2017: A good year to be a Trolley Snatcha fan.
In February we enjoyed the tectonic plate shifting fusion of his and Funtcase’s Warfare and Bad Selection. Now we have Get Physical, a monolithic EP on Never Say Die. His first full EP in a very long time, it’s a four-shot hit of uncut Trolley gully classicality. Rough, playful and heavier than a lead elephant, it’s loaded with Snatcha’s characteristic quirks; savage electrified basslines, flabby guts and frogs.
Make the most of it, though. The last Snatcha dispatch of this proportion landed almost three years ago (his Archetype EP on Firepower). Currently feeling more inspired about dubstep than he has in several years, he promises more material and shows in the near future. But who knows how long this run will last? Trolley Snatcha is just one of Zack Kemp’s many projects, roles and aliases and it’s clear he’s at his happiest when he has the perfect balance of production and writing. Not that he’ll ever divulge what he’s up to. That’s for us to work out…
You’re back! Where did you go?
You know, the usual… Lots of different projects, keeping myself busy. Basically if I’m not feeling electronic music then I won’t make it because it will drive me crazy and I know I’ll never be happy with what I make. But this year I have been inspired again so I’ve gone in on the Trolley stuff. I’ve really been feeling the vibe.
What can we say about stuff you do that isn’t Trolley Snatcha?
Not a lot to be honest! I do a lot of different things man. I work on a lot of projects in a whole load of different styles and genres; writing and collaborating and production. It varies. Some things I do are more obvious or clearly me and other things aren’t. I think it’s nice for people to join the dots and work it out themselves – I always used to like that when I realised an artist I was into had done something I was also into. It’s kinda like vindication isn’t it?
Definitely. How does it feel when you return to Trolley music? Like wearing a favourite pair of old trainers?
Sometimes. But if there’s a chance I’m not feeling it in any way it doesn’t come out. Or doesn’t come out until I’m happy. When I’m in the mood and inspired then I can do the bulk of a track in a day – then it’s a case of indefinite tweaking. Sometimes that takes weeks, other times it’s a year.
You must have learnt to draw the line and keep that rawness?
That’s the beauty of music – mixdowns and engineering has become something that some people really enjoy about music or even enjoy the most. For me it is about vibe and that rawness. Back in the day there was no template. There wasn’t a huge catalogue of tunes you could compare your tune to. You’d just catch a vibe when you were in the studio and left it at that. But because now there’s a lot of competition between artists so it becomes this thing on who’s got the biggest sound or the nastiest bass or whatever. That’s where the line needs to be drawn because then it does miss the point and that’s why I have to write other things and work on other projects as well as the Trolley stuff.
What inspired this new Snatcha batch?
Funtcase basically! He sent me a batch of tunes and I was really feeling it, more than usual. It had been at least a year since I’d connected with something dancefloor oriented so I got back on it.
And wrote Bad Selection and Warfare with Funtcase?
That had actually been around for a year or more, so no – I wrote fresh stuff! But the more I started paying attention again, the more I could hear new guys making tracks that really reminded me of the same vibe and freshness that we were doing years ago. It made me want to write this music again.
What do you make of dubstep creeping up to 150?
As long as it sounds good I really don’t give a shit. If you use space correctly and how to use the drums and rhythms at that speed then it sounds wicked. If you take something that sounds 2010 and just speed it up by ten BPM, on the other hand, it will of course sound shit. Everything evolves doesn’t it? Look at how jungle developed into drum & bass – that sped up but has settled now, it can’t keep on getting faster.
Let’s talk about Froggy. We need more frogs in electronic music.
We do. What’s funny is that I almost didn’t include that on the EP. It’s my least favourite track on the release. I mean I had a lot of fun making it but I didn’t know if I was happy about it, you know? I’m super tight with my music and don’t send much out to people but I’m learning to take people’s opinions on and not just overthink things myself. People I sent it to gave it some good feedback, it’s a bit of fun so put it out.
Overthinking is a killer
It is. You have to pull yourself right back and remember that writing tunes is all about doing something you love. And if you love what you’re making then there’s a chance other people will too. If you start writing for other reasons it loses it soul.
Did you suffer that a lot in the past?
All the time. When you’re on that cycle of gigs/production you fall into the trap of writing for the dancefloor and writing things just to kick off when you should be writing what the fuck you like and be true to yourself.
Have you got that gig balance right now?
I’m going to play a load of shows again now because I’ve got this EP and it’s the right thing to do. It’s been the right amount of time since my last gigs too. But there was a point when I thought ‘no, this is it, never again’. Turns out I just needed a break. It wasn’t good for my mental health being on the road for so long and missing my family. So it’s getting that balance right. You won’t catch me touring like I used to though.
It almost feels like this could be an annual thing. Birthday, Christmas and a yearly Trolley Snatcha EP.
Ha! I’d be happy with that but I’ve got shit loads more already to drop. I’ve got 20 odd tracks. I wrote tune this morning. I’ve just been writing in between sessions and having pure dancefloor days where I just write tunes. When I’m in the mood it just kinda happens.
You’re in the zone
You really are. It’s like I’m not in control of what I’m doing. I get complete tunnel vision and I lose hours and hours. Then suddenly I realise it’s dark and I haven’t eaten or gone to the toilet for eight hours. It’s hard to explain man.
When are these tracks coming out then?
Ah they’re not that ready yet. I’m very indecisive about what I want to put out and when or if I even like them. I might scrap them and write 20 more, who knows?
We’ve found out your least favourite song on the EP… So what’s your favourite?
Either Fools Gold or Get Physical. They encompass my sound the most and I feel the most comfortable listening to them. It’s like when you look at old photos of yourself and some of them you’re happy with but others you can see it’s you but it’s not a you that you recognise or even like and you don’t want to see that photo again. It’s a relationship you have with your music, especially with tracks where you’ve learnt something or done something different – really subtle things no one is going to notice but you know you did it.
Can you provide examples?
I could list all sorts of examples, but a lot of things I could point out wouldn’t be noticeable or that seem that significant though. It’s just the little developments you have that help you understand and know yourself as a producer.
Nice. Finally, a really horrible question to end on: Which Trolley Snatcha tune would you take to the grave?
Oh man that is a horrible question! I guess You Make My Whole World. It still goes off. But I love everything I put out. That’s why I’m tight with what I’ve put out – I have to be happy with it. I like The Future, my Kano remix. There are loads because I only release things I’m truly happy with. Can I take a zip drive of tunes to the grave?