I sat down with UK bass music legends Compa and
Plastician to discuss Compa's recent release on Terrorhythm - the wonderful
Plastician has been strongly associated with the scene
for years now, and in releasing ‘Avow’ via Terrorhythm, has helped to add
another interesting, experimental release to the sounds' growing catalogue.
With this in mind, I was thrilled at the chance to pick his brain about what
this particular release might mean for the genre, as well as get his thoughts
on how the scene is developing in general.
Avow was released back in Decemeber.
Now many of you probably know Compa from his
experience with the UK Dubstep scene and his association with labels such as
Deep Medi and Boka Records. It's safe to say that hearing distinctly wavey
elements on his recent release, which dropped on Terrorhythm before Christmas,
came as a surprise to many of us. I wanted to find out exactly what it was that
prompted Compa to experiment with these sounds and also what the future holds
for his production.
You can listen to and purchase ‘Avow’ here. If by
any chance you haven't heard it, it's an ethereal journey through the different
faces of what is broadly known as Wave, from the abrasive to the feminine, with
an emphasis on trap synths and meaty sub-bass.
You can read a transcript of my conversation with
the guys themselves below! I hope you enjoy!
Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to speak to
C: My pleasure!
P: No worries!
you’ve done a lot for the Wave scene. Of course, all credit to the guys who
first started producing this sound and have worked tirelessly to build it into
a movement. They’re doing a lot to promote the
sound worldwide and it’s obvious they’ve got big futures ahead of them. That
being said, there’s no doubt that your involvement in Wave & your use of
Terrorhythm to support upcoming Wave artists has helped bring this sound to the
attention of listeners who otherwise wouldn’t have heard it.
So, from your
point of view, what does it mean for the UK Wave scene to have Compa, another
well-loved producer from a well-known genre, on board with the sound now too?
It’s a pretty exciting development right?
P: I think Compa's one of the first
people to openly admit to having an interest in the Wave stuff, but behind the
scene I have many producers hitting me up letting me know what they're into
from recent sets and the stuff I'm putting out through Terrorhythm etc. If you
check Om Unit's recent album there's some bits in there which were influenced
by the movement too. People in bass music seem to be interested in it for sure.
Plastician's Rinse FM show, which ended in 2017, was huge in introducing new listeners to the sound.
Compa, it’s pretty exciting to hear a Wave-influenced
E.P. from you! You’ve been a huge name in the Dubstep scene for so many years
but this seems to be a bit of a change in vibe for you. Tell me, how long have
you personally been producing this wavey sound for?
C: See this is the
thing, I don’t consider any music that I make fits into any particular genre. I
can understand how this record is put in the Wave box, and I’m happy it’s found
a home there and that it’s being supported by a lot of people in that scene,
but originally the tracks were made for vocalists; rappers from here in England
and from America. I was just trying to produce emotive rap music and
incorporate heavy bass and the textures I’m known for. But to answer your
question, I’ve been making music on this tip for about two years, along with a
load of other sounds and styles across different tempos.
What was it that first drew you to the sound?
C: Two things drew
my ears to this sound, firstly getting into a lot of different types of rap
music a couple of years ago and secondly Plastician’s Rinse FM show. I’ve
always been a huge fan of music with groove and also with emotion, I tried to
mix these and combine them with my usual heavy bass and dark textures kind of
style and this record is the result.
So, how did this E.P. come about?
P: Compa was sending
loads of bits through and I was playing loads of them on radio - he was keen to
put some out and we thought we could definitely get them out on the label so we
started compiling and over the course of a few months we got the track listing
Compa, what made you decide now was the time to
release this E.P. and why Terrorhythm?
C: Terrorhythm had
to be the home for this music because Plastician was the first person to play
all of the tracks and really showed enthusiasm towards everything I was sending
him on this tip, and it inspired me to keep writing. We had a stack of tracks
to choose from and when we sat down to discuss which to put out, it took us no
time, like five minutes, we both completely agreed on what to put on the record
which was dope!
Plastician's label has been running since 2002. The pioneering label has seen releases from across the electronic music spectrum.
Where did you draw inspiration for these tracks
C: As I say, rap
music of all kinds, stuff by Lunice and Falcons, other kinds of emotive music
by the likes of Burial and Om Unit etc. and lots of music from within the wave
scene by the likes of Kareful, Skit, Mystxrivl, Sokos etc.
