Following the recent set up of their new label Dance Regular, Bruk soldiers EVM128 and James Rudie keep things moving with a new collaborative album concept via Studio Rockers.
Both staples of London’s CoOp presents Selectors Assemble crew, the concept for their new collaborative project INPUT is simple, “make a beat, pass it on, and let someone else add to it.”
The broken beat movement has always been rooted in community and bringing talent together, and INPUT Vol 1 looks to channel the same spirit, with musicians, producers, singers and rappers coming on board to fulfil the brief and create a modern day broken masterpiece.
With the likes of Renato Paris, Turbojazz, Shy One, Daiva and Gonzi featuring across each of the 8 blissful tracks, we chat to INPUT curator and long time Hyponik favourite EVM128 ahead of the record’s release, as he breaks down the album track by track, discussing inspirations, realizations, thought processes and obstacles.
1. EVM128 Ft Renato Paris – Changes
WOW! Renato is a super talent! We had the instrumental track for a while which I released as a free download with a Bugz in The Attic vocal on it. We wanted to make it original and Tony heard about Renato while digging records at Pure Vinyl in Brixton. We sent the backing track to Renato and two days later he sent back the vocal and honestly we nearly fell over! He has a voice that echo’s Stevie Wonder and Omar! Really professional work ethic too. I still cant get over how good he is. This guy can really sing and play keys. He only sang for this one as the instrumental track was already there in this case, so this track was a slightly different collab from the rest (apart from the Daiva track). He just knew what to do and sat perfectly on the track with his lyrics and phrasing. His vocals are infectious.
2. Turbojazz & EVM128 – Read Him
I met TurboJazz through Djing together in Milan and went on to work together on a release he had for Local Talk where I remixed Turbo’s ‘Please You’ ft David Blank. In return Turbojazz remixed the EVM track, Beyond ft Uk Soul legend, OMAR. It was only natural to do a collab for the INPUT project. Our track was one of the first ones. He sent me a beat and I added some parts to it, extra drums and some bass and synth parts. I took it from a Jazz roller to a kind of garage Bass hybrid but still keeping the original jazzy vibe. He loved it and to be honest this was the simplest one to do and the one we sat on for longest!
3. iLL Smith & EVM128 Ft Nesha Nycee – Gold
iLL Smith aka MR K is a heavyweight producer making waves in the new Dubstep 140 low end scene. We met at Rolling Stock London where I was putting nights on. He gave me a couple tracks that were broken beat he had been sitting on and said “You should do something with these”. One of which is GOLD which I only really added a Clap to and worked the arrangement and first mix down. Originally it had a Missy Elliot accapella on it so I set to work finding a suitable female rapper to hit it with the same vigour. I called on Daz I Kue for a rapper I’d heard on one of his tracks who had the right vibe. Daz hooked me up with Nesha Nycee, a fierce rapper from Atlanta Georgia. She smashed it straight away and gave the track the right attack and energy we needed. Nesha Nycee is a REAL rapper who’s super diverse. Her lyrics on this are hard yet positive at the same time.
4. Gonzi & EVM128 – Gut Level
I met Gonzi through CDR where we also met James Rudie. We did the CDR process together and all got on so well we stayed in touch and started to mess about collaborating with beats. This was when we coined the concept for Input together. Gut Level was a beat Gonzi started which had some keys too. I added some extra drum textures, keys and bass then worked the arrangement. It was quick and easy this one.. It kind of wrote itself… I like it when that happens!
5. Shy One & EVM128 Ft Steve Edwards – One Design
Shy One is a friend of mine and has worked with me on music a few times in the past. I always love when she sends me a beat, she has that lo fi dirty grime approach, then I add my style and it just works. We collaborated on Mother Nature from the Nova LP and this track for INPUT (One Design) which we were sitting on for a while. She started with the beat and I added some live hats and percussion as well as a few synth parts that gave it that boogie funk feel. Tony got Steve Edwards (All Seeing I, Sheffield) on the vocals. This was an unexpected turn on this track that we couldn’t have imagined, it worked so well! This track is the epitome of INPUT in that, it went somewhere completely unexpected! I love this song and the lyrics Steve came with really resonated with me. Its deep and very relatable.
6. EVM128 Ft Daiva – The Edge
Daiva from the Lithuanian band KeyMono has worked with me for a good few years. We met in Lithuania when I was teaching Djing and music production to young people through MTV, I met their manager Istvan. She was on my Naked Truth EP and the Nova LP. I Love working with Daiva she’s great! Her voice is amazing as is her professionalism. She sounds somewhere between Erykah Badu, Little Dragon and Fatima. She’s always my go to for any collaboration! She knows whats up and sounds just right on the beats I give her. I gave her this instrumental track, she hummed and recorded a demo melody and phrasing. I then passed that to Kermit (Black Grape / Ruthless Rap Assassins) who I turn to frequently for lyrics, he’s a deep poet and a lyrical genius! He wrote to it and sent back the lyrics within a week or so, Daiva then sang the lyrics to fit her melody and phrasing and that was it .. track done!
7. Ishfaq & EVM128 Ft Natalie May – Complete Me
After Ishfaq smashed it on Naughty groove I had to ask him to run a few passes on another beat I had started. He came with the goods for a second time! He sent back all these sick keys and bass parts that had structure, a hook, and groove parts. I sent it on to Natalie May to vocal and that ended up being the track Complete Me, he made collaborating so easy! He’s a really talented musician / producer, a force to be reckoned with! He just knows where to fit into a tune.. He has an acute ear!
Natalie May and I met through soundcloud. She’s been releasing House and UK Funky tracks for a while and has worked with Rudimental. She reached out to me after hearing the Nova LP and the stuff on CoOp presents. We went into the studio after she wrote ‘Complete Me’ and we recorded it in just a couple of takes. She’s very professional and on point in the studio. Her voice is soft and sweet, the perfect juxtaposition to the rough bass and drums on ‘Complete Me’.
8. Gonzi, James Rudie, EVM128 & Ishfaq – Naughty Groove
I’d heard of Ishfaq for a while through some of the remixes he’d given away on his soundcloud. We were talking online and after realising he was a man of many talents (Keys, Bass, production and above all, style!) I had to get him involved. We had a beat that myself, James Rudie and Gonzi had started for the Input project. Gonzi started it and James added some hats and a sick snare pattern that even now I still struggle to follow! I added percussion and dealt with the arrangement. We passed it to Ishfaq to add to and he got to it straight away and sent back a bunch of parts that gave the track another dimension while still keeping the original groove. He totally got it and gave more than expected. I mean it was already a Naughty Groove but now it was even naughtier! He gave it extra melody and dynamics. The icing on the cake really!
INPUT Vol 1 is out July 19th on Studio Rockers.
Buy it here.