T>I – Circuit Bending
Jamie S23 hooks up with T>I to discuss his brand new EP project on the legendary Serial Killaz label. Trust us when we say – it’s a distinct project that connects to both new and old ravers alike.
The Serial Killaz release schedule for 2016 is already MASSIVE, how did the Circuits EP end up in their hectic barrage of tunes?
“Micky Finn had been working in studio with Vital Elements, he played him a few of my beats and Graham was feeling what he was hearing so got in touch. I sent both Tobie and Graham a bag load of tunes and they picked 12 out of 16 which wasn’t bad odds considering!. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Signing ‘Circuits’ to Serial Killaz is obviously a massive deal but did you ever feel any pressure to produce more jungle influenced tracks for the label considering their reputation as leaders in the new school jungle scene?
“Not really, both ‘Changes’ and ‘Watcha Man’ were already written and I had a fair few labels that wanted those two in particular but i thought they would sit better on Serial Killaz. I don’t delve too far into proper raw jungle too much but never say never! Serial Killaz loved what I had been doing for Heist and some other labels so they let me be me and just make beats which is really important to any producer.”
2 EP’s is a big project and a lot of studio time! How did you manage to keep a constant enthusiasm for production and most importantly – get all those tunes done in time?
“Truth is, I wrote most of the tracks in 2014. Thinking about it, ‘My Size’ was written back in 2011. I just sit on tunes until I feel they fit with current trends in the drum and bass scene and the wait seemed to have paid off.”
If you were responsible for choosing who gets your latests releases first, which 3 DJs would you choose to support your production? Have you ever created a track with a certain DJ in mind?
“I’ve never followed any particular sound of drum and bass to be honest. I’m quite pig headed about that as I just make beats and when I feel it’s got enough swagger to the drums I can then write the bass line etc. Basically my track ideas always start at the drums and percussion and if a label likes it then that a bonus.
I do have a list of artists I always send my production to first. Micky Finn, Hype, Hazard, Andy C, Heist and Marky – as they have supported me from the start and always give me constructive feedback.”
A lot of A list DJs obviously support your tunes but have you ever heard a DJ that you really didn’t think would play your music support it in their sets?
“Yeah without a doubt! Goldie for example. I work closely with the people producing their clothing range so I speak to G on occasions and anyone who knows him, knows he doesn’t hold back speaking the truth, anyway long and short of it is.
I sent him some tunes a few years back and randomly asked him if he’d downloaded the tracks and if he liked them. His answer was “got them, produced well but a bit cheesy for me kid” so I thought fair game I don’t make epically deep tunes so to him my tracks would be a bit too cheesy, that all said and done, fast forward to Boomtown 2015 or the week just after I get tagged in a video of Randall & Goldie back to back on the main stage packed to the hedges with Goldie double dropping tunes into wait for it….my track “All I Do” letting it drop and then fist pumping hard to it when it dropped so as you can imagine that made my fucking year!
Funny thing is, he pretty much knows me as Mat that prints and embroiders merchandise but he knows me properly as T>I now thanks to Randall and the fact he loves the tune I produced making it all the more worthwhile.”
Circuits – how did the name of the EP originate? Was it related to your original style of analogue production with tons of wires all over the place connected to samplers, synths and so on?
Yeah sort of although I’ve cut down on my wire addiction and pretty much use 3 main hardware synths now. The name sort of meant currents that go off in all sorts of directions as on a circuit board. Not all the tracks or their names relate to each other as they were written so far apart if that makes sense? They all came from different directions in my mind set at the time.”
The EP is certainly a massive head nod to the 90’s in many respects. 2016 is really representing that true ‘96 flavour right now. It must feel good considering your production has always paid respect to that classic era of drum and bass.
“It’s wicked that finally my favourite era is being loved again. The vibe in the raves back then had groove and a touch of swagger.
Thankfully no moshing, chanting or fist pumping.
There was just something sexy about jungle being played in a warehouse back then, the groove needs to come back and stay for good this time.”
If you had to list producers that have influenced your production who would they be? It doesn’t have to stick to the realms of drum and bass, I’m talking every scene wide!
“There is one person’s production I think is flawless, he’s a drum and bass producer that goes by the name of Break. The swagger that geezer gets into his tracks is unbelievable. I love a lot of other people’s work as I appreciate how they’ve made it but Breaks the one that does it for me.”
I’ve asked this question quite a lot recently as it’s doing the rounds on social media and it’s always interesting to get people’s opinions. Do you think the demographics in the drum and bass scene has changed massively since the original jungle days? If so, what’s the cause and how do you feel about it?
“It has changed a fair bit I suppose, although the age of people getting into the scene I don’t think has. I went to my first legal rave when i was 15 but the styles in the music have changed so much thanks to a lot of new producers which is very healthy in my opinion. It is still all drum and bass to me as I hate the term ‘Sub Genre’.
This fucking winds me up to be fair but it depends on whether you watch those people that are claiming things about certain sounding drum and bass as to whether you think it has split into parts, scenes, corners etc.
You do get trends in dance music cultures but it has had a sturdy few decades of entertaining heads across the globe with its formidable drum patterns and so I hope it does for many years ahead.
It’s what YOU make of it, not what you think other people think you should.”
What’s next for T>I? I’ve always enjoyed your remixes of classics, anything on the cards? Could a possible Serial Killaz remix be coming soon?
“Now that would be nice, I do love remixing and they’ve done some classic bangers over the years, however I’ve got to get my head down and complete some projects I have promised for the later part of the year with Innerground, Co-Lab, Natty Dubz, Rollaz and a very special one I can’t say anymore about as i don’t wanna jinx it!
I’ve got to finish tracks with Saxxon as we have 6 silky bangers sitting there. I also have to finish tracks with Upgrade and one in particular is called ‘Shot Down’.
Ready to go is a remix I produced for L Double & Flex Industries called ‘Listen Diss’..date to be confirmed.
Another big one coming out soon on Smoke Signal Audio by Bass Antics – a track called ‘Selecta’ which is getting wicked club support.
Over the summer ‘King Stays’ by Release and I is out on vinyl via Horizons whichI’im stoked about, then ‘All I Do’ is out in the Autumn on a sick album Randall is putting together.
Finally (for now) a single with Heist at some point. Busy!”
Any shouts or big ups?
“Shouts to my close circle the TNA lads Dom, Az, Grima, Manek Beanz and Riz, Heist, Marky, Hype, Tobie & Graham. Can’t forget Mum, family and everyone I’ve ever met on my journeys!”
Grab a digital copy of the first part of Circuits here