Here is the first instalment of a three part interview that I was extremely fortunate to have done with RINSE FM's very own; Blackdown.
Of course Blackdown is very well known aside from his DJing such as for his writing and production that he does alongside Dusk on his own label; Keysound.
I will let the interview say everything else.
So if we start right back at the beginning where did the your passion for music come from?
I think like most people I discovered a passion for music in my teens, which quickly developed into a full on addiction and hasn’t ever really gone away: I’ve just got better at managing it haha. But if you look at that question deeper – where does our love of music come from – it’s hard to answer at the lowest level. Fundamentally I love how amazing music makes me feel. Additionally I love being able to make it and to play it to other people, understand how it affects and what it says about other people and to be able to share what you we learn with other people freely – often people I’d not normally meet or have anything in common with - via my blog or other writings.
At any point did you envisage things going remotely the way they have gone in terms of your production / djing / writing?
Not really. If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d have seen some of the things I’ve been lucky enough to have see, like witnessing scenes be founded, writing for some of the more prominent magazines, being able to share amazing music via my blog or share some of my favourite tunes really loud while DJing at FWD, DMZ or Dub War etc, I would have been really amazed, so I’m honoured I’ve been given those chances and I see each one for what it is – a special, transient moment.
I’m fairly pragmatic in my outlook, I try and just focus on the next step and move towards that, rather than dreaming about super-far away goals. This keeps things manageable. The flip side is that is sometimes when I am blessed with an opportunity beyond what I would have dreamed of, say DJing on the main stage of the Big Chill festival as Dusk and I did in ‘08, I kinda get surreal giggles, going “erm, how am *I*… here? I think they let the wrong guy on!” But then I get on and mix with Dusk and have fun, like we have done together for years.
What were your reasons for starting a blog? Do you think that the blogging culture that has got extremely popular in recent years could be potentially on the brink of going stale?
I started my blog kinda by accident. I had a slow month work wise and I ended up signing up for Blogger just to see how easy it was to do. It was easy, which I think is why in those times (2004), blogging blew up. If it had required you to be a web developer with a grasp of HTML to get online, it would never have become this ubiquitous thing. The ease of publishing is what gives it such potential.
Once I had a blog I quickly got a real taste for it. I’d been through five years of being a magazine journalist so I knew how to find articles to write, how to write them and when. But now I could bypass the approval step of some editor who may or may not get where I’m coming from, which in the early years of grime and dubstep wasn’t often. I could be selfish and have tunnel vision. If people didn’t think what I was writing about, they could just ignore it. I loved being able to push my specialist musical tastes as far as I could and reach a global audience, no matter how small, for free. This is what is so fundamentally important about blogs: they get information out there, into the public domain, without the approval of PRs or marketing or editors who need to worry about PRs, marketers, advertisers or how big their audience is.
I also enjoyed joining in the dialog with other bloggers and for a while there I think there was a really healthy community of informed bloggers having a dialog with each other at a very high level (which is pretty much in total contrast with what a lot of dance music journalism was about at the time). But to answer your question I think yes, there is a risk about it going stale and I don’t feel that there’s this big discourse going on right now, not least between bloggers anyway, apart from the big but short lived “hardcore continuum” fight last year. Forums have a lot of the creative energy now, they’re like micro-town halls or village greens for niche musical communities.
Too many blogs come and go without developing a voice. YouTube is the scurge of blogging: blogging a YouTube video and nothing else isn’t blogging, that’s distribution or integration. I like how multimedia can enrich writing in a very immediate way (“this music is amazing, here’s why I think so (in words), now listen for yourself right here (via multimedia ie YouTube… ). So, you with me?”) but if you post YouTube link after YouTube link without any writing around it, what value have you really added as a blogger? There are many blogs out there right now but I’m just ploughing on regardless because in terms of competition, within my specialist field only really Fact magazine right now and perhaps Tim F are repping: so many other bloggers could do so much better in terms of output, ideas and vision. Forums concentrate much of the energy.
Part two tomorrow!