Saturday, 30 November 2013

Featuring: Boofy

As far as statements of intent go, 'Since When' is up there with the best. One of the sharpest instrumental cuts to have bust into the grime scene for some time, it's first play on Rinse FM - courtesy of Messrs Kahn & Neek - had a lot of heads turning. Though those already familiar with the name Boofy, most likely off the back of his earlier, sub-drenched dubstep beats, might not have guessed in his direction, this assault of flutes, skittering hats and belching bassline was no one-off. Since then - pun wholly intended - Boofy has come with a steady stream of perfectly balanced heaters, carving his own corner into grime and contributing, in no small part, to the sound's recent resurgence. And while some might complain of producer's of simply re-hashing old staple sounds and themes and presenting them to a virgin audience, Boofy manages to show off his influences proudly - everyone from Maniac, to early Dizzee, to Dot Rotten - without surrendering to them: his beats incorporate an inventive approach to rhythm, most notably in those hi-hats, and, perhaps most importantly, the structure and control of a tune's energy, effectively removing the need to ride a whole track out on one cliched sound or sample.

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

Boofy: I'm Boofy. I sleep and eat in Bristol and my sound's heavily 140-based and with a major UK influence.

H: Some people may have first come across you through the deeper, rolling dubstep tunes you initially became known for, but had you always been making a broad style of music? How much has your recent grime output been a big switch in focus in terms of what styles you're making?

B: Well, I haven't made a great amount of material of every genre but I experiment a lot, if that makes sense. Regardless of my releases, I haven't really just stuck to making one desired sound, but I put out what I'm confident with.

And yeah, it definitely has. I still get a lot of people still reppin' my older sounds which is wicked because I didn't know it reached out to that many. I won't stop making what I want, but I think at the very least, I know what direction I'm aiming to head in.

H: Have you always been involved in making music?

B: I have. As long as I can remember. I started playing instruments from young and learned how to write and read music, but it wasn't until my early teens I had a chance to sit down on a computer and get to grips with the tech side.

H: An obvious characteristic of the grime tunes you've been coming out with is the clips cut from old radio sets: how much, would you say, is that about trying to capture that sense of energy from grime's early pirate radio days, where the MC took centre stage?

B: Yeah it is, but at the same time all I've done, without consciously thinking about it, was run through some of the old sets I had on my block tower of a PC that's been out of use ever since I got my Mac. Pirate days definitely had energy that we all still feed off. I think it was the rawness of the genre.

H: Have you plans to be working with any MCs in the near future? Are there any that you'd be particularly keen to hear vocalling one of your beats?

B: One of my favourite MCs at the moment is Merky ACE and there's quite a few MCs I'd be keen to get some vocals down from. But then again it's another one of those things where I'd want to focus on sculpting something with someone, rather than make a beat and fling an MC on top of it. I've sent a few bits off to some Bristol heads, old friends who've I've always rated and other guys who have put in work so just got to see what we can come up with, but it's definitely in my interests.

H: Along with signing the Nank EP to Tumble Audio you've played at a one of their notorious Nottingham label nights; how did you get first get involved with the label, and how important is it, do you think, for labels to be getting involved with the actual live/performance aspect of the music that they're releasing?

B: The involvement with the label was due to a mutual hook-up with this skeng-man called Willum. Pretty sound guy, you should meet him (laughs). In all seriousness though, it was shortly after 'Nank' was uploaded to your YouTube channel that we got in touch with each other, so big ups to you.

What those guys are doing in their city is important, they've got a sound and a live audience along with it: it goes hand-in-hand. I now think it's essential for other labels to do the same, or at least something similar. You can see how a DJ reacts to their crowd and whether they can play the right stuff; anyone can make tunes, but not everyone's a "selecta", if you know what I mean.

H: You took the step of setting up your own label recently, alongside Lemzly Dale; what was it that made you want to take things into your own hands and start doing things independently, and how important was it that you'd be releasing on vinyl?

B: The whole vision started off as "I miss grime white labels" and not many people were doing them as much as they used to - obviously due to the way the industry has rapidly changed over time. Then before I knew it, I was on a roll getting it all sorted. Releasing on vinyl is something, in my opinion, that you aim towards. As well as that, Bristol has a healthy vinyl culture: I thought it would be important to get involved and play my part in it.

H: What are your plans for the future of Sector 7?

B: Future plans for S7S, we're back in the blueprint stages again. There's quite a few projects that are possibilities but nothing's concrete at the moment; just planning for next year really and the aim is to step the game up after a successful first release. Just taking our time and not rushing, building on the foundation we have made for ourselves really.

