King Midas Sound: The Art of Intensity

As part of the Sonar 2010 festival in Barcelona, FFF caught up with King Midas Sound; made up of the ever-inspiring Kevin Martin (aka the Bug), Japanese vocalist Kiki Hitomi and dub poet Roger Robinson.

In this episode, the three talk about their dedication to making albums in the days of ‘no-albums’, how to keep music intense and immediate, and their own dedication to the cause of good, innovative music.

Recorded in the aftermath of their debut release, ‘Waiting For You’, this is an exclusive snapshot into the uncompromising world of a band unafraid to shake up their audience, and crush every expectation beneath their vision of apocalyptic lover’s rock.

Mosca: “Well that’s niche, that’s bassline for you …”

2010 was a huge year for Mosca with his debut ‘Square One’ EP launching the Night Slugs label, from which ‘Nike’ was voted no.1 in XLR8R’s favourite tracks of 2010. Since then, he has teamed up with Fabric to release the instant club classic ‘Gold Bricks, I See You’ as well as remixing both Fourtet and Foals in exhilarating fashion. Taking time out from his whirlwind tour of Australia and New Zealand, Mosca sighs: “It just feels like I haven’t stopped really.” Mosca’s tour has seen everything from girls getting down to their knickers in front of the DJ booth to the more down-to-earth experience of stopping off for swims in luscious lakes along the highway from Auckland to Wellington.

When asked what people should expect from his shows, Mosca laughs “All sorts man, you know me, everything from grime to bashment to house, to funky to hip hop to world beats, trying to mix it up, either that or an hour and a half of Dolly Parton!” I wonder if there is anything Mosca won’t play, he jokes: “Yeah plenty! Drum n bass” but quickly reproaches himself, “you’ll always find one or two decent tunes amongst a genre that you don’t like so much, but you won’t find me playing DnB, dubstep and [new] electro.” As he explains, “Dubstep’s always been a tag that people have associated with me and I just don’t really understand why because I never made any dubstep and I’ve never played any dubstep.”

I question Mosca further about the hectic attempts to pin down his sound, he responds: “Well that’s niche, that’s bassline for you … [when] I make straight house, techno, grime, bashment, those boundaries are already there … [but] it all depends on what kind of tune you’re talking about, some of the early stuff, Square One, Gold Bricks, or Nike, they were a little more genre hopping and it’s fair if people don’t know exactly what to call it, but then tunes like Tilt Shift, that’s just straight hip hop, so it’s about those early tunes where it starts to get difficult tagging it.”

Mosca’s tracks run dance floors red but they are also deceptively intricate. As both a DJ and a producer, Mosca extracts influences from a range of underground bass music but he is no stranger to perfecting a certain sound. Tunes such as the 8bit Hindi hip hop of Tilt Shift and diamond-sparkling new remix of Gucci Mane (by way of Sinden for Mad Decent) are both destined to get the gangsters swaying.

Producing since he was 19, Mosca spent close to nine months on the production of his debut vinyl EP Square One. He explains: “Its great feeling your first piece of vinyl coming out … but I’m never 100% happy and never 100% finished with a track either. It’s just like waking up and going ‘enough’s enough’ and putting the tune out … I’ve got loads of stuff that’s almost finished. I almost enjoy it more at that stage when a tune is ready to play out at a club but is not actually released, just as a test to see how it goes off with a crowd.” Yet despite the epic ten-minute track lengths and genre-hopping breadth of the EP, Mosca affirms: “It’s that old cliche, it’s what you leave out as much as what you put in.”

Speaking about the moodiness often present in Square One Mosca is hesitant: “I don’t feel that personally attached to the music in terms of setting a mood, I’m just naturally drawn to that deeper darker kind of vibe.” Championed by the likes of world music aficionado Gilles Peterson, his appeal is broad and stretches far beyond the UK, making it unwise to take the Night Slugs EP as his gospel sound. On the counter, Mosca ticks off his passions for the feel good music of bashment, soca and other world music, such as Kupe de Kalle and Magic System: “They go off in a club!” he says, “it’s a balance thing, in terms of tempo, tone, ‘up-ness’, moodiness. Like everything in life it’s always a balance.”

