dBridge talks us through his six favourite tunes of all time. From The Stone Roses, The Cure and DJ Krust to Stevie Wonder, Slum Village and Spacek, find out why their tracks mean so much to him.
1. The Stone Roses - Fools Gold
Your first song is from 1989 and a stone-cold indie classic that most people will know. Some people might be surprised you've gone for this so why is it on the list?
It reminds me of a special time of my youth, underage drinking and I getting into drugs! I used to live in a small village in Malvern so I didn't have much to do. It was generally drink, drugs and music. We were all really getting into that whole Manchester scene: Inspiral Carpets, The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, bands like that, and The Stone Roses really stood out.
Their debut album really struck a chord with me. It was in my transitional stage as well because I was heavily into The Doors and Hendrix. So at the time they were one of the first modern groups that I discovered and was getting into but were still pretty underground.
Fools Gold always stuck with me as one of my favourite tunes. They used the Hotpants break on that as well so it was borderline breakbeat. I was into a lot of indie bands around this time as well like Chapterhouse, Public Image Limited, Pixies, Stump, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure.
When I moved from London to Malvern I got into these sort of bands. When I was younger I was surrounded by reggae and stuff like that but moving out to Malvern it was very sort of white, working to middle class area and I was one of only three mixed race people in town. It was a very guitar based community so that's where my love for The Doors and things that came from. I was also in a band as a lead singer and we used to do covers of Simple Minds, Steppenwolf and Cream and I was really into old 60s and 70s bands as well. I've always loved guitar bands.
I think it's good coming from that background and getting into electronic music and having more of a varied outlook on music. I know people quite close to me that have grown up on just drum & bass and electronic music and their outlook is quite insular in that sense and that kinda freaks me out a bit. That's one of the reasons I think why I get on with Instra:mental so well, we're really open and honest about our influences. How some of that stuff has seeped into what we're doing. These days I love bands like The xx, Fleet Foxes, Interpol and Maximo Park.
I like how you have your influences sections on your podcasts as well. I noticed on Layer 10 you had Fools Gold and a few other indie classics so no I know it was you that put them on!
Yeah, all that section was me. It's funny as the influences sections are some peoples favourite bits of the podcasts! What I like is that if you listen to it carefully you can hear within our tunes how the influences have permeated into them. Obviously we haven't been very open with who has done what but from our point of view when we listen to our stuff and we listen to influences there is a direct connection.
2. Krust - Future Unknown
Your second pick is Krust's Future Unknown, perhaps a more obvious choice as it's drum & bass. This deep, atmospheric, experimental track from 1997 isn't a million miles away from what you're doing now in fact.
It's my favourite drum & bass track of all time. You can almost feel his pain. I like that about music, being able to recognise or hear their personality in what they're doing rather than a generic paint-by-numbers approach to music. The are some sections within that tune, some of the key changes and chords, it just really tugs at my heart strings. In some ways I'd love to know what was on his mind making this tune but in other ways it's probably best I don't. It's a really powerful song and it was made at the time when drum & bass at its most experimental and really forward thinking. Some of the places it was going with what people like Boymerang, Photek, Ed Rush & Optical were doing.
Do you think drum & bass lost that experimental nature chasing what worked on the dancefloor so much?
Definitely. Instra:mental and I have discussed this and almost see some of what we're doing as continuation, maybe the direction it would have gone if it had have carried on from back then. The scene became dancefloor led, the crowd dictated what should be made and it lost something. I can tell when music is being made for reasons that I don't agree with. You could hear that tracks were being made to get a response and as part of Bad Company I was responsible for a lot of that. Getting the crowd response almost became the core element of making a tune, the whole experimentation and making music for music's sake got lost somewhere.
There are so many different factors as why things are the way they are. People growing up and playing to a new generation of ravers, we've all got mortgages and bills to pay so you can't afford to be experimental any more! That's why in some ways the dubstep scene has kicked people up the arse a bit, definitely me. It's almost like the advantages of youth, you're not tied down by bills and things like that, you literally can just make music for the love of it. I think that got lost in drum & bass for a while.
