September 16, 2011

BASICS Podcast 009 - Blacktee

We used to strongly believe that when it comes to new talents on the so-called UK Bass scene there aren’t that many people actually living outside of the UK worth taking into consideration.

Fortunately, in the past 12 months or so, there have been some names popping up all over Central & Eastern Europe that have shaken those beliefs and managed to make us look like fools. Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad that happened, and we’re absolutely thrilled that one of those guys comes right out of Bucharest. His name is Blacktee and you may have seen him being mentioned on Boomkat or XLR8R – just to mention a couple of trustworthy proper sound pushers – by now.

He’s got a couple of singles out already on Hsuan Records and the newly founded No Stranger To Danger Records, he is quite the badman selecta when it comes to DJ mixes and he’s agreed to sign our 9th podcast in the BASICS series and tell us something about himself, his background and his plans for the future.


01. Raffertie - Mimetic [Ninja Tune]
02. Motor City Drum Ensemble - There's A Truth [Faces Records]
03. Kangding Ray - Coracoid Process [Rater-Noton]
04. Theo Parrish - Sky Walking [Peacefrog Records]
05. Roman Flugel - Bahia Blues Bootcamp [Dial]
06. Julio Bashmore - Ribble To Amazon [3024]
07. Deadboy - Wish U Were Here [Numbers]
08. SBTRKT - Look At Stars [Young Turks]
09. 2562 - Fever [When In Doubt]
10. SCB - Loss [Aus Music]
11. Spectr - Dance 4 Me [Roska Kicks & Snares]
12. Roska - Holograph [White]
13. Hanuman - Bola (Atki2 Remix) [Idle Hands]
14. Unknown (Main Mix) [N/A]
15. Blacktee - Software [Unreleased]
16. Ben Westbeech - Something For The Weekend (Breach Remix) [Strictly Rhythm]
17. Toddska - Cowboy [Girls Music]
18. Blacktee - Lunar Love [Unreleased]

DOWNLOAD (via Sendspace - available for 30 days)

Knowing Blacktee:

BASICS: So, what about you? Presumably everyone who’s an addicted digger on the scene has some information about you and your sounds. The average listener might not know that much tho’. Some basics about yourself?

Blacktee: I’m a pale young man, that loves his mother’s cooking and is obsessed with a good bassline.

BS: Let’s talk about production a bit, cause obviously that’s mainly what you’ve been doing so far. The first thing I’m interested in is your influences and what got you into building beats.

BT: I started producing as a way to pass time, and slowly started to be something I can’t go without. I have a large variety of influences, but the main ones are Techno, 808, UK Funky and Jazz.

BS: The classic software / hardware talk. What and why and how do you cope with it?

BT: Software, I use Fruity Loops cuz it’s soothing to my tastes and easy to use, as for the hardware, anything goes as long as you do it properly.

BS: Taking what you’ve released so far into account, it’s easy to notice that UK Funky is one of the main attractions for you, but I feel that somehow there’s more to it than that. Your productions are not quite the classic approach for this style. I wouldn’t compare them with what people like Crazy Cousins, Paleface, MA1 and the lot are building. There’s more of an Ill Blu / Lil’ Silva feel there. Something like „ok, we’ve got the classic soca-ish drum patterns, let’s take it as far as we can into the limits of the genre”. That’s actually something easy to spot in Plasmid (as seen on XLR8R). How would you describe your sound? Is it something you plan ahead or?

BT: I don’t realy plan anything ahead, it just comes to me. I enjoy sitting alone in a room and trying to find sounds that have that jazzy, futuristic kind of vibe to them. My music gravitates around these types of sounds, which further become melted into a track.

BS: Also, you’ve been putting together different stuff lately. 128 bpm Techno bits. There are guys like MMM down at Hardwax thinking out of the box and blending UK Funky riddims with classic Techno elements, getting the bpm higher than the usual 125-126 zone. Is that what you have in mind as well for this switch?

BT: Actually it is, I’m trying out new waters, like Techno and Funky and I think they would go well together. I’ve tried to mix them up in my sets and they come along just fine. Maybe someday this could be a new genre, who knows.

