Brighton’s Bobby Champs has made a well-measured start to life as a producer. He gathered the support of many with his debut EP, ‘Moonlight,’ earlier this year and the follow-up has been highly-anticipated ever since. On streaming the release below, you will learn it does not disappoint. Champs balances a deft musicality with a love for the raw, industrial side of techno; creating overall a powerful and accomplished EP.
With only a few weeks before the ‘Drag Queen’ EP is released, also via Pictures Music, we got into touch with the man behind the music to chat about the effect of teenage producers, the secret behind Pictures Music A&R and how the 2012 Bloc fiasco took London back to the early days of rave…
How much do you feel your sound has changed since the ‘Moonlight’ EP? And, how much do you feel you’ve improved as a producer?
When I first started, the tracks that went onto the ‘Moonlight’ EP were a collection of demos that I polished up after getting them signed. I never really expected them to be picked up but it was a very pleasant surprise. I havent really stopped developing on my sound and musical identity but getting the ‘Moonlight’ EP out there helped give me a direction and I think the ‘Drag Queen’ EP is a much more polished and thought out EP. In terms of production skills there has been a progression but ive made a concious decision not to learn too much when it comes to production and go more on gut instinct, if I think too much about it I’d probably start making really vanilla tech house.
Did you conciously approach the latest EP any differently to the first?
With this release alot more thought was put into making an EP as opposed to a collection of songs. With each track I tried to make sure they sounded like they fit but at the same time try and show a range throughout the release.
What’s next after ‘Drag Queen’? Any collaborations in the pipeline?
Earlier in the year I got together with A1 Bassline and we made two tracks that should see the light of day sometime this year on his new imprint SOURCEUNKWN.
Pictures Music isn’t exactly a techno label – they’ve always been fairly experimental with the music that’s released. Do you see your music as at all ‘experimental’?
I once asked Alex (co-founder of Pictures Music) how he tends to decide what music him and Matt release and he said that almost all the decisions made regarding the label have been based on instinct and I think that is what really sets Pictures apart from other labels, there’s a natural organic feel to the selection of music that comes out from them, Ive never really considered myself a techno artist, its something I’ve picked up along the way. I wouldnt really say my music fits the techno archetype but it definitely has elements. I love techno dont get me wrong, I just feel there are alot better techno producers out there making techno how it should be made.
How much can you imagine your style evolving? Over the next five years, for example.
My sound is constantly changing and at the moment I seem to be entering some dark hard house territory with elements of techno. I couldn’t possibly say where I’ll be over the next five years because I can’t tell how my next song will end up sounding.
In more general terms now, how do you see the health of London’s dance music scene at the moment? What, if anything, is wrong?
I love London. It has always had a thriving music scene and the best example of this was the Saturday night after the BLOC fiasco the night before. London pulled together to put together some of the biggest and best nights London has ever seen at the last minute from the Hyperdub x Oscillate Wildly party at Rhythm Factory, through to the Vase x South party over at Peckham Palais, London was alive that night in a way that was reminicent of the old illegal rave culture of the 90s, where news of parties travelled via word of mouth. It was great to see some original line-ups aswell, London seems to have fallen into the habit recently of using the same lineups every time and everywhere. These artists are some of the best artists going mind, but I feel promoters should be trying to switch it up a bit to keep it fresh.
What effect do you think the massively increasing amount of teenage producers has had on the industry?
I think over all it’s a good thing, all this young talent should hopefully bring fresh new ideas, as long as these younger producers thrive to produce new sounds there’s no reason why they shouldnt do well. As long as these artists are getting recognition for the music, not their age.
And finally, can you name a few producers that we should be keeping an eye on?
Happa is making amazing music right now, Paleman is an emerging force to be reckoned with, Kommune 1 has a great release forthcoming on Lone’s imprint Magic Wire, and I know for a fact Palace has some amazing tracks in the pipeline.
Interview: Richard Akingbehin
Photograph: Elliot Holbrow
The ‘Drag Queen’ EP is out on August 20 via Pictures Music.