For part one, featuring mixes from Numan, R1 Ryders, SRC, 8Bitch and Deep Teknologi, click here.
From: Swansea. Tracks played by: Oneman, L-Vis 1990
Doc Daneeka is from Wales, has remixed Manchester buzz band Delphic, and makes house music that takes in the best of the UK: dubstep’s focus on the bottom end, Funky’s desire to look abroad for rhythm patterns and percussion, and grime’s grit.
Daneeka describes his sound as designed for the basement in this interview, and there’s a reassuring, quite abstract grubbiness (not in a horrible “cor mate that dubstep track was right facking dirty” way, obviously) to tracks like ‘Shut Up’. But what really binds his music together is that love for polyrhythms that rarely lulls and keeps you on your toes. He can also bliss it up with the best of them – check ‘Gattoviola’ on his myspace for proof.
He couldn’t do a mix for this feature, as the day I contacted him about it he was leaving to live in India for a bit, and still had to mix down his next EP. Still, he got the answers back and sent me several old mixes; I’d personally direct you to his Greenmoney Radio one which features plenty of his own material.
Doc Daneeka. Like the Catch 22 character, right? What’s the significance of the name?
“The book is just so dope I needed to take something from it. There were so many options, but I always liked the sound of Doc Daneeka. He’s a dude too.”
Where are you from? What do you do day to day?
“I’m from Swansea, South Wales, the hub of cutting edge electronic music! Not really. I mostly sit in my room pointlessly wasting hours on the internet and making beats. I also run a club night called Slamonthebreaks.”
What’s your background in music?
“I’ve always been involved with music. When I was younger it was with orchestra music – then punk bands – I got into the whole dance music / DJing thing and production followed from that really.”
What soft/hardware do you build on?
What do you try to achieve with your tunes – like what vibes, or feelings do you try to conjure up with them?
“It’s all aimed at being played at parties in small sweaty basements. Proper poly-rhythmic dancing music – I hate linear beats.”
What producers / music inspires you?
“Hard to say, I’d say the Mizell Brothers are some of the most inspiring producers ever, they just did so much and really opened my eyes to possibility. Dilla and Calibre also have done a lot for me over the years. Apart from that, there’s just so much talent and great music being made that it’s whoever I’m listening to that day.”
Do you just see your music as house?
“Errrr – sort of. Bit of an awkward subject really. If someone calls it funky, then I’d prefer to call it house. It’s kind of its own take on house, basement house if you like.”
What releases do you have coming out?
“There is a limited edition blue vinyl press of my Delphic – ‘Doubt’ remixes out about now, ‘Drums in the Deep’ drops on the Fabric Elevator Music compilation on January 18th, plus my EP on an undisclosed subsidiary of Ramp should be dropping in Feb or March. Got a lot in the oven too, so hopefully it’s gonna be a busy year! I’m amped already.”
What else should we know about you?
“I’m pretty partial to fine foods.”
Stream: Doc Daneeka – Greenmoney Radio Mix
Tracklist on the above link.
From: Selborne, Tracks played out by: Dusk & Blackdown
Hackman – also known as Funky Hackman – seriously knows how to push my buttons. Since starting to make house music last year, particularly inspired by Roska and Martin Kemp, his productions have reached levels well beyond his age and experience.
Driven by free-flowing basslines, his tracks feature technicolour melodies that seem to be both sharp and bouncy at the same time, and in many cases gorgeous cut up female vocals, which as any Todd Edwards or Burial fan will tell you, are pretty much the best thing you can put on a track. His excellent ‘Pistol in your Pocket’ features on Fabric’s Elevator Music compilation, but even better are a pair of stunning 12”s for Ultrasound’s Well Rounded label (often home of Deadboy) and Ramp Recordings’ new house sub-label, the name of which is still to be decided.
Hackman, introduce yourself.
“I’m Ben Hackman, 19 years old from Selborne, now at music college in Leeds.”
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
“I make a mixture of UK Funky and Garage.”
