Today’s a special day for me.
When I first stumbled upon Exit about 10 or so years ago, it was when I first heard DBridge playing Last Straw (featuring his brother, Spacek on vocals) in a Drum & Bass Arena mix. It had this soul and this high-tech attitude that reminded me so much of Detroit, and I was instantly hooked and was introduced to the Exit Records catalog. Anything that they were putting out I bought on sight, vinyl or digital -- whatever format I could afford at the time, I bought. Inner Disbelief, Boungie, Heather’s Hot Waffles, Cronk, Melodies, Stutter, Marka, Get Busy, Weatherman – those tunes among others in their catalog struck such a chord (no pun intended) with me; I could hear the connections that reminded me of London and Detroit throughout each tune.
Throughout listening to all of this I also had this secret/crazy vow to myself throughout the years while I was producing music: if I ever got on Exit, I would make it a release that was as close to my Detroit influences as possible…
Well, last year Dbridge asked me to make some music for him -- a few tracks for a 12”. That 12” turned into an EP, and today I can finally announce that my EP “Naine Rouge” marks the 70th release on Exit Records UK.
Nain Rouge is local folklore in my hometown of Detroit… The Nain Rouge or “red dwarf” has been known as the harbinger of doom in Detroit since it’s founding over 300 years ago, the true sign of all the bad things that has happened in Detroit and those destined to come. To prevent this from happening and the Nain prevailing and eventually destroy the city, the citizens of the city get together at the end March and have a parade/party called the Marche du Naine Rouge to drive the devil out of Detroit. I shaped these 5 tracks around that concept and the music I grew up listening to on the radio.
Magan Truesdale is the designer of/model on the cover, a graphic designer here in Calgary that just recently moved to Vancouver… when I was looking for ideas on art for this EP I stumbled upon it on her Facebook and called the search off – I found the Nain Rouge!!! I hit my old roommate Shaun (Homesick) up, and he contacted her and we got the hi-res photos for it. I did the written hand style on the EP titling, and Cimm at Exit knocked out the rest. I chose this one because it reminded me of psych-rock covers that a band in Detroit would rock, Detroit has this very Gothic undertone in our music and culture, so I definitely wanted to embrace that.
This EP is an oddball affair that has been a labor of love, and I’m very proud to share this with everyone...
A few notes...
A1 “Untitled” w/ Stingray313 – This is the first track that was completed for the EP… I met Sherard (DJ Stingray) in 2009 via MySpace (I’m “old”, I know); he messaged me about one of my tracks I had on my page and wanted to stay in touch. Life got in the way for a few years, so we lost contact, but eventually reconnected at Carl Carig's Planet E 20 year anniversary party in Detroit, and we stayed trading music from there on out. In late 2012 He asked me to be a contributor to the Urban Tribe outfit, and we’ve been working on music since. This track is dope because I wanted to make something that was a portal between what Sherard has done in electro with the 160, maximal sounds that I’ve been shaping the past few years. Stingray313’s sound has been a heavy influence to me as well as him becoming a very good friend of mine, and I’m definitely glad to have him on here.
A2 “Shake” ft. Detroit’s Filthiest aka DJ Nasty -- Julian aka DJ Nasty aka Detroit's FIlthiest is known as one of the founders of Ghettotech, a DJ style in Detroit that became a genre in its own right -- ghettotech mixes house, techno, Baltimore club, Miami Bass, hip hop, and jungle, all of these regional styles, into this 150 – 160 BPM insanity, and the DJs played this on the radio every weekend (usually live from a club or from the station in mixshow format) for as long as I can remember listening. I’d hear things like Dark Soldier from Nookie and Ray Keith mixed with DJ Assault mixed with DBX’s “The Bells” played at 45 RPM all at one tempo above 150 BPM. In short, it changed how I listened to music from that point on.
Julian (DJ Nasty) and I met in an unfortunate situation – our good friend and musical colleague Aaron-Carl passed away (tomorrow will be 6 years to the day) and I got introduced to him at Aaron’s funeral through Brian Gillespie, a guy synonymous with pushing the ghettotech/Detroit sound out to the rest of the world (see "Sandwiches" by Detroit Grand Pubahs - he’s the one that put this tune out.) Julian and I stayed in contact every now and then through our points in musical time, and we had a very awesome chat last year during Movement Festival about drum and bass and ghettotech being strong influences of mine, and hearing this sound he helped create on the radio growing up. We devised a plan to work on music, and this EP was the perfect opportunity to figure something out. Off to a great start!
AA1 -“Nonlinear Threat” – Electro has experienced this weird shift of genre terminology over the past decade or so– it went from being the sounds of Dopplereffekt, Drexciya or AUX88 to being named the sound of Ed Banger or early Dim Mak – a short-form version of “Electroclash” I’m guessing. Anyways, I grew up on the former, and I wanted to make something that was a blend of that style and jungle. The text-to-speech is from a political science report on dissident opposition groups and how their targeted governments repress them from taking over – very similar to how some elements of dance music can tend to repress music or artists from crossing from the underground to the mainstream, or even having a voice. The threat is real, so we must fight back!!
AA2 - “I Pop, I Jit” – So I used to dance a as a teen, and one of the dances we learned was the Jit… Jit is our answer to footwork/juke dancing in Chicago – we use more acrobatics and choreography, and it actually looks really solid when you have a suit/uniformed outfit on, as the inventors of this dance (The Jitterbugs) wore suits while they toured around and performed this style. EVERYONE does the jit, doesn't matter how good or bad you do it, you just had fun with it. You could be at the gas station or a BBQ or a school dance and catch some people hanging out, getting their Jit on -- it's a dance that's very much a part of our day-to day culture in Detroit. Popping is pop-locking, a dance that is more popular on the West Coast, but, much like our musical influences, popping found our way into our dancing style. This is a shout to both dances… one of my friends pointed out that the intro sounded like a version of Kyle Hall’s house tune “Finnapop” and I can easily say that was totally my influence in making this. I chopped up some phrase to make it sound like “pop pop, jit jit” throughout, and my friend from LA Morgan (aka Ducky) did the vocal stabs on the second part of this song. This one is definitely for my dancing crew.
“Rook” [Digital Bonus] –The rook is my favorite chess piece because it’s direct and covers tons of ground on the board, but using it is really complex – it protects the King from getting caught in checkmate, as well as delivering a powerful mate when on the offensive. This was a fun challenge track to make… some funny questions I asked myself while I was getting the beats together were “What would happen if the ‘Valve Sound’ was at 160?” and "what if Dillinja made footwork?" I also wanted to make and finish a track with this handheld drum machine I have called the Bleep Drum I had laying around for some time – bought it at the Moog Music Factory in Asheville for cheap… Mix all of that together and you have this tune here, and I’m glad it became a part of the EP. __________
I hope you enjoy this EP as much as I enjoyed making it; Exit is one of those labels that allow their artists to really run wild with their ideas while keeping a strong ear to the dancefloor, and I am really looking to working more with them.