> Deep in the murky depths of house and dubstep lies one of the freshest and most upcoming producers of 2010
Kowton, also known as Narcossist, has been signed to the Keysound and Idle Hands record labels since moving from Manchester to Bristol. Mixing seductive, sultry beats, Kowton manages to create dub that fans drool for, as well as playing the best spots in town such as Crash Mansion and our very own Westworld fundraiser. I met up with him on a very sunny Saturday afternoon for a chat about how this all came about, and of course a cheeky cider or three.
How did you first get into producing?
I think I just wanted some turntables and couldn’t afford them. I read in a magazine that if you bought Logic you could mix tunes together, so I bought that and started trying to time stretch tunes together; but anyone who produces knows that it sounds pretty awful. After about a year of doing that, I realised that actually making tunes was the way to go.
Would you say the scene in Bristol has influenced your music?
I guess so, it’s a great scene, it’s quite diverse – you’ve got Pev (Peverelist, owner of Rooted Records) who does his banging dubstep right through to Guido and Joker who are doing very full-on rave music. So there’s a lot of things to be influenced by and they’re all great – there’s not many cities that have such a diverse and solid scene. I’m quite new compared to a lot of other people, but it’s been very welcoming.
You produce under two names [Kowton & Narcossist]… what made you decide to do that?
When I started out, I was making proper dubstep, which was dark and a bit scary or whatever… kind of 140 BPM. About three years ago I decided to start making slower stuff, like 120 BPM; maybe back then it wasn’t the same as it is now, it wasn’t normal for people to make slow and fast tunes at the same time. So I started basically making house derived dubstep and just settled with that name [Kowton]. Maybe if I started making garage tunes again, I’d do the Narcossist thing, but it makes sense, doing the tunes I’m doing, to produce under a different name.
You’ve mentioned ‘what was dubstep’… how do you think it’s changed?
All that mid-range, aggressive stuff is quite far divorced from the music I’ve started liking, what was called ‘dubstep’ in like, 2004 / 2005. But the genre name has been thoroughly appropriated by that scene; people would say ‘oh, we’re dubsteppers’ or like, 16 bit – that’s dubstep. I guess its moulding into a new genre now, but you wouldn’t want to give it a name. There’s definitely a lot of people who used to be part of the dubstep scene, that are still part of the same scene and are getting booked by the same people but they don’t make ‘dubstep’ anymore – everyone’s just moved on.
You’re studying Music Tech Masters at UWE, has that helped at all with producing?
Well, the whole way that music tech is taught is more towards the developing of software and stuff to actually make music with. There’s very little help with making tunes in my experience. I mean it’s different, because it makes you think about the way you’re doing things and whether you want to be doing things that way. It’s cool in the respect that it can affect the sounds you make but I don’t think it really has any affect on the music itself.
Would you say your music has improved along the way?
I think with time you realise what you need and what you don’t need – you could bang everything in there and fill every little second of time, something that might persuade people that it’s interesting. But after about five or six years, you start to realise, hang on… leave that space, it sounds better than cramming something in there. I guess it’s just a maturity of sound.
Where do you see your music going in the next few years?
Just developing and working towards the idea, again, with the maturity of knowing what goes into a good tune… that I can maybe writing something that in ten years time people will listen back to and be like ‘yeah, that was a great tune.’ I don’t want to make tunes that are alright for this week, that’s not really an end goal to anything.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to produce at the moment?
Don’t rush it… in the process of actually writing the tune, just take your time. Sit on it for a while; don’t have the urgency… instead of that, just wait and see if it still sounds good in a week and then see what other people think of it. And again, a cliché answer but just do your own thing; so many people seem to be intent on how to recreate what’s already been done. Just take your time and enjoy it.
…by Sammy Maine