Monday, 8 May 2017

A Conversation With: Deadcrow. First Post of 2017!



A conversation with: Deadcrow

Wave heads, it’s been a long time coming but I’m finally back with my first post of 2017, and I have an interview with none other than pioneering producer and Terrorhytm alumni Deadcrow to share with you! 

Before I get to that, though, there's a few things I want to cover. It's been ages since my last post - I trust you’ve all been enjoying the colossal collection of creative sounds that have come out of the scene over the last few months. Back in April the wavey ‘Yung 001’ mixtape, featuring tracks from Vacant, Aesthetic Kid, LTHL and many other talented artists, dropped following much anticipation. You can purchase and listen to that here. As a collective that have been at the heart of the London movement since it’s early days, it’s a pleasure to finally see a solid compilation released from the Yung collective – it definitely adds a lot of inspiring tracks to the Wave consciousness – big up everybody involved! We’ve also had a seminal wave release on Terrorhythm this year, in the form of Deadcrow’s ‘Light Trails’ EP; the sequel to ‘Night Wonder’. The EP received huge praise across the scene.

I want to start this post by drawing attention to the soon-to-launch record label arm of LTHL, Kareful’s and Stouhou's Liquid Ritual project, which as I’m sure you know has been functioning as a well-loved monthly show on Radar Radio for the past year.  I am tremendously excited about this launch, not only because I believe it’s going to be a phenomenal step forward for the scene to have another fully-fledged wave-only label, but also because I have it on good authority that releases will be dropping very frequently, meaning we can expect a stream of the best tunes the scene has to offer! I’ve been assured that the label will be dedicated to releasing music from budding wave-heads and helping talented unknown producers to gain the wider recognition they deserve, meaning it will offer a much needed helping hand to some of the scene’s best new talent. I’m also gassed to have been asked to be a part of the writing team supporting the label. So look out for Liquid Ritual content coming from me very shortly!


Liquid Ritual. Credit: Chris Speed Visuals
So, apart from all the new music and this up-and-coming label, what else has been popping off during the last four months? Well, for one thing, there have been a huge number of wave-related gigs! The genre is making serious moves in London – just over a week ago Yusoul hosted yet another huge evening in London with the likes of Klimeks, Kareful and CVRL.  

Nights are happening more frequently not just in the UK but overseas as well. The sound continues to grow in Europe, with regular gigs in Poland, Spain and elsewhere.  

I recently caught up with Brothel, who was involved in what he called ‘the first witch house / wave tour in America’, back in February. He told me; ‘It's was so much fun! I travelled with luminance, Essex, Resonata and Sidewalks and Skeletons!’ Quite the epic line-up! The whole group played dates across the US, and had a wicked time. I wish could have seen one of their shows! The Colorado-based producer said of his tour mates, ‘those guys are killing the scene right now, hands down’.


The Dissolution Tour: first wave/witch tour in the USA
It seems the movement is growing and gaining more momentum around the world every day. Watch how wave tours become a regular occurrence by 2018!

Okay, I also wanna use this post to mention a particular night that occurred back in February here in the UK, in Shoreditch. I was lucky enough to attend the night and it was a lot of fun! In case you missed that one, Skit hosted a huge roster of Wavemob talent at one of his legendary Yusoul parties down at Ace Hotel. 

Alongside the ever vivid sounds of Kareful, Klasey Jones and of course Skit himself, the night included a worldwide debut show from Wavemob boss and genre daddy Klimeks. The OG gave a haunting performance; progressive and eerie, it was a set built from the most poignant tracks the scene he coined has to offer. As a nod to earlier days he spun his own old-school remix of ‘Born in the Cold’, much to my personal elation. That track is fucking sick.
hnrk also made the pilgrimage from Germany to showcase his own brooding, introspective beats – it was the first chance I’ve ever had to see him live, which was really cool.

To have so many of the original wave dons (and so many of my personal wave idols) side by side on that billing was pretty damn special. I also met a lot of cool people involved in wave behind the scenes that night; media heads who help to support and promote the movement. Like all the wave events I’ve been to, there was much more to the night than a simple audience-performer dynamic -  everybody in attendance had a part to play in the development of the scene - from the DJs to the photographers to the audience themselves – everybody was respected and everybody’s contribution equally valued. Chris Speed was also there, providing some awesome visuals!


The last wave gig I had the privilege of attending: Yusoul Presents at Ace Hotel. Incredible lineup!
Wave is becoming more of a real life phenomenon every day. If you haven’t been to one of these shows yet, let me tell you, you need to experience these gigs first hand before they’re selling out so far in advance you can’t even cop a ticket! 

