The Bristol-based producer is caught on tape in the analogue-inspired vid for his latest single.
Sam Binga has hit a bit of a sweet spot of late exploring the same jungle/juke crossover territory that contemporaries like Om Unit and Machinedrum have been digging into, as FACT’s Laurent Fintoni noted in his recent investigation of the new “slow/fast” sound that’s bringing d’n’b back to life.
Binga’s latest dispatch comes via Critical Music and is led by the raucous ‘AYO!’, described by the producer as a tribute of sorts to Timbaland and Photek’s ‘One Nation’ and featuring guest bars from Bristol MC Redders (aka Redskin) – watch the video for it above. Due out on October 7, the single is backed with two more tracks – the crunk-tinged ‘Freezy’ and, on the digital release only, boisterous grime tribute ‘8 Barr’.
We caught up with Binga to find out about ‘AYO!”s accompanying lo-fi video, working in the “Windowless Vault of Doom” and which tracks defined his summer.
Hello Sam. Where have you been this summer?
I’ve mostly been in the studio bunker, aka the Windowless Vault Of Doom, generally avoiding the sun and working on my Vitamin D deficiency. Or over in Addison Groove’s studio in his loft, which is better lit but gets hot like fire if it’s nice outside. Got a bunch of stuff done in both places, so it’s been worth it, hopefully.
What’s been your favourite track of the season?
I like that way of putting it – ‘the season’ – makes it feel like we’ve been sending tracks down catwalks, or building music for S/S 2013… “This year the dominant sound has taken inspiration from classic jungle and chopped-up juke, with strong silhouettes and subtle detailing round the seams.”
None of which answers your question, though. I’ve been loving the Dawn Day Night stuff on Astrophonica, particularly ‘Mister Meaner’ – great 160bpm set opener. Some of Om Unit’s new dubs remind me of Toasty Boy at 170bpm, which is about as strong a recommendation as I can make. And I just bought the FKA Twigs EP. That and Arca’s own &&&&& mixtape have been straight amazingness in my brain.
Your new single is called ‘AYO!’ and features Redders. What does it sound like, and what’s the ideal scenario for listening to it?
Well, what it was supposed to sound like was Timbaland at ‘One Nation’ with King Louie. Whether it achieved that is another matter entirely. I guess I was also trying to do something that was kinda lo-fi, had a bunch of hiss and crackle, didn’t use the world’s smackiest snare or a super-techy filter bassline, but still had weight and impact on the floor.
The ideal place to listen to it would be at home, while it’s being played on the radio, as that way me and Redders get some PRS, thus allowing us to continue our lives of musical confusion and take-away curry dinners. I’ve also heard it sounds tolerable in the club.
What’s going on in the video?
The idea behind the video was to make something that visually matches the audio quality of the track. In the beat there’s a bunch of found sounds, hiss and general happy accidents, and in the video we bought an old Panasonic VHS camera off eBay and filmed on that – so there’s a bunch of interesting stuff happening when the tape warps slightly, or as you press start/stop, or when the sun flares out behind the lens.
What I’ve seen so far has a great visual quality – much more interesting than your standard HD video shoot, and not in a way that you could properly do with plug-ins. Which again echoes the track itself – there’s a bunch of analogue synths hissing and humming away in there, adding accidental interest that is really hard to mimic with software.
There are two more tracks on the Critical Music release – ‘Freezy’ and ‘8 Barr’. What are they all about?
‘Freezy’ is my tribute to classic Philly Blunt/bouncing 808 bassline jungle tunes, but with a half-step/hip-hop slant. I had a lot of fun running the various ‘spooky jungle chords’ out to my old sampler and then back in for extra crunchy ’90s vibes as well.
‘8 Barr’ is, as the name suggests, a bit of a tribute to the 8 bar grime sound, which is an arrangement idea you don’t hear too much at 160/170bpm – basically, everything switches up after 8 bars, then switches back after another 8 bars, and so on. No idea where the piano in the middle came from though – maybe I was sub-consciously channelling this?
FACT TV recently came for a nose around your studio. What’s your favourite bit of gear and what’s on your wish list?
Honestly, I used to be much more of a gear-head than I am now – I mean, obviously there’s a load of stuff I’d get if money was no object, like nice compressors, outboard EQs, vintage FX units, etc. – but really I think what I like best about the studio is that it actually is a studio, it’s a space to make music totally separate from my living space. There definitely is a charm to being able to just hop out of bed and start making beats, but it can all get very claustrophobic and head-mashing, so it’s great to be able to go somewhere, make as much noise as I want at any time of day or night without worrying about neighbours, housemates and so on. I’m very lucky to have access to a space like that.