Since first emerging into the cluttered global house scene with his debut ‘Vanity’ EP on Australian label Templar Sound last year, Laurence Matthew Blake, production alias Citizen, has upheld an impressive level of consistency amongst his tiny collection of releases.
Showcasing his meticulous and mature sonic approach and carving himself a distinct deep house-centric sound, in 2012, the London-based producer has followed up his debut with two outstanding EPs, which include ‘Deep End’ on Kerri Chandler’s MadTech imprint, a sister label to MadHouse, as well as the forthcoming ‘Room Service’ on London’s clubnight-turned-label Love Fever, in which features a remix by Jimmy Edgar.
Rarely venturing anywhere near peak-time sounds, however, Citizen’s productions are refreshingly well-tuned and unpretentious as they’re held together by a spirited, sultry and low-slung groove that smooths over assertive vocals and sparse, occasionally infectious basslines. Much alike his recent releases, what Dummy’s been delivered in this mix remains true to Citizen’s usual euphoric and immersive agenda, a formula that shows no signs of going stale. While it is rendered with the early 90s house aesthetic, its marinated scape of sound delicately edges through a polished, spacious and at times raw territory, showcasing deep house’s fundamentals, emotive chords in particular. Listen below.
Hey Citizen! How’s it going?
Really good. Enjoying the weather out here, has me feeling pretty positive about everything. Just finishing a super long stint trying to finish this one track.
Please could you introduce yourself to Dummy readers?
Hi I’m Citizen and I want to recruit you.
Can you tell us more about this mix you’ve made for us?
The mix features a series of edits I’ve been working on and opens with a collaboration with London based vocalist and all round west end party boy Sean Alto, there’s also a super old version of my track Truth, I feel it has more of a peak time velocity. There’s also tracks by the homies Bicep and a few other artists I’m feeling right now. I try not to plan my mixes these days I find they are always more satisfying if they have a more ‘ad hoc’ vibe, well at least to me anyway.
How did you get into making and playing music?
I’ve always been making music for as long as I can remember, growing up in Nottingham everyone seems to be a musician or knows a musicians or is training to be one. After playing in numerous hardcore and ‘experimental’ bands the one with the most ridiculous name that I still remember being ‘Prometheus kills Saints’ (wow) I decided to let my guilty house pleasures get the better of me and started doing it quite frequently, then uni kind of got in the way a lot and finally decided to move to London and be as creative as possible. Citizen started out as a new jack swing project believe it or not. The housier elements of that genre kind of just took over.
I like your “House Over Everything” motto, which pretty much sums up your latest ‘Deep End’ EP. Could you tell us about the making of it?
The ‘Deep End’ EP was a pretty organic process just collating sounds that I really loved and trying to unify them into a singular message. Listening back it at times it sounds pretty dark and melancholic.
Garage and the UK bass scene has had a massive influence in my life from when I used to sit in my elder cousins and family friend’s cars and they’d be bumping to Kiss FM mixes and such and I really wanted to evoke that same feeling that was present there, not n a purist level but for want of a better word ‘emotionally’.
The tracks were made over a period of a few months with each writing block cured by another bootleg remix or insane party eventually ending up as it is. I’m pretty happy with it.
I also find that you have a more UK continental/ bass approach to your music, especially in your early production. Any particular reason in this shift in sound?
Not really. I think it’s not really a case of me being unhappy with a sound and switching but rather exploring what can actually be legitimately produced within the genres that I love so much.
I think I get pretty attached to a song at first and I have quite a fickle nature so when I return to it any influences and re-imaginings are usually applied without discrimination until it ends up a completely different vibe but I fell like that original spark is still present.
Who and/or what inspires you, musically and out of music?
I work in the visual creative industry and that inspires me a great deal, when I’m not creating music I am being creative in a whole different way and they obviously compliment each other quite well, the people I meet and the parties that I go to influence me massively as well, London is also a massive inspiration, an amazing place. I hate it when people say there is nothing to do here or I’d rather be elsewhere. I look around and it’s just wall to wall insanity the amazing things that are happening around here at the moment.
What have you got lined up for summer and the rest of 2012?
Well a few more releases are lined up I’m definitely adding ‘must travel way more’ to the list and a couple of exciting collaborations in the pipeline.
Best thing you’ve heard this year?
Best thing I’ve heard so far this year is the homie Darling Farah’s new LP on Civil Music. Potentially game changing.
What’s your favourite city?
Norwich. Skye. London! Of course.
Thanks guys. Big fan of Dummy.
1. Citizen – You Give Me That Something Ft. Sean Alto
2. Amir – La Ple (Original Mix)
3. Sasse – Perc (Huxley Remix)
4. Medlar – Terell (Biceps Brooklyn Shuffle)
5. Kojak – Art to Breath ft. Jemini
6. Zakes Bantwini – Wasting My Time (Dan Ghenacia Remix)
7. Makam – You Might Lose It (Kerri Chandler Kaoz 623 Again Mix)
8. Filthy Rich – Love Lost (DZeta N Basile Remix)
9. Citizen – Members Only (Original Mix)
10. Anette Party & Anita Coke – Moreno
11. Femme En Fourrure – Femdom
12. Citizen – Truth (Ancient Mix VIBES.)