Tonight you’re back in France for Ambassad! Though it was a little bit complicated to come here because of the current transport strikes, how are you feeling being back in Paris?
Oh my god, it is amazing! I always forget, because it’s been a while since I’ve been here, 2017 I guess… And I forgot. I mean I remember it being amazing but you always kinda forget because when you play so many shows, you forget which crowds are the best… So when I played the first track tonight I was like «Oh yeah, we’re definitely in Paris baby.»
It was fucking crazy. The energy was just lifted, it felt amazing to be back.
You’re here with the context of the tour for the 10th birthday of NSD : Does it inspire you?
It’s crazy to see how far has come, I’ve been part of NSD for maybe 8 years of it, I started in 2011 I think. I wasn’t here from the very beginning, but close enough. It is just amazing to see – I mean, obviously, Dubstep had its hard times, and a lot of people abandoned ship and ran away from it – but as a boy of NSD, we kind of just stuck to it and look at it now: it’s huge! Everywhere in the world you go: there is Dubstep. Everywhere!
It’s been 10 years since NSD was born, which means SkisM also discovered you 10 years ago. What are your best memories with him?
We talk a lot about the first time he ever messaged me (you can find my story elsewhere), I didn’t even wanna do this, I was just kind of like «Ah, I will do it for a joke», just to shock my friends out, I was like «fuck it, I’ll just try it…» I put a couple ideas on Facebook and Tommy (SkisM) found me.
He messaged me: «Yo I love what you’re doing, give me your email address and we can talk». I was like «what the fuck is.. what the fuck is happening, you know what? Fuck it». So we started talking and then, this was in London, because I moved there to study, and then he was playing a show where I was born, in Cornouailles, a little area in England. And I just planned on going back to see my family and attend this show at the same time, he was just like «Oh shit, do you want to meet up ?» and I said, «Yeah sure». He still has this thread of emails (laughs), where I was absolutely starstruck by him being like «Oh yeah I’ve got to play a show in Switzerland tonight, and then England tomorrow» I was just this innocent me saying «Oh my God that’s so crazy» (laughs) and now I’m playing like 3 shows in a single day, but just looking back to my innocent period where I was amazed by everything, it is my favorite thing.
You have always been a NSD boy, right?
Yup, and I will never leave it! NSD is my home. I was born NSD and I will die NSD. (laughs)
Since we know you – when you exploded in 2014 when «The Outbreak» album came – your sounds have evolved a lot. How did you get to your point today?
Honestly, back then, I was so new: I’ve never made electronic music before so I was completely novice and didn’t know what I was doing. I was and I’m still pretty much a metalhead, I love my own music. So the music style I was writing was a bit too influenced by that. So when I first wrote the songs, Tommy would be like: «It’s really cool but, I don’t think you can dance to this on the dancefloor.» So here I was, changing time signatures and doing this really technical stuff but he was like «Yeah no one can dance to that.» (laughs)
I learned a lot since then because before, as I said, I was really new and I was like «That’s my work, that’s my work».
According to you, is «changing» an important thing to be an artist?
Changing, yes… I’m always changing just because I hate being stuck, I think that it just gets tiring. It’s cool to have a sound for like a few months, a few releases but you have to keep moving… I don’t like being stagnant. There’s a signature for every track’s style but it’s not like a specific sound. I always believe in constant changes, to keep things interesting.
And, again, for a few years, we can say that you have less releases coming out, it’s a bit like one EP a year, then a remix EP… Can we expect more singles, maybe a new album?
I’m touring… (laughs) I focus less on bigger releases just because in the current climate of the music industry, people don’t tend to care as much about a full EP release or an album.
We would like you to release another album though !
I prefer the idea of just constant singles, I feel like you can get taken out the cycle for too long when you focus on a big release whereas if you just write singles, one at a time, you can be fresher and keep people interested. Writing an album or an EP can really ruin your state of mind, because you try to make this « collection of music » and as a producer it can destroy you.
Was it the case for «The Outbreak»?
No, that was easier because there was a lot less music then (laughs). Now obviously, we’re in a time where everyone is producing music, it’s a lot easier for people to put music online and everyone is making amazing shit, so making a whole album with equally amazing or more amazing stuff is a lot of pressure and a lot of people stay away from it. It’s just right now, it’s not always gonna be this way in the future.
Now it’s just a time to keep things simple, in a stretched industry, to play it safe.
Speaking of that, you’re one of the biggest contributors to both the label and the Dubstep world. What do you think about all these new faces? For example in NSD this year only, there’s been a lot of new artists arriving. What do you think about this new generation?
Oh it’s amazing, it keeps everyone inspired, it also keeps everyone at their toes.
