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Born Deaf: The incredible story of Objectiv

Following a sporadic handful of singles since he emerged on the drum and bass scene back in 2017, Objectiv has released his first solo EP on minimal powerhouse Flexout Audio, something he has described as ‘a dream come true.’

With a focus on explorative bass sound design and heavy-hitting drum work, he’s previously notched up releases for the likes of Addictive Behaviour and Lifestyle Music. More recently, we’ve seen his Peckyard single come out on exciting new label Bowlcut Beats featuring a serious remix from T>I, which only further enhanced Objectiv’s reputation as one of the most exciting young heads in the scene.

Alongside fellow newcomers Jappa, Lupo and Teej, he’s also part of one of the most destructive collectives to emerge in recent times – OCC. Together, the four lads have been carving out a path worth taking notice of, unleashing their dancefloor style of drum and bass across platforms such as Skankandbass.

Objectiv’s path into music is all the more impressive when he tells his story. Artists often have to overcome sociological barriers to pursue their careers, but very few have to overcome a physical hurdle, especially something as debilitating as being born deaf!

It wasn’t until he had a miraculous procedure called cranial osteopathy to open up his sinus passages that his life was changed forever, and he was able to hear his first sound- rain on the roof.

Exploring a range of styles and featuring a collaboration with Hyroglifics, Raining Sound is an EP that celebrates something that we all sometimes take for granted- the chance to listen to and enjoy music.

We had a chat with Objectiv (as well as his mum to fact check the medical information!) about the story behind the EP….

Hey man, so new EP just out! How are you feeling about it all?

Very good actually, it’s been a long time coming! I’ve been trying to get on Flexout for as long as I’ve been making music. It’s always been the big thing for me, they’re the label that I’ve always looked up to. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it really is a dream come true! Tom Bassi is an absolute badman and really helped me with the vision for the release and made sure the tunes were right. For so long, I was sending tunes but they weren’t quite ready, but he kept encouraging me to send them and eventually I did and they sounded a fit for the label!

Music artists often have to battle social disadvantages, but very few have to overcome something physical, such as being born deaf!

Yeah, so from what I understand about it, when I was born there were complications and I needed to have a cap called a ventouse put around my head to help pull me out. Because your skull is so weak as a baby, this crushed the soft tissues in my head and meant that fluids couldn’t be drawn away from my sinuses effectively. This gave me glue ear and ultimately made me deaf.

But then you had a cranial osteopathy- what is that exactly? It sounds pretty miraculous!

The cranial osteopathy is basically a manipulation of the soft tissue. All the tissue hadn’t popped back into place after the ventouse had been placed around by head. I went and saw this guy about five times and he manipulated my skull, releasing the tubes and encouraging everything to open up. This cleared the airwaves and allowed everything to move around my head freely. Once that happened, I could hear clearly, and it opened up a completely new world for me!

How old were you when that took place?

I think I was about five when I had the treatment done as I’d just started school. Everyone was a bit more aware and people stopped thinking I just wasn’t listening and that it needed to be looked at properly. When I had my hearing aids, I would just take them out and throw them away, so I got taken to the doctors to have them looked at again haha. They also think me being deaf as a kid contributed to my dyslexia, as when I was learning all the phonetics at school, I couldn’t marry it all together so I’d not be able to get simple stuff right like the right weather and whether or their, there and they’re.

But then you had the osteopathy and you heard sound for the first time- raindrops on your roof. This EP must feel like a personal one for you- a representation of your first sonic memory.

Yeah, it’s a cool little concept. Kind of the idea behind the structure of the EP is the softer progressing into the harder style, representing the time when I was deaf into the moment when I could hear and everything changed for me. That’s what I was trying to show with it and the end result is definitely something that I’m proud of.

We often take sound for granted, but everywhere we go, we can hear music around us. Whether it’s the rustling of the wind in the trees, waves crashing against the rocks, or in your case, rainfall. You must feel an appreciation for these sounds more than most.

I would say recently I definitely have. It’s an appreciation for hearing anything in general as I’ve noticed my hearing has got a bit worse, especially in my right ear. I would say taking notice of sounds that you take for granted in everyday life, but without risking damaging my hearing anymore as well. When you’re younger, you’re quite naïve with it all and have your headphones up as loud as they can go and all that, but your hearing is one of those things that doesn’t get better, it just gets worse which is a bit of a scary thing, so I definitely take more notice of it all now.

Working as a DJ, especially as a drum and bass DJ, you’re constantly exposed to loud sound. Do you have to be more careful in terms of looking after your hearing now?

I take a lot more caution with it all now and I try not to be around it so much. It’s obviously quite hard not to be though with what I do, but I’ve always got my earplugs in, or if it’s the cheap version, the old rolled-up rizla in the ear trick haha. There’s actually a story about Sl8r – he had to go to A&E from a rave because he got a bit of rizla stuck in his ear!

