Phatcat Interview

1. What are you working on right now?
Putting together the next releases for the Future Roots label, an LP from Jake Robertz in Mid Feb, and Volume 2 of our compilation series before summer, plus there’ll be a series of freebies and singles in between all that.  I’m also diving a lot of time between developing my live hardware set and working on material for my own LP which will dance around jungle/footwork/160/85 etc plus a long field recording project I’m embarking on through spring of 2017 which bits of will make it into my dance work
2. What was some of your earliest musical influences?
within pop? i kinda liked MJ and the obvious hits of my youth but I kinda got into the local punk scene briefly in high school which quickly segued into the early rave community – the early music I really gravitated towards was hardcore and jungle and drum & bass. I remember getting the CD’s of Goldie’s “Saturns Return” and Plug’s “Drum & Bass 4 Papa” from the public library after my first raves knowing only to search the terms DRUM & BASS, I’m glad these were my entrys to the genre as Goldie’s label Metalheadz has been a important influence to the genre as a whole and Plug(aka Wagonchrist aka Luke Vibert) was a huge pioneer of early experimental breakbeat music yet always say firmly outside the dnb scene proper so having the contrast of these 2 LP’s; one on the inside of the scene and one on the out; was really important – I always had a big respect going forward for the boundary pushers(many of whom have been scoffed at over the years for their boundary pushing but often those boundary pushers are what herald the new evolution of the music
3. How long have you been making music?
I started DJ’ing in 97, but started with production a few years later closer to 2001, so just over 15 years
4. What inspires you?
Risk takers, boundary pushers and the like.  I love it when artists cross genre lines but stay true to who they are – theres tons of the former occurring in dance music, but when it’s joined with the latter the surprises come out!  Of course that and my friends – I’ve been lucky enough to have a group of amazing artist-friends who are constantly inspiring me to do better, to do more!  Thats something I think we forget in the the digital age when seeing all there is out there to take in – we all have potential mentors and friends in our local artistic communities that can help us grow as people and artists and so we mustn’t forget the wealth in our own backyards!
5. What changes would you like to see to the music industry to make it more profitable?
I oddly enough don’t really want to see it get hugely more profitable but rather see Artists taking more fair wages across the board.  On a more local concern, our city of Edmonton could grow its underground music nightlife imensly with some slight relaxing to “last call” regulations making performance hours later.  I’d also love to see more venues that are NOT nightclubs become desirable spots for underground electronic events.
6. My first dubstep (or electronic) show was one of yours; Excision and Datsik  in 2009, at that Greek restaurant downtown! You’ve come a long ways and become an icon of the Edmonton scene
– What would you like to do more of?
Going back to my previous answer – more shows in unique and off the beaten path venues is one thing for sure. I also want to expand Future Roots reach beyond the confines of just “bass” music – not too drastically but widening focus to include those threads of house and techno which I feel are at home within the scope of the Future Roots concept
– Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

Much of the same, just more.  Touring my live performance, writing and releasing tracks, developing new artists through the Future Roots label, definitely still DJ’ing, still breaking new and cutting edge artists to the community through our events…the only new thing might be more travel 🙂

7. How long have you been throwing shows? How did you get into it?
Well at the time I began hosting events there was not much going on in the community for Bass/Jungle/D&B events so I set out to create a new series of events under the name “Subterranean Sound”.  The first event I booked was Dieselboy’s first ever Edmonton appearance at The Rev (now known as Starlite Room) and I followed that with an event which would become an annual thing called Four Twenty which was the first “rave” I hosted at the Orange Hall lol.  I learned a lot in those early years and unfortunately Subterranean Sound was doomed from the get-go as we didn’t know enough about business then and the negativity, selfishness, and later betrayals from one of the early members led to a schism in the crew which saw us all moving on to our own projects by around 2005.  Future Roots was both a reaction to those experiences and an idea that had been building for a long time – I put my focus into hosting events with risk taking and cutting edge bass music and once it was rolling there was no looking back 🙂
8. You recently released a cassette tape on Future Roots recently, which was such a classic move! How did that do for you guys? Do you have more plans in store for Future Roots you’d care to share?
The reaction to the tape has been inspirational! The cassette has so much history both within Dance music and the whole scope of music industry and I felt that the concept of Future Roots worked perfectly within that as well.  I think people really want to support music but the mediums have been forsaken – it’s much more difficult now to produce a physical version of your music and even harder to sell it – I decided that tape would be our first foray for all the reasons already stated but also the fact that it was within our reach as an independent and a way to put something real into the world of ‘things’ – it really matters to me that you can hold it in your hand and get a sense of who we are as artists and what we want to accomplish – and the best part is that the download is always included with the tapes so someone who still just want the digital, someone who doesn’t even have a tape deck can still buy the tape to support us and for all the reasons anyone ever would and still have the music in all the formats they desire!
9. What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?

First of all I should state that this is not a “career” but rather a “passion-that-can-sometimes-pay” so I advise never to chase the “career” angle. That being said there are many careers in the music industry and they are varied and often quite fulfilling but as always the most elusive and the one I think you are asking about and that I am referring to is the career of “Musician”.  Do it for love of your art form and for NO other reason – if you enter this pursuit with a passion to create you will be happier – and pleasantly surprised if the magic combination of talent, charisma, luck, and opportunity conspire to take that passion into career territory.

10. What are typical mistakes people make when trying to pursue a career in music?
Do not do it for fame or money, both could come but neither will last.  I have seen many try and fail and am aware of many empty shells of former people who were once maybe artists but are now products.  In a nutshell this industry can and has chewed up and spit out too many to name.  I would first avoid the pitfall of changing your sound to suit the “current taste” – adaptability is good but too much flexibility means the backbone is gone. I’ve seen seminars and youtube videos alike advise modern students and newcomers to change their sound until they hit success – this is fine if you only want fame of money but see my first sentence for the outcome of that.  Stay true to yourself as a person and as a artist!  Also please don’t let your pursuit of music as a career destroy personal relationships – I’ve seen a few walk this dark path and it leads to maybe fame, and maybe fortune, but the price is loneliness and emptiness – don’t forsake your friends, family and lovers for the idea of a career that is built mainly on fantasy – the life of a working and touring musician is harder than many think and if it starts to become a reailty maintaining balance is very important as  fame or money will never last like healthy relationships.

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