THE LOST FILES WITH KETTAMA

Meet Evan Campbell aka KETTAMA. The Irish producer redefining House and Hip-Hop Remixes. His combination of heavy house and hip-hop samples creates a unique sound.

“The music I’m making at the moment is unique.” His dynamic raw production ranges from heavy hip-hop samples infused with hardcore house. The untamed up-tempo music has the capacity to transform any dance floor into a wild barbaric rave. Evan has established himself internationally which is unsurprising thanks to his thrilling sets, fresh creativity and distinct sound. 

“When I was 17, I started getting into music when that lo-fi boom was about.” The producer and DJ experienced a meteoric rise through the electronic music ranks. Evan Campbell is a 22-year-old Galway native with a flair for sharp kicks and piano heavy riffs. He comes from a working-class background and is humble talent. His father works in construction and his family aren’t very musical. “My family was the most non music family of all time.”  

A growing profile has impacted his life but not how most may expect. “It’s not affected me in anyway. Getting booked for shows means not meeting your mates that work during the week. There off on the weekend. That’s when I would normally party with them. I think that’s been the hardest thing.” Due to his success, Evan has reached a point where he now gets recognized in public. “It’s insane can’t really believe it’s mad really, everyone’s so nice. When they say they like your music it’s cool.”  

His rise is phenomenal considering he is only 22.” Once I found out I really liked house I just went digging. Grand Nelson Saved My Life remix. That made me dig into other things.” This discovery created a pathway for KETTAMA to establish himself as a heavyweight of house. His inspirations include Mall Grab and Brame and Hamo. “I want to be up there doing that with them. Mall Grab was my main influence at the time. I never heard anything like that because it was so heavy.” The key is innovation and imitation, replicate effective blueprints and success is on the horizon.  

His ascension can be attributed to his debut EP. “When I released my debut EP Bucklyn Bridge, it got a lot of eyes looking at me. “Bucklyn Bridge” demonstrated his craftsmanship as producer. The creation was a contemporary fusion of hip-hop colliding with house. Evan’s brothers immersed themselves into rap music which influenced him. “My twin brothers were downloading rap tunes on lime wire.”  

Studying just wasn’t for Evan. “I tried to go to college to do quantity surveying twice and I dropped out both times after 6 months”. KETTAMA has carved out a place among the best young DJ’s with powerful production. He is innovative and spontaneous. “I try not to think as much during production. It’s more playing around with songs. Once I find the key thing that I like, just go with it. It’s natural, organic, play around, make mistakes until it sounds good.” 

His aspirations are growing as he plans to start a label. “For sure I’ve been thinking about it, I want to find a really good base idea on what I want to do. I don’t know If I want to start a label for my own music or bring other people on.” The idea is in early development yet one day expect him to release material on his own platform  

As he reminisced about the greatest after party he had ever attended, his answer might come as a surprise to some. “Best after party I’ve ever been to, well they are hard to remember. After Tunnels in Aberdeen, they had this big ass house, it wasn’t the craziest, but they had speakers from a club.” Aberdeen has built a reputation for its afterparties just as KETTAMA has built a reputation for his fierce and energetic sets.

Evan’s Glasgow debut in Buff Club was a personal highlight. “That buff club one, they had a huge sound system. I was on the same level as everyone. People were spilling drinks on me.” Glasgow is a wild city with passionate dancers that love to party.

Reflecting on his Boiler Room set Evan remarked on his emotions. “It was nerve-wracking, it was fun. It was pretty well received. I can’t be any happier than that. It’s a huge platform.” This only catapulted his status and demonstrated that he will be a pillar of House music for the foreseeable future. “There might be a remix with Miz in the future, but nothing set in stone.” 

GOOD THINGS WITH BIG MIZ

By Bill Rah


Big Miz reveals he is dropping 4 EPs this year. He has become a staple of Scottish music culture. His production style is a slick series of house infusions combined with disco electro and hip-hop

He has four releases lined up for 2020. This includes a broken beat 10 inch two-track on DJ Haus label Unknown To The Unknown. “Up next is on Shall Not Fade. That’s made up of tunes I made down in Devon Analogue Studio.” That will be Volume II on Shall Not Fade. Expect another release on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams alongside a release on his own label.

“I wanted a side project to release stuff that didn’t fit with the labels I work with. First one went down pretty well and got a good remix from Mella Dee.” Miz wanted to make a record people would be proud to own with nice collective artwork. The next release will include a remix by Irish producer Dart. “When people buy the record, I want it to be something there proud to own.” His real name is Chris McFarlane.