Definitely not a method to be encouraged then! 

No, definitely not haha! 

You’ve featured on Flexout in the past on a collaboration with Klinical. Why did they feel the right label for you to tell this story? 

I think it’s just going back to Flexout always being the dream label really. If you look at Flexout, they’re the kings of this style of music, the real cornerstone of that minimal sound. I think my normal sound is a little bit different, it’s probably a bit harder, so the fact that Tom thinks it can fit on there, that’s absolutely great. I also feel if it was on anywhere else, the story behind it might get lost a little bit.

How’s working under Bassi? He seems a label boss who gives his artists a blank canvas and encourages them to really experiment and push themselves.

Yeah, definitely. On the EP, there’s a lot of different styles of tunes that shows the freedom I had on it. He encouraged me not to limit myself and he never said anything like a tune was too harsh for example, if he likes the tune, he likes it, and he’s got a really good ear for tunes as well, which I’m extremely thankful for considering he liked mine! He’s great to work with, he’s really responsive, which is hard to come by in drum and bass as normally everyone is quite long. He’s a guy that really cares and that’s what means the most to the artist. Another label boss who is like that is Joe Bowlcut, so a big shout out to him as well. He’s just like Bassi, always wanting the best for the artist and the music.

You touched on it a bit earlier, but apart from the meaning behind the music, there seems to be a maturity to the release. You explore different sounds, such as with the lighter, more emotive title track.

I think as I haven’t released anything properly in a little while, it was nice to really show what I can do. I think my production has changed quite a bit recently, and I really wanted to explore those different avenues. On the release, there’s a light, liquid bit, a more minimal, rollery vibe, then a big, heavy one and the one with Hyroglifics as well, all showing a different side of the drum and bass genre.

Talking about the collaboration with Hyroglifics, I think my personal favourite has to be that one. It’s moody, dark, with that powerful, explorative bass rumble, a sound that you’ve demonstrated throughout your production career. How was it working together?

It was good, I get on with Matt well anyway, he’s a really good guy. When he hit me up for a collaboration, I jumped at the chance because I’ve been listening to his tunes for years and years. He sent me over an original idea and I flipped it a little bit before he took it back and just stepped it up just like that! It was quite a quick process as sometimes it can drag out a little bit but not this one. I’d definitely be up for doing something together again in the future.

I wanted to talk briefly with you about another one of your projects that I know you’ve been working on a lot while you’ve been putting your EP together- your OCC collective with Jappa, Lupo and Teej. How did that come about?

So there were previous people in the collective before me, but they asked me about January time when we were on a night out if I wanted to join and I was like yeah, go on then! We all hang out anyway and chat all the time and have also made tunes with each other before as well, so it was quite a natural thing to do to progress to making tunes together under one umbrella, it never felt forced or anything like that.

How is it making tunes as a four? How do you bring your own styles together to make a coherent sound?

Dropbox is the way man, just bung it all in Dropbox! We’ll do Zoom meetings, or we’ll meet up at mine and start something and share it around. I like to be on the buttons most of the time and then everyone will input their ideas, mainly because I’m a bit of a control freak with everything when it comes to tunes. It’s good fun really, no one’s being quiet, we all just throw stuff at each other and then marry it all together.

What do you have to come, both with OCC and personally?

OCC-wise, we’ve got loads of clothing stuff planned. Me and Jappa have always wanted to look at that avenue, so we’ve going to heading down that route a little bit. We’ve got brand new t-shirts designed, so we’ll be putting them out over the next month or so. In terms of music, we’re working on a single for a very special label that we all love, so we’re buzzing for that. We’re sitting on loads of music which when it’s fully ready, we’ll put out.

With me, I’ve just finished a new EP but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say for who just yet. I’ve just had a tune out with Haribo on Vandal which I’m really exciting about, as Harry’s one of the best in the game in my opinion. I’m getting a couple of singles finished off as well as some remixes, but with no gigs or anything, that’s just me, finishing tunes and putting them out.

You mention the lack of gigs there. To finish, I just wanted to see how the past few months have impacted you as an artist. Have you seen a difference in the way you make music, or how your productivity differs?

I’ve always just made tunes for me really, not with the dancefloor necessarily in mind. I make it because I like making it, so that hasn’t changed that much. The lack of gigs has actually helped me focus on myself a bit more, sorting out my head and my health. Maybe not many would say the same, but lockdown did bits for me! It made me realise I was a bit of a mess and needed to do something about it, especially with my mentality. I was as proactive as I could be to ensure that I didn’t feel down about the lack of gigs or loss of music sales. It changes how life is and you’ve just got to adapt with it and get healthy. I just channelled everything into making my music and stopped being a fat bastard!

 

Objectiv – Raining Sound is out now on Flexout Audio 

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