We’ve been pushing the deeper end of the dubstep sound with our recent run of MakeItGood x FatKidOnFire interviews and mixes. It’s no surprise as it happens, with the number of producers we keep discovering who are supporting the more ‘traditional’ sub-weight ever increasing. Today’s interviewee proves no different…
We’ve been following Compa for a long while now. Will’s been doing some very, very exciting stuff pushing the lower end of the sound spectrum and is hot off a recent Sweden show with our Dubstep Bastards crew. When he offered to lay us an exclusive 100% vinyl mix to accompany an interview, we jumped at the opportunity! Find Compa on Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter and grab the DL link after the interview below…
Who is Compa?
Compa is my music production alias. My real name is William Brown. I’m originally from a small town called Clitheroe in Lancashire, North-West England.
What got you into mixing and producing dubstep? What’s your style - big, dark basslines or as filthy as possible?
After playing DnB for a long time, a few friends started buying and playing what was being called ‘dubstep’ music. One of the first tunes I heard was ‘Skeng' by Kode9, in fact before that I think I found Skream's tune called 'Midnight Request Line' that I still play today. I was hooked on the sound instantly. I used to play drums for a few years; the percussion-side of the old 'dubstep' music was what attracted me, and the sub-weight cemented my interest.
I started producing after I ended up doing an extra year at college. I studied video production and radio production and then ended up doing an extra year of radio production and music recording. They put Reason software on the computers that year, it changed everything for me. I was finally able to make my own music. I forgot about everything and focused 100% on music, and always have since. I forgot video and went on to do what I’m doing now; music stuff at university, playing shows and building music.
My style is dark, meditative and heavy in sub-weight. It’s being described (or restricted) as ‘the dungeon sound’ now. I don’t like that phrase, but I admit it does describe a lot of the music I make and the music I like to play quite well.
What software do you use to produce your tracks?
It was Reason (as I mentioned above) for about a year, but for the last year since (since I started university) they only used Logic, so I made the transition and after a few months of learning I’ve settled in. In fact, the first tune I ever made on Logic (‘Dreams’) was my debut release on Australian label ‘Inna Riddim Records' earlier this year.
Turntables or CDJs?
Turntables for me. I started buying and playing records at a local youth club back in 2003. I’ve always been about physical things; holding a piece of music in my hand works for me. It feels right. Digital is invisible, easily lost and doesn’t sound just right either. I prefer to put a needle on a record, and I can’t imagine not having my records all physically in boxes at home in their sleeves with the artwork and stuff, y’know?
Same with dubplates, I love cutting and always have – since I started about two years ago. The fresh smell of acetate, writing on the sleeves, having music no-one else has, and again, physicality too. You either understand, or you don’t. Maybe it’s because when I started mixing no one played CDs, no one had CDJs. It was all vinyl, full stop.
How long have you been producing and DJing?
I started buying records in 2003, shortly after I bought turntables and started mixing the music. I was happy just buying and playing records until Reason found me two years ago at college, which was when I started making music. It’s just gone two years of building my own music as of September ‘11.
What’s been your best gig and if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be?
That’s a tough one, because I play a lot of gigs. For the last nine or so months I’ve been playing about eight dates a month. Playing on Get Darker TV has definitely been one of the highlights of my past. Meeting those guys, they’re all sound! Meeting Tunnidge and Joe Nice in the studio, and looking through Joe’s record bag, his collection is unspeakable, the dubs he has…!
Other than that, I played with Mala and Coki earlier this year in Manchester, that was an experience. Mala walked in behind me as I was playing just before them, warming up for two of the people who have inspired me to come this far, and do what I do. That was serious.
Saying that I got booked for a ‘Deep Medi Takeover’, again in Manchester in October with Kromestar, Hijak, Mala, Tunnidge, Cyrus, Silkie, Goth-Trad, Quest … I could go on, it’s just serious. It’s one of the countries best line ups this year I don’t doubt. Cutting lots of fresh music for that one, it’ll be a night to remember!
In fact, if I could play alongside anyone, it would be all of the above!
Who are your top 5 dubstep producers at the moment; and why?
- Of course I have to mention Mala, he was one of the first producers who’s music I got completely fascinated by and still am. The instruments he uses, the way he composes. Everything is centered around the sub-bass and it all just comes together and sounds brilliant.
- Goth-Trad has always been a big inspiration to me, I love the energy he creates in his music, and how he can go from something like ‘Babylon Fall' to 'Sunbeam’, both percy’s, both serious.
- Kryptic Minds are building brilliant music at the moment, I definitely subconsciously take a lot of influence from the soundscapes they can build, the atmospheres.
- Distance and Tunnidge have a serious sound too, it’s weighty, but deep and dark. It’s dance-floor but it’s meditative. They all do big things, I could mention another 50 names, and another 50 reasons but I’ll stop there…
What’s the future of dubstep music - Where do you see the genre going?
I know this might not make sense to some people, but I really hope it goes backwards, that it goes back to it’s root sound. Heavy bass, and some drums on top, and maybe a nice atmosphere, y’know.
The OTT aggressive wobbles and screaming synths really grind me to a mad extent, I understand that this is the youth of today’s rave music, but I hate how much commercial dubstep music is shoved down my throat, down all of our throats. I will not conform.
I’m just happy building music that makes me happy. I’ve never really been a mad crazy rave-goer, I just like to hear good music, and play good music. Music that makes sense, musically. Not just noise for the sake of it…
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to?
Yeah, I’ve just been signed to Boka which is a big move for me. I’m so happy to have given them some music that they’ve liked enough to release it. That should be out 12” and digital within a couple of months. On top of that, I’ve got a remix coming out soon on white label (enough said!) and I’m releasing some music on Futureworks (Manchester label) late this year/ early next year.
Have you got any advice to upcoming DJs/ Producers?
Anyone can go anywhere if they have honest passion, they work hard, and they believe in themselves and what they are doing. There are no boundaries in life, or in music. Don’t conform, push forward. Also, play as many free gigs here and there as you can. Meet people, push your name out, make friends and keep up the hard work, it will pay off.
So we had a great chat with Will. Unsurprisingly, if you’ve heard one of Compa’s superb Sub FM shows or seen him live you’ll know how big his mix for MakeItGood and FatKidOnFire is. This one’s 100% vinyl – as all his mixes are – which only adds to its greatness. 10 tracks, 4 dubplates and 32 minutes 50 of greatness. Grab the free download and let us know if you feel it.
- Compa - Beginning (Forthcoming Boka Records)
- Pinch - Swish (Deep Medi Musik)
- Skream - Memories Of Third Bass (Digital Soundboy)
- Compa - Root Refix (dub)
- Biome - Chrysalis (dub)
- Compa - Dem A Talk (dub)
- Kryptic Minds - Six Degrees (Swamp81)
- Compa - Sentence (Forthcoming Boka Records)
- Vivek - The Big Bang (Deep Medi Musik)
- Compa - Sunset (dub)