Formula Records boss and low-end lover, Champion, released his two-track Execution EP today on Nest, showcasing his not-so-secret partiality for wall-rattling basslines and masterful rhythmic patterns. To coincide with the EP release (already supported by the likes of Four Tet, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Hannah Wants, AC Slater, Woz, and more), we had a chat with the East London producer about a range of topics including his recent blowout party with Four Tet in London, his family of DJs, his thoughts on America’s newfound attention to the House/Bass sound, and more.
Read on for our interview with the A+ producer below and make sure to download Execution for free on Nest.
Thanks for taking some time with us C. How are things man? Catching up with the world cup madness this week over there?
All good, just wrapping up some remix projects & working on my label quite a lot. The world cup is definitely a distraction (laughs). I’ve got money on Mexico so hopefully that goes well!
Smart move they’re looking good. Speaking of your label, I saw a few reviews of your Formula Records x Beatwerk party last weekend at Fire. Seemed like it was a pretty crazy night ya?
Yeah man was sick! Everyone played big sets & the crowd was lively. One of my favourite nights I’ve played at.
You had Four Tet join you for that one right?
Yep. Had him on for an hour & a half and he smashed it! Played a lot of my material as well so I’m happy about that (laughs)
(laughs) It seems like you guys have a pretty great relationship based on some Twitter exchanges I’ve seen. How’d you guys initially meet? Ever get together in the studio?
We actually started talking on Twitter after I sent him test presses of my Prince Jammy/Hydra Island release. He was feeling the tracks & reached out to me. Haven’t done any music together yet but fingers crossed!
Nice will keep an eye out for that. So back to your label, Formula Records. What inspired you to create your own imprint? What would you say is the ethos of Formula?
I’d always wanted to do my own label ever since I started music. I suppose the inspiration came around the time when I started DJ’ing professionally where I was predominately playing a bunch of tracks by the underdogs in my opinion. Me feeling like an underdog myself, I thought it’d be cool to have a platform for those guys to get heard & to just put sick music out there.
Were you a producer first then DJ, or vice versa?
I was a DJ first. My family are full of DJ’s that own their own sound systems so that came naturally. The production came after out of a mixture of boredom & curiosity (laughs). Being a DJ first really helped though.
Ah man your family members DJ too that’s awesome! What kind of tunes were they playing when you were growing up?
Bit of everything really. Mainly Reggae/Bashment & R&B but it was the UK Garage that really got me into the DJ’ing side of things!
How do you feel about guys like AC Slater bigging up the UK Garage/Bass/House sound over here in the US with events like NIGHT BASS? Is he carrying the torch in America for your scene over there?
I love it! Especially what AC Slater, yourselves, T&B & Hot Mom are doing. I’ve always found that people overseas dabbing in the UK sound generally never really get it right or don’t have it sounding authentic enough for me to get into but all the people I’ve mentioned are absolutely smashing it! Definitely carrying the torch & I got love for that.
Well that’s great to hear! As NIGHT BASS seems to be the buzzing party/sound in the US right now, what are the “cool kids” listening to in the UK at the moment? Is there a genre you see emerging as the “tasteful” sound in big cities?
It’s weird because its quite a mixture at the moment. Most are listening to this deep, techy House music. Then you also have the House & G/Jackin’/4×4 bass music that’s really going off (which I’m into), the 2 step UK garage sound & the Grime sound that Mumdance, Murlo, the Keysound crew as well as others are making.
Its hard to pinpoint what’s going to happen next at this point but what’s promising is that there’s been a lot of talk of R&G possibly making a comeback. That would be too lively if it did!
That would be rad for sure! Alright so last Q here. Can you talk a little bit about how each track on the Execution EP came about, what your creative process what like for each, etc?
It started with “Execution.” All I knew is that it had to have a 4×4 kick drum, a bad boy sample & the most disgusting bass riff ever (laughs). I put the idea down in a couple of hours then tweaked for about a week here & there. The Brass riff on the intro I added last. I was into hearing big, heavy strings at the time so I had to include it somewhere.
“Listen Da Bass” was an idea I’ve had in my head for about a year. My host & tight friend ‘Serious’ had a bunch of phrases he would say on my sets so I got him in to record me a bunch of one-shot vocal samples last year with the hopes that I would naturally use them at some point. I had a 16 bar loop that I put down the same week I’d done “Execution” that I thought was a winner but I didn’t want to put any musicality on top of it. My answer to that was to go through the vocals I got from Serious, lay them on the track & arrange from there then before I knew it, the tune was finished!