting answers :)

Friday, 2 October 2015

Interview with Joe Corfield

Joe Corfield is a local producer who I’ve had my eye on for a while, from him working with Beat Circle, Eatgood, and appearing wherever there was good hip-hop in the city. Before doing this interview I genuinely thought that he had been producing way longer, judging by the quality and consistency of his production.

He’s been working hard recently, getting deeper into crate digging for obscure breaks, and is now working with High Focus, one of the UK’s most respected hip-hop labels. 

I wanted to interview Joe to shed some light on what it takes in today’s massively flooded genre called ‘beats’ and get a snapshot of where he is now and where he’s going…

Joe, how long have you been producing?
I've been producing for 3 years now, I started in college. Although before that I was always into making music of other forms.
I understand you use a BOSS SP303, is that right?
I sample everything on the SP404sx; I make the majority of my beats on my computer but sometimes on the drum machine.
From listening to your productions it's evident that you're a crate digger, but don’t go for obvious material.  What older artists inspire you in that sense, either to listen to or sample?
69 – 82 is the period I’ve noticed everything I like seems to be from, I’ll pick up anything when I’m digging but the instruments used around this era I really love. Dudes like Lonnie Liston Smith, Chick Corea, Roy Ayers; Fender Rhodes stuff. Jazz fusion, bossa nova and Brazilian fusion bands like Azymuth.

Now I can see why I think some of your production is very Madlib influenced - Madlib LOVES Azymuth! Have you heard his album Madlib interpreta Azymuth?  (This album is VERY hard to find as it was a project just for himself! If you find a download link GET IT. It’s an amazing Wonky Jazzy trip to Brazil!)

Well the guy does so much! It’s hard not to be influenced by at least a couple things he puts out. His work rate alone is an inspiration.

Listening to those unreleased gems you sent me, sometimes you go completely against the grain of Jazz and have a much harder sound. You have a very impressive diversity whilst retaining that classic hip-hop sound. Can you elaborate on maybe why that is?

Yeah I’ve always been into music, my dad was a big influence because he taught me guitar from a young age, and I learnt a lot from his record collection at first when I found out about sampling, that’s where I first looked. He has various soul, disco and rock records, and a few dope British ska things. 

I guess from this I just learned that music shouldn’t be confined to genres; good music is good music. I had always bought records here and there growing up but as soon as I got into hip-hop this definitely became something I did A LOT. 

And referring to me moving away from jazz sounds sometimes in music – yeah I would agree, but jazz itself was about pushing the boundaries; I always think about that when I’m digging or making tunes. When I’m buying records I can find music from any country or any era, and you have the technology on a computer nowadays to do anything you want, so why stick to one sound? 

I enjoy experimenting, although sometimes you’ll spend a whole day and all your money digging and all you get is shit. But it’s all education.

Okay so let’s bring it into a modern focus, what current producers influence you?  Is there anyone within UK hip-hop that you rate?

Anyone that shows good diversity is what I like. A lot of my friends and people around me make music or are involved in some art, everyone in my group The Oddysee are a constant influence, we are constantly making stuff. Everyone involved in the Birmingham scene, just being around these dudes is an influence to put in work, so shouts to everyone at Listening Sessions
Talking actual production techniques, I have to mention J Dilla, Havoc, and Madlib.
I don’t know if I like much US rap at the moment, nothing that directly affects the way I produce right now; which might be a surprise to hear.
I’m really into the Juke/Footwork scene though, DJ Spinn/Rashad (RIP) 

But mostly I’m more influenced by the people around me and what they do, and day to day things like walking home from work or making an omelette. 

Some of my favourite UK (hip-hop) producers right now are 2late and Drae. Also, whoever produces all the mouse outfit stuff is dope. The Mouse Outfit are a Hip Hop production team and 9 piece live band based in Manchester. If I’m honest though, I find it hard to name many modern names that really influence how I make beats.

What’s going on right now?

