For those of you who visit MakeItGood often, will know that Sparxy is our resident DJ, giving us mixes every 3 months or so. However, FatKidOnFire and I thought it was about time we got him involved in our collaboration series, what with all the success he’s been having these past couple of months! Having had his tunes played a number of times on Skream and Benga’s Radio 1 show, and support from the likes of Distance, Crises and J:Kenzo, it’s pretty obvious he is one to watch! Have a read of his interview, download his mix, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.
Who is Sparxy?
Sparxy is my nickname and has been for some time, since school. I’m 26, from Portsmouth and FKOFing love music of all descriptions in a variety of genres. DJing, production and my label is my contribution to a scene I’m passionate about.
What got you into producing/DJing dubstep?
I was into Drum n Bass from a young age, picking up my first vinyl when I was 15. I used to head down local record shops and pick things out to listen to. Seems like ages ago now! After a while I got a bit bored of DnB and fell out of love with it. There was a period of about 4 years where I didn’t DJ or produce at all, and dubstep is what got me back into it. One of the first dubstep tunes I heard that really caught my attention was Skream’s “Midnight Request Line”. From there I looked further into and it’s just sort of grown really. I was always a DJ first and a (rubbish) producer 2nd. But over time the two have sort of leveled out and I would say I’m equal parts DJ/producer thesedays.
How long have you producing and Djing?
One of the first vinyls I remember buying was “The Nine” by Bad Company when I was around 15 years old. Taking out the gap in the middle, I’ve probably got 5 or 6 years DJ experience and 3 or 4 years production experience.
What software do you use to produce your tracks?
I’m a big fan of Ableton. Originally I was a Cubase and Reason user, but when I got back into electronic music it was a bit of a fresh start, so I was keen to try something new. Ableton just really works for me, I find it a pleasure to produce on. I also rely heavily on VST plugins, I’m a big fan of the entire FabFilter range for example. In terms of synths I use a few, but my favourite right now is FM8.
Turntables or CDJs?
There seems to be a lot of stigma about this!! As someone who was originally a turntable / vinyl DJ but now use mainly digital, I can see the advantages of both. There is nothing like being able to feel the music, feel the grooves of the vinyl sliding under your fingers. It’s a very “involved” experience, a lot of the digital DJs thesedays don’t get that. The more digital you go, the more you seem to lose from the overall experience of DJing. I spent years buying DnB vinyl, I’ve literally got fucking shitloads. None of it gets played anymore and it sits gathering dust, half of it is at a mate’s house. When I got into dubstep I vowed never to amass such a ridiculous collection of vinyl ever again! So now when I play out I use CDJs and at home I use a Serato timecode setup. Digital files don’t degrade over time and they don’t get lost (assuming you have backed it up) so for me that’s a winner.
What’s been your best gig and if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be?
Best gig, well the MakeItGood x FatKidOnFire room at Cable this year was firin’! Definitely up there as one of my best gigs, going triple B2B with Syte and Ben ton was sick and people were feeling the vibes. I played a gig in Ukraine B2B Reamz recently and that was sick as well. My set on GetDarker TV has to be the ‘biggest’ gig I’ve done yet though, and I think it showed as I was quite nervous at the start!
If I could DJ alongside anyone it would have to be Skream. The man’s a legend in my book. He gets a lot of stick about his selection these days, but when he’s on form, he really is on form. As one of the originators you can never doubt him, he doesn’t forget what dubstep really is about. For someone who’s contributed so much to dubstep, he gets free reign to do whatever he pleases and has earned his success in my opinion. And you can tell he’s just having a sick time when he’s DJing and that’s what it’s all about. I would prefer it if he could avoid dropping any Skrillex if I were to play with him though hahaha!
Who are your top 5 dubstep producers at the moment; and why?
The dubstep scene is a fountain of fresh talent right now. There are too many to name. But if I had to pick a few in no particular order…
Truth - a long standing favourite of mine. They manage to put so much aggression into some of their tunes and keep it classy. Absolutely sick.
