So Polarity might be a fresh name to some but you’ve been making tunes for 4 + years now right?
I’ve been making tracks for about 8 years now in total.
The style of drum and bass that most know you for is the breaks and amen side of the genre, have you always made music in this vein?
Funnily enough I actually started making UK funky and garage tracks, even though DnB/Jungle was my main passion. I think my first kind of foray into producing DnB I was going for the old kinda Hardware vibes, early tech step era, that sort of thing.
So you started off making garage and UK funky, interesting! Were they released? Also Did you use another name or still Polarity?
Yeah, so I made a good few tracks, none of which were released but they did get quite a bit of radio play on stations such as subfm and a couple actually on Rinse. I did a cheeky little bootleg of a well known Dizzee Rascal tune which caught some attention haha. I don’t even have the original fie for that track anymore! I was actually using the name Polar at this point but as I made the transition into producing dnb properly I changed it to Polarity.
You seem to post alot of music on Soundcloud, which is good to see an artist is being productive.
Do you also send a lot of music directly to labels?
Yeah man, I do tend to post a lot of new stuff on there, I mainly use it as a notebook sort of thing to encourage me to finish said tracks. With them being online for all to see its an incentive to get them finished. As for sending music to labels I still have the ‘fear’. I do get overly critical about certain tracks and I do find it hard to put myself out there with regards to sending tracks. I don’t think any of my music which has been released, has come from me sending tracks directly. Labels have approached me in the past. It’s a rejection thing which admittedly does hold me back. That’s about to change though so I will be sending a lot more more music in the new year!
It’s good to see you are looking at switching up and trying to beat “the fear”! Without giving too much away have you got any certain labels I mind that you would love to release on or you think your music might suit best??
At the minute I’ve been making some tracks with a slightly tech step vibe, trying to make tracks that don’t use the amen break is pretty hard for me though haha. I would say what I’m producing at the minute would fit in well with Skeleton Recordings or perhaps 117/Dsci4, that kind of vibe. Repertoire, Scientific Wax, Inperspective, AKO and Rupture LDN would be the holy grail in terms of my music being released.
In regards to creativity…… What’s your approach to making music? Talk us through your process and how you accommodate studio time in your day to day life?
Creatively it depends on my mood, I think some of the best tracks I’ve written have come from things which have happened in my life, usually some form of sadness. I find I’m at my most productive musically when I have certain feelings to channel into a track. That way there’s a certain essence of me within it.
My approach to making a track would be to get home as soon as I’ve finished work and get the idea down, I could have an idea in my mind all day itching to get out. That said I do struggle with ‘writers block’ where no inspiration materialises haha. Basically whenever there’s some free time in my day I’m straight into production as long as there’s ideas flowing.
Interesting you reference your mind state and how it effects your creativity, I remember seeing someone (either Dbridge or Sam KDC) reference that they don’t make good music when they are in a good place and that they seem to be at their best when they are going through some tough shit! would you say this sums you up creatively too???
I would say that is bang on for me. For some reason I don’t find my ideas really materialise when I’m in a happy place mentally. When in a poor frame of mind I do find myself a lot more creative. That’s not to say I don’t try and write tracks when I’m happy, I’m just never impressed with the result as tracks come across as a bit cheesy to me!
What about the production set up when you started producing , what DAWS were you working with and/or equipment?
When I first started I was using an old Toshiba laptop with a copy of FL Studio 8 and a pair of headphones haha, that was it. No frills beat making. I was making tracks like this for a good few years until I upgraded my laptop, after that I was basically grabbing as many plugins etc. as I could. Still using headphones to mix down with though.
How about the modern day studio set up? I’m guessing it’s changed???
I still use my macbook to produce tracks with but I’m also running an iMac 27″ with very decent specs, Akai EiE pro interface, Mackie HR824 MK1 monitors (was using Adam F7), Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones and a Chinese lucky cat which sits at the side (very important).
