I still haven’t figured out a schedule for releasing the mountain of free tracks and MakeItGood x FatKidOnFire mixes I’m sitting on, so until I do (or the free music runs out) I’ll be dropping bits and pieces every few days. Follow FKOF on Mixcloud (for the mixes that have been up on the SC account) and on SoundCloud for the new drops.
There are times when artists contact me (info below for those of you that don’t have the details) and offer to send a mix over. Birmingham’s Stuart Powell and Esstee did exactly that a few weeks back and I was so impressed with what they sent I invited them over for a MakeItGood x FKOF feature. Their mix is a solid selection of dubs from some seriously exciting artists – grab the free download and hit the boys up on Twitter if you’re feeling it!
Who are Stuart Powell & Esstee? We’re a DJ collective from Birmingham who have been together for about 8 months. Coming up with a name seemed to be too much trouble and this has sort of stuck.
What software do you use to produce your tracks? We started off using Fruity Loops but we’ve recently switched to Ableton Live. We decided to not release many tracks until we have more knowledge of Ableton; so have recently been studying sound synthesis and mastering. We will be releasing some new tracks in due time – once we believe we’ve got the sound that we truly want.
What got you into mixing and producing dubstep? What’s your style – big, dark basslines or as filthy as possible? We started going to a rave called “Goonies” in Birmingham which played dubstep. We had never heard the sound before; this got us interested in the dubstep scene. We both kept on hunting for the latest unknown tunes we could find and before we knew it, we had a pretty decent knowledge of the scene and a good collection of tunes. Esstee had been DJing for a year so we decided to collaborate and release some mixtapes together. Our style is very versatile, we like the deeper side of dubstep but also taking a keen interest in all other areas of the genre – as well as house and future garage. ‘Filth’ is something we stay well away from.
How long have you been producing and DJing? Turntables or CDJs? We have only been producing for around 6months now so we’re still learning. Esstee started DJing roughly 2 years ago and Stuart about 8months ago with a midi controller (due to limitations of facilities).
We both had a limited opportunity to mix whilst using CDJs and timecode vinyl (personal favourite) at a friend’s house for a short period of time. Not long after, Esstee was thrown in the deep end whilst abroad in Zante and got familiar with CDJs whilst in a dubstep event over there. We are both currently refining, perfecting and speeding up our mixing skills on CDJs as we settle for nothing less than the best in every aspect of our music.
What’s the Dubstep/UK Bass scene in Birmingham like? In the area there are a number of producers who are all up-and-coming and pushing some real unique sounds (ENiGMA Dubz being one to especially watch out for).
As far as events are concerned, Birmingham seems to have always been filth-orientated and any acknowledgment of other areas of dubstep seems to be slightly nonexistent. Subway City and the Digbeth area seem to be the best places to get a dubstep night in Birmingham, they are making the genre a lot more popular – which is nice to see but it would be good to see a wider range of dubstep played throughout the city. We would say the 2 biggest events are currently ‘Hype‘ which promotes a lot of ‘filth’ artists and ‘Substep‘ which plays a variety of dubstep and DnB.
If you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be? There are too many to name really but it depends what type of dubstep we are referring to. With regards to deep dubstep, you can’t ignore Youngsta as a DJ and opening for him would really be a pleasure. Other than that we’d love to open for Kromestar simply because we see him as possibly the best producer currently on the scene.
Who are your top 5 dubstep producers at the moment; and why?
- Kromestar – He’s just so versatile and never fails to make quality music – not forgetting the hundreds of tracks he produces!
- Skream – Definitely someone to look up to. Listened to him ever since we got into the genre and he is just leading the charge for dubstep as a whole
- Phaeleh – When referring to production quality and general talent, Phaeleh is definitely someone we can’t forget. By far one of the best producers currently in the scene
- Kryptic Minds – Hard to know what to say really, they are just amazing producers. Versatility shines threw with these guys and everything we hear from them is just pure quality
- Dismantle – He’s on the list for coming up with a completely fresh sound and take on dubstep; which seems to be slowly spreading to different producers
What does the future hold for dubstep – where do you see the genre going? Where we think dubstep is going to go and where we hope it goes is a different story.
In our opinion, the commercial and ‘filth’ side of dubstep is necessary as that’s getting dubstep played everywhere from TV programmes & adverts to commercial club nights. We reckon as more commercial fans delve further into dubstep and gain more knowledge they will find out more about underground artists and the non-commercial side of dubstep (which isn’t appreciated as much as it should be).
However, problems are occurring as so many names of supposed sub-genres are forming – it’s hard to keep up with (deep medi, dungeon, filth, brostep, post-dubstep etc.) We think that there is a lack of opinion in today’s society of trend followers, as well as a mixture of confusion & producers “selling out” when getting signed to labels.
It all leaves commercial fans relying on/ sticking to a subscription they have on a YouTube group as they feel that’s where they will hear the best dubstep, which just isn’t the case.
On the other hand though, we think MistaJam will have an influence with his “Daily Dose of Dubstep” which has slowly seen the introduction of deeper DJs/ Producers (such as J:Kenzo) – which will hopefully open doors for commercial fans interested in the other areas of the genre.
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to? Not yet. As I said, we’re currently just brushing up on our skills until we try and get anything officially released.
Have you got any advice to upcoming DJs/ Producers? Do a bit of research and gain knowledge in a scene you enjoy. Come with something original, there’s no point trying to make Kromestar/Jakes style bass when they do it so much better. Also, make MUSIC. Anyone can make a beat or a tune but making something that would be classed as music is a different game completely; which is why we appreciate the likes of Von D, Phaeleh and Kryptic Minds to name a few.
Any shoutouts? Big shoutout to everyone in the OCD & Substep crew. We’d also like to say thanks to a lot of the up-and-coming producers who have supported and trusted us with music from the start including ENiGMA Dubz, Wen and Calski. Finally a shoutout to everyone who follows us and our music, you’re what spurs us on! There is a lot more coming from us so keep your eyes peeled.
If you’ve missed out on SP & ST’s mix, grab the DL and give it a listen below. It’s got an awesome selection of dubs from a seriously impressive mix of producers. The future’s deep and dark for dubstep given the number of new producers popping up all over the place!
- Congi – Alliance [dub]
- Arktrix & J-One – Capture [dub]
- Author – Revolutions [dub]
- Unknown – Untitled [dub]
- Compa – Security [forthcoming Area 12]
- Submatiks – Influx [dub]
- Anex – Counter It [forthcoming Soulstep]
- Widowmaker & Digid – Rollin’ [dub]
- Brownz – They Don’t Sleep [dub]
- Catacombs & Knowledge – Old Town [dub]
- Kaiju – Method One
- Kahn – Way Mi Defend [Box Clever]
- G-A – The Code (Anex remix)
- Compa – Put Down The Gun [dub]
- Thelem – Distilled [Loft Party Records]
- Digid – Final Stand [dub]
- Congi – Why [dub]
- Nanobyte – The Wrong Path
- Anex – Delusions [forthcoming ICU Audio]
- Wen – Ground Zero [dub]
- Lefty – Crawl [dub]
If you have any thoughts on Stuart Powell & Esstee‘s mix, or want to recommend a new artist you’ve discovered or just want a chat about something you’ve seen on FatKidOnFire, leave a comment below or get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.