Like plenty of bass-hungry folks in his native West London, V.I.V.E.K lives to ride the low end. Eyes Down, his newest EP for Deep Medi is four tracks of unadulterated bass done dirty and damn well. The record is named for the phenomenon that occurs when darkness and slamming 140 are combined in a packed room, as described by V.I.V.E.K's cohort at DMZ. These bangers are sure to be key elements in the concoction for some time to come.
How about a little introduction?
My name's V.I.V.E.K. I'm a 'dubstep' producer from West London.
Why the 'dubstep' in quotes?
Because I don't really know what dubstep is.
How would you describe the stuff you produce that's considered 'dubstep'?
Simply as bass / sound system music. Music built for a rig, like old school reggae systems which emphasize the low end of the music.
Is that your favourite kind of stuff to listen to?
I appreciate all types of sound, but dub / roots is definitely one of my favourite genres.
Growing up in West London, are those the sounds you were hearing most?
Growing up I listened mainly to drum & bass and reggae. But the area I am from in West London, Southall, has a reputation for dub / roots music. Shaka, Shanti-I, Iration Steppas, have all played in Southall. Actually Aba Shanti-I used to play at the end of every month at the local community centre. It's there that I first felt the power of sub.
How old were you when you made your first track, and what did it sound like?
I was probably around 18 when I first used music software, but at that stage I didn't have a clue what was going on. I only started taking things seriously when I was 22. My first track was some mad Amen driven drum & bass track where the bass was so loud you could just about hear the drums.
Who were your favourite producers when you started making your own beats? Did you emulate anyone in particular?
For me, Metalheadz sound was the main inspiration. I loved the dark / mellow combination. From Future Cut to Rufige Kru. I was totally in that sound. Metropolis by Adam F is my favourite track of that genre. Way ahead of its time. Towards the end of my love affair with drum & bass, the main producer who stood out for me was Amit. He changed the game. Shame he doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
What marked your transition to more of a 'dubstep' format?
Not sure exactly, but I lost the excitement for drum & bass. Then I started hearing this new sound, dubby yet dark, with the drum & bass sounding basses. It was like all my favourite genres rolled into one.
Was there one track or artist in particular that appealed to you in that way?
Toasty Boy – Skinny and Mala – Bury the Bwoy.
You use traditional Indian percussion on several of your tracks. Any favourite traditional Indian musicians?
Ravi Shankar is amazing, as well as his daughter, and, of course, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
What can your fans expect from your Eyes Down EP?
I'd like to think a wide palette of sounds and emotions. I try to make every track sound totally different from the other as every track has its own story to tell.
You started with dnb and you've developed a unique style within the dubstep format. Are there any other beatstyles you'd like to explore in the future?
No, I'm happy at 140. I'm not going to start making every genre under the sun. I'm content with the sound I have created at 140.
Who are some artists producing in your genre today whose work you love?
Jack Sparrow, Distance, and Mala.
What's your favorite place to play in your hometown? Why?
DMZ - the vibe, the people... It's one of the foundations of the sound I push.
Aside from London, what's your favourite city to perform in?
Probably Amsterdam. I love that place. Weed and bass is like beans on toast; perfect combination. The Dutch love the bass heavy sounds.
Words: Abdullah Saeed
Download V.I.V.E.K.'s Kmag guest mix here
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