NTS regular and Don't Be Afraid affiliate contributes a mix of starry-eyed house for the latest in our mix series.
Mr Beatnick has been dazzling and intriguing many followers of house, as well as pushing some of the more abstract and interesting permutations to come from the sphere of hip-hop, jazz, broken beats, funk, and beyond. While focusing on remixes and edits in early days, he has released a few solo output, including 2008’s ‘I Know All The Bitches’, championed by Eglo’s Alex Nut on his Rinse FM compilation, and 2009’s downtempo ‘The Fourth Day’, in which offers a powerful miasmic, swirling instrumentation that’s loaded with samples and jam-packed with plenty of emotions.
2011’s ‘Synthetes’ EP, released on Semtek’s Don’t Be Afraid, is a defining moment of his slow transition from the hip-hop and jazz-oriented string-laden sounds to the straight-up deep, soulful house beats. It is also a strong output in which the refined house grooves showcase a modern and delightful sophistication of sounds, which evokes a warm, solid, and eminently true and groovy statement, miming deep house music’s past while accessing its future without resorting to simplicity or falling back on the idea of retro fetishism. This year sees Mr Beatnick’s return to the London label with another beautiful EP, titled ‘Sun Goddess’, in which he lays on sun-soaked pads and crunchy beats, weaving rich melodies and providing a wealth of details for those who wishes to explore the deeper grooves.
The London producer also co-hosts a rotational session called The New Jerusalem on NTS Radio monthly, with residents DJ Cherrystones, Bullion, and Alex Chase. Archived shows can be streamed here.
Hi Nick, how’s it going?
Good thanks. I’ve been pretty busy of late, working on remixes, playing records out, doing my radio show on NTS Live, and occasionally drawing occult chalk circles on the ground at house parties.
What’s this mix you made us about?
Well I thought it would be fun to do something other than the usual stuff I play out, so this is the kind of mixtape I’d make for a friend, the sort of things I enjoy flicking through at home. I’ve called it ‘Spinal Trap’ because the majority of the songs are quite spooky and atmospheric, but parts of it are booming and funky, with kick drums pushed in all sorts of directions. There’s a ton of hiss, crackle, ambience and distortion, this is probably not one for the faint of heart.
Please could you highlight a couple of tracks included and why?
There’s a few of the usual suspects, like a track from Lukid’s excellent album, a new track off Bnjmn’s new project, a friend of ours who goes by Do Re Me, a track off Paul White’s latest beat tape. The Vessel track is a big favourite, generally it’s a fun selection of some of my favourite people and things out there at the moment.
I like your ‘Sun Goddess’ EP a lot, can you tell us more about the making of it?
Thanks! To be honest I rarely remember exactly how things came together. The best state to write in is one where you’re part awake, but the conscious part of you is also somehow dormant, and you’re not even really thinking about what you’re doing. I do remember the day I made Shifting Sands, that was all made by finger-tapping patterns off different drum machines. I work with a lot of unstable analog equipment so there’s a lot of trial, error and accident involved, and the best loops usually just write themselves.
You used to make hip-hop, why the transition into house?
Honestly, it wasn’t anything I consciously planned out. I had an epiphany with my writing around 2008. It was partly thanks to going to a Mancuso-inspired party called Beauty And The Beat, hearing raw drum machine tracks played on giant Klipschhorn speakers there really captured my imagination, and my writing started to change as a result. I still don’t know if what I make now is House with a capital h – I’m drawing on all the things I love, from psych rock to techno to industrial to hip hop – and trying to crush it all into this little 4×4 box. The reference points are usually not House music itself, though I am a huge fan of Sleazy D, Virgo and things like that, and I’ve always bought, loved and played House music over the years.
What inspires you, musically and out of music?
A lot of it comes down to people at the end of the day. As I said in the last reply, certain parties and places, the sound and the atmospheres are what I draw on. You close your mind and imagine how it sounds in that space. I love wandering around London listening to ideas, so I think environment is a big part of it.
Best thing you’ve heard/seen this year?
I’ll rudely cheat this question and say – the people who came to Pride Of Gombe, a party we did with Bnjmn, Lukid, and Samoyed. So much fun, the next one is in December. Looking forward to it.
What’s your favourite piece of Beat literature?
‘Reality Sandwiches’ by Allen Ginsberg, loved it since I was a kid. “A naked lunch is natural to us, we eat reality sandwiches.”
What’s next for you?
A few more gigs to go this year, a bit of travelling, some more remixes, and gradually finishing my new record which will be out early 2013. Thanks a lot for inviting me to do this mix!
Thank you, Nick!
WANDA GROUP – YOU TAR AT A CONSTANT MPH
Bnjmn – An Opening
1991 – Open To The Dark
Lukid – Riquelme
Do Re Me – Loco Motif
Paul White – Zapp Me
Vessel – Lache
LUV NY – Pressure Up (Feat Kool Keith & Roc Marciano)
Holy Other – here
Kalenna – 6000 Sistas
Arp 101 & Elliott Yorke – Fluro Black
Pollyn – Love Is Light (Mr Beatnick Remix)
Sour Deez Posse – Big Ol’ Hips
XXXY & Dorian Concept – Chug Life
Kelpe – Bags Of Time (Neon Jung’s Wormhole Remix)
Mahavisnu Orchestra – Power Of Love (Om Unit Remix)