[Stateside] Selections 001: Deafblind

Deafblind Logo

Today I’m launching a new mix/interview series called ‘Selections’ to coincide with the advent of Bassweight Society’s first official logo and the next chapter for the in the blog’s history.  For the remainder of 2014 I will be featuring at least one artist within the borders of the USA per month, and have accordingly deemed the forthcoming subset of the ‘Selections’ series ‘[Stateside] Selections’.  My aim with this is to build a strong foundation within the roots of my home turf, as analysis of the blog’s current demographic is significantly skewed towards audiences across the ponds.  I have ZERO complaints about this whatsoever as I find the fact that people from all over the world are connecting on a similar platform amazing.  However, there are two main thoughts behind this decision:  There are too many great artists in the US not getting the recognition they deserve; I would like to forge a connection with the scenes immediately surrounding me for both personal and pragmatic reasons alike.  So, here’s to the next bit of BWS’s evolution…

The inaugural feature comes from the Dirty South don, Deafblind.  While hailing from the UK,  he is currently residing in one of the most chopped and screwed parts of the USA – Austin, TX; home of Janis Joplin and Donks.  Rich is faced with the tough task  of pushing digital craft out of an area most notably associated with proper live bands.  He has seemingly found the right channels to plug as the uninterrupted growth of his back catalog since 2012 has registered imprints like Bacon Dubs, Soulstep, Gradient Audio, Sub Pressure, and most recently, Foundation Audio.  Following the drop of his ‘Substitution’ EP, Rich was generous enough to spare some time to answer a few questions and build a mix for your listening pleasures.  Have a glance below for some insight into the mind of Deafblind…while listening to this f*cking SICK mix!

SOUNDCLOUD | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

———————

Big up Rich, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer some questions for the readers.

Easy man, no stress, cheers for asking.

I guess for anybody that is not aware of your sound, can you give us a few words about who you are and what you do with regard to the underground bass scene?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I guess you could call me an extremely enthusiastic amateur. I’d classify myself primarily as a producer and engineer, but I’ve recently gone back to DJ’ing either for radio, or for the occasional live event. When I say “gone back” I used to bedroom DJ back in college on my mate’s turntables, but never really took it beyond there.

In terms of my sound, I’m trying to carve out a little niche that’s a unique fingerprint, I dunno if I’ve got there yet, as with all things each tune I write seems to be pretty mutable from the previous examples because I’m always trying different things.

In terms of who I am in the underground bass-music scene, I’d say I’m pretty much a newcomer as an artist and a DJ, but I’m hoping to expand that name recognition a little more this year if possible…without being a total whore of course and letting the music do the talking.

What’s your view on the importance of understanding basic music theory prior to experimenting with production?

Good question. I’d say that formal understanding of music theory can both be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it helps if you know the rules of producing a piece of music, or, knowing how to progress a piece through a specific chord sequence etc, but on the other hand, those rules can also be a limiting factor to my mind because if you’re not careful, you’ll never go off the beaten path and try something new.

In my experience, a lot of the interesting music out there breaks a lot of composition, arrangement, instrumentation rules so I guess your mileage may vary, but at least some of the basics is a must in my opinion.

Do you feel there needs to be some prior degree of understanding, or that learning as you go is just as viable an option?

Learning as you go is a great option, I think being inquisitive can teach you a lot, plus honestly those happy mistakes you make while you’re learning opens a lot of doors creatively. I found that whilst experimenting, and finding a particular chord structure or whatever, I was always asking “why does it sound like that, and why do I like it?” and from there I discovered, I really like writing things in D Minor for example. Did I know what D Minor was? No, but I learned to recognise things and build that innate knowledge from there. I grew that inquisition into more formal musical knowledge.

.

You seem to be quite the informed audiophile.  Does your musical knowledge and experience have a root in formal (classroom) or self-taught platforms?

