Producer Q&A – Geiom

How cool is that gig flyer? I got it from Geiom’s myspace. Looks like an advert for some 1940’s French Cinema – loving it.
Anyway, we’ve managed to get Geiom to answer our producer Q&A’s. Geiom has been a fixture on the electro and bass scene for a while now, running the consistently classy Berkane Sol records (who have just dropped number 14 – Sugar Coated Lover by Geiom, and remixed by Brackles & Shortstuff), and he’s just had a release on Double Science too. Really chuffed to have him answering these – he’s a sick producer and well known for his clinical, classy production.

How do you approach a tune? Drums first? Melody?

Depends, but usually drums first.

What time of day do you work best?

I can get vibes anytime! its always best to do stuff like organising sounds/samples or anything that involves rewiring the equipment during the day though.

Where do you get your inspiration / motivation from?

Large cash advances. No seriously, everything – a street argument I might have seen, the last dance I went to, films, interesting food. If I’m working with a vocalist a lot of the direction often comes from them.

What do you do when you’re not feeling inspired?

Get crunk, reprogram synths, send bits into my ancient sampler, switch to another tune. If none of that helps, eventually give up and do something totally different for a bit.

Do you start a tune from scratch, or do you usually have a drumset/template/etc to work from?

You can possibly tell from my music that I always start from scratch, which probably makes life a lot harder but I think it helps to make each track sound individual

If you got a chance would you write pop stuff for a major label (if the money was good?)

I think we’re already making our own pop with songs like Sugar Coated Lover (!). Major labels – what do they mean these days really? They are mostly just an advertising machine using the internet to hype their MP3 ‘products’ – which are usually only available – on the internet. I think the independents who actually support vinyl or at least CD’s are far more relevant these days.

What’s the boring, workhorse plugin/piece of kit that you use all the time?

No audio equipment is boring to me…..but of course my analogue mixing desk is always the centre of any piece of music.

What’s the coolest bit of kit you’ve got and do you actually use it much?

Maybe my quadraverb 2 – its an 8 part effects unit that you program yourself. Its easy to get lazy and use plug ins but that unit sounds instantly better than most plug ins.

Do you mixdown your own stuff? Reckon there’s a stigma around this?

Always mixdown my own stuff. I can maybe see the point in letting someone else do that part but its not a road I have ever been down. Some of my stuff is quite intricate, I’m not sure if someone else could do the mixdown for me.

What production technique do you think is really overused / annoying?

Overcompression. Get your mix right in the first place, then you don’t need so much compression. People seem to have forgotten about the simple volume control – if a tune is a bit quiet – get out of your chair and turn it up! There’s a lot of cheesy sidechain going on just now too. It’s a cool trick, but it don’t necessarily make a tune sound good.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out?

I think that music is a lifelong journey, I learn new stuff all the time, it would be less fun if I’d known the answers at the start.

Exclusive DJ Die Interview

Your DJ sets and label releases cover a lot of ground – would you say there’s some kind of a DJ Die aesthetic that ties them all together?
Keep the people dancing to good music.

What makes a tune stand out for you, for your DJ sets or a release on your label?
That certain je ne sais quoi. It’s got to have the flavour!

And when you’re writing, what sparks off a tune for you? For example, with Autumn, was it based around the guitar loop or was that the icing on the cake?
Sometimes when I’m working on my own it’s a sample that will kick off the vibe. I take a lot of sounds from records, CDs or wherever and put them in a sampler or Pro Tools. I then chop them up and start to throw them together like a collage and get a vibe going from that. With ‘Autumn’ I found the killer guitar loop on the B side of a famous funk track called ‘We Got The Funk’ by Positive Force and it was all over.
On the other hand, working with William Cartwright on the recent track ‘Bright LIghts’ we created the Rare Groove section from scratch. Will played all the instruments and we sampled nothing.

All the ClearSkyz releases so far have had really distinctive artwork. How involved with that side are you, do you think it’s more important for vinyl sales now?
I’ve loved getting involved in the artwork side of things. Chris Rees from Luxury Creative Thinking has done most of the covers and created the ClearSkyz logo, but I came up with the ideas for the ‘Skate Or Die’ EP artwork then got a designer to put it together for me.

