Shazam Meets… Caspa
With the meteoric rise of the Dubstep sound in recent years we thought it was only right to catch up with one of the pioneers of the genre who were there during it’s initial beginnings. Caspa is a DJ, producer and record label manager known for his innovation and involvement within the UK’s thriving underground music scene. We caught up with Caspa to talk about his latest single War which features none other than The Prodigy’s Keith Flint . We got to find out what it was like working with the Prodigy front man, his forthcoming second album and how he finds time to DJ, produce, manage two record labels and also have a life.
Can you give us a brief description of yourself and your music?
I’m a white guy who lives in Fulham; I’m five foot nine and….. Dubstep (Laughs)
You first got into music after your sporting career was cut short. What was it that made you turn to music?
Well music has always been a passion of mine, it’s in my family. My dad’s a record collector so I’ve always had music in the household. I think that music is a passion for everyone deep down so it was logical when I couldn’t play sport anymore, I had to think “what do I love most after sport”… and it was music. The stuff I loved was the underground kind of music and then I came across Dubstep when it wasn’t even known as Dubstep. I latched on to that sound and just rolled with it.
Which artists have influenced you to make the music you make today?
I listened to a lot of Hip-Hop because my brother was a scratch DJ and record collector, so I listened to stuff like early Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep and Gangstarr. All of that was killer for me, I loved it. I loved the west coast Hip-Hop sound as well such as all the Death Row records stuff like Snoop and Dre. When I was at school all I used to listen to were Jungle tape packs that I got from the older guys at school, stuff like DJ Brockie. So I grew up around a lot of Jungle and Hip-Hop and my dad was really into Punk so it was a mash up of everything really.
Your latest single ‘War’ features Keith Flint from the Prodigy on vocals. What was he like to work with and how did that collaboration come about?
He is amazing to work with and really forward thinking, he liked my ideas and was really supportive with everything. If I wasn’t sure about something and I asked him if he thought it was alright he’d say “Yeah that’s cool let’s run with it” and that was really refreshing to get that response from someone of that calibre. I hooked up with him through my manager Nick who does A&R and a bit of management for The Prodigy. Keith is into his Dubstep so I sent him over a few of my tunes and he liked them so he wrote a vocal to some of the tracks and then I asked if he could write something new for one of the tracks. It took a while to get together but when it did it really took off and he loved it, so the rest is history as they say.
Are there any plans for another full length album from you in the near future?
The next thing for me is obviously the single then I’ve got a mix compilation that I’m doing for New State which is going to be a more underground bass compilation rather than the mainstream Dubstep you hear, so it’s going to reflect the kind of style that I play. I didn’t want to do a typical compilation where it’s just filled with all the hits you hear on the radio, so I’m really excited for that to get released. That should be coming out around the end of August. Hopefully then my second single should be coming out around October and then the album will be coming shortly after that. It’s definitely in the pipeline as it is pretty much finished but I think there is always room for improvement.
Are there any other producers or artists that you are currently working with or hoping to work with in the future?
Off the back of ‘War’ I’ve had a lot of people asking to collaborate. I’d like to do something with Mr. Hudson again but maybe do something a bit darker with him. I’d like to work with some people in America, like some Hip-Hop artists and I’ve always wanted to work with Adele. I think she’s just got an unbelievable talent and she reminds me of a good London girl, someone that I could just vibe with because I think we’d be on the same type of level. I’m working with a couple of producers like Subscape and Trolley Snatcha. Trolley Snatcha actually helped me out on ‘War’ and he’s a really talented producer. I want to try and keep it close to home I don’t want to really work with any Pop artists, I want to make music that I’m happy with. Banging, underground music.
As well as producing your own music you also run two record labels. Do you find it hard to find time to create music, have a life and manage two record labels?
It’s pretty tough but it’s such a passion for me I just love the job. When you’re DJing on weekends, playing new tunes from artists such as Subscape and testing them out can be great. In the week I’m usually writing music or heading down the office to sort through stuff like what we’re going to release next. To be honest with you it is a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. It does take up hours and hours of your time but because I love it so much it’s not really a job to me. I’m getting paid to do something I love so I never look at it as a bad thing.
Which artists or releases should we be looking out for that will be coming out on your labels?
Subscape is doing an elements EP focusing on wind, fire, water and earth and from July he’s going to be putting out a tune every month. For me Subscape is going to be the next big thing that comes out of Dubstep. I really think he’s going to be massive because he’s got some great music. Trolley Snatcha has got a new EP that will be coming out on my label Dub Police and a couple of remixes he’s been doing as well. We’ve also got a load of new guys that will be coming out that people would never have heard of before. There’s a guy called Filth Collins and another guy called Dirty Dog who’s on Dub Police who is another really talented producer. So we are trying to put out brand new stuff as well as the main guys. We also have a new album from one of our main artists ‘The Others’, their first single ‘The Way You Make Me Out’ is out at the end of July and then the album should be coming before the end of the year, so we’ve got lots going on.
What advice would you give to a young producer or someone who is looking to start their own label?
For a producer my advice would be to find something that you love in music, don’t just go out and try to copy other producers that’s the worst thing that you can do because you’re always going to sound like a watered down version of someone else. Try to find something in music you love and make that into your sound, bring your own style and that will make you stand out. For someone looking to start a record label I’d say don’t do it, it’s a pain in the arse, but if you really want to do it though putting out quality and not quantity is the main thing for me.
As one of the pioneers of Dubstep are you surprised by the cross over that the genre has had from the underground dance scene to the main stream?
I saw it happening a good three years ago it was just a case of who’s going to do it, with what tune and when. It was building up so much steam that it was eventually going to cross over. The Nero guys have done especially well over there, they’ve kept their sound but managed to cross over. It’s the same with people like Chase & Status. I’m not surprised at all and I think you’re going to see a lot more tunes cross over. I think soon half of the top twenty is going to be Dubstep if I’m honest, it’s a big movement at the moment especially in the USA. I’ve been playing in the US for around the past five years now and every time I go back it just gets crazier and crazier.
Which current artists or producers are you tipping for success in 2012?
My favourite producer would have to be Subscape because he’s young and he’s got so much good music around him, I think he’s just so talented and over the next six months he’s just going to blow up big time.
What are your plans for the rest of 2012
Obviously as I said before I’ve got the single ‘War’ then the Dubstep compilation and my own album coming out before the end of the year. I’m probably going to release another underground EP on Dub Police after the Summer, that would be cool to put another three track-er out of club tunes. Apart from that I’m going to be getting my head down DJing as much as I can and push the new music and artists on my labels. I’m getting so much good music from them all it would be nice to help push them through to a similar path that I’m on at the moment.
Caspa Feat. Keith Flint – War
Out 30th July 2012
Available on iTunes