I’m a total geek, I work in a very technical field, my father was a gifted engineer and a very smart man, so I’ve always dabbled in technical stuff. It’s not enough for me to know what an end-result should be like, I have to know how I got there. I’ve never had much formal training in music production, short of a short stint doing some piano lessons in my adult years, but pretty much everything else has been self-taught.

Talking with other engineers and producers has also given me lots of little tidbits of useful information that I have integrated into my workflow over time, and mutated them to fit the way I like to work. And that process is always evolving.

From memory of your past interviews, you progressed from drum and bass to dubstep like many other bass enthusiasts on the cusp of that early 2000’s movement.  Pushing further back, what were some of the first sounds that hooked you into electronic music?

The 80’s band “The Art Of Noise” were the main reason I started listened to purely electronically derived music, I’d never heard music produced by sampling real world sounds, and reusing them in a musical context. Stupid things like samples of horses running at a derby and it being turned into a rhythm track, or people shutting doors etc. From there it was pretty much bands like “808 State” or laughably early “Shamen”, notably the “En-Tact” album.

My dad also loved Stevie Wonder, Yes, Phil Collins etc, so the sound of synthesisers and effects integrated into music was there as a pretty early influence.

What would you say THE most instrumental, if any, album/single/artist/show in your decision to pursue music production was?

Impossible to say with accuracy, like The Art Of Noise – “In No Sense, Nonsense” or The Orb – “Blue Room”. The original extended 74 minute album was just…mindblowing. That taught me how to paint a picture with music and take people on a journey in their head. Of course, I didn’t have anything like the level of equipment required for these kinds of production, but it was an inspirational source.

In addition to music and career aspects of life, you’re also a father.  That’s a big plate!  How is the workflow dynamic in your writing affected by such a demanding, and equally rewarding I imagine, responsibility?

When my daughter arrived, I took a pretty long hiatus from production. Her arrival also coincided with me getting pretty sick and tired of the cliquey drum and bass scene. So it was a good opportunity to focus on being a dad. And frankly, I was so incredibly tired the thought of working on music was just the furthest thing from my mind.

Now, I take great joy in it, because when she was just 1 year old, she’d love to bang away on my Yamaha digital piano and it was something we shared together, which has remained as she’s grown up. She’s actually progressed to learning violin and things like that so I am hoping that the enriching aspects of making music continue to rub off on her.

Does your daughter have a large impact on the ethos of your music?  Have you recognized patterns in your music that parallel with the different stages of her development?

Definitely. I have quite a few ambient tracks I’ve written that have samples of her in there at various ages, I am compiling them into a little album to give to her when she’s older. Needless to say, they are very personal expressions of my love for her and how she has enriched my life beyond measure. She’s also named a few of my tracks for me, I keep a notepad with silly things she says sometimes and they align with amusing regularity.

.

You’re currently located in Austin, Texas, but spent the first half of your life in the UK, yeah?  Have you noticed any recurring themes within the ebb and flow of electronic music’s popularity or scene politics, across both stateside and UK demographics?

Yup, well, I was born in the UK, I spent a large amount of my formative years living in South Africa and then moved back in my mid-teens. So, I’m kinda from there, but also not.

To answer the politics question, and to do so delicately is going to be really difficult, so I’m just going to plough in. Let’s just put it like this, the UK scene has always been a hotbed of innovation in a lot of different musical genre’s, particularly anything dance related.

Now, I feel like I can say this, because I am British, and I did feel similarly at one point. But, as a result of being the early innovators they have always eyed people writing music in a particular genre from a different country to be secondary in terms of quality, or innovation. Which is ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT. So, for people making a traditionally UK based sound like dubstep and doing it from somewhere other than the UK, they almost have to climb this enormous mountain before they get taken seriously.

Now from a US perspective, things like bro-step didn’t help, it was emblematic of the US scene for a while, and personally I am REALLY happy that it’s passed. With all that being said, there are a number of really positive moves I am seeing in the trans-Atlantic scene, US artists getting signed to UK labels, frequent tours by key UK based talent etc.