The Clear Skyz (Break RMX) cover is my favourite so far. While on a DJ trip to Paris a chance meeting with Frederic Vicaire aka Dr Menace would later result in him doing the cover art for Skyz 004. After seeing his comic book, skateboard and classic tattoo-inspired artwork, I instantly fell in love with what he does and bought some of his ‘Villains Conspiracy’ limited edition T-shirts and prints. After getting back to England, I thought I would ask him if he would be interested in doing some artwork for the next release on Skyz and I was really happy when he said yes. When he delivered the final artwork I was blown away – he smashed it down proper with a classic. I had to do a limited-edition picture disc of the release just so I could put one on my wall!
I think it is important to give the music buyer something special they would want to keep, something to give an extra visual vibe to go with the music and maybe even put up on their wall.

What’s coming up for Clear Skyz? Any plans for an album or compilation?
Next up on Skyz is the single ‘Bright Lights’ out May 17th. It’s by me, Interface and William Cartwright. It’s getting a lot of love and I’m really excited to get this one on the streets just in time for summer. Then I think I’m going to do a solo 12”, I’ve got this party roller called ‘Jelly and Ice Cream’ – I just need to finish the flip. After that there is going to be an EP from the hot kid Interface. I’ve also signed this tune, I guess you could call it dub step but its more just straight dub. It’s called ‘Bomba’ and it’s by First Aid and Pulsar, serious deep sub b-line – you need to hear this on a rig! Me, Interface and William Cartwright also have plans to go the lab and do some more stuff so watch the Skyz.

How do you see the DnB scene at the moment? It feels like it’s really opened up lately, with halfstep sounds from Taxman to Autonomic, plus all the liquid, jump up, neuro, etc etc…
Drum and Bass is doing its thing. A lot of stuff I get sent is not up to scratch though – it’s got to be special now. The music has been around some time now and although I like the idea of new styles coming through, it’s got to cut it on its own. Let’s not be minimal for the sake of it, or try to recreate old-school jungle by sampling some old Congo Natty 12. I’m not knocking any of the styles because there are some bad tunes that come through but let’s step it up.
People need to work harder on making something that will last, not just churn out some beat, release it one week then it’s forgotten the next. Have some quality control over your music. I listen to, and play, and make all styles of Jungle / Drum and Bass and will not fall into any pigeon hole. If I want to make jump up then I will, if I want to make liquid then I will. Don’t do something for the sake of it, make music from the heart.

Do you still follow the skate scene? Who’s your all time favourite on the board? And how do you feel skating and music are linked – it feels like there’s a lot of creative people in skating…
I went out skating today. I went and bought a new set up, then went to St. George’s and then Dean Lane (Bristol skate parks). My all time favourite skater is Natas – him and the Gonz were the street skating scientists and invented so many of the street skating foundation tricks – plus a load more that could not be duplicated.
Skating and music are completely related for me. It’s the same mentality. Create, learn new moves and destroy the deck. If it wasn’t for skating in Bristol I would not have met the people I did, and I might not be making music today.

Cheers Die! BTW this is Pinch’s favourite Die tune…

Interview with Chrissy Murderbot

This week, we’ve got a new mix for our bass music mix series from the man like Chrissy Murderbot from Chicago. 2011 has been pretty busy for him, touring & promoting juke all over US and Europe with DJ Rashad and also releasing his album, “Women’s Studies” on Planet Mu. Murderbot has been in the game for years now, I was a fan of his ragga jungle productions on Mashit back in 2005 and he’s also known for having made a mixtape a week on his blog during 2009 and 2010. Chrissy was kind enough to take some time in his mad schedule to answer few questions and deliver a massive bumbooclaat mix!!

So, please introduce yourself – who are you and what do you do?

I am Chrissy Murderbot. I am a DJ/Producer living in Chicago, making and playing lots of different kinds of fun, forward-thinking party music.

What’s the deal with this mix? Is it the kind of set you’d play in a club?

This mix is definitely the type of set I would play in a club, albeit shortened a little. I like to start out with something slower and build up to faster / more energetic types of music. I get really bored by DJs who just play one tempo for their entire set…

So what have you been up to lately? The past few months seem to have been very busy for you…

Been INSANELY busy. Lots of remix work, lots of mixtapes, still promoting my album Women’s Studies on Planet Mu, about to drop my new EP, I’m A Asshole, on my own Loose Squares imprint, as well as releasing new EPs from DJ Lil’Tal (on Loose Squares) and James Braun (on Loose Squares’s sister label, Sleazetone). Also about to head on tour with Machinedrum, followed by a West Coast tour with EPROM in October and a solo European tour in December.

