It’s been a long time coming, but Vanity’s interview to accompany his mix for the series is finally online.. I’ve been a big supporter of Leicester based producer/DJ Vanity (aka Matt Oliver) since I first heard his Phantom Hertz release (‘FifthDimention’ / ‘TheFirstStep’) some months back, so it was great to get some words off him…
D - First of all – tell us a bit more about yourself and your productions…
V - I’m an 18 year old producer/DJ from Leicester. I make music around the 140 bpm mark, whether it’s dubstep or 2-step garage - I’ll leave it up for you to decide. I started making music about two years ago now, it came about through a mate introducing me to it and giving me a copy of FL Studio version 6 I think it was. We used to spend every lunch hour at school in the music suite making tunes on Cubase and Reason. I never took it too seriously at this time, we were just making really bad electro house stuff. It wasn’t till a year ago that I started writing tunes that where sounding pretty decent, I was in my second year at College studying Music Technology at this point. I got a cheap Mac and a copy of Logic about 8 months ago and wrote my first track on my Soundcloud which was a remix of Blu Mar Ten’s ‘All Or Nothing’ which is a free download. A month later I wrote another remix, this time of Fetch’s – ‘Just Sit With It’, which is also up for free download. One of my mates at college then introduced me to a pair of producers known as ‘Kryptic Minds’ - I imagine anyone reading this will have heard of the duo, if not check them out! The sound that these guys where making was like nothing I have ever heard before, and after listening to their whole back catalogue I wrote the tracks ‘FifthDimension’ and ‘TheFirstStep’, which later went on to be released by Phantom Hertz Recordings in May 2012. I have done a couple of remixes for Kev Willow’s label ‘Viral Beat Recordings’, one of which is forthcoming at the end of this month. More recently I have just released a tune named ‘Shelter’ which is another free download, it features vocals from Charlotte Rawling and has had some love and support from BBC Radio One.
“…this is where music and technology are going in terms of live performance for me, technology now-a-days makes it easy to do anything.”
D - What got you into the deeper, darker dubstep sounds? What inspired you to start DJing?
V - As I touched on a mate from college showed me some of Kryptic Minds’ tunes and gave me a couple of their albums. I then started trying to write this sort of music, it just felt right you know? To be honest with you now-a-days I don’t listen to much dubstep at all, I try and keep myself away from it all otherwise I tend to get too influenced by other producers’ sounds. I guess this way you make it the way you think it should sound rather than how other people want it to sound. I’ve always been a producer first, DJing comes after production for me. I wouldn’t say anything inspired me to start DJing as such, I mean I really enjoy it and it’s a great way to showcase new material to your fans. Currently I’m leaning over more to live performance stuff on Ableton, I love the idea of mixing and remixing tracks live, this is where music and technology are going in terms of live performance for me, technology now-a-days makes it easy to do anything.
D - How would you describe your production style?
V - My productions usually sound deep and dark, I’ve usually been better at making darker sounding tracks rather than chilled ones. Although in saying that, my latest track was quite laid back, so I guess I don’t really have a style in a sense. I like to spend time on my drums; it’s the little things that really stand out in tunes for me. I record a lot of my drums and percussion hits myself with a little portable recorder, I try and stay away from samples when it comes to drums. I like to keep my drums sounding fresh and interesting rather than just using a kick, snare, hats, shakers etc. - that gets boring for me.
D - When starting to build a new track, how do you go about the process?
V - I start with a template that has all my buses and send effects loaded up, which saves me a lot of time. I always start on my drums first, go into my sample library of field recordings and get something flowing. I’ll then move onto pads and atmospheres and maybe some music. Bass would come next, and then the effects. Every track is different but I usually start on the drop or the main 32 bars of the track and then work backwards.
“Dubstep for me is whatever you want it to be, it depends on the individual.”
D - Where do you see the future of dubstep going? Do you think the minimal sound we all know and love will eventually fade away and make way for something new?
V - I don’t know man, I mean who knows? I hope not haha, but no genre stays around forever. I don’t think it will disappear as such - I think the fans will just move on to newer things. I mean trap has been making an appearance in a few of the sets I have been hearing, a few people have even described it as the ‘new dubstep’, which I wouldn’t agree with. People are always looking to jump on the next bandwagon when it comes to music I think. Dubstep for me is whatever you want it to be, it depends on the individual.
D - What new, up-and-coming producers and labels have caught your eye recently and why?
V - In dubstep there’s of course Phantom Hertz; ever since releasing on them myself I have been following their material, the last few ‘LowVoltage’ releases have been amazing! The stuff Redshift One has been putting out has also been wicked, been hearing loads of good stuff from labels such as Artikal Music UK, Echodub, Innamind Recordings, Tribe 12 Music, Viral Beat Recordings, Solace Records and Mu Djina - which is co-owned by Camu, a good friend of mine. If you haven’t heard of Camu yet, head over to his Soundcloud (http://soundcloud.com/camu) and check out his material, make sure you check out Mu Djina’s first release over on their Bandcamp too (http://mudjina.bandcamp.com/), mastered by myself. There are many up and coming artists that are always catching my eye such as Cyntel, SHD, SpiritLess, Nixisin, Musslo, Kismet, Biak, M.A.K.Z., Al-Jabbah, Darj, Zoobi, Camu, Decka, Nutral, PJ, Midnight South, Ajaax, BunZer0, Charlotte Rawling, Disonata, Forensics, Greyscale, Hex, Jafu, Content, Tallan, Mortal Grey and Syte - big love and respect to you all! Also want to say a massive thanks to Liquid Fusiion/Fusiion Mixes, FatKidOnFire, Girl8bit and Mr. Suicide Sheep for all the support!
D - Any new exciting forthcoming projects/releases you can tell us about?
V - Not much going on at the minute, I’ve got a forthcoming remix out on Viral Beat Recordings at the end of the month (October), and a forthcoming Dubstep release which will be out before the end of the year. I have a few collaborations in progress, but nothing too serious as of yet.
D - What does the future hold for Vanity?
V - Lots more releases and bookings hopefully! I’m planning on getting loads more music out next year, I’ve had chats with a few labels to hopefully get a 4 track EP out by May time next year, with a couple of singles released in the meantime. I’m planning on doing more tracks with Charlotte, as well as with other vocalists after the great response from the last track we made together. I also plan to start accepting bookings early next year so you may see my name on a few flyers, one of my mates is just about to start up a night in Leicester too which he wants me to be a part of, so that will be interesting. I’ve also been in discussion with online bass music radio stations about getting regular slots every week, so lots to look forward to in 2013!