The next feature sees us catch up with the latest interviewee in the MakeItGood x FKOF series. We’ve been a fan of The Attic Project ever since Gus first sent us his tunes a few months back – since then there’s been a two track FKOF EP and now there’s a lot of words to go with his amazing mix. Hit play on the mix or EP below and read on…
Easy Gus, you well?
I’m grand mate!
Awesome. Introduce yourself, who is The Attic Project?
The Attic Project is the pseudonym I use for my musical output. It is basically me avoiding life’s responsibilities by living in my own little production-fuelled world. I’m 19 and studying at the University of Manchester, currently in my 2nd year.
How would you describe your sound?
In my mind, it’s a fusion of the steppy, bass sounds coming out of the UK at the moment combined with instrumentation and melodies from around the world, mainly influenced by the sounds of the far-east. I try and incorporate as many interweaving melodies as possible on as many natural sounding instruments as possible sampled from around the world, combined with deep rolling subs, so I would love to think there is a lot of depth and interpretation there. The sound of the Guzheng and the Tabla will always get me jiving!
How did you get into bass music in the first place? When did you decide you wanted to produce as well as listen?
It was probably my love of trip-hop and glitch artists like Prefuse 73, Four Tet and Aphex Twin when I was first getting into electronic music that lead me to diverse sounds like Burial, Bonobo, Phaeleh, Eleven Tigers, Erykah Badhu and Digital Mystikz (to name a few)… I don’t look at my influence as ‘bass’ music as my inspiration ranges from downtempo to drum N bass to Chinese and Indian classical music… (to make a massive obscure leap in genre). The sounds coming from people like Burial at the time when I was starting my music GCSE was what made me want to create soundscapes and atmospheres rather than tunes. My school got a single copy of Cubase 4 when I was 15 and the teacher said ‘if anyone can work it, you can do your GCSE composition on it’, and that was it. The teacher was useless…
How do you go about building your tunes? What’s your production setup like?
I will usually hear an atmospheric or ethnic sound of some sort that makes me go ‘sh!t, that’s awesome, I want to recreate something like that’. Then I tend to forget the tasks I’m meant to be doing and get preoccupied with how I can make a similar sound into a tune that hopefully people will like. Once I have the sound and a simple melody down, I tend to build the drum part around that then layer more melodies over each other. My setup’s a Macbook Pro running Reason 6 and Reason Recycle, an M-Audio Keyboard and a Lexicon Alpha soundcard. I also use a Samson Dynamic Mic for recording noise, vocal parts, my mates arguing (which can just about be heard in the background in some tunes) and anything interesting. My monitors are a sweet pair of JVC speakers my dad got me when I was 12 as part of a Hi-Fi system. I never appreciated the awesome quality they fire out until a couple of years ago. I’m never parting with them now…
You’ve had a pretty good run with recent releases, putting out on a few awesome labels with support from some of the best names in the genre. How have you found getting your beats signed and supported, has it been a relatively easy process?
Na it hasn’t been easy. I had a stroke of luck when I was 16 after posting three tunes online. I got an email from the Italian house label Aenaria Recordings asking if they could sign them even though the style of those tunes was pretty downtempo. They were released in late 2010. After that no one really took much interest so I honed my sound for a couple of years. At the start of this year I sent emails to loads of different labels, blogs and promo platforms just to get some feedback. Then I got an email from Andy Bee at Slime Recordings who was really positive about my music. After hearing that they had previously released tunes by Phaeleh and Submerse, I was ecstatic! That release got a wicked review from Juno Download at the same time that I got a tweet from Phaeleh saying that he really liked my release. Since then, I’ve had a release on Soulstep and another on Velcro City.
Another standard question you’re probably bored to death of. Do you prefer turntables or CDJs for playing out? Does it matter?
Aha, I wish I could say I have a massive vinyl collection but unfortunately it’s my parents who beat me to that. As I started out producing well before I thought about DJing, I only started to promote TAP more when people were taking an interest. I wanted to do something different that involved my own tunes so I bought a Novation Launchpad and started slicing and dicing mine and other people’s tracks into what I thought was a unique approach to mixing (turns out other people beat me to that too)! But yeah, I’m all about controllerism and recreation and remixing of songs live rather than straightforward mixing as it allows more creativity with your own tunes (in my opinion anyway).
How long have you been playing out? If you could pick any of your recent bookings, what would be your favourite - and why?
I only started playing out properly earlier this year. Producing for me has always been a personal thing so playing out became something I felt I needed to do when I started to get tunes signed. The production was always the main factor in persuading me to play out. Inflect in Bristol was probably my favourite recent booking. They host it in a small, intimate venue so it wasn’t a massive night but that was where I supported iTal tEk and BunZer0 so I was pretty stoked to be playing there. I also recently played in Sankeys in Manchester and as it’s theoretically one of the top ten clubs in the world, that’s pretty awesome. Since then I’ve got quite a few dates lined up at some exciting nights like Selective Hearing Manchester and Apex Bristol so I’m super stoked that I’ve been asked to play at them.
