Before Max left Ron and myself in charge of the ship, he told us about his plans to bring all of the 4D supporters a special feature when the mix series hit #050. Well, that day has come and we’ve sorted something that we are proud to share with all of you. We had the opportunity to feature Boston-based producer and DJ Prism on the mix and he also offered us a glimpse into the life and inspiration behind the music. Going into our chat, I didn’t know much about the man himself beyond his impressive catalogue, including his work on DJ Chef’s Sub Freq, TUBA, and forthcoming release on Subaltern. I can say, however, that our chat ended up being one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had since becoming involved with music. Without further ado…
D» Tell us a bit about Prism and what you’re up to these days.
P» Prism is about removing yourself from the equation. Recognizing that everything we see, hear, touch & experience affects our creative output, we have to realize our place in this process. And from my experience… we’re the prism directing the light in a new direction.
And as of late… I’ve been being; making music, DJing shows, creating art, writing for my next music video for the next vinyl release out at the end of summer. Can’t forget to mention spending a lot of time in nature.
D» That’s pretty deep, the fact that your alias is more than just a name to you. Following that mindset and your mention of nature, is there one particular aspect of life that you find is most inspirational to your creativity?
P» Mind you, I’m sitting in a Chinese Fringe Tree as I write this… The answer would have to be “experience.” Life itself as it would seem is my greatest inspiration. I take from events, music, movies & other art I come across in order to create new projects.
I may read a book & write down key phrases. Then later, I’ll get inspired by a picture relating to those phrases and manipulate it into something completely different but still retaining it’s same essence. The visual art will compel me to write music to accompany the message & this in turn will cause me to remember a movie line to sample, tying it all together for the listener. After the song is complete, writing a music video tends to be very easy given all the influence the process has had.
Luckily, this process is very loose & any one medium can spark a tune idea. Imagine writing a music video for a Dubstep tune with no inkling of meaning? That’s why you don’t see that many music videos in the Dubstep scene. This process lets me be free to explore all sorts of topics & story lines.
D» You know, I’m starting to see where all of the depth and subtle evolution within your tunes is rooted. Your perspective on art and creativity is quite intriguing, especially the layer you’ve added to your productions with music videos. I’m curious about how you develop those ideas; do you go into a tune trying to depict a certain storyline for a video or is it more of a post-production interpretation of which path you ended up taking?
P» It definitely depends on the ambiguity of the tune. The more event based a tune’s meaning is the easier it is to adapt the story to film. However, if a tune was built around a concept- like my next release on Subaltern “Biodigital Jazz”- the more free we are in creating a story. So there is certainly a bit of both methods that you described.
D» Tell us a little bit about how your work has evolved. Did your interest and success within production lead to experimenting with visual medium? Or was there always a broad creative interest waiting to be fused?
P» I feel what we do in life is partially based on experience and how we’re wired (our genes/DNA). I think I was born to do what I’m doing but I will say that when I was young someone introduced me to Transworld Skateboarding’s Modus Operandi which not only influenced me musically but also in film making. Transworld always tends to do artsy montages and that always stuck with me.
D» Just from taking a quick listen through the Modus Operandi soundtrack, I get the sense of a pretty wide variety of musical influence, ranging from urban underground, hip-hop and DnB. How did your discovery of these grittier sounds lead to exploring deep bass and UK influenced dance music?
P» Don’t forget some really great Indie Rock… But like you mentioned through that video and others I was exposed to artists like Orbital, Massive Attack, BT and so on. At the same time (around the age of 12/13) someone introduced me to Goldie, I saw the video for Firestarter on MTV & I was given a computer to keep me in the house and out of harm’s way because I grew up in a dangerous area. Luckily that gift quickly opened my eyes to programs like Photoshop & Napster and the rest is history!
D» Being from Boston, what are your feelings on the momentum the underground bass scene is currently experiencing in the states? It seems there are a lot of emerging producers and labels pushing a quality sound from both coasts so far this year.
P» I can only speak on what I’ve seen and heard… which in terms of America as a whole is not a lot.
