Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Manchester's Illum Sphere

Illum Sphere is being hailed as one of the most exciting young talents to come out of the U.K with everyone from Ikonika to Mary Anne Hobbs praising the Manchester producer. Dropping two EP'S on Fat City records in 2009 , he has since followed that up this year with the much talked about Titan EP on Martyn's 3024 label.

With a Low End Theory set already achieved in 2009 and an acceptance into the Red Bull Music Academy this year , continued global acclaim is sure to come for one of the most talked about producers in recent time.

His arrival in Australia this week for the Red Bull Music Academy run of shows alongside Tokimonsta and Martyn will be worth checking out. So it is at this time that I bring you this interview.

It has been a steady rise these past five years since you first started DJ'ing and buying records, are you humbled with how everything has progressed for you?

Yeah definitely! I still find it weird when people listen/like this stuff I'm doing.

You run the regular Hoya Hoya nights with Jonny Dub which has now been in inception for over two years now. How does the night differentiate from other club nights in the U.K?

I think it's just got a different kind of balance. In our minds, the crowd are as important as whoever's playing, so are the visuals, the soundsystem, the smell etc. Everything has to be treated with equal importance. There's definitely a vibe there that I don't get at other nights, but that's because we're blessed with a really open minded crowd, it feels like a family. They want to hear shit they don't necessarily know, but they ain't afraid to get down too. I feel blessed cos it's my favourite place to play.

Who have been some of the guests you have had play and what would be some of the highlights?

Mark Pritchard played a surprise unannounced set once which blew people's minds a bit. Also, the 2nd birthday, with Floating Points and Brackles, as well as surprise sets from Blue Daisy and Ikonika. That night was incredible. Other than that we've had people like Daedelus, Dimlite, Falty DL, Gaslamp Killer, Ras G, Lorn, Rustie, HudMo, Kode 9, Martyn, Dam Funk, James T Cotton, Danny Breaks, Slugabed, Kutmah, Bullion, Paul White, Jenna G, TOKiMONSTA, Mosca, James Pants. Om Unit and a lot more play. The residents are heavyweight too: Jonny Dub, Eclair Fifi, Lone, Krystal Klear, Jon K, plus Chunky hosting and the amazing EMN on visuals.

You have remixed a track for Martyn and released your 'Titan' e.p on his 3024 label , how much of an honour was it teaming up with the Washington resident?

Oh a huge one. He's one of my favourite producers... and has been incredibly supportive. Being asked to remix one of your favourite producers and have a full release on his label was a real privilage.

Where do you think you would be if it hadn't been for Martyn's presence?

I dunno to be honest, I did have other shit out to before and have had since, but because it was predominantly his own stuff on 3024, people took a bit more notice once 'Titan' dropped. Although, I've heard from a few people that they thought it was Martyn under another alias... which did make me laugh.

How did you feel when you were only the second artist of the U.K to play at L.A's iconic forward thinking Low End Theory?

Yeah it was cool man, Jonny and Samiyam played that night too, so it was fun. A lot of that crew have played at Hoya, so was good to play on their turf.

Hyperdubs first lady Ikonika once described you as 'one of the most special and unique artists to come out of the U.K' , how do you feel when such praise is heaped upon you?

It meant a lot to me, because I genuinely believe the same thing about her. Sara's music is so unique, and people have tried to mimic it. But, she has this ingenious balance of intricate beauty and pure rawness in her music that no-one else does quite like her. Personally, it means more to me what someone like Sara thinks, as opposed to whatever the various hype machines think.

Is there anyone that you would like to produce for in the future?

I'd love to produce something for Bat For Lashes. I think Natasha's an incredibly important artist. She's brought an amazing mix of underground visual and music idiologies into the mainstream, without dumbing it down, which is a hard thing to do. I'd love to work with DOOM, and Colleen.....fuck, the list is long.

Are you working on any releases / remixes at present that you can tell us about?

The first release on the Hoya:Hoya label is off being mastered. It's a three track 12", one from me, Krystal Klear and Lone, and should be out in October. I'm also just finishing up a 12" for Tectonic and a final EP for Fat City. I've also remixed 'Further Away' by Zed Bias along with Falty DL, which should be out later in the year.

From what I have read , Dabrye has had a big influence on you , with his Two/Three record being a listening highlight. How much of a thrill was it for him to play at Hoya Hoya under the guise of JTC?

Oh amazing. It's kinda weird y'know, because we've grown to be great friends. They're like separate people for me... I still struggle to understand that this dude Tadd, who I've become friends with, had such a huge impact on my life. He's definitely one of the most gifted electronic artists alive, and if you take into account his insanely high quality control across such a wide range of styles, he might be the best.... I don't understand how he's not a superstar.

You have been onboard with the Red Bull Music Academy since it's second term of March this year , how has that been going for you?

As I'm sure every participant will say, it really is an experience like no other. It's like getting the golden ticket. I'm very grateful for my time at the academy, the people I met there and everything that's happened as a result since.

Speaking of the Red Bull Music Academy , you are due in Australia very shortly as part of the RBMA's run of club shows with fellow Red Bull entrant Tokimonsta and your good friend Martyn. You must be hyped about the up-coming tour and your first visit to the country?

I cannot wait!!! This month has been my heaviest for touring yet, with Croatia, then a tour of Canada, then one day at home then Australia. Canada was incredible, so I definitely can't wait to get over to Australia.

