DUBPLATES PROPAGANDA Ė YOOF interview June 11
We are launching a brand new feature for the Dubplates Radio website where we hear from some of the leading exponents of underground bass music around the world. Each featured artist will offer a unique insight into underground bass music culture as well as providing an exclusive studio mix to share with the Dubplates family and friends.
Our first heavyweight to take the floor is a seasoned veteran of all things underground and bass driven. Label boss of Mechanoise records and one half of the legendary bassline breaks duo Sonz of Mecha we welcome Yoof to Dubplates radio.
Q) I mentioned before you are a seasoned veteran of all things underground so how long have you been involved in the music industry?
A) I got my first record deal with Warner brothers back in 1995 and learnt how to produce through meeting Neil McLellan who at the time was working with the prodigy (gilted generation). I then went on to create Mechanoise records with my brother Jody who now has his own project called Hellfire Machina based in New York. Both of us had a passion for breakbeats and heavy basslines.
Q) I first became aware of your production work when you were producing with Jody as Sonz of Mecha and putting out tracks on your Mechanoise imprint. Mechanoise was formed in the early days of the new skool breaks movement and carved out a niche pushing the heavier end of the breaks spectrum. Tell us a bit about the label its ethos and how it has evolved over the years?
A) Mechanoise was the foundation for the more tearout dance floor side of breaks. We always wanted to bring a more dance floor edge to nuskool breaks. I feel we was years ahead of the game but not always excepted as a lot of breaks lent towards the more house/commercial side of the industry but now I look back and think without Mechanoise you wouldnít have a lot of genres that are now popular today.
Q) Bass driven music has been the driving force behind youíre career as a dj and producer was there a single event that made you think I have to get up there and do that or was it a culmination of a misspent youth raving?
A) I grew up around sound system culture and had always been attracted to bass music from an early age. A lot of different events played an important role in my life but I couldnít pin it down to just the one. I grew up going to raves like Spiral tribe, Megadog, World dance etc. at a time when the social barriers of the 90ís were breaking down due to this movement. I loved the fact that people of different races, class or background would dance together without prejudice and a large reason for this was because E had come on the scene and you only needed one of those things and you would be flying. Also the music back then was so new and also had some sort of intelligence. I feel a lot of the younger or new generation who go out raving now have missed that. They seem to think taking horse tranqs or whatís the new one? Plant food? Jumping around like a lemon to gash like Darren styles or any of that plastic raving nonsense is raving. I tend to differ lol
Q) I happen to know youíre a big fan of David Rodigan the reggae legend. Reggae and dub clearly influence youíre sound as both producer and dj. Who or what would you say youíre biggest musical influences are?
A) Yeah im a massive Rodigan fan, you see I grew up in Lewisham which was the home to Saxon sound who in the late 80ís and early 90ís was the ultimate sound system, my uncle would take me to these dances and also to events like reggae sunsplash and I would see artists like Sly and Robbie, Sugar Minot, Dennis brown etc. and so I grew up with rub a dub. People like David Rodigan and Mikey Dread was so important for reggae in the U.K. because a lot of radios stations at the time like the BBC wouldnít play black music. It was a shame cos at the time England ruled reggae even though it was coming from Jamaica. I love the passion Rodigan has and I would love to see England have a reggae revival and I think itís starting to happen what with artists like Shy fx and also bands like Kid British. If I could say one person who educated me in music was my uncle. I owe him everything and I know if he was alive he would be proud.
Q) A little birdie told me youíve been working with a well known Dubstep label on production duties and are awaiting the imminent release of your new E.P. on Jay Cunnings Sub Slayers label which feature Dubstep alongside firing Breakbeat cuts. Is Dubstep a genre that we will see you making more of in the future?
A) I had a release on Ghost recordings album last year. Ghost was the foundation label for the dubstep movement we have today. Its run by El-B and J da flex. Iíve worked with J da back since 2000 and did some breakstep sort of tunes back then and got back in the studio with him + im currently working with Dj Raggs on a new project. Iíve always loved Dubstep and have had close connections with it from the start. Djs like Caspa, Oris jay, Hotflush recs all had radio shows on Breaks FM when I was involved in running that. Back then they were playing a lot of bass driven breaks in their sets. Iíd go to Forward and see j da flex dropping Mechanoise stuff alongside dubstep stuff before it was called dubstep. It was only when people associate Dubstep with a certain beat pattern that the scene became more separate but itís coming back again and a lot of my dj sets consist of both dubstep and breaks.
Q) As a producer youíve worked under many different pseudonyms and remixed many different artists. Remind us of some of the artists youíve remixed over the years and if you can, recommend a remix youíve done that you are especially proud of so our readers/listeners can check it out.
