This week’s interview & mix comes from Joseph Ashworth.
Introduce yourself and tell us about the part of the UK you’re from?
Hi, I’m Joseph Ashworth. I spent my young years in Bournemouth but have been living in London for 13 years now. Thanks for inviting me to do the mix!
Tell us about some of your British DJ heroes?
John Peel of course, he introduced me to so much music in my younger years that I’m still listening to now. I guess he probably shaped my whole taste to an extent. I have a huge amount of respect for DJ Harvey, Sasha, The Chemical Brothers, Goldie, Andrew Weatherall, Underworld. These guys all pushed something completely new at the time, but on a huge scale that made a big mark on the whole music world.
What have you been working on recently?
I released an EP on Anjunadeep a couple of weeks ago which is doing nicely. I’ve generally been spending a lot of time in the studio, making music for enjoyment. I haven’t been focusing on labels or anything, just having ideas and making them – I think I’m making my best music right now because of this attitude.
Tell us about the mix, how did you put it together, what did you want to represent?
The mix is 90% British artists. It’s a pretty eclectic mix – that’s the fun of doing things for radio rather than clubs – I don’t have to think of the flow on the dance floor, so the gloves are off! As with all my mixes, there’s a lot of my music in there. When I make my more ‘dancefloor’ tracks, I think a lot about how they will work in my DJ sets. My productions really dictate who I am, and what sound like as a DJ, so although it might look a bit self-indulgent, I think playing my own records is the way I can best represent my musical identity.
This might kill my DJ career in one fell swoop, but I used Ableton to record it! Normally I record all my mixes live on vinyl and CDJs, but I wanted to make the 15min mix punchy and concise, and then kind of enjoyed that so decided to expand it out for the whole 55mins. A benefit of doing it on Ableton is that I was able to add in little hints of synths, extra percussion to tie it all together. Weird little sound FX too, like helicopters flying overhead, a sizzling steak on a hot frying pan, some cows chewing grass – little field recordings me and my friend Aggborough have taken over the years. I did some little sections where I chopped up the drums and played around with the rhythms too. I always try to exploit the benefits of the format I’m using. Recording the mix on decks benefits from having a certain vibe – hearing the little mistakes etc, but the trade-off is that you’re very limited in what you can do in 55 minutes.
Talk us through the British music featured in this mix?
Aggborough and Kiwi are two really good friends of mine. I help both of them finish all their tracks in my studio, but even if I didn’t, I’d be a fan anyway. Aggborough only makes about one track a year, ridiculously slow, but to be fair he is a father and is studying to be an Architect.
Another of my own rules which I broke with this mix is including a couple of big name producers in there (the mix is bookended by Maya Jane Coles and Skream). Maya’s album is 24 tracks long and there’s a lot of great music in there, and I think Skream’s release on his own label is the coolest thing he’s done! It made sense to me to celebrate a couple of the real British success stories.
I think British electronic music is in a decent place at the moment. The sheer volume of it is daunting in a way, there are probably 100 new producers every month, and most people do tend to sound like a rip-off of someone else, but generally, there is a big appetite for underground music, especially house and techno, so it’s obviously a good thing. The DJs that are rising to the top in the UK generally seem to be the more interesting ones.
Which British artists are you most excited about?
I feel like Kiwi’s about to have a bit of a moment. He’s a driven, very likeable chap, he’s put a lot of work in over many years, and it’s coming together for him.
KDA is another good friend of mine – I work on his records, helping make them sound nice. He’s sold hundreds of thousands of records, had a UK no1 etc – bit of a different world my music/scene I guess, but his next single Hate is banging techno, and really powerful stuff – it has a big message and sticks with you. It’s being hammered by Seth Troxler and Pete Tong. It’s kind of hilarious because he’s gone from working with Tinie Tempah and Tinashe, to jumping straight in with the underground house elite. If I was allowed to play it, I would have put it in the mix!
What is on the cards in the immediate future?
I’m releasing an EP on Lee Burridge’s Get Weird label, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. Aside from that, I’m heading to the USA for CRSSD festival on the stage with Richie Hawtin and Dixon at the end of the month, then off to India for a tour. Then a full American tour with the Anjunadeep guys in December, which I’m very much looking forward to. I’ve not seen much of the USA.
Where is the best place in the world you have DJ’d and why?
I reckon maybe the Wintergarten in Sisyphos, Berlin. Me and my friend were closing the room (6-10am or something like that, but it was so buzzing we carried on playing all the way through to the next evening when it was supposed to re-open. It was one of those typical sunny Berlin days, where there’s something in the air.