Exclusive Interview with Grant Nelson
Nelson is heralded as the Godfather of UK Garage due to his numerous club hits on his Nice 'n' Ripe label in the early 90's. It was his sound along with a few others that gave birth to the then known as 'Sunday Scene' which went on to become UK Garage. He also produced under the name Wishdokta from 1990-1993 when he was making Hardcore / Drum N Bass for the legendary label Kickin Records. In 1997 he started using the alter-ego Bump & Flex and began to produce UK 2 Step. He delivered some of the scenes biggest records by far including the incredible "Funk On Ah Roll" by James Brown.
Siam2nite had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Grant Nelson, shortly before their performance at Bed Supperclub on Saturday 8th December.
What made you start DJing? What kind of equipment did you use and how did you get it?
It was a bit of a shambles to be honest, haha! I was very young, maybe 9 or 10 years old. I had one of those kids record players with a built in speaker and my parent's Hi-Fi unit. Neither decks had pitch control and I couldn't even wire them up to the same source so I used to sit my turntable next to the speakers of the hi-fi and then play a record off each deck using the volume controls on each unit to “mix”them. The only way I could record what I was doing was via a portable cassette machine with a built in condenser microphone, so I used to hit record and sit that next to the speakers as well.
Do you remember the first record you bought?
I think it was Meco – Star Wars. A funked up disco re-work of the John Williams (who is another one of my hero's) musical masterpiece. I would have been about 7 years old!
What - artists and music genres - are your biggest influences?
I've always been inspired by a vast range of musicians but if I had to narrow it down to a couple I'd have to say Stevie Wonder (for melodies, key changes and just pure genius), Earth Wind & Fire (for arrangements and pure aural sex) & Paul Hardcastle (for making me want to be surrounded by synthesizers).
DJ Mag called you one of the greatest remixers of all time. Your remix of Negrocan – Cada Vez became the most successful Latin House song in history with 2 million copies sold. Were you surprised about the success of this track and what impact did it have on your career?
Yes I was very surprised as I didn't think it was that great when I finished it. It had been one of those tracks where I had been working on it for about 2 weeks solid and nothing felt right. In the end I had other things to do so I threw down the mix you hear now in a couple of hours. I guess it's the same old producer story, it's never the ones that you expect ;)
You are often referred to as the Godfather of UK Garage and you have been highly influential on 2 Step. Are you happy about the way those two genres have evolved?
Yeah like everything that gets a lot of media attention & success it suffered from a dodgy period where the scene got saturated but those genre's were and will always be the breeding ground for amazing new talent as people like Disclosure are proving right now!
You host a very successful radio show called “Housecall”. What can you tell us about its concept and where can people listen to it?
It really came about because of a flippant remark I made on Facebook one day where I said that I should do a radio show for a joke. The guys at SSRadio saw it and got in touch saying that I really should, so I did. 3 Years on and it's got a regular audience of over 3 million listeners around the world on FM/DAB/SAT and Web based radio stations. Every two weeks either myself or my right hand man Shane D drop the latest & greatest deep, soulful, bumpy & funky house music live which gives us a chance to interact with the listeners through the oftentimes crazy Housecall chat room.
What were your highlights of the year 2012?
Launching my new record label Freeze Dried. It's given me the option to explore different avenues and to showcase some amazing producers. This is my new "Nice 'n' Ripe" ;)
What are your plans for the future? What kind of music will you focus on?
Well Freeze Dried is definitely going to be a big part of my world for 2013 so expect some deeper beats from me on there. I will continue to produce the soulful / funky vibes for Swing City and you may even see Bump & Flex making a comeback with some 2 Step beats. We're also looking at taking Housecall on the road with a series of events at clubs around the world.
What was the best and the worst gig you ever played?
Best – This is impossible to answer as there have been so many for different reasons. From 5,000 people at an outdoor party in Italy still going mental as the sun came up to 250 people in Sydney where my scheduled 2 hour set ended up lasting for 7 and a half hours with people still refusing to leave at the end of it.
Worst - Once played in a club for a guy! Yep, one guy and a couple of his friends. I won't say where it was but it was a very weird experience. The promoter hadn't told anybody about the night, no advertising, no flyers – nothing! So I turn up and it's just me, him, his girlfriend, a couple of his friends and the barstaff.
Thailand is famous for its food, especially its spicy food. Are you adventurous if it comes to food? Do you try the local dishes of the countries you travel to, or do you usually eat what you know from home?
I love international cuisine, Japanese, Indonesian, & Thai of course and will try anything at least once. I once had reindeer right before Christmas in Sweden which my wife wasn't too impressed at! Santa's sleigh didn't make it all the way to my house that year ;)
Your last performance in Thailand was in July 2008 at Bed Supperclub. Did you keep the show in good memory?
Absolutely! I had a fantastic time when I was last there, it's such a great venue with a brilliant crowd and I'm really forward to playing for them again!
On 8th December you will perform live in Bangkok, at Bed Supperclub. What can people expect from your performance?
To hear great music old & new with a sprinkling of unreleased special edits & remixes that you will only ever hear in my live sets. You should expect to leave very very sweaty with a big smile on your face ;)