Jump to content
aberdeen-music

MTV interview - Aberdeen Becomes a Threat: Lockah’s Tasty Bass


Guest Tam o' Shantie
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Tam o' Shantie

Following on from features in Pitchfork and XLR8R, MTV Iggy interviewed me earlier in the week to talk about Tuff Wax, Aberdeen Truth & all things Lockah. Enjoy!

Lockah_General_Shaun_Fowler_MTV_Iggy_658x350.jpg

The Full Life of A Scottish Producer/Label Head/DJ

Forget London, let’s talk about Aberdeen. According to Lockah, hometown label head and producer, it’s birthing a scene. Okay, it might be a scene made up of mostly himself and his friends, but we are not complaining — his label Tuff Wax puts out strange and delicious sounds from acts like Grobbie and Bones & Money, and the label’s regular party, Acid Thunder, has a loyal following. Tuff Wax started its Aberdeen Truth 7-inch series in August 2011, and less than a year later they’re taking over the blogosphere.

In case you think Lockah has his plate full, he’s also a producer — one whose bass-synth confections have made waves across the Atlantic. His remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Videogames” kept the original’s bathos, but drowned it in an ocean of analog-y synth and gritty wobble. On June 14th, Lockah is dropping his first EP, When U Stop Feeling Like A Weirdo and Become A Threat on Jeffries, a Mad Decent imprint.

The first single shows you why the lengthy EP title is no joke. “The Sour Drink From The Ocean” splits the difference between E-fueled synth bliss-out and bass banger. Lockah launches you into a technicolor dreamland where R&B marry bassline jams and get in touch with their inner child. Yeah, it’s deep. And earwormy.

Read on to discover why Aberdeen’s small size works in artists’ favor, Lockah’s fantasy of a Lana Del Rey vs. Ashanti face-off, and what illicit drug Scottish cash tastes like.

Label head, producer, DJ – you’ve got a lot going on! What does a typical day in the life of Lockah look like? Are you a good multitasker, or is it a beautiful chaos?

Unfortunately wax doesn’t press itself and ‘bills bills bills’ are a constant thorn in the side of the otherwise wonderful life of Lockah. For this reason, a vast portion of the day is spent working my day job.

At night everything changes & I get locked into production, promotion & label stuff. I share the latter duties with my boys Bones and Money though, so the weight on my Tuff Wax shoulders is always spotted. Aberdeen’s nightlife is quite concentrated and I don’t get asked to gig outside of town much, so right now DJing is always a treat and never a chore!

What is the origin of your name. A probably offensive wild guess – it comes from the Loch Ness monster?

Lamely it doesn’t mean anything. All of a sudden everywhere I looked there were names like Kutmah, Loefah, Rekordah and for some reason I just went with my name.

If I had known I’d end up making more than a few bleepy hip-hop beats I’d have probably put a bit more thought into it. As for offensive, Chrissy Murderbot thought it was a reference to the Lockerbie Bomber so your guess is probably OK.

What are your top five desert island records?

It’d probably change day to day, but here are 4 all-time Lockah classics and my best guess at a classic in the making.

1. The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone

2. Edan – Beauty & The Beat

3. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)

4. Nas – Illmatic

5. Rustie – Glass Swords

What’s the music scene like in Aberdeen and what do kids like to do for fun?

Aberdeen’s music scene is so great in some ways but lacks diversity. You have a lot of people who talk a good alternative club scene but don’t show up to support the events. That said, Tuff Wax and our affiliated club night Acid Thunder has a hardcore following, and there are pluses to playing in a city with less choice.

For starters, most of the time you’re not going to end up listening to one style of music for 4 hours; there just isn’t enough demand for a regular UK Garage night or a dubstep night or so forth. You end up going to see one or two people spin and find yourself tuning into sounds that you weren’t originally there to hear.

We’re holding it down locally alongside other producers like my man Cruicky who recently produced several tracks for Bang On! but there are some big dogs out there who hail from around these parts, like Big Dada resident DJ and producer A La Fu and producer/design guru Offshore who are both friends of ours.

You remixed tracks by both Ashanti and Lana del Rey. If the two of them had a UFC showdown, who would you bet on?

Ashanti’s got more credibility in the violence stakes having been signed to Murder Inc. and keeping company with dudes with relatively tough credentials, like Fat Joe. She’s big on philanthropy and stuff as well, isn’t she? I guess she would have more fight in her to keep her worldwide causes alive. The Ashanti remix goes harder as well. That said, isn’t Lana Del Rey’s father mega rich? He could probably just have Ashanti killed. Either way it’s depressing as fuck. I’d rather they just held hands or something.

