Rob Sparx: Lucid Dreams
‘The music has a sad quality that represents the pain and joy of past memories whilst Dee’s smooth vocals reflect optimism of the future’
It’s half way through February, January is a distant hazy memory and let’s face it, Christmas is just around the corner. It’s all a dream really. Fittingly, Rob Sparx took us through his new ep and gave us a killer clutch of inspirational personal picks at the end.
Hi Rob. I hear you’re busy.
Yes, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time producing and have built up a new catalogue that’s in a different league from my previous work. I’m linked up with lots of different vocalists and have joined a couple of groups including Kachina.
Migration is now fully integrated with the NexGen Music Group so they are on the same website along with our new label Affectionate Grooves.
How have you changed in your appreciation of D&B and also how you apply it as an artist to your music?
D&B has always been a huge influence on all my music, I’ve felt like at times the sound has struggled with stagnation – it’s been going a long time now! – and obviously its changed a lot from when I first got into it but I always come back to it.
Whereas in the past a lot of what I’ve wrote has been influenced a lot by the style of the label I’m writing for so leaned towards jumpup, the new stuff is more influenced by the sounds that originally got me into D&B like classic Metalheadz, Good Looking and Ram as well as jungle, dub and old skool hardcore.
NexGen is completely on the same page as me with regards to what we think makes a good tune which is great, I feel like I can experiment a lot more creatively and can still write the heavier stuff when I want to but there’s no longer that constant annoying pressure to “write a banger” which is refreshing.
My breakwork is a lot more jungle focussed recently – if I can get a good break workout going over a bassline then I will as it’s the madness of those ever changing breaks that got me into D&B in the first place.
Can you take us behind the title track here in terms of how it came about?
‘Dreamin” is a collaboration between me, soul singer Dee Ellington who toured for many years with Tricky and my step brother Felix Weldon who has toured with Gorgon City and played on their radio 1 live lounge show.
And what inspired the cover and the title itself? Is it a comment about our existence right now? I don’t think some people realise we are living on a planet: they think we’re in a film/TV/website.
Deffo there are a lot of unconscious people in the world but ‘Dreamin” is about forgiveness.
Sometimes the weight of the negative thinking we experience in life can be so heavy its almost unbearable/ unavoidable and the only way to move forward and begin dreaming again is through forgiveness and acceptance. The music has a sad quality that represents the pain and joy of past memories whilst Dee’s smooth vocals reflect optimism of the future.
What is something you do in the studio technique-wise that you are quite fond of? A habit, a trick…
I’ve been using tape emulation plugins like uh-he satin and voxengo varisaturator a lot recently to roll off the treble on drums – you have to be quite subtle with D&B compared to how you would use them in bass music but it makes a huge difference to the overall sound getting rid of cold digital harshness of hats.
What are five influential tracks you would submit, ones that really had the force to change you and how you worked as a musician?
Mad Professor ‘No Protection’
Breakage ‘Staggered Dub’
Noisia & Mayhem ‘Moonwave Renegade’
Calibre & High Contrast ‘Mr Majestic’
Digital Mystikz ‘Jah Fire’
OK, so any final shouts?
Big Shouts to DA, Wigz, Zurcon, Soulful Nature, Prangman, Afua, Nikki Marie, Lyndsey Murray, Amazee, Dee Ellington, Digital, Trigon, Inyoka, Bunzero, On the Rise Promotions, Example Media, Marcus Nasty, Toddla T, MJ Cole, El-B, Raggs, Chef and everyone else supporting our new music!