You had quite a classical upbringing, right? Tell us about that.
“Yeah, I started to play piano when I was five and violin a few years later. Had to do a lot of orchestra and ensemble stuff which I hated, especially all the concerts that came with it.”
When did you move on to electronic production – and what provoked you to do that?
“About 3-4 years ago. It was probably because of being into drum’n’bass, and then getting a laptop, and thinking I could give that a go.”
What stuff were you making at that early point?
“Drum’n’Bass on Garageband.”
When did you start to develop the house sound you’ve got going on now?
“Early last year, just got really inspired by a lot of the music coming out then, particularly Roska and Martin Kemp.”
Do you feel it’s more aligned with Funky, or with other strands of house?
“Probably is most with Funky, but I’ve been listening to a lot more deep house recently which might come through in my productions.”
What do you build on?
Tell us about the releases you’ve got out, and what you have in the pipeline.
“I’ve got an EP coming out on Shifting Peaks soon which Brackles has done a remix for, of ‘Always the Same’, which sounds sick. Also the Bodies EP on Well Rounded records is coming out in March, and an EP for a new sub label from Ramp will be out at some point which ‘Gutter flower’ and ‘More than Ever’ will be on.”
And tell us something we won’t already know about Hackman.
“I like Sushi.”
Download: Hackman – FACT mini-mix
More Than Ever (forthcoming Ramp sub-label)
Bodies (Well Rounded)
Gutter-flower (forthcoming Ramp sub-label)
Surround (Well Rounded)
From: London. Tracks played by: Kode 9, Alexander Nut
If you know Mosca, it’s probably from ‘Square One’. Accurately described by Bok Bok – who this month made it the first release on his Night Slugs label, as a “house track swallowed up by the UK soundsystem portal” and Hyperdub’s Kode 9 as “rendering any nit-picking between UK garage, dubstep and funky totally irrelevant”, it’s a loping anthem for London’s willfully indefinable underground dance scene.
Of course, the tracks that have followed it aren’t half bad either: ‘Gold Bricks I See You’ is introspective, broken house music at its catchiest, while the grandiose ‘Nike’ is a 10-minute journey through slanted 8-bit, tribal house, bashment and everything in between. All of the above, plus his killer remix of Kry Wolf’s ‘Mucky’ and old track ‘Jook Jook’ feature on Mosca’s mini-mix below.
Mosca, introduce yourself.
What’s the name from?
“Hmm, few reasons there. It means fly or parasite in Spanish, Latin, bare languages I think, I’m kinda drawn to that idea of feeding off others (any Jamaicans reading, stop sniggering, you know what I’m dealing with). Also me and a few others at school put like 6, 000 stickers up back home round town just saying ‘flies’, and we bred a fridgeful of flies in the art department, don’t ask why.”
There’s a lot of elements to your production that I’m not familiar with, but they sound pretty, er, ‘world’ – whether that’s Latino, or Jamaican, or what. What’s your musical background, and how does it crop up in the productions you make now?
“Well Jamaica’s an obvious one, I listened to alot of reggae, dub, ska etc as a kid, then got into bashment. Not sure how I got into world stuff, I guess I just felt like I wanted a bit more than UK and US so looked further afield and found Rio funk stuff, cumbia, kuduro, gwo-ka, reggaeton, rai and all that, and the stuff in between – Swedish producers with Brazilian MCs making UK-influenced stuff put out on German labels, all that madness.”
How would you describe your music? Can you even describe it – or are we past all that?
“Just house and garage inspired club stuff I guess. I’m not gonna ramp and say it’s beyond description – I could go on all day about dub stabs and shakers and a sense of balance in the tunes – but in terms of describing it saying it’s ‘funkstep’ or whatever, giving it a name, I think that will be the beginning of the end. As soon as you start building a scene with a name, say X, there will be people there to say “That’s not X, that doesn’t sound like X.” Like with grime when people started making wifey kinda hip-hop tunes, the scene started to split and get a bad rep, even though bare people are into that poppy wifey sound still.
