Joe Seven: Organic Vibes

Joe Seven: Organic Vibes

Joe Seven appears alongside a compact and rather stellar night this Friday, May 4, in London. Damian B took the opportunity to ask what sort of gigs this shadowy Exit Records stealth assassin prefers…

“I like to play anywhere with a crowd who are open to all moods in music” he tells us. But if I was asked to choose, I’d say a more intimate venue with a good system, good lighting, low roof and loads of smoke. Simple.”

Simple. And effective. This is how the rest of the conversation unfolded…

Your music is cinematic and very moody, very evocative so if you could play in a cinema, what would be the film behind you?

Hmmm, tough one! There are so many. Just based on imagery, possibly a more recent film Beyond The Black Rainbow. But I’ll probably change my mind about this.

Who is making beats that you like right now?

Lots of people, Obviously dBridge, Consequence and the extended Exit fam. Boddika, Actress, Joey Anderson, Darling Farah, Kassem Mosse, Lowtec, Blocks and Escher, Alix Perez, Com Truise, Calibre, Marcus, ST Files, Lee Gamble, Pye Corner Audio, Joy O,  Space Dimension, the Livity sound guys, L.I.E.S crew, Hessle, Blawan, Skudge, Nigel Godrich etc. Too many to mention.

In regard to this gig on the 4th, what can we expect?

Lots of new music from fellow Exit artists and friends alike. I’ll dig deep. I’m looking forward to checking out the other DJs, I’d expect a lot of interesting and fresh stuff from those guys.

So this leads to this: how much of your own stuff do you play out?

To be honest I don’t play a lot of my own music out. I probably should do so more. I tend to separate the two: Producing and DJing.

When did you start DJing then?

I started DJing when I was 15 or so, way before I started writing music. Back then I used to listen to Marcus Intalex on the radio, he was the first person that inspired me to just play what I feel without much compromise. Other DJs did the same, Future Forces / dBridge, Doc Scott, Fierce, Loxy & Calibre spring to mind.

And to production: when do you produce? What time of day?

I like to get up early and head into the studio, but if the mood takes me I always have my laptop to get ideas down to take in with me next session.

You mention the laptop, is it one where these days if it’s all software you can do it all on the laptop?

I don’t have much gear of my own here in London. Just a couple of pedals and FX stuff. I have a few bits of hardware and synths scattered around between here and abroad but over the past 3 years or so I’ve shared studio space and been lucky enough to utilise their gear as well as mine.


One of the things I want to focus on this year is building on my own collection. I’ve got a big wish list! I’m a fan of the studio environment and I love using hardware.

Can the process itself lead you to new strategies and ideas?

For me, the imperfection of the recoding process adds a character you can’t reproduce by purely using software. But saying that, I think producing is a very personal thing, however you feel comfortable doing it is the way you should pursue. Whether that’s hardware or software, or a combination is up to you.

So speaking of recording, which album session in history would you have liked to have been present at?

Hmmm, that’s a hard question. Any recording of a John Carpenter soundtrack I guess. I imagine it would probably be far less mystical than I hope. But just being there for the creative process of say, Escape From New York would be nice.

If someone gave you a sampler and mic but no original sounds could you make a tune in an hour? This is my ultimate reality TV show.

That’s a good idea. I’ll get back to you when I’ve tried it.

How do you personally consume music?

I usually spend at least some of every day listening to all kinds of music. I work in BM Soho a couple of days a week so I hear and buy a lot of music there. I buy quite a lot online and regularly check out a few different stores looking for stuff. I’ve always been passionate about hunting out music.

What tune is in your head right now?

Candy by Cameo. Found it on record the other day. Big tune, even bigger video.

Is D&B becoming more disparate? One side being beautifully abstract and the other being more beautifully grotesque and mainstream?

Sure, it really is hard to compare certain aspects of D&B to each other. For me it comes back to the feeling I got from it in the 90s; it’s the only basis I have for comparison. It’s not about being a purist it’s just about how the music makes me feel, if you get something out of the stadium shit then cool, if you get something out of the shit that digs a bit deeper then cool. But yes, the gap between the opposite ends of the spectrum seems to be getting wider all the time.

Check Joe on Soundcloud

Joe Seven appears alongside Blocks and Sam KDC at Hysteria on May 4. Full details here. He’s also locked down on his new album for Exit so we’ll catch up with him on that later.


Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.