I’d argue both markets have their issues, but the one key thing that the US does well, is when it gets behind something it’s an absolute juggernaut and the opportunities are really there for people to experiment, perform and build a homeland fanbase, which oftentimes will translate to other markets.

How is the scene in Austin been lately?  Any recent shows from the Mad Classy crew that stand out as notable?

Austin really has upped its game, I think the effect of having organisations like Gritsy in Houston bringing in the big-guns of the UK dubstep scene has given the state in general a real shot in the arm. As a result, people tend to roll through the state and Austin generally gets a visit, we’ve had Truth, Mala, Distance, Yunx in Austin, Demon, Biome etc roll through Houston.

I know that SXSW last year was really a turning point for bass-music culture in the city though, I was fortunate enough to get to the Submission showcase with Mad Classy at Barcelona and it was ABSOLUTELY HEAVING! Most times I hit Mad Classy on Sunday’s and there’s a solid crowd there that are up for it…and it’s a Sunday. Nutters.

We have Mala and Coki rolling through, and Yunx as well, the Mad Classy guys are definitely going at it hard this year.

.

2013 was a solid year of releases for you, signing with Sub Pressure, Soulstep, Redshift One, and Gradient Audio.  2014 is kicking off nicely with your EP on Foundation Audio, ‘Substitution’.  Can you tell us a little about that release?  Any particular theme the listeners should pay a close ear to?

Yeah, I’m happy with every single tune on that release, usually there’s one or two that you’re not SO sure about, but I can honestly say each of them I still like, which is rare.

“Substitution” is probably one of the more aggressive things people will have heard from me, it’s just a good raucous stomper.

“Giedi” I’ve been told has a Commodo vibe to it, which is a high compliment, not sure if it’s fully deserving, but it’s one of those weird tunes I started in a different genre and it slowly morphed into what it is now. I still like the sloppy clap/snare/rimshot “snare” in this one.

“Untitled Forever” was another accidental thing that just happened, I was messing about building synths one afternoon and it magically shot a tune out the other end. It’s magical when that happens, and I think because it was so off-the-cuff it feels pretty loose in terms of instrumentation but still rock solid and metronomic on the percussion and weighty.

They were all written over a 2 month period when I was pretty angry at a number of things I guess, I’ll leave it up to the listener to work out where I started angry and where I calmed down *grin*.

Any information you’d like to convey to the readers, or shoutouts you’d like to give?

In terms of information, I’ve got quite a few interesting collaborations and solo projects in the works this year, but I am taking a new tack and working on a single tune a month and making sure it’s absolutely the best piece of work I can manage. In retrospect I spent too much time in 2013 working on 3 to 4 tunes at a time and it was both exhausting, and really unfocusing, so I promised myself to slow down and really push the quality levels this year.

As a result, you’re probably going to be seeing less activity on things like Soundcloud, but rest assured, I am still making music. It may not always be bass music, but it’ll be ready to show when its ready

Finally, HUGE shouts definitely to everyone who has supported my music through 2013, shouts to the DJ’s and producers and anyone who’s pinged me on Facebook or Soundcloud or Twitter. Shouts to my missus for putting up with 16 bar patterns repeating endlessly for days on end while I try and get tunes wrangled. Shouts to my label brothers at Bacon Dubs, Vulcan Audio, Sub Pressure, Soul Step etc.

Cheers!

———————

Thanks for stopping through everyone, I hope you enjoyed the read and mix.  Make sure you give Rich some love!  I’ll catch you soon.

One love.

– Kinman

Asylum – Exclusive ‘Live From The Future’ Mix Pt. 2

Uprise Audio - Live From The Future

Big up everyone.  Welcome back.

