So, Kid Lib is an electronic musician who has been bombing the scene lately with his insane jungle footwork mixtapes ( like the one he contributed to Bassadelic.com just a couple weeks ago) – but not only does he drop dope bass-bombs, he also makes his own tunes. TONS of them. No, really – he is EXTREMELY prolific, records an ungodly amount of music, and if when he actually puts something new on his soundcloud, whatever you’re hearing is the best track of literally hundreds that didn’t make the cut. THAT’S how prolific he is.
I was able to interview this Sheffield music producer, and I picked his brain as much as possible. I hope you enjoy! It’s an interview I’m very happy with. Turned out well :) Thanks again for taking the time, Kid Lib!
Below is the mixtape he did for Bassadelic.com, Kid Lib – Smokin Trees Mixtape (Juke&Jungle)
**free to download, btw. Click the buy link to not-buy this awesome tape**
So, listen to some good trax as ya read an awesome interview :)
StrangeFlow: So I really dig your music, I’ve been really getting into juke, and once I discovered there were artists going into the juke / jungle sound, I flipped my fucking lid! I was so excited. What brought you to this new hybrid sound? Are there very many other folks doing it?
Kidlib: When it comes to the juke side of things, I must admit, I’m fairly new to it. I’d say I discovered it within the last year. It was definitely a “different” sound, and it had me intrigued pretty immediately; although, I think the first crossover I heard was actually a while before I discovered the genre. I had heard the Phillip D Kick (Om Unit) – R I P Remix and didn’t realize that there was a genre full of stuff like it.
I loved the way it refreshed the old jungle tunes without ruining them. Those classics are special to me, and it’s sad when I hear remixes of the classics that don’t do them justice (including a couple of my own) hahaha. In all seriousness, I never thought you could sample a jungle tune and create something new with it, so I found that quite impressive. There’s just so much going on in jungle tunes already I never would’ve even considered sampling one, apart from maybe a break.
It seems like it’s only really a handful of people that are creating the Juke/Jungle stuff. I’d have to point out my man Fishstix from the US at this point cos he’s all over it, and he’s got some big tunes in the bag, as well as a new release on Clash records. Most recently I’ve noticed 6Blocc joining the Juke/Jungle crossover team with a couple big remixes, one of Remarc’s ‘Drum&Bass Wise,’ and Kemet Crew’s ‘Burn it Down’, both of which are wicked. It seemed fairly easy to find artists on soundcloud getting in to it, so I recommend a dig on there.
SF: What do you think of Philip D Kick’s footwork jungle compilations? Did that influence you at all, or was it some other artist who inspired you? Or was it completely organic and natural for you to come up with mixing juke and jungle?
KL: It sort of just happened but without a doubt, Philip D Kick’s works were the first I discovered in the crossover genre. My other introduction to Juke was through Dj Spinn & Rashad mix, as well as hours of digging through soundcloud and contacting artists about tunes.
Juke has been going in Chicago for a long time, whereas the combination with Jungle seems to be a newer step, at least in the grand scheme of things.
I tend to spend most of my time on producing Old Skool style Jungle & Hip Hop (Yeah I make a lot of Hip Hop under various aliases too, but that’s a different conversation for another day haha) and in all honesty I don’t watch what’s going on with new music all that much, at least in terms of radio , tv, charts etc. I just tend to do my own thing regardless of what’s going on around me, so the Juke discovery was kind of accidental I suppose. I don’t hear much of it out, and as far as I can tell there isn’t that many DJ’s playing it (at least around here). Although I have noticed the odd Juke track dropping into Dj sets that play multiple genres more and more. The thing with juke is that it’s super fun and relatively easy to mix, and fairly basic, which means it’s easily blended with other styles and sounds, so I think we’ll be hearing it creep up quite a lot more in the future.
SF: I feel like the tempo has been steadily going up the last few years in electronic music… I remember when it went back down, after the 90s were over, but people have been increasingly more open to super-fast music. Why do you think this is? Also, what kind of feedback have you gotten about your style?
KL: I personally think the tempo is decreasing at the moment, I suppose it depends which angle you’re looking at it from. I mean Jungle and D&B have always been on the faster end of the spectrum. Drum & Bass does seem to be looking back at Jungle a bit more these days, and whilst still being faster than Jungle, it’s definitely begun to borrow elements of it’s elder again, and people seem to be more open to the slower & older sound. I think it just depends which angle you’re coming at the music from, there’s always been fast and slow music it just depends on what you discover I think.
SF: Interesting. Well, moving the topic more to your tunes…as far as your own music, what kind of feedback have you gotten from people about your own style?
