Jarvis: Welcome to the dubstep bloodbath

Thrown into an industry that’s been known to eat newcomer producers as an appetizer, Jarvis’s dedication to his craft has provided him with the opportunity to truly capitalize on some of his early successes. With original tunes like the Set Me Free and Painkiller resting atop his sterling résumé, it’s really no wonder why premier outfits like Firepower Records are clamoring to get more of this individual’s remarkable music out to the masses.

Since signing on dotted line with the powerhouse label, Jarvis has released a single on their infamous Flatline series titled I’m On Fire, as well as the no-holds-barred Hit The Deck EP. Many of you might instantly recognize his name from Everybody Know Me – an unforgettable collaboration with Tisoki that quickly captivated dubstep audiences everywhere. His brand new Bloodbath EP just began making the rounds and it’s been generating a ton of positive chatter.

We were fortunate enough to recently track down Cris Jarvis and talk shop…

Let’s discuss your musical background.

I used to be a drummer for a few years. I played in heavy metal bands and I also played in an alt rock band, kind of like Pearl Jam kind of stuff. I was way big into heavy metal and nu metal when I was a teenager. I’m probably considered really uncool for liking nu metal. I always thought it was cool, but then later in life I found out it was viewed as not very cool. I don’t care, I love nu metal!

I played guitar for awhile in a band as well. Played all around the county in my hometown of Essex, just playing covers in pubs and stuff. I didn’t play guitar in a proper originals band or anything like that. My stepdad, who I grew up with calling dad, was a drummer. My real dad used to be a DJ actually. He wasn’t producing, but he was DJing all over the place.

Do you have a job outside of producing?

Right now I’ve still got a day job. I’m working from home luckily, which is really cool because if I ever have an idea for a track I can just sort of stop and open up Ableton. In regards to my job, I’m just doing CAD (computer-aided design), just like planning layouts for big shops and such. I don’t dislike it that much, but obviously the dream is to get out of doing that and just to live off music.

What separates you from the pack?

I’m always trying to create my own distinct sound so it’s nice to hear that it’s coming across. For me, the things I concentrate on are like the sound design with creating heavy bass sounds and stuff like that. I always like to have a lot of melodic stuff as well, like cool nice melodies. A lot of the time I use these kind of Arabic melodies. I pretty much do it all the time. Sometimes I find myself saying, “Stop doing that! Use a different melody for god’s sake.” Whatever scale that is. I don’t know shit about scales because I’m not classically trained. But that Arabic kind of scale – I love it.

How did the Bloodbath EP come to fruition?

I wrote a lot of these tracks about a year ago. It’s Bloodbath and Mask that I wrote more recently. The others were written at the same time as the tracks from my other Firepower EP. After I won the Datsik remix competition for Katana and released one single on their Flatline compilation, I sent them this big batch of tunes I had made. And they said, “Yeah, we like them, but we would want to do one EP of like seven tracks.” And I was like, ‘there’s one more track that you’ve forgotten about, so that makes eight total. So why don’t we do two EP’s?’ They agreed to that. Then a few weeks later they sent me an email saying they wanted to do a three EP deal and they paid me as well, which was awesome. I’m currently writing my third EP for them.

Mask presents a massive change of pace from the rest of the EP. Why did you decide to include this track and can we expect more music like this from you down the line?

That’s a weird one because everyone is saying that’s their favorite one. I really like that one as well. But it’s one of those times where I kind of made it in like one day. It was a last minute thing, just a random idea I had. It came into my head and I was just writing it down, just like those triplet hits in the drop with the kicks underneath doing like a 4×4 – like what they do in riddim.

I was doing a Firepower mix with Tisoki, and I just dropped Mask in there after I had made it, hadn’t really shown it to anyone yet. And everyone was like, “What is that? What is that?” And I was like, ‘Ah I finished that the other day.’ It’s crazy how sometimes the track you think about the least is the one that everybody loves or latches onto. I definitely will be making more music like that! I’m really into deeper and darker stuff as well.

Can you compare your Hit The Deck EP and Bloodbath EP?

I guess they are pretty similar. I’m always learning more and I’m always trying to improve my mixdowns, sound design, and the general arrangement of everything. Even though some of those tracks (on Bloodbath) are a year old, I sort of came back to them and did another session of re-tweaking of the really old ones. I’ll compare Bloodbath and Mask to the older ones, because those are the two tracks I’ve made more recently. They are a bit more simple. Whereas the old ones were more of the brostep style of having a million different patches all in one drop and so many different changes. With Bloodbath and Mask it’s a bit more about taking one idea, one theme, one patch maybe, and just sort of evolve it a little bit slower.

I kind of got the inspiration from Tisoki when we did that collab, Everybody Know Me. I had sent him this old, crazy brostep style drop, and then he took one of the patches out of it and really simplified the drop as a whole. That simplicity really added more of a flow and rhythm to the track. So I guess in a weird way I took some inspiration from him when it came to Bloodbath and Mask. Just by keeping things simple.

Speaking of Firepower Records, what is it specifically that draws you to them?

It all came about with the Katana remix competition. I guess they kind of like my music, so it works really well. Firepower is a dream come true for me, it’s great to be releasing music with them. I really like what they’re releasing as well, like Soltan. I’m still a huge fan of the stuff Firepower puts out even though I’m on this side of it now. Also, that Fed Up EP was excellent as well. Check it out if you haven’t done so yet.

If you could collaborate/remix/perform b2b with any musician, who would you choose for each?

I’d collab with Datsik. Yeah, that would be good. Who would I remix? Hmmmm, I’d reckon I’d remix someone with really great vocals, because I love working with awesome vocals. I don’t know who. Krewella maybe? Modestep? Modestep has good vocals, I really like their newest track.

If I could go b2b with anybody, I’d pick Spag Heddy. That would be awesome! Somebody book that! We’ve met a few times at shows actually. I play a lot in Paris because there is a big scene over there, so we’re always getting put on the same bills together. He actually stayed at my place when he played in London for a promoter that neglected to give him a hotel room. We have the same booking agent from Paris, so she called me up and was like, “Can Spag stay at your house?” And I was like a fanboy, so all I said was, ‘Ummmm, hell yeah!’ But he’s very cool, he’s my boy. Somebody needs to book us b2b, ASAP!

What kind of music do you listen to in your free time?

I’ve been listening to The xx, Queens Of The Stone Age, Die Antwoord. I listen to Die Antwoord a lot, actually way too much. Their new album killed it, I like over-listened to it. I love those guys, the way they just don’t give a shit. Honestly, I listen to all kinds of stuff. The xx is super chilled-out bassy stuff, and Die Antwoord is the complete opposite of that. Variety is the spice of life.

Future plans?

At the moment I’m working on my third EP for Firepower. We’ll wait and see what happens after that. I’ve got a Code: Pandorum collab in the works. He’s awesome! It’s odd because our styles are so different, but he added me and we got chatting. We still need to tweak the track and finish it off, but it’s already sounding sick. The snare he put in it is ridiculous. It’s the most ridiculous snare I’ve ever heard in my life!

There’s a possible Chime collab, too. I met him a couple weeks ago in London, he’s from up north, but he’s coming back to London in a few weeks. So we’re going to try and work on something, but nothing is started at the moment. Other than that, I’m just writing new originals for the next EP.

Jarvis – Bloodbath EP is out now on Firepower: Support

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