Friday, 24 February 2012

Featuring: Seven


One of the most consistent DJ/Producers in dubstep today, Seven emerged from success in the drum & bass scene to quickly establish himself at the 140bpm spectrum with his tight, inimitably heavy productions, ranging from eyes-down rollers to dancefloor bangers, and his largely-unrivalled skills behind the decks which have seen him booked across the continents. Already boasting an impressive back catalogue, releasing on well respected labels including Tempa, Wheel & Deal, Subway and Aquatic Lab, he is set this year to release his debut LP on Black Box records; we caught up with him to talk about this latest project aswell as his long-running career in music production and DJing and got him to lay down the latest mix in our exclusive series.

Hedmuk: To introduce yourself, what's your name, where do you come from and how would you describe your sound?

Seven: Hi, I'm Seven, I come from London, UK and I make various forms of dubstep, covering a whole spectrum of styles accumulating to what people refer to as my signature sound.

H: Would you say that you're from a musical background, or is it something that you've picked up yourself?

S: As a kid I was totally in love with music. I had a very musical upbringing, but i never took to playing an instrument: I was more seduced by turntables and mixing. I guess that stemmed from being my dad's son, he had a huge record collection and loved keeping up with hi-fi technology, which it turn intrigued me too. He was into soul, Motown, jazz and everything else from there and in-between; so he was my first huge influence and he completely supported my interests and when I was nine he got some turntables, and so began my journey into mixing.

My sister also played a huge influence in the kind of music that I became attracted to and was enjoying mixing at home. She would often buy me records she'd heard in clubs and at raves she went to. So I had a good tune scout showing me what was working in the clubs and I was also loving what I was hearing on pirate radio stations that she showed me all about. It was all a good introduction to underground dance music culture from an early age.

The production side of things came later. It was largely due to the influence of my new friends who were producing music and deejaying in clubs: they showed me that there were other avenues to what I was already doing. So, at around the age of 14, almost 15, I made a 3 track EP under the alias DJ Reflex. I hired the studio time and the engineer to push the buttons for me and produce my ideas. The EP got signed, released and sold a modest amount of units, it was a great starting point and a huge achievement for me too. I was totally intrigued by the whole experience and was convinced I could make a future for myself [in music] by dedicating my life to it. So I started to save up money for studio equipment. It took me years to get a full outboard studio set up, there was no software studio process back then, unless you had a huge, expensive Pro Tools setup. It took a lot of trial and error too, because I didn't go to music production school to learn how to do things I just kind of found my own way. Feels like so long ago now; for almost a decade I have been consistently releasing music to the public and all on vinyl too, which I am very proud of. And the journey continues...



H: On top of your productions, you're well known as one of the tightest DJs in dubstep: is this something you consider to be important? Do you think of yourself primarily as a producer or a DJ, or a balance of both?

S: I guess I consider myself a DJ before a producer: it came first and the production followed. But saying that, I couldn't do one and not the other, so I have a good balance of both. There is a time and place for each of them and when you get them to work in unison, things flow and work well.

I think tight mixing and good DJ skills are essential: there are a lot of people out there playing sets that are not DJs, they are just producers playing CDs aided by technology. If you took CDJs out of clubs and everyone had to use vinyl, a lot of them wouldn't be able to keep the music in time or mix properly.

H: What was it that made you decided to switch your focus from making drum & bass to dubstep? Do you still make tunes at 170bpm, or is it something you've largely left behind now?

S: DJ Youngsta is a close friend, he constantly asked me to make a track for him to play out. Knowing I was quite an established producer I guess he could tell I would come up with something pretty good, so kept at me until I made a track for him. It was at this point I realised how D&B had become very formulaic for me: I was know for a certain style and was pigeon-holed into it. It was more of a production line than a pleasure. But I soon found dubstep to be inspiring and fun, I was enjoying the creative freedom it gave me and the ways I could express myself without worrying about sticking to boundaries and rules. I then started making more dubstep than D&B until eventually i was too busy with my dubstep productions to keep up with any D&B happenings. So, I changed my alias and decided on the name Seven: my lucky number.



H: Last year's 'Dubstep Dubplates' compilation presented an interesting combination of your work as both a producer and selector, how did the idea come about and are there plans for more releases of this type?

