Truancy Volume 102: Deadboy

In 2010, we saw the release of tracks that are now considered classics such as Wut, Work Them, CMYK, Maze and of course a little edit of Drake’s Fireworks by a South London producer named Deadboy. At the time, it was a remix that gained a lot of attention and, more close to home, it became an all-time favourite for us here at Truants. A lot has changed since then, but Deadboy’s outlook has firmly always been to make all types of music with no limitations on genre – an outlook which has since seen him gain a sizeable following, be it through his numerous releases on labels such as Numbers or his varied DJ sets. We had the pleasure of catching him play at Bussey Building in London near the beginning of the year and seeing him comfortably work his way through dancehall, grime, garage, house and bassline remixes of Kate Bush to a packed out dance floor was incredible and refreshing to say the least.

With exclusive tracks from a forthcoming release on Local Action alongside cuts in collaboration with Murlo and Gongon, our 102nd Truancy Volume sees Deadboy guide us through a host of freshly produced productions as well as music from similar contemporary peers. Clocking in at an hour in length, Truants favourites Moleskin, Sudanim, Throwing Shade, M.E.S.H and Mssingno all feature as well as tracks from Young Thug and Chief Keef keeping everyone on their toes.

Hey man, hope you’re good. From the tracklist you sent over we all got a bit excited over the news of a Deadboy release on Local Action. Having solely released on Numbers since 2011, how did this come about and was the EP planned with a particular style in mind? “It came about just through chatting to Tom from Local Action and sending him some stuff. We seem to be into a lot of the same stuff at the moment, so it just kind of made sense to do it. Plus I’ve been into the recent Inkke, Slackk and Shriekin stuff on Local Action a lot. He was up for this collaboration soon so we just thought, why not?”

Is a possible Deadboy album still in the works? I know you’re constantly scraping them, but I read you were working on one around May with a ‘mixtape’ theme to it. “No, it’s still not happening. I don’t think I’ll ever do an album as Deadboy, to be honest. There have been times where I’ve felt like I was forging towards one but then thought no, this is too forced. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen naturally.”

You’ve very comfortably dotted in and out of different genres over the years with your productions whilst still retaining a familiar Deadboy sound. What do you think has contributed to this? “To be honest, I just love music, all music. I could never be happy saying that I just make house music or grime. I think you’re limiting yourself massively to do that. Music is art. Even dance music, which is pretty functional. I would never want to limit myself to one medium. You’ve got to follow whatever intrinsic force it is that drives you to create wherever it goes and not think in terms of genre or who its going to be aimed at or whatever. I just make whatever it is I want to hear that day without any forethought.”

Are there any of your peers that keep you hungry and on your toes production wise? “A few people. I think Dean Blunt is one of the best artists of our generation and Murlo is so creative melodically. Dark0 seems to be channeling Vangelis or something on some of his more beautiful numbers. Lots of people I’m into at the moment. It’s a really good time for UK music again right now after what has been a bit of a malaise for a couple of years.”

What were the influences with “Return”? Was the track based around a particular mood you were in? “At the time, I was listening to a lot of 70s cosmic disco, new age music and reading a lot of 70s science fiction. I was really into the idea of the 70s vision of the future being utopian as opposed to the dystopian future that pretty much takes over in futurism from the 80s onwards. Nowadays anything science fiction is always a dystopian future, there is no sense of wonder and possibility, it’s all fear and we are heading towards a nightmarish future. I made a few tracks around this idea at the time and Return was one of them. It’s kind of supposed to be the return of some character from a space voyage or something, which is why I was so happy with the video Thomas Traum made, it was perfect for the theme of the song.”

What has changed your perspective of DJing the most since releasing your debut record? “For me personally a lot has changed. To be honest, for the last couple of years I have been floundering a bit and struggling to find new music I really cared about. A DJ is only as good as the music he plays and I felt I couldn’t rely on all this old stuff, and was not really deeply excited by any new music for a while. A sort of house and techno malaise fell over everything. I was looking for music all the time but not finding anything new I could really connect with. I would go to clubs and be unconvinced that everyone was actually really really enjoying themselves. I decided to ignore the zeitgeist, pretty much ditched any house music from my sets apart from the odd bit that would work and play whatever else I wanted, which at the moment is dancehall, bits of RnB and hip hop, grime, bassline, some funky bits, much more of a return to the sort of thing I started out playing. Luckily there has been a massive resurgence in great 140bpm ish grime influenced music that is genuinely experimental and avant garde while at the same time goes totally off on the dance floor. These days I am spoilt for choice for new music to play. And we are slowly seeing a return to gunfingers and rewinds as opposed to long blends and trance like repetition. I am really really enjoying DJing again which is great.”

