As festival season really starts to gather pace, Young Academic has been scouring the country looking for the very best interviews and entertainment news. We caught up with dubstep star Stanza from True Tiger last week to discuss his role models, how budding DJ’s can make it in a gruelling industry and the future of a developing genre.
Make sure you keep tabs on the Young Academic Ultimate Festival Guide and Interviews section as we have our Glastonbury Review on the way as well as an exclusive interview with Johnny from Gentleman’s Dub Club.
Getting yourself noticed as a DJ can often be an arduous process, with many genres becoming fiercely competitive. The first thing I had to ask Stanza was whether being a young dubstep DJ living near London made it easier or harder considering he was surrounded by so much talent.
“Yeah, it is one of them really. Being around such DJ’s as EZ and Heartless Crew was obviously quite inspirational and great motivation. Being in and around London you are really surrounded by so many huge DJ’s that it encourages you to just get on with it. Working from our studio in St. Albans with so many good garage bills going on was great.”
“Having said that, I think that if you have the ability and you really want it, you will make it wherever you are.”
So, working near so many great garage DJ’s and producers was obviously a great help for Stanza and True Tiger, so what was the man challenge that they guys faced when trying to make that first break into dubstep?
“I’d say it was probably getting our music understood by corporate people. Just like any style is music, you have to produce something that is cutting edge and new whilst pushing your particular genre. If you make something different then it will catch the ear of people – if you don’t do this then it will just go over their heads.”
“With dubstep being a fairly new genre, we have always wanted to go global. We all know where we want to be so it’s not really a struggle.”
True Tiger have worked with some huge names already. Professor Green, Dizzee Rascal and Enter Shikari are just a few of them. I asked Stanza who he had been most inspired by to date.
“I’d say either Dizzee Rascal or Ed Sheeran. They are both huge personalities and great to work with.”
“The day I worked with Ed Sheeran was brilliant actually and you will be able to hear what we came up with on the new single.”
“We were both in really bad moods due to girlfriend troubles and other things, in fact we were in a pretty dark place, but we both seemed to just be in the zone and on a mission. It was quick and quality work and really inspiring”
I wondered what it was like working with a personality like Dizzee Rascal. Such an imposing figure must have been slightly intimidating?
“Yeah man, he is literally years ahead! So cool to work with!”
“The way that Dizzee goes through the beats is so interesting.He goes through beat by beat and after a while we just understood eachother. He also gave me some of the best advice I have ever had.”
“It sounds so simple but it’s true. He said just forget about all the external stuff and just focus on the music. This is really if the essence, if you just focus on the music then everything else will come.”
It was clear from speaking to Stanza how important working with Ed Sheeran had been. Being such an iconic figure, he has left a great impression on True Tiger.
“Ed Sheeran really taught us about progression, strong melodies and the importance of working to more than one tempo. The time we spent working with him and developing tunes like Scars was pretty amazing.”
As dubstep continues to develop and evolve, many artists such as Mike Skinner from The Streets have encouraged our generation to embrace it as our own genre. I was understandably curious to hear what Stanza thought about the direction dubstep is taking and what we can expect.
“I think we can definitely expect more changes to come from dubstep music. From the silky deep stuff from Funk Ace to the more high energy and vocal style being produced by Magnetic Man, the genre is in a really cool place.”
“The next year for dubstep could be really telling!”
The relatively new status of dubstep must surely have resulted in some rather different role models for Stanza and the rest of True Tiger. I could help but ask what influences he remembered from his youth and what acts have helped shape the direction that True Tiger have taken.
“Loads of stud really. From Michael Jackson and Snoop Doggy Dogg to The Prodigy and Aphex Twin. So many artists have helped to shape dubstep. In fact, I’d say that The Prodigy have really helped to shape dance music overall.”
“But really, you have to say that UK Garage and early Grime music has had the biggest influence overall on dubstep music, but as I said, it is developing all the time so who knows what the future holds.”
“Believe it or not though, Enter Shikari is an act that has had a really positive effect, certainly with True Tiger. They are just totally out there – there is a weird curiosity with them and getting together with them for Juggernaught was a great experience.”
As the UK’s national student news service, we thought it was important to see if Stanza had any advice for youngsters trying to make their way in the world of DJing and in particular, dubstep. He was quick to reiterate the message of Dizzee Rascal.
“Focus on the music! Dizzee’s message is one that has stuck with me and is really important. Keep focused and forget everything else. Make sure you reference all your stuff as well and be realistic with your targets.”
“Getting a good mentor is important as well, someone to keep your feet on the ground. Once you get the big DJ’s playing your stuff then you are away, but until then it’s important to just concentrate on the simple things.”
True Tiger have already played a host a huge gigs this year as well as festivals, most notably Glastonbury where they followed the liked of Shy FX and even played the infamous Shangri-La. You can catch up with the guys at any of their forthcoming gigs, which can be found by clicking this link. Alternatively, you can check out the great True Tiger MySpace page.
You can also see True Tiger if you are going to Wireless, Mallorca Rocks, the Big Chill, Creamfields or Outlook Festival. Again, a full itinerary can be seen by clicking the above link. Make sure you keep tabs on the Young Academic Ultimate Festival Guide for full information on any of the mentioned festivals or performances.