5 minutes with… Celsius

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Notorious as the soundtrack of South London drive-bys and skank-offs, if you haven’t heard Celsius‘s music blaring out of passing cars you probably drive a mini and live in Parson’s Green. His latest EP, ‘Incoming’ is released on digital on 7 October, having dropped on Vinyl (for the cool kids) on 23 September. Time to dance.

We note you’re based in South London – a place that has always contributed to the UK music scene in a rather unique way. Now that South London’s dubstep baby has been around for a few years, what do you think will be next to emerge from the ooze?

Well it seems it’s been acceptable to bring the UK garage sound back into clubs for a while now (not that it really ever went away). Whatever’s next is anyone’s guess, like I said these sub genres never really go away, and bubble around in clubs keeping underground until they’re called up again.

Monseigneur Pseudo thinks that he can detect a hint of trance in your (highly enjoyable) track ‘Relax Your Mind’, that appeared on Moda Black. What say you to that?

Ha! I’m not sure about trance, but I guess there are definitely some elements of early progressive house in some of the melodies. Music is only successful in my eyes when it makes you feel. I think these minor chords and melodic breaks are just me trying to put some emotion back it to a genre that can often be ruled by beat and groove. That’s what I’m trying anyway. I love that moment in a rave when the lights are out and that certain melody just moves you, makes the hairs go on your neck go up. You remember that.

We loved the EP. It is distinctively garage, in the swung bass and shuffled percussion, whilst combining an appreciation of wider trends in music – a post-dubstep sentiment and Franco-teutonic stabs/vocal chops – with a conventional 4/4 house kick. What was the driving thought behind the EP?

I guess it’s trying to show a range I like to hear. I’m all over the straight up club bangers, which is what I wanted Incoming to represent. At the same time, No Ratio is very much a track that’s at home when you’re wasted sitting back in your flat at 6am. I guess I wanted it to be a mini manifesto of what my sound is about, if you’d never heard any previous tracks. I wanted this to work as some sort of entry point for new people.

Garage has been around for yonks, but always manages to remain underground, whilst offspring genres move into the mainstream. It still seems to be a sound for second rooms and suburban carpools (in the best possible way). Do you think this will ever change?

As you said it has remained underground in a really intact way; all the same DJs and MC’s still play raves in London; not many seemed to fragment, as if someone picked up the whole scene 12 years ago and moved it to a lower shelf out the limelight. Like D&B, garage is too embedded and engrained in UK culture not to exist. It’s an institution. I love that, shows true love to the sound, I guess.

‘Incoming’ is sure to be a hit in clubs. Do you focus more on how a track will work in a club or how it plays on headphones for the casual listener.

I really wanted it to work in other places but the club. I mean, I always listened to music in a mate’s motor, or chillin’ with mates; I guess that’s how I consumed it when I was younger before going to clubs. I think that’s when you can really get to know your music and artists. Then when you do hear it in a club, you bring your own experiences of it and it only makes hearing it on a fat system more direct and personal to you.

What equipment/software did you use to produce the record?
I’ve been using Logic since I started, and won’t change now. So it was all done in that. Loads on Kontakt to sample vinyls and a Korg M1 rack unit.

The EP is out on MadTech Records, Kerri Chandler’s relatively new offshoot from his established Madhouse Records. What was it like working with such a respected figure?

I’ve not actually met him yet, but the name was enough to get me hyped to be working with MadTech! Just knowing he’s into your tracks enough to release them is a proper buzz, hard to believe at first. MadTech’s roster is also proper strong, so much upcoming talent. Feels good to be part of a fam with so much happening.

Is there anyone you would particularly like to work with going forwards?

MJ Cole is a big one, he’s been one of my main influencers from the outset, although his skills and musicianship are well intimidating!

What are you listening to at the moment?

Been really into the Maya Jane Coles album this summer. It’s almost old trip hop in places, but more refined and delicate and flows so well as an album. Been amazing for them commutes and stuff. On a more club thing, Jim E Stack, CDBL and Animist.

Have there been any pieces of music that you can point to as having particularly influenced you as a producer?

Gotta big up these big ones from back in the day – heavy influence and still sound amazing now:
MJ Cole – Sincere
Double 99 – Ripgroove
Y-Tribe – Enough is Enough
Pseudo – Heartbeat

What is next?

Got enough tracks pretty much done to get some more EPs out. I’m also working with a few vocalists. Plan is to do a bit more non-club/varied stuff for a full length at some point…We’ll see though.

CelsiusFacebook // SoundCloud // Stream ‘Incoming’ here // Buy ‘Incoming’ here

MadTech RecordsFacebook // SoundCloud

Interviewers: Mssrs Pseudo and Nym