Please introduce yourself, sir Death, for those not already enlightened. Where've you come from, where've you been - and what are you doing now?
My name is Drums Of Death, I make electronic music. Mainly inspired by Chicago House, techno, garage and obscure synthesiser noises. My shows are known for having lots of energy and when I play my face is concealed by a black and white mask. So yeah, my name is Drums Of Death and I make music for hands and feet. I'm currently working on my album and on some tracks for Azealia Banks' album and mixtape.
You remind us a lot of Zombie Boy. Is mortality a key or recurrent theme within your performances, or outlook on life?
That guy's just a model and tattoo-addict, right? Not sure how he's exploring morality though.. I guess he just wanted to look different. My facepaint comes off… that's the big difference between us. I'm a musician who wanted to stand out from all the New Era caps and hoods, you know? I just wanted to look different than other artists and DJs so that's why I play with the way I look. There's nothing more to it that that… there's no Drums Of Death character or narrative… I just want to melt your face off with hot jams.. ha!
Recently you've embarked on a live format. What's the difference between your live show and your former set up? What can we expect from this new dimension of show?
This new set up let me bring a couple of synths to the show as I do less vocals in my new music. I've learned a lot of the last couple of years and my music's matured a little.. it's more confident sounding but the shows are as energetic. The visuals I run are black and white, made by the brothers Greenaway & Greenaway. It all ties in design-wise with my "..Waves" EPs from this year and last. The same ideas of hypnotic art and high contrasting tones. I think people will be really blown away. Audio/Visual shows are now really fancy.. I'm taking a reductionist's approach to it, ha. Come see the show, you'll understand.
We've noticed you're leaning more on techno influences now - how did this change of direction come about?
I tried some different things within Drums Of Death, I wrote a song-based album and set up a live band to tour with. These things were fun but after I experimented I wanted to come home to house and techno. I grew up playing in hardcore bands but my blood is house and techno… 707, 808, 909 rhythms and textures. I wanted to get back to stripped back grooves and writing music without needing to jam a song in there. The vibe to these records, the "..Waves" records has been amazing. People are really feeling my new direction which has made me very happy. Skream, Benga, Annie Mac, Nick Grimshaw and Rob Da Bank have all played tracks off Blue Waves on their radio shows, in fact all four tracks have been aired on Radio One several times. I'm working on my album now, due next summer.
Which artists have you got your eye on, either breakthrough acts or established ones you've discovered lately?
There's a kid called Tanka from Winchester (I think) who sends me tunes. Like 2 a week… all pretty dope, he's gonna do well. My mate Ben Westbeech's new tune as Breach is mad rude. "You Wont Find Love Again", go get it. It's on his new label Naked Naked. Big. Actually, I've been listening to a lot of Crosstown Rebels lately. Art Department and Maceo Plex. Love that stuff, warm and funky. From Kristina Records in Dalston I got "Gene Hunt Presents Chicago Dance Tracks Part 2" on double vinyl. Amazing house jams from back in the day that I'd never heard before. I think Rush Hour put this out. I've gone back to listening to more Levon Vincent, that guy is a don and he's breaking through big now. It's wicked. See, when I play live there's my machines, laptops, face paint. It's my own music I play.. some dark, some lighter.. but when I DJ there's no laptop, no facepaint.. just vinyl and cdrs. I play music that gets me so excited, a lot of it is weird house, garage or disco. I've been listening to some afrobeat again too. King Sunny Ade and Lette Mbulu. Great music.
Can you give us an insight into Civil Music, before we get more personally acquainted this Friday at Hidden?
Civil is a label that has not one sound. It's strength is it's diversity, many of the artists are making waves in various genres. Starkey and Reso would be filed under the dubstep tag but then they excel in other musics too. Then there's Darling Farah who makes dubby techno, Debruit who produces hip-hop that sounds like it was dragged from LA through Morocco all the way to London. There's more, but you get the idea.. It's a good crew, good label.. they press vinyl! More wax!