Aleks Error, London - United Kingdom - on 13/6/12
You might not have heard of Citizen before, but get acquainted; you’ll probably be hearing a lot more from this fresh-faced Notts denizen in the future. After a string of nostalgic 90s-centric house cuts, he caught the ear of some dude called Kerri Chandler. Like a fat kid in a cake shop, Kez liked Citizen’s output so much, that he enlisted him to produce the inaugural release for his new Madhouse sub label, MadTech records – resulting in the recently released four-track Deep End EP. With information on him scarcer than morality at Murdoch’s newspapers, let Pulse introduce you to: Citizen.
There’s not much information about you floating around on the web – Could you tell us a little bit about your background story? I grew up in Nottingham on a diet of jazz, disco and hardcore. Started producing straight out of university and kind of didn't stop. Citizen started as a project to just make music I've been feeling for a long time; a kind of tribute to all the amazing tracks and artists that have entertained me throughout the years.
How did the involvement with Kerri Chandler come about? James Threlfall, the A&R at Madhouse, contacted me. A few tracks had been circulating on Soundcloud with a view to releasing them on Madhouse but I was moving at the time so everything was everywhere. The creative agency I am involved with was getting their biggest clients to date, which in turn resulted in me missing two of the meetings we scheduled. He then turned up to a night I was playing with Oliver Rant in Dalston and I think I had 'bar a thyme' going or something and he gave me the lowdown. And it fit pretty much exactly what I wanted to do with one side of the Citizen project. Kerri suggested creating a sub-label for more… abrasive output, thus Madtech was born.
Having the first release on his new label must be a pretty big honour – did you feel more pressure to perform than usual? Well I guess, there is always pressure associated with any release. I guess the fact that it's Kerri Chandler is massively daunting especially seeing as though I'm a huge fan, but the whole process was pretty organic really. The tracks were made over a series of months and represent my earliest musical output and sow the seeds for a few things I have going on.
In house, producers tend to use their real names – why did you go for a moniker? I see myself as a creative in numerous fields and didn't want my lines of work to get blurred, so I set about finding something to suit. I was watching one of my favourite films of all time at the time: Akira, and noticed he has this huge citizen sticker on his bike and I was like, "that's dope."
I notice you’ve got a bit of a love affair going on with the 90s, what’s your opinion on the state of music then, compared to now? Well I grew up in the 90's so it's the era that has had the earliest cultural, visual and sonic impression on me. There is just this bubblegum, day-glow, LA gear; backing dancers with kneepads vibe to it that influences me in everything I do, pretty much.
What’s some of your favourite music from that decade? In no particular order:
The UkG scene in general
Faith no more
Soul 2 Soul
The classic house sound has experienced a bit of a revival recently and your music really fits that sort of aesthetic, do you have any fears of being pigeonholed once the eventual backlash to what’s popular right now arrives? Not really. I think this is just a continuation of a sound that has been pretty much a constant, and it always experiences this augmentation process every so often, it can take it, and may even embrace it. But it's a really exciting period filled with exciting producers and personalities. And this could be the one scene of recent years that doesn't suffer from mass-appeal dilution. Or maybe it will.
And finally something philosophical – as an artist, is it better to go out at your peak and be immortalised forever, like Tupac, or grow old and fade into parody, like Snoop Dogg? As an artist I feel it's absolutely paramount to live and work by your own ideals, for some that attracts negativity for others positivity. Snoop Dogg is one of the hugest personalities in rap, wrote most to the codes that his successors live by and operates pretty much constantly high, I wouldn't call that a parody, just the next step. As for Tupac, again massive personality but totally different message one of self awareness, repentance and thug life. His legacy bares a completely different meaning entirely. So basically what I'm trying to say is as an artist it depends on the message you are communicating with the world. And I couldn't possible answer that about myself at this stage.\
Citizen - Deep End EP is out now on MadTech Records. Purchase here.
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