Belated Happy New Year to anyone who stumbles upon this and wonders a) Why are there no regular posts? and b) Why does it ages to load this homepage a la This Is Football on the original Playstation? I would divulge and bore you but it’s plain and simple…Good things come to those who wait (A pint of the black stuff isn’t forthcoming maybe in two months time) That being said I’m starting a new in-depth insight into producers or creatives who have caught my attention called Fresh Produce.
Credit: Sonic Router
First up is West Midlands producer Jason Lee aka TRC who is arguably well-known for providing the Skipping Rope instrumental to Trim’s breezy I Am (off the Monkey Features Vol.2 mixtape) and Oo Aa Ee for P Money and Blacks garage hark Boo You. The versatile 23 year old has been producing grime and hip-hop beats since the age of 16 but of late has been on remix duty for Josh Osho and Aiden Grimshaw as well as releasing his popular Leak EP series of instrumentals and unreleased dubs.
In the first of a three part series, I caught up with the man himself just before Christmas to chat about his early dip into the proverbial music mire, the Bassline scene and quality control in the age of the Internet.
How you doing man?
I’m cool man. Just been chilling and that. Working on a couple tunes. What you sayin?
Not bad at all. When I was doing some research and googled your name. The first thing which came up was a random rock band.
Yeah there is a rock band called TRC but it stands for The Revolution Continues. They’ve been around since I started producing (probably even before to be honest) and they’ve been blowing up for a few years now.
Have you had any issues of name rights or anything?
Nah. I even spoke to one of them and he was cool. They used to be known under that name but they just abbreviated that and ran with it in the end.
So you started producing at the age of 16, what sort of tunes were you making in the beginning?
Just straight grime and hip-hop beats all around the 140 tempo. I was just doing that but I was never any good at it at the time [laughs]
How long did it take for you to be in a position where you were comfortable to send people your stuff?
Sometimes you just send some of the tunes out for constructive criticism. When I was that age, I probably didn’t realise how rubbish some of the tunes were and I was just sending them out to local people anyway. I never sent anything to anyone big or anything but obviously when people come back with their criticism, you start to progress. I don’t really think there should be a time when people should wait and decide whether they should send out their tunes if they are just starting, as you need to get that criticism to improve.
Is it harder now in this age with people putting up tunes so readily on Soundcloud as they just want people to hear the music? Do you think quality control is imperative?
I dunno to be honest. I think it depends on how confident you are in yourself. There’s a thin line between cocky and confident and there’s much more easy access to upload songs, so anyone can just listen for themselves. You also know how people are like on the Internet now…they’ll just say anything and don’t care. It’s a bit of a reality check for some people but I think it also tarnishes the exclusiveness of your music [if you’re] banging everything up on Soundcloud or YouTube. For example, you know when you hear a track for the first time and MistaJam plays it, “you’re like I’ve never heard this before, who’s made this?” and then there’s a big demand for the song.
How do you react to that pressure when there’s an immediate demand after such airplay?
I don’t really get swayed by things like that if I’ve already got a plan for the song which is already being promoted by a number of DJ’s.
I mentioned before how you started off making Grime and then you switched over to making a lot of Bassline where you were quite successful. What sort of impact did making that genre have in terms of honing your production style and gauging reaction to your riddims in raves?
It was good, as doing Bassline helped me find my sound and what people recognised my songs for. It was a good learning curve not just in terms of making music but meeting and working with different people in the industry. In 2007 and 2008, Bassline was massive, so being involved with that was great.
What was the reaction to Bassline from people across the globe?
When I put out the EP’s and checked the sales, I was shocked to see people from the US, Australia, Japan and China. It was just a shock to me as you don’t think your songs reach out that far.
The Breakup V.I.P. How would you rate that as a personal landmark?
That was my first Bassline tune that really put me on the map and made people turn their heads toward me and say who’s this guy? That was actually the second Bassline tune I ever made, so it was really fresh and then I followed on straight after with Lately.
What impact did DJ Apostle have on you?
He had a massive impact and being my best friend before Bassline too, as we worked together on a lot of things. He was the one who told me about it in the first place, gave me different vinyls asking my opinion and to be honest if he had never told me about it, I’d probably never had made it. He also recorded a lot of the vocals as well, so all these songs that people are hearing were courtesy of him in the studio and not me. He would send me an acapella and say see what you can do with this. If it took off…..it took off.
Have you got a nickname for him in your close circles?
Not really. [laughs] Just bossy! As whatever he says, most people have to deal with but he means well.
Would you say he’s a father figure in the scene?
Yeah he knocks sense into people and makes you realise what position you’re in. He also reminds you to pick up the pace and when Bassline was at it’s most intense, he was keeping the circle together and ensuring things were active. He was also expanding it for other people too and reaching out to people like Caliber and Burgaboy who were blowing up in the UK for Bassline. He’s really important to the scene.
Part 2 of the new Fresh Produce series will be available next week. Danke for getting down this far.