Today marks two important things: the 1 year anniversary of Uprise Audio’s launch and Part 2 of the ‘Live From The Future’ x Bassweight Society exclusive mix series.  Taiko’s contribution for part 1 was an immense display of the heavyweight’s ability to seamlessly blend tunes, as well as the production mastery that continues to push Uprise forward as one of the most promising imprint’s within dubstep.  Asylum follows Taiko’s lead and curates another massive mix jam-packed with VIP’s (including a VIP of ‘Zero Gravity’ off the LFTF LP!) from the man himself and dubs from Biome, Ben Verse and Konvex.  The mix also showcases a healthy collection of tunes recently released, that still pack a punch.

Asylum has had great success since his solo career, taking a breather from the drum and bass alias ‘Vicious Circle’ that had been releasing some of the heaviest nuero-infused 170 tunes to date.  With his signing to Uprise, his recent appearance on GetDarker TV w/ MC Toast and his solo works/collaborations with longtime friend Ben Verse on Crunch Recordings, I think its safe to say that this badman is here to stay, certainly for the near future.

Have a listen below, and make sure you clear enough room to engage in an all-out skank session as Asylum pulls you through a journey of sonic assault.

.

Also, don’t forget to check out the ‘Live From The Future’ LP released last month.  Previews and links below.

.

The album is available in the following formats:  2 x 12″ Vinyl, Digital, CD

Buy Links || CHEMICAL | JUNO | BEATPORT ||

Uprise Audio || FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD | TWITTER ||

Asylum || FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD | TWITTER ||

——————

Until next time…one love.

– Kinman

Taiko – Exclusive ‘Live From The Future’ Mix Pt.1

UA LFTF

Big up fam’.

Monday (the 7th) is a big day for the 2012 freshman imprint of the year – Uprise Audio, and for dubstep as a whole.  With a string of releases that have each sat comfortably at the top of dubstep charts across the board, it’s no secret that Edward and Verity have curated one of the most promising musical outlets within the global underground.  Through these releases Dubtek, Asylum and the boss himself, Seven, have left bread crumbs leading listeners through cavernous sonic explorations – all leading up to this.  ‘Live From The Future’ is the imprint’s debut full-length album showcasing a roster of veteran dynamism, pioneering through the depths of dubstep sound design.  The LP welcomes back Asylum, Dubtek, Wayfarer, Chewie, Klax and Seven, while popping the Uprise cherries of Taiko, Truth, Stealth, Altair, and Nanobyte.

To celebrate the album’s release, Uprise Audio artist Taiko has been so kind as to build you (the readers) an exclusive mix.  I’ve been blaring this thing out for the past couple of weeks, and have been genuinely enjoying the top-notch track selection and blending.  I was lucky enough to grab a few words from the badman himself regarding the mix and his beat ‘Spray Can’ that was included on  the LP.  Take a read below!

.

Kinman:  EZ Louis, thanks for taking some time out for the readers. Can you tell us a little bit about the mix you have built? Some DJ’s try to facilitate a very calculated energy dynamic within their mixing, while others just blend tunes that sound good together. What’s the story behind this one?

Taiko:  No worries, happy to! Yeah I’d have to say a bit of both to be honest, I wouldn’t say it was calculated that much but I wanted to start it fairly slow and techy, and beef it up a bit towards the end, I guess any form of progression is good for a mix to keep it interesting. But it’s a small selection of my favourite tunes at the moment and you can hear a few of the forthcomings for the UA album too.

Kinman:  It must be an honor to be part of the Uprise family – especially as the imprint progressively garners more respect with each release. How did you get linked up with Eddy and the label?

Taiko:  I first met Eddy about 2 or 3 years ago when I was playing regularly in Sheffield. He came down to play one time and after the night we got talking, swapped details, then I’d send him a tune every now and again. About a year later he came down again and it was about the time he was starting Uprise if I remember correctly so luckily I had my laptop with me and burnt him a cd. A few months and a few tunes later I was brought along so big thanks to Ed and V as always.

.

Kinman:  Are there any plans for a solo-release with Uprise in the near future? Any hints you can give us?

Taiko:  Yeah I haven’t got a set date for anyone but early next year I have a 4 track EP on vinyl and digital coming out. I’ve started shortlisting a few tunes so hopefully when the time comes you’ll be getting the best of the bunch, that’s all I can say I’m afraid!

