Thursday, 17 March 2011

SR Mix #73: Ossie [Lightworks]

Following yesterday’s bumbling and unintentional twitter debate on the deployment of tracklists for online mixes the latest contributor to our ongoing mix series hasn’t given us one. Now, that doesn’t make us hate him, it doesn’t make us think he’s being intentionally difficult nor piss us off in any respect – he may have just not realised we usually include them – but it does stoke a level of interest in listening to the whole thing in its entirety.

Ossie is a producer that’s been bubbling under for a while now, making moves on the UK funky underground with his own decidedly warped take on the house sound of now. Turning his hand from tribal jams like ‘Ossie Baba’ to R&B refixes that heat up a dancefloor he’s just released the enchanting earworming ‘Tarantula’ on the freshly minted Lightworks imprint. It’s his biggest success to date, all hip shaking percussive manoeuvres, deep pulsing synth stabs and then there’s that mulitlimbed lead line that creeps and lurks in the most resplendent corners of your room late at night. Packaged with the tougher ‘Creepy Crawlies’ and a Funkineven remix of the A side on the flip, it marks both the dawn of a new imprint and the realisation of Ossie’s music – something that, judging by our quick exchange, has evidently been a long time coming.

With more releases on the horizon, including a 12” release forthcoming on Kode9’s Hyperdub incubator, we caught up with him to learn us a few things about him, his links to Live FM (and one of Joy O’s favourite selectors) Petchy and his future endeavours. Plus he turns in the latest instalment in our ongoing mix series, #73, a 90 min mix which features plenty of his own material set amongst some of his favourite house records.

Sonic Router: What do you do on the daily and where are you from?

Ossie: Born and bred in East Ham (East London). I’m in my final year of uni, studying music technology. When I get home its straight onto the decks or logic; so it’s music all around really.

What first got you into production and what’s your set-up like? Have you got a favourite bit of kit and how do you approach working in the studio?

At an early age I was intrigued at how tunes were made. I took a production course in the summer when I was 11 and that’s when I first saw Cubasis VST. I remember going with my mum to Stratford Computer Fair and buying a crack version of Cubasis and I guess that’s where it all started. Throughout secondary school and college I was making beats in my spare time, though then it was mainly R&B and hip hop.

Set-up wise I’ve got a Macbook Pro, PowerMac G5, Logic Pro 8,Yamaha, MG16/6FX, M-audio Axiom 49, 2 Novation Launchpads and a MicroKorg.

My Macbook pro is one thing I couldn’t go without. Once that’s in front of me everything just flows. I never have a plan when producing. I just creatively mess about.

How would you describe your sound?

A fusion of everything really, I use a lot of percussion and synths, which gives a vintage but current feel. I try and have stories or mood in my tunes especially when producing house, and having produced R&B previously helps with build-ups and structuring.

I sample now and then hence the spontaneous remixes I put up on my Soundcloud, but most times I try and emulate the sounds used from the tracks I’m feeling at the time. I think I’d be a sample freak like Kanye if it didn’t cost so much.

You take influence from all over: We hear American vibes, UK vibes, Deep, Hype, African house, any house. You bring it in and make it your own, give us a clue how those strings got drawn together…

I go through phases when I’m listening and making music. I am never listening to one genre and this is what’s heard in my production. For example at the time I made ‘Ossie Baba’ I was listening to Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Roy Ayers, Marvin Gaye you name it. I don’t just listen to house so in my music you hear everything which I hope will be my advantage as there’s something for everyone. When I started making house I was listening to a lot of Bugz in the Attic, 4hero and Vikter Duplaix and at the same time UK funky was just on the horizon so I just brought all influences together.

I guess cheeky refix’s come into that somehow: we’ve heard your take on the odd R&B legend or pop freak in our time lurking on the radio waves/soundcloud… I guess that’s another big part of your sound? How do you channel that into something more Ossie…

Yeah I’ve been making remixes from day. Once again it’s because I listen to such a variety of music. When producing my versions I make sure from the start that it sounds as far from the original track as possible while still keeping the best bits - if that makes sense? That way if compared to other remixes of the same track it stands out as Ossie.

Tell us about Live FM and Petchy? You’ve mixed with him we’re all feeling it, that energy is infectious…

Petchy is my friend’s brother so I’ve always been around him since school days. Petchy was at Live FM when I had started to make house and I was swinging him tunes to get a reaction. I gave him ‘Tarantula’ after I made it, the buzz really started from then and it just escalated. That mix you heard with us back to back was the first mix I recorded. I started DJing in October and I fast tracked myself to DJ in time for the release.

Seeing ‘Tarantula’ on a 12” is pretty sweet since it’s been making moves on the UK Funky scene for a bit now. How’d that track even come into existence? Can you tell us a bit about that release, what’s the inspiration/sound for the tracks?

To be honest I don’t remember much of making it because I made it so long ago now, but what I do remember is l was experimenting with sounds. I have this method I use sometimes when I’m producing, when I open up Logic the first sound I hear I use. So instead of sieving through for ages looking for a particular sound I do it that way to be spontaneous. It cuts production time and brings together certain sounds I wouldn’t normally put together. I did the same thing for ‘Creepy Crawlies’ because time was of the essence and I needed to make the B-side asap.

Talk to us about the state of funky right now and where you fit in with it today… What music are you feeling at the moment, any producers you think the world should know about?

The state of funky is healthy and I love the fact that it’s very tribal orientated, which allows me to go crazy with my drum patterns. Hard House Banton, Fuzzy Logic and Roska do it for me. I think they’re the cream of the crop when it comes to producers in the scene right now and I’m sure the world already knows about them. If you don’t where have you been?

After this Lightworks 12” arrives what have you got in store for us? Any more releases you can chat about on the horizon…

I've got a release scheduled for May coming out on Hyperdub, the tracks called ‘Set the Tone.’ I made it about three years ago even before ‘Tarantula.’ I just had it sitting in my hard drive for a while. I haven't got anything planned after that; I'm waiting for these releases to come out and for uni to finish before I do anything else.

Tell us about the mix you’ve turned in for us...

It’s mainly all the tunes I’m feeling at the moment, a few refix’s and remixes from me. Exclusive wise the B-side to ‘Set The Tone’ is in there. It’s called ‘Power of Love.’ Apart from that it’s just a bit of everything, typically Ossie.

Have you got any words of wisdom for our readers?

Perfect your craft!


DOWNLOAD: Ossie – Sonic Router Mix #73

No tracklist given.

Words: James Balf & Oli Marlow