Reeces Pieces has been getting a lot of love from the UK Glitch Hop fam this year. Now Bristol-based producer Mr 50 has released the follow up to The City of Sin, The Juicy EP, on Australia's Adapted Records. It's about time for a Glitch.fm guest mix and interview innit?
Hello Mr 50! Tell us about the name, where did that come from?I wish there was a clever or insightful answer to this, but it was literally me sat down working out a name that a nice ring to it. I had interest in one of my first tracks and I had to think quickly. I’m very happy with my choice though and I think it works well.
You've just released a new EP on Adapted Records How would you describe your style of music?1995 Hip Hop and Drum & Bass were my first loves as a kid, and I think the funk influences of that style of hip hop and the sound design aspects from D&B are pretty front and centre in my music. I think it’s fair to say that there’s always going to be a strong element of funk & disco in my tracks, no matter what genre I work with. Classic funk techniques and sounds always creep into my productions, even when I’m not going for a funky vibe, so it’s definitely something my brain is wired to.
What first turned you onto glitchy bass music?I had a 4-5 year break from producing (I was just tinkering blindly with a sampler and sequencer before that) and when I started again in 2010 I was trying to see if the style that I had in my head already existed. I’d been imagining what I was calling ‘hard funk’ that borrowed lots of synth driven hip hop styles. A few google searches later and I had Opiuo blaming out my speakers. Needless to say, that was an enjoyable find!
What's the scene like in Bristol?Bristol has always been an amazing place for someone into music (of all genres). I swear, if you polled 20 random people in a bar in Stokes Croft, I reckon half of them would be directly involved with music somehow! What I like about Bristol is that no-one is really into one scene, all genre’s intertwine together and thrive. Koan Sound and Culprate are two of the obvious examples of successful Bristol production outfits that have a big glitch hop feel but are nothing like the ‘classic’ glitch hop sound and cover a number of different tastes. The house scene here is really flourishing as well, with people like Eats Everything, My Nu Leng etc all leading the way internationally. Having that in such close proximity and being able to randomly bump into the artists you’ve been raving out to in your studio for the last 3 months is always going to be a good thing. I think it’s why Bristol is so successful when it comes to music.
How was Boomtown this year?Sick! It’s probably the craziest festival I’ve seen and the production value is unrivaled. I was really happy we (Riddim Fruit) were playing on the Boombox stage, which is a good example of the level of production work that goes into the festival - a 40 feet high ghetto blaster is pretty damn cool I anyone’s book and I got a real kick out of that.
What's the craziest gig you've ever played?Boomtown was pretty crazy and I’m a relative newcomer, so I’d have to say there. Not just for the venue, which was insane, but there was a lot of crazy shit going on en masse. Everywhere you looked in fact! If you like your festivals in a complete other world, then go there.
What kit do you use?I have a few bits of hardware (Push, Condensor Mic, BSII Synth etc) and a handful of small midi controllers that all plug into Ableton. Ableton is my dear friend. I tend to change which of the controllers I use when producing. Some tracks are done using just a midi keyboard, others will be me using a Launchpad (for example) and just messing around with crazy shit to get something different out. Having said that, a midi keyboard is the most important tool I have, apart from my beloved Ableton.
I use a log of plugins and like most people, after a bit of hoarding you settle into the ones that you use as core tools and will appear on almost every track. It’s way better to know a handful of good ones inside out than always use the latest thing. Sylenth is my go to synth because it sounds fat and using Push’s encoders to programme it gives me the hands on ‘hardware’ control that I want. Alchemy & Massive are great for sounds that need some crazy modulations, mainly because they have MSEGs (multi-stage envelope generators). There’s nothing you can’t do using FX and automation of those FX, but there’s something about those tools being inside a synth that make me much more likely to use them to good effect. The free stuff from TAL Audio is as good as any commercial plugin I think, especially the Noize Maker and the TAL Reverb, which I’ve been using loads recently and love. The TAL-X-UNO-LX is a really good emulation of the Juno 60.
I have plans to buy more and more hardware, especially analog synths. I don’t agree with the synth snobbery out there and I think plugins are fantastic. Regardless of where my music takes me, I really love the hobby and gear side of it all and I’m planning on having a good selection of analog synths in a drool-worthy studio in the coming years! Specifically, top of the shopping list is a Juno 60 and a Prophet 05, although I’ll probably get the Prophet 08 desktop instead. Anyone who’s into that side of things, check out the Future Music studio tour with Aeroplane, it’s actual gear porn (he also has the 2 synths I mentioned above if you want to see what them in action).
I love talking about production so I’ll stop before this gets too long
Who's inspiring you most at the moment?A shit load of people! Gramatik pretty much never fails to inspire me. A lot of recent inspiration is from the house scene, which is really grabbing me (and the rest of the world right now) – I literally cannot get enough of some of the Nu Disco, or whatever term people are using. Pretty much every track coming out of Hot Creations is giving me a boner. Gorgon City, Dusky and Kolombo are heavy on the rotation at the moment as well.
I think Glitch-Hop has got to a level where it’s popularity is getting bigger and bigger – it’s stock is rising – and with that comes the influx of tracks that all sound way too similar (mine included, I think). It’s definitely due some changes and I can’t wait to see what that natural progression becomes because it has a really solid foundation and great funk focus.
Who would you recommend we listen to that we might not have heard of?Apart from the people above, I would recommend that everyone check out B. Bravo and a Bristol producer called Arkist, both of which were introduced to me by a close friend and producer called Flywalker. He will definitely someone to look out for in the future and hopefully we’ll get on and do some tracks together shortly.
You've had a few EPs in quick succession, what's your next in the pipeline?Yeah, I was really pleased to get 2 EPs plus a couple of singles out in 2013 – that was pretty much what I had set out as the goal for the year, so I’m pleased it happened that way.
Right now I’ve been trying out stacks of different styles and approaches so I don’t know exactly what’s next, I had hoped to have pretty much finished the next release by the time Juicy came out on Adapted, but it hasn’t flowed that way. I wasn’t happy with the quality of what I had on the table so I’ve gone back to the drawing board and just focussed on experimenting a bit. I made a track the other day which I’m trying to get a specific MC to rhyme on and that feels like a real dirty hip hop banger, but then I’ll make one that’s all out 4x4 dirty disco. One track / well developed idea wouldn’t be out of place in a techno set… It’s all up for debate right now!
I definitely want to release more glitch hop, but it will be part of it, rather than just that. An album is probably the best way I can offer up a few different things whilst keeping it a coherent release. The classic tempo range of glitch hop (90-110bpm) is one that really works in my head, so it will always be there!
I’m working with a Music Publishing label as well for TV & Sync music production, which has just started and something I really want to pursue.
Other plans involve a collective/events entity I’ve been planning for a while, I’ve let my brain slowly form what I want it to be in the background and not focused too much on it, but it’s something I really want to do so plans are being made.
Where are you playing next?Good question, I’m just sorting out the next couple of months now actually so I don’t have all the details to hand, but I’m playing in London shortly alongside the Plump DJs (I believe) and just talking about playing in a very large geo-dome for NYE, which sounds awesome!
There’s a plan ahead to tour Australia in March and I don’t mind saying that I’m also very keen to do a US tour next year if that became an option, so any management / promoters out there that are remotely interested in me – get at me!