Kinman:  Haha no sweat bro, fully understand!

Kinman:  Lastly, can you tell us a bit about the song you’ve written to include in the ‘Live From The Future’ LP?

Taiko:  My addition to the album is called ‘Spray Can’, and all I can say really is that I tried to write something keeping unconventional in mind. I’ve also had people saying that I’ve sampled a 400ml can for it and this and that but honestly there’s no spray can samples in the entire tune, I only came up with the name for it once I stopped and thought “that sounds a lot like a spray can”. Hope everyone enjoys the album, big thanks to Tyler (Kinman) and all the readers!

———————

Alright everyone, I hope you enjoy the mix Louis has built!  Below I’ve listed information regarding the LP’s release, including tracklist, Soundcloud and social network links.  Stay connected fam’!

Full Album Tracklist:

01. Seven feat. Joe Raygun – Live from the Future
02. Wayfarer – Reflections
03. Stealth & Altair – Lost Highway
04. Seven and Youngsta – Masai Mara VIP
05. Asylum – Zero Gravity
06. Chewie feat. Mykal Rose – Silver & Gold
07. Taiko – Spray Can
08. Klax – Link To The Past
09. Dubtek – Kuiper Belt
10. Seven & Dubtek – Stratosfear
11. Seven – Walter White – TRUTH remix
12. Nanobyte – Part Of Life

The album will be available in the following formats:  2 x 12″ Vinyl, Digital, CD

Buy Links || CHEMICAL | JUNO ||

Uprise Audio || FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD | TWITTER ||

Taiko || FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD ||

——————

Hopefully you all have purchased your LP samplers and have had the joyful experience of BLARING ‘Live From The Future’ & ‘Reflections’ as loudly as possible.  If you haven’t, I urge to snag your copy while you still can (limited to 500 pressings) —————–> Live From The Future LP Sampler.

I’ll catch you next time!  One love.

– Kinman

West Coast Weight: Kelly Dean’s ‘Firewall’ EP [SMOG025]

KellyDean_FireWall_FIN

Big up fam’, thanks for checking in again!  We’re already two weeks into the new year and there has been a solid amount of music to hit the shelves: DJ Madd’s remix of  Candyman’s ‘Killa Sound’, Killawatt & Ipman’s ‘Warehouse Dub/Single Entity’, Boddika’s ‘Soul What VIP’, Booka Shade’s 3-track release on Blaufield, and Bungle’s ‘Aura/Astral Travel’, to name a few.  If you thought that 2012 was an amazing year for bass music you’re right but, 2013 is going to be that much better!

Today marks the drop of California native Kelly Dean’s ‘Firewall EP’ on Smog records.  Kelly Dean is one of many producers within the deep dubstep scene who have recently been cementing the U.S. onto the radar of bassweight enthusiasts across the globe.  Yes, we’ve always had heads like Matty G, Starkey, OSC, Babylon System, and Roommate (among others), but the numbers are growing and the ratio of top-notch UK:US producers finally seems to be evening out a bit.

It should come as no surprise that one of the one of the nation’s leading producers rolls deep with one of the nation’s strongest and longest-running dubstep nights/labels – Smog.  This release sees Kelly Dean take on his role in the SMOG fam’ as the deeper and darker proponent with his sweeping reese bass lines, eye-closing sub bass, eerie atmospherics, and generally minimalist philosophy on production.  The EP also bolsters remixes from Chestplate Records up-and-comer District, as well as a remix by Drumcell of the infamous Los Angeles underground crew: Droid Behavior.  It is without a doubt an EP that should not be slept on.  I was lucky enough to grab a few words with Kelly in regards to this release so take a read below while you preview his ‘Firewall’ EP:

———————

BWS:  So how long has this EP been in the works for?

Its been over a year that’s for sure.  I actually played these tunes in an earlier form at the SMOG 5 year party.  They have transformed over the years and matured into what you hear today.  They actually feel like little kids to me at this point.  HAHA.

