A week before his second release, a quality 12″ on Brighton’s BlahBlahBlah imprint, and just after he gave away a track called Block19 via XLR8R (download it here), it seemed a good time to find out a bit more about hotly-tipped, 17-year-old producer, Alfie; about his music, influences, London’s changing music scene and what’s in store for the next your or so for him. Check out the interview below and stream the release on the way.
- Firstly, can you give us a quick introduction to yourself and how you came to make the music you do?
My name is Alfie (Sibthorpe), some may recognise the surname, as my older brother is Christian Sibthorpe, better known as A1 Bassline. My family are all musical and like my brother, we had a good introduction to music and the industry through my father (and manager, Tony Palmer) and our eldest sister (Danielle). My dad has been involved in music all his life and is probably best known for being the founder of RAVE magazine in the 80′s. He has been managing for years and some of the artists we have been around and growing up with, like Dem2 (US Alliance), Q Tee, Brix E Smith (The Fall), the list goes on, have been managed by him. My sister bought 1210s when she was about 16 and had/still has one of the best D&B/Garage collections you’ll ever see. It was weird as a kid having the likes of Joy Orbison, Kavsrave, and Fold all coming round to use her decks and records to mix on, they all pretty much learnt their trade at our house, as they all went to school with my brother. My influences have come from all of the music i’ve had drummed in to my head since I was a child, there would be a bit of jazz and soul playing on a sunday morning, then a bit of dub, reggae and ska in the afternoon, followed by a bit of banging house, hip hop, garage and D&B blasting out in the evening/night time, it was a very musical household. All of these genre’s have played a big part in influencing me and the music I make, I also love a bit of Pink Floyd, the way they arrange and produce will never be emulated, probably the most unique band in history.
- Which artists have had the biggest impact on your production?
Hmm, from Miles Davis to Toots and the Maytals, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, Wes Montgomery to A Tribe Called Quest ( I’ve just written and sent a track to Klashnekoff, which he said he’s using). Of Modern day producers, coincidentally most of the people that are supporting me are the ones I have most time for on the dance scene, Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, Addison Groove, Four Tet, Oneman, Catz N Dogz et al, its such a honour that these names like my stuff.
- How would you describe your BlahBlahBlah 12″, ‘About Midday’/'Uncomfortably Numb,’ and why is BlahBlahBlah the right label for it?
Its a mix of house and techno with the added ingredients of what I have been musically influenced by. We were approached by several labels and after talking to BBB, taking in to account their blog, their ideas and the fact that they were prepared to do vinyl just about swung it, I also think they are a label going places and have a big future, I thought that Blacksmif was a good signing before me too.
- You’re only 17 and onto your third release already. Can you see your style evolving much over the many years to come?
Definitely, I never want to make 2 records the same, maybe keep them in the same context, I don’t want to be known for making one genre of music and being pigeon holed, I do think i’ll always make dance music, but as you say i’m only 17, who knows what the future holds?
Was it initially hard to make soundsystem music? Having presumably not had all that much club experience..
I’ve snuck in to a few clubs in my time and managed to get back stage at a few clubs and a lot of festivals, but my music will keep improving, I hope, with the more I get to play out, I have been lucky enough to play in some good clubs on some good nights, I was the youngest ever DJ to play Fabric at 16, I’ve also played at Sin, Found at Hidden, a DJ Mag night at Egg, Glade festival and a few others, I found it weird when I headlined a night in Southend and people paid to come to see me, even weirder when I had a few autograph requests. But what tops all of that was playing main support to The Fall At Indigo2 at Mark E Smith’s request, playing a 1 hour house set to a sold out Fall crowd made me grow up over night, they probably found it stranger than me, but they were very appreciative. They didn’t dance much, but showed their love at the end.
- How do you see the health of London’s music scene at the moment? Producers seem to be getting younger and younger, this must be a good thing, no?
I think the music scene is a bit confused at the moment, not just in London, so many producers are changing their style, the whole dubstep scene seems to be easing off a bit and people seem to be looking for something new (or old.) I can see a major change towards D&B and a lot of interest in Garage and old school house from the 80′s and 90′s. I’m just going to keep doing what i’m doing, as for age, yeah there are a lot of young producers popping up all over the place, I just hope i get respect for what I make regardless of my age.
- Which labels and artists are you into at the moment? Whose tracks have you been playing out, any in particular?
At the minute I’m really feeling all the stuff by the likes of Fachwerk, Ostgut Ton, Dirtybird And Hypercolour are putting out, it’s all sorts of me. I’ve also been listening to a lot of old stuff that New York Soundclash And Locked On released. Artist wise I’ve been playing out anything from Shed to Mike Huckaby, Basic Soul Unit, Skudge, Roman Lindau, A1 Bassline, Boddika, Levon Vincent, Kerri Chandler, Kink, FOLD, US Alliance, and Groove Chronicles. All these artists find the balance between deep grooves and movement in the track to get a dancefloor going; and I wouldn’t say any tracks in particular, depends what the crowds response is to what I’m playing.
- What can we expect to see from you for the rest of this year?
More of the same, more releases, more gigs, I’m playing at Eastern Electrics on the Found stage and would like to take this opportunity to thank James Benenson for his support. I’ll also be doing a guest slot for Deep Shit on NTS Radio on the 26th of this month. We are talking to a few labels about my next release and have already discussed another release with BBB, i’d like to start playing out more this year (contact my manager, i’m available for weddings and funerals haha)
- Finally, please complete the following sentence: Get Some…
More gigs for me !
‘About Midday’/’Uncomfortably Numb’ is out via BlahBlahBlah on July 16.