How would you describe the sound on your upcoming EP?

The EP was put together in December and draws together a few key styles.

I’ve gone for UK Garage-influenced drums and found sounds at times, with big choruses which percussively fall somewhere between ‘trap’ influenced programming and boom-bap drum hits.

As with the majority of my stuff, it’s very heavy on melody and layered synths. There are some vocal nods to classic Hip-hop records & obscure bassline tracks from yesteryear.

The whole thing is pretty full-on with pop sensibilities too, something I seem to be fairly helpless to tone down.

Your press shot features you holding what looks like a big wad of Scottish cash in your mouth. Was that your own idea, and what does Scottish cash taste like?

I don’t often see stacks of cash that fat so I guess that’s the reason I wanted to stuff it all in my mouth and have a friend take photographic proof. I’m not sure what it tasted like – probably a mixture of sweat, Irn-Bru and traces of poor quality cocaine.

Who are some of your music mogul role models?

The obvious choice has to be the RZA, a guy who said enough was enough, gathered the funds, and just got to work to put himself and those around him into the spotlight.

When I came up with the concept of the ‘Aberdeen Truth’ 7″ series it was mostly spurred on by the fact that all my friends who made productions sat around and did nothing with them. I couldn’t believe how much good stuff wasn’t coming out.

Your upcoming release on Jeffries is called When U Stop Feeling Like A Weirdo and Become A Threat. Is that a premonition of what will happen once the EP drops?

It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek so I’ll save the tough talk and keep it Tuff instead. The name’s not so much a premonition as a reference to how things turned out with us. We were nobodies and now we’re onto something. We’re respectful to the greats but people fall off or get lazy if they’re not careful.

It’s also a personal thing I guess. Have you ever felt like an underdog and come out on top?

http://www.mtviggy.com/interviews/aberdeen-becomes-a-threat-lockahs-tasty-bass/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150952017439885_22295926_10150952098689885#f144cf54c3c10f6

  • Upvote 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

London's great! It's by far and away (and obviously) the best place to study and perform music in the whole of the UK. Such an eclectic range of musicians and venues in even the smallest of bouroughs. For example take acton/ealing/chiswick (one very very very small portion of the city/greater area), you can catch the best jazzers in the country playing to a room full of 20 guys, the best teachers/players in the country plying their trade in workshops ranging from gavin harison to the JW method (not british but you get the point), hop to Acton to see some unbelievable young talent playing loads of various pubs from the kings head to the kings arse, visit the grand union and green rooms for musicians that turn up and play with no bullshit, just music, or head through to ealing broadway's o'neils and catch a run of the mill cover band that properly rocks the house and makes a living through playing music. Forget Aberdeen, lets talk about London, cause all I see in Aberdeen are boys playing at being record labels, musicians that talk a good talk but not much else, the biggest back patting community I've ever witnessed, people more interested in an image or 'creating a scene' rather than just playing music they apparently love....people who don't care as much about music as they do about the kudos they can bring in using it. Maybe not Aberdeen, but this website? For sure, yeah.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

London's great! It's by far and away (and obviously) the best place to study and perform music in the whole of the UK. Such an eclectic range of musicians and venues in even the smallest of bouroughs. For example take acton/ealing/chiswick (one very very very small portion of the city/greater area), you can catch the best jazzers in the country playing to a room full of 20 guys, the best teachers/players in the country plying their trade in workshops ranging from gavin harison to the JW method (not british but you get the point), hop to Acton to see some unbelievable young talent playing loads of various pubs from the kings head to the kings arse, visit the grand union and green rooms for musicians that turn up and play with no bullshit, just music, or head through to ealing broadway's o'neils and catch a run of the mill cover band that properly rocks the house and makes a living through playing music. Forget Aberdeen, lets talk about London, cause all I see in Aberdeen are boys playing at being record labels, musicians that talk a good talk but not much else, the biggest back patting community I've ever witnessed, people more interested in an image or 'creating a scene' rather than just playing music they apparently love....people who don't care as much about music as they do about the kudos they can bring in using it. Maybe not Aberdeen, but this website? For sure, yeah.

