Dubstep / bass music producer DJ Madd tells us about The Real & The Shadow, his debut album out now on Black Box Records and gives away an exclusive free track.
Firstly can you introduce yourself and your music?
My name is Peter Simon, I come from Budapest, Hungary and I make dubstep and bass oriented music under the DJ Madd name. My tunes are usually on the deeper tip, but I do experiment with everything from garage vibes to heavy stuff and jungle.
Your debut album, The Real & The Shadow, is out now on Black Box Records, is there a concept behind the album or is it a collection of tunes you've been working on for some time?
The only rule I set myself for the album was to have no leftover tunes, or half-finished bits quickly wrapped up, so I'm happy to be able to say that every tune was made specifically for the album and built from nothing. I think this was the most important thing for me when I started making it.
How do you go about short listing and ultimately choosing tracks for a record, do you find this to be a painfully selective process?
It's getting harder and harder to be honest. You can obviously not release absolutely everything you make, and even then I can't say that tune A was better than tune B. You just have to pick the ones you find most suitable at the time I guess and roll with it. Regarding the album, that was much easier, as I said before all the tunes were produced exclusively to end up on there, so the only thing to think about was the tracklisting really.
I'm going to ask you to pick your favourite one, and give the reasons for that choice?
I'd say Kyoto Station is my personal favourite from the lot. I really wanted to make a tune dedicated to my first visit to Japan as it has a special place in my heart. I think I translated that into a tune in a way I'm happy with now.
I was invited only for one gig there (that is amazing on its own), which was in Kyoto. I obviously wanted to check out Tokyo as well, so I had to travel there from Kyoto Station. The station itself is massive and looks awesome, Google some pictures if you're interested.
What artists or sounds can we hear influences of on this record?
I don't listen to dubstep at home (apart from the tunes I receive) so I wouldn't say there are any exact influences from other producers. The collection of sounds and vibes I guess are all the things I picked up along the years ranging from jungle, garage, reggae and the dark techy stuff.
What do you think makes your sound unique?
Tough question. I'm not really the guy to say good things about myself really. I think not sticking to a single sound is always a key thing. I'm very happy I didn't make an album which has 13 tunes all on the exact same tip. It does have quite a range of sounds but that's just how I felt right I guess.
It's interesting to hear every ones opinion about what tunes they like the best as it always differs. I think in the end it's much more healthy to have a few bits that might please a wider range of people, who can play the tracks they like, rather than narrowing it to a single sound for a selected audience.
Saturday 21 April 2012 is Record Store Day, how important do you think record shop culture is or is it dying?
I'm always a bit unsure about this question. One week I meet someone who switched to digital and never looked back, the next week I meet another person who only buys vinyl and describes the whole experience of listening to records in a way that makes me want to rush out and buy ten singles all in one go.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when records were a big thing, so I guess I've seen the best of both worlds. As far as actual record shop culture is concerned, I'm sorry to say but it's definitely not as popular as it was. Even the people who still buy vinyl usually do it online, and why not when it's the easiest thing in the world?
Is there a particular record shop you have fond memories of or still frequent, do you spin on vinyl?
We never had loads of record shops in Budapest, and most of the ones I visited are gone now unfortunately. The one that is still going is called Deep, and that's where I spent most of my money on vinyl. It wasn't always so easy to actually get the records you wanted, so my fond memories would definitely be when I was standing there waiting for the shop to open and finding that the records I wanted were being taken out of the delivery box.
At the moment I don't play much vinyl. This is mostly due to the tunes not being available on vinyl and to be brutally honest, it's easier to carry a light bag around as well. I played a full-vinyl set in Germany last year which was awesome though! Every couple of gigs I still pack about 20-30 vinyls in my bag but due to bad luck almost every time those are the gigs with the jumpy needles (if they even have any), or the worn down decks with distorted monitors. That said I am in the process of getting a turntable again for home usage and (I'm afraid to say financially) getting back into collecting vinyl for the fun of it.
You've been kind enough to offer up an exclusive free download to readers of Kmag, can you tell us a little more about this track?
The track Futureless is one of those tunes which could easily have been a release but somehow never made it due to the sheer amount of other releases already lined up. It was made during a time when I was watching a lot of Star Trek, so bonus points if you can actually point out where the main quote is from. Tip: DS9.
What's next for Madd production and also DJ wise, where can we catch you playing out?
Things are still up in the air after the album release, so production wise I need to work out my options. I still have loads of unreleased tunes which I know quite a few people are waiting for, so I will see if I can get at least a few of those on wax in the near future.
As far as playing out, I just came back from Croatia and Serbia and it was absolutely amazing. You can catch my sets at Subdub in London 27 April, Detonate in Nottingham on 6 May and Outlook Festival to name but a few.
Words: Sam Oliveira
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