As it turns out, that night in Shoreditch all those months ago became a catalyst for some really exciting media exposure for the genre.

Firstly, Pear Drops record label owner and radio DJ Thadeous Matthews used footage and interviews from that pivotal night, as well as snippets gained from an event down at the Alibi in Dalston with Plastician and Glacci, to create an awesome short Wave documentary. The first of its kind, this dropped on BBC IPlayer back in April. The BBC is probably the UK’s most well-known media platform, and the fact that a documentary on wave has been given support by such an institution highlights just how significant and influential the movement is becoming within the sphere of UK music. 

The doc is a perfect 5 minute representation of the mood at the heart of London wave right now. As Skit and Kareful share their enthusiasm and love for the sound with endearing grins, taste-maker Plastician gives wisdom on why the movement is so important for the city at the moment. It really is a compelling watch, an ode to the talent of the film maker, plus Plastician discloses some info on his freelance photography passions. If you haven’t already, check that out here.

Secondly, I was honored with the opportunity of authoring an article on the wave genre, centered on the Shoreditch Yusoul night, for none other than Mixmag. Anybody who knows about music journalism knows that Mixmag is one of the biggest and most respected electronic music publications, and the opportunity to represent the sound in such a huge publication was an absolute honor. The piece is an in-depth exploration of the genre’s roots and its development from a solely online movement to a real-life phenomenon, with words from Klimeks, Kareful, Deadcrow, Foxwedding, and visual artwork from Chris Speed.


Credit: Chris Speed Visuals
I was elated to see that the feature got a two-page spread and even a mention on the front cover of the May issue, which came out on 20th April! I’ve got to say, seeing my name in print in my favorite music magazine was pretty overwhelming! The thought that the article has helped promote the scene to a wider audience and raised awareness of the emotive, beautiful music which I am so passionate about, is astounding and makes me really happy.

The article is now up online, accompanied by a sensitive, turbulent mix aptly named ‘emotional roller coaster’, by the genre’s poster boy himself, Kareful. I hope you all liked the article, but if you haven’t read it yet, you should totally check it out, which you can do here.

So it seems the music is growing stronger every day, touching the lives of people everywhere and expressing itself in all sorts of ways. Believe it or not, wave is now even affecting the academic world. A few months ago I had the pleasure of speaking to an individual who was actually in the process of writing an investigative dissertation on the Wave scene and its surrounding communities. He has now submitted that and I wish him the best of luck for the results! If anybody else has undertaken any projects similar to this, please do get in touch, I’d love to hear about it!

Now, at the risk of this being the longest blog post in the world, I want to show you guys the transcript from a recent conversation I had with legendary Dutch producer and Terrorhythm graduate, Deadcrow.


Light Trails EP

Deadcrow’s wave career has gained serious momentum over the past 12 months and he’s widely hailed as one of the most talented producers on the circuit at the minute. Back in February he dropped his second wavey EP on Plastician’s label Terrorhytm. If you haven't done so already, you can listen to and purchase that right here.

Having seen Deadcrow perform a back-to-back with Kareful at one of the Hub16 gigs in Stoke Newington back in the day, I can certainly attest to his mixing ability.  He’s also up there with personal favorite producers – Rained All Day is one of my most-loved wave anthems. Naturally, I was psyched to have the opportunity to speak to him; I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it!


***
Deadcrow
Hey man, thanks for taking the time to talk to Lucid Steps! First up, can you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you’re from and your background?

Yo, thanks for having me! Well my name is Felix, I’m 20 years old and live in The Hague, in Holland. Though I’m not really Dutch, my mother is from France and my dad from the US.

Okay, got it. I’m gunna jump straight in and ask you about your most recent release, Light Trails. That was a really amazing collection of tunes, where did the inspiration for the EP come from?

I think one of the main inspirations is the neighborhood I live in, which has a lot of futuristic looking buildings; a few parts look like they come straight out of a sci-fi movie. I also think the night has a big influence on what I make. One of the recurring thoughts I had while making most of the tracks off my most recent EP, was that it sort of felt like racing down the highway in a highly modified 90’s Japanese car during the night. But then also things like the way I feel, or certain music I’ve been listening to inspire me. I think get inspired by a lot of things, even when I’m not conscious of it.

I see, I can definitely hear those things in your music! Now, how did it feel releasing through Terrorhythm again this time around, and what does it mean to release on such a well-known and respected label?