KL: People seem to dig what I’m doing with the Old School style Jungle at the moment. I have had nothing but positive feedback really, even from some people I would’ve never imagined it from. So, I think, (hopefully) I’m doing something right haha.
SF: I really enjoyed your mix, humorously (though probably accurately) called, “Tracks I May or May Not Finish So Why Not Make a Mix,” do you have a lot of unfinished tracks on the backburner?
**turns out I got the name slightly wrong, but I posted it below….**
Kid Lib – The ‘I May Or May Not Finish Some Of These Beats So Why Not Make A Mixtape’ Mixtape
KL: Thanks, I’m glad you’re diggin’ the tape. Yeah, finished and unfinished, there’s so much that even I myself can’t keep track of. Every time I dig in one of my folders I find some tunes I can’t even remember making. A rough estimate would be around 200-300 finished and probably a good 1000 unfinished Jungle tunes – a lot of which will probably be lost forever and never heard – as well as about 1500 finished hip hop beats and more unfinished. Then a load of Dub & Reggae and some other random bits (and that’s only really counting from 2010 onwards). Basically, one of my friends put it best when we had a look through a couple of my beats folders. He said “it’s like an addiction that has gotten well out of hand.” I couldn’t agree more. However on the Juke side of things, I have made very little so far, maybe 10, but only properly finished the 3 on the first ep. I have more enjoyed the listening and DJing aspect of it, so I can get a real feel for the music before I dive in head first kind of thing.
I’m mainly focused on Jungle at the moment, and am working on quite a few releases. Once they’re all sorted I will most likely get on some Juke vibes again though for sure.
SF: What do you use to record most of your tracks, DAW-wise? And what is your favorite part of making a new tune?
KL: Good question, my favorite part…hmmm… I’d have to say the whole process really. From finding a sample you want to use, or getting an idea for something you want to write & record, all the way through opening up Ableton and getting started, to finishing. Although, I suppose the most satisfying point is finishing a new tune. Other than Ableton, I use Adobe Audition. I sample heavily from vinyl, especially my drums and I have also begun recording things to an old tape deck and back.
SF: Lovin the old records and casettes eh?
KL: I love the sound of vinyl and tapes, nothing compares in my opinion. Unless of course the vinyl is set up incorrectly, then of course it’s a different story. I stay well away from serato when DJing, as I find serious issues with the sound quality. I’m not sure how people don’t seem to hear it but it makes long solid bass notes judder back and forth, and there’s so many other issues with it that I’m not even going to get started on it haha. I use CDs to DJ, preferably the standard pioneer CDJ1000’s, as they seem the most reliable. I would prefer vinyl only but as I play mainly my own dubplates, or unreleased tunes when I’m playing jungle, it would be ludicrous to press 200 tunes to dubplate, although if I ever win the lottery that will be step 1 haha.
My mixtapes are mostly created on ableton as I don’t actually own any CDJ’s or turntables at the moment, although there is a few actual mixes available too. For example on mixcloud.com/kidlib. I’m in the process of trying to get a few more actual mixes recorded but for the time being mixtapes will have to do the trick.
SF: So you play live fairly often?
KL: Haha :D Yeah, I’ve been DJing for about a decade now. My first set was at Feedback. I’m currently a resident at Concrete Jungle, Pangaea, Dubcentral, Roots and Lunar in Sheffield. I have played at many other events in the Uk as well, although mostly in Sheffield. I will hopefully be getting a passport sorted out soon which will allow me to travel places to DJ, which, although the invitations have been there, I have not been able to do yet. I’d definitely love to travel to some other countries to play and have a rave up!
SF: Sound like you’re a busy dude, but sounds like you’re having some fun, especially with some of the newer strains of music..
KL: Well, like I say, I don’t pay too much attention to what people are doing and what they think is popular or good or whatever. I mainly focus on bringing back the sound of the 90’s whilst not being completely blind to more recent production techniques, sounds & styles. I just feel that music has in general lost a lot of it’s feeling and soul, so that is my main aim, to bring some of that back.
Jungle has always been underground music, and to be honest, I think that at least to some degree, it should stay that way. There isn’t many people still flying the flag but those that are… are passionate about it, for the reason that it is different, underground, and has (over the last 20 years) remained relatively unscathed by any other music, or popularity . I think if it became popular it would change the entire sound and vibe that we are trying to retain, therefore losing it’s entire essence. Having said that, I would of course love it to be popular as it is, in it’s true form, I just don’t see that as very likely.
SF: Word, I can understand that… So, something I was wondering, back to your music, is, uh…well, how the hell do you have time to do a thousand tunes when you’re a resident DJ at so many places? Goddamn you’re busy! Motherfucker do you sleep??