BS: Sticking to your up to date releases. These are definitely a couple of singles that do not lack coherence. While No Stranger To Danger goes for the more agressive, dancefloor-ish Tek Yu Time and the „take it to the next level” Plasmid, Hsuan picked what tends to be more laidback, something you’d groove on both in the club and at home at 5 AM. How was the selection for these two labels made, considering the fact that you / they had and still have a large number of unreleased material to choose from?

BT: Well, Graeme from Hsuan contacted me some time ago via SoundCloud to release an EP - I didn’t really know much about the label back then - and told me he liked the tracks DunKno and Blazin Up, which had that kind of laidback vibe they where looking for. I then listened to the other releases from the label and they kind of matched my style a bit so that was that, we signed up and good things came from that. As for NSTD, it’s the kind of label who can bring you releases with both the clubnight banger vibes and the laidback kick your feet up kind of music.

BS: No Stranger To Danger. You have quite a special relationship with this brand new label on the scene and I’m gonna take advantage of that. Care to share more info or insights than what is already well known? Cause I’ve been checking out some of its connections, potential future releases and it kinda has what it takes to be out there with the good ones! Unless it’s classified information, I’m interested!

BT: Haha, yeah you caught me on that. The special relationship comes from the fact that NSTD belongs to my blud brother and mentor, who I dearly love and hate at the same time, but without him I wouldn’t be here doing this. So you guys should watch out for further releases cuz I had a sneak peak on the next one and all I have to say is „oh my days, keep your ears open!”.

BS: Unreleased stuff. You’ve been busy, there’s loads of it on your SoundCloud and I’ve been through it a lot before writing this set. I know Sweetin’ is getting a release soon on Future Electronic Music’s FEM Picks. Any other plans? I’d personally love to see Romantiques on a 12” along with Spatial Cohabitation. Those two would tell a story together. Also Concrete Jungle is something different and it’s worth checking out. How’s the future settling for you?

BT: I’m always making tunes, finding new ways to hurt my ears with bass music, but right now I’m waiting for that big break, that big record deal.

BS: I’ve been talking with lots and lots of people, both newcomers, veterans and label owners and most of them seemed to be complaining about how hard it is to put music out there and get it noticed nowadays. I wanna ask, do you share the same view? Is it actually that big of a problem or is it a matter of quality and that’s all there is to it? How hard was it for you, getting your first tracks released? This could very well act as a bit of advice for other young producers out there.

BT: I have to say, it’s pretty sh*t, spending hours and hours writing emails to DJs and record labels that don’t reply back, but you just have to keep sending them tunes over, you never know who’s gonna stumble upon your track.

BS: Besides studio work, you’ve been putting together mixes for quite some time as well. Both as promos or for radio shows. You tend to keep it in the 130 bpm / dancefloor lines (sort-of) with what you’re mixing. What’s your DJ-ing philosophy?

BT: I believe they should make you dance in your chair and bob your head, even if it’s home alone whilst your mom is watching and having a laugh or on the streets listening to your iPod.

BS: How about some artists / tunes you’re really into at the moment? Small list? As per usual, no genre borders, no age limit.

BT: The artist I’ve realy been into lately is Blacksmif, a fellow SoundClouder that is absolutely an amazing producer, Machinedrum, Boddika, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Scuba as for tunes, I’m really diggin’ Wiley – Link Up at the moment.

BS: Finally, tell us a couple of words about the mix you’ve just put together for us? Facts worth knowing.

BT: It’s a combination of Techno and UK Funky tracks that I’ve been into lately + some of my own productions.

BS: Thanks for your time mate and I wish you the best of luck, loads of time to spend on building stuff and keep the proper sounds view going! Cheers!

BT: Pleasure doing this. Big up all the BASICS lot! Cheers!

Thus being said, please get in touch with the latest news regarding Blacktee's sounds via his own SoundCloud account or his Facebook page and if you're round Bucharest this weekend catch him spin alongside Son Of Kick & Dubsidia @ Atelierul de Productie on Sat. 17th of September. Pay attention!

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