Monday, 27 April 2009

INTERVIEW: Shortstuff [Berkane Sol/Ramp/Pollen]

Shortstuff was one of the first people we spoke to about crafting an exclusive mix for us. I believe the first time we threw the idea around was back in mid February when we’d just launched, and he’s been teasing us with proposed tracklistings ever since. A close compatriot of Brackles, he’s been steadily crafting beats for labels like Pollen and Berkane Sol and he’s now lining up physical releases on some of our favourite labels.

It’s looking like ’09 will be a big year for the man himself so with that in mind we threw a few questions his way for your visual digestion.

Sonic Router: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?

Shortstuff: I’m a producer/DJ from Hertfordshire. My first release was a 12” on Berkane Sol that I shared with Brackles. I like real ale, children’s TV shows from the early ‘90s and watching Seinfeld.

Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?

I’m a journalist.

How did you get into recording music?

I’ve always played music. I used to play guitar in bands and would always be recording demos and stuff into a little 4 track I had. Then when I went to Uni, I met Brackles. He had a copy of Fruity Loops and we started making stuff on that.

What’s your production set up like?

Dusty. I use Nuendo and lots of VSTs – Battery and Massive especially – I also sample a lot.

What are some of your influences on your sound? How would you describe your music? Can you name check 3 artists who influence your production?

I draw influences from all over the place – my tastes are pretty broad. Today I’ve been listening to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band – I wish I had a name like that. If I had to describe my music, I’d probably say its derivative nonsense a child could make.

Three artists who have had an influence on my production are:

Dilla – his loops do something quite weird to me. I don’t think there’s anyone out there to match the knack he had for picking and crafting samples.

Zinc – I’ve always loved what he does with his music and his label.

Todd Edwards – His ‘he died on a cross’ vocals and mincey riffs used to put me off. But through the years my resolve weakened and now tunes like ‘Signs’ and his ‘Zoot Woman’ remix seem to have become a part of my musical being.

Why the name Shortstuff? Small man complex perhaps... Just how tall are you?

I chose that name years ago because, although I’m not an actual midget, I’m not tall. I wish I had chosen more wisely.

I know you are close with Brackles. How did you meet?

He lived opposite me in halls at Uni in Notts. We’ve been close ever since. A lot of his tunes are actually written especially for me, it’s the only way he can express those feelings.

Do you share a similar kind of musical vision? When you make music together how does it work? What do you like about working together?

Yeah, I think we do. We both like stuff with energy that can also hold your attention out of a club setting. There are similarities in the things we write individually, but when we make tunes together you get a kind of odd combination of the two, plus the older we get the sillier our stuff becomes. We’ll just get drunk and muck about and if something sounds crap we’ll let each other know.

Do you think the Notts scene was/is a big influence on your output?

Well, neither of us has lived in Notts for some time. ‘Broken Harp’ was the last thing we wrote up there, and for me the tune really captures that time. I love Nottingham though and people like Geiom, Spam Chop and the Futureproof crew have undoubtedly played a big part in shaping my output – I reckon Rob would say the same.

Your Broken Harp 12” is out now on Pollen along with your Berkane Sol release... What else have you got coming up worth shouting about?

I’ve got a 12” coming on Ramp in the next couple of months. Then there’s a 12” on Wigflex that I’m really hyped about. I have a three-track 12” coming out on Formant really soon and then a tune Brackles and me made called ‘Sutorito Faita’ is coming on Planet Mu with his ‘LHC’ tune on the A side.

Further in the future I’ve got stuff coming on secret projects that may or may not have anything to do with Ramp, remixes for a few people, collaborations with Hyetal and Geiom and then mine and Brackles’ new label. I’m not going to say too much until everything is in place, but both me and Rob are hyped about it. Look out for stuff from our two favourite new producers of the moment: Martin Kemp and Mickey Pearce. They’re going to be huge.

You’re pushing dubstep in a more extravagant mode incorporating more soca rhythms on your forthcoming Ramp release. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the new directions the scene is taking? Any tips for producers we should watching out for?

I love all new directions. Dubstep is where a lot of us came from and it’s great to have such an enormous community at the core of what we’re all doing, but I feel far more inspired by the music the scene has spawned these days. So long as people are prepared to evolve and welcome new ideas there’s nothing to feel overwhelmed about.

My favourite producers at the moment are Martin Kemp, Mickey Pearce, FaltyDL, Greena, Untold and Hyetal. Also, Spam Chop played me a load of new stuff from the Wigflex posse the other day and it was sick – look out for Hizatron and Metaphi in particular.

Any words of wisdom for the interweb?

I’m not wise.


DOWNLOAD: Shortstuff – Sonic Router Mix


1. Falty DL – To London (Forthcoming on Ramp Recordings)
2. Kode 9 – 2 Far Gone (Hyperdub)
3. Ghost – The Club (Tempa)
4. Geiom – Eyl Booty (Forthcoming on Berkane Sol)
5. Roska – Our Father (White)
6. Mickey P – Innami (Unreleased)
7. 2 Bad Mice – 2 Bad Mice (Moving Shadow)
8. Kode 9 & LD – 2 Bad (Hyperdub)
9. Horsepower – When You Hold Me (Tempa)
10. El B – Son De Cali (Forthcoming on Soul Motive)
11. Li’l Silva – Seasons (White)
12. Shortstuff & Mickey Pearce – Tripped Up (Unreleased)
13. HH Banton – Sirens (White)
14. Ramadanman – Revenue [Untold Remix] (Forthcoming on 2nd Drop)
15. LD – Wood Block (Hyperdub)
16. Brackles – Rawkus (Forthcoming on Planet Mu)
17. Peverelist – Clunk Click Every Trip (Punch Drunk)
18. Untold – Anaconda (Forthcoming on Hessle Audio)
19. DJ Zinc – Tonka [Menta remix] (Bingo)
20. Shortstuff – Stuff (Forthcoming on Ramp Recordings)
21. Mala – Forgive (Deep Medi)
22. Pangaea – Memories (White)
23. Joe – Grimelight (Hessle Audio)
24. Shortstuff – Progression (Forthcoming on Formant)


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