Kmag touches down with 6Blocc as he prepares to relaunch his Digital 6 imprint alongside a future jungle imprint and unleash a tune with none other than Diplo and Snoop Lion.
It's been a minute since we caught up so let's back it up a bit. Known to an entire generation as R.A.W./Bboy 3000 the hardcore junglist, you've found new life as 6Blocc and have really made your mark on the international bass music scene. Talk a bit about that transition and how you see those drum & bass/jungle roots continuing to express themselves in your new sound/tempo ...
Back in 2005 I was losing interest in d&b and fast tempo music in general and I was already dropping reggae into my sets to slow things down yet still have a bassline runnin'. Then in 2006, when I was recording at the Junglist Platoon studios I heard a dubstep mix playing downstairs and the bassline caught my attention. It turned out to be a mix by Youngsta, still one of the best dubstep selectors in my opinion. The music was deep, mysterious and bass heavy which was heaven to my ears.
Quickly after that, I went into the studio and knocked out my first dubstep production called 'Humble Lion'. It was a breath of fresh air to work on music that wasn't hectic and intense. I could work on dubstep for hours upon hours and merge all of my musical tastes into my production. Since that time dubstep has become drug music for the youngsters and now sounds almost like the d&b I was running away from. But I'm glad to say there are still tru-skool dubsteppers that love the big subs and heavyweight selections.
Speaking of which, you are crazy prolific, banging out tunes non-stop. What's your secret to success on that front? I know you have a family and a hectic touring schedule, how do you find the time?
My days usually go like this: Wake up early (most days...) and get the kids fed, which is harder than you'd think. Hit the shower, grab some coffee (must have) and handle emails / bookings / swap tunes thru AIM. In the afternoon, I try to play with my kids or read books to them which is a great way to take a break from the computer. At night is when my mind is ready to work on music and knock out some basslines.
On a good day I can work on music all day and I go into a trance where time doesn't exist or matter. I love those days! But, it is hard to keep up with the responsibility as a father and be a DJ, I try to remember to have fun and think young because fatherhood and the DJ life are two totally different worlds. Sometimes it's a strange switch of reality to go from putting the kids to sleep to stepping into a club to DJ but after a drink in my hand I'm good! (laughs)
There's a rumour that your label Digital 6 is set to re-launch soon. Is this true? What sort of vibe/vision should the heads be expecting if they missed things the first time around?
Yes, it relaunches in August and with Symphonic Distribution behind it we're looking at putting out some quality bass music from artists that I feel should be heard like: Endboss, The Bassist, Itchy Robot, Maze, Blankface, Ranger, Wulf, Peligro, and Bison. I love vocal tracks and I'm looking to release songs featuring vocalists such as Jamalski, Werd 2 Jah, 2Mex, Mestizo, Woes and Pow Shadows. The sound of Digital 6 is bass heavy street music, which means sometimes we'll hit you with the rhymes and other times we'll just hit you with the bassline.
What you got lined up for the first few releases? Any exclusive sneak peeks you can sprinkle on us?
Our release in August is actually an 808 hip hop song called 'Grape Cigarillo' by rapper Uptown which includes my dubstep remix as well as a bangin' drumstep remix by Dirty Deeds. It's much different from the other dubstep being made at the moment but I feel that this release is a perfect blend of hip hop and dubstep/drumstep and can be played at any club.
For the second release, I'm diving deeper and hitting you with an EP from Maze. This California producer is no joke and his sound is dark, sub-heavy and menacing to say the least. The third release is a bass heavy ragga dubstep track by San Diego's Peligro. The bassline is so nasssty - when I dropped it in Tijuana's dubstep monthly Sabadubz the crowd lost it and I gave 'em the 10-second rewind... madness!
I know you have some heavy-duty collaborations in the works as well - fill us in on the details!
I've been working with DJ Muggs on his upcoming album 'Bass In Your Face' for the past year. It's coming out ruff n tuff and I think many will be surprised at the sound Muggs' is putting down. We've already released a single and a video last year with UK's Dizzee Rascal called 'Snap Ya Neck Back' which is a slammin' hip hop / dubstep / grime hybrid and is just a taste of the energy the album will hit you with.
And what's this I hear about you working on the new Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion reggae album?
Yes, I'm also co-producing a song for the upcoming Snoop Dogg vs. Major Lazer reggae album with Diplo called 'Here Comes The King'. Diplo and I are recreating an old dubstep song of mine and updating it for the club. The vibe is so ill and I can't wait for it to drop.
You've been touring like a beast lately - what's been one of your most memorable gigs in the past couple of years? Any nightmare gigs where everything just went wrong from the start?
You know for me it's not about large crowds because honestly the craziness involved with those events is not my style. The most fun I've had was touring Mexico because they are new to having dubstep being played in their cities and they really appreciate the sounds I drop in my sets. I think the best crowd I've played to was in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The crowd was just going for it and the location was great as well. They have a pizza spot that is second to none which makes their own chipotle sauce that they give me every time I visit.
The worst experience is when I got booked to play a show in the Rockies (Colorado) and the drive was way too long and I missed my set time. I got paid to drive up and back and never played one song! I also didn't make my flight so I had to wait until 9pm to catch the last flight back to LAX.
Last but not least, what else should we be expecting from you project-wise in the coming year?
At the moment I'm just concentrating on setting up releases on Digital 6, putting the finishing touches on DJ Mugg's album and the Diplo / Snoop reggae/dubstep anthem. I'm also running a future jungle label which is kicking off in August called 140 Recordings. This label will focus primarily on 140-160 bpm jungle/d&b and by next year we should be seeing much more of this music being played at events around the world.
I've also got a collaboration with The Bassist due out on SPL's Hollow Point Recordings in Sept / Oct 2012, called Six Million Ways.
Words: Chris Muniz
Looking for more? Be sure to head over to Loopmasters to snap up any one of 6Blocc's sample packs designed to toughen up any future jungle/dubstep sounds you may be kicking in the studio.
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