It's without doubt a big honour; in fact, it's probably one of the greatest privileges of a DJ's boothlife. It’s being invited to mixdown your own worthy selection under the name of fabriclive, no less. It's not one of them online gigs, this mix will be pressed and packaged for you to send to the distant rellies and save for the grandkids.
FabricLive started back in 2001 with James Lavelle (I got my copy) and has expectedly moved through the sounds of Grooverider and John Peel, as well as Goldie and Four Tet mixing and blending a showcase of electronica, drum and bass, as well as house and new techno. We met with the latest honorary, DJ Oneman, to see how he prepared for such an epic task. Oneman says his aim was ‘upfront &clubby’, another said it must have been 'choreographed by MC Escher'.
So, how did this mix come about?
They [fabric] had been talking about this for awhile, they probably mentioned it in September last year and straight away I was like this is something that I want to do. It came to February or March this year and I started doing the licensing, I thought it would have been really difficult but there were only one or two that I didn't get: an old track by Smoking Beats called ‘Dreams’ and a dubstep track by Coki. They were the only two I didn’t get, so, the mix was pretty easy to handle. I think they approached me because I play a lot on their Friday nights. I’m really happy I got to do a CD; they won’t be about for much longer!
How did you pick this prime selection?
So, I wanted to keep it as clubby as possible, something I'd play at fabric on a Friday night rather than something I’d play on Rinse or do on Boiler Room! I wanted it to be a showcase of UK underground music at this sort of time and then throw in some references from my past as well, that would be a garage part like the Steve Gurly mix [of Basement Jaxx] & Underground Solution [‘s mix of Ed Case]!
Fis-T from my label is also on it. That was a huge crossover tune for me; I think that track, even when I play it now, goes off more than any other tune. Purely because I think it’s got that rift that sticks with people. Alot of the stuff is from early 2010 when the funky scene started changing: that bastardised broken sound, that early SBTRKT and Grievous Angel. It’s just a selection of good beats that you can dance to, that’s what I look for in the music: danceability!
Did you record it at home?
Yeah, I have a small set-up: turntables, mixer, soundcard, I can do everything through that. They did ask me if I wanted to record it at fabric but I like to be locked away and take my time with it! It probably only took one take, though there’s a slight break but I didn’t use any Ableton, it’s a proper DJ mix. If I’d be at fabric there would have been a lot of other stuff going on, like someone drilling something and it would have been worse! The club’s very labyrinth like, like a maze. I don’t think I found the third room on my first visit!
Serato has changed the whole DJing interface! You can play everything on turntable – when I use vinyl, I used to sometimes download things onto CDs, which I hated doing but just so that I could have it. There are pros and cons to having all your music at your disposable. Sometimes it’s nice to judge from a limited collection. I play a lot more music now!
Do you ever think about producing?
I've got a copy of Logic and mess around with it but I never finish anything! I start making something and then just wanna get back on the decks and do a mix rather than finish a track! I'm not forcing myself to produce!
The energy I get from music is through DJing, through creating! Through trying to create one thing with lots of different tools. A mix is essential two tracks put together to sound like one or with a nice transition between the two. If I were a producer, I’d be in the background, no instruments or tapping anything but saying things like put this here or put that there. Like an ‘arranger’.
So, how did this all begin?
I started DJing when I was 14 with a friend. I went to college for two years, to do art but I always wanting to work in the music industry and signed up for some temping work. I got a job at the post room in Warner Bros., my boss was an old jungle head and he was really getting into dubstep as it was coming out, going to fwd lots.
I still had my old garage tunes but when I started buying the new ones, I decided to mix the two! I saw that no-one else seemed to be doing this and I thought I could have a niche here: mixing older garage with newer dubstep. It’s not an obvious match, as dubstep is very rigid and garage is swung but you can. Most of the time it’s a really nice marriage of music!
Were you hosting a radio show at this time?
Yeah, I’d just got a show in West London. Y’know King Street? Underneath the railway arches and then Rinse called up. At the end of 2007, I had some trial shows, so four years! I did my Rinse CD in 2010! The next big thing is K7! Jamie xx and I did a FACT thing, but I don’t collaborate so much with other people, it’s in the name really: Oneman! I like the ring of it!
How would you describe your music?
The music shouldn’t be too hard, I like to have a lot of feminity in the tunes that I play, it’s nice to hear a female vocal or some synths not just bang, bang, bang! I get that from EZ, he used to do that sort of thing, steering 138 Trek into a nice melodic sound.
What else are you doing?
My Rinse show has just moved to Tuesdays because I’m always busy on the weekends and the last thing I want to do it batter my ears with really loud music. That two day break is fantastic, I’ve noticed that my shows are so much better, I’m so much more up for it!
Playing at the Major Lazer party in Ibiza with Diplo. Diplo and I have the same agent, so we often play together. This year playing with Martelo, Toddla T and some big guest at carnival, it might be a secret and some other festivals before Carnival.
The best festival I played was Exit in Serbia. In terms of playing to a crowd, definitely Exit. The best festival as a punter was probably Bestival, before I started DJing, so I was just wondering around doing my thing. Then Outlook but not Dimensions, as I have to back for Bestival!
And finally, what do you like on your rider?
Gin, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. I used to have a lot of beer but it was bad for my acid-reflux!
Words: Kim Wilson
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