Philth is a name that’s certainly been on the lips of many heads off late; with releases on Dispatch, Flexout and Peer Pressure, it’s fair to say that alongside his longstanding and renowned radio presence, his sets in the scenes club circuit are becoming ever more frequent, his tunes have been getting a battering in clubs and on laptops alike, and Philth is becoming a staple in the collections of many.
Whether its ambient rollers or deep, dark and techy annihilators, Philth consistently delivers in a variety of different styles, he brings a level of musicality to tunes that adds a stimulating dimension and in doing so makes for tunes of longevity that are not shy of a spot on the ‘Most Played’ playlist.
Overload / Remember forthcoming on AutomAte is positively an In-Reach Philth favourite. Overload is a savage tune, the bass in this one sounds like a back alley low life fighting in the gutter, heaviness! B-side Remember is a collaboration with frequent musical partner Wreckless, and as usual the duo deliver. This one plays on a sinister vibe; the intro’s creeping synth builds suspense, choral tones filling the backdrop with paranormal happenings. Once the bass comes in though its all action juxtaposed with distant echoes that sound like spirits in scenes of The Conjuring. As ever with Philth both tunes are technically brilliant, dropping today this is a highly recommended purchase, and we were lucky enough to have a chat with him…
Hello Philth, we’ve read in previous interviews that you’re a full-time music tech teacher; I once put a stone in the padlock, locking my teacher in his classroom for a few hours (evil child), on that trail of thought what kind of pupil were you?
Oh wow. When I was at Secondary school I was awful. I went to a school that had great exam results and a lot of very sensible people, and I had too much energy, no interest in academia, and spent a lot of my lessons standing out in the corridors! The worst class was Music. They were trying to teach us to play scales, but I would turn the keyboard’s demo track up as loud and as fast as it would go, then hammer the bass notes while jumping up and down. Not a lot has changed to be honest!
Do you draw any influences from your career as a music teacher? And do you think this has helped you along the way as a producer?
Teaching Music Production has helped my music in a number of ways. I’m surrounded by people with far more natural musical ability, and it inspires me to embrace my musical side and develop my composing skills. I want to move away from relying on sampling all the time, and write my own vibes, often inspired by hearing what the students and my colleagues are doing. I’m also exposed to so many different genres of music and that has given me lots of influences to take back into DnB. Oh and also I have a bloody fantastic studio to work in!
It’s been a busy year for you already, lots of brilliant releases; a personal favourite was your remix of Facing Jinx’s – Hungry, the two of you have been responsible for some truly beautiful tunes, and I’m aware that your also involved with Peer Pressure, how did this pairing come about? And what’s in the future for Philth and Peer Pressure?
I’ve known Alex for ever. We met at college when we were 17 and I gave him his first spliff! After years of working individually we linked up maybe 5 years ago and started writing music together, getting our first collabs signed to Peer Pressure. Alex took over as label manager, then eventually bought the business from the original American owner (hi Matt!). Since then we’ve worked together closely to build up the brand. He takes care of the admin and business, and I’m doing the A + R. We’ve got some very exciting music coming from some new artists, as well as much more in the pipeline from our core guys.
Personally, I’ve got a new EP in the works, the Elements EP. I’ve completed two songs really exploring the deep musical end of my sound, and now I’m working on the contrasting techier vibes. The plan is to get it finished and into your ears by the end of the year.
The video for Hungry cracks me up, in an ‘eat the most’ style competition, which food would you be the champion of?
Well. In this instance it was calamari, but I think my true talent lies in eating Gyoza. I’m hopelessly addicted to those sexy little dumplings. Whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant I embarrass my girlfriend stuffing my face full of them. I think I can do 20-30 in a sitting. Watch this space…
Overload/ Remember is going to be your third release this year on AutomAte, a real heavy vibe on this one, who/what would you say are your greatest musical influences?
My greatest musical influences inspired me to explore electronic music, and then fall in love with jungle and DnB. I started off listening to The Prodigy, then after discovering jungle I purchased Goldie’s album Timeless. I was listening to it yesterday and it still blows me away all these years later. The first time I ever bought vinyl I bagged a copy of Ed Rush + Optical – Medicine (Matrix remix), and it’s still a staple part of my sets today. Ed Rush + Optical created the blueprint for the tech funk scene, and it’s amazing how many people today are basically recreating Wormhole. Finally, the game changers. Noisia have set a new standard for production and sound design. There really is nobody close.
Industry support seems to be flying in off late, particularly from the likes of Bailey on his Ministry of Sound show, how does it feel to be getting such a positive response from legendary figures within the genre?
