Category Archives: Interviews

Interviews by Huwston on 2SER’s ‘Soul Glow’ program – 3-4pm Tuesdays (Sydney time) 107.3fm / www.2ser.com

New Interview with Max Weissenfeldt (Poets Of Rhythm / Philophon Records)

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Check out my interview with Drummer, Producer and Composer Max Weissenfeldt here. He’s been ‘instrumental’ (geddit) in my evolution as a DJ, Music lover, radio programmer and record collector having played in and worked with such acts as The Poets Of Rhythm, The Whitefield Brothers, The Heliocentrics, Dr John, Polyversal Souls and more.

His latest project is Philophon Records – an amazing Soul label exploring the Universe of sound.

Check out their catalogue below

Martyn Interview for Fabric50

Martyn is one of my favourite Electronic music producers and DJs – effortlessly understanding Techno, House, Dubstep and more. Check out an interview I did with him 6 years ago for his Fabric 50 Mix CD.

 

New Interviews with Jack Splash, Rockwell and Golden Rules

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Check out my new interviews with Jack Splash (Cool Uncle, Plantlife), Rockwell (Shogun Audio) and Paul White of Golden Rules over at Cool Accidents.

It’s been great to be writing again – I hope you enjoy these interviews. The artists certainly gave in depth and thoughtful answers!

Paul White Interview: Shaker Notes

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Anyone who follows this blog or used to listen to my radio show ‘Soul Glow’ knows what an avid fan of Paul White I am. Paul White’s music first came to me listening to Benji B on BBC 1 Xtra in 2009 and his debut album ‘The Strange Dreams of Paul White’ really invigorated the Post-Dilla beat scene which had well and truly fallen stagnant due to so many Detroit dick-riders gaining prominence for no good reason other than an a poor attempt to fill the void felt by the amazing producer’s departure.

Paul’s followed up with myriad projects since then. A full-blown Rap album, more beatscapes, a work comprising purely of Swedish psych-rock samples and all many of other bits and pieces. His latest work ‘Watch The Ants’ hinted at a desire to work more with live instruments but it was the announcement of his signing to R & S Record with an almost 100% live album that had me wondering whether I’d still be following one of my favourite producers on his next journey. No doubt, he’s a deft hand and R & S are no slouches when it comes to A & R so thankfully, the album is every bit as tasty, weird, scratchy, heady and wobbly as you’d expect. 

I had to get him on the line to find out more!

Me: Hello again, Paul. It’s been great to watch the progress from ‘Strange Dreams’ to ‘Shaker Notes,’ well done! Was this always the game plan? I know many artists don’t approach their music this way but when you were making beats back then were you always thinking, ‘I could/would/should play this shit live?’

Paul White: Yo Huw, thanks! I think somewhere deep down that has always been in the back of my mind, but its grown organically and naturally into this without consciously planning! I was playing instruments singing and writing songs before I wrote beats and throughout all this time I’ve been writing bits of music for TV also! I love too many genres and styles of music to stick to only one thing, I try not to think in genres at all anyway I think music is music! I always used to think I wish I could write stuff and sample myself! So that’s another plan now! The world’s a big place to explore, so is music!

Me: What sort of background do you have as a musician? How much external help did you get on the record? Do you think musicians who aren’t trained with strict discipline are actually more free to discover new sounds and melodies?

Paul White: I used to write songs on the piano and guitar and voice as a teenager, I used to play and have lessons as a kid, then moved through to electronic music at college. I did get very bored of formal music training on the piano and stopped and just wrote songs on my own which I loved.
I’m lucky enough now to have some amazing and seriously inspiring people/musicians around me so as soon as I had a load of songs written for this new record I called in some people to lend their talents, it’s been a dream for a while to have myself and some musical friends on an album together.
I think there aren’t any rules, everyone individually is different and takes things in differently and will use that knowledge in their own individual way, the way they hear things and feel about things will come through. It’s the way you approach something with what you have or don’t have! I think music theory knowledge is great and to learn that is great, its just a shame that rules are taught with theory sometimes depending on the teacher! It’s basically a language so certain things can be really useful I can imagine, I want to learn more about those things now, but of course this can also train you to not see certain places and things sometimes, again depending on student and teacher. So I’d say both sides has advantages and disadvantages, it’s all how you take it really, how you choose to absorb it and play with it. There’s definitely something to be said about being self taught!