“The trouble is, this scene will inevitably get a name soon, it’s not going to magically stay in this relatively fresh potential period forever. And as a journalist myself I feel the need to come up with names to bunch people together! But how can you put say, Julio Bashmore next to Shortstuff next to Ill Blu, even though that seems to be the ‘scene’ right now? So no, I don’t think we’re past it, people love their boxes.”
Who do you feel closely aligned with in the music you’re making right now? And what’s influenced you most over the years – music, experiences, otherwise.
“I always feel torn between out and out club gear – juke and Baltimore and Niche and jerk and that – and the more moody side of it – Basic Channel and dark reggae or dark r’n’b and drone and experimental stuff. So I get drawn to a weird bunch of artists. I’m going to skirt round the question and just say I’m feeling R1 Ryders, Busy Signal, Levon Vincent, Joy and Julio and Deadboy, Marcel Dettmann, DJ Pantha, I could fill the whole page really…”
Your ‘Square One’ has become an anthem at club nights like Night Slugs – tell us about the creation of it.
“Not a lot I can say really, just seemed to flow! I took a long time making it though, it was on and off for months. I don’t think it’s finished still.”
Speaking of Night Slugs, you’re putting out their first release. How’d that end up happening?
“We put Alex and Sara (Bok Bok and Manara) on for our first club night and just stayed in touch. I’m really glad they started a label at the same time ‘Square One’ was kicking about! What a sick label, and the work ethic is just a mad grind, bare fingers in bare pies. Alex and James have done alot with the promo so I’m really grateful to everyone involved.”
What do you build your tunes on?
“Reason pon the PC.”
You run the club night U Dun Know, and Bruk Magazine. Tell us about them.
“They’re both part of the empire me and Unknown Soulja are steadily building. We’re going to launch the U Dun Know energy drink and Bruk condoms later this year. In terms of the night – I guess we just fancied having a go, it’s not like there weren’t any other decent nights at the time. We thought it would be a good way to meet artists we rated, and to steal their dubs when they went to the toilet.
“Very noble of you to mention Bruk! It’s just another urban music thing I guess but I aim to have intelligent but readable commentary on the stuff that gets a little overlooked. But it’s been a bit on-off because it’s a lot of work getting a magazine to print as you know, and what with the music ting kicking off I’ve had to backseat it a bit.”
What do you have in the pipeline for this year?
“Standard producer stuff! A couple of big remixes soon, some OG tracks and some collaborations. Hopefully I’ll stop taking 8 months to make one riddim as well. Lots of bookings coming in, headlining Glastonbury, DJing at Obama’s kid’s parties etc. etc.”
And finally, tell us something we don’t know about Mosca.
“My old man is Sean Reid. He did Beenie Man’s ‘Reverse Di Ting’, Elephant Man’s ‘Gully Creepa’, Tifa’s ‘Dem Nuh Ready’, the Outada, Zero Tolerance, So Sick and Survival Mode riddims amongst many others.”
Download: Mosca – FACT mini-mix
Mosca – Nike
Mosca – Gold Bricks, I See You
Mosca – Square One (Julio Bashmore Remix)
Titus 12 – Step Up (Mosca Remix) (Instrumental)
Mosca – Square One VIP
Mosca – Jook Jook
Kry Wolf – Mucky (Mosca Remix)
From: Manchester. Tracks played by: Martyn
Manchester’s Illum Sphere, one of this year’s Red Bull Music Academy participants, runs the Hoya Hoya nights in Manchester and makes hardware-driven music of various tempos that has no qualms with live instrumentation, wild time signatures and general thrilling messiness: tracks that, like the best hardcore punk, sound within an inch of breaking down before pulling themselves together.
Your man articulates all this much better than me in the below interview, and his mini-mix features 14 of his own productions in 15 minutes, so what are you waiting for?
Illum Sphere, introduce yourself.
“I’m from Manchester, my name is Ryan, but I’ve been known to go by Illum Sphere from time to time.”