Its bigger of course it has many advantages over a smaller and more remote place. but are you telling me london doesnt have posers and bad bands? Structured critisism is mostky welcomed on here. as for Lockah i'm not a huge fan of his music (apart from his latest track) but he has worked damn fucking hard and i know of plenty of other bands in aberdeen that work their bollocks off for little reward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its bigger of course it has many advantages over a smaller and more remote place. but are you telling me london doesnt have posers and bad bands? Structured critisism is mostky welcomed on here. as for Lockah i'm not a huge fan of his music (apart from his latest track) but he has worked damn fucking hard and i know of plenty of other bands in aberdeen that work their bollocks off for little reward.

Its bigger, but the fact that I experienced or dealt with less pretentious people/musicians there than I do here says a lot. Even up to the people sessioning and playing with some pretty up there live ensembles. There are a lot more musicians there all striving to make music their living and therefore the standard of playing is better and the standard of attitude. Aberdeen is a bubble, a lot of people think they are shit hot but they aren't. Furthermore the people that do have their own 'label' believe they are something a bit special and think of themselves as slightly better. Just read the article. It stinks of unbelivable arrogance. There is some structured critisism in there somewhere, along the lines of fucking play your music and let that do the talking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest droid
Its bigger of course it has many advantages over a smaller and more remote place. but are you telling me london doesnt have posers and bad bands? Structured critisism is mostky welcomed on here. as for Lockah i'm not a huge fan of his music (apart from his latest track) but he has worked damn fucking hard and i know of plenty of other bands in aberdeen that work their bollocks off for little reward.

I think what DMB is alluding to is, keep your head down and make music. Accolades are all well and good, but at the end of the day it's all about making music because you love it. I have to agree with DMB as far as people talking the talk and back patting though.

There's much more to running a label than putting out your mates tracks, or releasing limited run vinyl.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great work man. Ya know, one of these days I'm actually going to have to listen to some of your stuff....

soundcloud.com/maddecent/lockah-the-sour-drink-from-the

There you go. Right there. Click on it, sit and listen for 3 minutes, and you're done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tam o' Shantie
London's great! It's by far and away (and obviously) the best place to study and perform music in the whole of the UK. Such an eclectic range of musicians and venues in even the smallest of bouroughs. For example take acton/ealing/chiswick (one very very very small portion of the city/greater area), you can catch the best jazzers in the country playing to a room full of 20 guys, the best teachers/players in the country plying their trade in workshops ranging from gavin harison to the JW method (not british but you get the point), hop to Acton to see some unbelievable young talent playing loads of various pubs from the kings head to the kings arse, visit the grand union and green rooms for musicians that turn up and play with no bullshit, just music, or head through to ealing broadway's o'neils and catch a run of the mill cover band that properly rocks the house and makes a living through playing music. Forget Aberdeen, lets talk about London, cause all I see in Aberdeen are boys playing at being record labels, musicians that talk a good talk but not much else, the biggest back patting community I've ever witnessed, people more interested in an image or 'creating a scene' rather than just playing music they apparently love....people who don't care as much about music as they do about the kudos they can bring in using it. Maybe not Aberdeen, but this website? For sure, yeah.

lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tam o' Shantie
I think what DMB is alluding to is, keep your head down and make music. Accolades are all well and good, but at the end of the day it's all about making music because you love it. I have to agree with DMB as far as people talking the talk and back patting though.

There's much more to running a label than putting out your mates tracks, or releasing limited run vinyl.

Lol...OK i'll try to remain grounded Droid, thanks for the advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its bigger, but the fact that I experienced or dealt with less pretentious people/musicians there than I do here says a lot. Even up to the people sessioning and playing with some pretty up there live ensembles. There are a lot more musicians there all striving to make music their living and therefore the standard of playing is better and the standard of attitude. Aberdeen is a bubble, a lot of people think they are shit hot but they aren't. Furthermore the people that do have their own 'label' believe they are something a bit special and think of themselves as slightly better. Just read the article. It stinks of unbelivable arrogance. There is some structured critisism in there somewhere, along the lines of fucking play your music and let that do the talking.

I don't normally give comments like this time of day, but I feel like replying in this instance. You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion, however to judge somebody's project without knowing too much about it is quite off to be honest. Tuff Wax as a label didn't just appear out of nowhere, it is something that Tom as been at the centre of and developed over a few years. From what I remember the first release was Be Like Pablo's track Julianne, which bears little or no resemblance to some of the more electronic focussed releases put out by the label (obviously the put out Dolfinz and they aren't electronic, I know that). This shows how diverse the label is. The whole project seems pretty open to new ideas and I find it hard to see this as an example of "arrogance".

