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You originally started off in bands playing drums right? Do you still have an affinity to those genres you started out in?

Well, I don’t really only play drums anymore. I took my drums out of storage during lockdown, I wanted to maybe do a little practice and see if I could still play after a decade — but I got discouraged and just put them right back in storage after a couple of months [laughs]. The reason I started making electronic music was because I really enjoyed being at the forefront, not this supporting member of a band waiting on the lead singer to the lead guitarist, producing I can just, play. I do miss being in bands though, it was so fun.

Would you ever start a DJ band?

I’m thinking of when Fade To Mind had like four DJs [laughs]. I do a lot of collaborative stuff, but I think if it was a “band band” if everyone is playing a different instrument.

You have a pretty in-depth knowledge of a lot of pretty different types of music, is that why you tend to play around with genre a lot?

Yeah, I mean, I think I’ve always been super nerdy about finding things out about music specifically — even when I was into indie rock or whatever I really wanted to have as much as possible. I was obsessed with discographies and being a completionist, finding the earliest recording out there of The Mountain Goats or whatever… that was exciting to me as much when a new song came out. So I think it makes sense that it’s applied to dance music. But, I do think that because there are so many different forms of dance music, I just end up like going on these tangents and investigating a lot. Like the other day, I spent like five hours looking at the electro-house tag on Beatport because I was just curious, I wanted to have a listen. What things were tagged as electro house in 1995 and then looking at how that evolved. Then reading about the different labels and stuff like that. So yeah, I’m a huge nerd basically.

Enjoying going down a rabbit hole basically.

Yeah, there’s an academic element to it that I don’t think everyone cares about with music, which I don’t think matters at all — but for me, it makes it more fun to absorb all the context of it. It leads me to find cool things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Last year’s ‘Teardrops On My Garage’ really went all out on the bittersweet UKG. Do you think now you’ve gotten that release out of the way you’re all garage-d out? Or is garage a genre you have a big affinity for?

Oh jeez, I would never, never be garage-d out [laughs]. I mean, my first interactions with dance music when I started DJing were just through YouTube — I didn’t really know where to buy records or whatever. So if I go back to my laptop and look at my music in chronological order, 2010 is all these YouTube rips of bassline and speed garage tracks. I didn’t really know anything about them, but I was already drawn to it because I really liked the way they did flips and stuff. Obviously that genre is like, you know.. the best. So no, I’ll never be garage-d out. I’ve been playing garage for 12 years. So it’s exciting to be at a point where, especially in New York, you can play it out at clubs and people get excited. I can tell you, it was not always like that.

Read this next: Need for speed: Why the UK fell back in love with bassline and speed garage

How do you usually approach DJing with all this music in your bag? Do you just play what you’re really enjoying at that moment or do you try to work around the party/the crowd you know will be there?

I mean, I think my life would be a lot easier if I put genre tags on playlists on rekordbox, but I don’t. I make a playlist for almost every party or at least every weekend that I’m playing out, I really think about the context of the tracks. I’m always going to come in to a party with an idea beforehand, and sometimes it’ll just be certain tracks that I’ve been thinking about. I think it goes back to when I started DJing, I was burning CDs and sort of learning about music at the same time, so there wouldn’t have been enough to do a genre specific series or even to burn a CD for every party. That’s how my brain likes to catalog for music, so if I’m like, I want to play ‘Take Control’, then I’ll think back and I’ll be like: “Oh, I thought I was maybe going to play a bunch of tech-house rollers at this party.” I don ‘t really recommend my method to be honest. [laughs]

Your latest single ‘Brick’ sees you move more to piano banger/breakbeat/techno territory. So handy that it comes with both a ‘driving’ and ‘breaking’ version — do you think every track should have one of each?

I don’t know if every track should. But one thing I love about singles is having different versions. Sometimes they’re a little bit too similar, but better for a different context — sometimes you’ll hear a song and you’ll think: “If only it was a little less intense” or “if only it was a little more driving.” People don’t do it as much now and It’s fun, when you’re producing music you come to all these fork in the road moments, and you have a cool like piano in there or whatever and you have to decide — are you going to go in that direction or you are you going to make something else by speeding it up and falling down. Then you realise… oh, that sounds good both ways but you just usually end up choosing one. So for me, it’s kind of fun to just follow those different tangents and see what happens. It doesn’t always work out, but sometimes it really does — my next single coming out has four versions.

Along with your Car Culture series, we’re getting the sense you’re really into driving atm. What do you like best about going for a drive?

I think it ranks just above the nightclub as the best place to listen to music. There’s just something about it. It’s one of the few, bare bones, places where you’re really surrounded by the music.

If you could do an hour mix of anything at all what would it be? I’m talking pie in the sky here.

Contemporary country.

What quality do you think makes a really great driving track?

I think for me, it’s less about the physicality, but the ideal driving music is like you’re listening to the radio and something that’s very unexpected, but it’s actually exactly what you need to hear comes on. It’s unmatched.

Can you let us know what’s coming up next for you?

I have another single coming out this month – the one with four versions – and another one coming on after that. Oh, and shortly after this interview comes out, I’ll be playing the sunrise or the morning set at the Nowadays non-stop, which is always very fun.

Can you tell us about this mix?

No big theme here, just an attempt to reflect some current sets I’ve been playing out. A lot of trippy, dramatic, broken sounds. Minimal, progressive breaks, electro and of course a little UKG.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag’s Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter

Tracklist:

Latecomer ‘Cosmic Cart’ (Soulphiction Aced Out Remix)
Space Jam ‘Neon Phusion’
Lurka ‘String’
Isolée ‘Rockers’
IL.EK.TRO ‘Nodes’
John Creamer & Stephane K ft. Nkemdi ‘With You Were Here’ (PMT Remix)
Sieren ‘Slinger’
Peace Division ‘Eh Oh Um’ (Dungeon Meat’s Break Meat Mix)
Kiki, Chaim & Cari Golden ‘Love Kills’
The Buzzard Necks ‘Building’
Dan Cough ‘B-Jam’
Jerome Hill ‘The Doctor Will See You Now’
My Nu Leng ‘Satellites’
Francesco Devincenti & Giordano ‘Over It’
Chicks On Speed ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ (Dave Clarke’s Non Techno Mix)
Uman Therma ‘Manners and Discipline’
Radioactive Man ‘Airlock’
Ollie Rant & Malaika ‘One Last Time’
Nicky Soft Touch x Amber ‘Sexual City Cut’ (PT Edit)
Deep Cover ‘Sounds Of Eden’ (Young Offendaz Mix)
Rui Da Silva ft. Ben Onono ‘On My Mind’ (PT Regressive House Edit)

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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