Me: This release is the one least amount of samples on it for you, isn’t it?

Paul White: This album isn’t like any of my previous records that have all been sample based! I wanted to write and play music again, you always want to keep changing and challenging yourself, not that I don’t still do that within beats and sampling, but I was going through alot whilst writing this album and I found the best way for me to get life out at the time was to pick up instruments again and just hit record and play and not sample!! So I feel pleased in that way like this is 100% all me and my soul! With some of my friends and family’s mixed in there on top too!

Me: A lot of sample based producers slip when they make the move to live instrumentation on albums because they can’t get the grainy textures they get from the old records and recording techniques. How did you achieve that on this record? 

Paul White: Old ass equipment that’s how, simple, I’ve never worked with anything “new”, this album was made on old half broken shit! I’m actually only just starting to muck around with a few more newer toys, but that’s all they are toys! You can make music with a stone! My ear has been tuned into grain for so long it’s ingrained! There’s always a lot to explore sonically as well as musically!

Me: Do you worry that fans of your vocal hip hop records will not know what’s going on here? Do you hope they’ve come along for the journey? Do you think that if they were in to Paul White back then then it’s almost granted that there is a mutual appreciation for the styles on Shaker Notes?

Paul White: If I think about fans wants and what they’re used to or would expect too much it’s all over creativity, music is music, it just so happens to be my therapy, lots of musicians say that because it’s true, it is like entering another world I go somewhere and don’t come back for hours and when I’m back there’s music recorded, if I thought about that too much and what it would be before hand it wouldn’t be so free and enjoyable, I love music for what it’s given me so when I write music I want to give back to music! Obviously it means the world to me people like my music and if anything I’d love the thought of people listening to different types of music all together and forgetting genres just feeling energies, id like to say music is music and genres only get in the way creativity, sound is sound, birds make some of the best music on the planet!! I’ve not listened to certain types of music because I’d thought I wouldn’t like it but I’m surprising myself with how much different stuff I’m liking at the moment and it excites me to write more, and go everywhere, saying that the next album I might focus on one thing for a change up again!

Me: Do you plan to keep producing Hip Hop? Danny Brown told me personally you are his favourite producer to write to/work with.

Paul White: Of course I’ll always write beats I love it all the same, like I said music is music, it’s just sounds and different sounds at certain tempos etc fit Into different “genres” but It’s all just sound, the universe plays music, you know! Just sent Danny another load of beats just the other day and he picked out another batch! It feels crazy working with him like I know him or were real similar or something it’s crazy, just raw energies, he’s my favourite to work with too! There’s a crazy connection there for sure! I’ll always work with him, and Homeboy Sandman, and lots more people, I want to work with as many people as possible, I’m doing that a lot more now, sharing the energy it’s an amazing feeling, I’m working with quite a few other people right now, producing Hip hop, and other styles of music too, lots of different projects on the go at the moment!

Me: Are you still surfing / aspiring to surf?

Paul White: Well I just got off crutches for the second time this year so I officially quit skateboarding, cement is hard and hurts a shit load when you hit it at 20 miles an hour, so yeah from now on I’m just sticking to surfing! It’s so purifying and free, it takes you back to just raw survival at times you know, just you against nature, it turns into a dance of energies! Like writing music!

Me: Anything else you would like to share with us?

Paul White: Working on lots more music for next year, various collaborations and projects! Look out for a project I’ve done with a guy called Eric Biddines were going under the name Golden Rules, we’re kinda like a band, we got an album finished! More Danny Brown, loads more other things I’ll wait to talk about!!!!!