What I like about what we're doing and our podcasts and some of the stuff that's coming out, it may not necessarily work on the dancefloor but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be made. Getting that attitude across is important, you can make music that isn't just for that one stage.
3. The Cure - Fear Of Ghosts
Next up it's The Cure and most people will know of them but the song you've chosen is one of their more obscure tracks, Fear Of Ghosts. It's an atmospheric track from 1989, was on their rare Love Song EP and was originally to appear on their Disintegration album but was cut. What made you choose this track?
It just takes me back to a real good time time in my life. I originally bought it for the A-side and it's just one of those times when a B-side surprises you. The whole mood of it really sits well with me.
Even now re-listening to it from a production sense, the way it has been put together, the dynamics of it where Robert Smith is whispering and the track seems to be quite subdued and when the guitars come in and it opens up and springs to life.
It's a good example of why there shouldn't be this whole battle for loudness within music. It shows how going from quiet to loud can have as big an effect as any other part of music, it's the whole dynamics of it. You don't have to have everything super loud in your tracks.
It's the kind of track I listen to and try and learn from because as a producer I'm still learning a lot.
4. Stevie Wonder - Angie Girl
Your fourth choice is Stevie Wonder's Angie Girl. It's from 1969, very early in Stevie's career, and not one of his more well known tracks. Tell us more about what this song means to you...
I can guarantee that if I wake up and I'm having a real shit day if I put this song on it well instantly cheer me up. It's that whole thing of feeling someone's emotion again. I'm not sure who he's talking about but you can tell he really loves them. There's a whole positivity flowing through the song. I've started taking piano lessons and I'm drawn towards the chord structure in this tune without even realising. It's a really beautiful song. I love what he does, he's a genius. He's another one who can effect me emotionally with his voice and music and this is a really good example of that. So it's my day starter!
How did you first come across it? Was it your family or something?
No, I actually discovered it less than ten years ago. I like collecting 7"s so I bought For Once In My Life and it's on the B-side. I like discovering new things on the B-side as you can tell!
5. Slum Village - Fantastic Vol 1
Slum Village were a hip hop group from Detroit. Rapper and producer Jay Dee aka J Dilla (who sadly died in 2006) was their most famous member. Their debut album Fantastic Vol 1 was made in 1996 but wasn't officially released until 2005 so it was highly sought after in underground circles. Why did you choose this?
That whole album is genius, J Dilla was an unbelievable producer. My brother, Steve Spacek, got me into him as Dilla remixed one of his tracks. I'm really fussy with hip hop. There's like two schools of hip hop listeners. There are those who listen to the lyrics and other people listen to the music. I've never really been able to connect with the lyrical content of hip hop for some reason. Someone would play me a track and I would have no idea what they were talking about but I would love the rhythm track. However J Dilla's skill in putting together music is unsurpassed. He was like a Jedi on the MPC. I've been an avid collector ever since.
That album reminds of when I was working on my brother's Vintage Hi-tek album, it was always on the car stereo. It was one of those underground beats CDs that not many people had because it took so long to get released. That was my introduction to the world of J Dilla and I never looked back.
6. Spacek - Get Away
You just mentioned your older brother Steve Spacek so this is a tune that is obviously very personal to you. Why this out of all his music?
My brother was the one who got me into making music and is one of my biggest inspirations. This is on his debut album Curvatia and at the time he was creating that album I was starting out in my musical career.
It finally came out in 2001 but it was made long before that. It was released by Island and they shafted him a bit with it. It could have done a lot better. It was in that transitional stage where the old guard in the music industry were being replaced by people who just wanted hits, it wasn't about developing artists. Spacek was definitely an act that could have been developed into something really big. Because the album didn't have that instant hit on it they didn't want to know which is a shame.
dBridge & Instra:mental's FABRICLIVE 50: AUTONOMIC mix is out on Monday February 15th but you can pre-order your copy here.
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