Photography: Farhad Khodadadzade
Launching a new label and serving up high-profile heavyweight EPs on Deadbeats and Mad Zoo… Even at the merest of glances, it’s quite clear that Groningen’s Posij has had a pretty fruitful 2021.
Then you listen to the music and it’s quite clear that Posij’s year hasn’t just been fruitful, he’s effectively torn everything to pieces, thrown it all up in the air and shot every teensy bit down with lasers. Then twizzled his dapper moustache and done it all over again just for the sonic lols.
Already heartily established as an avid half time / D&B flexor with roots on VISION and previous label appearances as wide-ranging as Blackout to Bitbird, Posij (real name Frank Post) has long since had the reputation of never cooking up the same dish twice. But now his penchant for flipping and twisting expectations has seeped into house, breaks and electro, his menu’s become even more of an exciting sonic smorgasbord.
As his new label Okay hits its third release – a knightly strutter called Head Rush – we called him up on to find out where he’s at and if 2021 has been as fruitful for him as it seems at a mere glance.
The obvious thing here would be to start with all the releases you’ve put into the world but I actually want to start with your DJing as your Okay mix and your Kingsnight mix are both badass. Where does DJing come into your world? Did you start as a producer or go from DJing to producing?
I definitely started in production but I also always wanted to be a DJ. The first time I went out was a night called Machtig, a drum & bass party in my hometown Groningen with Noisia. I was 15 and that was huge motivation like, ‘That’s what I want to do’. I was already starting to get into making music, but it was those guys and Silvafonk who I’d stand there right at the front and ask them for fistbumps.
Amazing! 15 year old Posij rules! What does Machtig translate to?
It’s Dutch for mighty.
Strong. I was wondering if there was hip-hop vibe in your make-up because of the way you tell stories. You don’t mix standardly – you flip things and are happy to just stop and switch up.
That’s true. I do like hip-hop but I think it’s more in the way that I’m looking for moments where I can make those transitions. If the tune is hard to mix out, I’ll stop and do something drastic which is fun to do. It’ll stop people and they’ll look at me like, ‘What?’ Then the new vibe comes in and it all makes sense. I hope!
Definitely does. So we’ve covered you a few times over the years on UKF.com. The last time was exactly two years ago discussing your metamorphosis – are you the beautiful butterfly you always imagined being? Or are you still coming out of that chrysalis?
I did focus a lot during the whole Covid period on things that weren’t so much drum & bass, thinking about what I wanted to do with the house and electro things I like making. I wondered if I should release it under another name or as Posij and decided to make things hard for myself and release it all under one name because it’s me making it. That was part of the metamorphosis idea, I guess, but quite different to how I imagined it would be then.
As these things often are over time. Even the D&B you make, like the Blood EP, isn’t conventional. It’s quite far-out!
Yeah. In Blood, the main tune, I was struggling to make an intro for it and I didn’t want to do the easy ‘drums and build up’ thing.
Then I had this vision in my head of a bunch of robots going through the jungle being attacked by this mighty beast because that’s what the sound sounded like. I pictured the two robots and the monster coming in is the drop. Then the first monster gets attacked by another monster when the sound changes and that monster gets attacked by another monster when the sound changes again. That’s how it was in my head, anyway.
Brilliant. You recently described a tune of yours as production puzzle. But then on the other hand you have this incredibly vivid imagination. Do you have any other examples of that?
Loads. I often imagine sounds as images. I have synesthesia. If I don’t see a specific shape when I’m working on something, then it’s a good sign I’m not on the right track. Especially with snares.
Wow. What shape does my voice bring to your mind? Do you get shapes in mind when you hear voices?
Oh yeah, everything has a shape. Your voice is very round and I get this like sheep’s wool, cloudy type of shape. I get that a lot with lower sounds. But what’s crazy is that I didn’t even know I had this condition until I was at a dinner with Noisia and I was speaking to Nik about recreating other people’s drums to practice. I told him how I try and match the shape I see. Nik said, ‘Oh you have synesthesia’. I was like, ‘What?’ He told me how if you see sounds then you have synesthesia. I’d never even heard of it before, then I read about it and thought ‘I guess I have this?’ I honestly thought everyone has it or experiences it. I don’t see colours but I sense shapes around me.
Amazing. I’ve only really heard of people seeing colours with sounds. Now I’m imagining your life as Tetris game?
Haha it’s not constant but when I’m tired then I zone out I concentrate on it. I get it more when I hear sounds through speakers and not in my headphones. Like when the sound is obviously coming from a particular source.
Wow. So let’s chat Okay. Was it a lockdown project?
No it was way earlier. It started as a party, and I also wanted it to be a label, but that was later. I did some parties at a place called Subsonic which is a legendary club in Groningen which has now closed down. It’s where I learnt to DJ and everything. Then when Covid started I thought, ‘Let’s do it’. The label had already existed, but I was just getting empty statements for months because I’d been too busy to develop it. When lockdowns happened I concentrated on that and then I made selections and planned releases. The newest song I’d made was Headrush and I’m actually doing the artwork myself too, so you can see my artwork skills develop with each release.
