Mindstep Music is the name of the label you need to get to know. The whizz-kids behind it have shaken things up in the underground bass scene from day one; showcasing forward thinking bass music from the likes of Vaun, Trashbat, B9 and ARtroniks. They have recently released a large compilation featuring the freshest artists around right now. Just before the release I caught up with the man of the moment, Trashbat (Callum Grant), to talk all things Mindstep.
Spectrum: So how’s it going man?
Trashbat: Yeah im wicked mate, safe!
Spectrum: Good good, have you been up to much lately? Any news?
Trashbat: Yeah man, this year’s been pretty busy so far! Started the year with my Hanako EP on Mindstep, then had a couple of gigs abroad in Belgium & Slovenia which was amazing. I had a track featured on Deep Heads Dubstep Vol 1 which was a huge deal for me. Not long after that GetDarker got in touch about putting Hanako on This is Dubstep 2014; which was mind blowing. I couldn’t believe it, as a long time fan and supporter of GetDarker it was a massive milestone personally. In between those releases I’ve had a track come out on MusicForYourMindstep Vol 1 and I’m currently working on a project that I think is my best work to date, so yeah, I’ve been super busy!
Spectrum: So for those who don’t know, what is Mindstep Music and this new wave of dubstep all about?
Trashbat: Mindstep Music is the label I’m signed to which is dedicated to showcasing a range of innovative sounds within and around the 140bpm spectrum. As for the new wave of music, I think currently we’re seeing quite a surge in electronic music, in which, the focus is on the music, rather than the electronic.There’s an increasing number of producers starting to push the more melody driven dubstep. I don’t want to give it a s specific name or anything, I ‘spose people will eventually though. My only guess as to why we’re starting to see more of it is because people are starting to grow tried of the predictable and at least for the most part, this is something different
Spectrum: Yeah, I totally agree, the releases of labels like Mindstep are a breath of fresh air in my opinion. Even when it comes to dubstep nights, I find myself sometimes getting a little restless when all the DJs are playing the same kind of tunes.
Trashbat: Yeah I know what ya mean, it can get kinda dull if it’s the same sound all night. I’d like to think with Mindstep that’s something we have in our favour; there’s really no two producers or DJs on the roster that make or play out the same sort of sound.
Spectrum: I think so too. Mindstep seem to be on the ball with the message they are sending out right now; each release has been consistently fresh. There are also some big names in this compilation release. Do you know anything about which names to look out for on Mindstep in the near future?
Trashbat: I do. However, I’m not too sure how much I can divulge! But, hold tight Anex & Vaun though… haha.
Spectrum: An Anex & Vaun EP’s?? … Cannot wait! I actually caught Anex last night at Alive n Steppin [Manchester]… he played a sick set. You and Anex have been pretty close from early on last year haven’t you? So tell me more about the bromance with him, how did it all start haha?
Trashbat: Well I suppose we’ve been swapping tracks for a year or two now. We’ve always liked each others respective sounds. When it transpired that we both use Reason, it just made sense that we collaborate. We’ve been making tracks together for a while now. We met up person at erm… oh no I cant remember! Sorry Jon! It must have been a good night though… I suppose we got on pretty well.
We did our first b2b set recently though at Ram Records X Detonate in Nottingham; that was a sick night. Felt pretty surreal to see us on a flyer next to some of those names!
Spectrum: That’s pretty cool man and speaking of DJ sets, is there any chance of you coming up north a bit more? A Mindstep night would be welcomed. I didn’t know you were a Reason user either; I think Fable uses Reason wink wink!
Trashbat: I didnt know that, Fable’s a top producer, that’s definitely something I’ll bare in mind… Congi uses reason too…
I have a few gigs lined up personally and there’s a few Mindstep nights on the way but I can’t really give anymore details other than that a the moment. I’m afraid all I can say is you wont be waiting too long.
Trashbat: We’ve traded project files a few times in the past but either nothing comes of them or we don’t finish them due to just hitting a wall. They do exist but if they’ll ever see the light of day is another story.
Spectrum: Ah that needs sorting out mate. Whilst we’re on the subject of writing music, what else, other than Reason do you use to create your style?
