(I was honored to speak to Strife II, one of my favorite liquid drum & bass producers, over in the UK. Show the guy some love!)1. What is on tap for Strife II for NYE 2014 & 2015? Any live shows or new releases? I hope that one day there will be some sort of live show, but I don’t know if I will ever DJ. Maybe it would be a film like Hammock and Sigur Ros do, or a live band thing. I think what I write is all about escapism rather than dancing, so who knows.
2. Are you currently a full-time performer/DJ/producer, or do you have a day job? Your music is so incredible this needs to be paying your light bill. I’ve got a really bog standard boring day job with some of the most awesome people I’m ever likely to meet. I don’t hate it because a lot of people there bring a lot of positivity to my life – I get to watch the sun rise every morning and take a few minutes to watch the world wake up
3. Can you say anything about your classical training? Your piano work is frisson-inducingly good. Do you think you need classical training to be a producer these days? I’m far from trained. Think I got a level 2 piano grade when I was 9-10 years old, then dropped playing in favour of producing at around the age of 12-13. I’ve recently picked it back up – I usually settle down and relax in front of my piano, then just dance around scales until something sounds beautiful. Everyone will benefit from a basic knowledge of music theory, but I think it’s more important to take different approaches to your music with different instruments. On a screen, you get a flat display that you tweak until you’re happy. The way you play a piano, guitar, xylophone forces you to play different patterns and chords, and the worst thing in the world is being stuck in a single way of working for me.
4. Have you sent any of your work to Hospital/Med School Records? When is Liquicity going to sign you?! I’m always sending demos out but I guess you need to hit the nail on the head that one time. Once that happens, you need to stay proactive, but that’s not always easy when you produce for pleasure. As for signings – that’s up to them. It’sa great rush to have a track signed to somewhere really cool, but the response from listeners is the main reason I write music.
5. Any plans to ever make it over to the USA and perform? Any DJs out there you’d love to open for? No plans, but I’m open minded. Without a doubt I would love to open for and hang out with Flite, he’s my hero.
6. Are there any specific plug-ins, pieces of software or hardware that you use to create your signature sound or recommend? I could probably go on for days but if someone did want to write something like what I write, start with a piano, a clean guitar with loads of delay, soak everything in reverb and lose yourself in the instruments. I use a lot of export & reverse for pads and tend to use an ambience/noise or field recording channel on every track – freesound.org is a great source. Lastly, don’t aim to sound like someone else, put a lot of unique elements into your music. If a style already exists, there’s a benchmark for how it should sound, and you’ll be sitting in somebody’s shadow. If it’s unique, you get to cast off the shackles of production rules and do your own thing.
7. When is the next full mix from you? This kind of sound is something that deserves to be in a longer format. I should probably sort that out.