Buster Interview

Ez mate, Thanks for taking the time out to chat! 

Let’s begin at the beginning…When did your journey into dj’ing begin?

Hi Tom, Thanx for having me.
I started Dj’ing in the beginning of 1999 when a friend of mine bought a pair of 1210’s and I started having a go in mixing and playing with his records.
At the time of learning to mix, were you mixing just dnb? If so what sort of stuff? 
I start learning how to mix with Jungle and some old school Jump Up, things out on Tearin Vinyl, Trouble on Vinyl, Suburban Base, Joker Records, True Playaz, Urban Takeover. And then I slowly moved towards more darker/heavy sounds and started buying records from Photek, Ray Keith, Ed Rush and Optical, Bad Company. Stuff out on Metalheadz, U Turn, Underfire, Renegade Hardware, just to name a few.
What was the first dj home set up you had?
 I was a bit lucky and the first set up I had was in fact the same where I started learning. I got the decks from my friend after he left London,so from the beginning I started with 2x Technics 1210 and on the time I had a 4 channel Gemini mixer.
How about your modern day set up?
Happy to say that I still have the same 1210’s where I learned how to play. Plus for the past 19 years I have a Pioneer DJM600 mixer.
I also got a Traktor Scratch set up and a X1 controller plus last year I bought a pair of Pioneer Cdj’s 900 nexus. Soundwise I have a pair of KRK 6” studio monitors.
Sounds like a tidy set up! Do you allocate much time for having a mix and testing out new music? Or do you just grab the opportunity when it arises…
A bit of both to be honest but sadly more and more due to a busy work schedule it’s grabbing all available free time. Nevertheless having the radio show it helps me a lot in having one day every 2 weeks just to focus on music.
We noticed quite often as a dj you focus more on the element of bass rather than concentrating on specific tempos, have you always mixed it up like this in sets?
Not really, this has been a new approach in my way of mixing. I think it’s a result of the music that I started incorporating on my sets.
Also because more and more I feel that if I do that I’m not so restricted in what I can play and makes the mix more interesting.
From some of your posts on social media we notice you are a vinyl collector, can you give us an insight into where you buy from and also let us know the last 5 plates you’ve bought recently?
I buy a lot of my records online but by saying this doesn’t mean that I stopped going to record shops or even do a bit of digging in charity shops. 
All depends of what I’m buying or what I find in stores.
Hmm, my last 5 plates … I think it was these ones;
* Surreal [Navy Cut] 12”
*Adam Prescott [Lion Charge Records] 12”
*The Specials – Encore Lp
* Out of Fuel [Ronin Ordinance] 12”
* Accept [Zam Zam] 7”
I actually saw you briefly at the last Clashmouth Record fair in London but didn’t get the chance to find you again! From the perspective of a Record collector what’s your opinion on clashmouth and also Did you buy anything? If so what?
Yeah it was good to see you but I was a bit on a mission,lol.
I was up since very early because of work so I went there, grabbed what I wanted, said hello and left. A bit of ‘now u see, now u don’t’. Ah ah ah
It’s a great event and an amazing opportunity to like minded people to meet and talk. Also there’s always some interesting discussions and talks going on. Plus what’s on offer at the stalls in terms of vinyl, it’s awesome and dangerous, financially,lol.
I did buy something but like I said I already knew what I was going for and I had a strict budget for that. I got the Ellis Dee and Krome&Time 12”s from Vinyl Fanatiks.
As a vinyl collector what’s your opinion on the “vinyl only V digital” war that seems to be still happening?
Ok, mainly I think this ‘war’ doesn’t make sense anymore. We all know by now that both formats have some positive and negative sides. For almost 15 years I played only vinyl and I still do it if I have the right conditions to do so. Sadly for long time if you were playing vinyl you would find yourself in a position where the venues weren’t taking care of the decks properly and it would make it hard to play a set on vinyl decently. Even when I made the jump to Traktor with the timecode vinyl, sometimes was a nightmare to use it because of the state of the decks or the cables or the pitch. That’s why for the past year I decided to start using mainly CDJ’s. Of course it’s not the same feeling but in a way makes things a bit easier if you’re playing in a venue that you don’t know how the set up will be. Plus I’m gonna be 46 next year, my back really appreciated that change, eh eh eh.
Yea I totally agree, if anything now a days playing vinyl out isn’t glamorous what so ever unless the decks are in good condition and if anything it’s pointless as mixing is a complete nightmare on a shit set up! How do you get along with cdjs? Do you enjoy using them?
I do enjoy using them, I’m still in the process of discovering their full potential in terms of what I can do with them while mixing. But it’s a completely different way of mixing from vinyl.
