Here’s one thing we all learnt about S.P.Y earlier this year… He scrapped an entire album.
Here’s one thing we didn’t know about S.P.Y until we called him last week… His Back To Basics albums came about through a body of work that amounted to – get this – 73 tracks!
With that amount, he could have scrapped four albums and still had enough of the good stuff to go around…
“After I scrapped that whole album I went in on a lot of different ideas or projects I’d kind of forgotten about,” he explains. “I counted them all and realised I had 73 tracks in total. They weren’t finished enough to release but they were definitely good tools. So that’s how the Back To Basics albums came about, really…”
That’s how it came about. But it wasn’t how it ended. After the unanimous success of Back To Basics Chapter One, he felt serious pressure to follow it up with something equally as applaud worthy.
“Chapter One’s feedback was amazing. Almost too amazing!” he laughs. “At the time I still had Chapter Two to finish and I really didn’t like it as much! I had to go back over every single track and refresh each one to make sure they’re on the same level. I was working 18 hours a day! But it paid off – people seem to like part two too!”
But don’t tell him you like it too much… Another thing we’ve learnt from the Brazilian beatsmith is that he gets a little flabbergasted when people pass the props.
“I’m always surprised that people like my music! It’s overwhelming when people say stuff like ‘this track is amazing’ ‘this track changed my life’ or ‘this was our wedding dance’. It’s like what??? No way!” he laughs.
“I’m not trying to make music to be famous. I make it to keep me sane. I don’t talk about problems. I don’t talk too much about my life. But when you listen to my music you know what mood I was in when I made it. You know when I’m happy or sad or angry… It’s the greatest way to express my emotions!”
It’s also the great way of getting out of a life as a cleaner. As these three facts about S.P.Y will reveal…
I didn’t come to London to start a music career…
“When I moved to the UK it wasn’t for music production as many people have assumed. It was to study English and do some graphic design courses. I was an art director with a company that specialised in packaging for big brands like Coca Cola. I had a job offer from another company, and in order to work with them I needed to know basic English because they had international clients. So I asked if I could take a break and develop my skills in the UK then take up the job.
The original plan was to come over here and live off my savings while I studied. Maybe do some freelance design work and stuff. But the exchange rate crippled me! The money I saved that I thought would last me a whole year lasted me two months. So I had to get a job. And because I couldn’t speak English my options were low. So I became a cleaner…”
My first UK set was an open decks night…
The manager of the club offered me a residency. He was paying me more for one set than I was getting paid for 15 days in McDonalds!
“I was always a bedroom DJ in Brazil and I started collecting some of my favourite records over here with the small amount of money I earned. I never had any big intentions or anything like that. Then in 2004 I found a flyer saying about an open decks night at a club called Dingwalls. So I borrowed a friend’s belt drive decks and recorded my demo on a minidisc. I got a slot and was playing alongside a lot of people who were playing it very hard. I played a much more liquid style set and the manager of the club offered me a residency. He was paying me more for one set than I was getting paid for 15 days in McDonalds!”
I take a lot of inspiration from movie trailers…
“I LOVE movie trailers! And many of my tunes will start off as soundtracks to them. I’ll make mental notes when I go to the cinema and I get inspired by the sound effects and how the story is told in such a short space of time. If I really like a trailer, I’ll find it online and make a track to it.
I’m actually a huge lover of all things film. Can I give you a fourth fact about me? When I was younger I had a dream to work with 3D animation. One of the courses I thought about doing in the UK when I first came over was an animation one so I could eventually live the dream and get a job at Pixar. I’ll tell you another dream… I’ve always wanted to become an airplane pilot. I’d love to be a private jet pilot, not a commercial one. It would take so long to train and I think that that job would actually be boring. They don’t fly the plane, they take off the machine makes it happens. I like the small planes.
This is the thing: Music is my thing now but I always wonder how long will I be able to do this? I never want to limit myself… Just because I make music now, I might not want to make it when I’m older. When I started getting into this it was as a DJ, I never dreamt of becoming a producer! You never know what happens…”