Q&A AND GUEST MIX W/ SOULECTA
May 21st will see the release of the collaborative album, ‘Soulecta & Friends’ curated by garage producer, Soulecta. We caught up with the artist to talk the album, his journey through production, and he’s thrown in a little guest mix in there as well
The album features a carefully picked number of UKG producers and artists, spanning from Tuff Culture, Dread MC, Shosh and Prozak to name a handful. Based on the previews that have already been released, ‘Soulecta & Friends’ is set to be oozing soul, funky basslines and warm UKG vocals and chops.
If there were a right time to release a collaborative album and get people working together, then now would be just the right time. We’ve got to support each other in this community and seeing producers come together to merge sounds and bring joy - this time in the form of soulful UKG - is always a spectacular thing to see.
Tell us about the album coming out on Friday, what was the idea behind a mainly collaborative project?
Once the first lockdown hit last year and life slowed down for many people, I took the opportunity to reach out to some of my favourite producers, singers and MCs. I’ve always seen garage music as a broad church with regards to sounds and styles, so I wanted to take all these different, colourful sounds and then present it all in a collaboration album.
How were you first introduced to production?
One of my best mates got me into garage aged 10 and by 14 years old I was listening to loads of electronic music. I used to wonder how the tracks were made which led me to mess around on an old copy of FL Studio (known as Fruity Loops at the time) before moving onto Reason, Logic Pro and now finally, Ableton.
What musical influences have shaped your garage productions?
The strongest influences for me would definitely be definitely Todd Edwards, MJ Cole and Sunship. I've always viewed my sound as a sort of melting pot of all the top garage producers from 1995-2002, but giving it a modern edge. I definitely have some strong influences from house music and RnB too.
I HONESTLY BELIEVE WITHOUT THE LOCKDOWN
I PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE MADE THIS ALBUM
What’s going on in the mix you’ve cooked up for us, what flavours are going down?
I’ve thrown in a few tracks from the album, plus some of my favourite vocal garage that’s doing the rounds right now, and of course some other unreleased exclusives. I’ve also thrown in tracks from Bristol UKG producers Shosh and Badger for good measure!
Has working towards an album release been a learning curve?
I spent most of 2020 writing the album and by the end of it I had so many different shades of garage to pick from. Fitting it all together sonically was definitely the hardest part. I feel there are two sides to my production: one is a desire to make songs that are memorable and accessible, and the other side is making 4x4 rollers for the garage heads. This album ended up consisting of the more vocal and uplifting tracks, however I have some huge plans for the 4x4 tracks but can’t say much about it just yet!
I think on the networking side it’s all about just being a good and honest person, collaborating with so many different people means you have to be likeable and open to different opinions and ideas. I’ve always been quite diplomatic so that’s definitely helped this project come together.
On the promo side, it’s just intense - content plans, video editing, photography, live streams, algorithms. It’s definitely not like the heyday of garage where it was simpler to put a record out, let the music do the talking and make money on sales. Unfortunately you can’t change the system so you have to play it.
Do you think the lockdowns over the last year affected the desire for a collaborative body of work?
I honestly believe without the lockdown I probably wouldn’t have made this album. Most producers in dance music focus on writing tracks to get club and festival sets, but with all of that cancelled producers had more time on their hands and were definitely more open to collaborating.
Watch out for the album, 'Soulecta & Friends', dropping on Friday with the links below and to stay up to date with Soulecta for all your UKG needs:
May 18th 2021