For part two, featuring mixes from Mosca, Hackman, Doc Daneeka, Julio Bashmore and Illum Sphere, click here.
This time last year, I wrote a piece for FACT profiling various electronic artists that I thought would cause a stir in 2009, including Cooly G, Mount Kimbie, Kowton and Scratcha DVA.
This year I’m doing the same thing, except it’s better. Better for two reasons: first because it features interviews with each of the ten producers featured, and second because all but one of them has contributed an exclusive mini-mix to the column. Well, except one, but he had a good excuse – honest.
The first five of these interviews and mixes will go up today; make sure you tune in next week for the next five. And before we go on, a disclaimer: there are several people I think will make an impact this year but didn’t include here. Namely Deadboy and Jam City, because they’ve already contributed mixes to FACT and been interviewed in the process (here and here); Kingdom, who will be contributing a mix later in the year, and Fantastic Mr. Fox and Swindle, who no doubt will be covered soon on the strength of their forthcoming ‘Sketches’ and ‘Air Miles’ singles, both of which are superb.
Right, now that’s over with, turn over the page to read some words and download a combined hour of music from the first five of ten picks for the year ahead.
From: London. Tracks played by: Cooly G, Brackles
Deep Teknologi is a duo from the UK who probe a territory between deep house, Funky, and dubstep with an inherent, hard to summarize class that’s missing from a lot of their competition. With T. Williams (check his brilliant ‘Anthem’) and S.E.F. at the helm, they’re expanding at a rapid pace – into label and club management, TV production and more – and with a slew of releases due for 2010 could start to experience some of the attention offered to their close associate Cooly G last year.
They regularly upload full-length mixes to Soundcloud, and count Brackles and more amongst their fans. All the tracks on the mini-mix they’ve recorded for FACT are due out on their label this year.
Deep Teknologi – who and what is it?
“Deep Teknologi consists of two people, T. Williams and S.E.F. We run the label, produce tracks as well as live DJ sets, club nights and video/new media production.
“Don Morris was our first signing and we released his EP, Reality Check last summer. Zander Hardy is another producer / DJ we have picked up recently. We also work closely with Cooly G, Breach aka Ben Westbeech, MA1, Ego Thieves, M.Y.E.B. J.Bevin and Etheric.”
Tell us about the mini-mix you’ve done.
“The mini mix is a show reel of what we will be putting out in the first half of 2010. Don Morris is traditional Deep House who we opened and closed the mix with. In between, the sounds get more diverse from T.Williams, Zander Hardy and Breach.
“We think it’s the sound for 2010 that a lot of people will be on, a sort of House / Dubstep hybrid, as people seem to be moving to the darker side of music again.”
How would you describe your music / output?
“Our music doesn’t really fit into one genre as we have a wide range of producers. Each producer has their own influences and we feel that carries through into their work. Ultimately it’s all bass driven.”
What’s the deal with the Deep Teknologi empire? There’s a club night, a label…
“Well we had our launch party at the end of last year at 93 Feet East which was a really good look. Off the back of that we are starting our new night L.O.G.I.K. which you can catch at The Den & Centro and The Russian in the next few months.
“On top of that we also have Deep Teknologi: Vision. That’s the video production side of things in association with Switched On Productions. We filmed Cooly G TV last year, which was a real laugh.
“You gotta pay the rent somehow you know…”
Are there specific strains of house that you guys are particularly inspired by, or feel aligned to?
“We are aligned and inspired by good music be it House, Grime, Arabic, Reggae, whatever.
“House is what we make and play but we like to be as diverse as possible in the music we produce, play and listen to.”
What releases do you have out, and what can we expect from Deep Tek in 2010?
“The Reality Check EP by Don Morris is out now on digital download sites. T.Williams EP will be out in late February and includes ‘Anthem’, ‘Afrik’ and ‘Flooring’. After that it’s the 1972 EP from Don Morris and the Hard EP from Zander Hardy.
“Then a compilation album later on in the year featuring tracks from everyone associated with us including the T.Williams vs Breach track, which is our personal favorite at the moment.
“We’ve also been working on remixes for Bullet Train Records, Terri Walker, Belle-Vue and Karnival Music, which will all be out later on in the year.”
Finally, tell us something we won’t know about you guys.
“S.E.F. can speak 4 languages and hates Arsenal FC. T.Williams is a qualified teacher and was responsible for this club smash nearly 10 years ago.
