Joy Orbison still hasn’t released his debut single, but already there’s more hype about him than there are 90% – if not more – of people making dance music in the UK right now. That’s mostly due to the strength of said forthcoming debut single, ‘Hyph Mngo’.
Leading dubstep commentator Martin Clark refers to it as an anthem in the making, Energy Flash author Simon Reynolds calls it a ‘talisman’ (albeit not in a particularly positive way), and it’s garnered massively positive reviews from FACT, Pitchfork and Resident Advisor. On Monday, ‘Hyph Mngo’ will finally be released on dubstep veteran Scuba’s Hotflush label – but who is Joy Orbison?
Well, as FACT found out when we spoke to Joy this week, he’s actually 22 year old Peter O’Grady, the well-mannered nephew of drum ‘n’ bass legend Ray Keith; he grew up in South London listening to garage icons Todd Edwards, Groove Chronicles and Zed Bias, he’s got future singles coming out on Aus Music and his own fledgling label, and he’s a big fan of emotion in music. Top bloke then.
Hey Joy. How’s it going? What are you up to?
“I am very well, and am currently at work.”
How did Joy Orbison get started in music?
“My first introduction to the kind of music that made a big impression on me was probably at the age of 11 or 12. My uncle is a Drum’n'Bass producer called Ray Keith; I had started to become interested in dance music so he would send me his albums and records. So from an early age I was really excited by Jungle, D’n'B and the idea of DJing.
“I got a set of turntables at the age of 13 and have been collecting records ever since. Up to about the age of 16 I was obsessed with that whole culture and through that I got into UK Garage as well. Production was always the natural progression but I actually waited quite a while – ’til I was about 18 – before I really gave it a go. At first I was just mucking about on Fruity Loops trying to imitate those 8 bar grime tracks, but as my friends got into Cubase I followed suit. From the age of 18 ’til about 21 it was more of a hobby; I was listening to lots of different types of music, playing in bands, so writing dance music was not always my main interest. But over the last two years I’ve been taking it a lot more seriously, I wrote ‘Hyph’ about a year ago and that kinda started the whole J.O. project.”
How many years have you been producing?
And how old are you now?
Did you grow up in London – and did the area, or way you grew up inspire your music in any way?
“I moved about a bit when I was younger but I was born and currently live South Of London, not too far from Croydon.”
Whatever people want to call your music – be it dubstep, garage or whatever – how was it that you got into making it? What particular producers in that vein have inspired you most over the years, or inform the stuff you make now?
“I think a lot of my sound comes from UK Garage, producers like Todd Edwards, Zed Bias and Groove Chronicles. I always loved that darker side of Garage when I was younger, probably because it related so well to the Jungle I was introduced too. There’s definitely a lot of D’n'B there too, people like Calibre, D-Bridge and Nookie. Over the last few years I’ve been listening to people like Shed, Instra:mental, Peverelist, Mark E, Theo Parrish as well as a lot of post-punk bands and artists like Panda Bear and Grizzly Bear.”
Tell us more about how your style’s developed over those four years…
“Well, it started off as just grime and hip hop instrumentals but when I got Cubase I was listening to a lot of house so a lot of that stuff sounded like dodgy Morgan Geist rip-offs. I’ve experimented with all types of styles and tempos but I mainly work around 130-140 BPM. I actually think I’ve developed the most from when ‘Hyph’ was first made to now; over the last year or so I’ve become a lot more focused on the engineering side of things. I’m still very much a beginner but I can now achieve a lot more with the knowledge I have.”
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