The inaugural Sub:Weekender takes over The Shelter this Friday and Saturday, comprising an extensive bill of artists from all corners of the globe. We caught up with DJ MADD, originally from Budapest, but currently plying his trade in London, ahead of his first tip to The Middle Kingdom...
If you want to get your mitts on some cheap tickets, head to 247Tickets.cn for your fix.
You've released and remixed on various labels with quite distinct sounds; do you tailor what you do based on this and what are your plans for working with them for the future?
I was always into trying to write a couple of different sounds, and it always seemed to work out for me. At the moment I am concentrating more on the reggae vibes, but I'd still like to put that into various genres or tempos etc.
I usually keep in touch with every label I've worked with so the chances are definitely there to work on something again. Recently I've signed 2 tracks to Zam Zam Sounds, a US. based label supporting dub vibed music. I don't really looked at how big or small a label is, if the people running it are on it that's usually good enough for me.
These labels have helped a number of previously little-known artists break through; which have you been particularly pleased to see do well and are there any others that you think might be making waves soon that we may not have heard of?
Moonshine Recordings is a label I'd say to watch for fresh talent. They are just about to release a compilation album called "Steppin' Forward" with loads of good beats. The tune by Numa Crew on there titled "Knowledge" is just sick. There are a couple of names people might be familiar with already but just in case, watch out for these guys: The Illuminated, Violinbwoy, Alpha Steppa, Radikal Guru to name a few.
What kind of music makes you think "that's a record I'd like to release" these days on your own label, Roots & Future?
To be honest that's something I would usually say about tunes released years ago. RSD - Kingfisher is one I don't think it got the hype it deserved. Or I would've loved to have a label around the time Tes La Rok was doing his rounds, but I hear he is about to make a return so pretty excited about that!
With the whole 'bass music' explosion over the last few years, do you think club nights are in a way reverting back to the days of the early 80s when there were less specific genre nights? Do you feel more free now to play a broad range of records in your sets?
Yeah definitely. These days I don't fell any pressure if I'd like to change up the tempo in my sets. Though It's a double edged sword in the sense of dubstep getting a bit less time, but all in all I think It's a healthy progress. You see people who go to a dubstep night less and less shocked about hearing something different and how could that be wrong right?
What was your way in to DJing and making music? How does then and now compare in terms of the crowds going to parties and the variety of music being played in Budapest?
I wanted to learn how to write tracks first, but it was just too much time to ignore djing while doing that, so I kinda taken up djing to have something else to do with music while figuring out how to make my own tunes.
Just like everywhere else It's a bit different these days. I started getting into music production just after the whole hardware era and back then tutorials were not that easy to find like today on YouTube for example. Today people wanting to get into it have an array of resources and that cuts of so much time just being able to read up on things - I find that great and helpful to not make people quit because of frustration early on.
Budapest is doing fine by the way. They just had Coki play there and DJ Die & Calibre & DRS are going there for a night soon so can't really complain. They could do with a few more dubstep nights but have to accept the fact that its not London and leaving a bit of space between nights with guest djs is healthier than flooding the clubs with names in the long run.
Coming from a Dub background, that's obviously a big influence. What have you been enjoying playing out in recent times?
My sets have become more & more playing my own tunes, but I could never pull a set only consisting of my own production - there's just too many good tunes out there!
On the dubstep tip I always play something from RSD, Radikal Guru, Gorgon Sound, J:Kenzo.
Other names that pop into mind would be Congo Natty, Om Units jungle vibe tunes, Gentlemans Dub Club or Fat Freddy's Drop.
I guess it was the Dub connection that drew you to Bristol; what was it like living in the city?
Actually it was more the drum&bass at first, then I found out how awesome the city is for reggae / dub music!
Living in Bristol is pretty chilled. It's very easy to find good music and good people within arms reach so that just sets the general vibe of the city. Also It's great how you can pick between bigger nights like Teachings In Dub and more family vibe things like Tape Echo / Peng Sound events. It's a very artistic place in general: Loads of graffiti, street musicians.
How is the club scene in London these days from your perspective?
London always had a vibrant scene and I guess that will never change.
They have System and Contact now as the main big events for dubstep / bass music, and FWD is settled in its new venue called 'Dance Tunnel'. It's still fairly easy to hear dubstep in London and the same goes for drum&bass or more experimental bass music nights. I guess London is always a few steps forward so you can definitely spot a bit of decay of the dubstep hype and everything is a bit more focused on the next thing, but as long as there are nights like the one I already mentioned.
You recently worked with one of the greats, Horace Andy; how was that and how did it come about?
To be fair it wasn't "working with" as such. That is why I didn't want the title to say "featuring" because that would be misleading. I made a version of Cuss Cuss just to play out and sent it to Mack at Moonshine Recordings. He came up with the idea to try to license the vocal for a release and he made it happen pretty quick. It was a great opportunity because I rarely have the connection or finances to license big names like that. Unfortunately I never met Horace Andy but seen his performance at Outlook Festival and he is still the king. Definitely in my top 3 reggae names.
How much do you know about the scene out here etc? How's Japan treating you?
I was trying to find out as much as I could before coming here so a couple of names / nights were already familiar before my arrival.
Japan is amazing by the way. You really have to come here and dive in to experience the local scene. I'm spending 3 months here and loving it! Only in the middle of my visit so still plenty to see so will report back on that.
Check below (VPN):