Being a part of Tuba has given me access to a lot of upcoming US artists I might not have heard of before & as a label I think they’re doing a great job linking the US with the UK. Subtle Mind, Eshone, AxH, Moldy & the one I probably look up to the most, DJG [Grenier].
For me, DJG is the best role model for someone wanting to make an impact over in the UK as an American producer. He was there first, really nice guy & the main component for me is the great melodies in his dancefloor driven music.
It is no doubt growing exponentially. The amount of UK artists touring over here seems a lot higher than I’ve ever experienced & parties like Reconstrvct are proof of a loving, engaged & dedicated scene.
D» Yes, as far as Tuba goes you guys are doing a lot to push the sound on the east coast. I would agree with you on DJG; he’s been doing it the right way, yet somehow still flies under the radar for a lot of people.
As far as Reconstrvct goes, I’ve heard multiple accounts that you destroyed it behind the decks at last year’s party (as well as Descent this year). So this one is going to be a two part-er: First, for those of us who missed out can you give us a little taste of Reconstrvct in a nutshell? Second, how do you approach your mixes and sets as a DJ?
P» To keep it short and sweet… Reconstrvct is literally a loving family of die-hard fans that want nothing but the top tier of talented producers to listen to and enjoy the night with. People pitch in and help clean the venues when it’s 7AM and the sun is shining, you don’t see that often. I call THAT Love!
I approach DJing a bit different than what people might think when they hear my music. Most of the time people assume I’m just going to play incredibly jazzy tunes all night. The reality is that I’ve grown up listening to so much different music & I’ve always been a proponent of “listening to one sound or genre for an extended period of time gets boring.” No matter what, hearing the same deep, dark, dungeon sounds for hours is not my idea of a good time. But at the same time I don’t play out the way my home library does… on shuffle, all over the place. I love to take the audience on journeys and go through stages and tend to play some 160 at the end of my sets. I can’t escape my influences and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Funny story about that Reconstrvct show…. I lived with Wheez-ie for about a year and was during the time of the show. I learned everything I know from him & he learned everything he knows from watching Joe Nice back in the Dub War days (ask Joe, Wheez-ie is now one of HIS favorite DJs). See, Wheez-ie reminds me of Miles Davis. He doesn’t take shit from no one, he speaks his mind and has the talent to back it up. So anyways, I get off stage and go through the crowd and everyone’s giving me props and congratulating me on my set. So I finally get through the crowd and there’s Wheez-ie… standing with his arms crossed & I go up to him and say “How was it?” and he just looks at me and says, “We’ll talk….” He knows my playing so well that he could pick out little things that no one else would’ve noticed and he gave it to me straight. I think everyone needs people like that in their corner, being completely honest. It helps you grow & we all need to grow as artists. Who wants to end up like The Rolling Stones or Aerosmith?
D» Alongside Wheez-ie and Joe Nice, whom you just mentioned, are there any other artists (both in and outside of the bass music spectrum) that have had a particular impact on the musical journey you’ve traveled so far?
P» A lot of people that are familiar with my music tend to have some sort of idea what has influenced me musically over the years so I’ll mention them but really, I want to take this opportunity to speak on some artists that people might not have known affected me just as much.
Goldie, Pat Metheny, Robert Glasper, Miles Davis, Dillinja, Cultura Profética, DJ Spinna, Rammstein, Weather Report, John Trudell, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tool, Beres Hammond, Jean-Luc Ponty, Space Dimension Controller, Slipknot, No Doubt, Johnny Guitar Watson, Nancy Ajram, J Majik, Mala, Sigur Rós, HIM, The Birthday Massacre, 4hero, Mobb Deep, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dennis Brown, Children of Bodom, Orbital, BT, Suede, Buena Vista Social Club & a million others!
Prism - “Obsidian Orange”
D» There’s a few in there I would have suspected (Goldie, Miles Davis, Mala..), however there are also some surprises on that list. Having listened to my fair share of Rammstein, I can say that it’s pretty cool you’ve drawn inspiration from all sorts of places, including those styles that don’t necessarily resemble your output.
