Interview: Damian B
‘Making music is very cathartic and I love expressing myself through my art – but really I just want to play it stupidly loud in a sweaty basement.’
Pure Philth, in other words.
If you recently heard Bailey’s show or perhaps were simply down with all things Peer Pressure and Flexout-related then the name Philth wouldn’t shock or cause you to reach for the Mr Muscle in outrage. He’s a London-based producer, DJ and, hang on… lecturer? Surely this isn’t in the script?
How do you fit it all in?
Very little sleep! It’s difficult balancing a demanding day job as a teacher with my music career. I’m currently cramming as much studio time as I can. Then there’s the admin work, helping to run the label…
Which is Peer Pressure, right?
Yes. All in all there’s lot of new music coming!
I had a quiet patch after the Inspiration EP last Christmas – then all of the sudden the releases came flooding out! I’ve realised the only way to stay on people’s radars is to have a steady release schedule, so I’ve pushed myself.
You were part of the stunning remixes EP for Facing Jinx, tell us about that.
It started when Facing Jinx offered a few of us the opportunity to remix Sleep In Heaven. Wreckless was the brave remixer who put a techy spin on it, and that got the ball rolling. Hyroglifics gave us the rolling Consumed remix, and then that inspired me to think about remixing an old Jinx tune. Hungry was a constant part of my sets throughout last year, but I wondered what I would sound like with harder drums and my trademark gargling bass.
Ha ha! Love it. The teacher in you is shining through with that description.
The rest is history. It’s kick-started some exciting NEW remix projects on Peer Pressure too, so watch this space.
I feel that you guys – Jinx, Wreckless etc – are all of a similar mindset, is that the case? I am also aware that you and Jinx smashed it live recently in Birmingham.
The Birmingham show was good! It was also Facing Jinx’s first DJ set and it went down a storm!
We’re very close friends, our crew has grown slowly through long friendships – so it’s only natural that we have similar ideas about music. In fact on Saturday all the PPR crew are getting together at Wreckless’ new house for a BBQ and of course to play each other some new tunes. When your labelmates are also your best mates it’s easy to bounce ideas and inspiration between yourselves. We also try to top each other’s last tune of course.
You’ve been featuring a lot on Bailey’s show on Ministry Of Sound Radio, tunes like ‘Destiny’ and ‘Murderation’…
Bailey has been playing a lot of tunes from the next batch. I gave him some exclusive music to play when I joined him on Ministry Radio, and he’s really pushing my new beats – so thanks Bailey!
Bailey’s show must have been fun; I know the MOS interior. People may not realise how the show is done…
It was very very fun – but also a bit scary! Bailey broadcasts live from the iconic booth in the main room at Ministry, you can imagine how many legends have been in that box! And those lights behind the decks? It was soooo hot! But it’s great seeing the show happen live. Bailey works with Chef and Clarky to keep the music flowing but maintain an interactive atmosphere. It was a pleasure to join them and drop a guest mix.
Repurposing the club as a radio studio is quite ‘green’ too! Speaking of environments, where are you happiest: behind decks live, teaching, studio… ? I find it interesting that in some ways people can be different entities that way when in different environments.
For me it’s always behind the decks. The energy and rush you get from playing out has never lessened for me – if anything I enjoy it more every time I play a gig. I’m hopelessly addicted.
Making music is very cathartic and I love expressing myself through my art – but really I just want to play it stupidly loud in a sweaty basement.
Regarding music creation: we live in a world of constant progression, almost a feverish rate… does that affect production? Do you necessarily produce ‘better’ than, say a year ago? Or is it all experience-based? ie: what you produce is simply a product of the time, regardless of the tools.
People want to hear progression and new ideas and styles all the time. But my best and most popular songs are normally at least a year old by the time they reach the shops. I deliberately sit on tunes for a long time to ensure they have an element that gives them longevity. If I don’t get bored of them then hopefully you won’t!
So while I’m always learning new techniques and hopefully advancing my craft as a producer/engineer, the vibes are the most important thing. I try to capture a mood or an emotion in my music, and I like to think the compressor settings I’ve used won’t influence a good piece of music!
What’s something happening in your world you’d care to impart exclusively?
I have two. First is my new management deal with Empress Artists. I’m very happy to have been chosen to join a roster of carefully selected artists, and I’m excited to push my career forward working with Lucie. Check their Facebook page for day to day updates.
One of the first things we have done is started planning a German tour. I had so much fun in Ulm in June that we’re looking to take my sound across Germany. German promoters get in touch!
And the writing’s powering ahead yes? Is that the second exclusive?
I’m currently working on a new EP for Peer Pressure, inspired by the concept EPs written by Facing Jinx and Wreckless. Entitled the Elements EP, my concept is to explore the different facets or elements of my sound, taking inspiration from the four elements of nature. So Earth is going to have an organic warm texture – and Fire is going to be techy as f*ck and burn your ears! You heard it here first!
One time in an interview you cited Fleetwood Mac as a tune in your head so what is one NOW?
I’ve been locked in the studio for the last few days. My new collaboration with Bredren is currently burrowing around in my skull! I’ve got a whale bass stuck in my head.
Now you’re warmed up I have to find out Three Filthy Philth moments.
Goldie – Timeless
Still the greatest piece of music this scene has ever produced. The first three minutes of chords and pads kill me every time. I’m worried my CD is going to fall apart through overuse.
Ed Rush + Optical – Medicine (Matrix remix)
This was the first vinyl I ever bought, and it will always hold a special place in my heart – and my sets. I still play it at most of my gigs. And it still goes off every time!!
The Prodigy – Break & Enter
The Prodigy are the reason I make music. I fell in love with electronic music through Experience, and Break and Enter is my favourite of all their songs. The energy levels and complexity amaze me. Using a smashed window as a cymbal, the relentless synth riff, the breakbeats.
To sum up, what is coming up?
The next few releases will be…
Destiny – released as part of Breaking Ground volume 2 on Peer Pressure.
Overload and Remember (with Wreckless) on Automate Tech
Incognito/Black Magic (Philth remix) on Flexout Audio
Your Love / Souzou is forthcoming on Dispatch LTD towards the end of the year. Personally I think these are two of my best pieces of work to date. I’m very happy that Ant felt the same.