Since posting his March mix I’ve been all over this Janner vibe. I needed more info on how this guy is producing such quality riddims and not being noticed. So, here’s a little bit of reading for you lot…
Tell us a little about yourself, Janner has been around for a while, am I correct?
I've been making tunes since about 1998. I made my very first tracks while I was at uni in Manchester on a Roland SP-808 hard disk recorder/sampler, without even a PC. Then I got a Yamaha RM1X sound module and then I finally got a PC. So for a while I was using step sequencers, etc. Making tunes was a very different business back then when it was 100% hardware. I’m proud to say that my first proper release was on Moving Shadow in 2000, with a track called 'The Slice' back when I was producing under the name ‘Static.’ Then I had a bit of a hiatus as DnB wasn't really cutting it for me any more and I moved to Brussels for life/work reasons. So during this time I was moving away from DnB and listening to more breaks & hip hop. Then around 2005, early Dubstep started catching my ear and I started making that more seriously... had my first Dubstep releases on vinyl in 2006 and now I’m moving through Dubstep to more 2-step things... so yeah I guess I have been around for a bit!
Computers have had a massive impact on music, I'm sure it had a substantial impact on you when you got yours. Tell us, just briefly as it's pretty expansive topic, about using computers for production compared to solely hardware.
To me the biggest advantages you get from computers are cost and interface. Before computers became powerful and ubiquitous you needed to invest a lot of money in order to start making something that even got close to professional-sounding - you needed a sampler, some sample CDs or a vinyl collection, a mixing desk, a sequencer of some sort, a set of decent speakers, probably a synth or two, and miles of cables to wire the lot together. Now all you need is a half-decent PC, the internet and the speakers. This change has opened up music production to a much larger and younger group of people. Whether this is good or bad I’ll leave it to you to decide!
Concerning interface, when everything was outboard, each piece of gear had its own unique interface method. In some cases this made things very hands-on, for example with hardware synths, but in other instances it meant loads of fiddly menus, sub menus, sub-sub menus, buttons and jog wheels, for example with samplers. Basically most things were a lot less user-friendly. Working everything through a nicely streamlined DAW is so much easier overall. Plus the different bits of the studio just didn’t talk to each other like they do now - everything had its own local memory which had huge implications for recall (or lack of). These days being able to save everything at the touch of a button and bring it back just as easily has revolutionised the way people approach making tunes. Obviously there are other important differences too such as sound but you asked me for a brief response so I'm not going to get into those here!
New producers, count yourselves lucky! You had some releases early last year and one on Haunted Audio recently - what's the difference, if any, between what you were doing then and your productions now?
I started out in Dubstep mainly experimenting with halfstep rhythms, but these days I feel that template is too limiting. I am fascinated by beats and rhythm and personally I think that there's a lot more room for variation when you break out of that halfstep envelope. So a big difference between the majority of my earlier Dubstep productions and my stuff right now is that these days I’m more focused on 2-step patterns. Also I’m not feeling this 'who can make the most fucked up abstract bendy atonal track' thing that's going on at the moment... in contrast to this movement I think that a lot of my tunes can be characterised by a certain coherence, both in melody and structure. My earlier stuff definitely wasn't as melodic. And working with Acky we're going for a kind of organic, melancholy garage vibe which to me sounds quite original. We’re both more concerned with creating something that has a bit more soul and hopefully lasting appeal as opposed to DJ ammo which feels disposable these days.
Horns Of Ganymede - Janner [RUDEEE]
What do you get up to when not in front of your monitors?
Well the reality is that a lot of my free time goes into making tunes... I don't have much free time that isn't spent on the buttons! I do quite a lot of reading so there's that. I do all the cooking in our house as well. My day job keeps me quite busy and I do a fair but of work related travel out to the Middle East to places like Cairo and Istanbul. I love cycling. I like drinking beer and scotch whiskey. [laughs]
Your March mix went down ever so smoothly this end, have you had equally good response all round? What's it like trying to get your name out there along with the all the hundreds of brand new 'Dubstep' producers that seem to have popped up in the last year - many of whom are making terrible sounds. I can't even call it music!
I know what you mean... the sound that most people associate with the term 'Dubstep' these days has really changed versus when I first got interested in the aesthetic. The scene does seem to have reached a certain saturation point at the moment. I’m just trying to do something individual that is true to where I am with music. And yea the March mix has been getting a great reaction – people seem to feel that it inhabits its own little niche which is good cos that’s essentially what I was aiming for.
In terms of getting my name out there I think this is one of the area where I fail most significantly as I do almost no self-promotion and I’m not specifically affiliated with any local crews. I don't even DJ at parties. Yea I do the occasional studio mix but that's about it. I’m just not into that kind of active promo. I’m just happy making and if other people like them and want to hear them then it's all good, but the idea of going out and DJing on the weekends doesn’t do much for me. And as I don't do this for a living I can afford to take a less business-like attitude towards it!
How would you describe your sound/beliefs? What are your main influences?
That's a very expansive topic. My sound changes over time so I can only really give you a snapshot of where I am now and at the moment I’m looking to do something with those old UKG swung 2-step rhythm structures. I always felt that the UK garage scene burned out far too quickly and that some of the central ideas can be explored a lot further before becoming stale, so I’m just trying to provide my own take on that whole thing, hopefully achieving something at least partially original in the process. And I love 8-bit sounds and old jungle and hardcore/rave sounds too, so am trying to work them in there somewhere. As a producer I’m at the point when I can usually get pretty close to what I was aiming for, so the way I tend to approach composition these days is to come up with an idea for the foundation of a tune and then expand upon that, ideally in an organic, unforced way. In terms of my musical influences they are very broad, from Ed Rush & Optical to the Stone Roses, the Chemical Brothers to the Beatles, from old rave tunes to those amazing dark garage beats that were coming out around '99 and '00.
Fever - Janner
Your favourite five producers at the moment?
Zomby, Sully, Jamie Vex'd, D Bridge and Instra:mental.
Anything else to add? Forthcomings?
Well you are definitely going to see some future releases from me on Haunted Audio. I feel very comfortable working with that label as they are extremely flexible, have a great attitude towards the music and they're quality people as well. There has been interest in from other areas in a few of my tracks but nothing concrete yet… so stay tuned I guess!
Janner, many thanks for your time.
He’s been kind enough to let you take a couple treats home with you. Give these a few listens and keep your eye out for those forthcoming bits.
Endymion - Janner
Gakk - Janner
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