TiD&B Interview: DJ SteppaPosted by Lady V on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Leeds-based imprint Audio Warfare have dropped the jungle infused smasher by Serum and Northern Light’s ‘Don’t Let Go’, featuring the infectious vocals of Dee Bo General. Repping strong as a fourth release, we thought it about time we caught up with the label’s main man, Steppa, award winning DJ and producer in his own right as well as one part of duo Northern Lights, to find out more about AW…
TiD&B: You’ve been incredibly busy of late, working non-stop on a variety of different projects – where are you today and what are you up to?
Steppa: I’m working from home today after being office-bound all of last week with the release of ’Don’t Let Go’/ ‘Dreamworld’ that’s just come out on Audio Warfare.
TiD&B: Can you tell us more about your label Audio Warfare?
Steppa: It was launched in August last year, and I started it as an additional outlet to promote my music following successful previous releases on various different labels including Hazard’s Radius.
TiD&B: So far, the releases have been based around your own, as well as close friends and collaborators Kitcha and Serum’s productions, but as the label grows, are you looking to promote other artists too? Where are you looking to take the AW imprint?
Steppa: Yes, I’m looking to release music from both new and already established artists across the spectrum, such as a dropping a digital EP from the renowned Bladerunner of Dread fame alongside breaking talent like fellow Northerners Bad Education – both present totally different styles of D&B. But the main priority for me at the moment is to continue building upon the brand and identity of the label.
TiD&B: Returning back to the beginning of your career, you started out at a very young age, growing up within the Leeds D&B scene, would you say that has had an important influence on where you are today?
Steppa: Without a doubt; the experience gained whilst working for L Double at Flex proved invaluable as did getting residencies at both Metropolis and Sub Dub, which I’m still part of today. Essentially, it was through these experiences where my skills were really honed.
TiD&B: What then inspired your interest to produce, as initially you gained acclaim on the scene for you abilities as a DJ?
Steppa: It was a totally logical progression; playing and breaking certain tunes in the North of England from other artists, it was natural to then start making my own music to perform too.
TiD&B: But if you had to choose either DJing or producing only, where does your heart lie now?
Steppa: DJing…as much as I enjoy producing I was born to be a DJ!
TiD&B: You also work under the moniker of Northern Lights, a collaborative project with Kitcha – does Northern Lights have a different sound to your personal style? Would you say that it showcases a different side to your work as an artist?
Steppa: Although having known each other since around 2003 from hanging out in record shops, it wasn’t until 2008 that we started collaborating. The name came about as we got more involved with Twisted Individual’s Grid Recordings, and needed an alias for the collaborative work and remix projects. When it comes to the style of sound, I’d say my work as Steppa is my trademark jump up vibe, but the Northern Lights productions are more across the board, exploring a variety of different styles.
TiD&B: Do you have a particular favourite track from your back catalogue?
Steppa: ‘Can’t Resist’ being my first solo release holds great sentimental value. I’d also say ‘Watch Out’ which is due out in December on SGN: LTD is special, as signing my music to Friction’s prestigious label had always been a personal goal.
TiD&B: As we approach the end of the year, what has been your highlight of 2011? What should we keep an eye out for 2012?
Steppa: An unforgettable highlight of 2011 was hosting both a stage and boat party at this year’s Outlook Festival; further demonstrating just how far Audio Warfare has come in such a short space of time.
With regards to what you should look out for, forthcoming, remixes have been a priority recently – I’ve been working on stuff for Serial Killaz and Benny Page. Also keep an eye out for the Serum & Northern Lights remix of ‘Get Ready’ pending release in 2012 on Rebel MC’s Congo Natty.