When it comes to heavyweight collaborations, Megalodon is biting hard right now…
This year alone we’ve had Wit Me Dub with Zeds Dead, Jaguar with SKisM and Habstrakt, True OG with 50 Carrot and 12th Planet and now Encounters… An entire EP dedicated to peer-fusion featuring cuts with 12th Planet, Virtual Riot, Bar9 and BadKlaat.
We caught up with the Montreal-based basssmith to find out more about the EP and his favourite topic… Sharks.
This is the busiest year you’ve had so far, right?
Yes, it’s definitely my busiest. I gotta shout out my new manager for giving me the kick up the ass I needed. It’s inspiring… I guess the whole ‘dubstep is dead, garage is the new thing’ discussion that’s made me want to write more dubstep! I love garage, that’s what I first got into, but when the kids are all over the internet saying it’s fresh I’m like ‘it’s good… But it’s not fresh fresh!’ So I’m proudly flying the flag for dubstep right now!
Props! It seems to go two ways when a genre is experiencing a bit of a media kicking… You either start a whole new project or you stick to your guns passionately – like Caspa or Hatcha for example.
Definitely. It’s about cutting the fat off and leaving it to the guys who want to make it because they love it… And not just ride the hype. I have to say, though, I got no problem with people making different genres if that’s their thing; my homie Antiserum started off as a breaks DJ and has done all sorts of styles, Habstrakt is another fine example. He’s always been doing house since I’ve known him. So with a lot of guys, making different genres was always on the cards.
Zeds Dead are a great example of that as it goes. How did the Wit Me Dub co-lab with them happen? You’re all Canada-based… So I’m assuming this happened in the studio together?
Unfortunately not. I was in LA at the time, and their schedule is fucking crazy anyway. The crazy world of Twitter is to thank for this. I got a message from them and thought it was a troll of some kind. They’d sent me this idea with a reggae twist and I was working on a track at the time so I put them together, they loved it and added their craftsmen magic and boom… It was done and out there. I wish all tracks were as simple!
Let’s talk about Jaguar…
This is an interesting one. SKisM and I started this about two years ago! The original idea was a banger but we bounced it back and forth with so many different thoughts that we lost the focus a bit. Then we brought Habstrakt on board, we sent him the stems and he brought it all together. It turned out to be better than any of us thought!
Habstrakt was the glue that brought it all together, then…
Exactly! He’s got a very specific mixdown sound to his productions that did bring everything together. That’s what we needed – an English producer and an American producer needed a cheeky slice of French lemon!
Ha! Collabs seem to be the theme here… Let’s talk about the Encounters EP. I felt the title was downplaying the level of partnerships you’ve got bubbling here!
Ah that’s just another shark reference, like everything I do. Unwelcome visits from evil creatures type of thing. But yeah it was basically me knocking on my friends’ doors saying ‘alright bro, it’s time to make a tune!’ The only person who I didn’t get to write in the studio was with Virtual Riot. He’s fucking insane, he’s ridiculously good at what he does and I knew he would come through even if we weren’t in the studio together. The whole concept was them sending me ideas and sounds and I’ll finish the rest… So it’s got that consistency running throughout.
I was wondering if the 12th Planet one came about at the same time as True OG?
They were both written at a similar time actually. With True OG 50 Carrot was in town so John (12th Planet) insisted on a session. That’s the coolest thing about him; it doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest artist in town or you’ve had 50 plays on Soundcloud… If you’re in his house he’ll be getting you in the studio. He loves the creative process.
I love that; no snobbery
None at all. He’s a lot of like SKisM in the way that he’s always open minded, always looking for fresh talent and never holier than thou. Even if you’ve not really got a solid idea, he’ll bring that shit out of you and get amped to fuck on things. You can see the 15 year old inside of him, aching to explore the studio. So Light Up came after 50 Carrot left. It was one of those super foggy nights that we couldn’t even think of a title for a while. That’s LA for you… Everyone is up in smoke!
I thought Montreal would be similarly spirited?
People smoke over here, for sure, but I get challenged by the language… There is a big divide between the anglo and francophone cultures. Everyone speaks both but often drop into French half way through the conversation and I don’t speak French! America is more split by wealth but here the culture is more split by language. It’s really interesting.
I’ve just realised you’re in Snails County! Any co-labs on the cards with him?
He’s such a dude. We’ve toured together in Australia and we speak regularly. We may well get on a track together knock on wood. He’s got such a positive attitude to everything and he’s a local legend here.
Enough talking about other people… Let’s talk about you! What’s coming up after Encounters?
I’ve got so many plans… I’m really excited about the reggae vibe at the moment. House is cool, trap is cool but reggae really switches me on. It always has. I listen to more dancehall than I do dubstep.
Check out Frightnrs on Mad Decent. Just straight up reggae vibes!
Oh sure. That’s what I love about Diplo – he’s super open minded and progressive about styles and sounds. I actually first heard of him through Vybz Kartel, it’s like ‘who’s this little white boy making these moves?’ I love the aggression of dancehall. It fits my aggy vibe… It’s a great way of fusing melody with the badman ting!
Speaking of badman tings… Tell me about sharks. The last time we spoke you told us about their ampullae of lorenzini. Got any more awesome shark facts?
Oh man, loads. Sharks have been a lifelong obsession. I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was a kid but ended up hating school and getting another calling… Like most producers do! I still read about them every day. Megalodon actually started as a political project. All the money from my early releases went to Haiti and Japan and I wanted to start a campaign about shark finning and shark rights. My girlfriend took me to aquarium once and had no idea that I’d react the way I did. It’s like I’m in a room full of kittens saying ‘oh my god they’re so cute!’ But that fact about the ampullae of lorenzini is my favourite one – even when it’s about to attack it closes the membrane over its eyes because it can feel your electrical impulses inside of you. That’s some sixth sense shit right there! So yeah, I followed music but I still got dreams of owning a boat, going out to sea and playing dubstep to all my shark buddies.
I saw a documentary on the megamouth shark recently… What a mad creature!
Yeah! It was found off the coast of LA in the 80s and they’ve only seen a few since. It’s one of the largest fish in the world. My favourite shark when it comes down to looks is the goblin sharks, they dislocate their jaws like alien.
(searches Google) That’s fucked up! Wow!
Immense, right? It looks like a regular shark until it bites then it totally dislocates its jaw when it bites. It’s ridiculously scary.
You must have swum with sharks…
Oh yeah. I lived in Florida for a long time and had my fair share of shark and gator and snake encounters. One thing I’ve noticed about their behaviour is that they’re a lot like dogs. If it’s moving around a lot then it’s a bit like those beefed up guys swaggering down the street with a ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe going on. You keep away… Just as should with a shark when they’re behaving like that. Some sharks like having their tail twisted which puts it in a sleepy, hypnotised state. You can tickle their tummy and everything. You can totally disarm a shark by doing that… twist its tail and put it on its back and it’s defenceless. There’s your fact right there. I wouldn’t try it at home though bro!