BWS:  What can the listeners expect to hear from this project?

This EP has a much more mature sound to it.  Take “Samurai” for instance.  The track’s vocal is actually me.  But I took the quote from Hagakure : Book of the Samurai which is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the Samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716.  So the historical context of this tune is pretty strong, and I believe the vibe of the song is consistent with that theme.

BWS:  Do you have a personal favorite off the release?

“Samurai” and “Firewall” are my favorites mainly because of the ongoing theme.  Its a lot of fun creating a song that has somewhat of a script, almost like your scoring a movie. Those tunes have little FX sprinkled in that hint at the track titles.

BWS:  Which beat did you have the hardest time completing?

Samurai was the hardest by far.  Its the longest of the lot and the structure is different then your average dubstep tune   .  It starts off dropping into almost a garage drum pattern.  Each 16 bars it changes slightly with the percussion slowly morphing into a standard dubstep beat.  The vocal was also quite a challenge.  This is the first time I have put my own vocals into a tune that has been released.

BWS:  Any shout outs to those that helped make this happen?

Everyone supporting me since I started making music has been a MASSIVE help!  Producing music is one of those things that even the littlest bit of motivation from your peers can generate a big response in your productivity and imagination, which really helps with the writing process.  Drew & Danny at SMOG are huge in that department and this EP would not have been possible without them.  Also huge shouts to District and Drumcell for banging out unreal remixes!  Its a honor to have them on board for this project.

———————

There you have it people.

Here are the buy links so  choose your record store of choice and make sure to get this one onto your hard drive!

BEATPORT || iTUNES || JUNO

Kelly Dean:

FACEBOOK || SOUNDCLOUD || TWITTER

Smog:

FACEBOOK || SOUNDCLOUD || TWITTER

I’ll catch you guys next time, thanks for reading!  Make sure to support your local scene – buy music, go to shows, and tell your local promoters what the people want to hear.

One love.

– Kinman

Bassweight Sessions 5: EshOne

ElkRide_AngelFire

What up fam’.  Hope everything is well.

Well, the nominations for the Dubstepforum Awards 2013 have closed and any day now we should see the announcement that voting can begin.  I hope to see the BWS name on the voting sheet!  What a year 2012 was for dubstep, right?  So many great tunes released, labels started, and boundaries pushed during the past year that it’s hard to predict where things will go in 2013.  One thing is for sure, and that is the simple fact that the music, people, and scene will continue to progress.  I’m going to compile a ‘Top 20 Releases’ (obviously just an opinion) feature for 2012 as I did for 2011, and am hoping to have it all wrapped up by the end of the month (there’s soooo much good music to sift through).  I’ll keep you guys posted on that so be on the look out 🙂

Today I have a special feature with US native Donnie Valdez, most commonly known as EshOne.  A long-standing staple to the US underground, Donnie has sought out to test every boundary possible with his music whether it be formula, tempo, or distribution.  Donnie has been releasing music since 2008 in both digital and vinyl formate.  In 2011, he started up his label Elk Beats and has been releasing music exclusively through that outlet (more information regarding that in the interview below).  Donnie is an all-around genuine guy who carries himself and his music in a concise and to-the-point manner.

Take a gander below if you want to get to know Esh a bit better.  Also, he has been generous enough to offer a free tune for you to play while you read the interview!

———————

BWS:  Can you give the readers a quick blurb about yourself (name, hometown, music you make, etc.)?

My name is Donnie Valdez, I have tracks out there filed as EshOne, Don Valdez, and a handful of other names that I will not say. I’ve split my time since I was young between southern California and northern New Mexico, so I guess that’s had sort of a big influence on my sound. I’ve been focused on bass heavy music since I’ve started, moving through the darker stuff as I’ve come along. At this point I’m trying to play mostly, if not all, my own music in my sets. I try to create and maintain in a variety of tempos and styles, and as the library grows, the fun does too…

BWS:  Can you remember any sort of defining moment that made your mind click, and you knew from then on that you wanted to make music?

