Plastician is in a great place right now… Following the success and creative scope of London Living and Sorcery he’s well and truly back in the studio. Skepta also picked up one of his original Plasticman productions for Back Then and his label Terrorhythm has had delivered an array of exciting, forward-thinking productions from next gen beat carvers such as GANZ, SKULS, Beaudamian and JD Reid.
He’s also continued to sharpen his on-point selection skills. His transition from dubstep and grine to broader fields wasn’t easy (as he explains in this previous interview) but he’s been unwavering in his support for brand new artists and exciting new sounds. His latest mix, uploaded this month, is yet another fine example of his dedication to the frontier. More headphone heaven than club chaos, it’s riddled with brand new young artists who, to Plastician, represent the future… And a counter culture that’s the complete creative antithesis of the commercial music world.
Having whittled his leftfield, wavy beat stick for several years, more and more people are tuning into Plastician with his Rinse show being one of the most popularly played on Soundcloud. Madly, though, six months ago he was considering quitting stating that “there is a real and increasing reality that I might not be doing this for much longer.”
Jaded by the industry’s fixation with stats and numbers – and not the actual music itself – his rebuttal was two stunning live mixes broadcast on Rinse entitled Out Of The Darkness. They scored record attention the reaction played a role in his newfound inspiration. Here’s how he sees 2015…
I needed it this year; if things hadn’t picked up then I may have been looking to move into the business side of things and leaving the music side to other people. It was good for me to find my spark again. I felt like it was fizzling out…
2015 According To… Plastician
“I don’t know what the turning point was… The summer was fairly quiet gig-wise but I used that time to get back in the studio. London Living with Jammz was a pivotal moment. He was a pleasure to work with. Following London Living, Skepta vocalled Back Then. We had played some shows in Ibiza under our Tropical umbrella at Ibiza rocks when he showed it to me, and as far as large gigs go the Tropical shows were the staple of my calendar for most of the first six months of the year. Playing those shows with Skepta and JME put me back in the spotlight. People are very keen on what they’re doing so being a part of that helped and re-inspired me to get back in the studio whenever possible.
“I needed it this year; if things hadn’t picked up then I may have been looking to move into the business side of things and leaving the music side to other people. It was good for me to find my spark again. I felt like it was fizzling out; I was quite accepting of that, though. I’m getting older, I was happy to let it fizzle out and put my expertise to some other parts of the industry. But this year has reinvigorated things for me. You don’t realise how bad it is when you’re not enjoying it… Until you’re inspired again and you’re eager to keep it going. It’s a great motivator to get in the studio, get tracks signed and make things happen. I’m really excited for next year and beyond
“This year was the third year I tried to establish myself doing something different. A lot of the tail end of 2014 I was being booked just to play grime. I love playing grime but not just grime. And I don’t like being dictated to and being told what I had to play. This year I find myself on the grime line-ups but I can be more creative. I know what I’m doing… I’m not going to play the type of things I do at the beginning of my radio show on Rinse which is slow and sparse and wavy. I know that’s not going to work in certain club settings, it works better in more intimate, dark venues but I love playing it on the radio and people are supporting it. Promoters should know I’m not an idiot. I won’t play an hour of deep wavy tracks on a headline slot to 2000 people before JME comes on!
“The radio show has been getting mad attention, too. I’ve noticed in the last 6-8 months the hits on Soundcloud are very high. It’s one of the most popular shows on Rinse and a lot of the guys I’m playing are unheard of kids. That, for me, is amazing: I’m not getting hits based of big premieres with huge artists. It’s just young kids, bedroom producers, people no one has heard of. As much as I hate the fact stats are becoming so important, it is a great indicator. People are checking the show for something new and fresh and exciting. That’s so cool; that’s what I started listening to radio for. If people are doing that, then I’m doing something right.
“I love the fact that a lot of DJs are checking the show for that reason as well. I’ve had friends from time ago – old dubstep and grime producers – who’ve heard the show and been inspired and made tracks like that themselves. People who I really respect musically. That’s such a plus.
“It’s taken a long time, though… Even as recently as a year ago I think people still weren’t getting it. People weren’t feeling it and it wasn’t opening any doors. But this year people seem to finally be getting it. I feel a lot more comfortable doing whatever I want to do on the radio. It hasn’t had an effect on my shows – I can play what I want, I just have to be selective and know what I can get away with in certain settings.
“Show-wise, the UK still isn’t quite ready for what I’m playing on the radio in a broader sense. I take my cues from the DJs playing before me. If they’re playing grime or house then I know I can’t go in with the really experimental stuff fully. But in America I can play exactly what I want. There’s already a scene bubbling for that thing. In the UK people still know me as a guy who plays grime and dubstep but I can accept that… These things take time and I’m doing what I can to push these new sounds into the clubs as well.
“I do this with my own events, too; we had a really good one at Phonox, London, and there’ll be more next year. I’m trying to build that platform. DJs are emerging. I know there are ears. It’s building slowly but surely. This year has been good to open the doors again, the next year and the year after it will grow. Artists who I’ve been playing for a few years are now picking up some great attention. Mura Masa, who I’ve been playing for years, has just been picked as one of the sound of 2016 by the BBC, which is great. It’s proof that a movement takes time… These years have made me realise you have to be patient about things. Whether you’re starting off or you’ve been around for a while, it takes time. It’s like starting again; even though I’m known, I’m not known for this. So it will take a few more years for us to see regular eclectic nights rather than genre focused nights or label nights. Overall, it’s really exciting and I’m definitely happy with 2015 and what we can make happen in 2016…”
Plastician: Two Key Tunes for 2015
JME & Giggs – Man Don’t Care (BBK)
“Easily the biggest tune of the year. Everyone knows thissong; I can play it anywhere in the world and people will know. It made me realise how big the scene is and how it’s travelled.”
GANZ – Dino War (Terrorythm)
“Our biggest single was probably GANZ’s Dino War. It did really wellon all sides; it was used on a Nike football campaign. I love football so that was a really nice link. To see Wayne Rooney talking and having our music in the background was sick to me! That was a proper buzz.”