- DJ Wilsh – Uncertified Music Promo Mix (WAV, 68mins)
Celebrating the relaunch of Uncertified Music, Breakblog regular, Uncertified Head Honcho DJ Wilsh is rolling out the heavy, breaks-laden tunes. First release on Uncertified Music is out today!
Check em out on uncertifiedmusic.bandcamp.com.
vvv Full Interview after the break! vvvv
Good day Matt, thanks for taking the time out for us. First off introduce yourself to the people and what style of music you see yourself representing…
I’m Matt, sometimes known as DJ Wilsh and very rarely den.aris. In terms of music I like to represent, it’s pretty broad in the grand scheme of things but drilling down to the music everyone is here for certainly the more breakier, jungle, drum led, sub bass sound but that really is pigeon holing myself a little too far as I like to think my take on d&b is fairly wide reaching without touching the jump up side of things or whatever it’s called these days.
Your bandcamp and soundcloud have been a bit quiet for a while. Where have you been?
Great question and one I often ask myself! While I’ve been away many great things have happened including getting married to my lovely wife, progressing my proper career, regularly hosting on the double award winning podcast, Retro Asylum (shout to Dean, Steve, Paul and Mads – the other hosts) which drives my retro gaming passion nicely, have had my photography published in the wonderful retro books by Bitmap Books (computer & console porn some may call it with the kinky angles I shoot photos at…!!!!) and started to look after my mind & body more.
The new mix seems to be some kind of a hint that there might be something new is brewing …
I’m brewing a decent cuppa that’s for sure! This is my first recorded mix in over 7 years and have rarely touched the decks since then so it’s great to put a mix out again. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed DJing even if it’s not in a club. Also the time spent away has changed my mixing style slightly. Still like to roll out the mixes but it feels new again so I seem to be blending tunes just ever so slightly differently.
But ultimately it marks the return of Uncertified Music – the label I started alongside Madcap and Mike Ascension back in 2009. We put out 4 releases then didn’t really have the desire to continue. A year or so back I asked them if they minded if I went it alone and after much debate, pillow fighting and strongly worded text messages they reluctantly handed over the reigns ???? So it was high time I relaunched Uncertified Music. I felt there was still a desire in me to see good music given a platform for release, without sounding too cliched. Of course anyone can chuck out a tune these days with the likes of Bandcamp and so on therefore it’s the job of a label, I believe, to build a following, do the extra with promotion, getting tunes out to DJs to play and just being more pro-active than the producer could be on their own. I’m under no illusions that it will be a walk in the park as the market is saturated with good and bad, but I’m committed to doing the music justice. It’s the simple & necessary stuff like artwork, mastering, or even something I’m keen on and that’s giving each release a proper catalogue number – even the promo mixes have and will have catalogue numbers, very much inspired by Factory Records who used to catalogue anything and everything, including a nightclub.
It’s hard to cement digital music in the history of time in the same way as a physical release so anything you can include that adds something to the experience in my opinion gives it a chance of being archived or recorded in history. It probably sounds a bit strange to some, I get that, but you can’t pick up a digital release, touch and feel. It’s all missing. I want the releases to at least stand proud in an iTunes library or on a music player.
I also have plans down the line for something of a unique type of digital release.
If you are still making beats – what were you producing on back then, and what are you using now?
My best man at my wedding, DJ Madcap, said it better than anyone during his speech “It’s true to say Wilsh has a love/hate relationship with music making”. I’ve had a few releases which were all made in Reason bar one remix that I put together in Logic 9. Nowadays if I do dabble it could be in Logic, Maschine, Reason or on my Amiga.
Certainly hoping to make more music in the future but time is the enemy.
What is your starting process for a tune? Do you sample?
I will usually find a pad sound that resonates in my head with my emotions, build a chord sequence then straight onto the beats. Then I get bored and start a new tune! Not a big sampler at all. I grew up around synthesiser music rather than the usual route into d&b with funk, soul, hip hop & jazz loving. I’m not a fan at all despite loving d&b that is very directly influenced from those genres. So I will always work with a synth first then enter the realms of resampling those sounds. I love designing sounds in synths and that forms the basis of the tunes.
If you could work with one person who would it be and why?
In d&b, Seba. Never has a producer has such a back catalogue full of so much quality, emotion and sheer genius right from the Sonic Winds / So Long release on Looking Good records. Even if I don’t like one of his releases I still kinda like it. So so good.
You work under the moniker den.aris, can you tell us more about that?
Two fold. Non d&b music and I initially made the moniker known in the retro gaming community – as mentioned earlier I am a host on a podcast. But really now it’s just a name that exists and not used. I cannot claim that it’s an alter ego to keep my music styles separated as I don’t have releases right now.
How do you feel about the split in genres within drum and bass and commercial and underground dnb?
Let it be. I couldn’t give a flying fuck really. But if I was to place a comment on it I believe that commercial sound shouldn’t really be labelled d&b ultimately. It’s so far removed from the origins of the sound it really stands for something completely different. It’s not important to me. Good music is good music regardless of putting a label on it.
Which drum and bass tunes/sounds/styles have particularly stood out to you recently?
It’s been growing for a few years now and that’s the jungle sound coming back full on. Labels like Stretch’s AKO, Repertoire, Subtle Audio (always been there), Omni Music, (add some more) have really cemented the return and it’s so healthy right now. Plus it resonates with old farts like me who got into d&b through the school of jungle. I hope that I can add to that list with Uncertified over the course of time.
What kind of music were you listening to growing up and what catches your ear when you hear a tune?
I had and still have wide ranging music tastes, far further reaching than d&b and electronic music. As I eluded to early I didn’t come from a soul, funk or hip hop background although the latter I was certainly exposed too. I’ve got no qualms with saying that I grew up with prog rock like Marillion, Pink Floyd, then synth pop from Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and all of the new romantics. I love all that. I’ve followed Marillion since 1989 when I accidentally bought a CD single of their as a kid. So they defined me but also big in my life thanks to my dad & brothers ranged from Ride, New Order, Iron Maiden, Kraftwerk, and so many others. Probably the most influential of all are 808 State. Geniuses and I feel that most of my own tunes have something of their sound in them.
Catching my ear these days is more around that emotive connection in me. I either have a deep connection with a tune or it kinda passes me by. That said, if it’s a fucking bad tune full stop I connect that way. All the tunes I’ve got signed to Uncertified so far had that effect – genuinely – so the label could be a little over indulgent at times!
Do you have any guilty pleasures that if possible you would drop into one of your sets?
Damn right! In fact I have done so in the past. It completely depended on the night of course. At Technicality I wasn’t afraid to take it less choppy and more dance floor, and at a night like say Desire or Moondance I would happily shove something in choppy. I fondly remember a night at Thekla in Bristol with me & Madcap. Proper jump up night (not sure why we were booked!!!) and I managed to drop in a Paradox tune. Done right you can get away with it and keep people dancing.
Would you say living in the UK has had an impact on your musical style/ outlook?
God yes. It’s defined me. End of. Jungle, straight out of UK. The prog rock I like, all UK bands. Probably the only really massively influential band that aren’t from the UK on my life and music is Kraftwerk.