Trashbat: Well, to be honest 99% of everything is done in reason. I use a lot of samples, be it from the myriad of packs I’ve built up over the years or something I’ve sample myself. I sample a LOT of stuff, from old movie soundtracks to ambience from computer games, and of course, jazz music.
Spectrum: Very interesting. I think there is something very fun about sampling, taking something and making it your own. That also brings me to another question; which artists do you draw inspiration from when making this kind of music?
Trashbat: I think mainly I draw my inspiration from old hip-hop producers and tracks. I don’t know about anyone specifically but there’s something about that chopped and screwed sampling I cant get enough of. It’s the whole idea of taking something old and making it into something new. I think when you sample old music it gives an added texture to it; automatically adds a certain depth to it.
Spectrum: Yes, that’s it. I think the whole ritual of finding and collecting samples is slightly addictive in the way that collecting things like stamps or Pokémon cards is. I have to agree with you on the ‘texture’ that sampling old music gives as well. Of course older tunes were also often made and recorded with analogue equipment too.
Trashbat: Ah yeah, I didn’t even consider that. That’s a very interesting point.
I also think I draw from movies and TV shows; sometimes watching certain things gets me in the mood to make music. That’s not to say it inspires me to make music themed around what ever I’ve watched, it’s more certain things just get my creativity flowing. Take Prometheus for example, I love that movie; every time I watch it I get in the tune making mood. Again that’s not to say it gets me in the mood to make alien sci-fi music, it just gets me going creatively.
Spectrum: I understand what you mean. If I watch a beautiful anime, I always come away inspired generally by the film; often leading to myself doing something creative.
Trashbat: Yeah that’s it, I think visuals kind of go hand in hand with music, like you picture a place or something when you hear a certain tune. Sometimes when I make music I’ll put on nature documentaries or relaxation videos on a second monitor on mute, it kinda helps.
Spectrum: Pretty sure if I did that, I’d come out with only ambient, not bass music; not a bad thing though. Might have to give that a try.
Trashbat: Its worth a go, or stick a film on you like or something.
Spectrum: I will, and I will let you know!
I’m afraid that’s almost the end of my questions. My last question though is what can we expect from Mindstep Music and yourself in the near future?
Trashbat: Well you can look out for another release on MIndstep from me toward the end of this year. It’s a project I’ve been working on with a vocalist and I’m super excited about it but that’s all I’ll say. As for the Mindstep team you can expect a few more parties and a couple more takeovers this year and of course plenty of fresh music coming from an extremely diverse range of artists that we’re really excited about showcasing!
Spectrum: Brilliant stuff man, onwards and upwards! Are there any last words or shouts to people?
Trashbat: Yeah man, shout outs to Crises & the Mindstep family, shouts to the Chord Maruaders,
GetDarker, Deep Heads and any and everyone who listens to and supports my music, you guys are the best.
Spectrum: Well Cal, it’s been a pleasure. Take care man.
Trashbat: Thank you mon frere!
Sepia – Polaroids – Dub
Trashbat – Ink & Pink – Deep Heads
Geode – Amber – Deep Heads
Drew’s Theory – Philly Steppin’ – Dub
Cyrus – Winter Writer – GetDarker
Drew’s Theory – Calm Delusions – Dub
Dillard & Trashbat – Open Your Mind – Dub
Trashbat – Hanako – Mindstep Music
Geode – Variations on a Theme – Smokin’ Sessions
Elefant Doc – Tonality – Gradient Audio
B9 & Mercy – Egg Yolk – Dub
Anex – In The Sun – Dub
Mercy – Honey Drip – Dub
Trashbat – Shine VIP – Dub
Drew’s Theory – For Real – Dub
B9 – Award Winning Mex Club – Dub
Anex – Over it – Dub
Trashbat – Nine9 Style – Dub
Drew’s Theory – Side Effect – Dub
The 15-track compilation album “MusicForYourMindstep Vol 1” features Trashbat’s new track “Arrowhead” amongst many other top tracks from many big names. It is out on Mindstep Music now so make sure you grab a copy!
Also a big thanks to Masa Gojic for Dub Lab (First image) and P.K. Photography for Bass Pass Blog (Second & Third image) for supplying photography for the piece.
Written by Nathan Keziah