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OM UNIT released an excellent debut 7”, Lightgrids/Lavender, on All City in January. It was hardly the first time around for the London producer/DJ however, having made his name with Hip Hop productions under his 2Tall moniker during the early 00s. Mega busy with an EP coming up on Plastician’s Terrorhythm Records, as well as a clutch of remixes to add to the one he did for Joker earlier this year, he kindly put together this superb, richly textured future beats and bass mix for Dummy Mix 30 (download it on the right). Catch him at East Village in London this Thursday night with Paul White, Debruit, Blue Daisy, Mr Beatnick, Wrongtom and more.
What sort of mix have you made for us?
This is a mix of music I’m feeling at the moment, loosely speaking. It’s got stuff I like that’s out, or is coming soon. The first part has some older Detroit electro then we move up to date with some stuff from last year, earlier this year and a couple of promo bits. It kinda has a seasonal feel for me.
Please tell us about a couple of the tracks you’ve included and why.
A very trendy name to drop unfortunately, but I have to say this track lives up to the hype for me. It’s just very nicely put together, and I love the way it’s not in a rush. There are some interesting garage-ish sounding tunes kicking about at the moment like this that I enjoy.
Basically I’m a big fan, I guess they are also a trendy name to drop in certain selector circles, but to me they defined what is appealing to me about techno and electro music and moreso synthesis, the constant shifting stream of ideas in their work showed a mastery and consistency that few have matched in my opinion. Not to mention its usually just funky as hell!
Are you still producing under your 2Tall name as well and how do the two projects differ?
The whole 2tall thing was me in my 20’s making scratch music and working loosely in hiphop production, with the better known projects being 2004’s ‘Shifting Tides’ and 2007’s ‘Beautiful Mindz’ (the album with Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow). Through those years I learned how not to do things in a business sense put it that way. The scratch music element for me was a great experience, but I had to move on from that – I still enjoy checking out that kind of music, and seeing the new DJs doing interesting things, but I did it all from the bedroom to DMC’s to performing sets with loopstation and mpc and eventually realised my heart ultimately wasn’t it any more.
These days I am open to anything, I grew up listening to and producing jungle and harcore originally in ’94 – and I followed on to garage after that and played house and breaksy stuff when I was at University in 98. For a long time though I’d had the blinkers on and really missed out on so much great music because i was so focused on such small areas, now I am playing catch up.
So you could say, Om Unit is me breaking free of the past. Om is the sound of creation, Unit is a singularity, a point of creation.
I really like Lightgrids/Lavender. What’s up next?
Me too actually, I can still listen to those tracks and not be too critical about them. The next solo Om Unit release will be ‘The Corridor EP’ on Plastician’s Terrorhythm Records. After that there will be a steady stream of remixes floating about that I’ve been finishing recently. I just did one for Colonel Red, there’s one for Kidkanevil and one for Mizz Beats that will most likely be up for free download soon. Currently I’m working on remixes for Mexicans With Guns, Shigeto, Semtek and Pure Phase. There will be a track coming on Jus Like Music/Apple Juice Break Oscillations compilation entitled Neptune also, and hopefully another EP to follow later in the year if I can finish that in time.
Who’s exciting you musically at the moment?
Take (aka Sweatson Klank) – I was a fan before we became friends, and I have to say his work is just so consistently impressive to me. It’s not so obvious and in your face in terms of ‘‘beats’‘ or whatever, he creates with a fluidity that I think passes some people by. Not many people know this, but he started a night in LA that became a central hub of that circle of beatmakers and producers such as Flying Lotus, and Ras G and Samiyam – which has ultimately led to the Brainfeeder label and all the successes that have followed.
Dimlite, the Godfather don of not giving a shit what he uses to make music, is also a great inspiration to me. Other than that Shigeto, Mux Mool, Elemental, Blu James, Mala, Altered Natives, Mr Beatnick, Floating Points, Blue Daisy, Debruit, Dizz one, Dibiase, Dorian Concept, Ras G, Carl Craig, DJ Blam and Plato, Grandeurs of Delusion, Deviant and Naive Ted, and many more!
There seems to be more crossover than ever before in electronic music. How have you seen the UK Hip Hop scene develop over the last couple of years?
I think electronic music has been at the forefront of music since the 80s really – if you look at the charts – from maybe 81 it all goes drum machine crazy. And really it hasn’t changed, although there’s been waves of trends, really the presence of electronics in music in general has been quite popular for while, no?
In terms of the UK hiphop scene – I think there’s always been a healthy underground thing going on since the 90’s, I can remember working at the Jazz Fudge label as a work experience guy back in ’99 and seeing Blade, Roots Manuva and the Scratch Perverts on the front of the Evening Standard magazine, with Taskforce being interviewed alongside them also. They were interesting times back then because there was a fresh new wave of stuff happening. Of course as the years went by, a lot of people got frustrated because they wanted to be financially successful without really seeing that this country can never fully relate to hiphop culture, its only pockets of places that understand, and you can’t make a living from it but you might just wanna do it anyway! Over the past 2 years I’ve not really seen much myself, although I know everyone’s doing their thing, but in terms of the DJs – I rate Sarah Love who came out of that Kung Fu club night era and is now a bonafide eclectic DJ with skill and experience, or someone like Blakey who started off as part of my DJ crew in 2003 and is now working on the DJ Hero game, having played all over the world since being a DMC champ.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Summer. I am planning a trip in a camper van. I’m gonna record stuff, look at stuff, make stuff and probably do some gigs along the way.
What’s your favourite colour?
Really? If I have to answer honestly, I’d have to say I don’t believe in favourites – they’re fickle ultimately.
Like this? Read Adam’s interview with Floating Points.