Six months ago I was doing much the same as I am now (currently in bed with a laptop on my chest, writing stuff, spilling coffee down myself, it is 3pm), but it was about half a year ago that Jay Donaldson started making music as Drop/Dead. In the time since heís built a reputation for himself as one of the most exciting young producers in the UK's booming (in every sense) club music scene, that isn't really a scene and still takes a run-on sentence or two to define, existing as it does in the grey zone between 2-step and house and garage and techno and dubstep and R&B. More than just a confluence of genres, Drop/Dead's music is defined by its depth and a dynamic approach to structure and melody. His songs are like those big, weird jellyfish that morph into incredible, unexpected shapes. Here is an incredible mix he made just for us. I spoke to him about spooky birds and Ozzy Osbourne.
Donga & Blake - Grown Ups
Hypno - Over The Top
Sines - Crazy (Zoltan Remix)
Joy Orbison - BRKLN CLLN
C.R.S.T - Cervantis Riddim
C.R.S.T - Need You
Kerri Chandler - The Dark Past
The Hundred In The Hands - Dressed In Dresden (Kyle MF Hall Remix)
Drop/Dead - Make Me Feel (One Hour Demo)
Pangaea - Won't Hurt
Drop/Dead - Always Love You
Sines - Love Becomes She
Josif - Clones
Sorrow - Chimes
T. Williams - Heartbeat (Mosca Remix)
Ramadanman & Appleblim - Justify
Littlefoot - Sell My Soul (DJ Dom Remix)
Lone - Re-Schooling
Download: Drop/Dead's Dollars to Pounds/FADER Mix
You are studying Music Technology at London College of Music. That sounds like a pretty awesome course.
I was going to say it's pretty early days there for me still, but then I realized I've nearly finished the year and I seem to have spent more time putting together a video of a boy riding a bike that's wrapped in cling-film than learning about music. We did just start learning how to use hardware synths though which has been pretty amazing, they're all available for us to use for free as well so I'm really lucky to have that. The main problem here though is that they make us live in some tower by the M4, closer to Heathrow Terminal 5 than the London Eye so they don't really merit the title of London College of Music, it's pretty grim surroundings. The birds start singing at midnight which I'm sure isn't right.
Star Slinger told us he was in bands before he started making beats. Where you in any bands?
Yeah I've been in the oddest collection of bands, played "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne more times than I can bare to remember. I only really started making beats about six months ago, I got my copy of Logic just to record myself playing guitar and bass, then I'd lay down the drums and add some simple synth lines to it. Got so many tunes lying around that I keep promising myself I'll do something with but at the moment I just don't have any interest in anything other than electronic music which is a bit of a shame really. Always been into Radiohead though, but even then it's the stuff like "Amnesiac" that really appeals to me. That's probably the thing that got me into this in the first place, I think "Kingdom" by Untold was on one of their Office Charts a long while ago and that set me off.
Have you seen the movie Drop Dead Fred? I don't recommend it.
Hahaha, that is messed up! I've never seen that before, I definitely should have done my research properly.
On Soundcloud you labeled one of your songs UK Juke. A few UK producers have been dabbling in Juke. What kind of stuff are you into at the moment?
Well Synkro's new stuff is just on another level, tracks like "Girl", "Here's Your", "Look at Yourself", "Viewpoint"...the list goes on and on and I can't wait for them to come out. I'm really enjoying the drop in tempo to about 130 that a lot of people have started doing and my new tunes are all around that with a slight house element in them. Jacques Greene, Lone, and Blawan are people I really look up to at the moment and there's some amazing things happening at the 170 end of the scale. It's a good time for music.
What releases do you have coming up?
Well I've got a digital release on Hsuan Records coming out April 4th, a 12" on the go for GetMe, two tunes on another new label in the summer and hopefully two more on a compilation for Herve's new label Deep Thrills which I'm just finishing off now, although I should probably stop for the night cos it's coming up to half five. Going to start work on my first EP this month as well.
Tell us a bit about the mix you've made for us.
The majority of it is just stuff that I'd play out, its definitely made with that in mind although I had a bit of trouble recording it cos my laptop kind of packed up so it veers off into all sorts of stuff in the second half. I'm still working on my sets to be honest and I'm going to start mixing with vinyl once I've got the money. "Re-Schooling" by Lone is definitely the one for me though, had to go last 'cause nothing can follow it!