JME’s love of technology almost trumps his love of impeccable spelling and grammar, and is something that he loves to reference in his bars. So when I spoke to him I came prepared with questions on everything from Cubase and Fruity Loops, to Music 2000 and, umm, Mario Paint…
YNTHT: First things first, congratulations on winning grime’s recent Producer War! How much do you think that the war, particularly on such a large scale was made possible by the internet and social media?
It would've been on a much smaller scale back in the day and it wouldn’t have been as organised. That was made possible because of the internet. Producers always had competitions like that back in the day, but we used to cut our dubs onto acetate, chill in the place where we cut the dubs and have conversations about peoples beats. We clashed, but on a smaller scale.
What do you use when you produce tracks?
Everything, man, when I was making beats for the producers war I was using Logic and then someone sent me to the Fruity Loops site where they had a beta version of the Mac Fruity Loops, I’ve been using that recently. I’ve just got Reason back too, so I use that, Logic and Cubase. I actually made "96 Bars Of Revenge" on Reason. If I’m sitting down at a studio for ages and I’m going to spend a lot of time on one track then I’ll probably open Logic. If I’ve just got a quick idea and I want to bang it out I’ll go on something else though.
Where did you learn about producing in the early days? What got you started?
Mario Paint in the early days. I had a game called Music 2000 on the Playstation and I made beats on there, too. People at school used to come up to me and ask me to make them ringtones on their phone. On Nokias it was second nature, I could make a song without even paying attention, but I remember the baby Ericsson flip phones had a little ringtone thing on them too, when someone brought an Ericsson over to me I had to pay attention because it was harder to do.
So you grew up producing beats way before you were a musician then?
I mean in school we were probably the first generation who had technology in music. I’m sure our elders didn’t really have computers in their music lessons; they just had musical instruments or a keyboard at most. We had computers with Cubase on, so we were born into technology. Even though I know which instruments are which and I can play a few instruments, our music went digital early.
Right, so because of when it was made, grime was always going to be a fully digital genre?
Our music was born into a digital age. Grime is a lot to do with that digital sound, if you hear a grime track played totally live it doesn’t even sound like grime. It sounds good still but it loses something.
A while ago you said you were going to take all of your music off Spotify, what made you change your mind?
You know what I didn’t know what Spotify was. Remember Napster? I thought it was like a legal Napster. All I knew was that people made playlists on there and didn’t really buy your music so I thought it was just for casual listeners.
I make music for hardcore music fans really, I don’t care about casual listeners so I asked on Twitter and heard that it’s just for casual listeners and that you don’t get paid, so I thought what’s the point of my music being on there?
I spoke to my distributor and he’s the one who told me everything about it. In the first few years they didn’t pay out too much, everyone bandies those figures about but he showed me the figures and told me they’re good people.
Fair. Do you ever worry that referencing modern technology as much as you do makes your bars date more quickly? For example in "96 Fuckries" you mention iOS 5…
Yeah and we’re on iOS 7 now! Haha.
Exactly, that was only a year ago!
Our music’s fast paced anyway. We’re so excited about our time and our age so we reference it, but it does make our bars date. Now our music moves so fast, man, an artist will put out four tracks a year and there are so many artists so there are hundreds and hundreds of tracks each year.
Music in general moves more quickly these days, but grime especially. Why do you think that is?
I was saying that yesterday. Because we’re still in the early stages of it you’ve got millions of ideas. We’re never one hundred per cent sure what it is we’re trying to accomplish, we’re just making music because it’s in our minds and we want to get it out.
Sweet. Thanks JME!
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