No one cares: This wholesome motivational gambit comes courtesy of Hugh Pescod. You know him as Redlight and you will almost certainly know him as Clipz, too…
He explains how people no longer have to invest in music so there’s much less of an attachment. So what if you don’t like someone’s EP? Move on and continue to wade through the fathomless ocean of music constantly on offer. You didn’t have to pay for it, so who cares?
But here’s the twist; Hugh doesn’t necessarily see this as a bad thing for artists. No one cares so your only option is to do what the hell you like. “No one is living or dying off your sound”, as he explains, allowing you to experiment more, not overthink and just do something you enjoy doing and don’t labour things because listeners sure ain’t going to labour over you.
Closely affiliated with the school of ‘catching a vibe’, and the foundation-style rough-and-ready production approach (albeit tainted by a cynical acceptance of life in a conservative era) it’s a mindset and style that’s clearly working for Hugh. More than it has in years, perhaps. Not only has he just dropped his second Redlight album Active – an LP that runs the dancefloor spectrum and flexes Hugh’s more song-based motifs with guests such as Sweetie Irie, Dread MC and Lisa Mercedez – he’s also neck deep into a Clipz album.
Who cares, though right? Hugh does. We kinda do, too. Here’s where he’s at as Redlight, as Clipz and more importantly as a human being…
You’ve literally dropped a Redlight album but I keep hearing rumours of a Clipz album…
Yeah man, I’ve almost finished the album. It’s all early jungle influenced stuff. I’ve been making it alongside the Redlight stuff.
It must be nice to have that variety?
It’s just fun to make what I want. I know what I need to do technically so I’m free to have fun with it. Just make beats, express myself and never overthink things. Just sit down and let it come out. Gone of the days of overthinking.
Any particular point you started to realise that? I’m still learning it myself…
You just get to the point where you don’t care. There’s too much shit going on in life to be worrying about a fucking kickdrum. I’m sure you get it as a writer?
Yeah it’s about simplifying things and remembering people aren’t going to over analyse it like you are…
Exactly. I’ve been saying this a lot lately; People don’t give a fuck about anything any more. People’s concentration spans are being reduced by social media, having too many options, streaming, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Spotify everything… There’re so many things for people to listen to out there they don’t care. They just move on. It’s not like 20 years when you had an album and you’d listen to it over and over and over because it cost you £14 or whatever. Now you can listen to everything for a few quid a month. Bang bang bang, you can listen to anything.
And you know what? That’s actually really liberating for an artist because you don’t have to labour it, you can just have fun. If people like it, great! If they don’t, move on. No one is living and dying by your sound. No one will go ‘oh that last Redlight record was so shit mate, I’m never listening to him again’ Because the next time comes around, they can check it for no investment. No one is invested in any more.
That’s a healthy way to look at things. On the flipside, the idea no one caring can be pretty bleak for an artist
But they don’t care. No one gives a fuck about anyone or anything any more. Everyone just cares about themselves. It’s the Conservative nature, it’s a Conservative era. I fucking hate the Tories but for an artist this means you can do your thing. You can be selfish too. If people like it, great. If they don’t, who cares? I’m already on the next thing.
That’s pretty bleak too though. People were more activated and fought more the last time the UK was in a Conservative era…
Yeah but no one’s closed the mines this time. People growing up now haven’t seen communities closed down. Less people have seen their parents crying because they’ve lost their only family income. Maybe things have to get so bad that people will fight? The left will rise again because that’s the way it goes. Cycles. But trust me, austerity isn’t on Instagram mate.
Even though no one gives a fuck, you clearly give one. You’ve been busy!
It’s another lap in the marathon bro.
Do the laps get easier because you know what’s coming?
They change. It’s like this… You get up in the morning and you want to exercise. Go to the gym, a run, whatever. Then it starts to rain and you really can’t bring yourself to go and do that. So you stop because you forget how much of a buzz the exercise gave you. It’s like that with music. Some years it rains and the stars don’t align for you. You’ve just got to keep banging them out, get back in the trenches and work your way out of it. You’re lucky to have a creative job and put more food on the table in the first places. Other years, it’s sunny, people are more receptive to what you’re doing and you’re running again. You’re never on top forever, the creative journey is more about the bottoms than the tops. If you can dig in and enjoy things even when you’re at the bottom when no one gives a fuck about you then when the tops happen you won’t even notice because you’re enjoying the trip.
It’s how you deal with the shit being thrown at you?