Yeah. As far as making music in general, my mom bought me a mini acoustic guitar when I was a kid and I used to play these super annoying songs to her. It was hilarious to me. As far as creating electronic music, it started from playing whole sets on vinyl, and the whole time wanting to have made one of the records I was spinning. That was the cool part to me; playing them and having the knowledge and taste to like good music was an achievement, but what about making it? That’s the shit. This is still the driving force on a personal level. You can never be good enough at making music. You can never learn enough. There’s not like a pace you have to keep though, or a race against time. It’s all about having fun, and the harder you work, the more fun you have.

BWS:  As far as I know you paint among other sorts of visual art, can you elaborate on that a bit?  Do you find any sort of connective element in creating both visual and audible artwork?

I like to make stuff. I don’t draw or paint as often as I did before, but I do a lot more screen printing and digital art these days to make up for it. I used to paint skateboard decks and sell them, but it’s been a while! I do some design work and web development, if you looked at my productivity from a financial standpoint, design would be my main gig. As a connective element between visual art and music, I’d love to learn more about video and editing. I think it would really compliment any music I create, although it’s something I’ve never had the equipment for. Now that these handheld phone things we all have are capable of so much, I might do some weird stuff and see what comes out.

.

BWS:  Where can the readers find your art if they’re interested in purchasing?

I’m continuously putting things up on the Elk Beats website [ http://elkbeats.com ], right now we are limited to digital music, and occasionally tees and posters – but cassettes, greeting cards, and weird sculptures are coming. Soon.

BWS:  You’ve got a pretty solid history within the dubstep scene here in the US.  What’s it been like to watch the scene evolve and branch out during the past 6-7 years?

It’s been entertaining! It’s crazy to me how much it’s grown. At first it was kind of this niche thing. Hard to find, and special when you found it. Then it was everywhere, and sad to say, pretty annoying. It blew up the the point of melting into the electronic music/dance music scene, this big flow of repetitive beats that are categorized in weird ways, and has now secured its place in the production style hall of fame. Now that it’s more settled, I’m hoping that everyone moving on takes to heart some of the amazing parts of this genre: the bassweight, the moodiness, the weird polyrhythmic aspects of the truly deep tracks, anxious syncopation, patience with the pace… I’m also hoping that those who stay with it don’t ride the sound into the ground, rather experiment and innovate. There is so much space to explore still.

BWS:  Any moments in your history that stand out as game-changers?  Tunes, events, etc.?

I make music fast… Like really fast. Now that I’m working with different tempos, it’s easy to make a house track when I’m not feeling like making dark bassy stuff, or the other way around. So the event is that I recently started playing digital music, on CDJs, which has opened up so many new doors to me. I’ve been stuck in the position of only playing a certain style and tempo of music for a while, because I would cut dubplates for every set. Financially, I had to cut only my best stuff, and things that were sent to me, that would mix well together. Time was an issue to – if I got sent a wicked promo that came out 3 weeks later, and I only had one gig in that time, it wasn’t worth the cut. It was painful to let those go, and not be able to play some serious tunes I’ve had my hands on in the past. Now with the capability to play all the promos I’m sent, and all of the styles of music I have, including things that are old and obscure, or aren’t finished yet… My sets have become infinitely cooler. To anyone reading and thinking, “I told you so,” I don’t regret playing on dubs and vinyl for so long, and I may go back to it. I’m just on a path of super inspired and rapid creativity right now, and the lathe can’t keep up!