Where and how was this mix recorded? Was there anything in particular you were trying to convey with this mix? “At home with Serato & Technics 1210s. I wanted sum up the stuff I’m feeling right now and the sort of thing I’m playing out. Usually if I’m doing a longer set I’ll start out at a slower BPM and play a bunch of dancehall and RnB and stuff but I decided I’d go straight in at 130ish. Obviously I had the home listener in mind a bit more than I would in the club so some stuff such as the Yung 4eva track got in there.”

What else can we expect from you in the near future? “This record on Local Action and a collaborative record on Total Fantasy by me and Gongon under the name Pyramid Scheme. Me and Murlo have a few tracks we’ve done together which we will look to release as well. Total Fantasy is going to pick up again this year. We have some great music lined up and are working with some great artists for sleeve art and videos.”

Would you rather have to do a deep house remix of Sam Smith or have to visit the Saatchi gallery every day for two hours for a year? “I would do the deep house remix of Sam Smith. Luckily this could be done without the use of ears and very quickly. I would then take all that money from the posh music mafia PR war machine and spend it on destroying the art industry. Too many people are content to be told what is good. This is why the Saatchi gallery is full of fucking terrible “art”. These people have bought their fame, or earned it through connections. This is why nobody can relate to art. Art that we are exposed to is produced by a very narrow band of society, people who have been bought an art education, then been bought or bought their fame through relentless PR. The same goes for most popular music. A very narrow band of already rich kids get bought their fame through endless expensive and usually underhand promotion. On the other hand I am lucky that the world I operate in is less affected by that. Obviously there are a lot of people who have had a lot of help to get there, been bought equipment or studios or promotion or whatever but I and most of the other people I know have done this solely through passion and while holding down shit jobs and saving to buy cheap equipment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being rich and an artist. Until recently all artists would have come from wealthy families, but there is a problem when all of culture is created and curated by one narrow band of society. Ultimately when there are a million guys and girls making beats every day, if you’re not good enough all the PR in the world won’t make your track go off. That is the great leveller. I am currently trying to write about the state of contemporary music, art and culture and how everything is shit. It should make for cheery reading if I ever finish it. But also things get better all the time. With the spread of information and the internet, the barriers to entry to art and the need to have industry and media curatorship is slowly disappearing. The art industry and the music industry will disappear and decentralize and everyone can go back to making beautiful things for its own sake rather than for a career or money. “The job of the artist is to save the soul of mankind. Anything less is a dithering while Rome burns” (Terrence Mckenna).

Rant over, Peace and Love, Deadboy.”

 

Tracklist

1. Hiroshi Yoshimura – Green
2. Yung4Eva – Falinge Park
3. Deadboy – Inner Palace (Basic Boy Mix) (Forthcoming Local Action)
4. Deadboy – Stop U
5. Young Thug & PeeWee Longway – Blame It On Her
6. Throwing Shade – Chancer
7. Moleskin – Grand Ballet
8. Chief Keef – Fool Ya
9. Ikonika – Praxis
10. CYPHR & Sudanim – U Most
11. Mr Vegas – Give It To Har
12. Wiley – Avalanche (Devil Mix)
13. Zuse – Red (Murlo Fix)
14. Deadboy – Copwar
15. Deadboy – Sad Sniper (Forthcoming Local Action)
16. Life Sim – Caladhort (Warlord Edit)
17. Pyramid Scheme – Dream Police (Forthcoming Total Fantasy)
18. Bad Autopsy – Rare Elements
19. M.E.S.H – Share The Blame
20. Mssingno – Brandy
21. CYPHR – _______
22. Deadboy – Kether
23. Deadboy & Murlo – Ride With You
24. Mattwizard – Smoke Signals
25. JT The Goon – Broken Mirror
26. Shackleton – Majestic Visions
27. Deadboy – Four/Five

Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

OG at Truants / Graphic Designer / DJ as Melmoth Twitter Soundcloud

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