Big moments happen in the life of Plastician on the serious regular.
Just recently he became a proud dad. Weeks later he smashed Bestival to smithereens with an incredible 80s set (complete with his own edits) and next month in London he’ll be performing the maddest b2b set of his life as Plastician goes toe-to-toe with his old guise Plasticman!?
Now is most definitely a crazy time for the Terrorhythm head honcho / Rinse broadcaster / general bass bossman. Fresh off the back of remastering many of his old Plasticman cuts, and commissioning some ace remixes like this one from AWE…
… He’s setting the foundations for another exciting chapter in his career as he continues to shove his finger up at genre restrictions and create, support and celebrate what he feels is the most forward-thinking, creative music.
“Basically if you see my name attached to production in the next few months expect something pretty different,” he laughs. “I’m trying to move away from being a genre guy. Some of the stuff I’m about to drop is going to sound strange but that’s the whole point.”
He’s got loads of big plans for Terrorhythm, too… Including a brand new free music arm called Elements which will be dedicated to nurturing next level talent for the future.
But enough about the future – for now – we asked Plastician for five key moments in his life that really boosted, shaped and defined his career. He didn’t disappoint. A fine insight into his own career and UK bass music in general, this is an amazing read…
I had no idea of how big dubstep was going to become and how I was about to be catapulted through the FWD>> vortex as one of the DJs who was there at the beginning…
2002: My first release – Venom / Shockwave
“I’ll never forget getting a text message from Slimzee saying he wanted to sign some tracks which eventually became my first release. I remember it really well; I had a red and white Nokia 8210. I was messing around on Fruity Loops when the text came through. My heart sank. This was such a big deal for me, it blew my mind. I’d never met him face to face, I’d only ever sent him CDs to Rhythm Division record store. So from sending music blindly to getting this text was mad. It was signed within weeks and was the second release on his Slimzos label. This was me making my entrance to the wider public. Before that I was just a DJ on pirate radio.”
2003: My first Rinse show
I did some undercover Terrorhythm radio shows on Rinse as Blue Stripe with MC Nomad. No chatting and kept pretty much under wraps, although some people did twig it was me!
“It was some time between January and April. I can’t remember specifically but I know my first FWD>> show was June 2003 and that was booked off the back of my Rinse broadcasts. To begin with it was me and Virus Syndicate back to back. When they couldn’t make it down I’d go on without and MC. This was rare at the time; the station mainly played grime, garage and drum & bass and they were all crews or had at least one MC.
Because I was on my own I was talking about the releases and the dubs and everything I knew about them. Geeneus asked if I wanted a show of my own earlier in the evening. I was playing dark garage, grime and early dubstep records and telling people everything about them. It was before the internet had really kicked off so there wasn’t much information around. I didn’t know that much about the records myself! Most were white labels and we had no idea who was behind them. We’d give them our own names. But any information I did have, I could pass it on.
I’ve been on Rinse ever since. Even during my Radio 1 days! I was contractually obliged to leave Rinse because it was a pirate station. Rinse were very understanding and kept me involved in FWD>>, but because Radio 1 was every six weeks on rotation I felt like I was missing out. I love being on the radio and testing things out, practicing and digging out new music and six weeks is a very long time! So I did some undercover Terrorhythm radio shows on Rinse as Blue Stripe with MC Nomad. No chatting and kept pretty much under wraps, although some people did twig it was me!”
2004: Rephlex Grime compilation
“I didn’t realise how much of a big deal this was at the time. My head was purely into garage and what garage was becoming; dark garage, dubstep, four-to-the-floor…So when Rephlex called up and said they wanted some Plasticman tracks Neil Jolliffe – the founder of Tempa – was really excited.
I didn’t know who Rephlex were but I knew it was a big deal. I didn’t know who Aphex Twin was, I didn’t know about the label, I didn’t realise how big this opportunity was until I spoke to them. Rephlex were great to work with, and they took me out to America for the first time and a gig at The End. That was a big gig for me. I didn’t know how big The End was. I’d heard about it but didn’t know about its legacy or influence because it wasn’t part of my musical radar. I’d only played at FWD>> which was every couple of months with about 50 of us. Then we did The End and we packed it out all night with our own music… Grime, dark garage, dubstep. Rephlex opened some mad doors for me. Not just profile-wise, but my musical eyes, too. I was very blinkered at the time; I’d grown up to pop music and what my mum and dad listened to and was into garage. So nothing else had come into my musical make up. Playing alongside all these guys and doing these shows was a real learning curve for me and gave me a new respect for people making all types of music.”
2006: Changing my name
I honestly thought this was the end for me…
“I’d just joined Radio 1 and I got a legal notification from Richie Hawtin’s lawyers about my name. I had access to the BBC’s legal team so I sought their advice. They thought it would be best to change my name before it got messy. At the time I was fuming. I felt they were accusing me of using his name to big myself up. I actually gave them proof of a time when someone did mistake me for him and I sent them in his direction. When I picked my name I didn’t have a clue who Richie Hawtin was! I remember the first time I heard him a few years before this… I was in Big Apple and Arthur Artwork insisted on playing me a Plastikman record. I heard it and thought ‘well it’s not garage so we’re all right’. I thought Richie Hawtin would never even know about me. Ever. Then the internet came along…
Looking back I was pretty angry about this. I built up a good profile and had a popular MySpace page then I had to do this. I honestly thought this was the end for me. I felt I was at the peak of my career and life couldn’t get better then this big techno DJ came along and made me start from scratch. In hindsight it was the best possible thing… I had no idea of how big dubstep was going to become and how I was about to be catapulted through the FWD>> vortex as one of the DJs who was there at the beginning…”
2013: Living in LA
Now this is my third phase; reinvention and re-establishing myself. I feel a bit like a newcomer all over again
“18 months ago we moved to LA for a few months. I’d branched into playing different types of music at the tail end of 2012 and a lot of it was coming out of LA… I wanted to know if I was picking up on a scene or if it was less tangible than that.
So we booked an apartment and had an amazing time. I hung out with a lot of the LA dubstep guys who I’d known for years and I met loads of the young guys who were coming through with this amazing new take on bass music. I did my Rinse show out there with guests likes Kastle, Gaslamp Killer and Skrillex. I wanted to represent what was going on out there… Whether it was people living in LA or people who were passing through, it was just a great fusion of styles.
It was really inspiring: The guests were playing sets I wished I could play. So I thought ‘right, I’m going to do it this way when I come back’. I know it was confusing for listeners to begin with, but it’s been for the best. These last few years have been a major turning point for me. It’s like the third phase of my career… At first I was in the garage scene but wasn’t breaking out of it because I wasn’t producing. Then it was the whole BBC and dubstep thing blowing up. Now this is my third phase; reinvention and re-establishing myself. I feel a bit like a newcomer all over again. It’s a bit scary at points but I’m over the worst of it now. People want to put me in a genre corner. People want to put everyone in a genre corner but you can’t these days. Like any DJ who cares about what they do, I play what inspires me… In the hope it inspires other people!”