Interview and Exclusive Mix With Heavyfeet

This week’s Mixcast was a real treat for me, and I’m sure you’ll all be equally appreciative when you dig in. First, Heavyfeet, a DJ/Production duo from Manchester, were kind enough to answer some questions I had for them about their recent work, and I trust you’ll be as pleased as I was with their insightful and thorough answers. For those of you unfamiliar, Heavyfeet have been making some top notch bass music for the last couple years, and have secured releases on some of the most respected labels in the business including Skint, Trouble & Bass, and Bingo. Faze2 describes their sound as a “party rocking blend of house, garage, breakbeat, ghetto flavours and drum ‘n’ bass”, but you decide for yourself; their new mix – this week’s featured Mixcast – is full of both what they’re in to right now, as well as a number of their own productions.

Video is an oft-overlooked promotional dimension by new entrants in the music industry, perhaps because of the specialized skills required in filming and editing a quality production. Of course as we all know, that’s all changed in the last couple years, as vlogs like Southernsouls or La Blogotheque have shown us that quality productions can be created rapidly and at low cost. On that note, I wanted to get at just how the guys felt, as a pair until now focused on musical output rather than media output more generally.

Congrats on the release of Here We Go Again guys. How do you feel about moving in to a new media space, namely video, for the first time?

Cheers for the props, we’re very happy with the way the whole EP has been received thus far! It’s wicked to finally have a proper viral-type video to go with one of our tracks and we’re both really glad that Plant believed in the music enough to warrant putting the project together.
Although we did put together a little teaser video to go with our first Stamp! release (I Spy…), this is the first time that we’ve had a video done and really been able to give it a proper push online, to all the blogs, magazines and review sites, and reach a significant audience. I think on the whole it’s really enabled an extra dimension to be brought to the track and allowed people to enjoy our music in a different way, as well as it conveying a brilliant image of all those involved in the release that maybe wouldn’t have been possible without it.

How did you bring it together conceptually, and how did you actually execute the idea?

Haha! Unfortunately we had little input into the concept and execution of the video! However, ever since we signed the Sawdust & Sultanas EP to Plant they’ve been extremely professional and offered up some brilliant ideas with regards to the promotion of the release, so when they suggested making a video for the lead track it was obviously something we were interested in. The idea Stretch & Dom initially put forward for the video appeared very exciting and current to us and aligned very well with the musical output of both parties so we basically just let them run with it! All the kudos for pulling it off goes to Plant here!

Any stumbling blocks in making your first music video that you might like to mention for the sake of musicians in a similar to yours?

Whilst this isn’t really a particularly applicable question due to the reasons mentioned above, the two obvious things that jump out at me would first be the cost of putting a good quality, effective video together, and secondly the need to create something that is not only is attractive to the viewer but also echoes the sentiments of the artist and label involved. I can imagine it would be very easy to rush into such a project and come out with something that could possibly do you more harm than good once thousands of people have seen it; videos and the music they feature have to connect with people!

Is video going to be an important part of your strategy going forward? Why/(not?)

Having seen the effect that Here We Go Again video has had on getting our music heard it is now definitely something that we will seriously consider as a promotional tool for future releases or projects on Stamp! Beats. It’s not necessarily something we’ll look at for the remaining releases which are part of our ’12 singles over 12 months’ project, as this is something where we wanted to try and stick as close as possible to the original plans we set out before the first release, and then measure the growth and success of the label through those initial parameters.
However, we are in the process of planning a new project of sorts for post-March 2011 and having a video in conjunction with every release is something that we will be giving serious thought to. Basically, we believe by doing this we will be able to deliver more professional looking packages for release and have an additional platform through which we can promote our music and reach a wider audience.

What are your feelings about producing electronic music in the UK, in comparison to producing in the US or Canada? Does the size of the market make it easier to carve out a niche/audience, or do you feel the competition has the effect of sidelining quality artists?

Firstly, I see more innovative and interesting music coming out of the UK than I do anywhere else. So in that respect I’m glad we’re based over here, are in reasonably close contact with it and can draw inspiration from it. However, when it comes to creating the niche in the market that is necessary to further one’s success as a producer and / or DJ, it appears, at least from this side of the pond anyway, that there is more room to stand out in the US.
Although, I wouldn’t necessarily put the difficulties in creating a niche sound in the UK down to the amount of competition, more so to the lack of willingness of certain parties to seek out and listen to new music by their own accord. It certainly seems like a select few people are able to set the musical agenda to the masses and this unfortunately means some very talented and able producers go overlooked or don’t necessarily achieve the success that they deserve.
I’m not saying this is the situation we find ourselves in mind, more just an observation of how certain artists have broken through on to the scene over the last 3 or 4 years and the success which has followed for them!
That aside, I am a firm believer that good quality and innovative music will prevail, so regardless of the success achieved thus far by those making such music, I’m sure that they will be recognized at some point irrespective of their location and any difficulties they have with the competition.

How do you guys prepare for a DJ set?

On my part, due to a rather significant lack of access to a pair of CDJs, gig preparation usually consists simply of frantically burning half a dozen or so new CDs from the month’s folder of music and then, whilst traveling to the gig, I dream up a few likely scenarios of how the gig might play out make some rough plans of what styles of tunes I’d like to play and in what order. I may also make a mental note of 3 or 4 tracks which I definitely want to play. This mental note will subsequently be most definitely forgotten.
I know this might seem like a very relaxed attitude to take but I hate the idea of planning what to play more meticulously and then trying to force a crowd I’ve never seen before, quite often in a venue I’ve never played in before, to follow this preprogrammed set I’ve decided they’re going to like. It never works doing that, I’d rather decide the first track I’m going to play once the DJ before me has dropped his last track and then take it from there with my rough plans from beforehand.
Mike, on the other hand, will load up the laptop with loops / samples / vocal shouts ready to fire over the set I play.
The way we perform as a duo at present means there’s very little need to plan any more in depth as we know each other’s material pretty much inside out. We are planning, though, to further develop our set which will involve a lot more preparation, hopefully for the better!