Download: Deep Teknologi – FACT mini-mix
Don Morris – Up Close
T. Williams – Afrik
Zander Harby – Attack
T. Williams – Hard Cash
Zander Hardy – Signalling to the Chosen Ones
T. Williams – In the Deep
Ben Westbeech & T. Williams – Untitled
Don Morris – On my Stereo
From: Manchester. Tracks played by: Brackles, Starkey
We’ve already told you Numan Khan is a badman – this 18 year old from Manchester has been impressing us for a while now with his remixes and original productions, which drip with the colour of Joker and Gemmy’s grime / dubstep hybrids, but have a deep-lying weight to them which occasionally puts us in mind of dubstep idol Mala. He’s also not afraid to experiment wildly with structure, something that doubtless attracted the attention of Philadelphia’s Starkey, who’ll be releasing Numan’s next single.
You can download Numan’s jagged remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Hold the Line’ on that above link – once you’ve done that download his mini-mix, which features two tracks from his recent Secrets EP and some unreleased business, including a remix of Crookers and Miike Snow.
Numan, introduce yourself.
“I’m Numan. I am 18 years old, from Manchester. I am at college at the moment, but make music pretty much 24/7.”
How would you describe your music to those that don’t know you?
“Experimental, Grime, Dubstep, versatile…… around 140bpm.”
How long have you been making music for?
“I have been making music for around 2 years.”
What software / hardware do you build on?
“I use Fruity Loops 9, a few VSTi’s and a pair of Sony MDR-V150 headphones.”
Your Secrets EP just came out, tell us about it.
“Yeah, the EP came out around a month ago on Subdepth Records which is my mate’s label. They’re all Dubstep tunes with a Grime twist to them I think.
“The tune ‘Secrets’ was made on the same day I got asked to do a mix for Mary Anne Hobbs…the others were made throughout 09.”
Do you have any other releases out? And what can we expect in 2010?
“I have a release on Starkey’s label Slit Jockey out soon, a lot of remixes for various labels, four collaborations and I am working on loads of experimental stuff.”
Finally, tell people something they won’t know about Numan.
“I will DJ soooooooooon…just be patient [laughs]”
Download: Numan – FACT mini-mix
Numan – Secrets (Subdepth)
Numan – The Way (Subdepth)
Crookers ft. Miike Snow – Remedy (Numan Remix) (Southern Fried)
Numan – Code Four (Dub)
Numan – Untitled (Dub)
From: London. Tracks played by: L-Vis 1990, Oneman, Hot City
West London’s R1 Ryders – the core of which is the duo of DJ and producer Karnak and MC Skeelo – call their sound Funkitek, and if their DJ sets are anything to go by then that translates to fast, pitch-bent Funky tracks with pummeling basslines and high ends that wildly twist and contort.
Last year’s Burnout EP caused a stir last year, mainly due to the Funkitek remix of ‘Rubberband’, but after seeing them DJ last month, I can tell you they’ve got a serious arsenal behind them – I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best four or five sets I saw all of last year.
Their second EP Full Throttle is out soon, and if the right people pick up on it then ‘Hydraulic’ in particular should be getting reloads at clubs up and down the country.
R1 Ryders, introduce yourselves.
“Boy there are a lot of us in the R1 movement right now, but mainly its [DJ] Karnak and [MC] Skeelo that are pushing the Funkitek sound right now.”
How long have you been making music for?
“Well it’s been about ten years now. Started producing in 2000 after getting hold of a copy of Rebirth and Reason. The lab’s come a long way since then.”
What do you build your tunes on?
“Well where do I start? To make music we think it’s really important to have a good balance between hardware and software. We like to build tunes on Cubase and Reason using a mixture of old hardware modules and new software plug-ins. We mix and record on a Pro Tools HD rig. We like to have a variety of options when it comes to writing tunes and this is reflected in our music.”
You describe your sound as Funkitek – what do you mean by that?
“Funkitek is the new hybrid UK rave sound. It’s an energetic blend of the most exciting UK sounds to come from the underground.”
Tell us about the mix you’ve done for FACT.
“Well the mix we have provided is all strictly hardbody Funkitek R1 plates. Never heard before and a couple on there are not being released.”
You’ve got a proper hard, squealing pitch-bent house sound – it drives me nuts. What sort of stuff are you taking inspiration from, and what are you aiming for when you make tunes?
“Well when we make music we are aiming to please the ravers and provide them with something innovative and unique that packs a punch. I’m glad it drives you nuts [laughs] that’s what we’re looking to achieve, music to keep the rave bubblin’. The hardcore sound of the early 90’s inspires us in terms of what we are doing right now.”