Nice. The artwork for Get Along is super sick and actually quite a lot like living in a Tetris game like I mentioned!
Oh that’s my friends Vier Creatives who did that. It is super sick. I was scared to put my own artwork on the first release in case people hated it, so he did that one. But then after that I thought, ‘No, I want this to be me.’ So all artwork will now be mine.
Run us through the Head Rush one
At first I had the circles which is like the blood leaving your head when you stand up too quickly. But the track also sounds aggressive so I thought, ‘What’s aggressive? Knights are aggressive!’ So I found shapes of a knight, I cut them up, made stamps out of them, cut them up again and combined them until it made a cool knight.
Awesome. Nice to stretch another creative part of your brain, too…
Yeah I love doing it. I was always drawing, even when I was younger, I always knew this was something I had to do as well. I’m certain a good designer would look at it and think, ‘Ah that’s not professionally made!’ But I made it myself and I think it looks really good. I’m really strict with myself, I had loads of sketches before I settled with this design.
That’s the same with tunes, though; You can hear an idea and a vibe even if it’s not articulated as technically well as you could do.
Yeah that’s true actually.
So how about with your music? It feels like you’re always trying to break rules and do things differently. But that’s hard when you know the rules, right?
Well every time I make a song I start from scratch. I’m trying to do that less to save a bit of time but every tune I try and reinvent the wheel and make the best sounds I can all over again. Every tune I’ve done, I retire the sounds.
Even like hi hats and stuff?
Maybe shakers make a reappearance but mostly, yeah.
I like that – not very efficient but hyper creative. Constantly setting new levels.
Yeah. If you’re not pushing yourself then why are doing it?
Amen! So this year has been mighty strong for you. Mad Zoo, Deadbeats, Okay… I need some stories on the connections and how these releases came to life.
I’m very happy with all the releases. I was sending things to Mad Zoo and Mat Zo hit my management, or maybe they hit his. I don’t know but I had so many demos it was like, ‘What labels should I send these to?’
It was quite sick actually. I had this tune Airwolf Six and I thought, ‘This would be perfect on Mau5trap.’ I thought they’d never be up for it, but my manager said, ‘If you think it would fit on Mau5trap you’re probably right.’ I also had this tune which sounded like it would go well on Bitbird so we sent those tunes to those labels and they both got signed. I had to re-plan what I wanted to do with Okay because I was going use them as releases for my label.
I love that. How about your link with Zeds Dead and Deadbeats?
I think we sent demos their way and they were happy to work with me. I can’t remember if I sent stuff to them or they asked me.
Do you still get ‘Wow’ moments when these things happen? Or are they quite standard?
No I still get them. Especially with the Airwolf Six song. I set out to make a happy electro song that wasn’t cheesy and I knew it was perfect for Mau5trap. They went and signed it and it actually ended up on a happy music playlist, which was huge. It was like, ‘Woah, I predicted all of this!’
Willing things into existence!
Totally. Like manifesting things, right?
Yeah. So what are you manifesting for the future?
Oh man I don’t know! I’ve made so much music that I have given myself a bit of a break. But I’ve started focusing on my drum & bass stuff again because I hadn’t made much of that lately. So right now my head is focused on making a sick D&B EP again.
Wicked! Has playing shows again influenced that?
Definitely. I’d forgotten how much I love D&B when I got to play it out again. I hear every D&B promo each week when I go through the submissions for Vision Radio so I don’t listen to much D&B outside of that, unless I’m in a club. So being able to play it again has reinspired me for sure. Also seeing the reaction of certain tunes I’ve made thinking, ‘Oh this is going to be weird, they’re not going to like this!’ And then seeing people go wild to it. I’m like, ‘Wah! Nice!’
Ah that’s wicked. It’s all in the context of the set and goes back to my first question about you being a badboy DJ! You know when you can take these gambles and, also, the crowd expect that from you now…
I guess, yeah. It’s funny, if I don’t do that then people are disappointed. People have said, ‘We were waiting for that weird switch.’ But I’d got self-conscious about it or lost my confidence so I didn’t and they’re like, ‘No, we want you to do the weird thing!’
If you’re known for weird, you’ve got to give weird. Even if you’re not feeling weird on that night.
Yeah. You’re right. And of course A Car That Cranks. There’s always a funny moment in any set when I stop everything and start that because it’s so recognizable and people want to hear it.
What shapes come to mind with that Posij classic, then?
Well the sounds themselves made me think of an engine that was cranking so I went onto YouTube and searched for, ‘A car that cranks.’ Scotty Kilmer was the top search so I wondered if I could make the sounds in that video work with the sounds I’d already made and that’s how the track came together. Scotty’s voice is so amazing and the way he talks so I checked with him if I could use it and he was totally onboard. He loved it.
I’ve always wondered about this, is Scotty cool with the sample?
Oh massively cool! He was really into it.
Big up Scotty Kilmer! So finally, what’s coming next on Okay?
I had a release in mind, but then yesterday I was going through tunes and thought, ‘I have it in my head that the next release has to be house, so what if I don’t do that? Let’s switch it up again!’ So yeah, who knows?