Most likely not — it wouldn’t have had the label muscle behind it to get on radio. But regarding the divide across the Atlantic, what’s your take on the rise in popularity of British bass music — dubstep, funky, etc. — around the world?
It’s interesting to observe. The UK has always been good at coming up with new music trends, and that continued into dance music. The only other place I can think of that seems so restless and hungry for the next thing is Jamaica. We’ve got a lot of Jamaicans and their descendants in the UK, maybe that has something to do with it. We never would have created jungle without them that’s for sure. The Jamaican musical mentality seems to tread carefully between tradition and innovation — they want the freshness, but it’s got to sound solid and still relate. I like that.
I think UK funky was a great kick up the ass to house music, gave it some guts. It’s also led to some sick hybrid sounds — Nottingham producer Erra is one good example. But I think it’s important to remember that house and techno have been done very well by many people for years now. Some of the more “traditional” sounding recent house and techno records I’ve heard coming out of the scene seem kinda underwhelming. If you check a tune like Rhythmatic’s “Demons” which starts my Electronic Explorations mix, you can hear incredible production, euphoric yet stealthy riffs, great programming, etc. And that record is 20 years old.
Garage/grime/dubstep are so rooted in London, but folks from other parts of the UK have played a huge part in its rise — you and Kode 9 come to mind. How did dubstep begin for you in Nottingham?
It started with my friend booking the FWD tour in 2004 with Kode 9, Youngsta etc. Then we had Mala and Pokes up here as part of a small festival we organized. After that we started putting on nights with an oversized sound system and booked DJs like Loefah, Horsepower, D1, all the originators. I remember putting the address for Barefiles [Ed. note: a seminal dubstep website] on the flyers so that people would be able to find out what dubstep sounded like before they came to the events.
I find that really funny now, there are probably at least three dubstep nights each week in Nottingham these days! It’s true that London is incredibly influential, but I think these things can only really grow once people take them on at a local level. Kode 9 is from Scotland, but I think he has lived in London for quite a while now. I actually grew up in London but ended up here….
What were you onto before dubstep, funky, etc. entered your world?
Making electronica for labels like Skam, Neo Ouija and City Centre Offices.
Most embarrasing record in your collection? Don’t be shy.
I love them all! I think the first thing I ever bought was the theme music from Top Cat on a 7″. Not embarrassed about that one.
Do you still play dubplates? Have one that you’re still amazed by to this day?
I have an old Brackles tune on a plate called “Blackout” that still kills it.
It started with “Footcrab,” and now it seems like every sentence uttered about dubstep has to mention “Juke,” the Chicago-based music that’s been a recent influence on dubstep. Has it become a UK-underground thing?
It’s cool. It is just like an update of stuff like ghettotech/booty bass tunes, but one thing I appreciate about its rise is the warmth and space in the sound — it’s a welcome relief from the gnarly end of 140. As for seeing that kind of dancing in UK clubs — I think it will just remain a bloggers dream.
Speaking of raves, what do Geiom DJ sets involve these days? Since you’ve got the collaborations with vocalists and horns in the bag — any thoughts of doing a live set?
My DJ sets generally try to blend the best of what’s happening now with some retro tracks and my own upcoming tunes, across the 130-140 tempos. I’m also gonna start playing 170bpm stuff out, there’s one set of that style here.
Fantastic — a whole new side of Geiom. Speaking of which, as you’re now treading so many different sounds, are you performing any differently?
I perform live from a hardware and computer setup, and I do shows with some of my featured vocalists like Marita and Terrible Shock. I have done the Hem stuff live too as an experiment, I was surprised at how well it works on a rig, if people want to see that get in touch! [Laughs]
Contributor Dave Sharma is a musician and DJ, and is one half of the NYC electronic duo Sub Swara.
Photo Courtesy of Geiom