The UK electronic music scene is at a very exciting stage and with so many new artists coming through every day it's hard to keep up, that's where Digital Pirate Material comes in. Just entering its second year the UK electronic music blog was started off to showcase the constant flood of new talent coming through from different disciplines in the EDM art form, from house to grime. It's this hefty resource of talented producers that led to DPM releasing a compilation showcasing the best producers in the UK scene right now in preparation to the forthcoming label. We caught up with the head honcho John to find out more.
First things first, when did the blog start and how did it come about?
The blog was started at the beginning of 2010, although last year is when it kicked into gear and started to pick up a steady amount of visitors. It began after being suggested to me by a work colleague, while I was working at Independiente Records as an intern. The initial aim was to make myself look 'web savvy' to future employers and develop digital skills myself.
Whats your view of the current state of electronic music in the UK?
It's healthy. There are plenty of artists and labels out there who are releasing some fine pieces of electronic music. The internet is a fantastic thing. It's never been so easy to not only discover new music, but for artists to get feedback on tracks almost instantly. A year ago I made a conscious effort to try and find some local artists to where I’m from in Surrey and was really surprised by the talent that I discovered.
Whats the scene like in Surrey? Would you say its a healthy breeding ground for musicians?
Completely. In Guildford you have the University of Surrey, which brings in a lot of people from different areas and the Academy of Contemporary Music, which I’m actually a former student. In the last few months we’ve also had the transmission of Kane FM, a former pirate turned legitimate radio station promoting underground sounds.
There’s a real hot bed of talent around. Killawatt is making moves in the dubstep scene, BareSkin is a 17 year old making great dance music and Wizard Sleeve are a collective that promotes the local bass music streaming parties in the same way as Boiler Room. There’s a lot going on and it’s great to see. Although I’m desperate to find some grime in Surrey!
This is the first compilation you've put out in relation to the blog, what made you progress to this next step?
There were a few reasons. To try and build an audience obviously, but also get some of these artists out to people that possibly wouldn’t have discovered them. Another reason was that it would help with my own career development as I've been able to create and manage this project myself. I wanted to create a win-win situation for everybody involved.
Was there a particular sound you wanted to showcase with the compilation?
I wanted it to show a wide spectrum of electronic music, as there isn’t one genre that I listen to particular over another. It was pleasing that I was able to get some Grime on there, as that’s a genre I’ve always loved and have gotten more involved in that scene thanks to labels such as Butterz. As a whole I think the genre is widely underrated. I’m really into this modern take on garage at the moment also. I grew up when So Solid and Artful Dodger were everywhere, so I’ve always been into that music and love that it hasn't gone away.
The Paleman track is another sound that I desperate to have included as I love the deep dubstep sound, like older Skream and Joy Orbison. Ahadadream, who also contributes to the blog, played it on his Nasty FM radio show and I instantly went looking for a contact.
The roster of artist's on the compilation is massive, any particular favourites?
There are a few artists that I was really thrilled to get involved. To pick out stand alone favourites is tough! If I was to release a single from the compilation it would be Killing Me from Dark0 and Context MC. Great production from an outstanding talent in Dark0, buy his EP on bandcamp as it’s fantastic and Context MC is going to be huge. He’s creating a genre of his own by fusing dubstep and garage beats with hip hop.
Personal favourite would be Admin's One. That track is the definition of a party starter, when the bass kicks in it's huge! I still need to hear that track on a big sound system for sure.
You've mentioned Context MC, are there any other MC's you would want to work with or are interested in? Or do you think its all about producers these days? As you said, growing up with grime some of the older fans have just as much, if not more love for MC's.
Oh yes, definitely. My favourite MCs at the moment are Trim and Scrufizzer, they are ridiculously talented. I love MCs that have a great flow. Within grime at the moment there has been a shift of focus on the instrumental side of things. The MC side will always be prominent to most people, but producers are now treated as artists themselves. I know I keep mentioning them, but Elijah and Skilliam have been the main architects of this with their Butterz label and radio show. Last year was great for the genre with Preditah, Terror Danjah, Faze Miyake, Swindle and Royal-T leading the way. I’m open about working with anyone to be honest. All I want to do is promote good music.
What's the next step for DPM?
The thing that I am itching to do is release some records and start up an independent label. This time last year I was working in a dead end job and it clicked into my head that it really isn’t difficult, especially with all the tools that are available. I’ve interned at independent and major record companies in the past, so I’ve got experience at how the industry works and it's something that's I've wanted to do since I was young. It suddenly registered in my head that it's something that could be done, so I've been developing ideas for a little while now.
Looking at other labels, I’ve been inspired by Numbers and Butterz especially. They’ve created their own community around the music they release and to do something similar is a goal I would love to achieve.
Who would you say we need to look out for in 2012?
Context MC, who I already mentioned, is a name that’s going to continue to grow throughout the year. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he was to get picked up by a major sometime soon, if not by the end of this year.
I love Ifan Dafydd. All of his material released so far has been of high quality, with lots of layers and rich soundscapes. Another artist that I’ve really gotten into is Disclosure. They put out a free EP, which is exceptional and they are touring with SBTRKT this year. Fully expecting them to be huge and their new single Tenderly / Flow is great too. On the dance tip I have to shout for Melé too. He put a few clips onto this SoundCloud the other week and they sound epic. He's a completely individual artist, you can hear so many influences and I'm expecting him to have a real breakthrough year.
I’ve also got to mention Tanka, who seems to put on a master class in 808 use on each track he puts out and iO. He’s making some well put together tracks of future garage and I'm constantly streaming stuff from his SoundCloud. Always excited to hear new material from these guys. Top talents. Look out for them.
What's the best place for producers looking to become a part of DPM to contact you?
I always try to make it easy for people to contact me, so there are a few ways to get at me. There’s a contact page on my website, I’ve got the DPM & personal Twitter accounts, people can inbox me on SoundCloud or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words: Yusuf Mian
Grab the first Digital Pirate Material compilation for free below.
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