This article is just one piece of press trying to help put Aberdeen on the map and gain exposure for the scene Tuff Wax is involved with. London gets plenty exposure; this interview (from what I read anyway) isn't dissing London but is more aimed at suggesting that there is a lot to be gained from being part of a scene in a smaller city, encouraging readers to branch out and listen.

How is this an example of not "letting the music do the talking"? The whole reason people dig Tuff Wax as an entity is because they dig the music that is put out by the label. From an outsider's perspective, all these guys seem to be really supportive of each other. I'd also like to add at this point that I don't even favour electronic music that much, it just enrages me when people get shot down for doing well and making an effort.

Having played (in the same band admittedly) for over 5 years in Aberdeen, many other bands have came and went; the most fun times have arguably been when we've teamed up with other bands from here who we really like to do tours and what not. Some of them have even formed record labels and put out their own music as well as ours, which I think is really cool. But yeah, fuck having a music scene.

And finally:

people who don't care as much about music as they do about the kudos they can bring in using it. Maybe not Aberdeen, but this website? For sure, yeah.

It's obviously a crime in your eyes to be told you're good. So yeah, from now on nobody praise anybody else's music ok? We all have to call each other shite and only like our own stuff because of the love we have for only our own music. In fact, fuck it. I'm never buying somebody else's music ever again.

  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tam o' Shantie

Just so we're clear as well, this is an interview with me. That is to say, a music journalist researched Lockah/Tuff Wax/Aberdeen/Scotland, asked me some questions via email, then wrote an introductory paragraph to tie it all together. I didn't sit at home asking myself questions into a dictaphone & then trick MTV Iggy into publishing it...someone I have never met or spoken to asked me these questions & I answered them!

To question that a music journalist would highlight the fact that Aberdeen is not typically renowned for its musical output in the same way as London is hilarious, and shows an utter lack of understanding of music journalism...or even journalism in general. Evidently DMB thinks MTV should have gone for the hot new scoop covering his mates' 'tight as fuck' cover bands who 'rock the house' every time they hit the London borough pubs. Droid meanwhile can't get his head around the fact that people might see more credibility in Lockah/Tuff Wax being written about in Pitchfork, MTV etc. than the Evening Express' 2 page spread about the pubescent nephew of a successful local songwriter.

I wouldn't normally take the troll bait so easily but I'm fairly convinced these guys are serious...astonishing lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's London got to do with all this?

The first line of the interview article, in the interviewers preamble it should be noted (and not the actual content of Lockah's answers), appears to dismiss London to an extent. DMB got pissy (jealous much?), Droid involved Liam Horne and it all went downhill from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tam o' Shantie

dumb replies aside, i'd like to say a general 'thanks' to those who liked the article or even better, liked the music. it's not to everyone's tastes and the track is actually about 7 months old so if you're at all interested keep your eyes peeled, i've got more stuff in the works. the EP is out for free on Thursday via Philadelphia/Los Angeles based label Mad Decent/Jeffree's - www.maddecent.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi fives and mad props all round guys! I think the my point has been mis interpreted and maybe not made clear on my behalf. I wasn't going for a London vs the Deen vibe. What I was trying to point out is that music (in some cases) has been hi-jacked by people trying to make a name for themselves regardless of decent musical output or attitude. I'm not a fan of anything on the tuff wax label but I (nor anyone else) really cares. I don't 'hate' anyone and I'm certainly not jealous! haha. I'm quite happy to play music and if people turn up and like it then cool, if they don't, no worries. As for the London stuff I was asked to talk about it, so I did.

I just can't hack this image driven 'label head/DJ/producer' crap, who is anyone kidding. I've seen a lot of this pish going on in aberdeen with people getting above their station and talking that big boy talk. Just about everyone on here makes a living through a full-time normal job that has little to do with music. Me included.

And this whole idea of having a boutique label. What? Does tuff wax actually make money, and if so do you pump any of that back into the acts in order to improve and develop? Cause thats a music label. A music label makes money. Its not putting out your mates stuff or producing 200 ltd vinyl's or whatever. I suspect those cover bands your laugh at make more money through music than most people on here do, that people like droid probably have masses more knowledge on the music buisness and music labels than you do ;) and that if you strip away the image, all this is propped up by sub standard tunes and guys that really do think they are all that. Just play music guys.

Either way best of luck, if there's anywhere in the UK that stuff like this will get pretty popular, it Aberdeen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...