T-Phonic has been expressing himself musically since the tender age of 11, playing the saxophone and then DJing from the age of 15. Drawing on early exposure to mid-nineties hardcore and jungle for his influences, his passion for playing and producing music has enabled him to work with some of the biggest names in drum & bass.
With his most recent release on Titan Records, Deep Impact, gaining support from the likes of Friction, The Risky, Crissy Criss and more, T-Phonic is back with a vengeance, and ready to unleash more fresh material. We caught up with the man himself to find out more…
Big up T-Phonic! Where are you joining us from today?
I’m sitting in my garden having a cup of tea. Just finished recording my podcast for you guys!
And what a sick mix it is! You’ve been DJing since you were 15 years old.. How did your love for d&b develop and how did you make the progression from DJing to production?
I loved jungle and d&b as soon as I first heard it and I always wanted to have a go at making music but it wasn’t until my mate gave me a music game on the Playstation that I got my first taste. Then I just tried to learn as much as I could from anyone that knew anything about music production as I went along.
You were musically inclined from an early age, playing the saxophone from the age of 11- do you still play and have you ever incorporated it into your own tunes?
I do get the sax out occasionally. I have used it more as a layering tool. I’ve only got an Alto Sax and its quite high pitched and harsh, so it’s better to use it to add tops and texture over the top of horn sections.
What’s your all-time favourite tune with a sax on it?
Haha well as a kid it was Your Latest Trick by Dire Straits and Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. I used to love playing them when my sax was about as big as me! Now I’d say Waiting All Night or Not Giving In by Rudimental. More horn sections than just saxophone but they smashed it with those tunes!
You spent years teaching production while you saved up for a good studio, can you offer any tips for budding producers?
Yeah, it’s all different nowadays. When I started there was loads you needed to get! Nowadays it’s a lot easier! Firstly, you need a decent computer with a good few soft synths and plugins installed along with some killer samples. Once you have that, then it is essential that you can hear exactly what you’re doing. So if you can’t afford acoustic treatment and decent monitors for your studio (which can get very expensive) make sure you splash out on some good headphones! Then watch tutorials for anything you need help understanding.
Good advice! Who in d&b today would get an A+ and who would get detention?
I’m not much of a disciplinarian so I’d leave the punishments to someone else! As far as A+’s go there are quite a few though: The Upbeats, Audio, Wilkinson, Sigma, Metrik, Rockwell, SPY, Noisia, Fred V & Grafix, Phace, Misanthrop, Mind Vortex, Smooth, Delta Heavy and The Prototypes.
Good choices! Last time we saw you was at our Summer Selection BBQ where you played a wicked set. How has your DJ style developed over the years and do you still get the same buzz from performing in front of a crowd as you used to?
Thanks! Yeah, I love it! I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of DJ’ing. My sets have always been quite diverse as I like and produce all kinds of d&b. I’d say since CDJ’s have come about I can be a lot faster with mixing. Having loads of tracks on a CD or USB is a lot easier than routing through your record bag for vinyl. DJing is something I really enjoy and the reaction I get from crowds inspires me to create and plan intricate mixes.
Glastonbury! That would be a dream come true for me!
You’ve had a bit of a break from production the past few months.. What’s been happening in the world of T-Phonic?
I’ve actually been busier than ever! I did some additional production for Florrie’s Siren’s EP (Sony Music), something a bit different from my normal productions. I’ve also been working away on loads of new music. I’m currently sorting through top lines for a number of tracks. I have also been collaborating with loads of different artists. Working on every spectrum of d&b. I’m really excited to get these new tracks out there but at the moment the only place to hear them is in my DJ sets!
Your next single on Titan Records is ‘Deep Impact’ – BIG tune! It’s getting a lot of love already, with Friction dropping it on BBC R1 and The Risky dropping it as the ‘Sound of the Future’ on Crissy Criss’ 1xtra show.. Was it inspired by anything in particular?
No not really. I like to have a few tunes on the go at the same time, that way it keeps things interesting. This particular tune started off as a little jungle roller and each time I worked on it it got a little bit harder.
Excuse the pun (sorry, we had to) but which releases had the deepest impact on you growing up and cemented your love for the genre?
There’s literally too many to mention but here’s a few and I could go on for a very long time!
DJ Rap – Spiritual Aura
Prizna – Fire
Alex Reece – Pulp Fiction
Ed Rush & Optical – Bacteria, Watermelon, Alien Girl, Pacman
Capone-Strontium Jazz, Friday
Jonny L – See Red
Mampi Swift – The One
Origin unknown – Truly One, Hotness, Life Crisis, Screamer
Shy FX – Original Nuttah, Bambaata, Feelings
Q-Project – Champion Sound
High Contrast – Music is Everything, Basement Track, Racing Green
Fresh – Switch, Signal
Bad Company – The Nine, Planet Dust, The Pulse
Calibre – Drop It Down
Logistics – Together
Sub Focus – Acid Test, X-Ray, Frozen Solid
What a list! And emerging artists you’re in to at the moment?
Dimension, Etherwood, Mefjus, Dexcell and Teddy Killers.
Again, great selection! What’s coming up next for you?
I’ve got a huge follow up release on Titan due in October, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!
I would like to thank everyone who’s supported me and my music: Titan, UKF, Drum & Bass Arena, all the DJs playing my tracks, and of course all my fans! Finally, check out my new mix for the Drum&BassArena Podcast on iTunes or Mixcloud, available as a free download!
Stay Positive 😉
Deep Impact is out now.
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