Siam2nite had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Rockwell, shortly before his performance at Glow Nightclub on 1st August.
How did you get in touch with electronic dance music – especially Drum&Bass - in the first place and how did you get into DJing and music production?
If I'm honest i wanted to be a hip hop Dj! In all seriousness though i was going to dnb nights at the time and my friend had a pair of 1210's that he was pretty good on and i wanted to see if it was something i could get into too. My mum got me a budget setup for Christmas and after that i spent literally all of my money on records. My two main loves in music are hiphop and hardcore punk and i see dnb as the direct middle ground between the two - the speed and urgency of punk with the swagger and attitude of hiphop. The first time i heard it loud in a club i was hooked.
How would you describe your own music in just a few words?
Dj-wise i would say i play the full spectrum of dnb, and beyond! Production-wise i like to make things that are both danceable but a little bit different from the norm.
What tracks would you recommend to someone that is not yet familiar with your music?
I would probably say Underpass / Full Circle / Say Nothin' remix / Detroit / IneedU are probably the most well known instances and good markers as to how my music has progressed. If you want to check them out they are all on my youtube channel...
You are exclusively signed on the prestigious “Shogun Audio” – the record label of Friction and K-Tee. How did you get involved with the label and what made you sign on it exclusively?
I signed to Shogun Audio just before the release of my track "Dj Friendly Unit Shifter", and its a real pleasure to be involved with a label thats growing at such a rapid rate. I really admire both Friction and Ktee's mentality towards their work and its really inspiring to see someone put so much time into something, and to see it blossom as a result. To be in a label camp amongst such talented guys as spectrasoul, alix perex, icicle etc is a real honour, and to see both the label releases and the label nights organically evolve into something which is both different from the norm but also wide reaching is really special.
After being in charge of BBC Radio 1’s “In New DJs We Trust” show in 2013, you got your own Residency show now in 2014. Where can people listen to your show?
I really enjoy doing radio and regularly did the shogun shift on Rinse and especially Ministry whenever it was available. I heard that Radio 1 were demoing a lot of people for In New Dj's We Trust, and to be honest i just got my management to ask if i could come in and demo for it. In between me demoing for it and getting a show on Radio 1 i was offered other potential shows on other stations, but i had my heart set on Radio 1, as it was the station that introduced me to drum and bass through the Fabio and Grooverider shows. It was a massive thing for me personally to be asked to present the music i love in a great slot on national radio, and i think in a way it was the first time that a different take on drum and bass had been recognised by Radio 1, and integrated into a programme alongside other genres of dance music. All of the shows i have presented on Radio 1 are archived on my Soundcloud page (soundcloud.com/rockwell) so they are there to listen at your conveniance!
What are you currently focusing and working on?
I have lots of solo music and remixes coming on Shogun Audio plus other labels this year so keep a look out for those. Also I’m starting to do some production for other artists, which is something I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into.
You have played at Amnesia (Ibiza), at the Glastonbury Festival, you were on the prestigious Boiler Room TV and you were support act for the Sub Focus UK tour. What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?
Playing in the main room of Amnesia in Ibiza after Chase and Status was probably the biggest , and also hardest club gig i have done by a country mile! I also played a gig once in a small market town where there were about 5 people there. Sometimes you have an inkling that things may slide this way and most of the time i'm happy to say, it doesn't happen!
The craziest thing that happened at one of my gigs? Once in Paris a guy stage dived feet first and kicked someone in the face whose nose exploded literally everywhere. Then I saw a girl dancing with no top on. Then everyone in the front row was so fucked they tried to pull the monitor wedges off stage. Usually I’m too busy thinking about what to play and reading the obligatory mobile phone message thrust over the booth to notice, but that crowd were on another level.
You live in London (UK). What can you tell us about Drum&Bass-related clubbing and nightlife in London? Do you have any nightlife related suggestions for first-time visitors?
Definitely Fabric if we're talking Dnb in London, It’s somewhere thats always a pleasure to play and a good place to hang out on a social one. Good underground clubs are few and far between now in London, there used to be loads of good spots where you could go to midweek events but unfortunately as more and more are closing, there aren’t really any new ones replacing them. It’s pretty difficult finding good venues for drum & bass parties these days but hopefully Fabric is here to stay, God knows what we would do without it. Other than that there are a few places that labels such as critical and ram do warehouse parties, but they aren't a regular occurrence, more of a special occasion. You have to keep your ear to the ground for those ones!
You are currently touring from Australia, to New Zealand and Asia. On 1st August you will perform live here in Bangkok at Glow Nightclub, alongside the PHATFUNK crew. Have you visited Thailand before? Will it be your Bangkok debut? What can Bangkok expect of your upcoming performance?
The whole tour so far has been amazing, and I've really enjoyed being back in Australia and New Zealand after such a long time since my last visit. I have never played Bangkok before, and to be honest i have no idea what to expect! its one of those instances that you have to rely on your instincts as a Dj to gauge what the crowd is vibing on. I am looking forward to playing lots of my own productions and throwing in a couple of things that people may, and may not be familiar with, and above all try to have a great time with everyone.