After a year of 're-branding' in 2011, DJ Naughty is hoping to make his mark on the Funky scene in 2012. Championed by Roska and his RKS imprint, he's set to welcome in the year with the release of the 'Bass in Your Face' EP on January 16th. Bass-heavy and impact driven, Naughty hopes the release will set the tone for an exciting 12 months:
"Last year was relatively quiet for me, I was in the background working on a lot of projects for 2012 to be honest. I did get a lot of guest slots on the BBC though and bookings wise, I started to crossover from the urban scene to the more trendy, 'Shoreditch' scene. I did quite a lot of underground remix work too, but mainly for independent artists. I guess last year was a case of me rebranding myself more than anything else and thankfully this year, all that work is falling in to place."
Despite acknowledging his parents decision to introduce him to both the guitar and the piano as a child, Naughty credits listening to EZ on pirate radio as the defining factor in his decision to pursue music:
"I've always been into music - my parents sent me to piano and guitar lessons when I was about 7 but it was when I got to 11 and discovered pirate radio that really made me want to deejay. EZ on 'Freak FM' was the one. Knowing how to play instruments really helped me though and it was natural to start producing with that musical base already there. I started on Cubasic, not even Cubase (laughs) - I used to make really simple beats and got in to the swing of it from there. It wasn't until I started working at 'Planet Phat Records' that I really started to understand things fully though - a guy who did the mastering there showed me Logic when their studio was empty one night. I started off just playing on the keys and he'd do the arrangements for tunes but I started to do more and more and that was it really."
As a producer, Naughty considers his sound to be 'diverse' but admits he does have some sort of formula for determining how his music will sound:
"My sound is very diverse - I've got a formula to an extent but more so with my vocal tunes. They're all very melodic and full of jazzy chords and I always try and make my tunes free of that typical, poppy sound - I really like that Stevie Wonder sorta vibe. My instrumentals are a bit different; they always need really hard sub bass and hard kicks and snares that you can actually feel when you hear them on a system. My style is very simple but effective when you think about it - it's impact based but I never want it to sound cluttered. It's straight to the point."
With the 'Bass In Your Face' EP due to be released on Roska's RKS label, Naughty explains that the pair have been sharing tracks, ideas and feedback for the last 5 years:
"It's a friendship thing really - we had a mutual friend, DJ Pioneer and he first introduced me to Roska back in 2007. We got talking and started to swap ideas and beats and we were always asking each other for feedback and opinions. He noticed that I wasn't really releasing tunes because I was making so many without really thinking about what needed putting out. He'd tell me when he heard a particular track he thought would do well and decided to start releasing for me; he was the first to really give me that avenue to push my music. I gave him two tracks initially, one being 'Quicktime' that Roska remixed to form the EP - that tune was the one that really brought me into the scene. When people heard that, it was beating up clubs all the time and I knew I was on to a winner. I told him I had another track that I thought could do well not long after called 'Goosebumps' and that had a similar impact. Since those first couple of releases, we've worked pretty closely and it's turned out pretty well."
Naughty concedes that his latest release came about purely coincidentally but is aptly titled:
"It was a coincidental thing really. Roska rang me up and said 'Naughty, have you got anything you wanna release?' and I'd just finished 3 tracks in 3 days at the time. I sent them over and he was proper feeling them, so we decided it should be a release. I actually made a 4th track just afterwards and we both agreed it should be included as the bonus track - I called it 'Naughty' coz i couldn't think of anything else! As for the EP title, 'Bass in Your Face' is exactly what it is."
Despite Funky's notable decline in years preceding 2011, the emergence of producers like Naughty, Champion and Lil Silva has breathed fresh life into the sound:
"This year should be a good year. I would say that people need to carry on producing because now people are coming into the spotlight and working hard, they're giving the scene stability. Everyone's a lot more organised and in contact too - everyone knows what's going on and we all keep each other in the loop, there's a real support base there. Before, we never saw the bigger picture - we were just making music with closed minds. We all saw it as 'our scene' and that made it hard for anybody else to come into it. The difference now is despite still being friends, we see and encourage new ideas."
With such a positive outlook, its hard not to predict good things for Naughty over the coming months:
"I want to keep on releasing, that's the main thing. i've actually got my next one arranged to be released in the spring with Champion so that should be one to look out for. I'm looking forward to releasing through my own label, 'Firepower Music', in the summer too - I'll be putting out a track called 'Afrocentric' that got 7 reloads on the first night I played it out so I'll be looking for that to do well. I'm currently scouting young producers at the minute for the label as well so we'll see how things go."
Preview the EP: http://soundcloud.com/rksltd/mr019-dj-naughty-bass-in-your
The 'Bass in Your Face' EP via 'Roska Kicks & Snares' (RKS) will be available to buy from January 16th via all the usual digital outlets.