You run the label Loose Squares – can you tell us about it? What’s the thinking behind it?

There’s two labels–Loose Squares and Sleazetone. Loose Squares is an outlet for fun, uptempo booty music. Sleazetone is more on the deep-house-meets-bass-music tip. I suppose the uniting thread in both of them is that they are tunes I feel really strongly about, and that kind of connect the dots between UK dance music culture and Midwestern house, ghetto house, juke, techno, etc.

You’re putting out this new EP of remixes of a juke/footwork classic, “Pop Yo Back” from DJ Lil’Tal. Can you tell us more about it?

That’s the next Loose Squares release. It’s this CLASSIC juke/footwork tune here in Chicago called “Pop Yo Back”…one of those trax that is absolutely legendary around here but has never had a real proper release. We’ve got some awesome remixes from Squire of Gothos, Star Eyes (from Trouble & Bass), Sonido Rampage y Nader (from Ghetto Division and T&A), Mister Ries, and Kaptain Cadillac. Very diverse takes on this track…I’m really excited about it!

Speaking about juke, what came first, juke the dance, or juke the music? Can the two be understood separately? Will we see dancefloors globally adopting their own kind of juke dancing?

Well this is a big misunderstanding–a lot of people confuse juke and footwork. When you talk about “juke” the dance, that’s basically just freak dancing, or fuck dancing, or grinding, or whatever you wanna call it. Anybody can juke. It’s just instinctual and everybody is born with that ability. Footwork is different–that’s the really crazy stuff you see in youtube videos from footwork battles and stuff like that. And in terms of the music, Juke music is just a faster, more modern version of Ghetto House. Footwork is the stuff that evolved from juke specifically for the footworkers–the tracks with the really sideways rhythms, halftime claps, etc. Footwork dancing has been around since before footwork music really existed as a thing, but they both kind of evolve together and inform how the other will develop.

What is the actual difference between juke and jit, and do Chicagoans hate jit?

There is no hate. Chicago has a lot of love for Detroit and vice versa–so many great musicians in both places. As for jit, it is another really footwork-oriented dance, but it comes from Detroit. The dances are very similar, and they evolved from the same kind of dances that came up from the South with all the African-American immigrants to Chicago and Detroit in the 1910s and 1920s. They really are very similar in concept, there’s just a lot of moves that are different and stylistic kinda stuff like that. I’m not a footworker so I’m the wrong guy to ask. As far as the music goes, footwork dancers dance to footwork music, and jit goes with ghettotech. Ghettotech is a lot more four-on-the-floor, more high-energy I guess, and has a lot more of that Detroit flavor. You will never see a Detroit dude jitting to some track with halftime claps and a completely off-the-wall rhythm like in footwork music, but in Chicago that’s the type of stuff the dancers prefer. They’ll get pissed if you give ’em 15 minutes of four-on-the-floor kick drums. Again, neither of these scenes are really my thing…I’m more about dance parties and people on the dancefloor having fun than I am about competitive dance battle stuff.

Which artists are you really feeling at the moment?

Machinedrum, Jumping Back Slash, Cardopusher, Pacheko, Walton, Juketastrafe, DJ Lil’Tal, James Braun, Submerse, Seiji, MC ZULU, Atki2, Hanuman, Baobinga, DJ Nehpets, Big Dope P, Trustus, Eprom, Famous Eno, Africa Hitech, Om Unit, Murlo, Slick Shoota, Aquadrop, Kush Arora, Akira Kitechi, Trim, TRC, DOK, Julio Bashmore, Funkystepz, TWR72.

Any others things you want to add, biggups etc ?

If you like this, go buy my music!

Interview – LVis 1990

I posted the competition for this Rizla event thing during the week – it’s still open, so if you want to win some free guesties to the event in Bristol this weekend (Saturday 20th Nov) then get emailing. Check the full post here. After that, I managed to catch LVis1990 on the phone for a quick interview; have a read, and then when you’re all excited about his new jacking Chicago house material, get down to Motion to catch his  set. Boom.

