Cypress Hill & LL Cool J on a mixtape? That was it. I was hooked.
I’ve lived in London for the past 20 years but grew up in Norwich. Music in the house was mainly controlled by my two elder sisters and their tastes were pretty eclectic. So it was a mixture of the big pop hits (Depeche Mode, INXS, Wham, Kylie), Soul, R&B and New Jack Swing (Prince, Janet Jackon, Blackstreet, Soul II Soul), whilst Dad always had classical on in the car. However, it was Hip-Hop that dominated my teens! For my 12th birthday present my sister copied a cassette tape for me. It had Cypress Hill - Black Sunday on one side and LL Cool J - 14 Shots to the Dome on the other…I was hooked and that was that. The “Golden Era” of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr, Snoop and Dre, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang, Black Moon was on permanent rotation!
Pirate Radio inspired me to buy decks and it went from there.
In the early 90’s there wasn’t much underground radio in East Anglia, so I used to listen to a lot of Radio1 DJs in the evening, such as Trevor Nelson, Dave Pearce and Danny Rampling. It was Tim Westwood’s Saturday night show which used to get recorded every weekend... all the guest DJs from the US used to blow my mind...Funkmaster Flex, Roc Raider, Jam Master Jay. I used to watch all those DMC videos too, mesmerised by the scratching and beat juggling of The Beat Junkies, Scratch Perverts, X-Ecutioners, Cutmaster Swift and DJ Pogo.
I think the first time I heard was Jungle was again via a tape from my sister. A copy of TuPac - All Eyes On Me left lots of space on 90-minute TDK, so she filled the rest up with the likes of Prizna and Demolition Man - Fire and Shy FX and UK Apache - Original Nuttah.
In ‘97 there was a new pirate station in Norwich, called Flight FM, so I used to listen to that religiously. A lot of local DJs were playing UK Garage and D&B, and it was then that I saved up and I bought my first set of decks and started record shopping. I was buying anything and everything – House, Hip-Hop, Funk, D&B, and it all went from there.
It was around then when I started raving too, I was lucky to see Reprazent perform New Forms, local heroes EZ Rollers were on the Moving Shadow tour and Mickey Finn and Aphrodite did an Urban Takeover night at the University. What drew me to Drum and Bass? I guess it had to do with the sped-up funky breakbeats, rib shattering sub-bass, and also the varying influences from Rare Groove, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Jazz. Once I moved to London we were always out at either at Swerve on Wednesday, Movement on Thursday, Fabric on Friday and Bagleys on Saturday.
After having a rubbish day at work, there’s nothing better than coming home, making a brew, flinging down a few tunes dancing round the living room.
I take inspiration from the masters but I also look outside of music.
I guess my style falls in the “Liquid D&B” category but I would say my sound is influenced by the soul, funk and jazz samples that defined the 90’s Boom Bap era. Unintentionally I tend to write quite melodic music, generally based around a sample or a piano hook. I like to use the classic old funk breaks too (Think, Soul Pride, Tighten Up, Hot Pants, Scorpio…)
My first releases in 2017 were for a compilation on Scott Allen’s L.A. based Soul Deep Recordings which were very Hip-Hop and R&B led. In 2018, I was lucky enough to remix a couple of songs for Canadian artist, Rhi, on the legendary Tru Thoughts, released a track on Heist’s Co-Lab Recordings and as well as complete my first EP for Washington/Northampton based Smooth and Groove Records. In September this year, I released the “Fat Pauly’s EP” on Liquid Lab which I would say has been my most diverse record so far. I’m very grateful to have had airplay from the likes of Ray Keith, Donovan Bad Boy Smith, Chef, Heist, Bailey, Rob Luis and Nick Luscombe.
What makes a track catch my attention? Hmm, a tough one... I would say a simple chord progression or a catchy sample. Also, with so much music available these days it’s really hard to find music that goes a bit off-piste or tries something new…. Anything which starts getting my head nodding is a winner.
I take a lot of inspiration from the legendary producers such as J-Dilla, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, King Tubby. Jazz and Soul legends past and present, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Kamaal Williams, Robert Glasper, Badbadnotgood, Jordan Rakei, Moonchild. D&B wise: Calibre, The North Quarter, 1985 Music, Full Cycle, V Recordings, Soul:R. All the Norwich producers who are huge right now: Bladerunner, Saxon, T>I, Upgrade, Limited. DJ wise it still has to be DJ EZ, Grant Nelson, Masters at Work, Randall, Hype, Zinc, Marky and Andy C.
I’ve also been taking notice of a lot of East Asian creatives, not just in music but also in Film, TV and Comedy. It’s great to see people who look like you being represented in all fields in the UK and beyond…..so big up Eric Lau, Velocity, Makoto, Nookie, Benedict Wong, Rebecca Boey, Daniel York Loh, Ken Cheng, Phil Wang
I was still at school when I played my first garage night.
I got my first gig in Norwich, playing at a House and Garage Sunday night whilst doing my A-Levels. The club was called Fat Pauly’s, it was a snooker club during the day and a gig venue at night, with a 6AM license at the weekends. I did a few other of the Garage promotions around then, but stopped playing there once I moved to London.
I’ve had a few London residencies over the years at Rhythm Factory, The Egg and The Marketplace...This year I got to play at Aaron Jay’s Influenced night at the Work Bar, Angel, warming up for the likes of Makoto and Fabio. I also run my own night, Elements at the Castle in Aldgate. It’s in a small basement at my local boozer, a cheap and cheerful affair. We’ve been going for two years playing all types of D&B and a bit of UKG.
The mix? Favourites, classics and unreleased tracks produced by me.
Some of my favourite releases of the year, a few classics, and a couple of unreleased bits from me. Established names like Random Movement, T.R.A.C, Marcus Intalex (RIP), LSB and DRS, Mr Joseph, Need For Mirrors, Makoto, D-Kay, Maverick Soul, Artificial Intelligence, T>I and Saxon. But also some lesser-known artists such as Russian producer Cnof, Manchester’s Channell and Motiv, Brazil’s Duoscience, Finnish duo Askel and Elere.
I’ve got another EP lined up for Smooth N Groove, and am also finishing my second EP for Liquid Lab. Looking to do more collaborations with vocalists and MCs so watch this space!