Positive Vibes… A chance for your favourite DJs to shed some light on tunes that truly make them smile. Or, in Wickaman’s case, have nightmares.
“Seriously!” he laughs. “I’d wake up and my mixdowns were still shit!”
More on that in a moment. First, a few thoughts on his long-terms production partnership with RV…While some collabo’s are a one-off – producers that passed in the night – fix-up. Others are more long-term relationships where things just work. There’s no scientific or technical reason for these moments of smooth sonic mastery, it’s all about equal partnership and complementing viewpoints. Take this example: the making of Wickaman & RV’s current romp Identi:fi…
“I was sitting there making the beats and bass on my computer through my speaker while Matt (RV) was sitting there playing the notes and melody over the top through his speaker,” explains Wickaman, or Andy as he’s known in most social scenarios. “No syncing, no hook ups or anything! It happens all the time. I’m good at getting fat beat and bass sounds, Matt keys into it… To be honest he doesn’t know what notes he’s playing, it’s all by ear and not by sight. It’s amazing.”
They’ve been brewing up bangers in this very natural, borderline-telepathic way for the best part of a decade now. But since their last collaboration – Ev’s Dead – got heat from the Ram camp, they seem to have notched things up a gear.
“When Andy C was interested in Evs’ Dead. We thought cool!” laughs Andy. “We’ve never whored tunes out to labels. We’ve been doing this together from time. Matt works teaching so the little time we had together we’d knock something out on our labels. We never even thought about releasing stuff on other labels.”
As the popularity of Ev’s Dead spiralled – culminating on Goldie’s Fabriclive CD – the chaps decided to ‘whore more tunes out’… And Titan was ready with eager ears. Identi:fi came first, swiftly followed by the dubstep remix which has garnered some nice radio attention from the likes of Mistajam. I Need You finished the package: an old school ripsnorter beefed up by weighty modern production knowhow, this has been killing it for all DJs lucky enough to have an advanced copy.
“It’s one of those tunes where we just throw fucking everything at the mix,” grins Andy. “We’re throwing dice. We don’t know what we’re going to come out with! There’s no plan other than we want it to sound old school but we want people to play it in their modern sets. If it sounds modern then get it out. We really want that vinyl nastiness. It’s got to be gritty, grainy, more like a painting than graphic design.”
With that poetic analogy, we get their three positive vibes. As you’d expect from two artists driven by such strict sound design ideas, they’re choices inspired by the production techniques… To the point of nightmares!
Dillinja – Test 2
Wickaman: “For me this kicks me up the arse! When I first heard it I thought ‘fucking hell I’ve got so much work to do!’ The sounds just blew me away. How Dillinja would separate those sounds! It killed me time and time again. I used to have a recurring nightmare… I’d see this classroom and the teacher was passing around a copy of this and saying ‘this is an example of a good mixdown. Over the weekend, listen to it and get used to it because this is how we’re all going to do mixdowns in the future.’ Then she got out a record to pass around and said ‘okay, this is a record by a man called Wickaman, this is what we call a bad mixdown. So have a listen to the two and tell us what’s so good about a Dillinja’s and what’s so bad about Wickaman’s!’
“Then I’d wake up and my mixdowns are still shit! It drove me to get on top of the perfect the sound. We knew he was breaking rules, and that’s what turned me on. Since then I’ve been so stubborn, I’d rather break all the rules and it sound shit then do something all nice and clean and not really pushing anything.”
Peshay – Piano Tune
RV: “I might be showing my age a bit here but the whole Good Lookin’ Thing was massive for me. They were proper pieces of music. There wasn’t so much formula and the arrangement was a lot more intricate and unpredictable. They’re proper compositions with so much going on. Good Lookin’ was such a massive influence and every record of theirs makes me smile but this one in particular. Every single time!”
Anything by Wu-Tang
RV: “We don’t agree on a lot of music but we do see eye to eye on Wu Tang. They broke all the rules! The looseness, the brashness…”
Wickaman: “It’s all about graininess. And lyrically they’re on their own. They say it as they saw it and I really appreciate that. It’s real art. Each of them were talented, but together? Wow. Nothing commercial, just raw music that’s true to itself.”
Wickaman & RV – I Need You / Identi:fi is out this week on Titan Records. Listen & Download!