Wednesday, 3 March 2010

INTERVIEW: Offshore [Stuff/Big Dada]

In some ways it’s a testament to the quality of music encapsulated on the short lived Stuff Records label, that Offshore caught our ear last year with his somewhat understated eponymous 12". His music fits with the jitterbug boom bap of Rustie whilst harnessing that electronic lilt that aligns him with so many of the current low end conscious dubstep crop.

Pouring elements of grime into his productions in the same manner as someone like say, Joker, he's on the edge of something really special; sparring of his cheap drum machine percussion and curating a sound that is utterly infused with his own personality – sampling his own voice or those of friends to give his work a humanized humour that mirrors the ridiculousness found in some of his melodic pitches.

We caught up with him after a stock pile of emails revealed he was down with what we do and would be kind enough to drop us an exclusive mix – which turned out to be one of the most low down and swaggered out installments we have had to date.

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

Offshore: I'm from Aberdeen, moved to london about 6 years ago

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

I run a design studio with Oscar, called Oscar & Ewan; our new site up very soon at

Your design agency did the album art for Roots Manuva’s ‘Slime & Reason’ album right? How did you link that?

I interned at Big Dada about 5 years ago - I was a fan of the label and wanted to get an insight into how it worked. After a while we got to pitch for the Wiley, ‘Playtime is Over’ artwork, which we got and went down well. Then we did the 10 Years of Big Dada comp, and ‘Slime and Reason’ came after that.

What other design projects are you handling?

We do quite a range; we're doing a lot of print work for a classical music competition at the moment. We just finished Bonobo's new album and hopefully there’ll be something soon with a real live elephant, but elephants rights are getting in the way. We don't want to exploit the fattys.

How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do produce? What’s your production set up like?

I've always been quite motivated with both music and art from when I was younger. I played guitar, which was a focus for quite a few years. I played in a moderately heavy band in Aberdeen when we were little teens, then towards the end of our career I was getting into Aphex and Autechre stuff, so I started jazzing around in fruityloops. I came to hi phop through the back door really - things like Anti-Pop Consortium led to El-P to Wu Tang and Madlib… and I was then turning to making more hip hop based stuff. When I came to London I was exposed to grime and dubstep, which have both been inspirational in their sound, speed and weight, but I think of hip hop as the main strain.

It’s over the past few years I’ve moved to Logic and got quite a bit of help from Clause Four with mixing and sound. I use a mac, programmes, a few plugins, a few soft synths. I want to keep making music as easy and convenient as possible.

Where do you take inspiration from while making music? How did you get into it? How would you describe your sound?

There's a lot of great stuff coming out which is really inspiring. It feels like an exciting time to be making music. Currently - production wise - people like Terror Danjah, Rustie, Loops Haunt, Bok Bok, Salem, and Cassie - Official Girl. Outside of the electronic stuff I've been listening to ‘Microcastle’ by Deerhunter a lot, and the grungy, stoner rock stuff of my youth like ‘The Circus Leaves Town’ by Kyuss, and ‘Bleach’ by Nirvana. Generally, I think my stuff is slow, heavy and sometimes cheeky. I see it as a coming together of a lot of my current influences and those from over the years.

In terms of inspiration when making music... sometimes I have a strong idea that I can base a song around. Generally I just make as much as possible and see what comes out, and then coax it out into a 'song'. I aim songs in a certain direction, and bring out certain moods depending on my moods. Then I go back the next day and dash them, because I’m in a different mood…

You’re a Scot living in London. What drove you to make the move? How do the regions differ musically? I mean with Numbers/Lucky Me it’s very healthy up there...

It was the end of school, a good friend decided to go to London, I hadn't really considered it as an option until then, but after some basic research, I was game for trying out the deep end. I'm from Aberdeen which isn't as booming as Glasgow in terms of scene, but there are some great DJs who get decent people up there. Giles Walker being the main one I know. He had Joker up recently, and he's had Bok Bok & Manara up. I can't really give you a proper insight as I haven't been around there and going out recently. There’s always been a strong live music scene, and the crowds are renowned for being up for it.

I think the Numbers and Lucky Me crews are brilliant - they are passionate about what they do, and they do it right.

You’ve had a 12” on the (no longer with us) Stuff Records, a release on disBoot and a couple of remixes for Big Dada affiliated artists. What else have you got coming up? Can you confirm and elaborate upon the projects your working on for Big Dada?

Yes, I'm working on stuff for Big Dada, that’s really the focus at the moment... probably EP > LP. I'm stockpiling and working on a load of stuff and then I'll farm it out.

I’ve got a mix for EE coming up soon.

Tell us about the mix you’ve done for us, what tracks just had to be included?

The Salem ones mainly. They've got an amazing tone. Low Deep – ‘Jedi,’ Wiley – ‘Crash Bandicoot,’ Nasty Nasty... there's a Non Person beat briefly that’s got a lovely spacey sound, and makes a nice launch pad for ‘Snake Eater.’ I think it’s out soon on Channel Zero.

It’s not jam packed with exclusives, just stuff I've been enjoying over the last while.

Have you got any words of wisdom for our readers?

Here's some wisdom:


DOWNLOAD: Offshore – Sonic Router Mix


Trim – Money Up Front (Instrumental)
Gucci Mane - Round one (Salem Remix)
Offshore - Summer Hits
Wonder - Chi Flute
Salem - Frost
Offshore - Girly
Purple Ribbon All-Stars Feat. Big Boi - Kryptonite (Acapella)
Dexplicit - machine man
Ikonika - Sahara Michael
Wiley - Crash Bandicoot Freestyle
Low Deep - Jedi
Nasty Nasty - Damn Girl
Non Person - ? - forthcoming Channel Zero
Joker - Snake Eater
JME - Ju Ju Man
BD1982 - Space Boots (Slugabed Remix)
Nasty Nasty - No Names
Plasticman - Aqua Riddem (Remix)
Rustie - Tempered
Santogold - Shuv It ft. Three 6 Mafia


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