Interview: A1 Bassline
So… let’s start with the basics:
A1 Bassline, how did you come up with the name?
It's a tongue in cheek name, for the first song I made under this project I used an in-house synth which comes with Cubase that is called A1.
And you’ve been producing and releasing music for quite a while now. What age did you start getting into it all? Are your family musical?
Yeah I had my first record out when I was 17 under the name of Infamy (http://soundcloud.com/infamydrums), but I started messing about with Reason when I was about 14-15, I couldn't afford a computer at the time so I used to use my sisters. She had a big influence on me as well when I was really young; I remember her bringing back a One Nation tape pack when I was 11 and playing me the shy FX remix of Chopper.
I have always been around music since I was young, my Dad used to manage Dem 2 and other bands so I grew up with it. I always used to go to record labels with him, my memory is awful but I do remember being on MTV with my cap backwards talking to Queen La Taifa when I was around 5-6, I’m pretty sure my Mum still has it on tape.
Can you tell us about your early musical movements? You were part of Partyshank and dabbled in a bit of drum and bass… you used to put on parties with Kavsrave and Joy O at skate parks, correct?
Ha Partyshank was a fun few years of my life; I’m still best mates with Howard who was in it with me. But yeah my main musical background comes from drum and bass, everything from early Krust, Metalheadz, Ed Rush to the more jump up stuff like Zinc, which is how I got into the scene. Yeah I grew up with Kav and Pete, we were good friends at school and all really into music. As I got older I got more into other genres of music and the whole band thing was really interesting at the time, thats how Partshank kinda started: we were making pretty-much electronic music with circuit bent toys, but wanted to do it live. My friends were in bands at the time to, Pete (Joy O) was in an indie band and a few friends were in hardcore bands so it all made sense at the time.
What were the clubs like at that time?
It was really good fun, from playing drum and bass events to a small amount of people, to then playing festivals, it all happened a bit too fast. But yeah most people our age were listening to more jump-up garage/house music and it was a good vibe. I never really listened to house music when I was younger so people like Herve and Crookers were a good introduction.
You seem focused on progressing your sound at the moment, do you feel like you became too settled within a certain scene during that initial period?
I wouldn't really call it progressing my sound, seeing as its closer sound-wise to the drum and bass I used to make, but just at a slower tempo. But yeah, I think I’ve found my feet with the music I'm making now and what people are creating under the house/techno banner is probably the most exciting electronic music out there at the moment.
It seems quite normal these days for artists to often have different names for the different styles they produce. As your sound changed did you consider changing your name again or do you think this is a good thing to show a clear timeline of progression in your discography?
I was thinking about changing my name but, in the end, I didn't see any point. Although it does seem like the music I’m writing now is very different from a few years ago, if you have followed me it’s moved slowly and I don't think it seems so drastic.
Clearly having an established name is a great platform to get your music heard, but do you think it can hold you back because of expectations and pre-held conceptions?
To a certain degree but as a whole i think if the music is at a decent level and people are into it, it seems pretty shallow to me to have pre-held conceptions on the back of someones previous material.
In regards to the music you’re currently making, how would you describe it?
I always find it tricky to describe my music but i guess it falls under the house/techno banner with nostalgia of drum and bass.
How did the link up with Dirtybird come about?
I sent a few things over the Claude Von Stroke including the release of Falsehood, seeing as it didn't come out on wax. He liked it so much he said it had to come out on 12"...
And you’ve just started your own label, Source Unknwn. What are your plans for it?
I started it as a platform to release music where I can be a bit more "out of the box" with my production, however cliche that sounds. I wrote Slur last summer and no one was really interested, so a year or so later down the line I'm happy that it got to see the light of day. I haven't got any plans to release any other artists as of yet, but I think the next release is a collab i did with Bobby Champs with a pretty tasty remix for the flip.
What about the name, was there a specific reason behind that?
Not really, sometimes I put a lot of thought into things but with the name it just sounded good in my head.
How long have you been in Brighton for now, what do you think of it?
I moved down to Brighton last summer, it's been nice to have a break from London. Things are at a slower pace but there are always good artists to see, good food and we have the sea; i never take that for granted!
Do you enjoy the scene down here? Have you been working on anything with any local producers?
Yeah its a nice vibe, it's small so you get to know everyone really quick, but i guess thats the same everywhere if your into a niche. I only wrote the one track with Bobby Champs whilst he was living here, but there is some really good talent with the likes of Leon Vynehall, Lorca and Guy Andrews.
What are the best and worst things about Brighton for you?
Having Grubbs at the top of my road is probably the worst thing, I'm not even a big fan but it's just so easy! The best thing is having the sea at the bottom of my road, so refreshing to wake up in the morning, (3pm), and walk out the front door and have fresh air.
What are your plans for the future? Have you got any other releases and collaborations in the works?
I have a release on Pets and maybe something else lined up with them guys in the future. There's also the collab with Bobby, a collab with my brother Alfie and Im currently sitting on loads of material for more Source Unknwn releases. I've also finished a remix for Passion Pit which should be coming out soon as well.
Are there any artists or labels which you would single out as a big influence on you?
Micky Finn....Only when he had a pony Tail though...
Are you looking forward to playing with Levon Vincent at the BTL birthday on Friday? What can we expect from your set? Any chance of some sneaky drum and bass in there? (http://www.mixcloud.com/a1bassline/a1-bassline-classroom-mix-for-radio1/) -
Ha I probably won't play and drum and bass but we'll see. But yeah, really looking forward to playing, its always nice to play in the city you live and I'm a massive Levon Fan. The guys at Life Club are a lovely bunch, I reckon the BTL night will be big!
Safe, thanks for chatting to us!
Make sure you check out the rest of his Soundcloud for more releases and his podcast for Source Unknwn >>> http://soundcloud.com/a1-bassline
Catch A1 Bassline in action this Friday at Life Club Brighton: