OCCUPATION: DJ / PRODUCER
Q1: Where are you from?
A1: I'm from South West London, Lambeth Borough.
Q2: What do you do?
A2: I'm a producer / DJ.
Q3: How did you come to start playing around with music production / mixing?
A3: I've always had an interest in music for as long as I can remember, I was always trying to teach myself how to play instruments. But I would always mess around with beat-making games, like the one on the old Sony Ericson’s that let you make songs from different loops. It was only when I started DJ'ing back in 08, that I wanted to start making beats so I could play my own stuff.
Q4: Did you ever study music, or are you more self-taught?
A4: Everything self-taught, I tried to learn a bit more in college but that wasn't really for me so I ended up leaving with like a D or E or something, but at the same time there were days where I had to miss lessons to play in other countries so I didn't care too tough about the grades.
Q5: How does London’s music culture influence your sound?
A5: London music culture plays has a BIG influence on my sound. I grew up in an estate in South London so grime / Channel U / garage have all been a big foundation for me growing up because that's what was mainly around us.
Q6: What are your favorite parts of performing in front of a crowd?
A6: Probably seeing the reaction to my music, especially the new bits.
Q7: Do you think Instagram is a vital tool when connecting with other creatives, how often do you use it?
A7: It definitely is vital nowadays because everyone's on it. I need to use Instagram more but I'm kind of a low-key person naturally so just I don't think to document everything I'm doing, but it has it has been a good way of connecting with people who support my music. On Instagram it seems like supporters feel more comfortable with dropping a DM to tell me how much they can't wait for the new stuff or give feedback on ideas, which is always sick to see.
Q8: Do you ever find yourself comparing your work to others on social media?
A8: Naturally everyone does I think, what you have to do is make sure you're using it as motivation and not a reason to feel like what you're doing isn't good otherwise you will stress yourself out. I try not to buy into people's social media image though, everyone only shows the best bits, so it’s all air. I've seen people deep in overdrafts stunting and people in bad relationships trying to sell some Disney fairytale, so you gotta take it all with a pinch of salt.
Q9: What motivates you to keep going and producing content, do you ever have lazy phases?
A9: Not so much lazy phases but more writers block or lack of motivation from some things not going well. I stay motivated by just knowing that this is what I want to do and knowing that there's people all over the world who rate what I'm doing so it would be stupid to not to pursue what I love and make things happen.
Q10: What are your long-term goals within the industry?
A10: I don't really care about being "industry" to be honest, I pretty much just want to make music that means something to me and be able to perform it and make money off of it. That's been the plan from day 1 so every show and deal I've got so far has been a big blessing.
Q11: What do you think are the biggest challenges, faced by producers / DJ’s in this industry?
A11: Right now I think the biggest challenges are getting noticed with all the music that's being put out. There's a lot of noise to filter through on Instagram and Soundcloud, so finding a way for people to want to engage with your content is key.
Q12: Do you think freelance should be a more viable career option for millennials? (Instead of unpaid internships etc. If so, why?)
A12:Yeah unpaid internships are basically exploitation for me because a lot of the time you see people working as hard as they would in a paid job for a company who has no interest in paying them. Freelance isn't easy because its more trial and error until you establish yourself but the payment process is annoying but I've never been a fan of working for somebody else, especially for free.
Q13: What do aspiring entrepreneurs need in order for this to happen?
A13: Just need to be happy to grind like crazy to make things happen. And also be prepared to spend forever chasing invoices because some of these companies out here are cold-hearted.
Q14: What is your opinion on the modern A&R process in London?
A14: It definitely seems like there are a lot of clueless people in strong positions that only want to chase viral hype, but there are some genuinely sick guys out there who put on proper talent in London, but a lot of it comes down to who you know not how good you are and that's all long.
Q15: Do you think it’s important to be alone in order to find motivation / inspiration?
A15: Yes and No, depends on the person really. I'm not a lonely person but I am someone who likes being alone to get things done because I have proper tunnel-vision when I try to go deep into work-mode, everything else feels like a distraction at the time.
Q16: You mentioned to me that adidas used one of your tracks for their new campaign, tell me about how that felt!
A16: That was very mad for me, I think mainly down to the fact that I usually spend about a year or 2 on a tune so its mad to think a tune I spent a day on 'Who's the Hardest' (the track they used) was the one that appealed to them the most. The love on that tune has been crazy in general, I've had people telling me it's their favourite grime instrumental of all time and had others cut it to vinyl with their own money too which is sick.
Q17: What software / equipment do you use when your mixing / editing?
A17: I use FL Studio 11 still and I don't think that's gonna change anytime soon even though FL21 is coming soon.
Q18: How important is it for you to be surrounded by people that are supportive of your work?
A18: It is sick that my closest friends do support what I do and I feel grateful for that. On the flip-side of that I see so many of those "if your friends don't support your music, drop them" tweets and I feel like that’s such a poor mentality to have. I always think, instead of concentrating on people you know who don't support your music just make sure the people who do, know that you appreciate them. Instead of crying because your best friend who doesn't even like grime doesn't hype your stuff up.
Q19: What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to make music?
A19: Just do it, don't care too much about opinions but always take on criticism even if you don't agree with it. I'm someone who used to care so much about what people thought of my music when I was younger but it just slows down your musical output. Someone out there is always gonna enjoy your music so sometimes you just need to get it out there.
Q20: Who are your biggest influences musically, which genres have impacted your sound growing up?
A20: My biggest sound influences are definitely Grime, garage / future garage, dubstep & chip-tune music, I feel like those genres are definitely the main staples of my sound. I've listened to a lot of different genres growing up so it would be too long to list all of my influences but within those genre's I'd say Joker, Ironsoul, Burial, Chris Lorenzo, French Fries, Jamie XX & Young Dot are probably the main ones.
Q21: What have you got in store musically this year, and where can people hear it?
A21: I'm dropping my first vinyl this year called 'Yoshimitsu.' The EP has four tunes on it: Yoshimitsu, which is like a soundtrack based on the Tekken character, Still in the Game featuring Emz which you can now watch on GRM Daily, Still in the Bits (Still in the Game Instrumental) & The Gardens (played on BBC 1Xtra as Stockwell Gardens). That will be released on Comic Strip Klub over the next coming months, as well as joint grime EP with Emz which should be coming soon. After that it’s just more club-driven stuff with labels like Lengoland & Kiwi Records. Yoshimitsu will be a vinyl only exclusive but the rest of my forthcoming music will easily be found on Itunes/Spotify etc.