Phil Tangent: Rolling Deep
Since his first release on Soul:R in 2010, Phil Tangent has had numerous impressive releases on the likes of Commercial Suicide, Samurai, and most recently, Integral Records.
With a penchant for the deeper, rolling rhythms within drum & bass, the talented producer has carved his own signature sound and done so within a quality over quantity framework. With his sublime Bedouin EP dropping on Integral this week, we caught up to chat about the EP, influences, and what’s coming up in the new year.
Yes Phil! Cheers for joining us! How are you keeping yourself busy in the lead up to xmas?
Thanks for having me. After a busy few months I’m winding down in the lead up to Christmas, catching up with friends and watching a lot of football!
You’ve just dropped your debut EP ‘Bedouin’ on Integral Records – massive respect. How did you initially link with the Integral lot?
I discovered Emma (Emma G) had been following my music for a while and reached out to Sam (Tokyo Prose) to get in contact with me. Integral were looking for up and coming artists whose music they believe in and Emma recommended me to Glenn & Zula. I’ve been a fan of the label since hearing Calibre’s remix of ‘Refusal’ by Zero T ft. Steo so it was a pleasure to be asked to do something for them.
Did it take a long time for the EP to come together?
Certain tracks took longer than others. ‘Rinjani’ was finished already and ‘Pale Into Insignificance’ seemed to write itself. It was ‘Indecision’ that took the longest to write. There were several versions before I decided on the one that was released as part of the EP – hence the name.
Straight to the title track – it’s such a lush little roller, featuring the heavenly vocals of Steo. Seems like a match made in heaven. How’d the connection with Steo come about?
‘Bedouin’ started life as an instrumental track. It was about to go for mastering when Glenn said that he showed Steo the track and he was interested in doing a vocal for it. Not only is he a top lad but I think Steo is one of the best vocalists in Drum & Bass. Naturally, I was all over the idea. I think it’s fair to say he smashed it!
You both did! Now on to ‘Rinjani’ – another perfectly arranged roller. There’s a deep, enchanting vibe to it – Where did the name come from and what inspired the tune in the first place?
‘Rinjani’ is my personal favourite track from the EP. It’s great to see it finally get a release as it’s been four years in the making. My brother told me about his trek up Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in Indonesia and I felt inspired to write. It’s my interpretation of what he encountered along the way – hence the rain, wind and thunder samples – and his ultimate sense of achievement he felt at the end.
There’s a perfect balance between light and dark on the EP, with Indecision and Pale Into Insignificance containing slightly darker undertones. Does your mood affect the tone of a track you’re working on at the time?
I usually find inspiration in anything whether it’s my mood, relationships – past and present – the weather, current affairs or – like with ‘Rinjani’ – first-hand accounts of peoples’ experiences.
You’ve been on my radar for quite some time now – not in a weird way, I promise – and you’ve been producing for years. How did your love affair with drum & bass begin?
Ha ha! Should I get a restraining order sorted? My first venture into the world of drum & bass was back in ’96 when a friend of mine gave me a copy of LTJ Bukem’s compilation Logical Progression. I listened to it at every available opportunity – it was the soundtrack to my walks to and from secondary school. However, it wasn’t until 2001 that my love affair with Drum & Bass truly began.
I was at University and living in halls with a couple of D&B heads. We’d often go to Movement at Bar Rhumba on a Thursday night or FABRICLIVE on a Friday. The energy was unparalleled to anything I’d witnessed before and I knew this was the music I wanted to play. It became an addiction and it still is!
We know the feeling… You’ve always struck me as a master of the liquid rollers – where do your musical influences lie ?
I have to thank my parents for this. I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley – the list goes on. My Dad enjoys his Reggae and Dub too. I can see where he gets it from. I once danced with my Nan to the ‘Guns Of Navarone’ LP. She loved it!
Speaking of liquid rollers – You recently remixed Hybrid Minds’ ‘Starlet’ – What an incredible piece of music… I’ve always been impressed with your remixes. Are they a bit more impersonal or can you get as attached to a remix as you can to something you started from scratch?
Thank you. I think the general feeling is that remixes are often easier than creating something from scratch and I can see why people would think that as the stems are there already. However, I think remixing comes with it’s own pressures especially when it’s a tune I love. I try to get in the mind-set that I’ve never heard the original and come up with my own interpretation. I want to do it justice but also place my own stamp on it so I think it’s fair to say I end up getting as attached to a remix as I do one of my own productions.
Any remixes you’ve been particularly impressed with lately?
Calibre’s remix of Alix Perez ‘Forsaken’ (ft. Peven Everett) is an absolute gem!
Artists you’ve got your eye on for 2015?
LSB is killing it for me at the minute. I heard ‘Walking Blues’ and instantly fell in love with it. I look forward to everything that Eastcolor’s sends me too. Watch out for some of his forthcoming material. It’s incredible!
Are you planning on any wicked collabs in the future?
I’m working with Pennygiles on a few things. We’ve collaborated on a few projects in the past – two of which are forthcoming on an EP I’m currently working on for Spearhead. I enjoy working with him as we both share a love of house music and can bounce a lot of musical ideas between us. I’m also planning a collab with Eastcolor’s in the not-too-distant future. He’s a wicked producer. We had arranged to work on something this year but we’ve both been really busy. A collaboration with Artificial Intelligence is also in the pipeline.
Can’t wait to hear it all! Where to from here? What’s next on the agenda?
I’ll go wherever Drum & Bass takes me – I’m loving the journey and feel privileged to be part of it. There are a few things in the pipeline which I’m unable to divulge at present. However, expect more music, an EP for Spearhead and I’m looking forward to getting on the road after Christmas with several gigs lined up in January and February.
What’s on your Christmas wish-list?
I don’t want for much but I wouldn’t mind some brand spanking new trainers!
What’s the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
I haven’t received many bad ones to be fair but I did once receive an orange from Santa in my third year at school. I thought he was supposed to know everything but he came a cropper that day – I don’t even like fruit!
Any new year’s resolutions?
I rarely make new year’s resolutions as I find it a struggle to keep them. However, my resolution this year is to get fit in preparation for a charity football match taking place in March. I can’t wait to slip my astros on again – It’s been a while. It’s being organised by Billy Denial and Drum&BassArena will be there to film the action. I urge people to come and show their support for the Orange team! Even if you’re not into football there’ll be music all day and a BBQ. Tickets are £7 and all proceeds go to Myeloma UK – a very worthwhile cause.
Final shout outs?
Without meaning to sound like an Oscars’ acceptance speech I’d like to give a massive shout to Glenn, Zula, Emma, Steo, my Mum and Dad and everyone who’s supported me and my music over the years.