Obviously Plastician, you are involved in the
Wave scene in a big way right now both as a tastemaker and producer - I’ve also
seen various Dubstep heads show interest in the sound (for example back in 2015
Kromestar dropped an E.P. with a wavey feel). Do you think this sound has the
potential to grow amongst Dubstep heads? Is there an appetite for that do you
P: I wouldn't say it's
an appetite as such, just a common respect for it from other people involved in
underground movements. It's still very early for Wave as a sound. Producers
only tend to flock to a sound when it looks like it's really popping off and
might be an opportunity to make some money so I'd say that until the sound is
reaching the fringes of major European festivals and front covers of electronic
music mags, you're likely to still be seeing a more natural lean to the sound.
C: I hear you on the
Kromestar stuff, Om Unit too. Just emotive synthy stuff innit? That’s what I’m
saying, that’s what I’m into, that’s what I was hearing along with what
Plastician’s been playing over the last couple of years and it really resonates
with me because I’m a bit of a soppy twat at times! I think we all are, that’s
why people love this music so much, it resonates with a lot of people. Again, I
don’t like to put people in boxes so I can’t say that “Dubstep” guys will start
making “Wave”, but I hear you. To answer your question I think a lot of
producers from all areas of music have the ability to make great music that
would fit into this space, it’s just whether they do or not. Let’s see a few
years down the line!
The Wave scene has been functioning mainly online
for so long, some of the production hasn’t been particularly geared towards the
club. In particular it has lacked the sort of heavy bass-lines that a genre
like Dubstep is so intimately connected with.
With that in mind, Compa, do you see what you’ve produced as a
C: Well this might
be where I added my style to the sound. I’ve been playing in clubs fairly
regularly, thankfully, for a few years now and this’s definitely rubbed off on
my music because I want to play most of what I make in my DJ sets, but I kind
of took a different approach on this record, initially making it for vocalists
but it then ending up on Plastician’s radio show and in his and a few other Wave
artists’ DJ sets. I personally wouldn’t play this music in a club, even though
these tracks definitely have the low end for club sound systems. And don’t get
me wrong, I’ve been playing some Wave stuff in my DJ sets, but only the stuff
that has a bit more energy and that you can dance to, sort of thing. I don’t
want to play anything too deep, I don’t want anyone stood still crying, you get
me? It’s finding the balance I think, unless it’s a Wave club night, in which
case anything goes.
So, if and when you do play this sound, what is
the response from crowds, who I’m guessing are traditionally Dubstep fans?
C: As I say, I play
what fits. I’ve been hammering the Mystxrivl & Sokos tune, ‘Pixel’.
Absolute fire, works so well. And I’ve just started playing my track ‘Never
Gonna’ which is working, but you have to edge them either side with something a
bit more energetic or it draws the crowd and the mood down a little too much.
Again it’s finding the balance, for me at least. I don’t wanna play a full set
of soppy shit, but I equally don’t wanna play a full set of bangers, anyone can
do that. Honestly I just play what feels right to me. If I enjoy myself when I
DJ, I think that usually translates and people vibe with you.
Compa's relationship with the iconic Dubstep label Deep Medi began back in 2013.
I’d love to know what you see as the
future of the UK Wave scene. Do you think it’s progressing towards becoming a
fully-fledged club-based phenomenon?
P: I would say it's
progressing nicely but it's still miles away from becoming a phenomenon - I’d
need to see it filtering into the mid-week university club nights before I
would consider it to be close to really becoming a phenomenon. The progress has
been natural and steady though, it just needs more people actively working to
put on parties really - that's the main thing that'll help.
How do you think Wave production has changed over
the past year? Are producers upping their game?
P: I'm definitely
hearing more club/dance influences creeping in mostly from the eastern European
influence. Trance chords definitely seem to be a thing at the moment. There's
definitely a boost in the production levels too.
Right, Compa, is your process for producing this
sound similar to your process for producing Dubstep?
C: Exact same
process, I just sit down in studio and write, see what comes out, see what
What’s your favourite tune on the ‘Avow’ E.P?
C: ‘Never Gonna’. What’s yours?
I really like ‘Crystal Gaze’, that’s gotta be my
favourite. Okay so who are your personal favourite Wave artists? Have you guys
got any particular Wave recommendations for our readers to check out at the
P: I'd say Fleche is
an artist worth keeping tabs on, we've got an E.P. landing from him soon on the
label, as well as all the usual suspects!
C: Gotta say all
of them, in different ways!
Compa, Is this a genre we’re going to hear more
of from you in the future?
C: Let’s wait and
Finally, anything you’d like to add?
C: Erm, yeah, shout
out Plastician, and all of the ‘Wave’ guys I’ve linked up with, swapped tunes
with, spoken with, jammed with, for the constant support and inspiration. And
shout out yourself as well Sapphire, thanks for the interview!
No worries, it’s been a pleasure to speak to you
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