All these kids coming with insane stuff, and you’re just like «Oh shit, that’s just a fucking new kid.» It keeps us motivated and challenged, but I think it’s great.
Maybe they give you a tiny pressure…
Yeah, exactly! Like a little fire in the ass like «PFFFEW!!» (laughs). No, I think it’s good to have these new kids coming with new ideas, from different backgrounds, different inspirations… It’s kind of great, it keeps everyone moving.
How are you feeling when you see that you’re their inspiration?
It’s crazy, it’s always crazy, because I’m always thinking like «How ? I’m just me, just a dude from the middle of nowhere in England.» I guess I can see in the way I manage to survive in a very ruthless industry. So I guess if they want to call me a legend, I’m not gonna stop that. (laughs)
According to you, which artist should we focus on for 2020?
Honestly, I’m not the one to ask that. It’s so hard for me to stay in touch with everything when I’m trying to do my touring. I rely on Tommy (SkisM), because he’s obviously the A&R guy of NSD and he’s just like «You should play this». It’s sad but it’s really rad that I actually get to sit down and listen to lots of new music, which kind of sucks cause I also love doing that but now, you don’t have the time in a day, like you traveling all the time, you’re tired, what you want to do is to eat something, maybe get some sleep ? (laughs) The more you travel the harder is to stay in touch.
Speaking of that, in a time when social medias are very important and everybody follows you, you are one real person; you are quiet on social medias and you keep your personal life very separated. How do you manage both?
I’ve been very lucky, this is something that me and the team talk about all the time and they’re like «Maybe we should be more present on social medias» and I’m just like «I really don’t want to.» Because, I don’t know, call me old but I really truly believe in this « something magical » about not being so accessible. This sounds like God alike, if you just can interact with everyone or you fans, you never be looked like «Woah this amazing thing who can’t be touched.» I truly believe that : keeping ourselves quite separated from this, like a mysterious aura.
Look at the bands from the 80’s or the 90’s, you can’t never like pick up your phone and randomly talk to them, never ! But these guys are legends though, they bless us even now. I think it’s for the sanity, I escape criticism.
This is a problem for a lot of artists. Like Getter for example…
Exactly and it’s so bad! It happens for a million people, they really take this very personally and it can destroy you, and I don’t wanna be part of that. I’d rather just be happy, live my life… Do what I do and hope everyone enjoys it, that’s where I draw the line, and that’s a good thing it’s working!
You’ve seen a lot of stages by touring all the time.. Would you like to share one of your best memories with us? We guess it must be difficult to choose, so maybe a top 3 or a top 5 in 2019 ?
I’ve been in a really cool place when I was in Asia recently. Because I play a lot in Asia, it’s huge there. Like I blew up in Asia, especially in China, it’s crazy out there, insane. One of my favorite stages was actually designed by one of my VJ’s in South Korea, called 5tardium, here’s the concept: 5 big full-size stages circling the crowd in the middle. Like one stage is on, the crowd turns to look it, and when another one is on, they turn and look at this one. It’s a lot of money, but it’s really cool.
We hadn’t the pressure to set everything up right after the previous DJ because we could set it up for an hour and not for 2 minutes, for that reason alone, I think it was one of my favorite one, plus it was an awesome show as well. Obviously, Jeffs’ (Excision) stages are amazing, his productions are insane tough.
I did a show of my last past year in the beginning of it, in Seattle, which was sold out. It was a big show, like in a stadium, we put a lot of money into it, lots of pyrotechnics… This is where I found a new piece of a pyrotechnic device called «concussion mind», they actually use this thing to trigger avalanches. Like a «BOOOOM» sound.
Do you remember the moment you burnt yourself in Bass Canyon?
Yup (laughs). That was easy, so much fun (irony). It was so hot, I feel I was dying. But these «concussion minds», you have to fire them at the same time as fireworks because if you just use them on their own, people think it’s like gunshots, it’s so loud, like ten times louder than the sound itself. It was scary, I’ve never heard one before so the first time I heard it was when they fired the first one and I was like «Aaargh ! What it is?!» (laughs)
One final question we like to ask to every artist : do you have any words for your French fans ? You’ve been here some times now, like for the I Love Techno festival in Montpellier...
Oh I fucking love you guys! Everytime I come (it doesn’t matter what part of France I come to) is always an awesome experience, a memorable one. The energy is always exactly how I like it to be ! I’m jumping around along the stage and it’s a lot easier when everyone else is jumping around too. When everyone is standing there, I feel weird jumping around but, it’s always so much energy here, it’s so good to have that kind of interaction with the crowd every time so, I love you guys!
We would like to thanks Zomboy for answering our questions and 193 Records for making this interview possible.
BASS IS LIFE, BASS FOR LIFE