I was working on a bootleg of Mampi Swift v JayZ, and was thinking about a name for the project. I’d been playing Diablo 2 and got to contemplating what a barbarian DJ would be called and Groover popped into my head. Groover the Barbarian.
What was the first record you bought?
It was either Ant Music, by Adam Ant, or Fire in the Mountains by Toyah. It’s annoying I can’t remember exactly which one it was because they are both fantastic records. Saying that though, it could have been the Jungle Book or Tubby the Tuba. I remember having those when I was little, but y absolute favourite then was Mike Reid’ version of the Ugly Duckling. We are talking the 70s here.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
I think it might have been when my Uncles used to play down at The Woolwich Arsenal Social Club. They only did a few gigs I think, but the place had a massive wooden dance floor for Ballroom Dancing that was covered in talcum power, and made great fun for sliding on. I can remember my Uncle Ron getting upset when my Uncle Robin decided to rock it up a gear.
First big gig was the Capital Jazz Festival when I was 8. We got to see people like The Average White Band, and I got this comic called Space Dog from a comic bus that was there.
And my first getting drunk gig was the Anti-Heroin Gig at Crystal Palace in 1985 I think it was. They weren’t allowing anyone to take booze into the gig, so I got given 2 litres of cider to drink. It was a good day I can’t remember a lot of, apart from Hawkwind and Vera Lynn.
How long have you been song writing?
Since 2006, but I’d toyed about with writing lyrics before then, been in a band and DJed for about 10 years as well. It was a proper step I decided to take though. Things were going wobbly on the DJ side of things, and I ended up in hospital with a massive ear infection. My jaw was all out of line an it was pretty terrible, but the Dr reckoned DJing might have contributed because of being in humid places and having the headphones on and stuff, so it seemed like the right time to hang up my headphones, but I still wanted to do something with music, so I picked up a guitar and wrote a song about blow jobs, and it went from there.
What prompted the step into Electronic Music?
I’d had this idea for a Mampi Swift/JayZ mash up bouncing round in my head, but hadn’t done anything with it. I had a failed attempt at teaching English in South Korea mainly due to homesickness, but also because at the time I knew my mum was in a bad way, so I came back to look after her and help her out and that was when I decided to get on with the project. I managed to get some feedback from Aphrodite who thought it was really good, but Mampi wasn’t feeling it, so I had no choice but to let it go. But, I realized I had to get myself to being more than a one trick pony and prove I could do something more involved so I started out with Fruity Loops, progressed to Ableton and I haven’t really looked back since.
What have you done to develop your skills?
I’ve studied and kept on making music. I’ve learnt about using Fruity Loops, then Ableton which is what I use now. I’ve been studying music at City Lit for about two and a half years, but on top of that I’ve read Bob Katz’s book on Mastering, subscribed to Computer Music Magazine, watched loads of online tutorials, picked people’s brains on forums, slowly improved my equipment, and kept on writing songs. It’s not something that can be learnt just in a book. It has to be done on the job, but the course at City Lit, the MFC2, has helped move it along a lot quicker than if I’d carried on myself and its introduced me to some bigger concepts. The other thing I’ve found is it’s as much about what is right for you is not right for someone else, but the only way you can find out that is to experience it. You learn a lot about yourself making music.
And one other important thing I’ve realized is that all those flashy promo vids on new synths etc aren’t just about an amazing piece of gear, they’re also about an amazing musician, so if you haven’t got the keyboard skills of Marc De Clive Low, for example, no matter how good the gear is, you’ll be out of your depth.
What has been the most influential thing in your music?
I think nearly dying a few years ago has been a massive factor. I had an abscess and was in hospital for 10 days, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. About 6 weeks after I came out of hospital I developed the fibromyalgia, but this kind of focused me into making the music because I could hardly do anything else. One of my favourite memories from that time was discovering The Remix on XFM, which hosted by Eddy Temple Morris, a real diamond bloke. I was lying in bed feeling like crap listening to the radio, half a wake, half asleep suddenly hearing these obnoxious bass sounds coming out the radio and I can remember thinking ‘What is this?’ and it really triggered something and gave me an idea of a direction.
What are your favourite albums?
Some of them are-
Pantera-Vulgar Dislay of Power and Cowboys from Hell, Ash-Free all the Angels, The Hiss-Panic Movement, STP-The Purple Album, I’ve got 6 funk compilation CDs from Spitalfields that are mind blowing, Beastie Boys-Ill Communication, Freak Nasty-Bring me the Head of Freak Nasty and err lots more I can’t remember
Freestylers, Freq Nasty, Mampi Swift, Krust, Andi C, Scratch Perverts, MixMaster Mike, Steve BCee, and there’s alot of the guys who’ve done CM videos that are so impressive, so big thanks to you all.
If there’s one thing you could tell yourself 6 years ago about making music, what would it be?