Stickman is the latest young artist to be thrust into the lime light by Indigo's Mindset imprint. We catch up with this musical young gun to talk about his latest single and beats in the North of England.
Your release for Mindset is the 10th from the label, something of a benchmark for any label. Arguably showing a significant belief in your music from Indigo. What significance does the release have for you personally and where does the 12" map on your own personal journey as an artist especially as your debut?
For any artist a first release, I personally feel, is a big statement these days. I've been making music on a computer for around three or four years, I got into making music when I met Joe Synkro, I was mainly in to minimal/techy sounds for a long time, these tunes are pretty much my first real ventures into 130/135 territory.
So for me personally the release is everything I would want to hear in a 12" and more, it has some of my earlier influences but also new different ventures in sound that have a lot of newer influences as well. I think the release represents my sound well and obviously represents the way that Mindset's moving at the moment. In terms of where this maps on my own personal journey, right now I have a huge sense of accomplishment, I’d say it's the end of a long fruitful journey and the beginning of another!
Environment is often attributed as a key influence for artists, living in the expanse between Manchester and Sheffield, how does your own surrounding effect your output?
I'd say my surroundings have some factor on the output of music I make, where I live it's quite rural, everybody’s into different things so in a way I feel a million miles away from the ‘scene’ and have less influence from the hype that's created by it. But for me I think it's more the people around me than the surroundings that make my music what it is, there's so much talent coming out of Manchester and the surrounding areas (Synkro/ Indigo/ Bering Strait/ Biome/ Elsewhere/ Until Silence/∆kkord) to name just a few, but I don't think it should be about where people are from it's mainly just about the music for me, wherever it's produced is irrelevant.
Your sound encapsulates a broad range of bass music influences while drawing on techno and electronic sounds as well, almost bastardizing and fusing everything together into something new. As an artist, where do you draw your musical palette from? Who are your Icons?
In terms of where my influence comes from, it can be anything as small as the intro to a soul tune or a few keys played in a certain way which makes me think about the way that it's been made and influences me in working out a new arrangement of sounds. There are a lot of musical influences in my early life, to name a few: Steve Miller Band, Otis Reading, Sandy Shaw, all Friday night Tim Westwood shows up until around 2001/ 2002, DJ Rectangle, Desert Eagle Discs, Funk Master Flex, this list is endless though.
More recently: Blawan, Synkro, Troy Gunner, Steve Spacek, Autechre, Scuba, Joy Orbison, Indigo. My palette of sound is blurred, it's like I’ve taken in so much sound and influence that I’ve heard everything ten times over and try to make something completely new but at the same time has some sentimental value or significance for me. In a way you could say it's bastardizing everything in music that appeals to me, I just make what I feel sounds best and am most confident or comfortable in making. I think I spent a lot of time focusing on music that didn't mean as much to me as this does because I didn't think it would be possible.
As a break through artist, how do you view the current status quo and hierarchical nature of dance music? In such a vast market, where do you place your musical style? Who do you see as your artistic peers?
This is kind of what I was saying before about being alienated from the ‘scene’ I can not place my musical style with any other specific sound, you can't categorize something that constantly changes and I feel that's what my style represents, a dip in/ dip out basis and I think that's shown in the release, I don't spend large amounts of time trying to emulate other sounds or working out how someone made a specific sound, that's what kills creative freedom for me, I just do what feels right.
As for the current status quo or hierarchical nature of dance music I believe it mostly revolves around hype and terminology, to me tempo, genre, categorizing and what people play out or make is specific to them, all I will say is that I make intricately detailed electronic music for the people that know. My artistic peers would be anyone that's making good electronic music.
Manchester's influence is resonating through 140 bpm music at the moment, largely due to the likes of Synkro, Indigo, Akkord and others, are we on the cusp of seeing a northern bass music renaissance? Or are we already in it?
No, I think that Manchester has been a place where people have been putting out quality music for a long time, just about all of it going unnoticed compared with other cities. I think when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter where you're from, if your music is good enough it will get noticed. Maybe people from elsewhere felt distanced and didn't really connect with it because it's not their city but I think with the likes of Synkro and Indigo gaining respect from people like Dbridge and Gilles Peterson it's sort of made other people more interested as well.
Massive respect to my PYC family and to Indigo and Synkro for the ongoing support among others and a huge shout to anyone that's feeling my sound at the moment, stay locked.
Mindset 010 - (Stickman) The Verge/ If You stay/ Known will be available to buy soon...
Watch out for my next 12" as well coming on Pushing Red.