A) bloody hell now thatís a long listÖive remixed everyone from Rennie Pilgrem to T-power and collaborated with a whole heap of artists from Ed209, Quest, Mutiny, Specimen A, Control z, Pyramid, J da flex, Shut up and dance and the list goes on. My favourite remix was the one I did with control z when we remixed Fatman Dís ďthe beat goesĒ that came out on Deeklineís Bounce label or the Wu tang remix I did with J da flex.
Q) Iíve played a few parties with you and seen you smash up many a dance as both Yoof and as Sonz of Mecha. Is there one set youíve played over the year that sticks out above any other?
A) This year has been quiet on the Dj front as Iíve been concentrating more on production and also I wanted to re-invent my sound as I felt I was limiting myself to a certain sound as it was expected of me to play a certain style. Probably my favourite partyís I played was the old Trigger partyís in Birmingham or the old Breaks FM partyís at Raindance just for the vibe and the progression of the music.
Q) Youíve had a successful dj career in the U.K. but also youíre loved in Spain with regular appearances at Summer fest and Bass Pressure. What is it about that part of the world that gives them such an appreciation of your sound?
A) When I play AndalucŪa I feel at home, I love Spanish people and the culture, the parties have always been the best for breakbeat. I felt I embraced the country and it embraced me. I didnít take it for granted, it wasnít just about getting paid and moving on. I saw that Spain would take breakbeat as their own music and I wanted to help nurture it. No other country has breakbeat parties on the scale that AndalucŪa has and I feel proud to be part of that history.
Q) If you were put in the unlikely situation of having to define youíre sound to someone in three records what would they be?
A) wow thatís hard... hmm ok I would play Fabians ďprophecyĒ, Ruffage crews ďDarkriderĒ on reinforced records and ghost town by the Specials.
Q) Thinking back to when you first started producing things must have changed a lot. Have you any advice for any young aspiring producers looking to get noticed?
A) A lot has changed but still the groundworkís the same, get yourself on a radio show either pirate or internet, get your mixtapes out to as many people and play what you want. Donít play whatís cool on the latest dance chart or think you have to sell yourself short by playing a load of cheesy shit, be yourselfÖ if you want to make it commercially then join a boy band and do it properly + you will earn more money. lol
Q) Is there one piece of studio software or hardware that you couldnít live without and you find yourself turning to when all else fails?
A) I use my Mac book pro for everything and lives with me 24/7 as I can write whenever and where ever I like. Itís fully loaded with Logic 9, waves bundle + other goodies. I have the latest Ableton but only use it when I do my live show or for time stretching samples. The most ground breaking bit of kit Iíve seen lately is melodyne. Iím fortunate enough to live in a massive studio/mansion with Dave Pemberton (Engineer/producer) to The prodigy, Groove Armada, Orbital etc. and so we have a lot of kit to mess about with. I dug out loads of my old synths like the Juno-106 and the 101 the other week Ö me and Dave were blown away by how fat they sound.
Q) With so much good new music available itís hard to keep up with everything going on these days but what current djís and producers excite you most at the moment?
A) At the moment Iíve been checking out more live dance acts who can do things properly live and two acts id mention would be the Dirty Rich and Killaflaw, both acts are taking things to the next level in performing dance music live, Dj wise im loving Dj Raggs selection. Production wise im loving Hellfire Machina, Mikey Antiserum, Dj Madd, Fused Forces, 6Blocc, Lionfire and anything on Digital Soundbwoy.
Q) Looking forward what can we expect to see from Yoof in the rest of 2011?
A) This year is gonna be crazy, I got my 5 track E.p out now on Subslayers which is getting a lot of attention and Iím real proud of it, Iím currently working on a project with Dj Raggs, doing vocal tracks with Rachel Wallace from Suburban base fame and also Iíve finished a vocal track with a band called Kid British who I mixed there last E.p. these guys are the new specials and already have been supporting bands like Ub40. Iíve also been working with Dave Pemberton on a cool downtempo project with a singer called Anna, Dave is behind trip hop outfit Kinobi and asked me to get involved in this new project, itís like massive attack on a dubstep vibe. Iím also gonna be doing more collaboration's with The Dirty rich and helping out with their new label. At the moment Iím loving music so much, Iím working on everything from live band stuff, reggae, breaks, dubstep, trip-hopÖit feels healthy.
Q) Any shouts or other information you would like to let the Dubplates family know about?
A) Shout to my brother and Tom (Hellfire machina) over in new york, Dj Raggs, Dave Pemberton, The Dirty Rich boys, Sean and all the Kid British lads, Alex gold (Lionfire), Andy Buddstep, Killaflaw, Codish, Ken mac and Inch, Ghost records family, Jay Cunning and everyone at Subslayers, Pj and smiley (shut up and dance). Everyone at the mansion, Dan Dan the bud man and everyone who has supported my music over the yearsÖ.of course my mum.
This Friday at 8PM you can hear an exclusive mix from Yoof live on Dubplates Radio www.dubplates.co.uk ... the mix will then be made available for download with a full tracklisting.