The Oddysee project is happening. We have no dates set yet, but a lot of songs ready to take to the studio, so we are going to be releasing a Single or EP once we’ve all decided what we want to do with the tracks. This project has been my main focus for a couple years now so I’m looking forward to people hearing it. 
Other things happening include work with various groups and MC’s. I will be producing a bit of Concept of Thoughts new album, which is in the works. My dude Revilo (Coma Beat / Yalla / Mr Hungs) from Brum is working on an EP with a handful of my beats. 
I’m also toying with ideas for a producer album where I produce a full length project featuring some of my favourite artists; I’ve spoke to a lot of people about this and people are down, but it’s not a main focus of mine at the moment. 
An instrumental album is also something I’m working on, slowly.

I met Dirty Dike at Boombap 2013, I won the beat battle that year and met a lot of people thanks to that, shouts to Kosyne (head of Eat Good) for telling me I should do it, I wouldn’t have otherwise. The first beat I played actually ended up being the first single on the Dike album. I also met Leaf Dog. He was really into what I was making, we did a track together and spoke about working on an EP, this is yet to formulate but I still aim to make it happen.

That little push can make all the difference! The amount of amazing producers I know, who just stay in, and keep themselves to themselves is crazy. You produce hip-hop, so need rappers to make more people aware of your skill. Now we’ve covered past influences and what you are doing now, can people catch you live anywhere? Also the collab with Revilo - will we are seeing any Juke or Footwork influence there?
Yeah for sure, I never thought people would actually want to hear anything I made before then. So it’s a good feeling. 
Definitely, the response to the Dirty Dike stuff has been pretty nuts, I’m grateful he decided to put me on this project. And I aim to keep the work rate going to build from this platform I’ve been given. 
I’ll be performing with the Oddysee later this year in and around Birmingham. Not sure how much I can give away but we’ll be at the next Yalla event which I’m really excited about.

We’ll also be performing at the Rainbow sometime supporting brum locals OG Horse – no date on this yet though.
Next up and very soon is RUN PST part two (Joe will also be playing some exclusive Deviant beats here!)
And we’ll be at the next Listening Sessions/Rupture vs. Skutta (Round 2!) at PST Birmingham on December 5th.
Not particularly with the Revilo stuff, it’s more wonky boombap / beats stuff. Although there is a definite more upbeat influence on the new Oddysee stuff, I know Frank (Sigmund Frued) makes a lot of dope footwork.

From your new unreleased batch of beats I’ve noticed that your drums are very strong.  They have that classic east coast Pete Rock, Large Professor sound. Do you use any plug-ins to achieve that?  Or do you dig just as hard for drums as for loops and sounds?

All my drums are from vinyl or random files I have on my computer, not sure how a lot of them got there. I took a lot of drum files from college when I was there, so there is years’ worth of recordings knocking about in my computer! But apart from that I just use the standard Reason compression and EQ, some occasional reverb, nothing incredibly technical. I think that solid drums can make an average beat sound dope, so they are always a main focus of mine.

You use the SP404sx, would you ever consider going to a completely software based set up? One of the drawbacks I have being MPC based myself (I am moving to Ableton and Push - slowly but surely!) is that your workflow literally doubles. Or do you think you would lose an aspect of your sound?

I have no reason to change my set up at the moment, I love the sampling side of what I do and I don’t believe I’ll ever remove that from my process of making music. I don’t have a great understanding of software at the moment either so I doubt I'll be going completely software based any time soon, if ever.

I am not alone in loving that aspect of your sound, so that’s music to my ears! Would you ever consider adding any more hardware to your set up?

I’ve always wanted to buy a shit load of synths and just play with them 'til I understand how they work. I can programme synths on my computer but it’s just not the same. So whenever I have enough space for such things I'll definitely start looking into it. And I’m sure it would probably change the music I made, I’d also love to buy acoustic instruments like a Fender Rhodes. Basically start a one man fusion group … ha!

That would be amazing. Well you’re very good at combining sounds and loops already, that’s half the battle with composition! In time though eh? Now as I’m writing this you are clocking up a fair amount of views with this Dirty Dyke video (around 55,000 views at the time of writing!) How does it make you feel, getting this level of recognition, fairly early on in your production career?