P» For sure, there’s always more to an artist than their musical output. The way they market themselves [or how they don’t], their in-sleeve/cover art, music videos, live performances & so on. Even their personal upbringing can inspire me, especially if we experienced similar things…
D» Now for the final question, have to give Ron (Echomaker) credit for coming up with this one as it is definitely a bit of a thinker. If the world were to lose all electricity tomorrow, would you continue to make music and how would you do so?
P» Luckily for me, I’ve played the drums and piano for most of my life & the part that I didn’t I spent thinking about playing those instruments. I recently also started getting into teaching myself guitar because a new roommate moved in and had about 7 different acoustic guitars and basses hanging on his wall. I also think something like that would push me into learning how to play the trumpet & the saxophone much sooner than I already intended.
But most importantly I think the best thing to take from an occurrence like that is that we’d see who was in it for the fame and who was in it for the love. Without electricity there would be no internet, radio & other forms of communication so getting your music out to the masses would be nearly impossible & I know for a fact that I will never stop writing music, with or without electricity.
D» I agree with that, it would be interesting to see how music would evolve if only the most passionate of artists were left to lead the way. It speaks a lot about your passion and skill that you’ve been able to be so successful on different mediums of expression, whether via instruments, software, video, etc.
It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and getting to know you a bit. All of the 4D family really appreciates you taking the time to do so and supply us with the mix! I’ll leave the floor to you now in case there are any up and coming artists or forthcoming bits that we should keep an eye out for.
P» It was my pleasure! As for up and comers… not really my strong point but my next record coming out on Subaltern features Valor & remixes by Gantz & both those cats are on different planets! That’s all I can say. PEACE!!!
4D Mix Series #050 - Prism
Tracklist - - Miles Davis/Marcus Miller - Lost In Madrid Part IV/Rat Dance [Warner Bros.] - Prism & Valor - Biodigital Jazz (Gantz Remix) [Forthcoming Subaltern] - Quest - Visitors [Dub] - Prism - Ocean of Wisdom (RDG Remix) [Dub] - Wheez-ie - Stone Cold [Dub] - Cessman - Gurkha VIP [Dub] - Gantz & El Mahdy Jr - Exile [Dub] - Nancy Ajram - Taala Ya [Megastar] - Prism - Ghost Hawk [Forthcoming Subaltern] - RDG - Ancient Dungeon [Hedmuk Free Download] - Valor - Frank Jaeger [Dub] - Subtle Mind - 52nd Street (Feat. Tony Sangiacomo) [Dub] - Eshone - Flight [Elk Beats] - Peek - Silk [Prism’s Stuck In ‘95 Remix] [Forthcoming Dubs Alive] - DJ Rashad - Do It Again (Ft. DJ Spinn & DJ Manny) [???] - Wheez-ie - OG Deth [Dub] - DJ Rashad - Somethin ‘Bout The Things U Do (Ft. Gant-Man) [Forthcoming Southern Belle Recordings] - Goldie - Digital (VIP Mix) [FFRR] - Rufige Kru - Beachdrifta [Metalheadz]
Already with releases on Inna Riddim and Phantom Hertz, and forthcomings on the latter and Gradient Audio - it’s safe to say Rotterdam’s finest Christopher Yikes is making some pretty solid moves as of late. We recently got talking about him taking the DJing side more seriously, so of course we had to sort a guest mix sooner or later, and here it is: 100% vinyl/dubplate special - you’re in for a treat…
Tracklist - -Christopher Yikes - Rotterdam [Dubplate] -J. Sparrow - Afraid Of Me [Deep Medi] -Christopher Yikes - Vital Reaction [Forthcoming Gradient Audio] -VGB - Phase [Dubplate] -Mala - Maintain Thru Madness [DMZ] -Christopher Yikes - All Of The People [Dubplate] -Christopher Yikes - B.B.M.S. [Dubplate] -Boofy - Abaddon [Dubplate] -Gantz - No Faith [Blackbox] -Christopher Yikes - Abandoned [Inna Riddim] -Christopher Yikes - Prognosis [Forthcoming Phantom Hertz] -M.A.K.Z. - Time Difference [Dubplate] -Christopher Yikes - Dimensions [Forthcoming Phantom Hertz] -J:Kenzo - Therapy [Tempa] -Christopher Yikes - The Craft [Forthcoming Gradient Audio] -John Matrix - You Involve Me [Dubplate] -Kryptic Minds - Nebula [Osiris] -Christopher Yikes - Humanoid [Phantom Hertz] -Dubtek - Plus Ultra [Uprise Audio] -Kaiju - Silverfish [Osiris]
I don’t usually tend to upload the Dusk FM shows onto the Soundcloud, but thought I would with this one cause it was good - completely random selection and was fun.. Will be up for a limited time only - when I’m almost out of upload hours this will be the first to go..