Guvera Interviews Adrian Younge About His New Album With Souls Of Mischief

Check out the Q&A composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge did with Guvera right here and enjoy a track from the album ‘There Is Only Now’ with Souls of Mischief below:

Mark Pritchard Interview

Just realised this has been sitting in my drafts for a year!!!

Mark has a new EP out this week under his own name and its some of best work yet

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Did this catch up with Mark when he and Tom Middleton were about to do their first DJ sets together again for a while.

The name Mark Pritchard has been attached to many recording guises, all synonymous with quality. Be it his collaborations with Tom Middleton as Global Communication, Jedi Knights or Reload, or his own Troubleman, Harmonic 33 or 313 phases or simply his birth name, consistency is what Pritchard has brought to the table since the early nineties.

In early 2008, the first definitive Harmonic 313 (a reference to Detroit’s postal code) product in EP1 arrived on Warp, after an all too brief taste on the Azymuth remix album and it showcased that low slung, bass heavy instrumental hip hop that is gaining some popularity thanks to a close knit scene of beat makers like Flying Lotus, Jay Scarlett and the extended Benji B (BBC Radio 1Xtra) or Andrew Meza (BTS Radio) family.

Currently in the UK touring the EP, Pritchard took some time out to talk about juggling projects, the Harmonic 313 album and the upcoming Smirnoff Experience Secret Party he is playing with fellow Jedi Knight Tom Middleton.

‘I have been really happy with it (the reaction to EP 1),’ he says. ‘I haven’t had anything out for a while and the industry has changed since my last record. All of the people I have met have said that it sold well… Not what you do five years ago but still a reasonable amount. The record shops are saying they’re doing quite well,’ he says, genuinely relieved that it’s not all doom and gloom in the market place.

The aforementioned musical family (as profiled recently in Shook Magazine) seems to have planted its roots firmly in the ground and are not going away anytime soon. How does Pritchard the seasoned vet see the scene developing?

‘It’s getting a nice reaction and people are liking Flying Lotus, SamIAm and Hudson Mohawk, but it still needs to be broke to a lot of new people,’ he explains. ‘People still need to be exposed to it – Dubstep people are checking it out – and people seem to be checking out new styles (in the club). I am noticing people want to hear a bit of hip hop, a bit of Dubstep, new and old stuff, and some classic techno, so tastes are definitely switching up.’

The album is due out in November and Mark is all too happy to share the plans for the 313 project with me (and with the rest of the world on BBC 1Xtra later that week).

‘I am back (in Sydney) in June and have a month and half to finish it. It’s all written, it’s just mixing and arranging. The plan is, it’s got a few tracks with MCs on it, Steve Spacek on a track, the rest will be instrumental and quite varied with some electronica, some hip hop and some four-four acid tunes, but slowed so it doesn’t seem like a house tune.’

To separate the album and straight up club fare, 12”s of tunes you may have heard on Benji B’s radio show will appear. For example the illusive Drunken Isht may appear with vocals by MED and the impregnable Battlestar may have more than just a reference to Detroit on it, if Elzhi and Phat Kat’s vocals come through. Couple that with material as Africa High-Tech (with Steve Spacek) and Reload (with Tom Middleton) plus his up to date bio mentioning a new Troubleman album and you have one very busy boy.

‘(I am) juggling them – not very well! When I finish this – I am working on a lot of them together – When that’s done then it’s the Reload and the Africa High Tech stuff and then some Dubstep too – but the Reload stuff will take the next priority,’ he says, seemingly making a list in his head.

‘Me and Steve have three tracks done to start the ball rolling,’ he says. The name itself conjures all kinds of different genres, which is exactly what we can expect.

‘It’s all a bit faster, like140bpm, with some grime and techno and some dubsteppy things, some dancehall things… there’s one that’s more of a broken beat tune – we want it to be a futuristic dancehall style. I’m really happy with the sound we have been getting with it,’ says Pritchard, explaining the work ethic as experimental but fluid and natural at the same time.