Lucky cat? Please divulge on this!
Haha, I received one of those lucky cats as a gift for Christmas one year after always going on about how much I wanted one. It’s a cat that is meant to symbolise luck in Chinese culture, that basically wave their paw up and down continuously (raving cat I used to call them). He basically just sits on top of one of my speakers!
Let’s talk about Influences… Give us some idea of some artists that got you into this music ting!
I would say the earliest influences are definitely Tech Itch and Dylan, proper raw unadulterated drum and bass. No frills, no messing about. But on the other end of the spectrum Equinox is without a doubt one of the main reasons I wanted to carry on making this kind of music, him and B-key continue to push the boundaries imo of what you can do with a drum break! As for influential labels, Inperspective, Scientific Wax, old Renegade Hardware (for sheer brute force) Paradox and Esoteric. Special mention to Paradox too, another influential artist in terms of my production. I can’t end this question without mentioning my good friend James Mullen aka Epoxy, without a doubt one of the most talented chaps when it comes to production in the genre. He needs to be heard by more people!
In regards to dj sets , do you get many chances to dj out and about?
Unfortunately I don’t get asked to Dj a lot nowadays. I played a few times at a local night which is run by some very good friends of mine called Vinyl Fantasy. Northern based which has seen some top quality bookings in its time on the scene, massive thanks to Flynn, Dugy B, Chris, Wano, Rich and all the crew for that. I have played twice now down in London for Danger Chamber sessions which has been a good experience, playing alongside the likes of Kyam, Future and Chris Inperspective to name a few. So big up to Vaughn for that 🙂
Another one I have to mention is the Certain Sounds crew, I played in Salford a few months back for a Fright Night Radio special which Artilect was meant to play. Unfortunately he couldn’t make it so I was asked to step in. I’m glad they did because it was one of the best events I’ve played at. Good sound system, good vibes from everyone and no egos. Cal and Kayleigh have got a good thing going on in Manchester. Long may it continue!
I’ve seen that you like to dj vinyl from a few of your posts, do you still buy vinyl regular?
I do, although at the minute I’m buying older releases. Some that I may have missed the first time round or just tracks I’ve recently discovered. There’s so many new vinyl releases at the minute I feel it’s been flooded, unfortunately I just don’t have the time to go through it all! It has to be something special for me to notice it these days. As for djing with vinyl, it’s something I learnt with really so naturally I just prefer it (I can’t use a cdj properly to save my life).
I agree man, sometimes I find that I buy vinyl and don’t listen to it for months so I started holding it down a bit… give me some examples of the plates you’ve been buying recently?
I always make sure I catch the latest Scientific Wax releases, I mean lets face it. If you miss out, you’re going to be paying a hell of a lot later on. Other than that I don’t find myself really buying newer stuff, Holotype Audio, Skeleton, Repertoire etc I will buy new releases from them as long as I have sufficient funds at the time! I’m usually just trawling Discogs to fill in gaps in my collection that I’ve missed previously. The last record I bought off Cogs was Breakage – Trance on Inperspective Records.
Suppose its a good time to discuss the music showcase mix you recorded for us! How did you go about putting it together and what equipment did you use to put it together?
Yeah so basically as I don’t own a pair of cdjs it becomes a bit of a task to play my own tracks, unless I get a dub cut! Fortunately I do have a timecode vinyl setup so that’s how I went about doing it. In regards to the setup: 2 x Technics 1210 M3D, Allen & Heath Xone 23 mixer and a Traktor A10 for the timecode.
Moving forward can you talk us through what you have lined up for the future…
This year should see a few more Polarity releases on vinyl, just a case of getting pre masters ready. I’m not sure I can mention any labels just yet but I’m looking forward to sharing!
Hopefully I will get a lot more music out there in the new year as well as some dj bookings. I will say though, I have been working on a sample pack which will contain atmospheres, pads, breaks, that kinda thing. I’m hoping to get that out there, so keep an eye out!