Gear, beats, breaks and samples: an RBMA primer

Music nerd alert: ahead of Belfast’s RBMA Weekender, which starts today, we asked two of its stars about their favourite tracks, samples and equipment

Greg Wilson (left) at a previous RBMA event

Greg Wilson (left) at a previous RBMA event

 

ASHLEY BEEDLE

What track have you heard recently, and thought, I wish I’d written that?
Gregory Porter, 1960 What?.

And is there a track you’ve heard recently that you’ve immediately wanted to break down or remix?
Survival by Seanie T and Skeme. The track is about 13 years old and it first came to my attention via reggae supremo Keith Lawrence, who did the original mix and production. He’s an unsung hero in my opinion. He’s trying to locate the parts as we speak.

Who would you most like to work with in the future?
I was listening to Lay Far’s work – the Russian remixer/DJ – earlier this year and raved about it to anyone who would listen. We hooked up after I’d heard his mix of Sander Molder’s In Your Eyes and I’m very excited about working with him in the next couple of months.

What’s been the biggest innovation for you personally in terms of music technology in recent years?
The Maschine controller from Native Instruments. It’s real easy for me to use when I am locked in the studio.

What’s your favourite bit of a gear? Anything from an SM58 to the Numark NS711?
I am so old-fashioned. Still on the Pioneer CDJ. Seriously. It’s just the format I feel comfortable with when I DJ.

And what bit of kit never goes out of fashion?
The Technics 1210 and it’s on the rise again.

Are there any particular beats or sounds that you want to put on nearly every song?
I use particular snares and kicks from about four or five records that get recycled, but I will not give the game away.

And similarly, are there any particular basslines that you can’t leave alone?
I have an extensive reggae and soul collection so I get a lot of ideas for my bass lines.

Whose delivered the best DJ set you’ve seen in recent years?
There’s so many - so many talented people out there but it would have to be Beardyman’s set at Womad 2014. The man is a genius and a magician with the way that he creates music in front of you. Go see – trust me – you’ll be blown away.

Who is coming up the ranks that we need to watch out for?
Lay Far - he is hot!

Finally: what’s the future of music?
Healthy! My label Back To The World is putting out tracks from some amazing artists, including Adamski with his Future Waltz sound along with the disco fever of Crazy Godz Dynamic track. Check out Back To The World’s Soundcloud site to get an idea of what it’s about. Beyond that, artists and musicians are doing it for themselves – it’s probably the most exciting period of creativity that I’ve lived through.

GREG WILSON

What track have you heard recently, and thought, I wish I’d written that?
Make It Hot by The Disco Machine. Iit’s a track out of Brooklyn that really captures the spirit of disco whilst remaining contemporary. Includes wonderfully understated vocals by Adeline Michèle & Angelica Allen.

And is there a track you’ve heard recently that you’ve immediately wanted to break down or remix? 
I’d have like to have remixed Arctic Monkey's Arabella or Do I Wanna Know? when their last album came out. I spoke to someone at the record company about it, but they told me that the Monkey’s have a no-remix policy. Would have liked to do a really weighty dubbed-out version - it would have worked a treat.

Who would you most like to work with in the future?
Where do I start? Too many to name. I’m fortunate to have found some great collaborators during recent times, who’ve combined for the Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field mixtape - some fairly well known, some not so well known (yet).

What’s been the biggest innovation for you personally in terms of musical instruments or technology in recent years?
I think the innovations have been in the way we share music - platforms like SoundCloud and Mixcloud, which have spurned a whole new DJ underground, but in a global context.

What’s your favourite bit of a gear?
Revox B77 reel-to-reel, of course.

And similarly, what bit of kit never goes out of fashion?
Technics SL-1200’s were the final word in turntables.

Are there any particular beats that you want to put on nearly every song?
No, I like by beats varied, both in rhythm and tempo, although I can well understand why stuff like Bonham’s When The Levee Breaks was so popular in hip hop circles.

And similarly, are there any particular basslines that you can’t leave alone?
Again, variety is the spice of life, but there’s so much to admire in James Jamerson and his vast array of Motown bass lines during the 1960s and 1970s. He was the one who set the standard.

Whose delivered the best DJ set you’ve seen in recent years?
Kermit Leveridge & Organic Gav at Festival No 6 in Wales a few weeks ago was great fun.

And who is coming up the ranks that we need to watch out for?
Luxxury out of LA. He’s been doing some brilliant reworks of bands like The Doors and The Eagles. I also got him to do a mix of one of my own tracks Summer Came My Way, which he absolutely nailed. Expect big things from him. Also Peza from Wolverhampton, whose done a whole series of excellent reworks from Sister Sledge to The Beatles.

Ashley Beedle and Greg Wilson perform at the RBMA Weekender at Aether & Echo, Belfast on Saturday. Click here for details

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