Interview: Deadpoole

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.

L: Describe how you approach the making of a track.

D: Each track is different but more often than not I’ll start with drums simply because I play drums, but I try to start the process in different ways to keep myself on my toes. Then I tend to layer the instrumentation before I look at sequencing. Then when I’m working out how it moves forward more ideas will come to me, I’ll drop stuff out & bring stuff in.

L: Name one instrument you’d love to master and why.

D: Piano. I love the sound of it. I love how versatile it is as an instrument. My friend gave me a midi keyboard recently so I’ve started playing about with that. If I could go back in time I’d make my parents force me to learn as a kid.

L: If you had unlimited funds, what one piece of equipment would you buy?

D: I’m not very savvy with equipment to be honest. I saw that video of Dorian Concept playing around on a Micro Korg which looked amazing so maybe that would be good place to start. I’m sorry that’s a shit answer.

L: Do you have one album you always go back to?

D: Not an album but artist I go to for inspiration is always Flying Lotus.

L: What are your fondest musical memories?

D: Latitude Festival holds the most. Mainly listening to artists I love standing next to my wife with our children sat on our shoulders.

L: What’s your biggest musical accomplishment and why?

D: Putting this album out was a huge accomplishment for me, it took about two years to make & I’m really happy with it as a whole. One of the most recent gigs I played was a huge deal for me too. My friend Booda French put out an EP called Awesome Is Everyday & had a launch party to celebrate its release. He asked me to support & playing in front of a crowd of my friends & peers felt really special.

L: Do you have a favourite record that you have produced, either solo or as part of the group?

D: Not yet. I’m working on a few projects with a few different artists that should come out next year & I’m really excited for people to hear them.

L: Favourite label?

D: Ninja Tune. When I was about 13 I randomly found a copy of Xen Cuts in an HMV bag on the street so took it home to listen to. Safe to say it blew my tiny little mind & influenced me to this day. They’re such a forward thinking & consistently great label.

L: Favourite producer and MC?

D: Madlib & Mos Def/Yasiin Bey.

L: Who would you most like to work with and why?

D: That changes all the time but ultimately Flying Lotus. He’s the artist that’s had the biggest influence on me so work with him would be crazy!

L: What are your thoughts on UK Hip Hop and is there anyone in the UK you’d like to work with?

D: I don’t know an awful lot of UKHH but I love people like Edward Scissortongue, Press One, Jehst, Strange U, Booda French, Dels, Skrabl & Obongjayar. They’re all amazing.

L: If you weren’t involved in music, what could you see yourself doing instead?

D: I find music cathartic so I’d have to channel that energy elsewhere… So yoga maybe?

L: Who would play you in your biopic and what would you call it?

D: Ryan Gosling. Which sounds arrogant until I explain that I mean the shitty, bald, alcoholic Ryan Gosling from Blue Valentine, that’s the version of him that resembles me the most. And the film could be called anything other than Deadpoole so Marvel couldn’t sue.

L: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

D: Nobody’s given me any advice personally but I saw this quote from Knxwledge recently…

“Just put out music. If you make music, just put out music. Period. Just do that. Because that’s what people who make music generally do. And that’s how they get recognised. And how they get loved. And how they make a lot of money. And are able to treat their families very good.”

It made me laugh but it’s true.

L: What advice would you give to beginners starting out?

D: See above.

People should definitely check out Brooches, Languid, Booda French, Muckaniks, Rye Shabby, Indigo Frequency, Parris Robbo, Conner Nunn, SDLR, Rafiki Dub, El Emcee, Calv XL, Piers James, Salt Beats, Relly Crise, The Grey Code, Dels, Loom.

Hi, it's Luke, the editor of Sampleface! Why not subscribe to my Patreon and support the blog?

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