With producers expanding their repertoires from seemingly focusing on one genre when producing, how do you think bass music will evolve over the coming months/ years? Will we see everything starting to merge into one? Where do you see your sounds progressing to?
That’s what I love about sound, it’s yours to interpret how you want. The label ‘bass music’ already covers a massive spectrum of sounds, so I lost track of what it meant a while ago. An emphasis on bass and some swing in its (dub)step, and I think the term ‘bass music’ will probably cover a significant aspect of a lot of new tunes. Diversity is an awesome thing, without it there would be no creativity so I love the fact people are now stuttering when trying to define the genre of all this new music that has exploded onto the scene recently. As for my sound, I will continue to produce what inspires me and if all of a sudden I start to love something like gabba (which I highly doubt I ever will) then I will probably start creating that as that’s what I want to do. Realistically though, I see myself exploring more world sounds, getting more vocalists involved and playing around with tempos a lot more.
Other than the recent releases discussed earlier and one or two special tunes in the pipeline, have you got any tunes forthcoming we should be looking out for? Anything physical?
As of the moment I have one forthcoming release. It’s a remix I did a while ago of a Sophie Barker track (Zero 7) and is meant to be released on the same label as her solo work (Ho Hum Records) but it keeps getting delayed so I’m not sure that will ever be released. It would be nice if it was though. Once more tunes have been finished though I will definitely set about getting those released. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a physical release. I got an offer to have some tunes pressed to vinyl by a small label a couple of months back but when I replied to the email, they never replied back to me again so that fell through. Those were the tunes I have recently released on Velcro City. I hear Soulstep Records are also starting to release things on vinyl in the near future with all the profits going back into building up the label which I think is a great idea. Shame my release just missed out on that.
In terms of advice, what are your top points for new producers and DJs looking to get heard or signed?
I think the most important thing is to concentrate on the music YOU want to make and not what you feel would get you signed. Once you have got tracks down that you are genuinely happy with just send them to people and places you reckon will appreciate your sound. Even if you don’t hear back from anyone just keep persevering by making what makes you happy.
Tell us about your MIG x FKOF mix…
Awesome melodies x rolling basslines x what I’m listening at the moment x recent releases x atmosphere = MIG x FKOF mix… I’m not really sure if that answers the question!? But seriously though, it took 5 times to get it past the SoundCloud copyright filter and I had loads of sick tunes I wanted to put in from the Symbols Recordings roster. After playing around with it endlessly and replacing a few tunes it got through the filter – but it’s not the mix I originally had in mind.
Anyone who has ever listened to my tunes and decided they like it. For that, I’m eternally grateful. Also, the labels I have released on and the people that make those labels work. None of this would have been possible without them.
3 producers we should be following are…?
- Bhok - Part of the Slime Rec fam and a mate of mine. His vocal sampling is just sublime
- Sorrow - So much feeling and emotion in every tune he puts out, plus I love a dark garage tip
- Synkro - Every tune is a world in itself.
Best bass music track ever produced is…?
Sh!t, this is a hard question! Here’s a few:
- Walter Ego - Shadows
- Phaeleh ft. Indi Kaur - Rise
- Eleven Tigers - Songs For You
- Burial - Unite
Best label in bass music is…?
Currently it’s Symbols Recordings for me but I only got into that label recently. No doubt my favourite label will change again as soon as I find another label where not a single release can be faulted.
Gus’ mix for MIG x FKOF is definitely one of my favourite from the recent additions to the series. It’s on more of a chill tip from the normal deep and dark stuff we feature but that’s by no means a bad thing. Grab the download or keep scrolling for The Attic Project’s FKOF EP…
Click to DOWNLOAD
1. Deep Focus - Lilly’s Beat [Free]
2. Atlas - Denver [Symbols]
3. The Attic Project - Adversity Face [Velcro City]
4. Atlas - 4AM [Symbols]
5. The Attic Project - Welcome To Your Perception [FKOF Free]
6. Bhok - Glacier[Slime]
7. iO - Slow Guys [Get Some UK Free]
8. The Attic Project - Seraph [Velcro City]
9. EPLP - Leave Me [Hot n Heavy Free]
10. The Attic Project - Narayan Alone [FKOF Free]
11. Phaeleh - Nothing’s Wrong [Free]
12. Pariah - Orpheus [R&S]
13. Sorrow - The Reaper [Self Released]
14. EPLP - Ochre [BackTheTooFuture Free]
15. DFRNT - Dark Spaces [Cut]
16. Sabre, Stray, Halogenix ft. Frank Carter III - Oblique [Critical]
17. Vanity ft. Charlotte Rawling – Shelter [FKOF Free]
If you missed Gus’ FKOF EP from a few months back, find both FKOF free downloads below. Definitely two tunes to add to your collection! Click to DOWNLOAD ‘Narayan Alone’ Click to DOWNLOAD ‘Welcome to Your Perception’