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philth dj

Did you hate your teachers at school? We did. Well it turns out they are not all that bad. When he's not on the pirate radio scene or producing his own music Phil Robinson or Philth as he is otherwise known is schooling the "yout man dem". We find out more about this unique perspective...

As well as producing your own music, you also teach music technology. Whereas i'm sure our own resident soundboy Resound will tell us that making music isn't all about technicality over instinct, some things are generally considered good practice as techniques. How far does what you teach inform your own productions?

It's probably more the other way around - the way I produce my own music is the only way I know how to work, so that's how I teach my students. Hopefully I'm not filling their heads with a load of old crap!

When I teach I try to promote good working habits more than anything. Unless you're a mix or mastering engineer the most important thing is the musical ideas, and I try to teach my students how to use the software and hardware creatively rather than worrying too much about plug-in settings or stuff like that. Learn to work quickly, use shortcuts and develop their workflow, so they can get the ideas from their heads into the computer rather than getting stuck thinking about what button to press or how much to compress things. The most inspiring thing for me is helping youngsters learn to express their ideas - it reminds me why I started making music myself!

In your day job you must work with people with varying experience within productions? What do you find to be the most common misconceptions about electronic music production from people coming into it for the first time?

The beautiful thing about people with less experience is they often have no preconceived ideas about what you can and can't do. Some of the most interesting things happen when new students experiment with Logic and do something crazy that doesn't follow convention.

What I find frustrating is when people have watched some online tutorials and take them for gospel. "I need to compress my drums like this cos Youtube told me to." You need to listen to your drums first! So I suppose the most common misconception is that there is only one technique that works for drums, or bass, or whatever. I try to teach my students to use their ears and not be afraid to try new methods - eventually you discover your own production techniques. Youtube contains a wealth of knowledge but it can be dangerous sometimes.

If you were lecturing about your own tracks, where would you start and what would you say? Would you be critical? or highlight which elements work together and why?

I do actually use my own tracks as a teaching resource - but only the good ones! It enables me to teach techniques that I use in a real life situation, without taking a students work and changing it drastically. This is really important when teaching mixdowns to second year students, my tracks are often very detailed and layered and it helps me to break down a goodish mixdown. So I suppose I'm wearing rose tinted glasses and highlighting what I think works well in my music, and trying to explain how I did it. I'm so critical that many tracks never see the light of day. If a track makes it to the point where I can use it to teach then it means I'm very happy with it.

You've been working with Flexout for a while now both as a DJ and producer, how did you originally cross paths?

We were introduced through a mutual friend, Trufix (big up Max!), and discussed the idea of me putting out some liquid rollers on Flexout. I guess at the time that was mainly what I was releasing. So I started sending some smooth tunes to Tom + Steve but they weren't quite hitting the mark. Then they sent me the Eleven8 and Ed:it EP with Subterranean Wastelands on it. I was blown away! I realised I'd been sending the wrong tunes over and sent them Dreaming, The Game and Grimmer. They got snapped up straight away, I remember Tom ringing me up and being very very excited! Since then I've been honing the darker side of my sound and trying to build up a steady series of releases on Flexout. After Cold/The Dragon I've got a remix of Eleven8 - Subterranean Wastelands that has been doing the business wherever it's been played. I heard Kasra drop it at Fabric and nearly wet myself. Now that Flexout have started putting on parties I've been fortunate to play on lineups with some real legends of the scene. I've also got to know the guys well and I'm really happy to putting out these tunes on Flexout - I'm excited to see where we can go in the future!

I'd also like to give a big shout out to the vocalist on 'Cold' - East London MC and producer Dubz D. He was featured on Logan Sama's 'Generation Next' mixtape and is working his way up in the grime scene - watch out for him!