Friday, 11 March 2016

Interview with Digital

It's not often you get the chance to interview someone that has been a big musical influence since you were a teenager. And, hand on heart, that's exactly what Digital is. My first Digital record was 'Niagra' on Metalheadz, but earlier than that I unknowingly picked tracks up by Digital that were under aliases such as ID4. I continued to collect his releases on Metalheadz, Timeless, Creative Source, Reinforced, Function, 31, Chronic and so on. He's made a lot of killer cuts. But that was way back then, recently he has released the 'Digital Synthesis' album which is an album full of top notch collaborations. Anyway here's the interview:

From your previous interviews I understand that you were brought up on Reggae and sound system culture, but how did you actually get into making music?

I was lucky enough to have musicians around me from a really young age because two of my close cousins were in bands. Lloyd was in a local reggae band called Jah Warriors and they were really good. I recall them supporting Aswad when they used to make heavy dub. The other cousin Keith helped run a funky, pop, soul band called Splash so he was always talking about making records so both my cousins inspired me.

Later in my teens, I got friendly with the bass player from Jah Warriors called Gordon Mulrain. At the time he was getting into producing and he said I could come over to have a look, so I used to sit with him for months on end amongst untold cigarette smoke. It half killed me but I learned a lot from him.

I sat through all that smoke because I felt producing music would help me in my quest for DJ stardom LOL

You played a few months ago in Birmingham at the Skutta Records/Rupture/Listening Sessions night. How was it for you? It was great to have you over in Birmingham!

I loved it because I got to see some people from the scene who I feel I get on with well like Skitty, Theory and Double O and of course the Skutta guys are a good lot! The party was good too

When you first began making music, how did you get your music heard by other people? And how did you get to hook up with Photek?

Photek used to hang at a record shop I used to go to run by Rob Solomon aka Universal on Creative Source and one half of Origination, the other being Photek.

Certificate 18 owner, Paul Arnold, ran a local record shop so it was easy for me to get music to him. My first release was a collab 12" on Certificate 18 with Danny C. We went by the name of Authorised Riddim.

Photek was releasing amazing forward thinking tracks on Certificate 18 at the time and I was amazed by them so I asked if he'd give some tips and he said, "yeah come over." We got talking from there really. He saw I was keen so, Rupert, being the superb man he is helped me with my attitude because the dedication he has is second to none.

There's a white label of yours I've got, the etching on it says 'FLAVA', but one of the tracks was released on Platinum Breakz 2. What was the score with that? I think I got the tune in 96/97 but the compilation was out a couple years later.

I'm not sure what your talking about but my track on Platinum Breakz 2 was called Metro. I was in jail when they were putting Platinum Breakz 2 together but fortunately for me Kemistry & Storm found Metro on a DAT tape I sent them so they used it. That cheered me up in jail I tell you!!

[Note from interviewer: after a little digging around I came across this: http://rolldabeats.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=39120 ….. I'm a bit of a freak like that and had to go searching LOL]

Can you name 10 tracks that had a big impact on you from when you were young up until now? And can you say why they were a big impact on you?

1) Big Daddy Kane - Raw - Cold Chillin. Bad arse rapper in BDK, Marley Marl provides one of the filthiest riddims


2) Public Enemy - Rebel Without a Cause - DEF Jam. Attitude, tough breaks and so many memories of trying to scratch - I failed miserably!


3) Prophecy - Fabian - Black Swan. You won't find a better Bassline than this one.


4) Doc Scott - Surgery - Absolute 2. Hypnotic! I've enjoyed myself to this track plenty of times.


5) Photek - Ni Ten Ichi Ryu - Science.  Listen to this track to make your own tracks sound rubbish (Time to up some gears).


6) Manix - You Held My Hand - Manix & Rufige Kru remix. Filthy, lush, soulful, dubby, and innovative. Just damn right flipping great!


7) Digital & Spirit - Phantom Force - Phantom Audio. Self Gratification.


8) Source Direct - Secret Liasion. Weirdly this a grower. I've always loved it but now I think it's one of the best tracks Source Direct have ever done. Each time I go back to this track it sounds better. I'd really love to have more music like this to play now.


9) Doc Scott - Here Come The Drums - Reinforced. I love the original, the remix and the mix on Metalheadz 001. You don't often get remixes of the same track that are as good as each other. Big ups to Scotty!!


10) Q Project - Champion Sound (original mix).  When I listened to this back in the day on my Walkman I walked with a bad bwoy limp. I thought, "This riddim is filthy, I wonder what RAGGA RUDE BWOY made this." Then I met Quiff LOL love ya mate!!


I think out of all the Jungle/DnB artists, you are one of the few that is still smashing up dancefloors in your own unique style - what's the secret?

I) I simply love what I do.
2) I don't know any other way to make music LOL.
3) I'll be DJ'ing with a zimmer frame at some point because I'm going nowhere!!
4) Dedication and will to do well.

What side projects have you got going on? I know that you've made and released other types of music?

I don't really have side projects but I do like touching on different genres now and then although, it's nothing too far away from what I'm doing already.

What artists do you recommend Futurepast Zine readers to look out for?

Spirit.
I'm not being biased here, I'm saying it from a vibes perspective because his tracks are dubby, techy strong, heavy and rolling - and his DJ sets are the same. I like the fact that he makes the kind of music he actually wants to play. I don't understand artists who produce music they don't want to play in a club.

Response
Naturally talented with an eclectic taste in music means Response, will be an interesting artist year after year.

What plans have you got for 2016?

Apart from taking over the world with my boyish looks I plan to release some music:

January: 31 Records 3 track EP
February: Function Dubz


April: I have a collab LP called SYNTHESIS featuring a few artists from the label and a few new ones. Vinyl will consist of 16 tracks released in 4 parts, 4x12" with 4 tracks on each record and 18 for digital download.



Out Now:
Trident Code EP (aka Digital, Flava, Horrific James)



First World Problems (Digital, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Response)



Rejection EP (Digital, Response)



Respek Da Foundation EP (Digital, Response, Dub Phizix)



Big up Digital, thanks for taking the time to do the interview and provide some interesting answers :)