Chris feels a sense of pride when he releases a record. That’s natural for artists. He is a passionate Celtic fan and discussed politicizing music and using it as platform to voice political opinions. “Dance Music has always been political, it stemmed from the African American LGBT community in America. I hate when people say keep politics out of music. It’s mental to me.” He is vocal but more importantly he is right. This shows his appreciation for house music’s cultural roots. Music has been a platform for political statements for generations. 

Miz collaborated with Dixon Avenue Basement Jams to produce the EP Jail The Lot. DABJ is one of Glasgow’s premiere underground labels. “The tunes came first. Then we were trying to think of a theme. It was Kenny’s idea to come up with it. We thought fuck it we will do a political record.” He doesn’t try to be political when producing however the Jail The Lot concept eventually formulated. The thought provoking stylistic artwork depicts politicians behind bars.

Coronavirus has substantially impacted the music industry. “It’s been quite tough even if the lockdown finishes there, still not going to have mass gatherings, it means this industry’s fucked.” With the industry on halt, artists are focusing on production. 

Born in Airdrie, Chris first started coming to Glasgow to study sound production. He has been producing for 12 years and DJ’ing since he was 17. Spinning tunes has become second nature for this Scottish selector.

Chris is highly opinionated and educated in the art of music production. He admits that he still gets frustrated.”It’s hard to keep challenging yourself and not get stuck on the same sound. Get new synths, hardware and try new production techniques.” 

His style of energetic rhythms with house infusions combined with dynamic disco and soul vocals is diverse. He is always working on new production techniques to keep things fresh. Utilizing Binaural panning a DIY surround sound. “It sounds like it’s behind you, going around you. It’s using panning and a lot of reverb to emulate being in a hall. Made a tune out of that which turned out quite cool.”

The recently released Pick ‘n’ Mix album available on Bandcamp has provided Chris with income throughout this unprecedented phase. “Now all my gigs have dried up I need to find another source of income. it’s just a mix of tunes I’ve had sitting in my laptop for years.” The album is a mix of multiple genres and includes some new releases. 

When you do something for long enough, you get quite good at. That’s abundantly clear as Biz Miz is arguably Glasgow’s best producer under 30. He didn’t always go by Big Miz. “I used to make music under Mirrors. All my pals shortened that to Miz. That’s what I was known as and they started calling me Big Miz. When I got my first record out, I just decided I wanted a fresh start.” That fresh start turned out to be a Good Thing

These days Chris has his residency “Good Thing” in Glasgow club Room 2 where he
brings down friends and other DJs he admires for all night b2b sessions although, that
is currently on hold.

During the lockdown his lifestyle hasn’t changed drastically. His routine of making tracks and skating remains. However he remarked on how he can’t go to the skatepark anymore with his mates. Big Miz revealed the first thing he is going to do once the lockdown is over “Straight to the pub.” He has maintained a positive outlook despite the unprecedented situation.

Kicking back behind his laptop getting experimental, expect good things from Big Miz this year. With four EPs on the way expect plenty of funky house tracks and more. “Not a lot of pressure to make more tunes. I can just do fun stuff.”

His release on Unknown To The Unknown drops on May 1st. Pre-order his upcoming release here

FROM SPINNING ROUND CORNERS TO SPINNING TRACKS

Meet Squire aka Jamie Alguersuari, the former Formula 1 racer turned DJ. The 29 year old producer from Barcelona is providing deep house grooves and melancholic sounds. Club culture is in Squire’s DNA

Squire’s early travels were unique compared to the majority of society. “My parents started to go on holidays in 1975 to Ibiza. They took me when I was 2. Since then I basically grew up in Ibiza, all my friends are from there.” That’s damn fine parenting, if you want to go to Ibiza to party don’t let your kids stop you. Take them along for the ride. Jamie’s entire life has been a ride since his early days go karting. “I was 7 when my dad brought me to my first race track.” With the support of his father pushing him to succeed, Jamie was steered down this path. This is his journey.

Since his formative years Squire was trained to become an F1 driver. “When I was 15 I had a contract with Red Bull. They had this program to develop young drivers.” Red Bull’s development program created an environment for him to excel. At 19 he became the youngest Formula One driver to start a Grand Prix in history at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix A record which has been broken. It’s difficult to thrive in a sport so reliant on sponsorship. In F1 the best don’t always win, the richest do. Just like reality. “My team was spending €90M a year and there was teams that were spending €300M a year to become world champions.”