H: Logan Sama caused a stir recently by suggesting that the current crop of producers making grime in Bristol were making life difficult by keeping things close-knit and releasing mainly on vinyl; how important to you, though, is that sense of community that is apparent between the Bristol school of producers? How much would you say that it's about keeping an aspect of dubplate culture going in a largely digital world?

B: I could say so much on that situation, but I think I'll keep it simple. Our community for music is important. We all constantly strive to better ourselves, and what's more motivating than surrounding yourself with people who all want the same thing? It's not like we don't send tunes out to people or whatever, because we connect with a lot of artists and producers all over, but our city isn't the largest so, being on the same page with music, we all bump into each other and just link up.

And as for Logan, he basically just said he plays what he gets sent and vinyl's dead ever since he stopped cutting dubplates. Don't get me wrong, I do respect Logan and he plays a big part in bringing in new producers, which is what the scene needs. But because he doesn't take vinyl out with him anymore, and some Bristol guys are doing physical only releases, he can't play it. The whole point of physical is 100% not because hipsters are trying to take a step back, we're just trying to keep an aspect of physical in an industry full of files and desktop folders. But I don't know, that's just my opinion.

H: Take us through how you approached the mix you've done for us.

B: I've got together a bag of tunes which are some all time favourites, personal favourites of today's age, vocal's I particularly rate at the moment and producers who I rate. Thought it would be important to start with one of my favourites from when I started producing back in 2007.

H:Finally, are there any forthcoming releases or anything else in the pipeline that you'd like to put the word out on?

B: Release-wise, there should be some news on one of my bits coming out next year, which I can't give specifics on just yet because I haven't been given any myself! But I'm looking forward to letting everyone know what we have in store for Sector 7: hopefully you'll all have a chance to come and see for yourselves!

Download: Boofy - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix


Young Dot - Ride Or Die [Rotten Riddims]
Kahn - Burnin' Riddim [Dub]
Boofy - Bayonet [Dub]
J Beatz - Wave Down [Crown Jules]
Jakes - Certified (feat. Footsie) [Hench]
Saga - Friction [Lost Codes]
Lemzly Dale - Katana (Boofleg Refix) [Dub]
Wiley - One Step Further (LJ Remix) [Dub]
Commodo - Space Cash [Deep Medi Musik]
Merky ACE - Strawberry Rain [No Hats No Hoods]
Hi5Ghost & Trends - Duppy Maker [Dub]
TMSV - Gutter [Dub]
Boofy & Lemzly Dale - Banshee [Sector 7]
KIlljoy - Straight 2 Tha Neck [Dub]
Lyka - Whole Meal [Dub]
Exemen - Storm [Manchu]


Friday, 29 November 2013

Review: Dark0 - I Ain't A Sweet Boy EP

Regular readers will no doubt already be aware of our appreciation for the North-West London producer, and indeed some of the tracks on this EP will already be familiar, having appeared previously as vocal bootlegs on the Zero mixtape.

Dark0 spends the majority of this latest EP indulging in melody, and the standout in this regard is 'Sweet Boy Pose': anthemic grime at its best, it sounds like Ruff Sqwad let loose on a room full of purple sound synths and is arguably some of Dark0's best work to date. 'PRS Riddim' - the title perhaps giving a cheeky nod to the Rinse FM airplay that the vocal version has received - shoots for anthem status too, with an irresistible hook beating its way past clattering snares. In another life, 'Fully Waved' is the euphoric soundtrack to a Mediterranean festival's video highlights, and 'Plasma Cannon' is the theme tune to a Sega racing game that never existed. Most probably reserved for the near-impossible final boss level. Both 'Karmmm' and 'Scyther', meanwhile, build trippy, spaced-out layers of loops on loops; the result is wide-eyed, hypnotic and, like the rest of the EP, indebted to Dark0's uniquely acute sense of tune and cadence.

