Pedestrian (known as Jack Sibley to his Mother) is an impeccable selector and gifted, versatile producer. His current discography spans Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood, our pals at 2nd Drop, Push & Run and Metalheadz, on top of sterling remix efforts from Emeli Sande, Jon Phonics and Maribou State.
Following on from his sumptuous Hyponik Mixtape, we caught up with Sibley to find out about growing up in Bahrain, Norman Cook’s eJay, Pre-Jazz Rock and highlights of the Summer festival season…
So, your music is far from “pedestrian”, can you talk us through the name please.
It comes from when I was living in Cambridge and was first introduced into 120-140BPM stuff. I used to walk to Uni listening to it and found it was the perfect tempo for strolling along to. It also comes from the approach I take with song structure, I try and always have a song finish up somewhere different to where it started, instead of walking round and round in circles, you see different things along the way. I also like the challenge of not making something ‘pedestrian’.
There’s a band called Pedestrian from LA, have you filed a law-suit yet?
Ha, no but there is another guy from Australia called Pedestrian who makes wobbley tear out dubstep death, he’d be the first one to hear from my lawyer.
I understand that you lived in some pretty interesting places growing up? Has this influenced you in anyway?
Definitely in my outlook at life, different cultures and hunger for travelling. Not so much musically, although I really love ‘world music’, things like afro-beat, latin music, percussive cuban stuff etc. Not sure if that has any relevance to where I grew up as the Arabic music game isn’t particularly strong, to me anyway. It was a cool up bringing in Bahrain though.
Basically my Dad got made redundant over here in the recession of the early 90’s when I was 2 years old. There was no work over here and he couldn’t find a job for over a year here, luckily this opportunity came up in the middle east so my dad packed up my pregnant mum, 1 year old brother and myself and jumped on a flight over there. We were only supposed to stay for a couple of years. It was a really nice place then, accepting of western culture but the Sheikh that was in charge then passed away just after we left. His son took over with some more old school ideas, I understand its quite a different place there now, the recent troubles and protests show that.
Where did your interest and involvement in music begin? How did it progress to the point of putting out your first record.
I guess it stems from my Dad really. He’s massively passionate about all sorts of music, anything from B.B King to Kraftwerk to De La Soul to Led Zeppelin . We grew up being surrounded by all sorts of music and I guess thats what sparked the interest. When I was about 12 he gave me a Norman Cook eJay CD-ROM he got free with a magazine, that taught me the basics of piecing loops together and the different and necessary elements for a song. I went from there to Fruity Loops where I was like, holy shit, you can actually make your own loops on here?! Before that I thought you had to have a million quid studio to do that sort of stuff. I then went on to Logic and recently Ableton.
My first proper release was my remix of Commix’s ‘How You Gonna Feel’ on the Re:Call To Mind remix LP. That came about from living with Guy from Commix in Cambridge, he gave me the parts just to mess around with (which was amazing as that was one of my favourite tunes from my D&B hay days). The ethos of it was; if it works out we’ll have it as a free download for promo or something. Guy, George and Chris from Headz really liked the final product and ended up having it as the hidden track on the CD and a limited 10″ vinyl pressing on the flip to alternate Marcel Dettman remix, I couldn’t believe it.
This a question from one of your insistent superfans we bumped into recently: “Why are you such a soulful mother fucker?”
Haha! Thats pretty jokes, no idea mate… Maybe mother fucker is the key part of the phrase.
I saw you DJ for the first time this Summer at Soundwave Festival in Croatia. You truly destroyed our boat party, seamlessly connecting the dots between a wide scope of music. Who and what are some of your main inspirations as a dj?
Thanks! That party was so much fun, take me back! Well, I first started going to clubs for D&B raves and my favourite DJ’s were always the guys that played a healthy mix of the new intertwined with classics. I always try and rep the new and old. I also try and play a mix of music thats true to me as well, I’m not a die hard of any one particular genre, there are so many styles that can get people moving. I think its a shame that so many DJ’s in the ‘scene’ are so uninventive with their track lists, makes going out so predictable sometimes. One of my main influences as a DJ is Mr Scruff. So much respect for him, he blends styles together so seamlessly, everything from Jazz to Dubstep to Hip Hop to Electronica. Love it. Floating Points isn’t too shabby at that either, really like how Djrum goes with that ethos too.
What were the highlights of the summer festival season?
Hyponik boat at Soundwave is definitely one, Echo was great too.
Got any good jokes?
Did you hear the one about two gay guys in a phone box trying to ring each other?
Garage, dubstep, grime, UK-bass, footwork, post-dubstep, future-garage, techno-not-techno, bland-house, spinal-trap, post-internet, post-everything. What’s next?
Hip House-Step. Either that or Pre-Jazz Rock, those scene’s are gonna blow in ’13 you mark my words.
Have you made deliberate technical differences between the Push & Run, Brownswood and 2nd Drop releases?
Brownswood was just a compilation thing really so I haven’t had the opportunity to do a proper project for them. Push & Run is definitely more of an experimental and laid back vibe, and more of a dancefloor connection for the 2nd Drop stuff.
There’s a running organic quality running through your releases. Are you partial to a field recording?
Oh yeaaaah. I’ve got a stereo Tascam that I try and take as many places as possible. I made a couple of sample packs of a load of different field recordings and use something from the packs in everything I make.
Where can we catch you djing over the coming weeks?
Well I’m currently on the Push & Run UK Tour with Ifan Daffyd, Bodhi and Push & Run DJ’s. Next up is London this Friday (26th Oct) and Bristol on 9th November. I’m also playing at Above The Clouds a new series of fundraising music events at The Old Blue Last on Thursday 1st November.
What have you got coming up release wise?
A few things I cant really talk about at the moment (yawn) but apart from that a track on a forthcoming 2nd Drop comp, a 12″ for 2nd Drop and another Push & Run 12″ at some point.
Catch Pedestrian alongside Memotone (live), Raffertie (live) and Romare (live) at Above The Clouds at The Old Blue Last on Thursday 1st November, RSVP here.