For all the Sydney heads out there , the Forum is the place to be to check Illum Sphere out alongside Tokimonsta , Martyn + local residents. For only $15!!!! All details can be found here --->> RBMA25TH

Knowledge Knows Sydney

If you have a good understanding of the Hip-Hop spectrum in Sydney , then you would of no doubt heard of the ever hardworking MC and constant craftsman of the game Nick Knowledge. Born in Sydney city , however raised in Germany , Nick released his debut record 'Identity Crisis' to much acclaim country wide in 2007.

Well know for his rap battle abilities , Nick is a tireless performer having graced the stage with Jean Grae and supported the likes of Mystro and Buff1 to name a few.

Apart from his solo work , Nick also rolls with 1nfo. Comprised of Jacob Giles and DJ Dlect , 1nfo have been getting good support around this city showcasing tracks from the mixtape 'Information Jakeknowledgy' which dropped early last year.

2010 saw the release of Nick's follow up to his 2007 effort in the form of 'Soul Sample Side A' . The first release on hatonrack's volume series , the 14 track record features none other than the legendary MC Masta Ace with production from Lunatronic.

With all the success that has been achieved so far , the future looks bright for Nick Knowledge.

How has Nick Knowledge the MC changed over the years since your debut Identity Crisis in 2007?

Hmm I guess I never really thought about that. I stopped entering battles since then. That had a lot to do with what I wanted music to mean for myself- though I was winning alot, I wasn't digging the negativity that goes along with it. There's only so many times you can call someone's mother fat, and gay, I guess. Just kidding.

Where do your ideas and inspirations come from when putting pen to pad and writing lyrics?

The strangest of places! There's no formula to it. I get excited by anything that makes people think. Which doesn't mean shit always has to be super intellectual, but even a generic party song is more interesting if it's done with some clever wordplay or a new observation. Knowledge is king.

Your follow up to 2007's Identity Crisis has recently dropped on hatonrack records. How long did it take to make Soul Sample Side A?

24 years!

How has the reception been for the new material been at your recent shows?

It's been killer. Performing live is so much fun for me anyway, but I feel like we've just gotten tighter and tighter over the years. The show is still freestyle heavy, but now I'm working with the 5 Coffees band, which is a 5 piece including horns, as well as DJ Dlect on decks.. We all improvise and jam a lot so the scope for entertainment is nutso. People love it.

You have performed at some of Sydney's most well known venues in this city , what would be your favourite?

The big top at Luna park for the huge crowd. The basement for the cool. The Civic for the sound.

Apart from your solo work , you also roll with the crew known as 1nfo, could you tell us about what that is all about and the sound that is released?

1NF0 is the crew I've formed with MC/Producer Jacob Giles. Jake is one of Australia's absolute hidden weapons- an extremely prolific and talented guy. The shit we make is really progressive.. it's definitely hip hop, rooted in mid 90's style, but we branch out and experiment a lot in the electronica direction. It's different to my solo stuff in that way- SOUL SAMPLE is more organic and based on a Motown sound, 1NF0 is like the illegitimate baby of Big L, The Prodigy, and Gnarls Barkley if that makes any sense haha . Our first mixtape dropped last year- download it on www.hatonrack.com/1NF0!

You have supported some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop , such as Mystro , Jean Grae and the Wu-Tang Clan. Any highlights amongst those or others that you can share with us?

Yeah lots.. You know how they say its about the journey more than the destination? I feel like I've only just started but I've been by some cool scenery. Getting stoned with Cappadonna, Getting invited on stage with Jean Grey and freestyling the basement a new a-hole, battling Kool Savas in Germany, getting New Era cap from Nas and of course recording a track with one of my all time icons Masta Ace were all pretty dope.. Wow, that really makes me sound like the man doesn't it?? Hahaha sweet,I'll take it.

Is there anyone in the Sydney Hip-Hop community that you can reccomend to the readers?

Yeah.. my man Sonny Syah is probably the illest MC I've known.. Unfortunately he does suffer from an incurable love for Mary Jane and she doesn't let him out much haha.. Also 206Collab, and LHA- both those crews are sick and have wild energy to give.

What is coming up for you in the future? Any up-coming shows?

Big things! hatonrack is releasing another 5 albums in it's Volume Series, including SOUL SAMPLE SideB and the new 1NF0 EP, both of which will be categorically APESHIT. Stay on www.hatonrack.com to follow the story!

All the best with the current record and everything in the future Nick , thank you for your time.

1 love my pleasure!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oneofour #5

The collective of beatmakers in Sydney known as Oneofour dropped mixtape number 5 for all the heads out their. Mixed by Roleo and featuring Monk Fly and Know-U , it is another intelligent insight into the current level of beatmakers in this city . Cop this sweet mix here ===>> Oneofour_Mixtape_5_Roleo.mp3 . If you enjoy the sounds , head down to Headroom this Friday night at Hermans (Sydney Uni) where Future Beats nonsense will be had. All details here ===>>> HRM .

Daddy Kev X Baths

Episode 17 of the Low End Theory podcast series came out over the last weekend , this month it features regular Low End hero Daddy Kev and Baths who has been earning his praise since his 'Cerulean' release on Anticon recently.

Check this one out here =====>>> LET