How are you, what’s good and bad in your world right now?
Doing well! I’ve just more or less finished up my masters degree in Leeds and I’m off to Jamaica on holiday for two weeks, so life is chillin!
You’re back after a short break – why did you take that break and what did you do in it?
This year I had to take a little time off releases to focus on my masters as well as put in more hours in the studio developing my sound before I released any more music. I’m the kind of person who would rather not put anything out then to put out something that’s half-assed or not to my full potential. I like to put 100% into everything, so if that means taking time off to ‘fine-tune’ until I feel things are sounding right, then I will. Now I’m at a point where I feel happy and confident with all the new music I have forthcoming, plus my time at university is pretty much done now, so I’m keen to get the ball rolling!
Tell us why you started Hot Wings – what is the aim of the label?
Those who know me or have been following me over the years know that I have had this chicken theme running pretty consistently for a very long time. The ‘Hot Wings’ idea started in December 2018 as more of a concept/outlet more-so than a ‘record label’. I come from a background of being self-sufficient and mostly releasing music on my own terms with my own creative/artistic visions, all from a very young age. Working with the labels that I have over the years has been amazing and there’s still many others I am targeting. However, I cant deny that there’s always been some kind of creative restriction working with them or even just trying to get music signed. Hot Wings is an outlet for me to just fully express myself artistically (visually and sonically) without having to worry about someone else’s approval or trying to fit into someone else’s vision. If I want to put out a fun/energetic club track that talks about hoes and eating ass then I can do that, and best believe my gf is gonna draw some dope artwork to visualise it.
Will you make different music for your own label than you did for the likes of Avotre and Strictly? Will it have its own identity?
Working with labels like Avotre and Strictly have been great, not just because they’re highly established but also because they are labels that have been more accepting of my creative vision with music. There’s always gonna be compromises working with any label thats not your own as you will need to ‘fit in’ with their body of work and their vision to some degree. No matter who I release with, I always make sure that the music fits BUT more importantly, that it represents the Mad Villains sound as well. The music for Hot Wings will still carry the principle sonic/visual aesthetics that represent ‘Mad Villains’, however the difference is that with Hot Wings, there will be absolutely no filters. I have a strong fanbase that have always truly respected me for what I do as an artist and my uniqueness. I want to be able to give them ‘me’ in my most true form, and that’s what Hot Wings will represent.
When did you arrive in the UK? What was the Cali scene like for house music? How does it compete with hip hop? Are there good parties, producers, labels?
I’ll soon be coming up to my 8th year living in the UK. I came here to live with my dad when I was just turning 17 at the end of 2011 after being displaced from my home in Cali due to some family issues. When I was living in Cali doing music, I was still young af so my experiences of the scene were mainly with friends from my hometown (San Bernardino) who were all were heavily into street art, music, skating, etc. We used to go around DJ’ing all sorts of house parties (and sometimes lucky enough to get sets at the all ages clubs). During this time, Hip Hop was very much at the forefront of the club scene, but there was a lot poppin off in the underground electronic music scene too. At that time, electro and ‘dutch’ music was most popular in Cali. Anything from Afrojack to like Crystal Castles lol, there was a real wide spectrum of tastes. House music wasn’t really a big thing to my generation at the time, BUT when I was 16, disco-house and ‘nu-disco’ had started to become a serious thing. Artists like Treasure Fingers, J Paul Getto, Viceroy, Geisha Twins and others were killing it and California really was embracing the ‘nu-disco’ sound cause it fit that whole cliché California beach/poolside vibe I guess. But times have changed now, house is now stronger then ever in Cali thanks to labels like Dirtybird, Desert Hearts and Night Bass to name a few.They have moulded their own interpretations of the genre into something thats palatable for Cali folk and I’m really glad to see the genre finally being embraced properly out there.
How much does or did the weather of your home state inspire and influence your music?
Weather is always gonna have an influence on the music you make. When I was there, sunny weather was so normal that it never really had a direct influence on the music, but it definitely would have had an indirect influence. When the sun comes out in England, everyones mood flips and people get inspired. I guess cause the sun was always out in Cali, I was more inspired by everything that was going on at that time (skating, street art, house parties, etc.), which was a result of the sunny weather.
How much of an inspiration is the UK scene to you and why? What excites you about it?
I was always heavily influenced by UK music , even before I moved here. When I was a youngin’, the beats that would always turn my head the most were those coming from UK producers, but at the time I wasn’t really that aware that the music was coming from the UK until I actually moved here. So you can imagine what it was like coming here and actually submerging myself in it all. UK music is a completely different breed, they take genres and make them so much more faster and upbeat in tempo and sonically a bit more rough and aggressive, even for genres like traditional Jazz. My sound takes a lot of influence from UKG and UK house mixed with the traditional American side of house and garage.
Tell us about your new single – Pleasure. Where and when did you write it, what’s the vibe?
I wrote pleasure a few months ago in Leeds. I worked on it between my home studio and the recording studios at my university. I initially wrote the track with the idea of it just being something fun and groovy, but also have a bit of an edge to it at the same time. No rules, no formulas, literally just me jamming on my synths and drum machines. I’ve always been a real big enthusiast of Chicago ghetto-house, I wanted to create a vocal idea that was raw and vulgar, how you would hear on much of those Chicago records, but with a very UK-influenced beat (fast, skippy and upfront). So I did that, and then after sitting on it for a few weeks, I felt it was something I needed to push my self as the vision I had with this track specifically was something that was very unique to me. This motivated me to setup Hot Wings as a proper label so that I can facilitate this vision properly.
What gear did you use? Are you a studio geek?
I think most of my homies would agree that I’m probably one of the nerdiest producers of my generation when it comes to music tech. Got my BSc in Music Tecnology and about to get my MA in Music Production so that says something I guess haha. I’ve used a lot of different gear in my music over the years. Whenever I’m in a proper studio, I always utilise the outboard stuff as much as possible. At home, my setup consists of two Yamaha HS7’s, Alesis V49 midi keyboard, Akai XR20 Drum Machine, Korg Volca FM, Volca Drum, Volca Sample and Korg Monotron Delay, turntable + mixer all going into a Roland Rubix 44 interface….and an Xbox of course. Not the most extensive setup but I’m very content with it all. Now that I’m done with uni, I’m gonna start investing into some more outboard gear to use at home.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
Right now, I’ve probably got about 7 EP’s worth of music that is forthcoming (and many other projects that I’m working on). Some of these include collaborations with friends such as Greco, Timmy P, Gettoblaster and Trutopia but I’ve also got some other collaborations on the go with artists that you wouldn’t have expected, but I can’t announce those yet! I’ve also got a several remixes forthcoming, one of those being for Kelli-Leigh’s new single ‘Dying Without You’ which will be dropping real soon! Going forward, there’s a lot of other exciting projects/concepts to announce with friends in London and America. You can stay updated with those and my upcoming gigs on my socials.
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