DJG has been a great compatriot of the Sonic Router operation since day dot. His words of enthusiasm, encouragement and music (including his contribution to our ongoing mix series) have been a great source of inspiration to us. Its people like him that’ve given us that vital boost when life takes over and post frequency wanes, so when he got in touch to tell us about a unique and innovative project he was pushing, it was our pleasure to be able to reciprocate in the encouragement stakes.
Today his website, djgsound.com, went live with 12 unreleased tracks, bundled as two EPs: Voids One and Voids Two available on a pay what you want, Radiohead style scheme. With the generosity and production levels both riding high we caught up with the man himself to explain, in his own words, the thought process behind his recent actions.
Sonic Router: So... what’s the concept behind the ‘Voids’ series? I mean the name itself suggest kind of a vacumn thats sucked you in...
DJG: Ha! I guess the title came about when I was thinking about where these kinds of tracks belong, and ultimately where my music belongs inside the context of dubstep or whatever genre. Since 2008 I’ve kinda walked this line between wanting to make more personal and experimental music but wanting to retain a dance floor edge, I’ve never really been able to pick one side or the other and I think in many ways this sometimes puts me in a bit of a funny place. My music is not entirely this but not entirely that. It just sort of exists in this void I suppose.
What makes you want to give these tunes out for free? I mean I know how much time and effort tunes and music in general can take - so why dish them out for nothing? What’s it all in aid of?
It honestly is not in aid of anything – I really hate cynicism and I’m not looking for anything in return, I just want the music to be heard and presented in a way that I feel good about. Purely; I had this folder full of songs I just thought man, I don’t know what will become of this stuff unless I do something myself. I just think the music marketplace is such a polarized place these days and I was shuddering at the thought of trying to work with a label to push this stuff in the right way. I’ve had some really positive experiences with record labels, and some where I felt like little care had been given to the release and I just wanted to try it myself I guess. I’d always wanted to give music away, there is something really satisfying about it to me – and I feel good with the way I’ll be doing it by allowing people to pay whatever price they want.
When you release music through a record label there are all these entities between the artist and the listener – the label, the distributor, the store, graphic designers, marketers, press, etc etc. In this case I get to be all of that, and it’s all like a personal adventure.
I had a lot of people tell me that I was crazy to give away so much music, that people look down on things that are free. But I don’t know, I think that’s probably because so much sub-par music is given away for free with very little effort or thought put into it. I hope that people can see I’m not trying to do anything like that.
So they’re not just like unfinished bits or ideas you had lying around on some hard drive someplace?
No; not in the slightest. In fact the majority of these songs have been pulled from various labels and projects over the last three years, for one reason or another. Nearly all of them have been supported by some of the biggest DJs in dubstep. All these songs were written over the last three years, with ‘Doodlebug’ being the oldest (2007) and ‘BC3’ the most recent (about two months ago). These are just songs I still love and feel connected to, and strongly believe in.
You mention that they come in two parts. Can you explain the difference? I mean Part Two definitely seems more melodic in a sense...
Voids One is really for the ravers & the DJs: it represents a sound I pushed hard in the club over the last few years: dark, energetic, techno fused moody rave vibes. Voids Two is more personal, a bit lighter maybe, and closer to my heart.
What else have you got coming up in the future? gigs/releases etc.
My 12” for Transistor comes out September 29 (‘Time Is The Fire’ b/w ‘Escape Pod’). I’ve got a track on the Wheel&Deal album called ‘NYC’ and Kutz and I did a collab called ‘Hella Tight’ that’s coming out on his album on Soul Jazz.
I’m playing a gig in San Francisco on September 25 with Mount Kimbie, Mary Anne Hobbs and DNTEL. Then on September 30 with Club Root, Djunya and Jon AD. I’ll be in the UK in November playing gigs in London and Bristol with more TBC.
Voids One & Two are available to download now from djgsound.com.
Photo: Kelly Koehler