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BOTW Interview: Slugabed

We spoke to our Band Of The Week (or in this case Electronic Artist Of The Week) about the Brighton music scene, his new album Time Team and other upcoming producer talent. 

How did you get into making electronic music in the first place? Is it something you’ve always been interested in?
I was always interested in writing and making music and I guess it was the easiest way to get into it really. I wanted to make whole tracks and I didn’t have any recording equipment or a band or anything, so electronic music made it easier for me to put stuff out there, then I got kind of hooked on the sounds and the production techniques. This was when I was 14 or so; I couldn’t just go and buy recording equipment. I just got on my PC and just started playing around.

Did you ever learn any traditional instruments or did you start solely in electronica?
I used to play drums a little bit and I’ve always played on keyboards and pianos but never really learnt them, just kind of fooled around and worked it out a bit. I’ve always liked testing out different instruments, but never really been that good at anything.

You moved from Bath to Brighton a few years ago, what triggered the move?
I just needed to leave Bath. You get bored growing up in such a small town. I think that’s the case when you grow up anywhere: you get a bit sick of it by the time you’re about 19 or so. Brighton just seemed like a nice relaxed place. It’s quite a creative town; there is a sort of good buzz about it.

What’s the music scene like down in Brighton? Do you get involved in the scene?
There’s one night that some friends of mine do. It was exciting for me as it was starting up down there when I was moving down and I didn’t really know them then, but we became friends through that night. It’s called Donky Pitch, they run a label now as well and that was something really exciting for me when I first moved down. There are a lot of other things going on in Brighton, but I’m not really involved in anything else.

There are so many great new young producers around at the moment, what do you think makes you different? Would you say you have any distinctive qualities to your music?
I don’t know really – that’s a tough question. Most things everyone does has something unique about them, but I guess what I like about my music is the integration of fun, melodic and atmospheric qualities and also just playfulness.  I mix all the elements of different genres I like. I don’t think about the way people perceive my music, I just like to make it.

You have been praised by a lot of UK DJS – a lot of people have supported your music recently, but is there anyone in particular you look up to and think ‘that’s where I want to get to in a few years time?’
I’d like to just be respected as a musician and just go any sort of route I feel. Someone like Mark Pritchard - he’s done so much stuff over the years and it’s all been quite different, I love everything he does because its him and he’s got a certain quality to it. I’d quite like to be in that sort of situation where I have the freedom to write any sort of music that people will be open to, because hopefully they’ll think I have something special going on.

Has the way you record or make music changed in the past few years since you started releasing?
I suppose yeah. I haven’t actually changed the process as much; I’m still using the same equipment more or less and still approaching it with quite a similar sort of idea, but the sound’s definitely changed. I think when I first came out with music I was trying to make an impression in a way; I was trying to make things as different and as strange as possible, to catch people’s ear and think ‘Hey what the hell is this?’ Since I gained the exposure I felt like I didn’t need to do that anymore and became a bit more honest. My recent stuff is more melodic and emotional music rather than trying to be groundbreaking or silly.

So you’re more comfortable in your music now?
Yes, of all the releases I’ve put out I’m most happy with my Time Team album. It’s more comfortable, honest and heartfelt, which are qualities you want to have as an artist.

When you’re making and recording a tune, what process do you go through exactly? Is there always the same sort of idea that comes first or does each track pan out differently?
Each track is slightly different. I have ideas, start to put them down, and more often than not I’ll get half an hour to an hour into a tune and realise it’s not the thing I had in my head but it’s fun, so I sort of pursue it. I approach it with an idea and in a way, the music chooses its own path from there – we kind of bounce off each other.

Do you record with analogue or digital or a mix of both?
Mostly software based. I have two analogues that I use, but mostly software synths and cheap crappy stuff !

When you’re playing for a live audience, do you consciously do things different to the way you record your music? Are there certain things you like to add or exaggerate?
I definitely think it’s important to keep it fun and dancey to a certain extent. I don’t want a crowd of people in front of me scratching their chins thinking ‘yeah…deep…’ But yeah the record is definitely something you can sit to – I mean you could play one or two tracks in the club – but it’s quite a contemplative record at times. When I’m playing live, I make it as dancey as possible without really changing the essence of the music.

A few days ago you put out your video for the ‘Sex’ single, which couldn’t be further away from anything sexy! What were your ideas behind it? It’s pretty bizarre.
I wanted to make it clear that it is a silly song, silly name. I had this idea that I wanted it to be something fruit related just because it’s such a fruity track. I bounced the ideas off of the actual director; he came up with the main concept of the video with the producer.

Are there any upcoming DJs and producers that you’ve got your eye on at the moment and that you’d recommend?
Yeah, Bobby Tank is someone I have been listening to and I have been playing his stuff for a good year or two. He’s just recently started to get a bit of exposure – I know Mary Anne Hobbs is really into him at the moment. He is hopefully about to blow up in a big way because he’s a really exciting producer – sort of like what I do but multiplied by ten, intense synth-based music, bright, colourful, crazy, shit! Also 813, from Moscow, is a producer that I really like. He’s got an EP out through Donky Pitch.

So you’re launch party’s on Friday, right?

Awesome, we’re there!        

Find more info on Slugabed’s album launch party here

-Interview and edit by Bronya Francis
-Transcription by Alix Blankson 

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