Any really stand-out parties for you over the summer?

Over the summer unfortunately not as it’s usually a time when we knuckle down in the studio getting loads of material ready for the autumn, which is one of the busiest times of the year for us. Just before summer kicked off we did play a wicked warehouse rave in Bristol (Southwest UK) where there were dubstep, drum n’ bass and house music vibes being smashed out in 4 excellent rooms. We got to do one of closing sets in one the hottest, sweatiest venues we’ve ever played in and it was pretty fucking large.

Who’s in the DJ set?

All sorts of artists feature in our DJ sets, especially as we play across so many styles! We do tend to find that when we play a lot of material from one or two artists that the set can easily become a little one-dimensional and it might be a little more difficult to really take the set somewhere and keep it interesting, so playing material by as many different artists as possible is the key. Having said that, there are obviously certain artists who’s musical output we really dig and so do support their material as often as possible; Rack N’ Ruin, Marcus Visionary, Baobinga, Tom Stephan, Jack Sparrow, Zinc, MJ Cole, Seiji are a few that spring to mind, as well as anyone else who has been involved in our releases so far this year. To get a bit more of an idea then check the new mix!

Last Two People is a different sound for you – are you guys planning on releasing more stuff along that line?

Well, Last Two People is part of our ’12 singles over 12 months’ project on Stamp! Beats and the very notion of the project was to have fun and enjoy making some different styles of music, so in that respect there could certainly be more to come in a similar vein over the next 5 months (Last Two People is release 7 of 12). I think from what we’ve learnt so far in doing this project we maybe wouldn’t release something so commercially viable and departed from our usual club sound under the HeavyFeet alias after the final release has dropped, but it is a style of music that we both enjoy making so there will be definitely some sort of follow up to it!

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now we have just finished up the 9th Stamp! Beats release and sent it to the mastering house, so next week we shall be moving swiftly on to polishing up the STMP010 single and then starting our remix for it. On top of that we are some way to completing a new club EP and have a couple of interesting collaboration projects in the pipeline, as well as having a yet to be disclosed project with a completely different goal to anything we’ve completed before. Oh and there’s probably a few remixes to be done too! And some new material to be released under our other alias has been sat around for quite a while waiting to be finished. The list goes on…..!

Heavyfeet on Soundcloud | Facebook

[audio:HeavyFeet – Autumn Promo Mix 2010.mp3]
HeavyFeet Autumn Promo Mix 2010

01 Man Like Me – Lovestruck (Kill Light Dub) [Black Butter]
02 Miss Mee feat. CT Martin – My House Your House (Soul Purpose Dub) [Swing City]
03 Ohland – Sun Of A Gun (Savage Skulls Remix) [Epic]
04 Roska & Untold – Long Range [Numbers]
05 Act Yo Age – Bung Bung [Southern Fried]
06 Kidkut – Lilt [Apple Pips]
07 HeavyFeet feat. Jon Rice – Saving Me (Loose Cannons Remix) [Stamp! Beats]
08 Waves – Congo [CDR]
09 HeavyFeet – Here We Go Again [Plant]
10 Hot City – Twist (Dub) [Moshi Moshi]
11 Toni Toni Lee – Feelin’ Real Good (Q45 Remix) [Yes Yes]
12 HeavyFeet feat. Serocee – Parking Meter (Edu K Remix) [Stamp! Beats]
13 D-51 – OD (Dubbel Dutch Remix) [Ghetto Division]
14 HeavyFeet – Inner City [CDR]
15 Breach – Man Up [PTN]
16 Frogs In Socks – It Don’t Mean A Thing [CDR]
17 Koen Groeneveld & Addy Van Der Zwan – Do It Do It [Spinnin’]
18 Prok & Fitch feat. Todd Terry – Something’s Going On [Stealth]
19 HeavyFeet feat. Rod Hotly & Kid Bliss – Last 2 People (Club Mix) [Stamp! Beats]
20 Foamo – Here It Comes [Moda]
21 Rishi Romero – African Forest 2010 (Tom Stephan Remix) [Spinnin]
22 Quintino vs. The Partysquad – Fire [Spinnin]
23 Samo Sound Boy – Taking It All [Palms Out Sounds]
24 Rye Rye feat. M.I.A. – Bang (Stanton Warriors Remix) [Interscope]
25 MJ Cole & Wiley – From The Drop [Prolific]
26 MJ Cole – Angel Riddim [Prolific]
27 Jacob Plant feat. JLD – Basslines In (Mensah Remix) [CR2]
28 HeavyFeet feat. Rod Hotly & Kid Bliss – Last 2 People (Two Fresh Remix) [Stamp! Beats]
29 HeavyFeet feat. Serocee – Parking Meter (Club Mix) [Stamp! Beats]
30 Kid Kenobi & MC Shureshock – Safe Sound (Rack N Ruin’ Dub) [Klub Kids]
31 I Blame Coco – Quicker (Rack N’ Ruin Remix) [Island]
32 HeavyFeet feat. Hannah T – Just Fall [Stamp! Beats]

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