Really really nice! Bailey is a taste-maker of our scene, to be supported so heavily by him really shows me that I’m on the right track, and it has shown me to keep following my heart and writing my music. I put a lot of my emotions into what I write, and it’s great to get nice feedback from anybody who takes the time to contact me. I’m very grateful. When some of these people are DJ’s I’ve been listening to for a decade it’s both humbling and inspiring.
I’ve read in a previous interview that essentially you do everything else so that you can DJ, you played alongside Randall at the last Launch night, who have you most wanted to play alongside? And what was it that inspired you to start djing?
I’ve wanted to be a DJ since I started listening to the pirates back in primary school. Me and my mate Jon (Neo) would make our own mixtapes using two tape decks, playing snippets from different radio shows to make our own playlist. He bought decks first and I quickly followed. When I was tall enough to get into Bagleys for the first time I saw Brockie, Zinc, Nicky Blackmarket…. I knew I wanted to be that guy choosing the music.
I’m at a point of my career where I’m starting to get booked alongside true legends of the scene and it’s very exciting. Randall has always been one of my favourite DJ’s so it was a big honour to play the set before him at Launch. In a few months I’m playing at a night with Optical and that is a big one for me!
Your going to be playing Genesis in October; I’ve gathered from other interviews that on radio you like to throw VIP’s into the mix, can we expect to hear some VIP’s at Genesis? And is there a procedure you follow before playing a gig like this?
Yes it’s true I’ve got a few VIP’s up my sleeve at the moment. I’ve also got a lottt of brand new material that I’m looking forward to letting off at Genesis. That is a seriously clued-up crowd so I can’t wait to see their reaction. I’ve got a new tune featuring vocals from MC P-Fine that is a proper roller with intelligent lyrics and steppers bass.
The routine before Genesis will be the same as all my gigs – collect new music throughout the weeks before, burn the fresh CD’s and spend a few hours mixing at home before I leave the house. I feel that the most important thing before a gig is practicing with the new music – while enjoying a few drinks with mates of course!
You’re a prominent figure within the scenes pirate radio circuit, with frequent shows on Origin FM and a radio career spanning over a decade, how did it all start for you?
As I said earlier, I grew listening to the pirates, Pulse FM, Eruption, Rude, Kool. When Origin launched (on Millenium Eve) they were the new kids on the block, with fresh DJ’s pushing things forward. One of my friends got a show and it was so exciting hearing him playing every week. I finally got my act together and he passed on my demo to management. I was offered the Friday night 2-4am slot, and I spent a good few years honing my radio skills (and voice!) when most of my mates were out getting nutted. After a break for a few years I came back on board and now host a drive-time show every Monday 4-6. It’s a great platform to showcase the best new music in our scene and I strive to bring a fresh selection every week.
Pirate radio has been accredited with having been the lifeblood of underground dance music, how do you think the Internet and the vast amounts of online radio stations have effected pirate radio? And where do you see pirate radio going?
Pirate radio was the only way you could hear our music for a long time, and if you look at Rinse FM for example the former pirate scene is now shaping the mainstream. I think that ten years ago the pirates were setting the trends as DnB grew up, and to have a show on radio was a seal of approval. You’re right, internet stations have changed things, listeners have more choice and more DJ’s get an opportunity to show way they can do – but I sometimes get the feeling that everybody’s talking but nobody’s listening!
However it is fantastic to be able to play your music to listeners across the world. I have friends like Exxon listening from New Zealand and we don’t have to worry about the studio being raided any more! I’m embracing the new era.
Radio has also been acknowledged as having been central to communities in the past, what do you think is its role in the community at present and what is its role within the scene?
Radio is still the best platform to showcase new music – and gives young people the chance to express themselves and potentially start a career. While it used to revolve around the London scene, the internet has now connected the worldwide DnB family and that’s a great thing. A few days ago I was listening to Bassdrive, broadcasting Calibre and Marcus Intalex playing live at Sun + Bass. It’s great to share that moment with a worldwide audience.
What should we be looking forward to in regards to all things Philth?
I’m very happy to have Overload and Remember out this week. Matt Wreckless is one of my closest friends and I’m always excited to make music together.
After this release, there’s Incognito ‘Black Magic’ (Philth remix) on Flexout, and I’ve just finished a remix of a track called ‘The Rain’ on Terabyte Recordings. The Elements EP is coming together for Peer Pressure, and I’ll be ending the year with a solo release on Dispatch Limited. In the last few years Dispatch have been a huge influence on my sound so I’m honoured to have a solo release. ‘Your Love’ is a deep vocal stepper, ‘Souzou’ is a gargling jungle beast. Big shout to Ant, Alex and J.