Finally, his reuniting with Tom Middleton as Jedi Knights for the upcoming Smirnoff Experience events across Australia will be a similarly varied affair.

‘I’m looking forward to it,’ he says. ‘We will pick a classic era and do a set in that style, like classic electro or maybe an old school techno and acid house set and do that together and then we’re both playing separately, too, so I can play a varied set in a different room, I might play dubstep one night, another gig I might play boogie and disco, which will be fun.’

What may seem a risk for a big brand looking for mass exposure is definitely not when putting their audience in the hands of such formidable talent.

‘We do a set like this for Fabric once a year with classics and maybe a bit of new stuff,’ he explains. ‘It works quite well cos Tom and I are quite different. I play more classic stuff and although he plays less commercial stuff (in the club sense), he’s a really good club entertainer and can entertain big big crowds of two or three thousand people. We play in different ways so it works.’

Armani XXXChange Interview

 

Armani XXXchange interview by Huwston

 

Armani XXXchange is Alex Epton, the Baltimore based producer that presented the best LP of the genre whose name derives from his home town in Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo, as part of Spank Rock. He’s finally making it to Australia on the lineup of the upcoming Park Life shows after two Spank Rock tours sans the integral element of Epton (one which was even minus the front man), but with remixes for Beck and Thom Yorke plus production for The Kills and Kid Sister on the way, he’s had more than enough to keep himself busy.

Speaking from his home, the softly spoken and sometimes giggly producer first lays out why he hasn’t appeared on our shores earlier.

‘Well I guess just personal reasons, I had some family shit the last couple of years and was planning on going both trips so I ended up not having to go.’

With both parties keen not to push that subject we discuss what we can expect from the show, with Alex cementing that he is really keen to be out here.

‘It depends on the time of day, if it’s during the night I have some video show but if it’s during the day it’s just Djing,’ he says, putting to rest any notion of guest MCs or singers although, after all, it is his first tour, so an entourage could be due in the visits to come.

The Spank Rock live show currently consists of MCs Spank Rock, Amanda Blank and Pase Rock plus Djs Ronnie Darko and Chris Devlin and although XXXchange enjoys being a part of the spectacle, he’s got a pretty hectic schedule.

‘I am happy to stay at home – although I have been djing with them a lot lately,’ he says, admitting ‘I am kind of the studio rat.’

‘I do enjoy going to the shows, I just don’t want to tour extensively… it can be really exhausting.’

With his bio insisting he has a heavy art upbringing from groovy parents, just how much of this guy’s life is devoted to art and music?

‘The inspiration for a concept,’ (for a song) he says, ‘I take more from modern art… it’s more like doing a collage kind of thing, you can do that with music and make it be a horrible mess, so you have to make sure stuff works.’

Referencing, of course the Baltimore and mash up mentality, he succinctly describes the thin line between genius and disaster on a dance floor. Big Dada (the label that released Spank Rock’s first album) label boss Will Ashon suggested that Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo is the only good long player to come out the genre and time has proved that he is right.

‘It seems like that  (the ‘Baltimore’ sound) sort of came together for a bit and now the scene is drifting apart, at least over here. That was a big inspiration for making the record (all of the genres and crew mixing) but things are a bit more disparate now.’

He references ‘all of this French music’ confusing people a bit as to what the next thing is which, in a way, is a beautiful irony for a genre that draws from such a wild palette. Continuing the art metaphor, XXXchange sums things up nicely.

‘Once you start making music that doesn’t have anything to do with your physical ability to play an instrument, it has to do with sound and sound design, and what your ideas are.’

He says a lot of the more interesting art theory hasn’t really been done with modern music, it’s all been done with video art, but he doesn’t dabble in the visual side of things, just his concepts that he fleshes out on a computer rather than a canvas.