Since first producing D Double E's 'Signal' back in 2004, Mizz Beats has gone on to establish herself as one of the most versatile producers in the UK. From first producing a series of hard-hitting grime instrumentals, her sound has grown to incorporate Hip Hop, Dubstep and even New Jazz over the last 7 years. Now working with Universal alongside a number of their artists as well as continuing to put out tracks via 'Deep Medi' and 'Eglo Records', I caught up with her on everything from 70's psychedelic rock to live performances:
"I don't make much Grime anymore to be honest but that's not because I don't love it - I just tend to sit down and make whatever I feel like at the time these days! I've had two releases out on Deep Medi over the last year ('My World' and 'The Jester') and my EP, 'Are We The Dictators?', came out on Eglo Records earlier this year. At the moment, I'm currently putting an album together but the majority of my time has been spent doing mainstream stuff for Universal. I've been working with lots of people on their label but obviously I can't say too much!
(Brief pause whilst she looks up some of her release information / what she's actually been doing on Google*)
"(Laughs) Ahh yeah i've been working on quite a few collaborations too - I've got new stuff forthcoming with Silkie, Ron D, Shy One and Quest and I've been talking to Foreign Beggars so something could happen there. The other thing I've taken to over the last 3 months or so is playing out - its more of a live performance than a deejay set to be honest because I don't really deejay and i can't use vinyl. I use my laptop and a lot of midi controllers with a program I wrote myself to essentially remix and make beats live."
Like a number of producers I've spoken to, Mizz Beats struggles to define her sound but tells me it knows now specific genre:
"I couldn't fit my sound into one genre box at all. If you look back across my releases, they've gone from Hip Hop to Dubstep to Grime - I'm a bit of a production whore aren't I really?! Whenever I sit down to make a track, I know that my mood is gonna dictate how the tune's gonna sound. My music has always been really emotionally driven so I'll just go with how I'm feeling and take it out on the keys!"
Despite first taking to producing Grime, it was her parents' love of Jazz that Mizz Beats credits with fueling her passion for music:
"I come from a very musical family - my Mum's Dad was in a psychedelic 70's rock band called 'African People' so as soon as I could walk and talk, I remember being surrounded by music and often spending time at my Grandad's studio. My Mum and Dad were massive music fans too and in my house it was always Jazz - my Dad especially never stopped playing it! Today I spend most of my time listening to Hip Hop and RnB - the 90's stuff right up to present day. I don't really listen to much of the stuff I make to be honest (laughs).
In terms of influences, I can't look much further than Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland, The Neptunes - if you look at their discographies, you can see they don't fit into any one box either and I think that's why I respect them. They're not only talented but versatile and that's what works for me!"
Had to throw this in - Uncle Albert favourite
Despite never encountering any issues over her career so far, Mizz Beats acknowledges that the scene remains predominantly 'male' although she is pleased to see more females taking to the buttons:
"Compared to when I first came onto the scene back in 2004, there are a lot more females about which is good to see. The fact still remains that it is a very male-dominated scene but from my personal experiences, its never really been a problem for me. I guess all I want to do is encourage more females to take to it and make an impact."
She's also pleased to see people starting to embrace music for what it is, regardless of genre or influence:
"Everything just seems to be in one big melting pot now and its all just music. I have to say I really like the how everything's mixing together, I really do. Over here we've always had a habit of waiting for one thing to die out before moving on to something else - we went from Garage to 2 Step to Grime without any of the genres actually existing together at the same time. Now, genres are starting to come together and people are embracing the music that's coming out of that union, which is really good to see."
With her work alongside Universal set to continue, consistency is definitely the key as Mizz Beats looks to the future:
"The plan is to just continue working with as many artists as possible and the whole thing with Universal has been great for that. I'm just gonna keep making music and hopefully take my live performance stuff as far as I can too. As far as releases goes, I've got a track called 'Pimpin' doing the rounds at the moment which is out on 'Eglo Records'. Ah and I can't really say much but I've been speaking to a few people in the Grime scene about putting a few things together so look out for that!"
Buy Pimpin' on vinyl via Boomkat: http://boomkat.com/vinyl/419339-mizz-beats-pimpin