Interview with 7ft Soundsystem
Hey Yves, how are you feeling? Welcome back to japan!
7ft Soundsystem: All is bless, happy to be here for the second time and get to see things properly with a 3 week visit.
Why Japan? What brought you back?
7: Japanese culture has always intrigued me for some reason, theres something mystical about this place. Being here kinda feels like being in the past and the future at the same time. What I really enjoy about it as an outsider is experiencing a country that with all its contrasts, still seems bound together by an underlying ideology and set of principals, something i find the west is lacking at the moment. but all that aside, my wife and i came to explore, take photos and eat some of the best food in the world.
How about the music, 7FT been awfully quiet, You took a break from scene?
7: yea… I hit quite a severe creative block which seemed to only get worse. I felt quite disconnected from both playing shows and building riddims. For so long I’d been focusing on music and a career in music so intensely that i seemed to have lost perspective as to why i was doing it anymore. I decided not to force it, but for a long time it felt really strange not making music. Its been quite an introspective time for me while I redefined my position in life within and outside of the music world.
In the meantime I had a kid, started my own business and tried to channel my creative process into other things until inspiration hit again. I started listening to a lot more music of all genres and I started to rediscover the whole world of music that I had switched off to and I find that’s kind of reopened my whole inspiration on some level. Now, I’m trying to redefine what sound i wanna create and get back to making music with a clear heart and mind.
Yes, and you mentioned that you are building grime rhythms..?
7: ye, I’m trying. Grime combines all the different genres that interests me in one. You’ve got soundsystem, electronic music, and hip hop all mashed up together. Lyrically as well, I feel theres more story telling involved then most contemporary reggae tunes at the moment. When I hear some grime, I get the same feeling as when I listen to a recording of a dance with supercat, nicodemus chatting over sleng teng in 86. It’s the same fundamental component - drums, bass and lyrics and heavy vibes. It’s just the slightly modernised interpretation. I got excited by the concept of making grime rhythms and when I step in to the studio again, i wanna try and fuse my love for sound system culture and this new sound.
Would you do a grime live set?
7: I wouldn’t be against that.. I’m working on a side project with a friend of mine from South Africa who is a producer goes by the name, D Planet. We are putting together a project called LD9K (Lion’s Den 9000) we are writing grime rhythms and see what happens. Whether or not we’ll do anything further we definitely want to put out a track or two.
What do you use to make music?
7: I’ve been collecting a little bit of equipment throughout the years, but recently I find that minimising the setup is what I’m interested in doing. I find that too much equipment can actually distract me. I use Ableton Live as my main thing and I’ve got Ableton Push, and a couple hardware synths Virus Snow, Microkorg and Micro X, casio MT40 I combine both hardware and soft synth built in Live. I also recently bought Native Instruments Komplete to explore a slightly wider sound palette.
Any tricks in your production process?
7: I always try to keep it as simple as I can. For better or worse, I’m never been so into details, I find that getting lost in production details takes away the fun from me, but thats why i have such a hard time actually finishing tunes.. I studied sound engineering so I know the rules, but I enjoy breaking them a lot as long as it sounds right. Its gotta have that raw energy and sound heavy on a system.
I always start with my drum loops and see what kind of bassline comes. Drums and bass need to work together first before anything. For me getting drums and bass to not sound boring after listening to it for 5 hours and I know the foundation is right. That’s the most important thing for me.
How has it been your shows in Japan?
7: First I was really nervous - my live show last week was probably the first one in almost 2 years. I had to do a lot of mental preparation to visualise myself being on stage again. What amazed me is that when the condition is right I fell back into it very quickly and it felt right. The Void soundsystem that I played on at Outlook Festival was mad. Its sounded so crisp and I really disappeared into music. It’s been a long time since that happened. I wasn’t worried about people not liking it. I was just doing my thing. One of the reasons I kind of stopped doing shows was because I was too concerned if people are liking it, if the sound was heavyweight enough and all that shit. I got so polluted by other thought process that I ended up not enjoying I was doing. Coming back to it, that’s been the lesson I’ve learnt “ forget about all of that shit and just do what you do” People that will like it will like it and people that don’t, won’t. There is nothing you can do about that. I found that’s kind of given me more refreshing approach. There is no pressure outside of that.
If you would have told me 5 years ago that 7Ft would be in Japan, I wouldn’t have believed you, you know.
Im mad grateful to be here and be able to to link with good people and play these shows. Tomorrow night (it was a night before his last show) the vibes are going to be super strong and I’m looking forward to that.
Shout out Dub Store Crew everytime!
Thank you very much Yves!