Going back in time with Mosca, we talk about his early penchant for producing Baltimore when he tells me about his very first digital releases: “I’d been listening to it for years and years, the stuff on [Glasgow label] Dress to Sweat back in the day, Kazey and Bulldog and those kind of releases, they were seminal because they were so well produced, its nice to have some chunky bangers!” Inspired by the UK adoption of the Baltimore sound, Mosca went onto do an ‘on spec’ remix of Cry Wolf’s Mucky on Sounds of Sumo: “Cry Wolf heard my Baltimore remix of Next Hype by Tempa T, a few loops I chopped up and put together. I was just giving it away for free on the Internet and they’d heard that and said ‘yeah, we want this kind of sound, do that again!’”

Since then, Mosca has been inundated with remix requests, but in line with his perfectionist output says he prefers quality over quantity: “The one remix I still play is Heartbeat by T-williams, that’s a tune I’m not sick of hearing yet even though I play it most sets, because you can get sick of hearing your own tunes pretty quickly… It wouldn’t be so bad if you had four tunes out a month!” Mosca’s next release is a hotly anticipated 12” vinyl forthcoming on the Glaswegian label Numbers. The A-side is called Done me wrong which he describes as: “kind of a pretty straight garagey banger.” On the as of yet unknown B-Side Mosca declares: “I don’t know what its called because I haven’t finished it yet, but its shouldn’t be too long now!”

Oneman: The DJ’s DJ

DJ Oneman is a DJs DJ. On a balmy summer night in Brisbane, i was lucky enough to catch a secret show with Oneman thanks to the DubThugs crew. Following a set featuring everything from The Police to Prince and Township Funk to Garage; we found out about his new record label, producing his own tunes, DJ’ing at Rinse FM, and that London Garage ‘ting.

Along with his contemporaries in the DMZ sound system crew, Oneman found the nexus uniting golden era Garage and Dubstep, connecting it with Bassline, Future Beats and House; setting the trend for fine tasting crossover fans to pen the term ‘Bass Music’. Watching Oneman mix within arms reach, i was able to see how Martin Clark observed that Oneman can mix two tunes very quickly by riding the pitch in the mix. Oneman, doesnt push the record plate, he corrects the mix via pitch once they’re already public – he knows he can correct the mix as it happens.

When Loefah put him forward for Mary Anne Hobbs’ pinnacle Generation Bass showcase in 2008, his talent as a DJ was undeniable, yet mixing early DMZ releases into old UK garage records will only take you so far. Instead he spent the next two years walking a new path, eventually ushering in a new generation of producers and sounds distinct from the grime, funky, dubstep, and garage scenes that inspired them.

By summer 2010, armed with peerless mixing skills and new Serato tricks, Oneman broke one of the records of the year, Girl Unit’s “Wut” and Sbtrkt’s collab with Jessie Ware, as well as launching his 502 label with two fresh new artists, Fis-T and Jay Weed.

As we near the end of the hyper arc of Dubstep, Oneman reminds us how right from the start he placed the true musical lineage of Dubstep – UK Garage and Grime – at the centre of the mix. More importantly, he has stayed true to this over time whilst embracing the newer Garage sounds and so had long ago arrived at the place that uninformed media are now calling ‘post-Dubstep’.

Dizz1: the Nod Navigators signee from Oz

Sydney based turntablist and producer Dizz1 has been involved in the music industry for over 10 years. Starting off as a DJ he has worked and performed alongside the world’s best such as Grand Master Flash, Jam Master Jay (RIP), Jazzy Jay, D Styles, A-Trak, Plus One, Melo D and JRocc (Beat Junkies). Dizz1 has even been invited by DJ Q-Bert to his hotel room for a 4 hour long 1 on 1 scratch jam.

Then in 2004 he broke his neck ending up temporarily paralyzed with a titanium plate fusing the C4, 5 and 6 together and putting him out of action for a while. During this rehabilitation period he began working in the studio developing tracks and expanding on his musical knowledge. Once full recovery was made he hit the road playing across the globe and continuing to fine tune his production skills.

Presently Dizz1 has been blowing up all over the place. From attending the Red Bull Music Academy in Spain and getting air play from Mary Anne Hobbs and Benji B on BBC Radio through to doing shows alongside the likes of Stereotyp and Al Haca, The Bug, Benga, N-Type and Loefah as well as having his track ‘Konotakosuke Yaro’ feature on the highly anticipated Beat Dimensions 2 compilation on Rush Hour.