Reamz – pure vibes in his tunes and his attention to detail is insane. When you really listen to a Reamz tune and pick out all the intricacies you realize how good he really is.
Cauze – another young guy new on the scene. Has a bright future ahead of him if he continues to progress. Some absolutely ridiculous synth sounds he’s been making.
Genetix – have been on a deeper tip lately and the sub bass weight on the new tunes is SERIOUS. Watch out for their new material.
Biome – a guy everyone is familiar with by now. Still up there as one of my favourites, absolutely sick sounds and dutty vibes.
What’s the future of dubstep - where do you see the genre going?
I see it evolving and diversifying more and more. I compare it to the blowing up of DnB. Back in the late 90’s DnB really started to get some attention. Over the course the following 10 years or so it grew hugely and really caught the mainstream eye. Dubstep has done the same in less than half the time, it’s absolutely insane really. I think more sub-genres will flourish and as more new talent comes in we’ll see them influencing the scene’s direction. It’s hard to know where we’ll be in 5 years but it’s certainly exciting.
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to?
My “Mr Robot EP” recently came out on Bacon Dubs, so check that! I’ve also got Battousai / Deadlock coming out digitally on Bokane Audio on 8th June and have a vinyl release with them later this year too. I’m keen to get more of my stuff on vinyl. I’m also going to be cutting limited runs of Mr Robot EP to vinyl through Bacon Dubs, so keep locked to my Twitter and Facebook for announcements if you want one of those.
Have you got any advice to upcoming Djs/Producers?
Don’t let other people influence your artistic direction (I learned this the hard way). Every tune you make should have a bit of “you” in it. Stay true to yourself and your sound. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. The dubstep scene is one born out of a passion for bass and the feelings the music carries. If you can’t identify with that, maybe this scene isn’t for you.
Gotta give a massive shout to Lara, who was one of the first people to get behind and support me. She certainly inspired me to make more tunes and keep doing what I was doing!
Massive shout to N-Type for the advice and the support. The man’s a don. End of.
Shouts to Skream and Benga for the support, again massively inspiring to receive support from guys like them and it’s stuff like this that keeps me pushing myself and wanting to improve.
Last but not least, shouts to my girlfriend Vicky who supports me all the way and puts up with all the dubstep and bass music even though she doesn’t really like it.
Twitter or Facebook?
I’m a massive fan of Twitter thesedays, it’s instant, it’s now and it’s open. You can get in touch with just about anyone on there. Make sure you’re following me @SparxyUK!
3 people (dead or alive) you’d go to the pub with (and why)?
Kurt Cobain. He was a pretty messed up dude with some mad ideas and could put his emotions into music like no one else. It would be nice to have a pint and really get an idea of what made him tick, although I wouldn’t expect him to make much sense lol.
Dave Gilmour – guitarist from Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd are one of my favourite bands of all time and Gilmour is just fucking sick on the guitar. The way he used effects to really transform his riffs was very inspiring and way ahead of its time. You can listen to almost any Floyd track and it still sounds fresh today.
- Denzel Washington. He’s just generally a fucking DON. Nuff said.
Sparxy’s mix is filled with some wicked tracks, but just wait till you hear Battousai VIP in there… OOF!
1. Ollie303 - Escapism
2. Reamz - Born of a Sin
3. Fused Forces - Damaged Lung
4. Dubfreq ft. Raggs - Coercion
5. Sparxy - Mr Robot VIP
6. Cauze & Format - Satyr VIP
7. Reamz - Symbiotic
8. Truth - All Alone
9. Genetix - Resistance
10. Sparxy - Tazer
11. DubApes - Tribe
12. Hiloxam - Machine
13. Sparxy - Deadlock
14. Sparxy - Battousai VIP
15. Genetix - Resistance
16. Konvex & Baitface - 37th Method
17. Ollie303 - Static Purgatory
18. Skriptah & Cyntel - The Lab
19. Tallan - Before You Speak