There are few athletes, artists and talents that have the capability to thrive under pressure. In any major industry which involves a substantial amount of money, pressure will be involved. “There is pressure of course and you’re responsible for driving a very expensive car. At the end of the day the only pressure that really is important that counts is the one that you put on yourself. I think it’s the same with music or any other activity In life.” Without pressure and motivation driving us our skill set can stagnate

Photography by Sebas Romero

Squire’s love affair with music began deep in a basement at 15. “We had this basement at a friends house with go karts, bikes, they had this studio and DJ booth. I was not into music then. At that time vinyl was still strong.” Squire’s love for vinyl hasn’t died. “When I was going to Berlin or London I would go to a black market and buy some records. I went back to Ibiza and showed it to my friends. It was a competition showing the music between us, who has the strongest records.” This is too real, we all have argued with our friends over track ID’s. There’s something unique about accessing tunes that no one else can.

There are few artists in this world who have gone from spinning round corners to spinning the decks. You might be asking yourself what led to Jamie retiring. Why would anyone want to abandon the luxurious lifestyle? Squire’s morale compass dictated his decision and is a reflection of his character and ethical principles. “I was losing my own personality, I was losing my own values. When you are representing a brand with so much money involved. They tell you what to say, how to dress, what to eat. You are not yourself anymore, you just become an actor.” Squire’s reflection demonstrated his understanding of corporate greed pushing their agenda instead of helping the wellbeing of the competitor.

As he moved on from his former occupation he dived into music “Every time I start to make a new track I think of how it sounds if it’s in a Jazz sound. Jazz is all about movement.” Making people move is crucial. Squire reminisced on his first ever set which was in Ibiza. He performed despite being underage. “In 2005 in a gay club in Ibiza called Lolas, I just played half an hour. I will never forget, it was amazing. I couldn’t even get into the club but they got me in through the backdoor.” Music has an everlasting impact on our memories. The way we dance, the way we move and the way we feel passion for tunes.

Photography by Sebas Romero

He candidly spoke about his hometown. “There is this amazing mediterranean summer vibe.” Last year Squire lived in Ibiza for 2 months. “A lot of people are always saying, what you doing tonight lets do this. You end up, It’s 6AM in the morning.” Squire discussed his life philosophy. “Party for me is life. It’s a privilege to be here now to party when you see coronavirus going on.” One of the first thing’s Squire mentioned was the Coronavirus epidemic. It demonstrated his attitude as a kind hearted individual. “We should definitely feel more privileged for what we have. Celebrating life consistently is a state of mind.”

“Music has to move I feel if it’s just too straight and it doesn’t move it doesn’t have this human texture. It’s not really music at all. This is something we have to be really careful about because technology has improved so much that it’s very easy to sound non organic.” From his studio in Barcelona, Squire has utilized live recordings to create an organic sound. “I want to sound slow, romantic and spacey. Music has to feel organic, it has to feel natural and humanized and that’s why I love this sound. A sound you can really watch and see. That’s why I really like organic instruments and vocals. I do struggle a lot to make music.” 

It’s a surprise that Squire admitted he struggles to produce despite the fact his music has been championed by Dixon and Trick. Squire’s previous track Common Sense, a spacey deep house banger was released on legendary Berlin label Mobile. “I was super happy. It’s being played around and you see how people react to it. I think it’s really strong and I’m proud of it.” Squire has an upcoming release on Mobilee which is out on March 20th. Pre order it here!

https://mobilee.lnk.to/Squire

Photography by Sebas Romero

UP NORTH FUNK WITH MEG WARD

By Bill Rah

Meet Meg Ward, 22, Resident DJ @Cosmic Ballroom for Ill Behaviour in Newcastle, graduate of Pharmacology and Tyneside’s finest female producer.

Newcastle’s underground leading lady hails from Leeds is fresh, bubbly and has a diverse selection of tracks at her disposal. Ready to unleash it on Tyneside’s fierce dancers. When questioned on how it feels when someone refers to her track as a tune, Meg chuckled and exclaimed “It’s fucking class”. She discussed what inspired her to create Tyneside. “My EP was inspired by the time I spent in Newcastle.” Tyneside is full of heavy hitting house that will raptures an individuals eardrums.

“Throughout making that EP I was in the peak of my third year of university. I was struggling through a lot of stuff and used that as an outlet to cope with stress.” It’s an impressive accomplishment considering the high velocity of stress that third year of university inflicts. Despite the academic torture Meg managed to discover everything isn’t that bad. “I sort of put whatever I felt into that track. I was walking down next to the River Tyne and just looking around taking it in and realizing everything is beautiful.” Appreciating the artistic scenery of our surroundings can help calm our mind which allows us to focus. When we are focused we can become inspired from unconventional sources.

“The second track on my EP I made acquaintance with a Magpie I made that in the peak of my exam season. Every single morning I would go outside for a coffee and a cigarette. I would see this Magpie just sat outside my door tweeting.” An irritating prospect for any student looking to just get through exams. “It was doing my head in always looking happy. I’m like why you so happy, I’m pissed off.” Tyneside Techno Queen Meg Ward utilized her creativity and decided to sample the magpie tweeting. “I made a track out of this annoying little twat of a magpie looking really happy while I was so stressed with exams.”