Recently you played at a festival in Romania, How was it? Talk us through the vibe and what it was like playing over there…
Yes you are correct. It was the 2nd year I played at the SubFm Stage on the AfterHills Festival in Iasi and the 3rd time I played in Romania.
I had a really good time in all occasions I played there. Regarding the Festival they improved a lot from last year, much better conditions and sound this year. The vibe there it’s really good, everyone is really friendly and open to listen new stuff but the majority of people are mostly into House and Techno. But there’s a good crew of Junglists and the ones that are into deep bass driven music either 140 or 170.
As someone who’s played out a lot, have you got memorable moments of past sets you could share?
Well, there’s been a couple that might be a bit more ‘memorable’ than the others for different reasons.
From playing on a Free festival in Italy on a nudist beach, to play under these Swimming Pools in North London or to have been lucky to play at the last Exodus Festival, it’s all good memories that stick with you over the years. On a personal level it was a bit special to play recently alongside Digital which is an artist that I’ve much respect for and it’s been a great influence since I started playing.
On a negative side of things, well I remember once in Poland where I was playing D’n’B to a crowd which wasn’t really up to it since I was the only Dj on the line up playing that sound, everyone else was playing House.
You host a regular show on Sub FM called “Basspaths”. You Pretty consistently have guests on and there’s always a great array of talent! Are you quite organised In booking people well in advance for the shows?
I try my best, lol. But yeah, normally I try to have already 3 shows lined up and with guests sorted. I learned this from the times when I was at Represent Fm in London where I had a different guest every week, so, yes, organisation was essential.
If you had the opportunity to pick ANYBODY to come on your show to do a set who would it be?
Probably Jack Sparrow or Vivek on the 140 side of things and maybe Kemal (since he’s back now) or Amit for a Drum’n’Bass show.
How did you come about becoming part of the sub FM roster? And how are they to work with?
After being 3 years on London’s Represent Fm, I was approached by a friend that told me that Sub Fm was looking for new people to host and present radio shows on their free slots. From there I contacted the ‘Guvna’ at Sub Fm and he was more than happy that I would take the present slot that I’ve and continue with the Basspaths show there.
I’ve no complaints at all, there’s a small group of people that take care of all tech aspects of the radio and it’s all well organised by the ‘Guvna’ himself.
In addition to the radio show you also run your own night in Brixton called “48.1 hz”.
Give us some background on how it came about and also the concept behind it?
Well, I was doing some occasional gigs at the venue where 48.1Hz happens and the manager asked me if I wanted to do a regular event there more Bass music orientated. So, I approach my good friend Ruido aka Stereopathy and we decided to start doing together the night there. Happy to say we’ve been running 48.1Hz for 6 years now.
The concept is very simple, we always focused in playing music that reflects the place where the venue is located; Brixton. So, from Dub to Drum and Bass and Jungle basically it’s the music policy and idea of and for the night.
We’ve been lucky with the feedback and positive turnout from it and some time after we started it, we decided to go a step further and invite different artists that we thought would fit on the night, to play there.
Currently who is it within the bass scene that you rate highly? 
Ok, this one is a difficult one to answer since there’s plenty of quality music being released and some great producers across the bass music scene from 130 to 170. Plus it’s very good to see more and more producers and labels not just getting stuck to one tempo.
But just give you a couple of examples I would say regarding artists; Kwizma, Yin Yang Audio, Cid Poitier, The Untouchables, Dubmonger, just to name a few. On the label side of things; Navy Cut, Dubtribu Records, Onset Audio, Samurai Music, Conspired Within Music.
So your guest mix is a fine example of exactly why we approached you to get involved in this feature! Talk us through how you went about putting it together?
My approach to do this mix was a bit the same from what I normally do to my mixes or sets. I tend to enjoy progressive mixes because I like to do a certain built up with the tunes I choose for it. Even on my radio show I find myself doing that.
Regarding the selection of tunes in it, mostly are some recent releases that caught my attention, others are some tunes I’ve been sent and I really liked them and the rest are those that even if they aren’t that recent they always sound good to me.
Thank you for talking to us Buster!

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