Five Minutes With: Stealth
Words: Adam K & Chris D
Rising through the ranks from free party DJ to Program producer, until recently Stealth has kept a relatively low profile. But with bangers on some of the industry’s most respected labels – including V Recordings, Frequency, Subtitles and Renegade Hardware – his presence has been hard to ignore. With the release of his Program debut – Scrummage/Nanite – out this week we thought we’d give the man a call…
How did you hook up with Program?
I’ve known the guys for years. I’ve always been a big fan of Ram – like pretty much everyone else who’s into drum and bass! They actually put a tune out that I did with Stylus and Basher, The Ark/Air Raid, on Frequency in 2007. We kept in touch ever since. I think if anyone makes a few tracks that they think could be big in drum and bass, then the first port of call is Andy C. I sent him a folder with about 4 new tunes I had done and he randomly got in touch late one night. He said he was feeling them and signed pretty much all of them!
How does it feel now that you have the finished article?
That’s a weird one actually. It comes down to where I am at mentally as far as production goes. Someone asked me recently how it feels hearing my tunes played out, and the answer was that it always used to be a bit of a let-down rather than a buzz; my production wasn’t so good back then so I’d be critically listening thinking “I need to tweak this, or touch that bit up”. Now it’s definitely a different matter. I’m much more confident with where I’m at, and I think I’ve reached a level now where I’m happy with what I’m doing and other people seem to be as well.
How did you end up in the production game?
I’ve been making tunes for over 10 years now. In fact I can tell you exactly, it was in 2000 when we started fucking around with tracks on the Playstation because that was when the Music 2000 program got released. I was into drum and bass and had started mixing it from an early age, playing out at free parties when I was a teenager, and then it just became one of those natural progressions. I loved the music, wanted to create my own ideas with it, then try to elevate myself above the other DJs out there, whilst also being able to put my own spin on the sound and build an identity.
On the learning production side, I actually got into it with a mate of mine, Stylus, who I still collaborate with sometimes. We were both self-taught from the beginning, then got into Logic. 13 years later I’m finally making tracks that people want to listen to! Happy days!
How do the DJ vs production lifestyles compare?
Well, they are pretty different I’d say, production is a very solitary past time , but very rewarding in what you can personally achieve. I am yet to truly experience what the lifestyle of a professional DJ is like. It was definitely all about DJ’ing for me initially, but then I fell in love with production so hard that I don’t even have my decks set up any more man, it’s proper blasphemy!
When you’re producing full time though, the last thing you want to do after sitting there listening to the same 16 bar loop for 10 hours is to stick on more drum & bass, or any music for that matter! People say to me “have you heard this track or that new producer”, and often I have no idea what they’re talking about because I kinda get lost in my own little bubble sometimes. I wouldn’t say that is necessarily a good thing at all, because it’s great to hear other stuff and get inspired, but on the plus side, at least it means I’m not being too influenced by trends and just constantly trying to sound like whatever’s current at the moment. Saying that though, I am a pretty social creature, so I do go out a lot and get my fix of new music that way.
And if you had to pick between DJ’ing and producing which would you go for?
That’s quite a complex thing to answer because the two are totally intertwined for me. The fact that you couldn’t be the DJ without making the tunes to get there these days, plus playing my own new music out is so important to me now as a DJ too, so it really blurs the line. One thing I can tell you for a fact though is that nothing gets me buzzing more than those moments in the studio when something just comes together and I’m jumping around on my own like a fucking idiot! To be honest, I’ve never mixed in front of a crowd of 10,000 people who have all paid to come and see me as a headliner, but I’ve played at some fairly big events, and there’s nothing quite like it when you’re on a roll, going in hard on a mix and people are proper feeling it! But yeah, I would definitely have to pick production; if you’ve created a piece of music that’s special, people will remember you for as long as the music is around. Getting slightly hippy on you there but that’s the truth! You are leaving a physical imprint of your personality in the world.
Historically for you collabs have been a big thing, how’s it being working on your own?
Ahhh the life of a producer is a lonely one! The transition was difficult, but has been massively beneficial for me in the long term. It forced me to get stronger in certain areas that I had lacked before, and generally become more well-rounded and confident in what I was doing. I used to yearn for that company, because I do genuinely enjoy working with other people, bouncing ideas off each other. But now sometimes it can almost be like the opposite – I’ll be working on something and be getting input and occasionally just think – shut up and let me get on with it! On a serious note it’s still something that I’ll always enjoy. I’ve got some really strong stuff coming up with Cold Fusion, Altair and Stylus, so the days of the collabs are definitely not done for me yet.
Have you got anything coming up that you can exclusively share with our readers?
I’ve got my forthcoming releases with Subtitles, Critical, Uprise Audio and more on Program due out in the coming months, but I’m not sure what I can say that would be exclusive and not get me in trouble! One thing I can just speculate about with you is that I was very excited about the prospect of DLR possibly remixing one of my tracks off the subtitles EP I had out earlier this year. All I can say at this point is that he loves the tune, and we’ve talked about him remixing it. This may never end up seeing the light of day, but I was chuffed that he even considered it. I’m really into everything he is doing at the moment; the guy is on fire, so let’s all keep our fingers crossed!
Scrummage/Nanite is out now. Listen and download