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Mr Virgo: Words With A Bassline OG

This is one DJ you don’t want to f**k with…

Meet Mr Virgo, or Mr V as he’s known in more informal movements: One of the longest standing and most consistent contributors to the bassline movement, with major manoeuvres in grime along the way, he’s just cracked open a seriously fizzy bottle of 2017…

His track Holy Grime featured on Wiley’s alleged final album Godfather last month. Next month he’ll be dropping a slew of remixes of his quintessential bassline anthem Hypnotiq. Just this minute, though, he’s dropped a fire four-tracker – Bits EP – on Crucast.

It goes a bit like this…

We caught up with him to find out more and hear his take on bassline’s current state of health while we’re there…

First the Wiley track, then the Bits EP, loads more in the cannon… You seem to be in a good place in 2017!

UK music as a whole is in a good place in 2017! Grime and bassline went a bit quiet for a bit but now everything’s come back round and it’s stronger than ever.

Everything goes in cycles doesn’t it?

It’s like fashion. One minute something is hot, the next people move on to new things. But cycles always come back bigger, stronger and more interesting. Happens in every genre doesn’t it.

You’ve stayed true to the sound and seen this come around a few times now. Does that create a wariness when the spotlight comes back around?

You do have to stick at it that’s for sure. We do it regardless of attention. Or the legit people do anyway. I’m a musician and love making music regardless of the scene’s state of health. I’m still in the studio and still doing my thing. But yeah bassline was thriving 2007/8 but then we had a lot of commercial interest with that big Ministry compilation and major labels showing interest for a minute or two. After that it inevitably went quiet around 2011/12. But now it’s picked up in a really exciting way with a young fresh crowd and sick new DJs like Skepsis and Darkzy and loads more all bringing new energy into it. Bassline’s never been better.

Tell us how Holy Grime with Wiley came about…

It’s been way overdue for me and Wiley to do this epic collaboration. He came up to Nottingham to see me years ago but nothing came of it. I sent him some instrumentals I’d been working on and he was blown away by Holy Grime he instantly loved it and decided to use it for his album Godfather.

You produced that Platnum track which featured him years ago…

That was a big bassline track called Naughty (Remix)  I had fun producing that record. Me Aaron, Michelle and Mina (Platnum) have worked on many great songs together but this song in particular came as a surprise to me when Aaron showed the final edit with a verse from the man himself Wiley

What gave it that Wiley vibe then?

The half time grime drums with the musical textures and the overall vibe.. As it came together it became more and more of an epic beat with The horns, Choir and trumpets so I called it Holy Grime. He even named it that too and he got Devlin on it – it just snowballed from there. Every update was like ‘what?’

I guess at this stage the beat is out of your hands and you’re just waiting to see how mad things are gonna get?

Yeah totally. Apparently Stormzy was going to be on it but he wasn’t available. But Devlin was even better because they had that crazy beef a long time ago and this is their track to put all the drama behind them and linking back up on the music on an epic beat.

Historical! So let’s clear up this Mr V / Mr Virgo thing… What name are you using these days?

My surname is Virgo so I’ve always been known as Mr V since school 15 years ago. Then when I made one of my first ever tunes my mate ‘shout out to Mr V’ on the track. So I chopped that sample out, pitched it up and put it at the start of my beats as my signature. Since then it’s always been Mr V but when I release official stuff it’s Mr Virgo. Mr V is the nickname, Mr Virgo is the artist name if that makes sense?

Yeah. I thought it was to do with the house guy Mr V

He did message me once actually and threatened me. He said I knew this moment would come one day, I need to stop or legal action would happen. I got back saying ‘look mate, I’ve had this name longer than you, but don’t worry I don’t use the name to release anything official’ He seemed okay about it after that. I think it’s because people put me on event flyers as Mr V and I think when I played a festival once a lot of his fans got confused.

They’d have to be a bit slow off the mark. He plays commercial funky house and you’d be on a bass line-up. Surely they’d think ‘different Mr V then…’

You’d like to think so. Or they come along and get knocked over by some heavy basslines?

You might have switched some of them over to the darkside!

I hope so

Let’s talk about the forthcoming remixes of Hyptnotiq…

Yeah that’s the next EP: the Hypnotical EP. I’ve got a remix by Holy Goof who’s making some great noise on the bassline scene. Exactly the same for Skepsis’s remix too. They’ve both been dropped in the club and the responses have been extactic. They’ve gone off. There’s a few more remixes in the pipeline too, a few cool surprises….

That was a pivotal track for you – let’s go further back for other real turnaround tunes in your career

Hyptnotiq really did put me out there and bring a lot of things together. But my first bassline track 2 Da Floor was a real moment for me. It was before I was DJing or anything and I just gave it to Jamie Duggan on a CD and he really championed it. Shout out to Jamie Duggan for that one

Shout out to him full stop

Totally. He’s one of the pioneers of bassline and a good friend. He’s been really supportive of me and I’ve supported him – giving him exclusives and things like that. That’s how it works.

Seems that way. Like a proper a community vibe going on and the original guys like you are bringing up the next generation.

Definitely – everyone’s connected in one way or another, we’re all supporting each other. There’s no hierarchy, it’s just people making sick tracks for themselves and for each other and having a good time. We’re all mates having a good time and making music at the end of the day.

Do you think that spirit is particularly strong because bassline is historically regional and club-based? It’s still founded on real life connections, if you like…

That’s really interesting. Back in the day you could hear the different types of bassline from different parts of the UK. Up north you’d have the organ stuff, your Danny Bonds and guys like that. You’d have Vibe in Sheffield with the more commercial sounding stuff. As you get to Birmingham you’d get the Ecko lot with guys like Davey Boy and Joe Hunt.

That was more on a speed garage tip

Yeah exactly. So every city had its own unique sound and it was the same for Nottingham too. So these days it’s not quite like that – we’re not stuck in one city any more, good music is good music and it travels much faster and wider now than it ever did. So while we still got a community vibe, the sounds have broadened a lot more and everyone plays and supports all bassline sounds and we’re all playing everywhere…

Tell us the essential parties…

Q’s Bassline Festival has been an incredible outlet for everyone in the scene and Crucast’s Shake The Bass party needs a shout…  But there are too many to list. I’ll miss some out. Just keep watching my socials and come and check out any of the shows I’m playing. There’s some amazing parties happening all across the UK right now.

Keep watching Mr Virgo: Facebook / Soundcloud / Twitter