The intro may well become one of the most recognizable of the year. And as ‘Walk The Walk’ gets going it’s a masterclass in pure creation. That won’t leave a floor undemolished. N3GUS went in on the interview front about ‘Walk The Walk’, the video, his friendship with Jakes – not to mention TC… and Tea.
Let’s start with that video.
The video is about a couple of things. It’s very basically a weekend in the life of myself and Jakes. I wanted to do a real life music video, almost anti glamorous, fake fronts that’s often put out there.
It was born out of the words: if you’re gonna talk the talk you’ve got to walk the walk in a sense that your words should match your actions but became more about our own instagram feeds and a real representation of how we spend our time.
What specifics do we see in there?
In there you’ve got myself and Jakes doing our own gigs; J was at Ram in Reading and I was in Germany… although the German rave footage was unusable because it was so dark; I had to use footage from a gig in Bristol that the boys captured a while back, you’ll see my beard is much tidier in those scenes!
I got some tattoos whilst Jakes spends the rest of the time in the bath and getting ready to go out and we end up together at Motion in Bristol for a night out. The hotel scenes are the anti message, a glamorous juxtaposition against the real life footage. There was so much more real life we could have fitted in but we ran out of time, shooting in the weekend and the video edit.
With all the pace of life you lead can you tell us when the tune arose?
The tune itself has been kicking around for quite a while. I think I played the instrumental for the first time for Hospitality at Brixton Academy. So that’s Summer 2011.
As soon as I finished it, I knew Jakes had to vocal it. I played it to J and he agreed.
Was it a natural progression to get ‘Walk The Walk’ together?
It certainly was an organic process, but more sloth than roadrunner.
I was struck by the tempo and flow… it’s not ‘typical’ D&B really. Or is it.
Tempo-wise, it is 173, which is my usual working tempo. It is D&B tempo. Style-wise its very a heavy nod to Jazz.
I grew up with my old man listening to Jazz records and being taken to Jazz gigs around the country. I’ve always loved the triplet beat, it speaks to me differently and the way Jazz drummers use it is badass. I used a triplet beat in Swag Bag and Futomaki and I have to stop myself using it every time I start up Logic.
Must say I never knew was called a triplet.
The triplet has a fairly long history in D&B: Body Rock, Time Warp etc but I couldn’t think of a tune that had used the triplet beat with that Jazz style. So I set out to make one. I programmed the raw drums with BFD, a really nice piece of software which allows you a lot of control over really well recorded drum samples. Play them as a live kit and tweak them as a recording engineer.
Once the drums were set it really was an organic process that fed from the vibe of the beat. You could say the tune wrote itself.
Back to you and Jakes, you have some formidable history?
Yeah we do. I grew up in Loughborough and a lot of my friends were at the Art College. A fair few of them moved to Bristol after graduating and I would come down here to visit them. We’re talking mid to late 90’s and at that time Jakes was working in a record shop called Breakbeat Culture and I would drop in on my visits to grab some beats, they had stuff I just couldn’t get at home. It was around the peak time of Bristol D&B and a lot of sick stuff was happening. I ended up moving here to be close to that and became a regular in the shop, spending all my wages on vinyl.
J and I became good friends. We did once try to collab in the early days, but it was appalling, I didn’t have a clue about production at that time.
We always stayed in touch. J was always working in D&B and I’d go to see him play and go on road with him to certain gigs. I remember one in particular. London, an Aquasky/Moving Shadow, album launch party, first time I’d seen live internet feeds/comments streaming on screen in the club and the first time I’d seen Andy C DJ, badass night.
Years passed and I found myself running my own record shop, record label and promoting parties. TC was starting to come to my attention with his releases on Valve and Jakes introduced us. I booked TC for his first ‘Big’ DJ set at ‘Bounce’ the night I used to Run with LSB in Norwich.
Over time TC became as good a friend as Jakes was. There was a time when I was spending all my spare time in the studio with TC, watching and learning. It’s not a coincidence that around this time, it was just before I started releasing music seriously and ‘Became N3GUS’
So, you could say that withouts Jakes’ influence and connections, I would not be the producer I am today. I would certainly not be at the standard I am now without watching and learning from TC so without that introduction from J I’d still be pretty clueless.
To sum up it must be good to get this tune out?
It’s really cool to have finished ‘Walk the Walk’ with J, it’s been a long time in the making.
What’s next? I want to see you guys live now!
I haven’t allowed myself to think that far ahead really. J and I have plans to make this run of three tunes. The next is a darker dancefloor friendly tune which we are finishing up atm. The last in the series being almost a Walk the Walk on crack sort of vibe. We’ve got the concept and early ideas down and I’m sorting live musicians in to do some session recording for it. It would be very cool to do a live show at some stage.
However, I think that a live show needs an album. That’s certainly something I’ve got my eye on for future projects but I’d like to get these three tunes out there first and serve a bit more time just putting singles out and building a portfolio of beats this year. Maybe locking myself away in winter with my thoughts on an album.
Whilst I’m doing all that I can think of no better way to spend my weekends than driving around the country DJing. It’s a cliche but it really is my first love. I get such a buzz from playing out always have, always will.
Last thing: I heard you have a good use for your phone…
My phone timer is always set to 3 minutes, because that’s how long it takes to brew a perfect Darjeeling.