Release 6 on W&O Street Tracks has finally been unleashed upon us and it’s the much anticipated Situation EP from Citizen and Joe Ashworth. We gave you the heads up back in September and in the run up to yesterday’s release we caught up with the guys for an informative yet lighthearted Q&A. Check out their responses below and grab yourselves a hot copy of the EP over here on Juno.
1. For many of our readers and even ourselves Ashworth is a name we’re only coming across now. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What got you involved in the music game and how have you gotten to where you currently find yourself?
Hi! Ashworth is a name I only decided to work under about a year ago. I basically see it as a fresh start where I can really take my time and think about the music I want to be making.
I’ve been working in music for a good few years now, I do a lot of engineering for other producers, I make music for films, fashion labels, and I have released a lot of music in other outfits.
DJ’ing and dance music has always been a part of my involvement in music, but by starting with a new name, I have been able to make it clear what my sound is, what I will be playing, and what I am about.
2. A flick through your Soundcloud and it’s easy to see you’re already an accomplished producer with a string of quality productions. In Love, No Good and your Furniture collab with Aggborough really stood out. With the variation in these tracks do you think you’ve settled on a style yet?
Thanks! Haha – I feel a bit daft having just harped on about being clear about my particular sound! I guess there is still a lot of variety in my productions (a few of my other new bits break into more experimental, distorted territory).
I would say that my production tends to cover the extremes of what I do as a DJ, so if you imagine a long set of mine, I’d warm up with ‘No Good,’ and build up to something like ‘Furniture.’ I have always found it hard as a producer to make those middle ground tracks, and have a lot of admiration for producers that do. I can’t see my production getting any less varied, but I do think I will eventually make an album, which will have a more specific sound.
3. You seem to have really committed yourself to producing this past 18 months. What set up did you start out with and having seen your productions improve what advice would you have for any budding producers out there?
Going back to ‘Ashworth’ being a new name, I’ve actually been producing for nearly 10 years, but have found myself on a steep learning curve in the past 2 years, mainly brought on by making underground dance. In terms of a set-up, I do most of the programming and composition on Logic (sometimes Ableton), and have a load of soft-synths. This suits me because I like working fast, I like to have an idea and then be able to make it straight away.
I do have a lot of outboard gear in the studio but generally I only really use the compressors (SSL, 1176), though sometimes I will use the Rehberg Synthi, or Sherman Filterbank to colour or mess around with sounds.
My advice from a technical perspective – get decent monitors and sort the sound out in your room. That’s the most important thing. You can get the new Logic for £139 and with a few good samples you can make something amazing but you have to be able to hear what you’re making properly.
From a creative point of view, try to set things up in a way that keeps you inspired. If you find you run out of ideas, set up collaborations, if you find that you are too slow on your software, make a point of learning keycuts, and set up automation with controllers. Don’t settle into old habits and become disenchanted.
Finally, sit on a track for at least a couple of days before sending it to anyone important.
4. The Situation EP with Citizen has to be your most noteworthy work to date. How did that come about?
I’ve known Citizen for years, and we finally decided to make a track. Citizen introduced me to Shona, and we wrote and recorded the vocals down in a couple of sessions. Then we just kept working on the track, leaving it a couple of months, changing it loads, leaving it, that went on for more than a year. Then our friend Tommi said ‘stop being idiots, I’m sending it to some people for you,’ so he did and Waze and Odyssey picked it up straight away.
5. ‘Need You’ is a delicious prospect altogether but can we expect more goodness from Ashworth? What’s in store this coming winter?
You can indeed! ‘Need You’ was a sketch I put up to test the water, but I would like to go into that more thrashy sound a bit more. In November, I have a collaborative release with Kiwi on Andy from Love Fever’s new label Sneaky. It’s currently being mastered but I’ll stick previews up as soon as I can. It’s more mellow and blissed out, but I’m really happy with it.
Following that there’s a couple of remixes to come out and we’re going to make a video for Situation that I’m really excited about! I’ve already got a good few releases lined up for 2013, but that seems so far away and I’m looking forward to so much before then!
6. Just one to break the ice with you Citizen, how long has it taken to grow those seriously impressive dreads?!
Really long! As long as I can remember. I don’t have an answer for you.
7. You first came to our attention with your boiler room appearances. A lot of viewers often criticise the crowd at their events but what’s it like to actually play in the boiler room?
Haters, gon’ hate. It’s really odd, the first time I played it was hyper surreal it’s basically like turning up to a really packed intimate venue to play to a crowd of say 50-70… and then turning your back on them. The occasional back pat, or grope thrown in there makes you remember where you are if you get too into it. Super fun.
8. Your productions and DJ sets have a very distinct style and refreshingly bring back the old school house vibes to present day. Who were and are your musical influences?
I have a wide reaching base of influences and every Citizen track draws from it’s own pool of inspiration.
9. Your style is unique as is but if you were to play b2b with one person who would it be?
Miley Cyrus. No I’m not kidding.
10. It must be said the success of your So Submissive EP really propelled you into the limelight and deservedly so. How did it feel to have that signed to none other than the legend that is Kerri Chandler’s MadTech Records and then met with such widespread acclaim?
Well my first release ever (Deep End EP) was signed to his label and that was the shit to me back then, I couldn’t believe it. Over that year or so I’ve developed a tight bond with the label and ended up finishing the follow up soon after. The response has been amazing for So Submissive and I’ve ended up having a really good summer with it.
11. What can we expect from Citizen in the winter season? Can you tell us about any big plans? A trip to Dublin hopefully??
I’ve just finished off some new releases and I’m now working on a freebie basically working up towards 2014. Literally can’t wait! Been to Dublin already and it was amazing, I can’t wait to come back 🙂
12. With Citizen’s house vibes and the techier taste of Ashworth productions, what was it like to work together on the EP and combine the two styles?
Citizen: Long and arduous. We had numerous fights and the police were called on quite a few occasions. We got there in the end though didn’t we.
Ashworth: Things were said, feelings were hurt, but in the end it was for the best.
13. W&O Street tracks has been on fire since its inception back in 2012 with some serious talent on the label. What’s it like to be part of such a talented collection of artists and can we expect you guys to team up with other members of the W&O family?
Citizen: Ah man I’ve known those boys for years, it’s really cool to keep a nice family unit in this industry as things move very quickly I’ve found. When you find people who share a vision you have it’s important to hold onto it.
Ashworth: It’s great, I have a lot of respect for the guys and what they do! They’re also great as a label, really getting behind the track and willing to go the extra mile and put in a lot of effort.
14. Finally, what were your tracks of the summer?
Citizen: Everything Local Talk have released over the summer period.
Ashworth: It’s bordering on cheesy, but that KINK remix of Jimpster has had my hands in the air too many times. However, my favourite tripped out clubbing moment came hearing Villalobos & Loderbauer’s ‘Mas Produndo Que Mis Pies’ at Fabric.
You can find out what the W&O Street Tracks label is all about on their upcoming tour. It hits Dublin on November 15th.