It’s good, I can’t complain about it at all. The amount of views is pretty nuts and all the people asking to collab is nice as well. Although I feel that the process of releasing music takes so long that the tunes that are out right now aren’t really a representation of what I’m making now. 
I made the Dirty Dike tracks fairly early on when I started making beats, like mid 2013; but then again its cool knowing that people are feeling them even though they are old news to me.

Yeah that happens a lot with beats like Raekwon using a Necro beat from 1997 on Only Built for Cuban Linx 2! What first bit of UK hip-hop really got your attention or caught your ears?

A few things, like I had heard of Jehst a while ago and thought Return of the Drifter was a classic, and I’ve loved a lot of what Roots Manuva has been doing for ages now, used to bump Witness (1 hope) daily when I was skating. 

But if I’m honest I never knew that much about ‘modern’ UKHH until some friends showed me Four Owls and that, I liked Leaf Dogs beats on their 1st album. From there, me and a couple mates went to the 1st Boombap festival and it was cool to see all the artists were just standard dudes making good music; and at this point I had just started making beats. 

I had soon met the Oddysee guys soon after that, Suf (O’malley) has a deep knowledge of all things hip hop and he showed me a lot of old school UK shit I’ve never heard of. 

So I guess the process of discovering a whole scene just as I was starting to make beats really got me inspired, especially as the scene was really starting to grow.

Ok yeah my first real thing was the Low Life releases back in the late 90’s and Blak Twangs ‘Rotton’ and obviously Roots Manuva’s ‘Witness’ too. It really helps having slightly older heads around, my one was Rich Crowson who now runs Crate Escape he tipped me onto A LOT of old school UK tracks and great 90s US stuff that went just under the radar. 
Ok now onto the future I’m aware that you’re thinking of moving from Birmingham to Bristol? Personal reasons aside what are the musical reasons? I know a lot of D&B heads have made that move as there is more appreciation for what they do - do you feel the same for hip-hop is true?

I just feel Bristol as a place is a lot more open to creativity, places like London are mad competitive, I’d just like to be in a place where good music can be appreciated for what it is. Everyone I’ve met there already has been real into what I do and what the Oddysee do, and some of my favourite UK hip hop producers are living there.

I’m not sure if hip hop is appreciated any more in Bristol than it is in Birmingham but there are definitely more creative outlets to delve in to in Bristol, which is nice to be surrounded by. 

I suppose I just want to expand, I know a lot of people that are making Brum/Bristol links and really reaping the benefits, it’s just about time I did the same. Plus a lot of record stores in Brum have closed down now so I need to be somewhere where there are more records!

OK now to wrap up, sample based hip-hop beats are never going to stop. As a younger producer out there, what helped you to find stuff to sample other than are there any blogs that you can recommend (don't feel obliged to give out any secret sources!)? 

Yeah it sucks there aren’t many digging spots in Brum anymore, but The Diskery has definitely supplied me with nearly all the best stuff I’ve made, Liam and Jim are real nice guys as well; I hope they continue with the shop for more years to come.

When it comes to sample sources, I’m not gonna lie! I learned by just going out and digging all day, spending all my money on a shit load of stuff then doing the exact same the next month. When it’s YOUR money going on it, you soon learn what’s good and what isn’t! You don’t want to be wasting your money on a record that has the same names on it, as a bag of shit record you bought a few weeks ago. You learn about labels, names and instruments. Occasionally you’ll find something that looks terrible but is actually fire, but this rarely happens by clicking around on a blog. 
I’ll turn to the internet, when I’m short on cash, but I just always have that feeling that if it’s on the internet, someone already has it, and someone has already sampled it! A lot of kids, these days, turn to the internet to dig. 
I like to find records that aren’t on any YouTube channel or blog.

That’s the thing though isn’t it, if someone has whacked it out there for everyone online it becomes 'everyone's' source material then! OK Joe this has been a great look at where you're at and where you're going. Thank you for taking the time to do this and before we finish are there any shouts you’d like to give?

Shouts to all the Brum family! You know who you are!!