Yeah I’m a bottom feeder! I live in the trenches. I love it there. But I also like the nice stuff, too. I’m a Thatcher’s baby mate. I like money and nice things but I’m a bottom feeder, getting in there and making a beat and getting on a vibe and not caring if you like it or not.
That’s the junglist in you talking!
It is mate. Being on stuff, being active, pursuing something you want to do. It’s also the theme on the album Active. Hence the name. It’s about doing what you want to do. For me that’s about capturing what I’m about. It’s about nightclubs, growing up around soundsystems, let’s not overthink things, let’s not try and be the smart arse producer and just make some bangers.
I read you’d been raving since 12. That’s pretty young!
Yeah man. My older sister knew where the parties were and I hung around with older kids. Plus, this is the west country and there was a big warehouse and free party culture. They don’t discriminate or ask for ID! I remember going to a rave opposite a power station on the beach and I was no older than 15. It’s in my blood now, it’s stayed with me as a musician I guess.
Did you go to any of the squat parties Krust and all that lot were hosting?
I went to a lot of their parties as a raver a little later on but didn’t hook up with them until I was about 19. Krust has been a major inspiration for me. I lived in a flat he had when I was 21 and he helped me loads, all those guys did. They brought me up and taught me a lot.
Give me a lesson from Krust!
It’s what you said earlier actually… Whether anyone gives a fuck or not, you’ve got to give a fuck about yourself and be confident about your own decisions and your own thing. He also taught me that everyone is a source of knowledge. Listen to people; everyone has something they can teach you and you’ve got something you can teach to them. Have the capability of shutting up, listening to what someone has to say, going away and thinking about and putting that information to good use.
Amen! What was the last thing you learnt?
Someone close to me noticed I had a crease in my Air Force Ones and told me about a de-crease. I didn’t know they existed. And the dude who told me was 15. That’s knowledge from the young!
Listening to the young is vital. Especially in Brexit times. If sixteen year olds could vote we probably wouldn’t be Brexiting right now
Would we? Who knows? A lot of kids growing up in households where the old generation still have an influence and spread their ill-informed opinions. Brexit was about manipulation and if younger people could vote I’m sure the Tories would have tried to manipulate them as well. But yeah the young are the future. We should be evolving, we should be developing on the pathway, we’ve got to make sure the knowledge is there for them to develop.
Musically I think we’re doing that. A lot more of the elders setting up training classes and schools, making sure the music is preserved. No more secrets and all that…
Yeah that’s great as long as you’ve got good mates around you. There are people in this game who’ll take your secret and not give back to you. That’s fine, I don’t give to receive, but there’s a respect level for anything in life. There are people out there, I call them young Conservatives, who will take from you and not give back to anyone. Watch out for the.
Snakes. I’m a hype guy, I like positive stuff. I hate hearing shit like that about the music I love…
Me too man. But someone else taught me something once… Be careful who you give your knowledge to. People will take take take. It’s life. No more secrets is great. But only as long as your patterns and processes have got you to a nice position so you’ve made enough money you don’t care about giving your secrets out. If your livelihood is your secret and you’re still paying over-priced rent or putting money in the electricity meter then don’t give away those secrets just yet.
They’re your currency…
So no more secrets about the Clipz album…
Ha! Maybe that’s the name of the album.
Have you named it yet?
No! Maybe I will right now…
I have to say, that set at Hospitality In The Park last year. Blew me away.
Biggup to Hospital for having me down to do that. I’d been asked so many times to do a Clipz set. People were offering silly money, but I wasn’t feeling it. I just didn’t want to do it. But that set was fun because it was playing tunes I hadn’t played for 12 years. I just had a laugh.
Yeah man, it’s been a while. But the reason I haven’t done many Clipz shows is because I want to go out with no less than 20 plates of my own. When I was doing Clipz stuff back in the day, I was representing me. I want a portfolio of dubplates to be correct. I want to give you an hour of that particular sonic I want to represent at that time. The Clipz sound that I want to represent now is coming together. I’d say I’ve got about an hour of it, almost. It’s very different to what I was doing in my 20s… This is me going back to those early raves we spoke about just now. Aged 13 with a Russell Athletic top on, in the back of Lakota, L Double and Randall on the decks playing fucking serious music. It was brand new, a British movement. How it grabbed me then was how I want this music to grab me now. It’s a homage to that era, but with its eyes on the future. No jump up, no wobbly basslines…
Yeah man, there’s a reason this music changed so many people’s lives. I just want to recapture the essence of what made it special to me…
And to give a fuck about yourself because no one else will…