Joe Gamp on 25/10/12
DJ and prodcuer Artifact is a World away from his namesake. One of the most exciting producers to come from the UK scene in the last year - Bristol if we're going to be exact - he blends the bounce of 4x4 and garage, with the stiff undertones of techno and the rumblings of bassline house. Far from stuck in the past, negatively entrenched in the archaic attributes of pastiching dance music past, it's like Ryan Bonfield's alchemist touch is pushing his influences and aesthetics into the future. In the wake of the release of his new EP Worn on Local Action, he catches up with Pulse about his inexorable rise to the top of the UK producer pile.
What was your first entry into electronic music? What drew you to start producing dance tracks? My Uncle has been making music since I was really young and I as used to seeing him do his thing with racks of gear and stuff back in the day. It’s like fifteen years ago. I also had loads of the software and stuff but I never really did anything with it, to be honest. Then, I started playing bands and stuff around 15. After a few years of that, I started thinking of the computer side of electronica and how easy it is to make music on your own; after being in a band for a while, I started listening to dance music and it just came together. I bought Macbook, sold my bass guitar and went on from there.
What do you bring from these band days to your electronic productions now? Have you brought elements from it into your productions? I always thought about things live, and in a live situation, and my music now is aimed for the dance-floor. A lot of the approaches from playing in a band are in my music – it’s all meant to be live and I try to think about how a crowd would react to the music being played out.
Are you prolific when you work? Do you sit on a bank of tracks or are you keen on working on a few? I have loads of tracks but I go through phases really. I’ll go for a few months and make a few tracks and get them together and end them out to labels and look to releases them. Then I’ll do some more DJing, do some business stuff, harassing labels and so on and then I’ll come back to the music later on. If I do it all in one go, then I find it hard to keep the quality really high and keep the ideas flowing. It’s always good to have a big break, to take a step back and then come back with fresh ears.
Being from Bristol – with its well-documented fondness for bass music - what is your own interpretation of the city? How did Bristol’s cultural history shape your music? It shaped all my music to be honest. When I came to Bristol I made Dubstep and obviously it as the best place outside of London for it. But when I got there, I quickly found out that sound was already getting old. I started meeting producers and they were doing other things. So I started making music and trying move on myself and then I eventually came up with the Artifact name. Bristol, I guess, is the reason I do this now, really.
Your latest single is out on the eclectic London based label Local Action… how did his come about? I’ve been in touch with the label for a while actually. My friend told me to get in touch with this guy who was starting a new label and I sent some stuff over. It was my early work and he said ‘It’s cool, but it’s not really there, so keep sending me tracks’ and it went on from there. So as time’s gone on, I’ve kind of ended up getting to know Tom through friends and gigs. And I eventually started sending some better music to him.
Would you say ‘worn’ is a typical Artifact sound? Yeah I would, for sure. The track are quite old no, as they always are, they’re about 6 months old (so not that old!). You know, the acidic noises, the hard hitting tong drums and stuff like that; it’s pretty much a great reflection of my sound at the moment. I like to play around a bit with basslines and too, make them sound interesting.
What’s next up your sleeve then? Actually, it’s very close; my next EP, Burst, is coming out on the Italian label Rebirth Records, the scheduling is quite tight so its’ actually out almost now. There’s that and then a single coming out on somethinksounds by the end of the year and that’s the label people like Eliphino are on. So I’m really happy with the next two bits that are coming out.
How do you feel about the way dance-floor music is becoming popular with a new generation these days? It seems that the youth follow the sounds of garage, techno and house more than ever before… are they more interested in it than they were ten years ago? I think it’s great, I think there’s lots of younger people getting into it. When I was at school and I as 15, we listened to bands, but now kids at school are listening to dance music. It’s the new thing to do it seems, to be into house and garage and stuff and want to be a producer - I think that’s a really healthy thing. People are coming through at like 15, 16 and sound brilliant already. By the time they get older they’re going to be amazing. I’m only 24, but I’m starting to feel old already ha ha ha.
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