How has the process been of releasing your first solo singles?
The process has been explorative.
Each step of creating & releasing the records has provided me with a broader perspective on both myself & how music works from the inception of the jam all the way to answering questions like this right now.
What were the initial inspirations for your single ‘Rain’ and what made you choose ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ to sample?
The initial inspiration for 'Rain' came from a feeling of being exhausted from trying to live up to the expectations that others had put on me, rather than doing what was true to myself.
I was playing with the idea of putting that lyric against the drum break. The rest came together quickly afterwards. I knew I wanted to have steel pans in contrast to the darker section so the structure of the track was conceived from that idea. We didn't end up directly sampling the Ann Peebles recording, but nonetheless we were very inspired.
How was the reaction to your first release, ‘I’m Thru’ and what made you want to make the jump from producer to performer?
The reaction to 'I'm Thru' was uplifting. I'm happy that everyone is enjoying listening to it as much as we enjoyed jamming it.
I was 13 when I wrote my first song, we formed a scene of artists & bands at school where we'd upload our recordings & play gigs at the weekend. On finishing school I spent a few years at RAK & Strongroom studios learning from the greats, following which I spent a few years focused on producing for others. All of these experiences shaped me as an individual before I inevitably started releasing my own jams again.
Making music is something that I Iove to do, so whether it's for myself or others there is always a project on the go - this is just the beginning.
"We have to commit to sharing our ideas, experimenting & pushing the limits."
What did you want to explore sonically, with that track?
With 'I'm Thru' I wanted to explore groove-based music verging on funk that slaps like a hip-hop record. Sonically, I discovered that doubling up a Fender P Bass with a Juno 106 on the sub can be groovy and heavy at the same time. This is a technique I've been using since.
On ‘I'm Thru’ we printed the string section onto cassette with a 4track tape recorder. We further explored the idea of using tape by printing the 'Rain' mix onto 2 track reel-to-reel.
These are all experiments that I've learnt from and continue to develop going forward.
What three tips would you give to producers starting out?
Spend time with an instrument & learn the language of music. This is important as the techniques you learn become your musical vocabulary.
Collaborate with others & create a community. From listening to & learning with your collaborators you can help each other achieve your goals.
Experiment, don't be afraid to fail & think big! We have to commit to sharing our ideas, experimenting & pushing the limits.
How important do you find collaboration is for creative growth?
I have a close team of collaborators that has slowly evolved over the years, we know each other well and have established trust. At this point it's amazing as we all feel free to express, push each other and lend our ideas to whatever we're working on.
"... the most unexplored territory in music lies in the combination of live & programmed instruments."
How important is incorporating live instrumentation into your music as well as experimenting with more electronic/experimental production?
Live instruments are important to me as you just can't replicate somebody bleeding over their guitar strings or sweating out a groove on the drums. These things are a part of being human and when recorded capture a moment in time. When these moments are mixed with the tight clean sound of electronic sequencers I fall in love with the hybrid. I personally feel that the most unexplored territory in music lies in the combination of live & programmed instruments.
How does having a knowledge of instrumentation aid your production?
If the song has emotion & the musical arrangement compliments it then that definitely aids the production. At that point the production process becomes an exercise in capturing a moment & bringing the arrangement to life.
If you had to best show your range by choosing two tracks that you’ve produced, which would you choose and why?
Miraa May - Angles Ft. Jme
This was a fun record to be a part of as initially Miraa recorded all the vocals to some piano chords I played. After that I went away and produced it, Jme recorded his verse & then the record came out. I liked this process as it was organic and summed up that time in our lives.
I Initially recorded the drum break at Strongroom late one night & later had it rocking with those prophet chords. As soon as Connie sang the opening lines we both knew the record was special & it ended up being the single from her album. I love this one as it's got that hybrid feel between the live instruments and the programmed parts.
"... it's often about getting as much emotion out of the choruses as possible, the jam locking in & creating space to experiment within the music."
How does your creative process differ when producing for yourself opposed to for other artists?
My tracks sometimes begin as a montage of hooks & grooves that emit emotions. When i'm writing them it's often about getting
as much emotion out of the choruses as possible, the jam locking in & creating space to experiment within the music.
Whereas when i'm writing with others we often approach the writing style with a more traditional verse/chorus structure. I'm very blessed to work with amazing voices and I usually tailor the arrangement so it complements the lead vocal.
If you could produce for any artist, who would it be and what kind of track would you want to make?
I would love to produce more records with indie/rock bands. The attitude & songwriting of The Clash with the added possibilities of modern techniques & technology would be a dream!
Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
When I was younger my mum listened to a lot of soul, RnB & classic pop albums, most of her music was on vinyl that I've since inherited. My dad mainly listened to a lot of Ska bands & some reggae music.
The first music I ever discovered for myself at around 11 years old was Sam Cooke, Ray Charles & Nina Simone. Around the same time my uncle gave me his old itunes collection so while I was at school I listened to a lot of Alicia Keys, Dr.Dre, Kanye & Pharrell.
My first experience in a major recording studio was with Nile Rogers @ RAK when I was 17. Ever since then I've had a massive love for the CHIC records. I usually see them live once a year or so.
Today, Bill Evans is inspiring me as i'm spending more time at the piano. I'm also currently inspired by Daft Punk & Justice more than ever as I feel they made some great music that combined soul & dance music that has not been built upon since.
If you guys had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?
The new Madlib album with FourTet is also essential lockdown listening!
What’s coming up for the rest of 2021?
I'm releasing my debut EP 'Summer's Blue' in May. Me & the musicians on the record are also looking forward to playing the tracks live.
I'm excited about getting into some productions with this fresh perspective & empathy I've acquired on what it is to be an artist & express. It would be great to support a new artist via my label Taste of '96 as we've got the resources and a great team of collaborators.
There are songs I can hear in my head that I've started to get down. These will likely be the next LG project so until then, PEACE.