In Conversation With Peshay

A revolutionary fusion of drum & bass, Peshay’s Underground Vol. 2 is here.

Certified music icons Peshay, Krazeman and Steppa unite once again to deliver us a hefty 18 track, rave centric showcase. Representative of both the past, the present and the future, Underground Vol.2 has relentless energy, it’s euphoric and most obviously, it’s tailor-made perfectly for those dirty, dingy dancefloors.

Making his mark on the scene since the early 90s, working with everyone from Good Looking to Metalheadz to V Recordings, Peshay quickly set an impressive precedent within dance music. He solidified himself in the music industry as both a well respected grafter and creative visionary, happily maneuvering through the scene, immersing himself in the culture.

To this day, Peshay radiates integrity, releasing tracks with intent and playing shows that truly chime with his ethos. He is a figurehead with consistency, and even through all of the noise, his crystal clear message remains: be true to your identity, both personally and professionally. A mantra of utmost importance to Peshay and because of this, he is a great example to breakthrough artists, navigating their way into the sticky and often testing world of music.

Following on from Underground Vol.1 released in 2019, Volume 2 screams of a similar sentiment. This is an unapologetic, throw your hands in the air, celebration of the underground rave scene. Here’s Peshay’s take on everything…

Hey Peshay – excited about Underground Vol. 2! How was it working with Krazeman and Steppa on the project?

Krazeman and Steppa are long time friends of mine. I’ve known Steppa since the early 90s. I met him at Dreamscape. Carl – Krazeman – is a friend of mine from 15 years ago too. We’ve always known each other and have always discussed getting together and doing something. Finally, we made it happen!

All in good time, ay! You’ve gone down the exclusive USB stick road too.

That’s right so there are two different versions of the album. We did an 18 track USB stick along with the album, which only has about 10 tracks. The exclusive tracks on the stick you can’t buy anywhere else. You can stream them, but you can’t buy them anywhere but on the USB.

Like it. This is an album for the heads. Loads of soul in there. Did you have any specific intentions with the project?

I wanted to make a project that was perfect for the underground, hence the name. I’m someone who loves lots of different styles of music, alongside D&B. I love everything and I tried to put that across in this album too.

You can really feel that when you listen. One minute it’s super dark, the next it’s happy vibes. 

Exactly! I like to mix it up a bit. It’s the same when I DJ. I don’t play just one thing. As long as it’s well considered beforehand, you can mix anything with anything, and that’s what I like to do.

All of your former interviews have been very focused on the future. However, as you well know, the past always influences where we are today. Looking back, what aspects of the early days of d&b do you think would be good to reinstall in this modern age of d&b?

You know what it is? When something happens for the first time, it’s always going to be special. So, I understand that people want to recreate those old times because they were fantastic. Imagine it: new music, everyone is loving it, everyone is getting involved! Technology has changed a lot of things since then too. If I’m honest, I don’t think the quality control is as good as what it was so that might be something that I’d bring back, but that’s a personal opinion. There’s obviously a lot more people making music now than there was back then and we have all the tools at our fingertips, so it’s bound to happen. To capture the actual spirit of the 90s is hard. A lot of people are making tracks within that mold at the minute and to a degree, it works, but because everything was analog back in the day, you can really hear the difference. That’s not a put down, that’s just technology. Stylistically, you can get tracks sounding very similar, but the feeling? I’m not sure that can be done, it’s a meticulous thing. There was so much unity and love in the 90s and it’s difficult to recreate old times. I’m lucky enough to have lived those times. You take it to your grave with you. The only way to get the scene back into that space would be to listen to old tunes and immerse yourself in the sound.

Absolutely. You speak a lot of staying true to your creative spirit, why is this important to you?

I think being yourself is important in every aspect of your life. Everyone knows that in certain situations and in certain parts of their life, they haven’t been able to be themselves 100%. I don’t just mean on a production or musical tip, but just generally as human beings. I think it is absolutely critical for everybody to be themselves. Don’t copy anyone else. Be inspired, take little things, but whatever you do, make it your own. If you start making music and you start sounding like everyone else, then for me, I don’t really see the point in that. I’d rather go 100% the other way instead of copying someone. I’ve always tried to live by that and stay clear of current trends. Diversity. It’s important.

We can definitely be guilty of falling into a hidden trap of copying others when we don’t know what else to do. It’s too easy.

I think it’s really important to watch out for that. How can you stand out if you sound the same as 20 other people? Maybe you might do it better, but it’s not your own. I get inspired by different things. I could be listening to a rock tune, I could be listening to a Santana tune, I could be listening to anything and get an idea. That idea might be something completely off the wall to what people perceive as normal or popular at that time, but that’s the beauty of D&B. It’s a blank canvas. I genuinely think that’s why it’s lasted the test of time, because people come at it from different angles. There are like 10 different sub genres and they’re all great! At the end of the day, that diversity is a good thing for the scene. I know it can sound samey but genuinely, if you listen, there are so many different people doing different styles. It’s not a one dimensional thing.

It’s true, especially if you dig deeper, there’s so much of it. Peshay – you’ve been in the game since it started. What would you say your proudest moment, project or move has been?

That’s the thing about being in the music industry all this time, you make a lot of great decisions, and you make a lot of rubbish ones. Sometimes, the rubbish ones can really burn you, so you have to make a point to learn from them. In terms of good moves that I’ve made, I know this might sound cliche but for me, to be able to make music and go around the world and DJ, that’s got to be the best thing I’ve done. There are so many people who do 9-5 jobs who exist for the weekend, I know plenty of people who do. We are so lucky that we can immerse ourselves in music throughout the week. I think if you can do the job you love, you’re blessed. The best move I ever made was getting into the industry in the first place.

What – in your eyes – is the key to having longevity in the music industry?

I think having an open mind musically is important. If you’re closed off to different things, I think you’re limiting yourself. A lot of people say ‘stay in your lane’, don’t do this, don’t do that but listen, you only live once. I’m going to do what I want to do. Certain things might be popular, might be unpopular, but if you’re true to yourself, you’ll always do what you want to do, and hopefully feel good about that. Any outside noise won’t make any difference. Your path is your journey, sometimes we might take wrong turns but ultimately, we always end up where we’re meant to be.

Last but not least, any final nuggets of wisdom to those wishing to produce or create music?

The most important thing is to be yourself. Be influenced but don’t copy others, otherwise, where is your identity? Be yourself and stay true to your identity because if you don’t, regardless of what anyone else thinks, you’re lying to yourself.

Listen To Brighter Days