After cementing himself as a pioneer within the UK Funky scene under the Champion moniker, the Formula Records boss is now seeking new pastures under the name ‘Hayfever’. An exciting detour, already making notable murmurs in the press, the Hayfever alias promises a continued, productive consistency from the young Londoner who’s already sitting sweet like a veteran.
With remixes from Zed Bias’ Maddslinky moniker and Blunted Robots cohort Mickey Pearce, the EP comes correct on all fronts, sparking what will no doubt be a successful succession of releases on the ever heavy imprint – not just from the honcho, but others waiting in the pipeline. I had a chat with the man earlier this week about future prospects, a growing love for engineering, summer sniffles and much more.
First things first, how’s it going Champ? Life treating you well?
All good man, been putting in a lot of hours behind the scenes & things are going quite smoothly at the moment.
Let’s get straight into the new alias – has the name ‘Hayfever’ any tangible meaning? You’re not a fellow summersufferer are you…?
I am actually a very bad Hayfever sufferer! (laughs) So when the brainstorm for the name happened, I was looking for something that rolled off the tongue when said on radio or something & one day on the phone to Terror Danjah, I was moaning about my Hayfever & he was laughing, saying ‘bruv, that’s your name!’. It was all jokes but I liked it & ran with it ( laughs).
What’s your general feeling on the EP? Business as usual or have you done things differently this time around (production tools, intentional output etc)?
We have done this one quite differently. We wanted to really up the levels on Formula starting with this release so to start with, we had a party linked to the release on the 28th Dec 2013, had the vinyls pressed a bit heavier than usual, I personally mastered the EP & I have a business partner now running Formula with me who is a sick ideas guy so the marketing, promo & the overall look of the label has really stepped up.
Did you start by screwing up your face and working backwards for the original? Serious corner bassline!
Haha cheers, for that I actually put the drums down first. Was never the plan to have filtered square waves going through the track but when it came to putting things on top of the drums, I couldn’t help myself!
Is the prospect of experimenting with the Hayfever moniker as exciting on a DJing front as it is with the production? Or will a Champion and Hayfever set be one in the same?
Nah those sets will be super different! I’m really looking forward to starting the Hayfever sets because to me, there was a bunch of sick tunes that I could occasionally drop in a mix or two but could never fit it in the Champion sets as hype as they are. Now I can drop all the tunes I rate without confusing Champion supporters or possibly slow down those sets.
Are you looking to work on both Champion and Hayfever sounds in conjunction? Or is one or the other taking a back seat for the time being?
Nah both at the same time, the Hayfever thing was kind of needed because there’s no fun making & experimenting with the same type of music all the time. Also, I feel like I have a home now for all my unconventional tracks by Champion’s standards!
Solid remixes from both Maddslinky and Mickey Pearce on this, happy with their interpretations?
Happy isn’t the word , I’m fucking gassed! (laughs) What I loved most (which I also expected) was that they would be on a completely different vibe to what I’d do or play and still have a solid groove & loads of weight, which is something I obviously love.
How would you say you’ve developed since the days of ‘Motherboard’ on Terror Danjah’s Hardrive imprint? As an outsider looking in, i’d say you’re still laying a bassline then working round it, is that the case?
I’d say my main development is the quality of my tracks, I’ve been working so hard over the last two years on my mixing & mastering to get my tracks sounding as big as possible. I actually quite enjoy engineering now. I’d like to think also that my ideas are more refined so now the song structure is a lot more solid & has way more edits and changes in the tracks now.
What’s on the agenda for Formula moving forward and how are you finding running the label?
Were just looking to do loads of quality releases this year with quite a few digital only packages & loads of sick parties – i suppose the overall aim is to create a bigger avenue for likeminded producers & DJ’s to do their thing freely. Running the label however is a lot easier now with the new label manager where we have more & different ideas & resources to run with.
How’d you approach the output of Formula? Are you dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s (having a hand in everything)? Or curating a team to do so?
Its becoming more of a team effort now whereas up until this year, everything was done by me mainly. Now I can have second opinions on forthcoming releases that I still gather up myself mainly, we have in-house marketing & promo whereas I’d outsource it before, different takes on designs etc…
I still kind of oversee everything but that’s just due to my nature but I trust and value everyone’s opinion fully.
Looking forward to hearing this and watching yourself out in the coming months – where can we catch you in the near future?
In the next few months I’ll be in Lightbox, Vauxhall doing the debut Hayfever set, I’ll be making my debut in Scotland & looking to be back in Paris, Sheffield, Coventry. There’s a Fabric show also plus a few unconfirmed shows & Formula takeovers. Looking forward to them all!
Photography: Sarah Ginn
Words: Will Edge