We’ve been working with Mindstep Music on and off for quite a while now, supporting the label as it becomes one of the finer imprints releasing bass-led music on our radar. We caught up with Crises a few weeks back, as he was announcing the label’s latest release – and he suggested we have a chat with the release’s producer.
Easy Digid, how are you? I’m good, thanks for having me!
You’ve had releases running back to 2008, with a few releases every year. What’s your recipe for landing new releases? I don’t really follow a recipe. When I have something new finished, I start with sending it out and if I get a label offer, I try to sign the track. Nowadays labels are getting more interested in me and want to sign me so I try to produce a track specially for that label so they have something exclusive.
But mostly I just send my new tracks out and check which labels are interested. I think most producers work like that, it’s easy and means you can keep in contact with a lot of people in the scene. It’s the only thing that Facebook is good for; promoting music and sending tracks to other DJs, producers and labels.
How would you describe your signature sound? Would you say you’re more of a dub/ reggae producer than a dubstep one? My sound is a combination of dub and dubstep, so it doesn’t really fit into just one genre.
Without dub/reggae, there wouldn’t be dubstep or any other kind of bass music. I also try to produce music at 80-85bpm, influenced by the sounds Om Unit and Kromestar are pushing lately. I just like music that sounds like you’re in space, that’s my signature sound I think. All my tracks have a lot of space effects, delays, reverb, phasers… A few guys told me that I have a signature kind of synth sound that I use but can’t really say I do. I don’t hear it myself, I just try to use new sounds every new track I start. And somewhere in the producing process, I will do some magic on the sounds which will give that Digid sound.
Your Dub 2 Babylon EP is your first release on Mindstep. How did your relationship with Crises and the crew come about? Well I first got in contact with Syte and he told about MindStep Music. As I’m always interested in getting my sounds out there, we started talking about a release. That’s when I got in contact with Crises. I think this all happened about a year ago. Whenever I finished something new, I gave it to them and checked if they were interested in it. After sending a few tracks, we started talking about which tracks to sign and the new release is what came out of it. Showing my love for sound system music, which the guys of MindStep Music share as well!
The EP features four original mixes and three dub mixes. What’s the concept behind that? The idea behind the dub versions is pure for sound systems, a lot of sound systems don’t play a track if it doesn’t have at least one dub version. Some sound system operators in Belgium are playing my music on their own sound systems, that inspired me to always make a version of every dubby track I produce. The saying goes ” if the riddim is nice, play it twice”. The second version is then the original track but more dubbed out with a lot of space effects. The Roland delay unit is called Space Echo for a reason!
So my idea for making the versions is trying to reach sound system operators as well, uniting dub and dubstep.
Will you be supporting the EP with any shows – in Belgium or further afield? When will we next see you in the UK? I’m playing a few gigs in Belgium in the coming months. I’m definitely going to play tracks from the EP, introducing a blend of dub and dubstep. On the 16th May I will be playing in London, something I’m really looking forward to, my debut in the UK. I hope this won’t not be the last time either, getting a lot of support lately so good things happening at the moment! I’m also talking to some promoters in other countries but nothing 100% confirmed yet, I’ll keep everyone posted on this but I’m really happy with the response I’m getting at the moment.
Do you have any more releases planned with MindStep in the future? We’re indeed already talking about a new release but it’s just talking at the moment, I haven’t really got any tracks for it. It’ll be something I will work on in the coming months. I’m going to make some exclusive tunes specially for MindStep Music that no one will hear except on the MindStep Show (Sundays 5-7pm(GMT) on Sub.FM (or if someone books me)!
I do have a forthcoming collaboration with ARtroniks, which will be released on MindStep very soon. I can’t say too much about that at the moment, but watch out for that…
What’s the bass music scene like in your hometown of East Flanders? What’s the scene like in Belgium as a whole? The glory days are a bit behind us for the moment. A few years back, there was a dubstep party every weekend. The biggest one being Untitled! of course, but they haven’t been throwing parties lately. I miss those parties. The hype is over so people are moving to other genres; but I think there might be a revival coming – dub/reggae dubstep is growing.
In my hometown, there’s not much going on when it comes to parties. I go to the bigger cities like Ghent, Antwerp or Brussels if I want to enjoy some good music. Overall there’s a good bass music scene in Belgium. A lot of quality producers making DnB, dub, dubstep… There are enough talented producers but we need more parties and better venues with a better sound systems. That’s something we need to work on in the future!
There’s recently been a bit of an announcement with labels, with a big distributor no longer distributing vinyl on a P&D basis. How do you think this is going to effect labels – and ultimately dubstep itself? I think it’s a pity that the distributors don’t want to invest in vinyl anymore. I know a lot of people that rather play vinyl then just any MP3 on a CD, there’s still a market for vinyl. If you want dub music, you can’t find the tracks on digital music stores; they only release it on vinyl. Nowadays it’s a big investment if you want to press vinyl and most labels don’t take the risk of losing a lot of money on it, only distributing digitally.
I fully understand that you don’t want the risk anymore, you can’t predict if it’s going to sell good or not. I buy a lot of my stuff digitally too so I don’t mind the digital format, we live in a digital world now. In general I think dubstep and labels will not really be affected by the decline of vinyl. You can release good music digitally and it will sell too, if you love music, you buy music, no matter which format it is. And vinyl is still alive – I’m working on two vinyl release as we speak!
There seems to be an interesting split with dubstep producers at the moment, either moving from dubstep to dub/ reggae or techno/ house. Why do you think that is? For me, I got a bit bored with the deep dungeon sounds. Every track was kind of sounding the same after a while. Others producers probably thought the same thing and started moving on. There’s still decent deep dubstep being made but I want music to have more melodies. In reggae/dub it’s all about the melodies and since dubstep and dub are in the same bpm range, it’s natural for me to make dubby dubstep. When dubstep started in the early days, almost every track was reggae influenced so actually we’re going back to the old days – which I like! That’s the main reason for me to produce those vibes. Same can be said for the techno/house movement, it’s also in the same bpm range. I’m not a big fan of the genre but I understand why people moved to techno/house as well. To keep producing interesting music, you need to widen your spectrum and that’s what’s happening now.
Any final words or shoutouts? Shouts to all the people that support my music in any way. Crises, Syte, Squarewave, ARtroniks, Subreachers, The Illuminated, TMSV, J.Robinson, RDG, Dj Madd, the whole MindStep Music family, New World Audio crew, Cubiculo Records, Dubbing Sun, BunZer0, Black Pearl Soundsystem, Captain Morgan (for all the great adventures)… Sorry if I forgot anyone, too many people helping to spread my music so thanks to you all!
Jeroen’s kindly us a FKOF free download to celebrate the feature with. The Cause is a wicked combination of the producer’s two loves, dub and dubstep. Enjoy!
The FKOF review:
“A big growl announces the arrival of Digid’s The Cause, luring the listener into a raucous drop. The production’s kept to time by a snappy percussive element that feels ordnance ticking towards detonation. The rolling dubby sub-bass overwhelms the chest, working simultaneously from head-to-toe with the high end melody.
“With resonating mid-ranges filling up the space, Digid creates a short fuse that feels like an impending explosion. As the track reaches its peak, you may quickly realise that Digid and Mindstep Music are a force to to be reckoned with. We’re honoured to once again be working with the imprint, even more so to be adding Digid to the FKOF fam!”