The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Gremlins In The Machine: Terror Danjah's Favourite Albums
Rory Gibb , March 28th, 2013 06:39

Grime innovator Terror Danjah tells a story of UK sound system culture, house parties, Versace sunglasses and the evolution of jungle and grime, via the medium of 13 favourite albums

Musiqsoulchild_1363967104_resize_460x400


Musiq Soulchild - aijuswanaseing

Yeeeeeah.

Ha! What's the history with that one?

Um... I think I was watching MTV Base, Trevor Nelson used to do a late thing, and no one knew about [Musiq Soulchild] but he was there performing and Nelson was talking to him. I heard that tune, 'Just Friends', I bought the album, and I remember having the album on repeat for six months, non-stop, not making any music. The instrumentation and the way things were, the kind of jazz-soul-R&B thing - I said, I want to make music like that. That's music, right there. It was the end of 2002, I was making music but it wasn't nowhere near that scale, and I was like, I need to make music like this - the way the bass played, the way everything fit. I wanted to be like that. I spent six months not making music, just six months sitting on my couch listening to these tunes. [Then when I went back to producing], within the fifth attempt I made [Sadie Ama track] 'So Sure'.

'So Sure' was inspired by this stuff, then?

Ah yeah. One tune - I think the bonus track on aijuswanaseing, called 'When I'm With You' - inspired one of the album tunes I did with Sadie. But that whole album inspired the whole R&G thing for me.

I've got that written as a note under this album on the list. 'Talk about R&G'! Because you can hear it. So it was records like this that made you think, 'I can do something a bit different, and make songs in grime, rather than just hard instrumentals'?

Yeah. I just wanted to make something totally across the board. I come from a reggae, R&B and soul background, so to this day I still love slow jams. I'll listen to slow jams like I'm listening to a jungle record [laughs]. I'll drive in my car and put slow jams on - I'll listen to them myself, if I've got guys in the car, I'll go, I don't care, I'm putting this on, if you don't like it, get out of my car. I don't care.

I don't listen to music how everyone else listens to music. They hear lyrics and a beat. I hear reverbs and delay and compression, and I hear where it drops in and out and what bar things happen in. I don't hear what everyone else hears. When I hear the most simple tune, I'll be like "Yeeeeah! I like that."

I'd never thought of it like that before but it does make sense, especially with slow jams - because they've got to be so beautifully produced to work.

Yeah. Very intricate. Because they're very simple, if you get it wrong, it's almost like it would sound like cheese, it would sound like a pop song. You get it right and it'll sound like magic. They can have a hi-hat and a bass and a lead and a singer and that's it - but the way it's put together and the way things drop in and out, that's what makes the tune.


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.