Likewise, when I saw you DJ you used the Funkitek stuff as a template but you also dropped Pangaea, Joy Orbison and other stuff in there. Who else are you rating right now?
“Well Wifey was a lot mate wasn’t it? Big up Ralph and all the crew. Theres a couple guys making some bangers that’s out there and Martyn’s definitely one of them.”
You’re working on some stuff with Mosca, right?
“Watch this space…”
The Burnout EP came out last year – what have you got planned for 2010?
“Full Throttle EP is landing in the first quarter. It features four big bangers, ‘Hydraulic’, ‘Karni4’, ‘Intellitek’ and ‘Karni4 Refix’. Theres something for everyone on there. I heard Mosca dropped ‘Hydraulic’ at the Numbers & Elevator Music launch at Fabric and it went off.
“We also have ‘Aiya Napa Riddim’ dropping which features the original UK Funky MC Dogtaniaun and a talented UK artist called Carly Bond. We’ve also done another track with her called ‘Ain’t Wastin’ No Time’ which you should be hearing by the summer!”
Tell us something we won’t know about R1 Ryders.
“Karnak wears size 11 shoes – Nike send him some one away Dunk SB’s please – and Skeelo’s a badman at poppin wheelies on his R1!”
Download: R1 Ryders – FACT mini-mix
R1 Ryders – Bah Humbug Dub (unreleased)
R1 Ryders – Karni4 Remix (from Full Throttle EP)
R1 Ryders – Skankout Dub (unreleased)
R1 Ryders – Rubberband (from Burnout EP – out now)
Count & Sinden – Strange Things (R1 Ryders Funkitek Mix) (Domino)
R1 Ryders – Intellitek (from Full Throttle EP)
R1 Ryders – Hydraulic (from Full Throttle EP)
From: Birmingham. Tracks played by: Elijah & Skilliam, Dusk & Blackdown
Best known for his 8-bit grime epics that are regularly played out by Rinse FM’s Elijah and Skilliam, Dusk and Blackdown and Oneman, Birmingham’s SRC is one of several producers recently snapped up by the Numbers umbrella that’s formed from Glasgow labels Dress 2 Sweat, Wireblock and Stuff.
His Gold Coins EP will be dropping on the label this year; ‘til then you can check his downloadable series of beat tapes. The latest, SRCD Volume 4 is easily available, and features his best known track ‘Goomba’, as well as the stunning ‘Peanut Punch’ and ‘One Penny’.
SRC, introduce yourself.
“I’m SRC and I make beats.”
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
“I’d just say it was my take on instrumental Grime music really.”
How long have you been producing for?
“I found an old DVD of mine the other day with my first few beats from 2005 so I’m guessing I started late 04 / early 05.”
What software/hardware do you build on?
“Hardware is a Compaq PC, couple Behringer monitors, a Xenyx mixer, M-audio Axiom 25 Keyboard Akai MPD24. Software wise, I move between Reason, Ableton Live, and FL Studio. I want to get a few synthesizers soon though and maybe an MPC.”
What do you take inspiration from when it comes to your beats?
“Just life and so many different types of music, I go through phases of listening to different things. At one point I was listening to a lot of Chinese Folk music, chopping up some of that and making beats.
“For my grime tunes it’s mainly the kind of music I grew up listening to (UK Garage, early Grime, US Rap & R’n’B). I’ve been listening to some New Jack Swing lately and trying out some of those techniques in my newer stuff.”
There’s also – obviously – a massive video game influence on your tunes. Is that something you deliberately tried to push, or has it just come naturally? What are your favourite games?
“Yeah I’ve always liked 8-bit and chip style music, they have really memorable music, and most new games don’t.
“With my game style beats, I’ve been playing about with ideas for a few years, but I think I got it right with ‘Goomba’ and then more ideas came after that. I didn’t intend to push them more, I usually send out batches of beats to DJs and those were the ones that seem to get the best response.
“Favourite game, there’s a lot but I’d have to say Super Mario Land on the Game Boy, it’s got no save function so you’ve got to play non-stop. I still play it today. Definitely all of the Sonic series as well, but more recently I’m on the PS3. (Modern Warfare 2 and FIFA 10).”
You’re from Birmingham. What’s it like doing grime there – it’s mostly Bassline right?
“Well yeah Bassline’s definitely dominant here, but at the same time there’s quite a healthy Grime and Dubstep scene. I don’t think they play much grime on the radio now but people are still doing promo CDs, videos and so on.
