Is it just us or has 2015 been an exceptionally exciting year for forward-thinking UK bass music?
Grime is getting long-awaited due justice, drum & bass continues to run amok on both over and underground, UK garage is enjoying its official 103rd renaissance, prominent dubstep artists like Hatcha and Caspa continue to push the pure stuff, Swindle’s just laid down the ultimate jazz bass document and Faze Miyake is taking us into deep space with his debut self-titled album.
Almost two years in the making, it’s spacious, cosmic, immersive… And a bold development from his smouldering trap-referenced bulbous bass bangers like Gunpowder and plucked string steppers like 5000. There’s a reason why, too; he’s been chiselling it in such a way that it does sound like nothing else he’s done before.
It’s been on rotation for a few minutes round these parts. Have a buzz on these tracks below and see what he has to say about it…
Faze Miyake – Faze Miyake exists in its own world
Forget what you heard of Faze Miyake before. Well, actually, don’t. But put it to one side and listen with clean ears; this isn’t another collection of bangers tied together loosely as an album. It’s a sonic concept that flows with consistency and repeated signatures and motifs throughout.
“The hardest part of doing this album was shaping it to be a specific style and sound. As an artist I’m always changing and developing my sound but I wanted the album to stand away from that on its own. So much of my singles sound different but I wanted this to have a theme so that made it take so long.”
Timing is everything…
We could have been listening to this last year on all accounts… If it wasn’t for vocalist longness and the ubiquitous peskiness of deep house.
“This was very close to completion last year. But now the timing feels right. If I’m honest I think this would have been swept under the carpet because everyone wanted to hear deep house and nothing else! Grime is popping right now and while I don’t describe myself as grime I’m very closely associated with that scene and people just seem a lot more open minded to new things at the moment
There’s a widescreen deep space sci-fi feeling running throughout…
Listen to cuts like the breezy, free-falling flow of Ocean Drive or the orchestral two-step high pursuit drama of Snow Leopard and there’s a strong cinematic nature coded deep into the grooves. It’s not accidental.
“I’m really pleased you noticed that. I’m massively into films! At the time of making most the music and when I was younger in general I was hugely into sci-fi. I take a lot of influences from films. My track Scarface, for example, had that 80s synthy feelings. That’s how you take influences in though, right? Enjoying something and expressing your interest or understanding of it.
“I’m really into visual stuff too and the spacey sci-fi theme is something I want to develop in that way. I want to apply that theme to my music. I want to do something trippy and futuristic and animated and busy. Guess you’ll have to watch this space…”
It’s rich in reference points. Most of them subliminal…
Whether you’re into grime, dubstep, trap or classic trip-hop, you’ll hear the connections. Ice Cold, for example, shimmers with early Massive Attack groans while tracks like The Nest and Below Me hit hard with angular grime slaps while Firefly rumbles with that low-end swing you could hear in a Kryptic Minds cut.
Faze’s passions are clear on his sleeve, then. But they’re tailored together so tightly even he can’t see the stitching…
“I’ve grown up with so much music every time someone talks to me about my music they’ll always point out what they can hear in my music that relates to them. Any reference they make strikes a chord with me, too. It may not be the thing that inspired me in the studio but it will have been something I listened to in the past so it’s there subliminally referenced. Everything I’ve grown up to, everything I’ve watched or seen in the world. My music is just an endless library of reference points from my life.”
It comes from a passionate advocate of all UK underground sounds…
Faze’s musical schooling took seed at a very early age. While most his playground peers were chewing up turn-of-the-century manufactured pop, he was already popping to jungle.
“Growing up, my dad and older cousins listened to jungle and my older sisters were playing a lot garage so I was listening to garage when I was in primary school, like aged nine or 10. Then gradually grime came up – Dizzee Rascal’s I Luv U, More Fire Crew’s Oi, before that it was So Solid Crew. I’ve been loving, following and collecting this music for as long as I can remember. Same with dubstep ever since I heard Skepta spitting over Midnight Request Line.
“Basically; UK underground music. That’s what I love and that’s what I play in my DJ sets; grime, dubstep, funky house, garage. I really invest the time in perfecting the mixes and selecting the tracks. I think there’s a danger of DJs taking the easy route these days with controllers and just playing the big tracks but I want to personally perfect my DJ craft. It’s all about selection isn’t it?”
It will be followed by a series of Faze’s own Zig Zag events…
Producer, Rinse broadcaster, DJ… Faze’s CV also includes promoter. His Zig Zag parties are bubbling right now. Currently the toast of the south coast, he has plans to take them to a town near you.
“I want to take Zig Zag around the UK. We had a great first event at Plan B. It was sold out. I want to book four to five different DJs who play different sounds and styles. I find a lot of raves are a bit blinkered. I don’t want to hear the same music for five hours. The next one will be in London but I’d love to take it as far as I can… All over the world!”