When I started taking producing music a bit more seriously, releasing with Terrorhythm became one of my goals. When Plastician approved the tracks for my first EP, it felt amazing because I achieved one of my major goals at the time. Since the label is well respected in certain scenes, releasing with Terrorhythm opens a lot of doors for me, which is great. But I also wanted to release another EP with Terrorhythm because I just don’t feel like my tracks belong anywhere else. 

Can you tell us how you first become involved with Plastician’s label?
I first became familiar with the label because of artists like Ganz and AWE. Looking at the other releases at the time, I really felt I would love to release on Terrorhythm too. So I started sending Plastician stuff through Soundcloud and I didn’t stop until he gave a positive response. 

So first he’d play one or two tunes I sent him, and then finally I decided I had to start talking about doing an EP since that’s what I really wanted to release. So I sent him a couple of demos and after a little while the first release was basically settled.

I see. As well as Terrorhythm, you've also been involved with Wavemob and have a release on the second mixtape from the collective. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Very soon after my first EP with Terrorhythm, me and Kareful got in touch and did a collab which went really well. We became pretty good friends through that process. So once that collaboration was up, things started popping even more, and more people from the scene started getting in touch with me or I’d get in touch with them. 

I started to feel that the possibility was there for me to maybe release on a Wavemob compilation, so I started talking about it with Klimeks, and he was down. So then that happened, and right after that I was added to the Wavemob roster.


Deadcrow

Nice, I can certainly see why Wavemob would want you in their collective. So do you play gigs regularly? Is there a scene for this kind of music in the Netherlands at the moment?


No, I don’t play that much. Although I’d really like to play more, I find it kind of difficult to get into that particular circle here. The thing is, I’d rather impress people, instead of getting gigs because I asked for them. I did try to get gigs a couple of times, but it never really worked out. So now I’m just trying focus on growing as an artist. I want my music and achievements to speak for me. 

So how did you first get into producing? Do you have a musical background?

I started playing drums when I was three years old, because of my father. He is a jazz musician and teacher, so music was always around me since I was born. When I was twelve, I discovered Fruityloops on my father’s laptop, and I really liked it because I was able to control everything, and not just play drums. So I kept writing music with it, started taking it more seriously and sort of forgot about playing the drums.

I was around fifteen at that time. Oh and also, before I started playing around with Fruityloops, I used to make hardstyle and jumpstyle mashups in Virtual DJ with my best friend, we were like ten or eleven. That was my very first encounter with electronic music production!

Right, and from there what drew you to wave music in particular?

I think I really like the sound because it’s a combination of several genres that I really like. And what I also really love about it is that it’s very melodic. It’s a really good outlet for thoughts and emotions. I guess making pretty music like wave calms me. And it’s also something new, so it feels sick to be part of it from the beginning.

Yeah, I can understand that. So do you draw inspiration from anywhere in particular when producing, or just vibe it?

I think I really get inspired by where I live and also the night time. There are several tracks which I’ve made by just making something with no particular thought behind it, and then just going with it. Sometimes I am inspired before I start making the track, and then there are other moments where I get inspired by just fiddling with knobs and buttons or just playing on my keyboard.

And do you consider yourself to be a ‘wave’ artist?

Well, the majority of the music I have been releasing in the past year or so can be classified as wave, and I’m also part of Wavemob. But I don’t really consider myself a wave artist. My sets during gigs mostly consist of non wave-music, and I also have tons of tracks that aren’t wave. I actually don’t listen to it that much when I just listen to music, which might seem strange! I’d rather not be placed in a certain category, though I can understand why people would do that at the moment. 

Right, I understand, I've spoken to alot of artists who don't want to be fully catagorised as 'wave' producers, but enjoy making wave music. So, in your opinion, who are the hottest artists on the wave scene right now?

Well I really like Sokos his stuff, and Kareful also sent me some really sick tunes not too long ago.

I see, both good choices. How do you think the wave sound/scene will progress over the next few years?

I think it could definitely become something huge. Maybe the music could be used in well-known video games, movies and commercials. 
I think some of the people making this music will start working with big rappers and/or singers, which is also definitely one of my own aspirations. Things are definitely going in the right direction right now anyway!


Deadcrow
What advice would you give to any budding Wave artists looking to get involved in the growing scene?

Just talk! Most of the people respond to their Soundcloud and Facebook messages, so there is enough opportunity for them to get involved! 

Finally, is there anything you want to add?

Well, I’d like to thank you again for having me. And I’d also like to say that I have several cool things in the works, such as videos and merch, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Follow me on SoundcloudTwitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest on Wave and other underground sounds.

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