Photography By Jake Morton

Chain smoking twenty a day, incredibly nervous, stressed and fueled by caffeine Meg managed to create a magnificent EP with meaning and purpose. Despite the demanding academic tenure she nailed her exams despite promising her mother her music career was only a hobby. “In the middle of my degree. I was just like mum I’m just going to buy some decks. It’s just going to be a hobby so I can play at some house parties.” This spiraled into a different direction as the diverse producer became invested in underground music culture. “When I told her I started to enjoy it more than I did my degree. She was saying come on Megan just finish your degree. But at the end I got a 2:1.”

Hold up, you’re telling me that you can become a successful underground DJ, promising producer and still get a 2:1? Someone educate me on how you can balance that.”I didn’t really balance it too well I just concentrated a lot on music and forgot about my degree. It took a lot of last minute grafting.” You can stop reading this if you have never left an essay last minute. Having the mental fortitude to push yourself to such heights is remarkable considering the lifestyle of DJs and students. Pushing herself wasn’t the only struggle, convincing her mother to accept her goals took time. “It did take a bit of pushing but now she’s really proud. She will talk about me to her friends at work and enthusiastically tell them My daughter is a DJ.”

Meg has a unique outlook as she is a firsthand witness of wounded dancers on the battlefield. “For the past couple of years I’ve been working in welfare tents in different festivals, volunteering and getting paid for it.” As a graduate of Pharmacology which is the study of drugs, the producer has extensive knowledge on recreational and pharmacological substances. Illicit or legit she knows how to handle the vibe regardless of the situation. “It really does help because you can see how drugs affect someone the way it does. It’s really interesting.” There are multiple aspects of her character which make her interesting in an oversaturated industry. One aspect is part of her identity as a member of the LGBT community. She spoke about the dawn of House Music, rooted in underground Chicago clubs.

Photography By Jake Morton


“I think it’s beautiful that LGBT people got together and they could only get into underground clubs because they weren’t aloud to congregate together.” It’s difficult to comprehend how people can subject minorities and LGBT people to discrimination but we live in a white world. “It’s mad to think about this but music brought them together. Dancing full of love and energy, it’s what made the scene so beautiful and it does filter through now.” Her passion was reflected within her remarks in which she took her time to respond with a genuine thoughtful response. Although she was quick to name artists which have inspired her. The Chicago legend Honey Dijon left her imprint within her style.

“I love disco that’s been one thing that’s been a staple in my life. Honey Dijon is awesome, she through a t-shirt at me and that was sick. I was proper buzzing.” It’s only natural to become electrified when our idols acknowledge us or gift us with t shirts to replace the dirty sweat drenched festival shirt. “What I love about her is she’s not afraid to play whatever. She just plays whatever is good and what she thinks the crowd will love and it fucking works.” Witnessing legends helped prepare Meg for her journey in which she embarked to chase her goals. Despite being a skilled producer she only has two years under her belt and has been DJ’ing for three years.

“Coming to Newcastle got me into house. The scene is absolutely thriving.” However Meg believes the culture has become oversaturated with too many DJs. Yet this didn’t prove to be a challenge. “Getting my name out there wasn’t too bad because I was friends with a lot of people who run events. My friends gave me a chance and I developed and grew.” Her developmental phase involved her first club set supporting Ben Pearce. “My first club set was awesome. It was in World Headquarters. First time I’ve ever used CDJs. I’d only ever used a Numark controller.” The culture in Newcastle has provided a platforms for this intellectual producer to thrive. “Theres not a lot of discrimination or anything. It’s just so awesome. A lot of the time they have given me a set because I’m female just so it’s more inclusive.”

Photography By Jake Morton

As Meg shared her thoughts on the Newcastle culture she began to discuss her friendship with another elite producer, Murg. The two shared a bond that few will understand as best friends and collaborators. “Murg is like my best mate in the world, he is the disco boy. We supported KETTAMA and Loods together.” The dynamic disco duo have been working together tirelessly to produce an EP for the dawn of the first summer of the decade. “We have got an EP coming soon. Definitely before summer. We have some disco stuff, an edit of Whitey Houston coming. Then we have got some pretty hard stuff that’s original mixes.”

This collaboration isn’t the only thing on the agenda as Meg looks forward to releasing another EP. I’ve got an EP’s coming out myself, Zone focus are starting a new label and I’ll be the first one on the launch. It’s a bit daunting because it’s the first EP they are releasing.” Despite the pressure that comes with a record label launch, it should come as no surprise when Meg Ward releases another exquisite EP.