Sonic Router 009: A Dubstep Column For January
, January 13th, 2010 07:14
New year, new low frequency provision. Oli Marlow speaks to London producer Blue Daisy. Free download . . .
“This is a weird story, but it is entirely true… basically I used to go by the name Re:Kwes but I felt I needed a change in name as my sound was gradually heading towards a new direction. I did a whole lot of brainstorming but came up with jack shit, until one day it came to me… This day was a clear blue sky day and I was strolling through my local park, Regents Park, and came across a flower which looked like a Daisy, though I’m not sure if it was, but anyway I came across this flower and it seemed to stand out from the rest on a patch of grass that was ever so green. I interpreted this image as a sign of individuality, an outcast in society; but a product of its own. Amongst repeated action there stands this autonomous soul who chooses not to follow others but instead remain outside the crowd yet still somehow within it... The green grass represented the sign of greatness to come and on this clear blue sky day the name was born; Blue Daisy, a representative of individuality. And that’s what I look to represent with my music.”
Something that Camden resident, and blossoming producer Blue Daisy has done incredibly well with his first two EPs to date. The first, a limited edition 10” printed on clear blue vinyl, even caused BBC Radio 1’s Mary Anne Hobbs to bring him into the studio for a guest interview and mix, something I’ve only ever seen a handful of times (wonder producer Robert Logan being another figure that the honour bestowed upon him). With his abrasive stew of crackle inspired mutant funk music getting that kind of exposure so early on in his career, Blue Daisy’s been on the lips and stereos of many as a result. He’s continually proving his grounding and musical worth, following up his beautifully deep two tracker with the Strings Detached EP, a heavy and swamped 4 track collection of mood sketches.
“Mary Anne has been a great support in my advancement so far, and I can’t be more thankful to her for taking that step to push me the way she has done from the beginning. It’s really encouraging to have such support, my respect for her reaches to high heaven,” Daisy gushes when quizzed on the subject. “I stumbled on her show by chance and loved what she represented, she played the type of music you’d not be hearing on daytime radio or seeing on The Box or Kiss TV. I make that kind of music, and I never thought that there would be a medium that would be out there to push it. I was a bedroom producer and no one had really heard my beats properly other than friends and family, there was that insecure factor that maybe my stuff just wouldn’t be understood; but one day I found out about the dropbox feature on SoundCloud and discovered that Mary Anne had one, so I thought I’d try my luck. I dropped her a couple of tracks; one of which was called ‘Runner’ and she 'favourited' them on SoundCloud at the time. She got back to me said she wanted to hear more, so I sent her Strings Detached and the story just progressed…”
Releasing music on Black Acre, the label that’s soon to be home to fellow beat artistes, 1000 Names, alongside early cuts from Marlow, Von D and Akira Kiteshi, seems to inspire Daisy. As the label diversifies more and more away from the heavy bassline side of things he’s pushing his own unique brand of crunchy production to the forefront, revelling in the freedom and thought that his own music seems to evoke.
“The Blue Daisy sound doesn’t represent dancefloor fillers. I can do it and I have a track coming soon which is pretty funky - a collab with an unknown anonymous producer called TekA-Freek - but nah, I am more headphone music,” he admits sheepishly. “I also think that the music I listen to tends to subconsciously have influence on what I make. I listen to a lot of Fever Ray, Soap and Skin, Grouper, Portishead, Aphex Twin and others. It’s only once in a while I’ll jam to some proper dancefloor tunes.
“It was the hearing of Kanye West’s College Dropout album that brought about the urge to create music, before this I would never have dreamt to walk into an instrument shop, let alone play one! As you can probably see though my sound is a far cry from my initial inspiration…” he giggles. “I’ve grown a lot since then, though I still think that album is the lick [laughs]; but right about now I’m all about listening to a variety of music from many genres; I also just like to listen to sounds generated in life and the environment.”
Purposefully using his beats as a means to transport the listener out of their immediate surroundings, Daisy is content in the knowledge that some people will form that ever elusive emotional bond with his music, those who will grow to fully understand the cadence and mannerisms he’s trying to portray with his instrumentation.
“I don’t particularly think that you must have full understanding [of my music]; but I do believe that you must be open to capture that understanding,” he muses. “My music is not the type that I want people to just bop their heads to and be like ‘Yo son, dat is banging!’ It’s all good that, but I don’t make music without meaning. None of my song titles are just song titles, they represent a vision or image I had whilst making it and it is my hope that that image would be moulded in the mind of the listener and allow them to transcend into the realm of vision I may have encountered when making that particular tune.”
This is a trait that is so completely evident in tracks like ‘Hunterz'. Taken from his Strings Detached EP, it’s a monochrome stomp through tough pounding kick drums, white noise and wildlife squawks, fully creating that sense of being lost, disorientated and desperate in an unfamiliar place as someone or something chases you through a foreign territory. Tracks like ‘Shallow Vicinity’ and the slower broiled ‘Wolf’ - with its tightly wound bass and paper thin percussion lines - might well be reminiscent of the style of a certain Flying Lotus to some, but it’s a comparison that doesn’t really feel right for Daisy…
“I get this comparison with FlyLo all the time but I just don’t see it. I think we have a completely different approach to music, okay maybe you can generate some similarities in terms of the rawness of the music but I believe that’s more the inspiration of J Dilla on both our sides. The rawness in my music is just the feeling I get,” he tells me, notably pouring more animation into his sentences. “You know it’s like you make a mistake in the past that you can’t change but you learn from it and use that mistake to your advantage… It’s the same way with my music. If I make a mistake in a track, rather than going back to amend it I’ll leave it in as a representation of the time and of the mistake. It sounds weird but it’s the way I work.
“Happy accidents are a thrill for any producer,” he chuckles. “With me happy accidents happen all the time. I go into music making mode never planning a melody but planning an atmosphere, I don’t think there is one tune I have made where I have sat down to plan the chords, key changes or drum breaks. I go in there with a vision of an atmosphere and make it happen from there. It’s mainly freestyle to a certain extent, like some jamming session where slowly, potent bits are formed and then from there I’ll probably put some thought to where there’ll be a drum break or a break down and all that jazz.”
With scheduled releases and forthcoming projects bubbling – “the next release on Black Acre features a vocalist by the name of Anneka, I’m also working on the collaborative project between me and LaNote (who appeared on ‘Space Ex’). The project is called 'La Fleur Bleu'; it's gonna be a full length project and will hopefully be out mid-2010” - it seems that the clean slate offered by the turn into 2010 is the perfect platform for such a stylistically strong and emotive producer as Blue Daisy. Young in terms of his releases he has the sense, the sound and the headstrong outlook required to really pour his soul into his music, a factor that might well elude those who simply frequent dancefloors obsessively.
DOWNLOAD: Blue Daisy - Sonic Router Mix (SRQ009)
Words: Oli Marlow for http://sonicrouter.blogspot.com
Most of the releases mentioned will be available physically as well as digitally. Check your local record shops or online stores for more details. We buy music and recommend you do too.
Information on all these artists and more can be found at dubstepforum.com