LWE Podcast 43: Gravious


Photo by Megan Cullen

Hailing from Edinburgh, though a Glasgow resident for the better part of the last decade, Ali Jackson has steadily been making a name for himself with far reaching dubstep, spanning reggae tinged, spatial rollers to deep, meditative funk. His debut “Wormsign/Monolith” came out on the Hotflush subsidiary Scuba, and was the first artist other than Scuba himself to release on the label. Citing influences from old school jungle, drum ‘n bass and electronica, Jackson imbues his productions with these elements while forging his own distinct sound. Showing a steady evolution in his work, last year’s Futurist EP seemed to be infused with a touch of Mike Banks, though Jackson has stated that this was purely coincidence, as was the aptly titled track “Jupiter Jazz.” With a series of further releases due out in the near future we tracked down Jackson for a quick word and talked him in to providing us with an exclusive podcast too.

LWE Podcast 43: Gravious (58:38)

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Tracklist:

01. Loops Haunt, “Proton Pack” [Fortified Dubs]
02. Erik XVI, “Gravitationskraftens Stilla Vrede” (Gravious’ Anti-Gravity mix) [Highpoint Lowlife]
03. Hypno, “Autumn” [*]
04. Ikonika, “Sahara Michael” [Hyperdub]
05. Gravious, “Omo Delta” [*]
06. Toasty, “On Something” [Halo Beats]
07. XX XY, “1983” [*]
08. Paranoise, “Late Night Swing” [Apparition Recordings]
09. Morphamish, “Dimensions” [*]
10. Gravious, “Wu Shin” [*]
11. Phelaeh ft. Alexis Taylor, “Tachi” [*]
12. Kito, “Cold” (Vaccine remix) [Disfigured Dubz]
13. Origin Unknown, “Valley of the Shadow” (DFRNT remix) [*]
14. Sharmaji, “How to Move” [*]
15. Deepchild, “Wannado” (Gravious remix) [Sub Continental Dub]
16. Silkie vs Mizz Beats, “Purple Love” [Deep Medi]
* denotes tracks which, as of the time of publishing, appear unreleased

In terms of dubstep, Steve Goodman is obviously one of the most recognizable names from Glasgow, together with more recently, Hudson Mohawke and Mike Slott. Who are perhaps some of the more unheralded talent that we can expect to hear more from in the future?

Scotland-wise, there are plenty of great folk coming through. DFRNT in Edinburgh has been a real revelation for me over the past year or so — definitely check him. There’s also people like Taz Buckfaster making some heavy tunes, as well as guys like Loops Haunt and Samiyam. In terms of labels, Gordon who runs the Fortified night up in Glasgow has just kicked off Fortifed Audio, with Loop Haunt’s first release, and he has tons of excellent tunes lined up for release over the next year. Good signs up here at the moment!

Coming from Glasgow, at the time you got interested in dubstep what sort of access did you have for listening to the music and hooking up with like minds?

It was pretty limited to be honest. I first got into this stuff in about 2004 or so, when I was a skint student and didn’t have a net connection. My sources of dubstep tuneage were limited to 1Xtra on my digi radio, and Dubplate.net forum on the net. That forum used to have Rinse sets and stuff posted up, and all the big producers were kicking about, which was cool. On the radio, it was just J Da Flex, once a week really! There were pretty much no nights that played dubstep, and I didn’t know anyone else who listened too or played it. It was pretty strange! As stuff grew on the net, I got in touch with more people across the country, and my first tracks got signed up at the start of 2006 without me really meeting anyone who knew what I was on about! I met Gordon who runs Fortified Sessions, Glasgow’s only strictly dubstep night at his first night in the summer of that year, and since then things have picked up a lot, thankfully.

You’ve spoken about J Da Flex being a big inspiration for you at a certain time. Tell us about him.

As mentioned before, J Da’s show on 1Xtra was one of the few ways I could access any of the sounds I was craving in 2004/5, so it was some formative stuff for me. He played a really nice mix of stuff — broken beat, garage, and the dubstep stuff that was starting to come through then from the likes of Skream, Benga, Digital Mystikz, Toasty, Loefah, so many others. His show was a bit of a lifeline to the scene for me.

You’ve been producing for around 8 years or so. What sort of music were you producing when you started out?

I started off making all sorts. I didn’t really have a clear idea what I wanted to make, so I just did what ever I felt like, whatever was interesting me at that moment. That meant I was making (badly produced) drum n’ bass, weird electronica/IDM stuff, ambient stuff, and all sorts in between, generally in a haphazard and makeshift kind of way. Because I was influenced by whatever I was listening to, I naturally started trying out some garagey, broken beat and dubsteppy kind of stuff, and for whatever reason, I kind of “stuck” on that kind of sound. Probably because I had lots of ideas, and actually made some tracks I was quite happy with.

The word dubstep itself almost seems a bit outdated as it is morphing so quickly with producers from all over the world influencing each other so rapidly. What sort of progression have you seen in yourself and where do you think your sound is headed musically (at least in the immediate future)?

