If you haven’t noticed from the number of posts on these pages, FEATURECAST is one of my favourite producers / djs. He has been for a while. I was pretty pumped to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions. While I prefer to do these things face-to-face, that wasn’t an option at this point in time so below is the email version.
Before we get into the meat however, grab Run for Cover now.
Who are you?
I’m Featurecast. I’m a DJ and producer from Southampton. I’ve been producing for years but have just released my debut album on Jalapeno Records.
When did you start djing? What kind of music did you play when you first started? Is there a story here? (Was there an aha! moment when you knew this is what you wanted to do?)
DJing was never something I considered doing out side of my bedroom at the time. I was always into scratching and the whole turntableisim thing but it was always about the production for me. I remember even selling my turntables at one point to get the extra money I needed for my studio. Though I soon regretted this and started saving for some 1210′s again. Saying that I’ve ended up travelling the world as a DJ and playing some amazing parties and festivals so it’s not all bad.
How / when did you start producing? Was there any link between what you were djing and your early productions? If so, what was it?
I got into producing after a friend of mine showed me a fairly primitive way of making music on an old computer I had at the time. I was totally blown away by the concept and what could be done with sampling/looping. I made it my mission to learn this program which then led me on to Cubase then Logic and Ableton.
Who / what are your influences?
I grew up listening to a lot of hip/hop, funk and soul mainly. I loved a lot of the hiphop producers like Premier and DJ Muggs but also loved all types of dance music like the Prodigy. I regard them as one of my biggest influences today.
Is there a ghetto funk movement? Do you consider yourself to be a part of it?
There seems to be I guess. I don’t consider myself a ghetto funk DJ as that would imply I only play one style? When I DJ I play Hip-hop, Funk, Breaks, Drum & Bass, I always have done. I’d consider myself a breaks DJ I guess? After all everything I play has a breakbeat even if it’s 100bpm or 178bpm.
You’re a relatively new dad? How has that been? Has it changed your focus at all? If so, how?
It’s been amazing. Without a doubt the best thing I’ve ever done. Me and my wife have been very blessed. It’s changed quite a bit. I guess on a personal level it puts life into perspective and makes you realise how unimportant a lot of the shit you used to worry about is. From the music side I’m actually getting more done than ever, maybe cos i’ve got a family to support now and DJ’ing and Production is my job so i can’t be as relaxed or (lazy) as i used to be. lol.
What role do bootlegs / edits (both yours and those produced by others) play in your dj sets?
They play a huge part of my set. About 70% of what I play are my tracks or edits. It’s important for me to have my own original tracks or my own edits/remixes that no one else has. It makes my sets more unique to my sound that way.
How did you get hooked-up with Apple? Where were you at in your dj career when this happened? What happened after – did the demand for Featurecast pick up?
That was a strange one. It came about through Catskills Records who owned the track – they had managed to get it to the company producing the adverts at the time and put my track in the running. It was up against 4 others including a track by Timbaland I was told that Steve Jobs personally requested to use my track as he liked it so much.
After the advert was a bit of a bad time for writing music and I kind of lived from the money I’d received from the advert. It was a pretty low time to be honest which it shouldn’t have been, but that ended and the demand started picking up when I decided to give up producing all the other styles of music I was doing at the time and concentrate just on Featurecast. Things went from there really.
Let’s fast forward to 2011/12. How long has your debut album, “Run For Cover,” been in the works?
Ha. Seems like forever. I suppose I started it 3 years ago but really the bulk of it was done in about 8 months. It was finished in December of 2011. So to me it’s pretty old now. lol.
Were there any pleasant surprises in the whole process – what were they?
Finding the talent that is Greg Blackman, without a doubt the easiest vocalist I’ve worked with. I wish it was always that easy.
You worked with a number of vocalists and MCs, was this always in the plan? (What’s the importance of vocals in your work?)
Yes, although I didn’t plan to have so many vocal led tracks but it just turned out that way. I think after producing so many remixes and bootlegs it was important to have something original with more substance and value. The vocals helped achieve that I think.
There’s a bit of variety in the singles from the album? How did the remixes in your singles come about – how did you choose the remixers?
The remixes were just suggestions I’d send to the label and they would do the same ’til we all agreed on something. All I wanted was a varied selection of mixes. I didn’t want a bunch of remixes all sounding the same
Next will be a remix EP of the album. I’ve been getting the finals in this week and they are sounding great. Parker, J-Pod, Dread Squad, Tonic and Beatsmith have turned in some amazing remixes with more still to come. Look out for that on Jalapeno Records as well as a new DJ mix soon.
Any words of wisdom to offer?
Hummm? Yeah head over to confused.com and get a new car quote. I saved £500 today. : )
Here then are a couple of tunes from the album, Run for Cover, followed by a couple of my all-time favourite Featurecast tunes.