Full tracklist too which is a first haha - remember you can catch the 4D Showlive in motion on Dusk FM every Thursday 6-8pm (GMT) hosted by myself..
Tracklist - -Corporal F – What I Think [Hot N Heavy] -DJ Heny G – Candy [Gangsta Boogie] -Cluekid – Dolphin [Aquatic Lab] -Aiko – Trains [Forthcoming Basal] -Kaiju – Carpark Crush [FKOF Free DL] -Gantz – Enso [Innamind] -Hostage – Trick Green [Black Butter] -Shorty & JME – Moesh [Shorty] -Thelem – Drones (Core Remix) [Free DL] -Mesck & Kial – Entropy [DUB] -Laney – You Need To [Hot N Heavy] -K1 – Different [Invasion Alert] -Blackdown – Ridge [XLR8R Freebie] -Wiley – Step 4 Freestyle (Prod. SNYP) [Free DL] -Teddy & G. Tank – Ghanaian Fire [Underground Unit UK] -Silkie – Tribal [Deep Medi] -Baitface – Focus Mode (Deafblind Remix) [Soulstep] -Distance – New Outlook [Free DL] -Occult – Tron [Free DL] -Dead Noise System – Ritalin [DUB] -Collision – Morpheus [Politics EP via Bandcamp] -Unknown Artist – Icicle [Butterz Freebie] -Unknown Artist – Retro Flexin’ [DUB] -K1 – Problem [Invasion Alert] -Mentha & Ziaflow – Blue Deep [DUB] -Fornax – Kepler (Promise One Cut) [Sub Pressure] -DOK – Track 03 [Butterz Freebie] -Swindle – Swaggeristic [Butterz Freebie] -Perverse – Tempest [New Moon] -Shu – Scathe [Forthcoming Bassliebe] -M.A.K.Z. – Embolism [DUB] -Hutz – Everest [DUB] -Collision - Tremors [Politics EP via Bandcamp] -Deeco – Zero Zone (Mr. Mitch Remix) [Butterz Freebie] -Danny Weed – Shank Riddim [???] -Droid Sector – Lifesigns [Paradise Lost] -Addministro – Alert VIP [Project Allout] -Asa – Ebony [Fent Plates Evolution Vol. 2 Free DL] -Slaven & Biak – Whispers [Forthcoming Badimup] -Drooka – Amun [DUB] -Cenum & Deafblind – Lost City [DUB] -Baitface – We Are [Soulstep] -Fat Freddy’s Drop – Cay’s Crays (Digital Mystikz Remix) [The Drop] -Subreachers – Hrvatska [DUB] -Nanobyte – Lost Time [Innamind] -Intriket – Shut Your Eyes [DUB] -??? -Quantum Soul – Hark Back [Tribe12] -Proxima – Formal Junction [Tempa] -Truth – The Emperor [Wheel & Deal] -Sleeper – Dawn Of The Replicants [Chestplate] -District – Modulate [Chestplate] -Genetix – Installation [Artikal] -Sleeper – Dark Mutations [Osiris] -Konvex & Deafblind – Vanir [Forthcoming Tribe12] -J. Robinson – Tsavo [Tribe12] -Biome – Spawned [Mindset] -Mentha – Crystal Dawn [DUB] -Mako – Good FiRday [Hot N Heavy]