Dark0 - I Ain't A Sweet Boy EP is available to purchase from Dark0's Bandcamp page now.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Free Download: Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills (Harmonimix)

Before he was winning the Mercury Music Prize and cringing his way through Newsnight interviews talking about 'ambient chillax', one of the many reasons that the leading gent of UK electronic music was generating such a buzz was his ballsy takes on chart-straddling pop, hip-hop and R&B hits from across the pond. One of the few to ever see life on vinyl was this twisted, synth-and-clicks-driven version of Destiny's Child's 'Bills Bills Bills', which appeared alongside an 'A Milli' remix on an unofficial white label. And even as the innovative Brit finds his services under request from the likes of Drake and RZA, his early days still sound something like a future that we're yet to catch up with.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Premiere: Boofy - Warzone [TUM006]

Without a doubt one of the most exciting new labels around at the moment, Tumble Audio rumble onto their sixth release, welcoming Bristolian Boofy to the roster in the process. The EP's title track - all rapid hi-hats, clattering snares and a bounding bassline - has been doing the rounds for a while now, cropping up in sets from fellow south-westerners, Kahn, Neek, Asa and Joker, and thus accordingly gets some remix treatment to keep things fresh: Hi5ghost adopts a classic grime pairing of distorted synths and skittering strings, whilst Nativ takes the tempo down a little and delivers a Champion-esque synth groove for a succession of claps and snares to bounce off.

The B-side, premiered here today, rounds off the release perfectly: all the raw, pirate radio venom that Boofy captures with such consistency, but with a bass lead and rolling rhythm that hits the mid-point between grime and UK funky that Tumble have been pushing since first leaving the blocks. That Wiley's choice words for God's Gift that are sampled here - and the sore jaw he received in return - would contribute to grime being banned from Rinse FM seems almost ironic considering the genre's recent ubiquity.

With every release, Tumble stamp their unique identity onto the UK's club scene more prominently, and long may it continue.

Boofy's 'Nank EP' will be released digitally on December the 2nd 2013.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Premiere: Vaun & Animai - Taking Over [Official Video]

Animai's jazz tones will already be familiar to some, having recently graced Wayfarer's anthemic 'Reflections', and the east London vocalist furthers her stake on this, the latest release on DJ Crises' MindStep Music imprint. Vaun applies a characteristic light touch to the beat, with a delicate piano line falling over subs and pert kicks, and leaves the vocal the room it demands. To call this release long-awaited would be an understatement, having done the rounds and raised crowds for the best part of 2013, but when Crises got in touch to let us know that the release was coming and that they'd been shooting the label's first video for it too, the wait seemed worth it: time is a commodity well spent by MindStep, and a dedication to the details is what has always kept them at the head of their game. The video is now available to view in full above, or over on the Hedmuk YouTube channel.

The full release is rounded off by an acid-tinged remix from Simbad, an intricate medley of percussion and mids from Wayfarer, and a rolling, downtempo zoner from Sam KDC, with each producer taking their own unique approach to the vocal. The results exemplify the strength in depth of feeling that MindStep, since our very earliest contact with the label, has always been about.

Taking Over will be released on the 25th of November, and can be pre-ordered from iTunes here.


Monday, 11 November 2013

Hit&Run - War Dub Special w/ Kahn & Neek, Wayfarer & Kanjira, Chimpo, Skittles & T-Man - 15/11/13

Antwerp Mansion plays host to the latest in Hit&Run's sporadic string of autumn events, this time calling in a few faces that should be more than familiar to the regular crowd by now.

Kahn & Neek will be in war mode already, following up the former's recent clash with V.I.V.E.K at SubDub in London, and packing the freshest batch of heaters and VIPs. Two more Hit&Run regulars, Wayfarer and Kanjira - both sitting on material produced especially for the night - will share the decks in a repeat of their last back-to-back session down at FWD>>, and man-of-the-moment Chimpo, straight off the back of recent mixes for 1Xtra and Trap Magazine, will be bringing his usual unique blend of bootlegs and dubplate specials. On mic, T-Man and Skittles will be proving Manchester's MC indisputable mettle.

For more information on the night, including how to secure £5 advance tickets, head over to the Facebook event page.

Download: Kahn Vs. V.I.V.E.K - Live @ SubDub London, 08/11/13

Watch: Chimpo turning tunes for some of Manchester's finest in LVL 01.2


Friday, 8 November 2013

Comment: Sending music, and the importance of tone.

Yesterday, this screenshot was posted on the Hedmuk Facebook Page, and the response was a tellingly mixed one: some finding amusement, others bemusement, and some taking offence at our posting it at all. That the issue was so divisive only goes to prove the importance of considering your tone when approaching someone you have never previously spoken to or had any contact with. And this aspect of 'first contact' is perhaps the most important to bear in mind.

We endeavour to listen to everything we get sent, and reply with feedback as often as possible, and have discovered some amazing music in this way - we appreciate the privilege of this position, and in turn seek to give the position its due respect.