S: The idea was born from a company called Live Beyond, they asked me to compile a CD of tracks made by both up-and-coming and already-established producers. It represented a spectrum of music I felt would be received well by dubstep fans and new listeners alike. The project also focused on breaking new artists into the scene and helping them to establish their careers. It brought people like Lurka and Crushington into the public eye and also made possible the release of much sought after tracks by Benny Page.

There is talk of a second volume, but that's about as much as I know right now. I'll keep you guys updated though.

H:You've got an album forthcoming on Blackbox this year; how did you go about selecting tunes for the release and what can people expect from the album? Did you see an album project as an opportunity to depart from the sort of beats you would usually make, by incorporating vocals or aiming to build tunes not directly aimed at a big rig and a dancefloor for instance?

S: I made a lot of tunes for the album. I had like this natural selection process going on the whole time I was making them though, I had to literally stop my self making tunes in the end because the album was never going to be finished if I didn't. I just kept producing more and more tunes that I wanted to include on there and faced dilemmas about what I was going to take off to accommodate the new tracks which would replace them. All that said though, I am very happy with the chosen tracklist.

People can expect each tune to be individual, but with my signature stamped all over them. I haven't tried to steer away from what I am known for, instead I just pushed myself even harder to make better music. I have tried to accommodate everyone's tastes though, be it deep and minimal or dancefloor smashers. It's a definitive collection of my music and I feel I put my heart and soul into every track. My single releases vary so much from track to track it was a task to try and incorporate all of what I think people are expecting from it into just 12 or maybe 13 tracks. I have included some vocals tracks on there too. Vocals by Alys B on both tracks compliment the album perfectly.

I tried to make the album accessible to all: something DJs can play and also something people can listen to on their iPods. If you sit back with your headphones on and shut your eyes, each track has the potential to then take you on a musical journey in the mind.



H: Can you tell us a bit about the thought process behind the mix you've put together for us?

S: I have done a few podcasts and webcam studio mixes recently and mainly played a lot of deeper stuff. So, in this mix I wanted to show some more of the jump up dubstep that I like to play too. At points this mix is quite upbeat, as well as deep and dark: I showcase some of the harder edged and techy tracks from my album too and a lot of tracks by other artists who I think are on fire right now. I hope everyone enjoys it.

H: Finally, have you got any forthcoming releases or anything else in the pipeline that you want to put the word out on?

S: Well, I just did a mix CD for a big clothing label (can't reveal the name) that is to be announced soon and given out with all of their online orders: that's been such a huge opportunity for me right now. It showcases nothing but Black Box tunes, both released and brand new unreleased tracks by artists on the label including myself.

In response to forthcoming releases, I have nothing else planned apart from the album right now. It's been the main focus for the last 18 months; I do have some really solid tracks left over that I might sign if I can or maybe even give away for free. Needless to say, you guys will know all about that if I do.


Download: Seven - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix





Tracklist:

Dub Phizix & Skeptical - Marka (feat. Strategy) [Exit]
Digital - Deadline (DJ Madd Rave-Alarm Refix) [Dub]
Benny Page & Zero G - Raggamuffin (feat. Tenor Fly) [High Culture]
Crushington - Chug [Dub]
Seven - Wait VIP [Forthcoming Black Box]
Seven - Stormz Over Marz [Forthcoming Black Box]
Seven - Siren VIP [Tempa]
Kutz - The Volt [Dub]
Skream - Darkin It [Free]
Seven - Bounce To This [Forthcoming Black Box]
>>>Skream - Filth [Tempa]
J:Kenzo - Engage [Dub]
Seven - Twilight Horizons [Forthcoming Black Box]
J:Kenzo - The Roteks VIP [Dub]
DJ Madd & TMSV - Difference (J:Kenzo Remix) [Black Box]
Soap Dodgers - Ill Minded [Dub]
LX One - Losing Control [Dub]
Biome - Raven [Dub]
DJ Madd - The Real And The Shadow [Forthcoming Black Box]
Skream - The Shinein [Deep Medi Musik]


.Preacha.

1 comment:

  1. Sick nice one Hedmuk, Breathe is a massive track!

    ReplyDelete

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