Rob Sparx interview
I caught up with Rob Sparx to talk about music as his Babylonian ep drops. I asked about the tunes, specifically.
RS: The first track is a VIP I’ve done of a Symbiz Sound track called ‘Dubplate’ It has Singin’Gold on vocals doing some great harmonies. It’s basically the original intro/chorus with a heavy neuro-filth drop that keeps the dubby flavour. I used combinations of textures with multi layers of bass/lead + separate subs for each bass so although it’s quite slow paced/chilled compared with a lot of the heavy stuff, the sound layers are very thick and the frequencies rip through the mix very clearly.
‘Look’ goes back to the 8 bit vibe of ‘Arcade’ with some of the dub soul of earlier tunes of mine but with hints of dark Reece leads and trap hats.
“Dubstitutes” is a collab project between me and MC Task and our ‘Fall of Babylon’ is a spiritual journey through dub but dark and brassy in style rather than in the case of the euphoric optimism of ‘Prayer for Life’…
‘Prayer for Life’ started off as a skippy slightly garage-y track with just the original vocal and one other vocal, sub and drums. I had been playing the tune out for a while but it was only just over two minutes long. Then after messing about with an amazing program called Paul’s timestretch I started a separate track stretching Motown chops up, then splicing them together to make some amazing key changes. I later managed to work the two projects into each other and further stretch the breakdown so it sounds like time is stopping in the middle of the tune. Like a really intense acid trip.
Eventually it relaunches in a completely different way to the first half of the track.
DB: Your descriptions are very detailed. For someone new to creating music what’s some advice?
RS: The least you could do would be to get some idea of how chords/scales etc work on a piano so you don’t clang on the melody front!
DB: You are based locally but collabs are ranging far and wide, could you break it all down?
RS: I play and put on the odd night in Leicester. I’ve worked with Bar9, John Maveric and MC’s Task, Kel-C & Bluecut on quite a few tracks but most of my collabs are not local. I’m currently doing a lot of work with Dee Ellington who’s the singer with Tricky for many years, PLS DNT STP, a Philly duo, Schroff, Wigz & Conscious and Shadow Conspiracy. My label is now part of NexGen recordings which is based in Washington and I also work with Trigon and write for his Brooklyn based label Profound Audio.
DB: So what music in general would we hear comprising your sets?
RS: I do give some consideration to what I think the audience I’m playing to will tolerate. But I generally play what I like and I tend to do refixes of classic tracks to bring the production up to date if I want to play them so they mix well with modern music.
I plan my sets thoroughly but I do go off on a tangent if I think a different vibe works better. You’ll hear me playing dubstep, house n garage, trap, D&B and 100-110bpm stuff mainly.