Listening to newcomer DECiBEL’s G.A.P EP for Tectonic, a release we clambered over ourselves to cover when we first got wind of it, it’s kind of obvious that there’s a bunch of influences and approaches at work in it. ‘G.A.P’ is pure bass pressure and pitched low muttering and ‘M.S.T’ worked on much the same kind of purist bass, relentless low end level but it had a steadier clip and leaned less of repetition. ‘Miss’ was a melodic shot in the arm, it’s uplifting mid-section blossoming out of the lounge piano with TNGHT like vigour and ‘Gyal’ was seemingly the ace in the pack; the dancefloor weapon that sounded little like anything else that came before it. It’s a neat package, streamlined in terms of the amount of layers each track uses but maximalist in the range of styles on display.
It’s an approach that undoubtedly spills over into the producer’s Sonic Router Mix, one we asked him to make in light of our appreciation for his single. He doesn’t stick to one thing, one style or one genre; he splashes around, dipping a toe into hip hop, grime, unreleased productions and um, Tori Amos. There’s a wide eyed energy that runs through it and given the impact his EP made, sounding little like anything else you’d expect from Tectonic yet completely at home there, we caught up with the producer to help better introduce him.
Sonic Router: Let’s start with an introduction. Who are you, where you from?
DECiBEL: I’m DECiBEL, I’m from East London but live in Belfast
What made you want to start making music in the first place?
I started DJing whilst at uni in Newcastle and had built up to being a good multi-genre resident DJ. When you DJ a lot you find yourself looking for better and better tunes to play out. After a while you get bored of looking and decide to just make them instead.
How would you describe the music you make? I mean to me, there’s a lot of different approaches there… but it all seems to work together as a package.
I’m not really sure to be honest. I’ve always played different genres and tempos of music when DJing, so it feels natural to continue that ethos of throwing stuff together and seeing what happens when making music.
I’ve always admired DJs like the late DJ AM as he could play anything and smash any party anywhere or producers like Diplo who make all sorts. So why stick to just doing one thing all day?
Your music’s quite sparse. Is that an intentional thing? To let every part have its own space? What are you making it on? What’s the studio like?
I think that could be a result of making music with headphones. I used to use my Sennheiser HD25s for making tunes, but I’ve treated myself and got a pair of Beyerdynamic DT880s. I like to make sure each element stands out and hits you. I find that aids the swing and progression of a track. The way Dilla would always have something slightly off that adds to a groove.
I use Ableton as a DAW and Trillian for bass. My studio is normally an airport or train, but my favourite one is lying on my sofa with my Mini-Schnauzer Fudge.
Bit of a loaded question I know but, does what other producers do influence you directly do you think?
Yeah completely… I’d love to know what the very first person to make ‘music’ was thinking as generally I find that all great music will draw influences from somewhere else. I love the swing and groove of tracks by the Neptunes or Teddy Riley, the bass of Wookie and Sticky and the pure vibes and party nature of Redlight.
Your Tectonic release just came out. How did that feel, to have someone investing in your music properly?
It feels amazing, especially with it being a vinyl release. I don’t want to get in to an mp3 vs. vinyl debate but being able to physically hold a copy of something that you’ve produced is a beautiful feeling. I’ve grown up buying Tectonic plates so it’s weird and humbling to see my name alongside so many established musical heroes.
How did you hook up with Pinch?
A friend of mine passed my music to his girlfriend who passed it to him.
What else have you got in store this year?
I’ve got a track coming out on Four40 records with Flowdan that Toddla T has recently played on Radio 1. I’ve also got a few ‘trap’ tunes that have been getting played in the US & UK so I guess I’ll be trying to find a home for them and hopefully impressing Pinch with some of my new ideas.
Tell us a bit about the mix you’ve made for us?
This mix was great practice. As a club resident I’m used to DJing from 22:00-03:00 or warming up for the main acts. So it was an opportunity to condense into one hour what I usually do in four and see what a ‘DECiBEL’ set would be like.
It’s simply me, my music and the music I love…
Any words of wisdom for our readers?
Why cry when you can laugh? Why walk when you can dance? Why argue when you can banter?
DOWNLOAD: DECiBEL – Sonic Router Mix #145
I. DECiBEL vs Soulja Boy – Fake Boys
II. Future – Same Damn TIme
III. DECiBEL – Stand (DJ Cable rmx)
IV. Twista – Gucci, Louie, Prada
V. DECiBEL – Goonz
VI. Meek Mill & Rick Ross – Body Count
VII. TNGHT – Bugg’n
VIII. Lethal Bizzle – Leave It Yeah rmx
IX. Girl Unit – Double Take (LOL Gurlz Triple Take Hot Sex N Capri Suns Bootleg)
X. Dizzee Rascal – Stop Dat
XI. Musical Mob – Pulse X
XII. DECiBEL – Grim (Free Download on Tippin Point)
XIII. Marxman & Alias – Spartan rmx
XIV. Dizzee Rascal – Stand Up Tall
XV. DECiBEL – Live (Forthcoming Four40)
XVI. DECiBEL – Skanks ft, Flowdan INSTRUMENTAL (Forthcoming Four40)
XVII. DECiBEL – Whirl
XVIII. Tori Amos – Professional Widow (Armand’s Star Trunk Funk Mix – Paul Woodford Re-Edit)
XIX. Ultra Nate – Free (RIP Up North Mix)
XX. DECiBEL – Go
XXI. More Fire Crew & Platinum 45 – Oi!
XXII. Azari & III – Hungry For The Power (Jamie Jones Ridge Street Remix)
XXIII. DECiBEL – MST
XXIV. Lennie De Ice – We Are I.E.
XXV. DECiBEL – Vitalite
XXVI. Kanye West – Mercy (DJ Tim Dolla rmx)
XXVII. Mike “Jersey’s Handsome DJ” Gip – She Got That Booty ft Kiff
XXVIII. Mike “Jersey’s Handsome DJ” Gip – Make Ya Booty Go (Up Down) ft. Rell
XXIX. MIke G – Hoodrat Things
XXX. Brick Bandit Bullies – Wop
XXXI. DJ Tim Dolla – Countin’ Faces Burnin’ Dope
XXXII. Amerie – One Thing (Bosstone rmx)
XXXIII. DJ Big O & DJ Sliink – End Of Time
XXXIV. DECiBEL – Gyal (Tectonic)
XXXV. DECiBEL – Pu$$
XXXVI. Mele – Asteroids
XXXVII. DECiBEL – WOT
XXXVIII. Tempa T – Say It Right Now (DECiBEL rmx)
XXXIX. Meek Mill – House Party
XL. Rustie – City Star
XLI. Juicy J – Who Da Neighbours
XLII. DECiBEL – Vol.
XLIII. RL Grime – Art Money
XLIV. French Montana ft. Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne – Pop That
XLV. TNGHT – Goooo
XLVI. TNGHT vs Waka Flocka Flame – Hard In Da Goooo (DJ Cable Refix)
XLVII. DECiBEL – Pitch
XLVIII. Drake – Over (RL Grime rmx)
XLIX. DECiBEL – G.A.P. (Tectonic)
L. Rick Ross – Hustlin’
LI. DECiBEL & Devon K – Horse (Free download from DECiBEL Facebok page)
DECiBEL’s G.A.P EP is out now on Tectonic.