He is currently working on an album with Om’Mas Keith from Sa-Ra Creative Partners and has collaborated in the studio with Mark Pritchard (Harmonic 313) and Steve Spacek as well as forming a new live project with DJ Dexter called ‘Curse The Machines’. In November 2009 Dizz1’s debut EP ‘3rd Time Lucky’ was released through the highly renowned Dutch label Kindred Spirits as part of their ‘Nod Navigators’ series. With a remix EP and solo album due in 2010 keep an eye out on this talented man from the land down under!

Here’s a little 3rd Time Lucky EP Trailer to give you a taste…

A discussion with Mary Anne Hobbs Part 2

This two part series of up close and personal interviews with BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs is a unique insight into the leading lady of electronic music. In Part 2 we speak with Mary-Anne about her role in the international push of Dubstep and its splinter genres, and how quickly the hype grew, spread and mutated into something new.

We also speak with her on a deeper level about what makes good music good, and what lives in the DNA of a brutal / beautiful track. Standing at the helm of the pioneering experimental show on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning 2.00-4.00am (formerly known as the Breezeblock), this passionate and authoritative DJ talks to us about her 3rd annual Sonar showcase, the radio show that exploded Dubstep across the world and working in an egg packing factory.

This discussion is an absolute treat for anyone interested in the history and future of new and emerging music. Listen to the interview here and find MAH at

Part 1
Part 2

A discussion with Mary Anne Hobbs Part 1

This two part series of up close and personal interviews with BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs is a unique insight into the leading lady of electronic music. In Part 1 we speak with Mary-Anne about her turbulent history working as a journalistic hopeful in the cutthroat British music industry and how she found herself at the helm of BBC’s radio 1.

We also speak to her about her mission with her annual ‘BBC Radio 1 Breezeblock presents’ stage at the Sonar festival in Barcelona. Standing at the helm of the pioneering experimental show on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning 2.00-4.00am (formerly known as the Breezeblock), this passionate and authoritative DJ talks to us about her 3rd annual Sonar showcase, the radio show that exploded Dubstep across the world, working in an egg packing factory, and much more.

A favourite of Prince Nod and Suckafish P Jones, this discussion is an absolute treat for anyone interested in the history and future of new and emerging music.

Part 1
Part 2

Find out more about Mary Anne Hobbs at

Tapas with Jackmaster & Spencer

Glaswegian DJ Jack Revill aka Jackmaster is seriously a man with more activities than hands to do them. In between slamming some of the dirtiest, no-holds barred party dj sets on this planet, he runs the Glaswegian club night Numbers, and labels Wireblock and Dress 2 Sweat.

He and co label boss Calum Spencer joined us for a beer that was never served outside the gates of Sonar to talk about how to get girls to a rave, running one the world’s hottest electronic music labels, the infamous Numbers parties, and doing it Glasgow style.

Listen to the interview in our player.

Waking up with Phra: Crookers

In a downtown hotel lobby in Barcelona, we spoke with Phra of the globetrotting superstars Crookers prior to their humongous Sonar by night event.

Most famous for their crossover hit ‘Day n Night’ (actually a remix, the success of which completely eclipsed Kid Cudi’s original), Crookers combine a cheeky approach to sonic editing with growly synths and 4/4 rhythms, effectively turning house music into a new, mutated beast with every knob tweak.

Listen to the interview below and hear Phra tell us about meeting Co-crooker, Bot, breaking bassline and twisted house from the underground into pop, and the new Crookers album.

Music and space with Cardopusher

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, now living in Barcelona, Luis Garbán aka Cardopusher is blurring the lines between music genres as easily as he crosses geographical borders. Having released his full length album “Unity Means Power” on Murder Channel late last year, and with a slew of EPs under his belt from True Tiger, Terminal Dusk, Lo Dubs, Spectraliquid and Peace-Off, it’s little wonder Fact Magazine named him as one of their producers to watch in ‘09.

Cardopusher talks to us here about how he left breakcore for dubstep, and the importance of place in the construction of new music.