So, you were recording in New York recently?
Yeah, I was over there in September, for about 10 days.
How did it go?
Really amazing. It’s so good to get out of London and just work solidly on music without any distractions. We were working in a big open studio, loads of hardware, it was pretty exciting.
Why were you recording in New York anyway?
I was out there with my friend Nick Hook, from Cubik Zirconia – he’s got a studio there, he plays keys and stuff. But it was mainly just wanting to get out of London, try and focus my mind on the album. The album’s got kind of a US vibe on it anyway, so it’s good to work there to soak that up a bit too.
What kind of a US vibe?
It’s like Chicago house really. I’m only using hardware for the whole album – pretty much all the drums are off a Roland TR707, so it’s getting that kind of Farley Jackmaster Funk vibe of really dry sounding drums. Then there’s the synths, vocals from people like Shadz.
That sounds great – I love the Chicago house sound.
Yeah, it’s all I really listen to at the moment – Chicago house, that and Detroit techno. It’s still sounds so fresh, and it seems like what was happening in Chicago then, it’s got kind of a correlation to what’s happening now in London with the funky crews, Night Slugs and so on – people not caring about genres. Like back then, everything was just house music – any underground dance music was house music. And there’s a similar thing going on now – there’s not so much emphasis on genres, just things held together by a vibe.
So how’s the album coming along then? When are you gonna finish it?
It’s coming along really well – I’ve got quite a few solid tracks that I’m just structuring at the moment. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of February, I’ve taken the whole of that month off to just focus on it. I’m going to be going out to Paris to work with Teki Latex and Para One on a few tracks, and I’ll be going out to LA too. I want to do all the places in United Groove – Paris, London, LA, New York. I really just want to make a good, solid dance music album.
So anyway. Night Slugs is going pretty well then…
Yeah! It’s just all gone crazy over the last few months, with the Resident Advisor feature, it’s really exciting. So now we’re really looking forward to pushing it to the next level in 2011.

How do you split the workload between you and Bok Bok?
Well, it’s pretty even, but Bok Bok does all the artwork. We’ve got a PnD deal for the vinyl with Rubadub up in Glasgow. We live together, too, in Night Slugs HQ – there’s me, Bok Bok and Girl Unit. But we’ve got Kingdom crashing over at the minute too, so it really is Night Slugs house!
Have you got anyone down as an ideal release? Are you chasing anyone?
No, we’re not really chasing anyone – everything that’s happened with Night Slugs has been really organic, it’s all been our crew, our friends, people who’ve been there since the start. We might be doing a release with Christian Martin next year, which would be a step out of our crew. We’ve also got a track by Jacques Greene from Montreal on the Allstars album at the end of the month, but we wouldn’t really chase someone for a release.
Are you planning much in the way of bigger projects? Artist albums?
Next year we’ve got the Egyptrixx album which is coming out on February 9th, which is really good, I’m really impressed with it. We’re also gonna be doing a Jam City album in the first half of the year.
You’ll be pretty busy then…
Yeah, there’s a lot of work to do! But we’ve got a couple of interns at the minute, since the label started getting really busy.
Interns! Wow, I should get one too. What’s working for you, DJ wise, at the minute?
Well, a lot of Night Slugs, a lot of US stuff like Karizma, Spen, classic Chicago… but yeah, mainly crew stuff!
I saw a UStream of you a bit ago, you were playing a house party and there was some crazy, triplet or 6/8 music going on …
Ah yeah, that would have been some tribal guarachero. It’s like Mexican ghetto music. But yeah that tribal sound, I was really into that – there’s a remix I did of Wildlife that’s just come out now – it’s got that kind of vibe, especially in the drums.
Do you play that kind of stuff out much?
Yeah, I’d say it’s just pure party music basically. So yeah, I do fit that one into my sets occasionally, there are some Dubbel Dutch edits, like his edit of Untold’s track Anaconda, I’ve done a couple of edits too. It’s totally playable. Some of it’s quite crazy, but there’s some really good stuff out there.
And people go for it?
Yeah – it’s just stupid party music. It’s hard not to dance! They look a bit confused sometimes, but it works, I’ve played it to some pretty massive crowds.
Cool. Anything you want to plug, before we sign off?
Yeah, we’ve got the Night Slugs Allstars compilation coming out on November 29th – so tell everyone to check that out!