WORDS

How Dutta found his groove again

Rewind: December 2018. An old but faithful PC somewhere deep in a Manchester laboratory wheezes its last binary breaths. Dutta has officially lost everything.

Every project, plug-in, sample, sketch, FX chain, all the parts from every track he’s released since he came through in 2015 aged just 18. The works. It’s the stuff of every producer’s nightmare.

Fast forward: November 2019. Dutta suddenly announces a new label – Informal – and launches it with a full strength V/A album. Rough, loose-limbed and, like all good pizza toppings, laced with a delicate balance of flavours; chefs include Jayline, Stompz, Disrupta, Bare Up, Metal Work and the Manny mandem Dutta himself.

Weeks later, exactly a year after his PC passed away (RIP), he follows it up with two crucial collaborations with Marky on Souped Up. It’s like the nightmare never happened. But it did. And it’s actually helped to define a new chapter for him.

Next level business: after a year of rebuilding his tools and refilling his palette on his new PC and developing a crew for his label, Dutta is blazing into 2020 with the heaviness and flavour of a deep pan stuffed-crust spicy meat feast and every side dish you could possibly dream of.

Gully grubs up gang, Dutta’s delivering. Here’s how you find a silver lining, no matter how dark the cloud is…

I only just read about you losing everything on your old computer a year ago. Could this be part of the reasons you seem incredibly focused and determined these days?

Definitely! I can’t stress that enough. I lost eight year’s of work. It was December 2018, I’d finished Dominoes Part 2 for Serum. I worked in a call centre and saved up my money for that PC. Only £250, it wasn’t the best, but I made my career on that machine so I’m not going to knock it. It served me well. Anyway, it was bluescreening badly and I was trying to transfer my data over to hard drives but it kept bluescreening. I bought another computer off Gumtree again – just another cheap one – and I tried to get my hard drive recovered. This proper PC whizz who’s built my new PC now tried to have a go at fixing it. That’s his buzz. He tried it in a dust proof room, gloves on and all that, but he couldn’t recover it. So yeah, I lost everything. All my samples, all my FX chains, everything.

On the plus side: completely blank canvas, no old habits holding you back!  

It was a silver lining. I’m at a point where I can see that now. All the music I’m making now sounds so much better on my new PC now. But it’s taken me a year to build up my drums again and get some bits together, some pedals and outboard gear. I’ve invested into my set-up and I’m thankful I’ve done that. I’d advise any producer who’s really serious about this to get the best set-up they can afford because the quicker you do, the quicker you’ll hear a vast improvement on your sound.

I guess that gives you confidence and means you’re not bashing your head on the keyboard?

Not to begin with! It was like starting again for a while. I had no sounds to draw from. I could be like ‘ah I liked that snare I did in that tune, I’ll use that’ but then remembering I didn’t have it any more. Literally everything was done from scratch again so it’s been a year of building things up and now it’s given me confidence. I’m at a point where I’m really excited to show off what I’ve been able to do. They’re ready to drop this year, the people around me I’m working with like Serum are behind me and pushing me, kinda feels like the world’s my oyster at the moment.

So much so you can lay down a few cheeky bars with Upgrade!

Haha yeah, that’s just having fun and feeling what we’re doing innit. I thought I’d lost my confidence and wasn’t up for it any more to be honest mate, but it’s all come back and it’s even stronger. I’m just buzzing and really enjoying everything and taking things as far as I can. If I want to do some bars then I will. There are no boundaries are there? I feel like if you take what you do seriously and carry yourself correctly and really enjoy it then people can feel that and they relate to it. I’m having fun with my music and want to keep it like that.

Serious on the beats, fun on the streets. Your new label Informal represents that. Came out of nowhere then boom… A whole album rolled out straight away

I had the idea to do it for the last year and a half but wanted to get everything ready. I didn’t want to give anyone a hint. Loose lips sink ships innit, it’s better to keep things quiet. When it was ready, and I had sick tunes and wicked artists on side, and I knew how I was going to execute it, then it was ready to announce. Sometimes you see a label launch but then there’s no release after a few months and the hype on it goes down. You need things lined up and a plan if you’re going to make it work.

Sounds like you’re well locked and stocked for the future….

Yeah man know what I mean? I can’t say too much but we’ve got some amazing artists on side for the coming months. It’s anice year. We got a lot of showcases. I’ve just organised some showcase nights which will be me, Septon, Stompz, Jayline, a few more.

The label’s representing across the board…

Yeah you want loads of different flavours. When I get food, I love to get loads of little dishes innit.  You don’t want the same flavour from the one pot. You want people from outside the box, you want angrier tunes, you want more stripped back tunes. Like Septon. He’s sounding a bit like Signal and Bunnshin and them guys and I’m really encouraging that because he’ll stand out on the label with his own sound.

What have you got coming out beyond Informal?  

Loads of stuff on Souped Up. A remix then another EP. I’m sitting on a lot of tunes at the moment and let’s see where they go. Thing is, Serum can be a bit of a fucker! He pushes me to get the best out of me. The last EP did really well and he wants me to improve on that. That’s important and it really pushes me. I think the old version of me would have just finished the EP last October and be like ‘done’. But the thing is the more you write the better you get, so the new tunes always sound better. And Serum knows that too. He knows if he sweats me out until the deadline he’s got so many more demos to pick from.

You must be inundated with demos yourself now!

Mate I’m getting so many people sending me stuff. People I really respect too, like Dr Meaker. I got to shout out everyone on the label and I want to make sure everyone reading know about Septon. He’s 18 and he’s making some wicked wicked tunes right now. We met in Austria, he sent me some bits and they were just fucking wicked. I offered him a place on the label straight away and want to work closely with him and help him out.

18!

Yeah man. Innit. By the time he’s my age he won’t have a worry in the world! He’s hungry, he’s got loads of potential and I’m backing him all the way. I’ve not been in a position to do this before. It’s a good feeling but I can’t let him down.

That’s a lovely wholesome ending. Anything else the world needs to know about Dutta?

Yeah man. I’ve got my Extra Slice tour coming up so if you want a showcase then hit my agent. I’m off to Australia and New Zealand soon and have some Informal showcases lined up throughout the year. Oh yeah, and a really exciting remix of Do You Like Rollers from an artist I’ve looked up to forever. Buzzing mate.

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