Today we catch up with Critical Sound’s very own Foreign Concept.
After taking to the turntables in 2004, he has been noted for his finesse for infectious blends, of which lead to international DJ schedule as a club favourite.
In 2011, he exclusive signed one of his tracks ‘Mob Justice’ to one of the biggest labels in the scene Critical Sound, and has become apart of the team ever since.
We found out about his latest release Make Meals EP, and what plans he has for his future in the Drum & Bass scene.
HTF: So Matt how are you? Just come back from a festival we see! How was it?
FC: Yeah was wicked, had a great time. It’s called Shibui , quite a small one in terms of numbers, but was great vibes , and wicked underground music all weekend.
HTF: Whilst we are on the subject of festivals, do you have any that you are looking forward to?
FC: I’m finished with festivals for this year now , but roll on 2015.
HTF: And what festival this year would you consider to be your most favourite?
FC: I’d have to say it was Shibui , I’d definitely recommend checking it out next year.
HTF: Are there any autumn/winter gigs you a looking forward to, or wanted to tell us about?
FC: Playing at lots of places over the next few months so hard to pick one out, but if I had to choose then the Critical Sound show at, Fabric in October. I’m playing a back to back set with Ivy Lab which I’m definitely looking forward to!
HTF: So the ‘Make Meals’ EP has finally been released on Beatport! Did you spend a lot of time on it? Is there anything that makes it different to previous releases?
FC: The actual title track Make Meals took quite a long time to finish. I had loads of different versions, and different ideas for it, and it took overall about 6 months of dipping in and out of the project to get it to where it is now. The other tracks all came together pretty quickly, thankfully. I wanted to make an EP which showcased a bit of diversity rather then just sticking to one sound. I think that’s a good representation of me as a DJ as well. I like to play different styles of drum and bass ( bar jump up and the really heavy tech sound). I get really bored watching DJs that just keep playing the same kind of track for an hour. It sounds flat after a while and there’s nothing exciting about it.
HTF: And are there any more releases from you this year? Now that the EP is released are you working on anything new?
FC: I’ve certainly got a few exciting things in the pipeline – New tracks, collabs [sic] , remixes etc… but I can’t really say yet about release times until everything is finalised.
HTF: Let’s talk more about you as a producer. What got you into Drum & Bass? Were you into any other genres of music before you fell in love with the scene?
FC: I grew up listening to all sorts of music, but Hip Hop was my first real musical passion. I got into drum and bass , the most classic, clichÃƒ©d way – after a friend passed on a tape pack at school. I was instantly hooked and started tracking down as much of it as possible. Unfortunately this was all pre internet so it wasn’t as accessible as it is now!
HTF: What got you into the production, and DJ side of music?
FC: A lot of my mates DJ’d growing up, and as there was no such as YouTube then! You had to go and buy a record to listen to it, so getting into DJing was a natural progression. Production wise, it really just stemmed from listening to tracks and thinking “ yeah that’s sick but I would have changed this to that , or done it like this etc..” I struggled in the first year of making music, and thought about packing it in, but then I remember finishing one of the first tunes I ever made ( called Cafe 420 ) and having this real sense of achievement. After that I was hooked and threw all my time into it.
HTF: Who would you class as your favourite producer, and why?
FC: That’s a really tough question. Outside of drum and bass, it might be a an obvious one but maybe Rick Reuben. He’s basically a hit machine, and has been part of so many cool records, and just seems like a really genuine down to earth guy. He also has an amazing beard!
Inside drum and bass it’s definitely Marcus Intalex . He just does groove so well, and I’d really struggle to think of a tune of his that I don’t like. I’m also a big fan of his Soul:R label, and I pretty much bought every release when I was still buying Vinyl.
HTF: And your favourite DJ, and why?
FC: When I first discovered drum and bass it was Zinc. He’s very technically gifted and just brought pure vibes every time. In more recent years, again it’s probably Intalex, simply for the fact he just play’s tunes I really like.
HTF: And finally, for people reading at home, if you were going to give them any advice with their production, or to make it as a DJ in the scene, what would it be?
FC: I think these days you really do need to be making music, or running a successful label, to make a living as a DJ. There are a few exceptions but these are few and far between. Production wise my three tips would be –
- Sample, Sample , Sample! Unless you amazingly technical , the best way to have your tracks stand out and get noticed , is to use killer samples. It takes a bit of time and experience to find suitable ones, and use them effectively, but it can be really be the difference in a tune. If you are struggling where to look for samples, check out a site called whosampled.com . Look up your favourite producer and see who they have sampled, and how. Then look for similar artists; lastfm.com is good for this ).
- Buy a piece of software called Mixed in Key. If you then run all your samples through this, it will change the file name to include the key of each one. If you are then writing a track in G minor for example, you can search all of your sample in this key. It makes for a much quicker work flow and is a great technique for those , like me, who don’t have a great ear for key.
- Spend more time worrying about the creative elements then the technical parts. Rather then spending endless time researching how compressors work for example, look into sound design , or arrangement ideas, or chord structures etc. It’s been said over and over again, but a great vibe trumps a great mixdown every time. I’ve also found that you can research mix down techniques all you want, but your mix downs will only ever get better with time, as your ears need to learn and adjust to what sounds right. Spend that time learning how to write better tunes from a creative stand point. I wish I had known this years ago.