As part of a new feature on Uncle Albert, over the next month, I'm going to be profiling a number of up and coming deejays and producers from Leeds. Not only is Leeds home to one of the best underground music scenes in the country, as my University city, it played an important part in my own personal musical development and opened my eyes to a world of unbelievable music. With a whole host of independently run nights and intimate, rave-friendly venues, Leeds is a must for any bass enthusiast.
First up to get the Uncle Albert treatment is Wachs Lyrical, a talented deejay who co-runs the 'Vagabondz' nights at Leeds University Union and has played across some of the biggest nights the city has to offer.
"I was brought up listening to loads of different music, it was all quite diverse. My parents are both musicians so I was always surrounded by it - I remember listening to bands like 'Genesis' and being exposed to quite a bit of jazz but quite surprisingly, not a lot of electronic music. I was a big metal head back in the day at school - 'Linkin Park' albums, 'Etnies' trainers, you know the score! I first got into electronic stuff when a mate producing under the name of 'Noisetank' introduced me to some breakbeat stuff he was making on Fruity Loops. Having said that it wasn't until I was 17 that I first heard electronic music being played as it should be - I was living with a group of guys and one of them had a brother who went to Sheffield University. We went to some mad house party over there, three 8-bed houses all connected together, it was mad and it was there that I first heard dubstep and the like. After that, I went down to 'Plastic People' in London with the same group of guys and I heard Mala's tune, 'Lean Forward' and from there I was hooked - one of the catchiest melodies you'll hear! Inspired, I got into producing and that was the start of the journey."
"I chose to come to Leeds University purely based on the music scene, although I did get rejected from Bristol twice (laughs)! My deejay stuff came good via a lot of help from a guy called 'Onix' - he encouraged me to enter the 'Vagabondz' DJ competition back in 2009. I did a 30-minute mix and then had to do a 15-minute live mix in front of a judging panel - Onix lived with Ruckspin at the time, who happened to be on the panel. Although I finished second on the night, I was asked to come back and play again and from there, I just got more and more involved. I now co-run the Vagabondz events in Leeds alongside guys called Ian and Chris and through that, I managed to do press and media work at 'Outlook' Festival last year which was big. It's all helped me build up a bit of a rep in Leeds and things are just getting started!"
"Without trying to sound a bit cringeworthy, I'd say I play bass music and future sounds - I find it really hard to define what it is I actually play. My sets tend to incorporate a whole mix os stuff - house, techno elements, 2-step garage stuff. I guess I kinda compare to guys like Roska, DarkSky and Pariah but then again, I can be quite eclectic. I like to play unusual stuff and often stuff by unknown producers - I always try to keep everything sounding fresh and different. I steer clear of the 'dubstep' tag now because it's not the same as what I was used to when I started plus I find a lot of people don't stick to specifics anymore - people are taking the sounds all over the shop, playing a blend of bass-driven genres and mixing up BPMs."
"I'm moving to New York in April so there's lots of possibilities. My Dad's from New York, he grew up in the Bronx and my Grandfather still lives over there so it's a good opportunity for me to go over and see what I can do. It sounds kinda mad but the UK scene is almost too good at the minute, there's so much competition and everybody seems to be making radio-worthy music. I feel like I can make more of an impression over in the US but I definitely plan on bringing something unique back to the UK. America has loads of opportunities and they've got a burgeoning interest in Dubstep etc - I kinda wanna go over there and be like a British rave-culture ambassador! I really want to get involved with radio too, that's a main aim. There are very few, if any, bass-music shows on national radio over there so hopefully I can get myself a slot somewhere and be like a Mary Anne-Hobbs type character!
In three to five years time, i guess I'll be aiming as high as possible really - national radio, MTV takeovers, Rihanna collaborations, the lot! On a more grounded note, I do have lots of stuff that I'm yet to release which should all hopefully come together over the next few months so I'm looking forward to that. It's just the start of the journey really!"
LATEST MIX FOR K MAG: http://www.kmag.co.uk/editorial/blogs/dubstep/introducing-wachs-lyrical
GIG INFO / EVENT DETAILS: Should you be in Leeds, you can catch Wachs Lyrical alongside Hyperdub's Terror Danjah at Liquid Steel Sessions @ Hifi on Thursday, February 24th: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=126769860725263