Friday, May 6, 2011

Radikal Guru Interview

You've earned yourself a considerable international underground support for your records as Radikal Guru. Has producing music been a lifelong aspiration or did it come as a surprise? When did you know this was it?

Music has been a big part of my life since I was a small kid. I used to listen to different kinds of music and started playing instruments very early. When I started producing electronic music I didn’t expect that it would turn the way it did, but I’m very happy about it.

How did you come about getting signed and dropping your first record?

Everything changed when I left Poland and moved to Ireland. I met a lot of people who inspired me to work harder and focus on getting my music released. That’s when I started to DJ as well.
Before releasing my first remix on a 12”, I used to exchange my productions with different producers and one of them was Rob Sparx. I asked him once if he could hook me up with any labels and he recommended my name to Z-Audio distribution who owned a new label called Dubbed Out records. That’s how I got signed and released a few tunes with them.

I can see that you've entirely abandoned the Asian vibes from your first EP - East West Connection. What are your thoughts about the sound  when you look back?

I wouldn’t say I abandoned it completely. I still have some new tunes where I used samples from Asian music or recorded with a vocalist from Iran.
One of them is Kali which is out on my latest release on Moonshine recordings where I used  a female vocal sample taken from traditional Indian ragas. Another one is Ahmed that was recorded by my friend Ahmet Mahbob and released on Dubbed Out. Vocal. I’m still planning to use more ethnic sounds in my productions. By the way, I still like to listen to my first demo “The East-West Connection”.

You’ve got a unique talent for adopting music from distant continents on both hemispheres of the globe? What about Asian underground/ Caribbean music and culture? Did they catch your attention and make you want to recreate them.

Both Jamaican and Indian music had big influence on me. I’m from Poland so for me the music was always very warm, exotic and spiritual . I really like deep and meditative sounds that I’m trying to use in my productions.

Your remix of Chase the Devil definitely pays tribute to the genre of reggae. Do you draw more influence from reggae artists themselves or from Dj's like King Tubby and Scientist?

Definitely roots reggae and dub music created by its originators such as King Tubby had a massive influence on me and pushed me to make remixes like Chase the Devil and others. I want to deliver original sound of dub reggae to the new generation.

Any reggae artists your close with?

I like most of Jamaican roots reggae artists. Too many to mention :).

Your recent tracks have gravitated more towards contemporary dubstep, you manage dirty wobbles with major keys and melodic samples. What sound are you going for now?

At the moment I’m working on new material for my album and I think every reggae dub as well as contemporary dubstep lover will find something for themselves. I’m making a move towards deep, heavy bass driven and meditative tribal vibes but I’m not forgetting about my dub. You’ll hear a lot of tunes designed to work on big soundsystems.
I’m also working with a few vocalists and they will certainly add a lot of fresh air to my tunes.

You definetely stay true to reggae dub. What are your thoughts on the filth movement of the genre?

There’s a lot of people who like to go extreme and I respect that. I still like to listen to hardcore punk or metal music so I understand very well what it’s all about. Anyway I’m not a big supporter of filthy dubstep and I prefer to stay on the bright side of the force :).

What about the minimalists like Burial or Mount Kimbie?

They are very good producers who really had a lot of influence on modern electronic music but it’s still not the music I would listen to on everyday basis.

On the topic of genres, dubstep has experienced a massive explosion in popularity. Years ago, I would never think that Rusko could be producing pop tracks for Britney Spears. It seems  that the majority of listeners now are completely unaware of the genre's origins in Garage and Jungle. You've maintained authenticity in regards to Dub, what’s your opinion of the progression of Dubstep.

It’s mainly about money and big labels pushing underground artist into mainstream business but, at the same time, I understand why Rusko got really big. He’s just f*****g good at what’s he’s doing. Personally, I don’t like what he’s doing with his music at the moment. He used to do some extremely good dub when he started. It’s a pity.
Today a lot of kids don’t have any idea where it’s all coming from but hey, that’s why I’m here :P.

In recent years, it seems that American Dubstep producers are the ones who've been pushing the envelope for filth (Excision, Datsik, Borgore, Skrillex). Is America to blame for whoring out Dubstep, or is this simply the fault of trying to place labels on music to begin with?

I wouldn’t blame anyone for “whoring” dubstep. As I’ve mentioned before, there are different people with different musical needs. Some people like it extreme, some don’t. It’s up to us what we’re listening to. It’s just a shame that they call it “dubstep” where there’s no dub in it at all, but maybe it’s just another marketing trick.

The wobble on Strong Dub is really fresh. What equipment were you using at the time to get your sounds and how has your setup advanced in past years?

I wasn’t using very good equipment on my first releases as you can probably hear from the quality of it but I made this sound out of a sample that I filtered out on NN19 on Reason 4. Since that time I have got myself a new midi controller M-Audio Axiom 49 and near field studio monitors that really had a big impact on my sound.

You've got the One Love festival coming up. This is what? Your second year?  Tell me about it.

It will be my second time at One Love. It’s great to be a part of it and play alongside big artists. This year’s line up is massive and there’s a lot of my favorite bands and soundsystems. Just got to be there.

I'd imagine there's quite the Sensimilia action going on there? From what I understand the UK in recent years has increased marijuana from class C to class B substance. And Wikipedia tells me that law in Poland is very strict. What's it like, living with these policies?

Yes, it’s a big problem in Poland. Recently, government tried to ease up sanctions for possessing small amounts of Marijuana but without much effect. We still have quite strong conservative political movement that’s blocking the way for change. Young people are not giving up and they’re trying to change politicians’ views on the subject by raising various social campaigns and manifests. We have one of the most strict anti-drug laws in Europe, but, believe me, there’s too many Sensimilia smokers to stop us!

Radikal Guru looks great on a bill. How did you come up with the name?

I came up with this name when I started experimenting with sounds of India and Middle East. Radikal Guru was one of a few other projects I used to do. I used to produce hip-hop, psychedelic and even digital hardcore under different names. Radikal Guru suited perfectly for the music I made at the time. It was a crazy indian guru making radical jungle beats. Just listen to East West Connection and, surely, you’ll get the idea.

For you as an aspiring producer, sound cloud and the internet definetely made it easier to get your stuff out.You've already established a name for yourself. What's it like on the flip side, to have your music accessible to the world to be listened to and pirated?

I would never get my tunes out to the world without the Internet. I think, these days, you need to accept how it works rather than get angry when you see your tunes shared on rapidshare or torrents. Thanks to that my tunes reach thousands of people easily and I’m getting more invitations to play gigs in many different countries.
On the other hand, I’m still selling my records on good quality mp3, wav or FLAC files because there’s still a big group of people that I can rely on and I know that they’ll be looking for the best sound or at least they will buy my music to show respect for my work. And I want to say: Thank You for keeping it real!

Your myspace tells me you have big plans for the future? Any hint as to what that might be?

Mainly Im working on my EP that I’m planning to release around September/October 2011. I hope it will be a big step forward so stay locked for more info and see you at the dance!

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