Actually, I prefer that dubstep is morphing left right and centre, because that’s what it was like four or five years ago — no fixed “sound” as such, and lots of ideas coming in from all over the place. I was concerned that something like a standard dubstep sound has emerged, as I feel that that could really kill off what I first loved about it. But I have to say, however many things I hear that sound generic, I am still hearing some really wicked and original stuff, so it’s all good. Personally, I don’t really have a plan about where my sound will go. As long as I feel free to make whatever I feel like making, I’ll be happy. Naturally this will be influenced by whatever I’m listening to. I have definitely changed since my first releases — I am more confident about trying stuff out, and I think my tunes have become more melodic, and possibly have more of a techno influence. The swung garage influence has also snuck back into my sound, increasingly over the last couple of years, and I don’t see myself dropping that any time soon.

Listening to your tracks you can hear everything from ambient electronica through to reggae, Detroit techno and old school rave and garage. Do you feel dubstep is — like hip hop — a type of music that can easily reference other genres in its sound? Are you swayed by the lure of 4/4 beats to release something in a housey/techno style?

Yeah, as I say, a lot of different styles influence what I’m doing. I definitely feel that you could pull almost any style into the bass-heavy, 140bpm-ish zone. Some of the sounds recently have become a bit abstract in terms of just big, weird wobble noises, but the stuff that really grabs me often has a route in some kind of other influences, from dub, techno, whatever. I’m not so keen on the metal/dubstep crossovers, but each to their own eh? In terms of random ones, check Forsaken’s release with Ben Blackmore — Western soundtrack meets garage. Sounds wrong, but it’s actually sick!

Besides other music are there different things that influence your music? Books/film/food, etc?

I’m definitely influenced by ideas when I write a track, particularly from books. The author Iain Banks is a big influence on me, especially his Sci-Fi stuff. Strangely, I also find architecture and abstract art quite inspiring for me musically. The Italian Superstudio architecture stuff from the 70s has been a big influence of late. I definitely feel very visual about music — not quite synasthaesia, but I find I always have a very strong visual image attached to music, and it works both ways — a strong image can inspire me musically.

How did your recent remix of Deepchild come about? I believe that marks your first remix release. Do you have any others coming out soon? And if so who are you remixing?

That remix came about when I was out playing in Australia at the start of 2009. I met Rheyce — who runs the Sub Continental Dub label, and who I had spoken to over the net in the past — when I was playing in Sydney, and he was really keen for me to do a remix. I was really happy with how it turned out, and it seems to be getting a good reaction! I’ve done a few remixes in the past, but for whatever reason this was the first one that made it out. I have also recently done a remix of Erik XVI for the Higpoint Lowlife label, and that is out now I believe. It’s featured in the mix attached to this interview, so check it out.

You started out as a DJ and now you perform live. Tell us about the differences of both for you and your preferences.

DJing is my background I suppose — I’ve been doing that almost as long as I’ve produced, so I still enjoy playing out a bit. However, since I started doing the live set, I don’t get booked to DJ much! It’s cool, because with the live set I get to play strictly my own stuff, and test out some things — mix things up a lot. It feels a bit more personal. On the other hand, if my set is bombing, I only have my own material to draw on. I can’t just pull out the latest banger from the record bag, so it still takes some getting used to.

What can we expect from you in the next year?

I’ve got a 12″ EP with three tracks coming out on Saigon Recordings in the spring (April/May), and a few other 12″s lined up for the year. I’ll also no doubt be doing a bunch more gigs — check my Myspace or gravious.com for up to date info as it arises.

LWE Podcast 43: Gravious (58:38)

Jordan Rothlein  on February 16, 2010 at 5:39 PM

That track starting at 12:38 FTW!!!!

Juan Pachanga  on February 18, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Thanks for showing us a bit around in the electronic world! cheers from ger!

Simon Hampson  on February 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Ali in fine form as always! Thanks for featuring this mix guys – really enjoying it.

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by ninjamixdump: LWE _ LWE Podcast 43: Gravious http://bit.ly/bGinX0

Gravious podcast for LWE - Highpoint Lowlife Records  on February 15, 2010 at 4:10 PM

[…] Excellent new podcast up over LWE […]

Gravious.com » Gravious mix and interview, Little White Earbuds  on February 18, 2010 at 7:26 AM

[…] The excellent Little White Earbuds blog got me to record them a mix recently, and it is now up for download at their site: http://www.littlewhiteearbuds.com/lwe-podcast-43-gravious/ […]

Dubstepper.ru - Russian Dubstep Portal  on February 19, 2010 at 4:26 PM

LWE Podcast 43 – Gravious…

Filesize / 80.53 MB Length / 00:58:38 Bitrate / 192 kbps Tracklist: 01. Loops Haunt, “Proton Pack” [Fortified Dubs] 02. Erik XVI, “Gravitationskraftens Stilla Vrede” (Gravious’ Anti-Gravity mix) [Highpoint Lowlife] 03. Hypno, “Autumn” [*]…

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