We interviewed Deadpoole about his latest album and his thoughts on last year’s music.
Luke: Congratulations on the new album. Would you say this is your best to date?
Deadpoole: Thanks so much. I think so, even right from when first I started out I was always working towards an album. The three EP’s that preceded NIGHT/LIFE were me cutting my teeth musically, figuring out the music I wanted to make & getting better at it.
L: Where did the inspiration for NIGHT/LIFE come from?
D: Lots of places really, the name came to me early on & really helped to shape the album. I like it because I think of it as an album for the night time. I mean it’s got tracks you can dance to on there but it’s also a headphones album. The title definitely steered it sonically. The ‘life’ part was me wanting to make a mostly-instrumental album personal too, it was important that there were the snippets of my family on there, the kids laughing etc so you get that human element, that warmth & emotion. Musically I listen to a lot of different genres so it made sense that the album would tip its hat to a range of styles & not just remain in one lane.
L: You’re very active on social media. How has that helped shape the album, both stylistically and in terms of promotion and response?
D: Social media has definitely put me onto some incredible music worldwide. If someone I follow posts a song/album/youtube link then I tend to check it out. I try to do the same, promoting stuff that I’ve found in hope that someone following me will check it out. That way (in theory) the good stuff that doesn’t get as much radio play or lacks big label backing or is a forgotten gem can still get heard. I love social media but wish I had a better understanding of it, I feel like I don’t use it to its full potential but I’m getting there. I’m caught between wanting to tell people to listen to my music & not wanting to feel like a sleazy salesman. But the response to it has been incredible, I couldn’t be happier that people like it.
L: What equipment did you use to make the album?
D: My setup is very simple. In fact it only expanded when I started playing live earlier this year. I use Reason & made the entire album with that & that alone. In March I bought an Akai drum pad which I use for gigs & that has changed my approach to making & recording music too, it adds a freer element to recording. I don’t mix or master my music either; I have a friend who has been helping me out for the last couple of years & I trust him completely to do a great job.
L: We wouldn’t be called Sampleface if we didn’t take sampling seriously and we spotted a few here and there. How important is sampling in your work?
D: Yeah I started not too long ago, I hadn’t sampled for a long time but only because I didn’t have the right software to do so. I love sampling but I try not to do it all the time. If I find something that catches my ear I’ll see what I can do with it but I also make sample-free music so I have something to fall back on in case I ever get sued!
L: Who influences your music the most at the moment?
D: At the moment it’s Shigeto, Saafron & Yuk. Shigeto’s music is so incredible! You hear something new within it with each listen & it just gets better & better. Yuk & Saafron are pretty new to me; I’m listening to A N A K & Reishi at the moment. I love Leaving Records & stumbled across both of these a few months ago. I’m desperate to go to LA for the labels alone! Leaving Records, Alpha Pup, Brainfeeder, Stones Throw, the list goes on.
L: What are you listening to currently?
D: I’m bumping the new Elaquent, Letherette & Jay Daniel albums. They’re all great. I keep going back to the new Tribe album & MIA’s album too.
L: Nominations for album of the year?
D: That’s so tough because it’s been an amazing year. Elusive’s album Headspace is up there for me, Kaytranada too, that album’s so much fun! But then there’s James Blake, De La Soul, Common, Yussef Kamaal, Romare, Saafron, Bon Iver, Gold Panda, Mndsgn, Christine & The Queens, Tee Mango, Radiohead, Solange, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, it’s too hard to pick one. Oh, and Kano too!
L: What’s the biggest obstacle you face making music?
D: The two big ones are finding time & inspiration. Often I’m inspired when I’m not able to work & then when I get to the laptop… Nothing.
L: When did you start making beats?
D: I originally started making music in my early teens on a program called Making Waves but stopped for a long time. Then in 2007 my friend came back from University & showed me how to use Reason & I started making music again. It’s funny because I found some old Making Waves tracks on Myspace & they sound like the seeds of what I make now.
L: What was the first hip hop track that caught your attention?
D: I remember stuff like Coolio being on the radio as a kid & Will Smith with the Men In Black theme song but the first hip hop track that really got me was Ms Fat Booty by Mos Def. When my family first got Sky TV there were only three music channels, MTV, MTV Dance & MTV Base. I just used to watch MTV Base & remember being introduced to Mos, Talib Kweli (The Blast) & Common (Sixth Sense) all around a similar time.
L: To readers outside of the UK, they will be unfamiliar with your hometown of Ipswich. How much has that influenced your music, if at all?
D: Over the last few years Ipswich has become an unbelievable hub of talent. This year in particular has been the town’s strongest & next year is set to be even stronger. I’ve felt before that Ipswich was somewhere where lots of people are doing great things but individually, that’s not the case now; there is a real scene here with more & more decent venues opening up too so its building. I’m in a very fortunate position where people send me stuff to listen to, that inspires me because it’s all so good! I constantly feel like I have to step my game up. I could reel a list off but it’d be easier if people went to my Soundcloud Likes.
L: Do you think it is important to have a musical background, whether it be classically trained or just learning an instruments?
D: I don’t think it’s that important anymore. It’s certainly handy but you can make music now without knowing how to play an instrument or read music.