After exploding onto the scene under a new alias a little over a year ago, Boddika has continued to make his mark on the ever-expanding electronic scene. Now an integral part of Loefah's 'Swamp81' imprint and with further releases on 'Naked Lunch' and his own label 'NonPlus+' satisfying fans' demand for new music, he's enjoying one of the busiest periods of his career to date. I managed to catch up with him on everything from vinyl's romanticism to turning down an Australian tour:
"I finished the Instra:mental album about a year or so ago and from that point, i just wanted to write some more club-friendly stuff. I hadn't even thought about an alias at the time, I was just writing lots and having fun with it really. Before I knew it, I had about 12-14 tracks finished so I thought I'd send them on to Loefah to get some feedback and he loved it. I decided I'd need a new alias to fit in with what I was doing and Boddika had followed me around since my younger days so I went with that!
From there, I started to release on Swamp and NonPlus+ and it all just blew from there really. I've been back in the studio a lot recently though and I'm trying to move on from what I've put out already. I'm doing quite a bit of work with Joy Orbison at the minute too, we've already done a few bits together which seemed to go down really well so there's more to come as far as that's concerned. Besides the collaboration work, its just a case of writing lots of new Boddika stuff!
As a deejay, I've had a lot of work come in off the back of the Boddika stuff. I changed agency and moved over to 'Elastic' who've done a great job of getting me gigs all over the place - I think I've got 20 on the gig list at the minute! I've actually just turned down a tour in Australia too - nothing against Australians but I wasn't up for the travel at all. I'm not actually too fussed about big tours or anything like that at the minute to be honest but maybe one day. Having said that, I've had quite a bit of interest from America and I'd like to hit Japan at some point so who knows. Primarily for the moment though, I'm just enjoying being in the studio."
As with most artists trying to define a sound is particularly difficult and although he struggles to define his own, Boddika never likes his work to sound too polished:
"There's a real spectrum across the Boddika stuff really. If you look at what I've put out on 'Naked Lunch' and 'Swamp', I guess its more electro than anything but I never try to work my sound under any particular bracket - I just consider myself to make electronic music at the end of the day. I tend to just go with whatever I make - I never really have a plan as such, I just roll with whatever sounds good at that particular moment - I often just catch a vibe and see where it ends up! The most I'll ever think about in advance is maybe a certain beat pattern but that'll be it.
I tend to look at it as more of a hobby too to be honest - I love messing about with equipment and old drum machines and whatever else. I'm very specific about what I like things to sound like though - I don't like anything to sound too polished. I like using lots of outboard equipment which tends to keep my stuff sounding gritty and true."
Despite possessing a near exhaustive list of musical influences, Boddika cites a particular Randall set from an 'AWOL' Jungle tape pack as the 'main reason' for first wanting to take to a pair of decks:
"The main reason I do everything I do now goes back to when I was 16-17. I bought an 'AWOL' tape pack and they used to run niche Jungle nights all over London. On one of the tapes was a Randall set and listening to it just completely blew me away! Straight off the back of hearing that set, i got some turntables and decided pretty quickly that I wanted to be a deejay. That was honestly the main reason.
Now, I'm much more into my Detroit and Chicago stuff and I grew up on a lot of Hip Hop so I take influences from everywhere. The list's too long though to be honest, I've listened to so much music over the years so it's hard to put a finger on specific tracks. I am a big fan of Kassem Mosse though, he's probably my favourite producer and has been for a while now. His beats, his tracks and arrangements are all just amazing - he's just finished an EP for NonPlus+ actually so I'm really looking forward to putting that out. I don't actively listen to too much new music these days though."
With so much variation currently present within the bass music scene, Boddika feels 'the sky is the limit' for producers and deejays alike:
"I think the fusion is brilliant! Dubstep came in and kinda took over but it seems to have outgrown itself really quickly - it's almost mirrored what happened with Drum 'n Bass but at twice the speed! You'll always have your pioneers like Skream and so on but it's the pattern of the beat that gives a track its own identity. Recently, its all just become a tempo and everyone's going away and doing their own stuff with it - the sky really is the limit again. The whole 'Swamp' thing and everything I've done as Boddika has all just come together too and everyone seems to love it. I guess you could say everything's in a bit of a transitional stage but the music just keeps getting better and better. I just wish there were more people doing more original stuff. You don't always need original concepts any more to be honest, people just run with one idea and rinse it so I guess more genuinely creative minds would be a good thing for the scene. Overall its fucking brilliant at the moment though!"
As a deejay, Boddika is an advocate of the smaller venue although he admits that the crowd play the ultimate part in making or breaking a night:
"I prefer playing at clubs with about 500, maybe 600 people - a good crowd who are up for it is fantastic. Bigger gigs are good but I do like smaller venues generally. It does depend though, things can take you by surprise - it's always the nights that you least expect that'll take you by surprise. I'm a resident at Fabric too though so I love playing there, it's always a good party. The unexpected ones are definitely the best though - a lively crowd is unbeatable."
He remains a firm fan of vinyl too, although he does concede that digital formats have 'kinda killed the concept':
"Vinyl is massively important with regards to dance music. I play on CDs now but I used to play a lot of vinyl when I was younger and in my days doing the Instra:mental stuff, I was always doing it. As far as vinyl goes now, I've still got a very healthy collection but I tend to listen to it all in my front room these days. I still love the collectable aspect to them and how the sleeves are designed and so on. I just feel that with releasing vinyls now, they need to have an edge to them - they need to have a reason to be bought you know? A lot of stuff I tend to go for is vinyl only or limited press because I like the idea of being one of only a small amount of people to have that particular vinyl. I guess there's something quite romantic about it really (laughs). It is a shame that even though it's trendy again now, digital has kinda killed the concept. Having said that we still see quite good sales at Non Plus+ so that's all good! I don't think it'll ever die out though and actually thinking about it, I want to play more house sets in the future so I think I'll be bringing a few of my own vinyls back out to play."
With more releases forthcoming on 'Naked Lunch' and 'Swamp81' and a whole host of remix work currently keeping him occupied, Boddika shows no signs of letting up over the next 12 months:
"My next release is gonna be a track called 'Grand Prix' which will be out on Naked Lunch and that's got more of a techno sound to it. I've got a track called 'Windy' coming out too and then the collaboration with Joy O , both of which will be released via Swamp. I've got lots of remixes on at the moment too which are keeping me pretty busy. Besides that, I'm just writing as much as I can as Boddika and trying to keep mixing things up. I got bored of what i was doing before so I'm trying to see where this new stuff is gonna end up. The bits with Joy O should be good - we both work well in the studio and he's full of great ideas so the two of us working on stuff together just makes sense. Ah and I forgot to mention I'm hoping to put another Boddika release out on NonPlus+ by the end of the year too!"
NonPlus+ on Juno Records: http://www.juno.co.uk/labels/Nonplus+UK/