It’s been a while since we last had a podcast and we’re very happy to announce this new one by London’s K15, a good friend and very talented producer. We’ll start with an interview and you can listen to a selection of his tunes, and you can listen to the wonderful mix he came up with at the bottom of this page.
What is your first memory of music and what got you into making music yourself?
Music was kinda always in my house, from my mum and my dad. But then I guess it would’ve been in my teenage years, when I was listening a lot of jungle and a lot of drum’n’bass. And I was just in awe of everything produced at the time, drum programming and samples. It was only when I got older when I realized what sampling actually was and where they were taking their sounds from. But that whole thing really got to me. So I used to go to school and I did music as a GCSE. There was a teacher, he had a copy of Cubase, and I tried to make drum’n’bass tracks and they were simply awful by any standard. But that’s when I realized this is fun, but I need to find a way to do it at some stage. And I didn’t do any music in terms of production stuff for years. Then software kinda got better and someone introduced me to Reason. I was listening to a lot of rap music and obviously to people like Jay Dee, Madlib, Hi-Tek, Pete Rock, 88-Keys, all of those guys. I thought I need to try and do this, so it was just years of figuring out ways to create music and not just listening to albums, but studying them, watching interviews, reading interviews. It was around that time, that I realized that actually that is something that’s gonna stick with me for a period of time.
How old were you at the time?
The jungle stuff would’ve been about 13/14 and I was DJing at the time aswell, or learning to DJ and buying records. The production stuff would’ve been 2001, so eleven years ago which is a long period of time to do anything. Some years later, here I am, still the same in my room doing music, buying records.
Give us an insight to the gear you use, do you prefer hardware or software?
I use this guys here, this is an MPC2000XL, so I used that but a lot of it has been software, only because software is kind of easier to get ideas down. Because I attempt to play keyboards and stuff, I have more of a range of sounds in software than I do in my MPC. So just out of convenience, software tends to be my go-to platform. But I’m still very much of a keen MPC advocate and I do still use it from time to time. Sonically, to me my MPC always sounds ten times more intense in terms of the drums than any software I’ve ever used. It just has that raw audio quality, whereas a lot of the sounds in the software I use is heavily compressed before you even do anything. The MPC has an edge to me in terms in sound.
I know you have an incredibly wide range of interest when it comes to music, how does this affect your own production?
I wanted to sound like what I heard as great music, so I wanted to really get my boombap sample stuff tight and for ages I did nothing but focus on that. And then I discovered guys like 4hero and Domu and instantly I thought, hang on a second, there are other rhythms that I could try to do. The rap/soul has always been what I’ve been striving to do, but then over the years I’ve made a lot of house music, a lot of ambient music, and a lot of weird techno type of music. I think it’s because I’m interested in a lot of types of music, is why I don’t just make one thing. I’m literally just finishing an EP and a lot of that is house-ish or dance-ish type music. I’m into all kind of music, so at some stage I’m gonna attempt to butcher a genre and do something with it man [laughs]
You first told me about your EP way back, but it only came out recently. What took you so long?
[laughs] You know what, that EP was meant to come out some years ago and it didn’t, which is fine. I think I’m slightly choosy about what I tend to put out in any way. It just kinda came when it was ready. So that came through WotNot, which is a label in London that put out very amazing modern electronic type of music. One of the guys who is behind it all, I met him over Twitter, met him for a coffee and he’s just the most delightful person. He was always interested in my music, I sent him some bits and he thought cool, let’s do this. I think the way labels work now, or this particular label, is just interest in people, who have a passion for music, different types of music, who come together and want to be part of something. They’re really cool guys, encouraging me to do more stuff. That was fun, it [Theme Music For A Pariah] came out in March of this year.
You must have made a lot of new music since you first finished that EP…
Yeah, I pretty much do music every day. So I get up, go to work, I come home and when come home I go to work again, it’s just music. Music gets made more or less every day. There are two projects that I just finished, two EPs that I’ve done, I’m just trying to get the artwork sorted for that. There’s another project called Culross Close, which is like a band, but it’s like a weird imaginary band, so all the different parts are played by musicians, but all the musicians are just figments of my imaginations. Or maybe they’re all me, I don’t know. There’s a lot of different types of music waiting to come out.
Any good shows you’ve seen recently?
The last week was kind of crazy, I saw the Robert Glasper Experience on Monday. Dude, that was insaaaaaaaane, insane! They played for like three hours, Bilal was there, Lalah Hathaway was there as a guest vocalist. I’ve seen Robert Glasper too many times, I don’t even count, but that show, the size and the feel of it was just magnificent. To see the diversity in his audience that he has now, on the back of this one album, ridiculous. Then on Wednesday I saw Thundercat at Fabric, he’s always a good guy to see, because he just noodles on the bass for ages. Then I saw Kaidi Tatham again on Thursday. I’m going to the Watch The Throne show tomorrow. Lots and lots of shows have been happening and I’m checking out some parties as well. There’s a record label, Eglo, and they have parties every so often and I go and see those guys DJ. There’s Swamp 81 that put good parties on as well and I need to spend some more time there. And the WotNot guys had massive party in conjuction with Lunice and that was a really big thing. This Thursday the WotNot guys are doing a Ustream and there’ll be a group of us DJing, telling jokes and doing some readings from Oscar Wilde.
Any good records you’ve been buying recently?
I bought a pianist called Vijay Iyer, he got a new album out called Accelerando, one of the tracks off the album is on the mix. I’ve been buying a lot of deep house stuff, a lot of Glenn Underground, some old house records, some Kenny Dope and Louie Vega stuff. And a lot of classical stuff as well. Stravinsky, Debussy, Sibelius, just lots of random stuff which is always kinda crazy to listen to, cause you play that and then you sit back at your computer to try and make something and you’re just humbled for like a week. You realize, just stop this, this is what music is supposed to sound like, this is serious.
And lastly, what kind of records did you pick for the mix?
There’s a little bit of everything. I buy a lot of records and initially I used to buy just to sample and then I realized I actually like a lot of the stuff I was buying, so now I just buy music because I enjoy playing records and pretending to DJ every now and again. So on the mix there’s some Larry Heard, some Jessica Williams, Jean Grae, Marcellus Pittman, lots and lots of different records that I bought in the last few months. There was probably an expectation that I was just gonna play hip hop music or electronic instrumental music. I’m into everything, so I tried to keep it as varied as possible and throw the odd Steve Reich loop in there just for the fun. Lots of good music, songs I generally play in my spare time and enjoy listening to.
01. Vijay Iver Trio – The star of a story
02. Happy The Man – Upon The Rainbow
03. Larry Heard – Missing you
04. Omar S & Kai Alice – Jive Time (unreleased beats)
05. Zed Bias – Music Deep Inside
06. Bicep – Stripper
07. N’n’G – I Keep
08. Marcellus Pittman – Razz09
09. Glenn Underground – Chicago Theme
10. Steve Reich – Come out
11. Claus Ogermann Orchestra – Caprice
12. Isotope – Attila
13. Jean Grae – Love Song
14. Camp Lo – Luchini (aka This Is It)
15. The Roots – Concerto of the Desperado (instrumental)
16. Steve Spacek – Peep Live Show
17. Jessica Williams – Return To The Portal of Antrim