We had a quick chat with the pioneering dubstep producer and head of the Tectonics label about tracks that have punctuated his upbringing and very successful career. He will be playing midweek for Treehouse at Wire.
Your earliest musical memory?
I can remember hearing M.A.R.R.S. ‘Pump Up the Volume’ on Top Of The Pops when I was about 6 or 7yrs old and jumping around the lounge like a miniature lunatic.
First record you bought?
Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers, on cassette tape. Lots of 50s and 60s tracks smashed together fairly ungracefully. Gotta start somewhere eh..
A record given to you by your parents?
Apart from albums I might have asked for as a Xmas/Birthday present – I can’t really think of any that my parents bought me. My dad had fairly dire taste in music, being mainly into Harry Nilsson, Welsh Male Voice Choir – and that was about it. My mum mainly listened to classical music on the radio so I’d like to think her tastes had more influence on me than my dads – but truth is my main musical family influence came courtesy of my older brother. He made me tapes of early On-U Sound LPs and later on, gave me many of his old vinyls. One of my favourites was Sly & Robbie ‘A Dub Experience’. Draw for ‘Demolition City’ as one of my faves from the LP.
A record that made you pick up an instrument/play music?
Hands down, Jimi Hendrix ‘Are You Experienced’. Absolutely blew my mind when I heard it, aged about 12yrs and inspired me to pick up a guitar and spend hours reading guitar tab notation or listening to the tracks, trying to work out the notes and making my own tab notes. I used to swap track notes with friends at school who also played. Still can’t really read proper sheet music. ‘Purple Haze, all in my brain..’
A tune from your school days?
Anything from Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ would definitely be up there but probably Rage Against The Machine ‘Killing In The Name’ ticks the most boxes. Best served, shouted at full lung capacity, in public.
A record that altered your music taste forever?
Portishead ‘Dummy’. Must have listened to this album about 1000 times or more! A definite catalyst in moving my sonic interests away from guitar based sounds to more electronic ones. Never looked back really.
A record from your first clubbing experiences?
I turned 18 in Ibiza, out there with a dozen mates, having a predictably amazing time. Greece 2000 ‘Three Drives On A Vinyl’ was the soundtrack to that holiday as I remember it. Having mostly grown up in Newport, South Wales – where most “clubs” were typically shutting at 1am at the time, so it was a noticeable step up. Yes, I was into trance for a (very short) while. Another shady hour in my musical CV.
A record that affected your political standpoint?
Music has impacted on me in many different ways over the years but it’s not something that has really had much direct influence on my political perspective. That said, I was influenced by a lot of the DIY culture that came along with much of the rave/free-party culture: get off your arse, stop moaning and go DO whatever it is – that kind of thing. So, here’s a rave classic in honour of that, Lennie De Ice ‘We Are I.E.’
An unlikely influence?
Peter Gabriel ‘So’ was a big album for me growing up. The production on the whole album is gob smackingly good even if you think the tunes are a bit cheesy (skip ‘Sledgehammer’ please..). I love that LP. Give ‘We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)’ a spin and see what you think.
A current influence?
My favourite album this year has been Equinoxx ‘Bird Sound Power’ which has helped revive my faith in weird, minimal rhythmic instrumental music – and it’s possibly one of the best things to come out of Jamaica in a little while. Absolutely wicked LP – well done to the Demdike Stare lads for bagging it, Miles and Shaun were really on point with that signing.
A record you want played at your funeral?
Maybe Aphex Twin ‘Windowlicker’. Something people can hum along to.