“I think the scene here is really MC lead though, so producers are seen as utility rather than artist. There are plenty of good ones though so hopefully they’ll break through this year.”
There’s the Gold Coinz EP coming out on Numbers this year. Anything else on the horizon?
“Yeah, an EP with No Hats No Hoods will be out later this year and also a track with Elijah & Skilliam’s Butterz label. Hopefully a lot more things but I don’t like to say before they’re set in stone.”
Tell us something we don’t know about SRC.
“Hmm. I want to buy a yacht.”
Download: SRC – FACT mini-mix
SRC – Tatanga’s Kingdom
SRC – Lemsip
SRC – Tokyo Takedown
SRC – Goin Out 2
SRC – Gold Coinz
SRC – Daydream
From: Slovenia, now based in Glasgow. Tracks played by: Rustie, The Village Orchestra
Maya ‘8Bitch’ Medvesek is some sort of weird celebrity in her home country of Slovenia, and actually features in videogame DJ Hero, where the female character’s movements are sculpted on her (a bit like David Ginola in FIFA ’98 or whatever it was).
Musically she’s hard to tie down: her forthcoming ‘G41’ release is heavy, heavy techno that sometimes distorts to Ancient Methods levels, while ‘Fruit Pastilles’ and ‘You Are My High’ are on a deliriously pitch-shifted Funky tip. She moved to Glasgow last year and rolls with Rustie – who’s remixed ‘G41’ to great effect, you can hear that here – watch out for several releases this year, including singles on Svetlana Industries and some better-known labels we can’t yet talk about.
8Bitch, introduce yourself.
“Hi, I’m Maya. I like bass and MC Hotwheels.”
You’re some sort of superstar / designer / singer / video-game star back in the motherland, right? What is it exactly you do?
“Hah not really…I’m known back home as an actress / presenter (been on TV since I was 6) and DJ / producer / singer, but not really a designer. I’ve worked on the DJ Hero game in the UK – I did the motion capture moves for three female characters. Over here I do all sorts of things: music, journalism, brand management and other random things.”
How would you describe your music to those that don’t know you?
“It’s tricky…I make all sorts of stuff but I guess the best way to describe it is a blend of synth-funk, hip-hop and techno’. My Dad calls it “Super Mario Jazz” which is quite on point actually.”
How long have you been making music for?
“For as long as I can remember…I trained classically since I was five but didn’t start producing electronic music since I was about 14, when my Dad gave me some of his music gear cast-offs. Needless to say the production was shockingly basic but slowly I got to where I’m now. It’s a never-ending learning process.”
What software / hardware do you build on?
“I used to use Cakewalk and more hardware but now, especially after moving so much, I just ping-pong between Logic and Ableton with a nice little synth. I’m very much fond of plug-ins…been known to beg for them when tipsy. Both of my beloved retro drum machines are tired and in need of TLC…but they’ll be back one day for sure!”
Do you ever do your own vocals on your tracks?
“Yes. Not so much recently – a few years ago I made a lot more hip hop, dub and reggae and wrote some quite nice songs…I worked with quite a few other producers too. I’ll come back to it one day, I’m going through a Detroit renaissance right now…”
Anyone in particular you feel inspired by / feel musically aligned to?
“Inspiration comes from everywhere: old stuff, new stuff, jazz, techno, crunk or computer games…it’s always there! The whole Warp or Underground Resistance back catalogue is a constant inspiration and of course the whole Glasgow scene – since I’ve moved here I’ve realised just how much I need to step my game up – the amount of talent and innovation in this town is ridiculous. Numbers guys and LuckyMe crew are just the best.”
What releases do you have out, and what can we expect in 2010?
“I’ve got a few records lined up for this year on various labels that I can’t yet mention, as well as a single on Svetlana Industries and some tracks coming out on a few exciting compilations.
There’s certainly a lot of material to go through, not just ‘dance’ music…I’d be absolutely chuffed if I could release the more ambient/experimental stuff I make or even have a chance to incorporate it with some of my visual art or an installation.”
Finally, tell people something they won’t know about 8bitch.
“Eeerrr…I was a multiple Slovenian Judo champ, I have a degree in alternative medicine and I work as a body-double for Penelope Cruz.”
Download: 8Bitch – FACT mini-mix
Samuel & the Dragon – Diamonds on a boat (8bitch remix)
8bitch – In the Moog for love
8bitch – Bit Pony
8bitch – Heart Bit
8bitch – Jeff the dolphin
8bitch – Fruit Pastilles
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