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
“Mutant shit that your grandma would hate.”
What’s your musical background? And how have you got from where you started to where you are now, musically? Big question, I know.
“Oh man…right, well, I started playing various instruments aged 11 and started writing/recording instantly…then started buying records when I was 19, got into DJing and a couple of years ago I started making more electronic based music and here I am.
“Since I was 19 I have worked in record shops and for labels etc so it exposed me to an insane amount of music…from early techno through to Polish psyche soundtracks through to dancehall through to pretty much everything else, so I have a pretty wide taste and therefore more to draw influence from.”
What’s influenced your music most over the years? Artists and experiences both.
“Well, with reference to the above question anyone from Fela Kuti to Mahmoud Ahmed to Drexciya to David Axelrod and more. But the biggest ‘moment’ I’ve had was listening to Dabrye’s Two/Three. That changed my whole perspective on modern music. I’ve never had a moment like it from any other album, certainly in this millennium. Tadd (Dabrye) is in my opinion definitely one of, if not, the greatest electronic producer alive today, with his versatility and constant quality hard to match. That kind of versatility is definitely something I aim for. Anyone who hasn’t checked the music he does under other guises (SK-1, Tadd Mullinix, James T Cotton/JTC, 2AM/FM, TNT, X2) definitely needs to.”
Do you feel closely aligned to the FlyLo / HudMo / Rustie wave of hip-hop producers, or do you see your music as something else altogether?
“I feel aligned in the fact that we all make stuff of various tempos, feels, energies etc, definitely. And also the fact that those guys don’t really give a fuck about what’s current, they’re just doing their own thing, which is what I’m trying to do. I don’t wanna be a dubstep or funky or any type of genre specific producer. I’m not dissing anyone who is, some of my favourite producers focus on a certain genre or style, but I wanna make music that draws from my various influences to make something different, which I think you can hear on the mix.”
What do you build on?
“Various bits of hardware…Moog MG-1 Concertmate (which needs to go to the doctors actually), Roland MC-303, Boss SP-303, Casio SK-1, MicroKorg, MPD-24, various pedals/ delay units and I just throw everything together in Logic.”
Are there any particular aesthetics / themes that you find cropping up in your music?
“It’s pretty atmospheric, and a bit sinister. Boomkat said that I’m creating ‘my own brand of murky dystopia’, which I like. Crackles, hisses, little breakdowns…I grew up writing songs, so I try to make songs, not necessarily just beats or whatever.”
Tell us about the Hoya Hoya nights you run in Manchester.
“Me and Jonny Dub run it, it’s coming up to its second birthday in February. We basically started it cos we weren’t getting many club gigs or seeing a lot of our favourite producers, so we just thought fuck it, let’s do it ourselves. This was before I’d released any music.
“We’ve had people like Daedelus, Dam Funk, Ikonika, Brackles, Ras_G, Gaslamp Killer, Mark Pritchard, Rustie, Benji B, Paul White, Bullion, JTC, Tokimonsta, Danny Breaks and more play, and have done stuff that featured FlyLo, Martyn, Mary Anne Hobbs, Nosaj Thing and Samiyam. This month we’ve got Kode 9, Hudson Mohawke and Actress for this thing we’re doing with the RBMA, all in The Roadhouse, which only holds 250, that’s our home.”
You’re at the RBMA this year too – how’s that worked out so far?
“It’s been good so far, and I haven’t even got there yet. I’m on the second term which starts beginning of March, definitely can’t wait.”
Tell us about the releases you’ve got out now, and what you have in the pipeline this year.
“The debut entitled The Incoming EP came out April 2009, followed by the Producer 7″ with Mono/Poly, then the first part of my album, called Long Live The Plan has just dropped, all on Fat City. Coming up this month are the remixes I’ve done for Martyn on 3024 and Om Unit on All City, then I’ve got the second 12″ sampler of the album The Plan Is Dead (which will feature a collab with Lorn and a remix from Ikonika) and the full CD album (Long Live The Plan, The Plan Is Dead) dropping in a couple of months.
