Former Hungarian drum & bass DJ DJ Madd has made it on to the Dubstepforum Awards 2012 shortlist in the Best Producer category. Three years ago he left his country to build up his music career and now he enjoys regular support from some of the scene’s best DJs. And after dozens of other releases he’s coming out with his first LP The Real and The Shadow on Black Box. We caught up with DJ MADD for a friendly chat.
In 2007 you started to make dubstep. How did you come to the genre?
I’ve been on the tunes ever since… well, I can’t remember really. That probably sounds very clichéd, but what can you do. Unfortunately I spent years of nothing, but fiddling around. I finished some tunes, but never even touched an EQ or didn’t even know, how a track should sound. Meanwhile I was working the dullest and weirdest jobs, I could find. Nothing special really, I just kept doing something, which I still do and trying to see where it takes me.
DJ Madd – Arpz3000
Before dubstep you had some releases on drum&bass labels and were a regular DJ on dnbradio.com.
Yeah, like loads of others I came from the drum&bass scene. I really enjoyed the DJ’ing part, but the more I learned about the scene the more obvious it was, how hard it is actually to make a little name for yourself. I loved playing local nights with names like Mampi Swift or Uk Apache to name the most memorable ones, but after some time I had to accept the fact, that the biggest achievement I could get, was a higher place on a flyer or my name with a bigger font. It’s a sad fact these days, but people never really go to gigs for the locals, no matter how skilled a DJ is, there’s a certain point, you can not really pass. Obviously there are still people out there, who made a huge name for themselves by just being creative behind the decks, but there wasn’t much of a chance for me being the next Craze or Andy C. After a few years of being on the beats I managed to have a couple of tunes released on vinyl and digital form, but I never really thought they made a huge impact on anyone… [laughs]. For some reason I couldn’t translate my ideas as well on drum&bass tempo.
DJ Madd – Someone (Breakage Remix)
One of the first important feedbacks came in early 2008, when Mary Anne Hobbs played one of your tunes. Any other important landmarks you had before this year’s nomination in the Best Producer category of Dubstepforum Awards?
I think, that was definitely one of the most eye-opening things from during my first few months of writing dubstep. On one hand I had DnB labels saying, they are not sure, if my name would sell enough to make a release worth it, and on the other hand I got a message from Mary Anne Hobbs saying, she wants to play my tune on her show. That was shortly followed by Skream hitting me up for tunes, then hearing everyone saying, he has been playing one of my other earlier bits ‘Detroit Skank’. That really got me thinking, where I want to take the whole music thing, it really felt like there is a scene, that just wants to push good tunes, no matter if you are new or old or how much your name sells at that point; and on top of that I had more fun writing tunes than ever! These things were obviously a huge push for me, both to make more music and also to make the releases happen.
DJ Madd – Untitled (Youngsta RinseFM)
A few months after that you decided to move to Bristol. Tell us, how the capital of deep bass looks like in the eyes of a newcomer, yet talented producer?
Bristol is awesome! It lived up to all expectations really! Before the big move I linked up with Matt Phaeleh, who was a key figure in making the whole Bristol experience, what it was. He showed me around, joined me on my first flat-hunt and basically everything, you wouldn’t expect from someone you’ve just met. After a couple of months they cleared a room in their own house for me to move in (big ups Chris & Dave) and there I’ve spend a great period of time, just working on tunes and doing my stuff. It was also great to finally meet DJ Thinking, not so long after we first discussed the debut release on Black Box. It really shows, how much it helps to show yourself in person rather than being another blinking window on someones desktop. Not sure if it was due to luck or just picking the right place & time, but I always ended up at gigs, where I had a great time. I think, I can count myself lucky for being able to visit places like The Tube, Rooted Records or a Dubloaded night at the Croft. It’s sad to think all these things are not there right now, shows how much can happen in a short amount of time.
DJ Madd – Dubmarine (Kryptic Minds remix)
You came back to Budapest in 2011 to finish your long player The Real and The Shadow and then you left for London in September.
I thought after a little time spent on building my profile, I could do the same thing from back home, but unfortunately that wasn’t so easy. Promoters don’t really want to pay for flights, when practically the whole scene lives within their borders, and also the whole personal contact thing was missing and got reduced to emails and quick chat-sessions online. On top of that the whole rinseout thing hit Budapest and to be fair the tunes I consider ‘dancefloor’ are not in the same league with today’s sound. So I felt out of place again and realised I’ve given up on something important. However I made the most of it – I had a flat where I could make tunes 24-7 and wrote an album. At the end of the day time well spent!
I know you compose a lot. What is your method and what would you suggest to the young newcomers, who have just got involved in the scene?
I don’t really have a standard procedure. Like a lot of producers I usually start with some drum loops, lay down some ideas on top and suddenly there’s a decent loop on the go. I had a little Q+A session on the dubstepforum production board, where I tried to answer the questions to the best of my knowledge. The best general suggestion was summed up by Thinking, when he said more people should take the time to actually develop the production skills before sending out the tunes. It really matters a lot.
DJ Madd – The Life You Chose
How do you see the progression of the sound?
I think, the word ‘progression’ is used a bit too much these days. It seems like everything is being labeled as a progression and a more “modern sound”, when an argument pops up on the internet about certain tunes. Saying that, it’s not rocket-science to understand why some tunes are more popular while others are not. People are saying, that it’s because of the wobbles. I don’t agree there, nothing wrong with a wobbly bassline – some of the tunes considered classics today are wobbles all over the place! In my opinion things get out of hand easily, when the melodies start to get silly. That and when the tune sounds like someone is switching presets on a synth.
And what does the future hold for you?
I’m just waiting to get my hand on the first physical copy of my album [The Real and The Shadow]. After that I will decide where to go on, but I am hoping to find some new directions this year. Meanwhile I keep making tunes, play gigs and just enjoy myself as much as I can.
Listen to the preview of DJ Madd’s forthcoming LP The Real and The Shadow!
Photo: (c) rozmy