BWS:  I’ve seen your dubplate collection (or at least segments of it).  Do you still get the same feeling each time a new box of acetate arrives on your doorstep?  Whatever that feeling may be…

I love dubplates, I will always love them. Everyone who’s held one will talk about the smell of them. It’s true. They have a very distinct smell, and I’m sure opening a box of fresh cuts by an audiophile is very similar to opening a bag of the finest Humboldt Kush a weed smoker could get their hands on. It’s magical! Going to the mastering studio for the cut is even more exciting than a box at the door. Watching a needle etch your track into a metal disc and seeing the acetate shreds getting vacuumed up and hearing it all in real time is an experience like no other. On a performance level, I am to the point now where I just want to cut dubplates for personal use. Just my best stuff, to collect, and have a physical copy of.

BWS:  I saw you post a cartoon strip like a week or so ago (state of the music industry from The Oatmeal), and you said it gave much of the reason behind the inception of Elk Beats.  Can you go into more detail what you meant by that?

Oh yeah! The cartoon had to do with the digital distribution market, the disconnect it creates from fans to artists, and offered insight into the benefits of cutting out distribution altogether. It’s all true! At Elk Beats, we just sell through our website. It’s never been about getting charted on Beatport, or iTunes, or any of those things. To be honest I don’t give a shit about any of that. As a DJ, I would personally never touch anything I found on any sort of a chart, and to be quite honest, I don’t want DJs who think like that buying my shit anyway. We’re making and putting out stuff that not everyone will like, which is perfect, because we’re making it for those who are going to like it. This model is fantastic! I get to meet, or get emails from, everyone who’s supporting Elk Beats and the crew. It’s rad getting to know who likes what we do, and to see what they do! Also, getting to work with some of the artists I have so far with Elk Beats has been a great experience. Both Raggs and AxH have been inspiring and fun people to build with, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do so.

.

BWS:  Is there any specific direction you want to take your music this upcoming year?  Personally or with Elk Beats?

I’d like to continue making different styles of music, and finding better ways to mix them all together. I’ve been inspired a lot this past year by people who mix different tempos, especially Wheez-ie, Distal, and Sublmnl Sound System. As for the label, I’m always looking for ways to push Elk Beats to the next level. I’m working with a couple of artists who I believe will help do just that, and looking forward to what we’re going to put out this year. More tempos, more styles, more art. Look for lots of cool merch and one of a kind stuff on the Elk Beats site this year.

BWS:  What was your favorite piece of music the past year?  If you can’t single it, top 3/top5?

There are way too many outside of the bass music/dubstep sound, so for the sake of simplicity, I’ll go with Goth Trad – Man In The Maze. That song is an amazing piece of music, as is the whole album. Plus he is one of the coolest people I have met in the music scene, a very smart guy.

BWS:  Can you tell us a little bit about the song you’ve be so generous to share with the readers?

This song, The Lagoon, is just one of those weird songs. It comes with a super thick vibe if you can pull it off right. I’ve only played it a few times. In order to play the track, the sound system has to be super beefy, the crowd has to be in the zone, and the set has to be authoritative. It’s one of my favorites for that reason. If you can play it, and it works, you’ve created a very rare and very fulfilling energy with a room full of people who will appreciate it.

BWS:  What do you think could be the most useful piece of advice to any new producer?

The more unique your music is, the more accurate it is. It’s just like telling a story. You can exaggerate the parts you think people will like, and leave out the personal stuff, or you can tell it your way and get better and better at communicating what you like about it. Decide what you want people to hear, and work hard at getting that sound to them as clearly as possible. It sounds easier than it is, but that’s the fun part.

BWS:  Who shot Biggie and Pac?

I think it would be disrespectful to speculate. I’ve been inspired by the music of both, and I’ve never even met either, so I guess I can say no one shot them. They’re still alive and reaching people through what they made, and will never stop.

———————

Here’s the beat Donnie has been kind enough to give away – a track titled ‘The Lagoon’ that emits a classic vibe with a slumping bass line for all the soundsystem heads to nod to.  Big up Donnie, much respect and appreciation for the interview!

.

EshOne Pages:

FACEBOOK || SOUNDCLOUD || TWITTER

Elk Beats:

FACEBOOK || SOUNDCLOUD || TWITTER

I’ll catch all your mugs next time!  Big up and one love.

– Kinman