Machinedrum responds to DJ Clent sampling controversy

Travis Stewart offers his side of the story.

Last week, Chicago footwork producer DJ Clent claimed that Machinedrum’s forthcoming ‘Back Seat Ho’ was an unauthorized remake of his 2000 Dance Mania track ‘Back Seat Ho’. At the time, he wanted Ninja Tune to “either take [it] down or pay me and give me my credit for the concept and vocals.”

Machinedrum has released a public statement that explains his side of the story. In short, the producer claims that the samples in question were given to him (and subsequently cleared) by DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. While he was occupied at SXSW last week, he has since reached out to Clent to explain the situation and is “currently working out a deal” with the producer.

Read the full statement below.

It’s very unfortunate that this has become public as I would rather deal with this kind of thing privately, but due to the circumstances I feel I need to defend myself here.

Let’s start with some backstory. Over the years I have become friends with a good number of the Chicago based Juke and Footwork producers/DJs. Two of those I have become close friends with, DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. We have not only influenced and inspired each other tremendously but have also shared with each other unreleased music and a lot of our own VIP sample libraries.

Early summer of 2012 Spinn and Rashad came by my studio in Berlin. We did what we always do when we hang out, trade music and samples. I think I gave them a folder of rave stabs that I had received from Om Unit. In return they gave me an amazing library of samples titled “wordz and dropz”. They explained to me that it was a collection of vocal recordings used in a lot of classic Juke and Footwork tunes. The samples were incredible, everything from “Hold up, Wait a Minute” to “If you see ’em, point ’em out”. They told me they knew everyone in the recordings and that the samples had been passed around between fellow Chicago Juke/Footwork DJs for years. I was truly blessed to get such an amazing collection.

I was so psyched to get these samples that I started making some beats with them the very next day. One of those beats I used DJ Clent’s “Back Seat Ho” samples. The files were titled “82 Track 82.mp3” and “83 Track 83.mp3”. There was no mention of who the samples were recordings of.

There was no intention of releasing “Back Seat Ho” initially. Compared to the other tracks on Vapor City it was more or less just a DJ tool I would play out in clubs. After playing it out and dropping it in a couple of mixes I started getting overwhelming support for the tune, and tons of requests to release it. Upon realizing the demand for the track I hit up DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn and asked him if I needed to contact anyone about clearing the samples. They insisted that it was cool and that I didn’t need to contact anyone as they were both friends with everyone that was in the recordings in the sample library they gave me. I took his word for it and did a final mix of the track and sent off for mastering.

Fast forward to March 12th 2014 (5 days before I’ve written this statement). DJ Clent sends Ninja Tune and I an email informing us that I was unrightfully using a vocal recording of his and the “mother of his children” in Back Seat Ho. This email came while I was performing shows at SXSW in Austin. I missed this email, along with tons of other emails, as I was not paying attention to emails while at the festival. The next day I wake up to a post from the blog Do Androids Dance accusing me of stealing samples and not crediting DJ Clent. I asked the blog via twitter DM to please take down the article as I wasn’t even aware of the situation until it had become public, they refused. Shortly after multiple other publications made posts about the situation and things spiraled a bit out of control.

As soon as I could I responded to DJ Clent and apologized for the misunderstanding. I explained my situation and how I got the samples in the first place. I offered to make a deal with him and make sure that he is happy with everything. Ninja Tune and my management are currently working out a deal with DJ Clent to clear the samples.

I respect DJ Clent and his work. If I had known that he needed credit I would have instantly given it to him and made sure he was compensated fairly. I have already worked out deals with other artists I have sampled as I feel like sampling to a certain degree can be like collaborating and needs to be treated as so. I hope to resolve this situation swiftly and we can get back to talking about what is most important, the music.



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