Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Plasticman Actually

Plasticman Actually, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Twenty two year old Chris Reed aka Plasticman hasn't been spending much time at his humble Thornton Heath abode of late. Hell no. Since hooking up with Rephlex Records, taking over Croydon with his dubstep-grime mashup's and producing some breathtaking moments of musical mayhem, it's been one long arse journey around the world... Plasticman breaks it down…

Name: Plasticman

History: Started DJ'ing in 1999, got on a few swag pirates in 2000 by doing a few guest shows. 2001 - started playing darker UKG in a crew called Fearless Crew under another alias, "DJ Darkstar". 2001/2002 - started working in a record distribution company and began writing brief reviews for RWD mag under the Plasticman guise. By 2002 I had left the company and started producing under the Plasticman name to further my DJ career. 2003 I had a few decent releases and people were taking notice. At the end of 2003 I started on Rinse FM. 2004 did the Rephlex deal and began getting more recognition out of the UK. And now, I'm still on Rinse, still making beats and running my label - Terrorhythm Recordings.

Noteable ones - Having two number one tracks on the 1Xtra chart. Playing in Japan, Belgium, France, USA, Austria and Holland at the age of 21. Being the youngest ever tutor at the Red Bull Music Academy in Rome this year. Signing with Rephlex is also probably one of my top achievements.

Just to help people get really into grime - whether it's played with or without vocals. I want to re-create the dancefloor scenes we used to see in Ayia Napa before UKG died. People raving again. It's starting to happen already - I'm not the only person involved in the scene who wants this i'm sure!

What are you working on at moment?
My album which should be getting a Rephlex release later in the year after the summer. I'm currently trying to put together a 4 deck mix CD. It's really complicated though and has been getting the better of me for the last few weeks! I just want to take my DJ'ing career further really - thats the whole reason I started making music. I've also been collaborating with some very big MC's. I can't say much at the moment but just watch this space - you won't be disappointed.

How about your label plans?
I want Terrorhythm to be a label for the whole scene to be proud of. I'm trying to make it look and run as professionally as possible. I've made some basic merchandise available online and the feedback has been great on it. I just want to have a label that people who aren't into grime can access easily - it caters for all tastes in grime music from basic riddims for MC's right up to the kind of twisted bangers you would hear at FWD.

You've been touring world with Rephlex could you tell us more?
Yeh Rephlex took Mark One and I to the USA in March last year. Since the release of the compilation album ('Grime') they've gathered interest for me from promoters around the globe. I went to France to represent Rephlex in November with Luke Vibert, Ed DMX, Bogdan Raczynski and Ceephax. Most of the other bookings have come directly to me though - Brussels was a good one, in a train station which was shut for one night! I went to Japan with Pascal and Hazard from True Playaz - it was really good to share the experience with people like them who are veterans to the whole touring thing!

Let's talk global then. Most people don't even realise the underground UK dance scene is popping abroad, right?
True. Belgium was mad - around 2000 people in a massive train station, the people were really up for it and I took Nika D and JSD out there with me. Japan was absolutely crazy - I really like going to other countries almost like a tourist, and just being surrounded by the culture there was unreal - almost like being on another planet, and the hospitality was first class. Rome was probably the most beautiful city I've seen on my travels - I went into the Colosseum and saw all the old ruins when I wasn't listening to all of the great music at the Red Bull Academy. Amsterdam was.... well, Amsterdam! The party there was really good, DJ Gomes is working extremely hard out there for our scene and he had a really good crowd of educated grime supporters. Austria was a funny one, I got an indirect flight which was delayed and meant I missed the change-over in Germany, which resulted in my bags (and records!) getting left behind as I got on my connecting flight to Austria. My bags arrived just 20 minutes before my set and I got to the club with about 5 mins to spare! France was massive - a huge indoor festival called Nordik Impakt, I was playing in the "chillout" room, but as the night went on it got less chilled out by the minute! At one point in my set Luke Vibert told me I had more people in our room than any other room in the venue, and he could see them all dancing from the VIP lounge which was up on a blacony overlooking the huge hall. There must have been around 6,000 people in the room at that time. Half of which were skankin' to FWD riddim! This trip provided me with one of my funniest experiences - as I was playing my set I noticed a really wasted couple trying to make love to each other at the front of the crowd. All the people around them were too busy raving to Wiley's Ice Cream Man tune to notice, but I didn't miss the opportunity to grab the video camera and record the err... "beautiful" moment they were attempting to share!

How did you get involved with the Redbull Music Academy?
Zed Bias called me one day to tell me I had been shortlisted for the annual event to appear as a guest tutor on the academy. I was really pleased to find this out, as he told me there were three people on the committee to put my name forward, none of them from the UK. It was a good feeling to think people outside London let alone the UK were actually into the new sound, and they were prepared to give me a great opportunity to share my knowledge of the scene with a group of extremely talented musicians from around the world. It was an amazing experience for me - the kalibre of musicians involved there was absolutely astonishing. I met some really cool people and also got the opportunity to see Rome, the city. I rate that trip as one of the most life changing experiences in my life - it really made me realise how far I've come and how I must never take for granted all of the experiences I've had in my music career.

How has the recent closure of Big Apple, a shop integral in pushing the Croydon and grime sounds, effected you?
It's made record shopping a mission! It's also made it more difficult for me to link the Croydon heads for new dubs. I think it's probably difficult for young people in the Croydon area to get hold of new records now. If they don't drive, getting to Independance is difficult and it's the closest store to Croydon. I expect the online stores of shops like Uptown, Independance and Rhythm Division have been much busier since Apple closed down.

People often get it twisted about what you play, how would you describe your style?
It's just my take on grime music. I've always been a grime DJ and I started producing purely so I could further my career in the scene. I think the reason people get it twisted is because I try so hard to sound original, whereas a lot of other producers in the scene just bite whatever is the top selling sound at the time, and therefore fall into the boundary of a typical grime production. When producing my tracks I try to make it sound interesting enough to stand alone in a set without an MC on top of it, which normally means making it more complicated. As grime is generally publicised as a pretty simple and minimal genre, any kind of attempt to make it sound complex is going to confuse people who aren't really in the know.

Dubstep/grime - what's the difference to you?
Dubstep takes massive influence from dub reggae. People like Digital Mystikz show such a clear link between the two genres in their production and for me they really represent the sound more truly than anyone else in the scene. Dubstep tends to sway more towards the sub bass and steers clear of anything synthy, which gives it a really analog sound. The beats are normally quite spaced out which gives it a slow feel, but the beats are also regularly backed up by drum loops - usually ethnic sounding loops - probably an influence from the jungle scene which a lot of the producers involved grew up on. The sub bass is the key element here, as it is the main component of the track. The bass really helps the tune along, and fills in all of the gaps left by the usual absence of any catchy riffs or melodies. Grime for me is normally slightly more simple in the beat department but is more busy than dubstep in all other parts of the tunes. Riffs and hooks are normally present to help carry the track through and make it more "song-like". I think that this is due to the evolution of grime from UK Garage - which was always very catchy in it's melodies. The basses in grime are less subby and normally make up part of the midrange of the track, as it is important the bass sounds are heard as well as felt. The main difference for me is that Dubstep is usually designed to be played on it's own, whereas grime is more designed for vocals or MC's. This is probably the main reason my sound is always confused by a lot of people - by making a grime track sound more complex I'm twisting what a lot of people believe to be "playstation" music from what they've read in the press. A lot of people who aren't really in the know about our scene would place me in the dubstep genre because of this.

You can book Plasticman via Live Agents (liveagents@hotmail.com).


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