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Stereoboard Speaks To High Contrast Ahead Of His Set At Hospitality Cardiff In February (Interview)

Thursday, 20 January 2011 Written by Elliott Batte
Stereoboard Speaks To High Contrast Ahead Of His Set At Hospitality Cardiff In February (Interview)

Believe it or not, itís been a whole year since Hospitality hit Cardiff. Itís also been a whole year since High Contrast performed in his home town. So youíll be glad to hear that on the 5th February Hospitality will be touching down in The Great Hall at Cardiff Students Union for one of the biggest shows the city has seen yet!

Stereoboard caught up with High Contrast ahead of his homecoming show next month, which sees the Welsh DJ perform a headline set with support from fellow Hospitality stars Danny Byrd, Netsky, Nu:Tone and Hospitalís head honcho himself, London Elektricity in Room One of Cardiff's Students Union. In Room Two, Bar 9, Reso, Koan Sound and Stenchman will be bringing in their trademark weighty dubstep flavours and tearing up the place til the early hours. Check out what High Contrast had to say below.

ImageStereoboard:†Alright, as a fellow Cardiffian, what do you think of the ever increasing drum and bass scene in the capital?

High Contrast:†Uhm, yeah I mean itís good because when I started out it was a lot smaller, so itís been good to see new blood coming through Ė for a while it seemed a little bit stagnant but now there seems to be a lot of people coming through all the time, and a lot of people producing and a lot of people DJing, so yeah itís good.

Stereoboard:†I often see you at Clwb at the raves, and was wondering if you had any tips for the young DJs that always perform there regularly?

High Contrast:†Itís difficult to kind of break through as just a DJ, and itís been that way for quite a few years now, it seems that to get recognition youíve got to make a big tune, and you kind of get DJ work off the back of that. But weirdly people who are just really good DJs are gonna have a hard time breaking through unless they get involved in production.

Stereoboard:†So being a producer is the way forward nowadays?

High Contrast:†I think so yeah, itís maybe not the way it should be but I think thatís how it seems yeah.

Stereoboard:†So how do you think youíve changed as a producer since you started back around 2000 wasnít it?

High Contrast:†Yeah I mean I first started learning in around 97 or 98, but it wasnít till about 2000 that I really got anywhere. For me Iím still doing what Iíve always done, which is just kind of playing around on my computer till I get sounds that I like and my process is still the same as it always was really. Maybe other people think my sound has changed over the years, and maybe it has but for me, Iím still just doing what Iíve always wanted to do.

Stereoboard:†If you donít mind me asking, what production software do you use when youíre producing?

High Contrast:†I use Cubase, but you know most people in drum and bass use Logic and I know people who use Reason, but I donít think it really matters what you use.

Stereoboard:†Fair enough.†As a fan of yourself, I have a few of your vinyl in my collection Ė weíve seen you produce house under the alias ĎTwo Fisted Tailsí and other artists going mainstream Ė so what can we expect from yourself in the future?

High Contrast:†Well Iím still mainly making drum and bass but I also like to try out different genres you know, keep it fresh. I make a house tune and then go back to making drum and bass and I find that my ideas are refreshed, so on the next album thereís gonna be a few kind of non-drum and bass tunes but its mainly gonna be the kind of sound people expect from me.

Stereoboard:†Thatís what we like to hear, staying to your roots! When can we expect a new album out from you?

High Contrast:†Well Iím working on it at the moment; I just stopped to make this phone call -

Stereoboard:†Ha-ha sorry about that!

High Contrast:†No no no its fine, yeah I mean Iím working on it at the moment and as soon as possible really. I imagine the album could come out before the end of the summer but weíre hoping to get some singles out there in the next few months.

Stereoboard:†So in the past weíve heard some brilliant remixes from yourself, like the Hometown Glory remix or Blue Orchid Ė are the anymore remixes youíve looked at, or any tracks in particular you have your eyes on?

High Contrast:†Uh Iíve kind of had to stop doing remixing for a while, just because each remix you do is kind of an idea you canít use in your own tracks, and I just wanted to concentrate on making original music again, rather than just doing so many remixes. But itís hard because remixes are kind of a cheap fast fix for a producer, youíve just immediately got all the parts there and just go straight in and you do kind of knock it out where as building a tune from scratch takes a lot more time and effort.

Stereoboard:†Compared to a lot of the big producers in the scene at the moment, youíre a very experienced artist, but a lot of them are very new. Do any of the new generations artists take your fancy or any new tracks that stand out to you?

High Contrast:†Well the latest signings at Hospital, Netsky and Camo and Krooked, are people that Iíve been supporting for a few years, and I also like the Brookes Brothers, and thereís a guy called Metric from Brighton who I really rate.

Stereoboard:†So in the recent years weíve also seen a massive influx of DJís using CDJs, laptops and all kind of hardware to mix or perform live sets with, are you one of these kind of Ďpioneeringí techie DJs or do you stick loyal to the vinyl?

High Contrast:†Well I have been loyal to the vinyl and am still cutting dub plates, but it becomes harder and harder each year because at clubs, most of the DJs arenít playing vinyl so the clubs donít look after their decks so when I try and play vinyl thereíll be some kind of feedback or technical problem, or the needle wonít work or somethingís up. So I always carry CDs as kind of backup in case that happens, and more and more I have to play CDs. I donít really want to go over to playing Serato because I donít really want to take a laptop to a club and have to set that up. It looks kind of boring to me when youíre watching a DJ and heís just standing at a laptop. I guess eventually vinyl will disappear but for me itís easier to stick than replace it.

Stereoboard:†You recently played Hospitality at Matter alongside other massive DJs like Shy Fx and DJ Zinc. With Matter being one of the biggest venues in the world, how do you think it compared to the other Hospitalityís around the country?

High Contrast:†With Matter closing down last year, it was basically the best club in the world, and it was my favourite place to play in, but it seems that it was actually too good to be true, and that it wasnít working economically for the club and so it closed down. Hospital switched to do the event at Brixton Academy in London, which was really good so I think theyíre at the moment kind of looking for a new home. But with the other Hospitalities around the country itís still going strong, and I think itís been a year since we did one in Cardiff because of some sort of organisational problems in making it happen. But the guys are all looking forward to playing here again.

Stereoboard:†Youíre a headline act at the massive Hospitality thatís coming to Cardiff; do you find playing Hospitality shows in Cardiff better than maybe other places across the country or maybe playing at home feels more fun?

High Contrast:†Yeah thereís always a particular kind of buzz from playing in your home town and itís a good venue and the crowd all go nuts for it. I think the Hospitality shows all over the UK are really good and youíre always spoilt for choice at the gigs.

Stereoboard:†How would you compare some of the Hospitality nights youíve played to some of the other promoterís shows like Bedlam or Valve etc?

High Contrast:†Ha-ha I donít think it would be fair for me to comment on that.

Stereoboard:†One last question Ė out of all the DJs and producers you know, Hospital or not, who can we expect the biggest things from in 2011?

High Contrast:†Well I think Netsky is a force to be reckoned with you know; he is kind of emerging from the scene and has been quite incredible. Heís still only 21 or 22, so heís definitely worth a watch.†

You can catch High Contrast at Hospitality Cardiff on Saturday 5th February 2011 at The Great Hall, Cardiff Student Union, Park Place, Cardiff playing in Room One alongside: London Elektricity, Danny Byrd, Netsky and Nu:Tone. Room Two: Bar 9, Reso, Stenchman, Koan Sound. Tickets £16 + BF available here.

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