KL: Haha, sleep, I’m pretty sure I’ve done that a couple times. Here and there, it’s overrated really…
KL: Honestly my sleep pattern is ludicrous. Most recently I’ve been sleeping maybe 4-5 hours a day between mid day and 5. It may be crazy – but I’m at my most productive after midnight.
**another tune by Kid Lib**
Kid Lib & Percussive P – Sorry For The Delay On The Ep, Here’s A Freebie While You Wait :)
KL:As for the residencies, none of them are more than once a month so it tends to work out perfectly :)
SF: Ah, ok. Well, man, I really dig the Smoking Trees Mixtape you did! Thanks for that. I hope to hear more of the jungle footwork (or jungle juke, or juke jungle, or whatever the fuck it’s going to be called, haha)…
KL: Cheers man, glad you dig it. I’m sure you will be hearing more, I’ll probably be making some in the not too distant future, and I think more and more folks are getting involved, so I definitely see it becoming bigger yet. For now all my focus is on our new label Green Bay Wax, but once that is well underway, I’ll most likely get on some more jukey stuff.
SF: Word. Hey, I was also curious, considering the vibes of some of your tunes I’ve listened to – did you ever get much into breakcore? I hear it in some of your music, but that’s probably just me being hopeful? ;)
KL: Hmm…as far as breakcore, never really been that into it. I did like the faster more “crazy” I guess sound when I was younger and just getting in to it all, but over the years I’ve come to like my Jungle a little slower, with a more rhythmical, danceable vibe – and of course huge basslines. It is all about the basslines :)
SF: Ah ok. Yea, maybe I was being hopeful… Always trying to spot breakcore glitches and influences when maybe it’s not as relevant right now as it used to be….Well anyway….as far as some of the sounds and samples in your trax – where do you find your samples from? Straight up old vinyl? or breaks- mp3z? Was curious about that, man. Everyone has a different source for sampling, it seems.
KL:The best way is to find your own source. If everyone had the same it would quickly become stale, as it has, to me at least, in some cases of sample cd’s. Not to name any specific names but most producers will probably twig which ones I’m referring to when it comes to recent drum & bass or “Jungle” sample CDs, which by the way if you’re looking for old school jungle samples are pretty much all useless, there I’ve said it haha.
Find and create samples wherever possible, from whatever possible, use whatever tools you have in hand. Use your imagination. Personally, I sample quite a lot from vinyl and tape. However, I don’t really limit myself, although, saying that, listen up folks: sampling from youtube is a BIG no no! If your ears can’t tell it sounds hideously awful, at least stop making my ears go through the agony of hearing it :P Using low quality samples will get you a low quality result.
It’s that simple.
KL: Personally, I dig for samples that have a bit of crackle or dust on them, I crave that sound, I don’t eq it out, if anything I eq it in haha. To sum it up i suppose I would say sample EVERYTHING, don’t limit yourself, the only one that creates boundaries for you is you. Just make sure that you’re using the highest quality you can find to begin with, as it will make the outcome so much better… Because, as they say, you can’t polish a turd, you can throw sparkles on it, but it will still stink :D
SF: Agreed. Straight up youtube sampling never seems to turn out as well as hoped for… So, thanks a lot for the interview, man. You got any shoutouts for everyone? As well as info and websites to drop on the world?
KL: Gotta send some big ups to all the Green Bay Wax Fam, Concrete Jungle/ 7Hill Soldier/ Pangaea Possee, Dubcentral, Roots, Lunar, and all the other sound systems, promoters, organizers and ravers. Anyone that’s not mentioned, or I’ve forgotten, you too! Everyone that is supporting my music obviously (an extra special thanks to you :D)
And each an every junglist and junglette! Hold Tight! :D
A: Well, first I’d have to point people towards my bandcamp (kidlib.bandcamp.com) where you can download a bunch of tunes (I think there’s around 40-50 tunes on there now) some are free, some are for sale.
For the second stop, I would have to point people towards Kid Lib where I upload previews, mixtapes, the occasional freebie, people can keep up to date by following, and can get in touch with me via the comments or private message.
I’m starting a strictly old school style jungle label, called Green Bay Wax, and the team so far consists of Mr Sensi, Tim Reaper, Dwarde, Percussive P and myself. The first ep will be the Kid Lib & Percussive P ep, consisting of 4 tracks on vinyl and 3 digital tracks, which will only be available with the vinyl. We’re hoping to get it out in the next couple months, so keep your eyes peeled as this will be a limited run. It will be available from greenbaywax.bandcamp.com, discogs or directly from me through soundcloud, email etc as soon as it’s ready for pre order.
Also, here’s the Green Bay Wax Facebook and Soundcloud links: