He’s just named his debut Black Label EP Drunk AF but he’s been sober for a year. His label I Am Audio was responsible for some of the earliest releases by the likes of Trollphace, Midnight Tyrannosaurus, Dubloadz and J Phelpz. He’s so dedicated to his work he did this interview while on holiday in Thailand.
Yes it’s P0gman, the UK artist who’s spent the last seven years accelerating to an impressively respected position in dubstep. 2018 promises more acceleration as he plans on releasing more music and playing even more shows than before (including his now legendary P0gman Invites parties)
So far he’s stayed true to his word: last month he dropped a free download Records, and this week he’s dropping Drunk AF. A poisonous package comprising four of his heaviest, most stripped-back wonkers – including collaborations with Avance, Ponicz and Gravity – it’s yet another level up for the Wolverhampton midrange murker. We interrupted his holiday to find out more…
I had to double check your Drunk AF EP was actually your Never Say Die Black Label debut!
Yeah it is. I did a track on one of their earlier compilations and a few bits on Black Fridays, and we’ve been mates for years, but I’ve never tied myself down to a label in the past. I’ve done things for Disciple and Never Say Die buy this year I really want to work with Never Say Die – I love where they’re going, I’m good mates with everyone on the label. It’s a great place to be.
Coming through on I Am Audio was important, too. You were responsible for a lot of early releases from now-household names
Yeah I Am Audio is run by myself and my brother. We always knew we’d run a business together – we just didn’t know what. But when I got deeper into dubstep and the music industry and developed a bit of a name for myself we thought a label would be a good idea. My brother’s been an accountant for 15 years and knows the business side, so it just works. We were lucky because a lot of the guys we were working with were coming up alongside me. Trollphace, Midnight T, Dubloadz, J Phelpz. We did a lot of those guys first releases.
That’s a great feat
The big thing with I Am Audio is that I wanted to create a stepping stone for me and my friends. If a friend does an EP on I Am Audio then the next release is on a label like Never Say Die then that’s amazing. I’ve done my job right then. I’m too busy for the label to be a frontrunner but it does work really well as platform for debut or early releases. All those guys are smashing it right now and to know we’ve given them their first release is a really humbling feeling.
And a stepping stone for yourself!
Of course! The early days of the label I wasn’t as busy. It was rolling a lot better before things took off and I signed to Circle Talent and toured America a lot. I’ve been much busier now and I haven’t had quite as much time. When things get hectic stuff gets nudged to the side.
Interesting you say about America. I actually thought you were American for a few years!
A lot of people do! Then they hear my Wolverhampton accent and it spins them right out. But yeah I’ve always understood the assumption because of the guys I was working with a lot.
The sound was moving over that way when you broke through around 2011/2012. To break through when you did, the US scene was the place to be
Definitely. A lot of us came through on that cusp. Artists like Badklaat, Trampa, Gentlemens Club. It was the next wave of the wonky wobbly sound and we were all massively inspired by Jakes, Coki, Caspa and guys like that. They weren’t just using a sub anymore; there was that exciting midrange sound, too, which was very interesting for me. But I agree that my sound has gone harder and I think the American market has pushed me that way. I was playing these very stripped-back wonky sets and the people were enjoying it, but the harder tracks were getting much better reactions. So yeah, the American exposure has had an influence on my sound.
Speaking of hard… Drop That has some absolutely mental sounds on it.
We have to biggup Ponicz there. He’s pushing some crazy sounds at the moment! We started that on the Fam As Fuck tour and wrote it in a hotel room in Philadelphia. We got a little studio apartment for two days, ordered loads of Dominoes and just went in. Ponicz is great. He’s from Wolverhampton too so we’ve got to stick together in this game.
You’ve collaborated before, right?
Yeah we did some free things many years ago and did something for Styx Recordings, Chronos’s sister label. I’ve got to biggup Chronos, too. They released the first ever P0gman EP on Styx and introduced me to Ponicz. That was a big level up for me. I’d been pushing things their way for a long time but none of it was heavy enough…. Chronos were pushing some very heavy stuff back then! I was too stripped back and wonky but then they launched Styx they got in touch and I was the first EP on the label. That was amazing actually – Chronos were a big fucking deal back then.
Back to the Black Label EP. I have to ask… How drunk have you actually been?
I know this sounds a bit weird because of the EP title but I’ve been dry for the last year.
Okay then. I wasn’t expecting that…
Haha, no me neither. I just thought my relationship with alcohol wasn’t very health. Drinking is my blood – I’m English, I grew up around my dad watching football and lad’s holidays. I’ve drunk for as a long as I can remember. So when I first started touring, going to America, I was living the high life. I’m this kid from Wolverhampton, suddenly earning a bit of a money and seeing the world. I was just like ‘let’s get fucked up!’ I was going to these crazy places I’d never get to go to because of music but I was going mental. I wasn’t an alcoholic but I was being very stupid. You play three shows in a weekend and you realise you’ve drunk three bottles of rum, endless beers and all the rest. It’s really not very good.
Things become even more of a blur than they usually are and you don’t appreciate it all as much.
Definitely. I’ve played some amazing shows and festivals and made some great friends but there are big hazy patches which I wish I could remember a bit more. The problem is that in the DJ world you make these mates who are also touring DJs and you’re lucky if you see each other a few times a year. So when you do meet up, you’re playing a show, you’re on top of the world, of course you’re going to get hammered!
I’ve had some amazing times though. Those times when I’ve drunk just the right amount and vibes and spirits are high and everyone’s having a great laugh. The Gentlemens Club guys are the greatest guys to party with in the world in that way. They’re wild in the best way possible. We’re really close friends, we’ve had some crazy nights. Oh actually, I’ve told you a lie.
Yeah, I did have one night off the wagon in Australia with them recently. Me, Soloman, Avance, Maze, Truth, Walter Wilde and Creation. It was a P0gman Invites night. We curated the line-up and shit got a bit wild. After parties and all the rest. Did you know Saul (Soloman) is famous for doing forward rolls when he’s drunk?
Well he is. There were forward rolls popping all over the place. Everyone was in high spirits. Just a great night. So yeah, that was my official last time on the booze. But the hangover was a million times worst.
Mate, I didn’t even get out of bed. I got an Uber Eats and didn’t even eat it all – which is saying something. I’m a big guy, I love my food!
So what’s coming up after the Drunk AF EP?
I’m back from my holiday on the 23rd, then straight to LA for more shows. I’m hoping to do more writing this year, too. I want to get as much music done as I can this year and take it back to like it used to be; putting clips up, keeping people interested in what we’re doing. That seems to have taken a backseat a bit so I’m going to play around with that. But other than that, it’s gigs gigs gigs.
The gigs get in the way of the writing, though
100% when you do a big tour it does drain your creativity. I did two months on the road and had one day at home in between and the last thing I wanted to do it make music and even listen to dubstep. You need to get the passion back. Then when you do, you’re back on the road. You have to grab those moments of inspiration when you can.
People don’t realise that’s why a lot of artists come through with loads of tunes then their releases slow down a bit when they’re on the road a lot more.
Yeah totally! I’ve had people asking if I’m okay or if I’m dropping off a bit because I haven’t banged out quite as much as I used to. I’m like bloody hell, give me a chance – I’ve been touring for two years! But then you get the true fans who get it, they understand and they’re patient. That’s who I’m writing music for and I’m always grateful I’ve got their support more than anyone else’s.
Photo source: @dektphotography