Hiya and thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to become a soloist?
I’ve played in bands as a bass guitarist for years and collaborating on tracks during writing and recording is great fun though there are times you always want to take an idea in a certain direction, and if everyone isn’t on board that generally means it won’t happen with conviction and the end result is never as convincing. Taking up a solo project does have its challenges, but being able to push a track forwards in the direction you want and experimenting along the way is a incredibly satisfying experiencing, providing much more room for experimentation and expression you don’t usually get a bassist.
How positive are you feeling now restrictions are loosening?
All things considered I think it will be great when things get back to a relatively new normal, seeing friends and family will be great though I am concerned that if we let our guard down too readily, we’ll end up in a vicious circle of tiered restrictions or worse. Even now people still disregard simple mask wearing rules on public transport, sitting closer together as trains get busier. We can’t remain as we have for the last 18 months, but we don’t want to end up back where we started.
How much are you looking forward to playing live?
I started this solo endeavour in earnest during lockdown, so the writing process has been very much a bedroom music production project. My recent tracks have all been written in logic which is use in a linear / horizontal fashion, as opposed to triggering clips as you would in Ableton and so far it doesn’t lean itself towards a live performance. Although in other projects I do play live and it will be great to get back out there and on the stage again, feeling the pre-performance anticipation and adrenaline buzz once you’ve gotten past the intro of the first track.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Err, no. I’d like to think I’m adept at critical thinking, especially when you consider that there are things that take place of which we are all aware, know that shouldn’t happen, but do happen and we’re still almost powerless to stop it. What happened to all the Panama Papers questions, all the lies during the Brexit campaign? The UK sells weapons to countries which use them against civilians, private companies make huge profits through public sector outsourcing at the expense of the taxpayer. These things are real and affect our lives in ways we might not quite see directly, but you know, Auntie Doris’ friend is a doctor who says they put chips in vaccine and 5g towers are busy plotting to take your jobs from you blah blah blah….No…
What support is out there for new artists in Croydon ?
In my recent experience I can’t say I’ve encountered much open support for developing musical artists, especially younger people looking to create a career within the creative sectors. This might be in part due to the local council bankrupting itself and getting into debt to the tune of £1.5 billion by trying to play property developer… That said you can still apply for funding via the Arts Council for specific projects which provide value to the local communities, in 2020 only 5 groups received funding, but none were specifically music related. That said we are close to London so there is no shortage of opportunity if you’re prepared to scout around for it.
Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Croydon unsigned scene?
In the last 18 months I’ve not seen any live music in Croydon, everywhere has been closed, it’s been pretty quiet. Even Pirate Studios closed its doors due to flooding, so I don’t have much I can report on really. What was great though, is the V-Bar started doing live streams of DJs which helped fill the gaps.
What useless party trick /talent do you have/?
Tongue firmly in cheek, bass tapping…
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
When it all comes together, and is a great set, that’s a great feeling. Every live performance has its highs, maybe some lows, but in general they are always fun and I can’t pick any one singular moment out.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I once thought (probably wasn’t thinking) that having 7 pints before getting on stage was a great idea, probably the best one that I’d have that night, in fact maybe ever. This would be great, can’t go wrong, I’m having a great time. Needless to say, I was barely able to keep in key, time, or generally know where I was or what I was doing. When you make a mistake here and there during a set, most people won’t notice, this was one of those occasions where people definitely noticed and I definitely learnt a lesson that day.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Well, I’m the only one but here I go. I have played at the Royal Albert Hall, albeit I was about 11 and on 3rd cornet in a junior wind ensemble, but I have played there.
If you had to describe your act to an alien how would you describe it?
Name a four piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)
Les Claypool on Bass
Keith Flint on Vocals
Trent Reznor on Sound Design & Synths
Igor Cavalera on Drums
What makes you stand out as an Artist?
I just write music, it’s a central part of my being, character and person, without it I wouldn’t be me. Standing out as an artist isn’t something I think I can really say about myself, its determined by the people that choose to engage and listen to what I’ve done. How I stand out to them if at all is what really matters.
Right now, what’s pissing you of the most? (Cant say the virus )
The general political omnishambles that is the UK, its like we can’t get our shit together, on anything. Mediocrity, dishonesty, nepotism, and scapegoating appear acceptable. How is we can find money for a new royal yacht but not school meals for kids and food banks, why do we even have food banks. Where do we find money for political vanity projects but can’t effectively fund education and extra curricula activities within deprived communities.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I have to two tracks that I adore playing live, but neither are under the DJN moniker. Damaged Goods by Looking For Droids, this is so much fun to play on the bass, its got a really funky vibe and a groove to it which melts effortlessly into the guitar riffs. The other is Falter by Empty Friend, a real good stoner grunge tracks which is a bit of a face melter at times, it has so much energy from start to finish you can’t help but get excited hearing it and playing. Go check them out too.
We recently reviewed your last single. How did you feel the review went?
I’m generally happy when someone has taken the time to listen to a track thoughtfully and share that experience because all I really want at the end of the day is for people to listen.
The fact of whether it went well or not is outside of my control. Reviews are a great when their good, and if not so good they give pointers to improve and develop and learn to make you a better creator, sometime I do my best not to get hung up on the overly subjective nature of some reviews, but the nature of music as a shared experience means that it is an entirely subjective view point that you will get.
It was an honest review, and you can’t ask for much more that.
I hear you have a new E.P brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Conceptually, it’s a mix of techno, retrowave & cyberwave, giving off some retro video gaming vibes. It’s a culmination of tracks I’d been working on since the autumn and is my first non-single release and is due to provide part of a backing track to an indie video game titles GodArena (shout out to @bunnybreaker). I use the Novation Bass Station 2 and Serum heavily throughout and it has a dark feeling to it. Its 20 odd minutes of heavy 4 to the floor beats and some buzzing bass riffs that I garnered immense pleasure from crafting. I really hope to build a portfolio of tracks for videogames in general and it is with that in mind that I put these tracks together.
What are your plans for the year ahead
Music production is vast subject, and I plan to continue studying into it and developing my skill sets for composition, sound design and song writing. I’ve got ideas fizzing away at the back of my mind that I want to get out and into the ether. With that in mind I’ve been toying with the idea of offering production services professionally and building a career route into the industry outside of being an artist. I don’t myself getting a live set up and running any time soon, so this will be my way of ensuring longevity.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Can we all just try and think sensibly, be nice to one another and find happiness without ruining someone else.