“Ummm…also, me, Blue Daisy and Tokimonsta are all dropping remixes for a Kidkanevil 12″, and I’m gonna be doing some stuff with other labels, who you’ll probably be aware of. Oh…and we’re setting up the Hoya:Hoya label soon which will feature exclusive music from people who have played at the night.”
And tell us something we won’t already know about Illum Sphere.
“He never tells me anything.”
Download: Illum Sphere – FACT mini-mix
Illum Sphere – Illum Go Kill ’em
Kidkanevil – Real Wild (Illum Sphere Remix)
Illum Sphere – A Meeting With Medusa
Illum Sphere – Psycho
Illum Sphere – Never Lie Twice
Illum Sphere – FCKUNURCRU
Illum Sphere – Shadowman
Illum Sphere – Chasing The Midnight Moth
Illum Sphere – Nerves
Illum Sphere – Slow Down Brazil
Illum Sphere – Cardiac Arrest
Illum Sphere – Better Late State
Illum Sphere – Agent White
Om Unit – Lightgrids (Illum Sphere’s Get Off The Grid Mix)
From: Bristol. Tracks played out by: Claude VonStroke, Sinden
One of several producers in this feature to have contributed tracks to Fabric’s Elevator Music compilation, Julio Bashmore makes house music that probably wouldn’t have received so much attention without the UK Funky explosion of the last couple of years, but owes more to the gently swaying house of say, Dinky than it does big names on the Funky scene – it’s telling that his first single recently came out on Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird label.
Julio Bashmore – introduce yourself.
“Hi I’m Julio, I live in Bristol and right now I’m making lots of music.”
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated? Is it just house at the end of the day, or something more?
“Well to be honest I’m not even sure, it’s been called a lot of different things but I’m happy to just call it house.”
How long have you been making music?
“Since I started playing guitar about 6 years ago, then my brother had a copy of Reason about a year after that and I just started playing around with that. but it’s only within the last years that I’ve taken it seriously.”
What do you build on?
“Right now I’m using Ableton, an Akai MPC and a Roland Jupiter 6. The Jup6 is my baby, but it’s really bulky and takes up a good portion of my bedroom studio! I’ll be looking at getting studio space this year for sure.”
You’ve just released your debut 12” on Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird label. How’d that happen?
“Graham from Fabric sent Claude a couple of tracks which he liked and the next week he played here in Bristol and one of the guys who runs Just Jack gave him another CD of mine. He was into and said he wanted to release a couple of them!”
Tell us about the mini-mix you’ve done for FACT.
“This is a mix of some of my original stuff and some remixes I’ve done last year. It’s all quite percussive and bassy.”
What else do you have planned for this year?
“This year i’m going to be collaborating with other artists and putting more effort into my DJing.”
What particular producers / things inspire you? And are there any particular themes you find constantly cropping up in your music?
“Well there’s so many and it changes all the time. Mainly I would say Justin Martin of Dirtybird has been an enormous influence on my music, his grooves are just incredible. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of music with quite emotive synth sounds like Deadboy and Hyetal. I guess also I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince lately, received his Purple Rain movie for Christmas (highly recommended) he is pure inspiration!”
The bit in Purple Rain where he makes the girl get in the lake for him is ice cold.
“‘That’s not Lake Minnetonka.’ Literally my hero.”
Download: Julio Bashmore – FACT mini-mix
Julio Bashmore – Around (forthcoming Soul Motive)
Julio Bashmore – Footsteppin
Julio Bashmore – Banda 2 (unsigned)
Julio Bashmore – The Moth (Fabric)
Julio Bashmore – Um Bongo (Dirtybird)
Sekta – Peter Pan (Julio Bashmore Remix) (Top Billin)
Mosca – Square One (Julio Bashmore Longhorn Remix) (Night Slugs)
Julio Bashmore – World Peace (Dirtybird)
Julio Bashmore – Tread Soft (unsigned)