When it comes to reading through, listening and responding to submissions it's not about being cool, and it's not even close to being elitist; instead, please consider this: if you have worked hard to produce a piece of music and you would like someone else to hear it, then the least you can do is show your own artistic endeavours the respect they deserve and spend a bit of time thinking about how best to put them across. The care and attention you've given the music should be reflected in how you talk about it: if you accompany your submission with a limp joke, then how seriously can you expect your music to be taken? There's nothing wrong with building rapport - in fact it can be very important - but trying to do so without having lain any foundations will prove difficult. The point of the screenshot is not to single anyone out (and it should be noted that it makes no additional comment on the music being sent either), but is rather to illustrate a too-common occurrence.

In an ideal world this shouldn't matter so much, but the fact is that if your submission is going to be one of many received daily then it pays to put the effort in. And this isn't a one-way street either: when we contact artists to ask if they'd like to feature on the blog in some way, that we also consider our tone is of great importance too.

The difficulty here, of course, is that different people on your submissions list are going to have their own personal preferences, but that's not to say that a few basic guidelines can't help. This forum thread, and the subsequently-produced How To Send Me Music, are both excellent resources for those looking for a further insight into how to approach sending out music to potential new listeners and supporters. And if you're still unsure, then there is never any harm in just asking: a short email inquiring as to the best way to send over music is always going to be more welcome than the results of ham-fisted guesswork.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Comment: Apparently the UK has moved on from low-end frequencies. We beg to differ.

On Sunday just gone, a mildly amusing list-style article entitled '10 Things People Say To Pretend They Know About Dance Music' was posted on the blog space of Mixmag's website by Bass Editor, Seb Wheeler. It is, for the most part, a fairly accurate run-through of gripes that might be levelled at, well, someone pretending to know about dance music, in fact the list might even be commended for its rebuttal of those claiming that "Deadmau5 can't actually mix" or that "Analogue always sounds better than digital". However where it falls down, and heavily so, is the point at which it is claimed 'that the UK has moved on from low-end frequencies somewhat' and that 'America has become the new home of bass.'

The problem here is firstly in the suggestion that, in a post-internet world, something as broad as bass music could be considered to have a home. Dubstep is probably the finest example of the way in which the internet has globalised music to a greater extent than ever before - it still astounds me to see the huge variety of countries checking in over on Hedmuk's Soundcloud page. That, though, is another conversation entirely.

The issue I really took with the piece, though, was the apparent ignorance of the UK bass music scene's current state of health, and the general terms in which it was stated. The assertion that the UK has moved beyond an interest in 'low-end frequencies' would suggest that anyone from Mungo's Hi-Fi to Iration Steppas to Unit 137 to Manchester's Dub Smugglers had decided to pack it all in and play out off a radio set. 'Low-end frequencies' is not a suitable replacement phrase for "what Youngsta plays on Rinse". Semantics aside, the UK's long-term obsession with everything low and bold is arguably seeing some of its finest days in years: dubstep pushes on, led by the inimitable likes of Karma, Thelem, TaikoWayfarer, Biome and Kaiju; grime as a whole is seeing a resurgence that had been bubbling away long before the recent war dubs spat stirred things up, Boofy's 'Since When' is hard as a brick is, and Asa & Sorrow are showing that grime needn't lack the production value of its Croydon cousin; UK funky, through Champion, Killjoy, Brunks and Beneath, is still laying a claim to club space; house music is the sound of the charts, let alone the underground; and that's before you even start talking about the breaks-driven experimentalism being peddled by Etch, Special Request and Tessela.

What's more, and as good a sign of the UK's continued progression as any, is that there are so many names that don't fit easily into any of the categories above but who are carving out their own lanes regardless, and taking an open-eared following with them. Wen, Circula, Troy Gunner, Sepia, Blackwax, Facta, Underclass and Akkord are just a handful of the many defying the journalists' pigeon-holes.

As with anything like this there will undoubtedly be people I've missed, but if anything that only serves to make the point more strongly: there are literally too many names to mention.

It may well be the case that what was really meant by the offending remark was that the US has seemingly moved beyond its excitement over face-melt mid-ranges and car crash snares, and that what remains is a crowd highly receptive to a more subtle sound - speaking with Innamind Recordings boss, Jeremy, he couldn't emphasise enough how inspiring it was to see people so passionate about the sound that he and others like him are currently pushing. The US is, for want of a better term, catching up and is doing so - as exemplified by the likes of the Reconstrvct crew mentioned in the article - in fine style, however it shouldn't require a misguided knock of the UK scene to express that.


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