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Taking flight with Young Smoke: 18 years old and already one of footwork’s most respected operators

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  • published
    9 Oct 2012
  • interviewed by
    Angus Finlayson
  • tags
    Flight Muzik
    Footwork
    Planet Mu
    Young Smoke
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Young Smoke interviewed

 

Young Smoke is the latest Chicagoan footwork producer to release an LP through Planet Mu.

At the tender age of 18, Smoke – real name David Davis – is the polar opposite of scene veteran Traxman, whose The Mind Of Traxman was the label’s last footwork outing. It’s reflected in his sound, too: where Traxman’s LP wove antiquated samples into a dense, smoky collage with the finesse of somebody steeped in decades of music history, Space Zone sees Davis manufacture his own samples to create something far more synthetic and unambiguously forward-looking.

Davis is affiliated with the relatively young Flight Muzik crew headed up by DJ Diamond, and Space Zone, along with Diamond’s Flight Muzik, tackles the footwork template in a way which stands apart from that of the higher profile Ghetto Teknitianz crew – Traxman, Rashad, Spinn et al. Appropriately, it’s an airier sound, more inclined towards stylised plastic textures and subtle psychedelic flourishes – and one which suggests that, more than a decade into its existence, footwork continues to be a vibrant, divergent beast. FACT caught up with Davis to find out about the origins of the sound and his views on the rapidly expanding footwork scene.

 

“I used to footwork when I was real little, and my cousins used to footwork too – they used to hit parties and dance. That’s how got into the music.”

 

How did you first get into footwork?

“I got into footwork a long time ago – at least ten years back. I used to footwork when I was real little, and my cousins used to footwork too – they used to hit parties and dance. That’s how got into the music, because I really liked the music they were footworking off of.”

How long did it take to start getting your tracks heard?

“It took me like two years to get heard because first I had to perfect my style – I didn’t want to put out something that wasn’t developed yet. So I waited like two years, then I started dropping mixtape albums and started promoting myself – that’s how I got heard.”

Space Zone has this strong space theme to it. Was that a conscious thing from the beginning, or did you just happen to have a load of tracks sitting around with a similar feel to them?

“It was a deliberate thing. The space sound of the tracks, it was something I was doing because I was just interested in the sound, but it was really something new. At first I really didn’t have a name for it yet, I just called it “space music”. But then I thought “I’m gonna have to make an album for it” so I released it as Space Zone. I released it out to the footwork industry and they liked it, and so did Mike [Paradinas, Planet Mu boss].”

 

 

In tracks like ‘Warning’ it sounds like you’re taking samples from sci-fi movies. Where do you get your samples from?

“I make my own samples. These are all my own samples, hand made. Space was something new to the game, nobody was making space tracks at the time.”

 

“Space was something new to the game, nobody was making space tracks at the time.”

 

Do a lot of other producers work that way – making their own samples – or is it a new thing? If you compare it to the Traxman album for example, he’s working entirely with samples from old records.

“Well, not quite new, but it was new to be making the kind of samples that I was making, because the samples people were making – people like Ghetto Tekz – were more soulful. They really all kind of sounded the same, though. They weren’t making these hardcore space samples – which to me feel like they’re bigger than the world – they take you somewhere, make you feel you’re somewhere different.”

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