Having recently released his second album ‘2nd Rate’, Polska has once again created a parcel of distinct, universal and intelligent sounds for your ears. We touch down with him to get some insight into the craft of this profound irish producer…
1. You recently released your second album 2nd rate. But I hear that there were some problems, and it nearly never got out. Tell us what happened, and how you managed to save it?
Well…where to start! Back a few years ago, I had my original PC and all my tracks, samples and everything you would expect were stored on
it (back before the wisdom of external drives and easy back up systems). I started getting a good response about my music from few of my peers, so I decided to do up a load of CDs of my tracks and then sent them to labels including the likes of Reinforced, Vibes, Inperspective etc.
This was something I started doing each time I got 10 or more tracks together, and this is where the saving of the ‘2nd rate’ LP was. Then, my PC packed it in, and all tunes and samples were lost. So all I had was the CDs I had sent out... frustration!
Over the years, fellow producers and DJs (DJ Code mainly) that I sent CDs to had to be contacted to return my lost tunes (it sounds funny now but it wasn’t at the time). Some I reworked in a bid to make them better, which worked on some, but on others I couldn’t get any samples back, so mastering was the only option. I did my best to get them all sounding the way they should and then mastering engineer Macc took over.
Code was always there reassuring me that this wasn’t a waste of time and that it was going to become an LP, and I thank him a lot for his patience!! It was a labour of love...
2. Your tunes provide a chemistry of sounds and styles, and it’s underlined with clean breakbeat and jungle-esque beats. What attracts you and brings you back to that founding sound? Do you feel that we’re losing these sounds with the way drum and bass is going? And how do you feel about where drum and bass is today?
I really only like the drum&bass from ‘97 and before. It all got a bit stale and mundane after that. I’m not much of a dance-floor person, more for creating a mood or atmosphere, these are not things I planned, it just happened that way!.
In regards to present day drum and bass... is there any?! I’m well into Naphta’s tunes, and this fellow called Rick James! Other than that, I really haven’t found anything out there as good as what was coming out back in ‘97. Maybe you can only go so far with drum and bass, then its cut in half and called dub-step!
3. 2nd rate is a fairly epic journey through countless influences. Who are the main artists that have affected your music? And how do you decide on the samples you want to use when they reach across so many genres?
My main influence would be 4hero, anything on Reinforced, Sonar Circle up to the ‘Radius’ LP, Squarepusher, and of course Paradox, Cinematic Orchestra and Aphex Twin. I was always into a broad range of music, and not strictly drum and bass. A lot of influences helps you not get pigeon-holed! Leon Mar, Seiji, Source Direct to name but a few.
I listen to old Coltrane, Miles Davis and Theloniuos (a few sneaky samples!), and then mostly everything on Ninja Tune - great label!
I don’t plan a certain sound, or go for a certain genre. If I like the sound of a sample it’s really that simple. I think if you have strong
drum/beat rhythm instead of a backing beat, like a piano timer, it makes it all the more interesting...
4. Your music career spans back across a few years now. What piece of your music are you particularly proud of? And what went into making it, to make it so?
That’s a good question... For drum and bass tunes I’ve made, it would be between 'Monotic' or '2nd rate'. These are the tunes that I really put some work into, and had to piece them back together after the big crash! ‘Monotic’; I got the flutes off some relaxation buddha tape! And the beats were from a person originally playing ‘When I’m 64' by the Beatles. I spent a lot of time on both parts of this tune, but sometimes you can spend too much time on a tune. Though, I think I got it right with this one.
‘2nd rate’; This simply started with me playing piano (more like striking chords) and recording it into fast-tracker getting it some what in
time. The drums are from Cinematic Orchestra, there was a lot of sequencing involved in the drums but I think it paid off. ‘Summertare’ ('Are you dim EP' Kin Rec's/'Skeptic LP' makeshift rec’s)
would be up there as one of my favourite down tempo tunes.
5. What have you got lined up in the coming months?
I’m currently not doing much but moving to a better place so everything is in boxes. But, I have a few tunes on the go, and hopefully I’ll get to remix a tune off Democracy now (eh, where’s those samples Naphta?!)
I want to develop a more organic sound, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.....