The Beastman Talketh
KING CANNIBAL SAYS…
The good good people at the Remix and CMU dropped me a line to ask me a few questions, anyone on the Remix Update mailing list from Xfm & CMU should have received it today, but as many people are not (but should be, as its a good read that takes in interesting industry news as well as new band hype) i’ve copied the piece below …..
Recent Ninja Tune signee King Cannibal (aka Dylan Richards aka Zilla) has been a regular in The Darkside since it launched in the show’s new bonus hour earlier in the year. This month he returns with his latest single ‘Virgo’, which saw him creep higher up the playlist last week.
Featuring vocals from French crew Face-A-Face it sees him exploring the darkest depths of electronic music yet further with his mouth-watering mix of dubstep, dancehall and drum n bass. As with each of his singles so far, it takes a sharp turn away from previous releases whilst still holding on to something that makes it instantly recognisable.
And he’s not just casting this magic on his own originals, any introduction to King Cannibal should include a blast of his stunning remix of The Qemists’ collaboration with Wiley, ‘Dem Na Like Me’. With his debut album out later this year, things are already looking very exciting indeed. We caught up with him to find out more.
How did you start out making music?
I think I went down the same route that most people did really. A series of progressively less bad punk bands. After accidentally erasing the drums on a 4-track of demos we were putting together I started experimenting with samples and sounds to replace them. Looking back now I think that is when I first started getting really excited about making music on my own terms and doing something different instead of covering ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ (come on… we’ve all done it!). From there I slowly got into DJing and then putting together mix CDs that got progressively more reliant on re-editing and cutting up tracks until they turned into full blown new productions.
What inspired your new single?
Some tracks are heavily inspired by certain events, places I’ve been to or movies I’ve seen. Though this really isn’t the case with ‘Virgo’, the next single. I just wanted to make something fun for the dancefloor. I’m a huge fan of Modeselektor (which is something that’ll be painfully obvious over the two tracks on the 12″) and I wanted to try to make something a little easier on the ear with a lot of drive and a good time vibe to it. A friend of mine, Ebola of Wrong Music, knew I was looking for new female vocal acts to work with for my album, and he introduced me to Face-A-Face whom he had just remixed. ‘Virgo’ as it stood in instrumental form seemed like a perfect match for their vocal style. It’s very very different to [previous single] ‘Aragami Style’ in every way, but the album (which I’m still working on) is looking like a real mix of genres, so it all works in terms of the LP. The flip of the 12″, ‘Murder Us (Feat. Jahcoozi)’, has more of a story behind it, but maybe we’ll save that one for next time, eh?
What process do you go through in creating a track?
Anxiety, excitement, excitement, excitement, worry, excitement, frustration, relief. In that order. I get the most inspired to make music after listening to other people’s music, be it in clubs or just at home browsing the internet. I have a pretty hefty amount of samples, so I sit down at Logic and try out processing a bass line until something clicks and I get something good going. Then I’ll add a kick and start layering drums on there or a synth and map that out for a few minutes. Next I usually start getting to work on small bassline edits, some dramatic drop outs and the intro. Next comes finding a good counter melody – I always have trouble with this bit! When I’ve got the track finished I’ll try and play it out a few times, start a new track and get a bit of distance between myself and the track. When I’ve got to the end of the new track I’ve made I’ll then go back with some fresh ears on the previous song and see what it needs and where it could be improved. Then I send it off to Ninja Tune and hope they don’t tell me it stinks or send me back a paragraph of things that could be done to improve it.
Which artists influence your work?
I’ve already said Modeselektor – I really like how they can put an album together containing tracks over so many different genres, yet they are still all instantly recognisable as Modeselektor works. Older drum n bass producers like Nico, Optical, Matrix, Photek and Boymerang – it’s amazing how some of these tracks are over 10 years old now but still sound not only fresh but futuristic. The clean mean sounds of dubstep acts like Peverlist, Appleblim, Scuba , 2562 and Martyn. The raw, dirty and deep techno of Rhythm & Sound. A lot of current drum n bass, Current Value, Raiden, Limewax, Dylan, Donny, Technical Itch, Seba, Fanu and Instra:Mental. I should add Timbaland and The Neptunes on there too, but they come as standard, of course.
What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Ideally, not a whole lot. I’d like the music to explain itself and for them to enter the listening experience without prejudice. Of course I’d be happy to answer any questions that people have after they’ve listened.
What are your ambitions for your new single/album, and for the future?
I want the album to really work well as a whole, as there are very very few albums I can listen to from start to finish (Fugazi – ‘Repeater’, Showbiz & AG – ‘Runaway Slave’ and Beastie Boys – ‘Paul’s Boutique’ being the small amount that initially spring to mind). Every track I sit down to make at the moment comes out completely different so it will be a big mixture of genres but all with the King Cannibal DNA embedded within. I really enjoyed working with Wiley’s vocals on my remix of The Qemists’ – ‘Dem Na Like Me’, so I’d like to get the opportunity to work with some bigger names in the future and to expand my sound even further. I think the first album is about establishing the King Cannibal approach to music and getting my identity out there – the next album will be me fucking with things and expanding on the acorns planted in the first LP. I’m very ambitious and driven, but I never set my goals more then one step ahead of what I’m doing, so all I can do for now is to make the best album I possibly can… and maybe, just maybe, I think I’m doing that.