Dancebreak recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Dubstep legend p0gman. Hailing from Wolverhampton, UK, p0gman brought the bass to Electronic Tuesday at the Cervante Ballroom in Denver, CO.
Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while commentary from p0gman is in normal text.
Where did you just come from?
What I’ve been doing is spending all of my downtime in LA. I just did Boston, Detroit, here now, back to LA tomorrow, Friday I go to Bloomington, Saturday I go to New York, then I go to Toronto for a week, stay with some friends, then I play Toronto, Chicago, then I go home. It should have been a much longer tour, but we had some visa problems, I had to cancel seven shows, it was fucked, but at least it got sorted in the end.
How did you get into dubstep?
I used to be into death metal, I used to be in a death metal band for three years but the whole time my brothers and cousins were listening to garage music, drum and bass, stuff that I hated at first but the one thing that I really liked was bass lines. Then a couple years later, one of my friends came down, who was also in a death metal band, who was into dubstep, and he showed me “Diary of an Afro Warrior” which was Benga’s first album (2008)… and then I was like, “what the fuck is this?” ‘Cause it was just all bass lines, so I really, really liked it. So I started to get into it more, then the band split up and I just wanted to carry on in music and I thought I could do something solo instead of carrying on in a band. I challenged dubstep and it flourished from there.
Did you teach yourself?
No, I went to uni for five years. I started to self teach myself, but then, it was kinda like, I was doing things that kinda sounded good and I was so wrong, so I went to uni to get the technical side of everything, I studied Music Tech at uni. I came out of uni and got signed to a label, the last four years has been up and up!
How long have you been producing?
I started in late 2010. Made an EP in 2011, that’s when I found my sound. So six years, time is flying!
When you found your sound was it [an ah-ha moment?]
I was really into the deeper side from listening to Benga and stuff like that, and then Skream, Mala, Horsepower, all the originals. That was all the heavy stuff that I was really about. Then Caspa and Rusko released Fabriclive.37 (2008), then I was like “Shit, this is the sort of music I want to make!” But I still wanted to [meet] kind of in the middle. So that was where that wobbly sound kind of came. Then just kept pushing it from there. My sound has evolved a lot now, it’s a lot heavier than it used to be, but I still got that P0gman sound. No matter how heavy I go, people still know it’s P0gman. I am still trying to evolve with the sound because I want to keep relevant to trends and stuff like that, so I try to keep it as fresh as I can.
Do you find it difficult to keep up with the trends?
New styles are coming out all the time, there are certain things that hit me, and I’m like, “that’s sick! That’s where I want to take my sound but keep my element.” The sound that’s the rage at the moment is that Never Say Die sort of sound, so I am reeaaally about that. Disciple are really pushing it as well, and I have had relations with both of those guys, so they are supporting what we’re doing as well. Trying to take it to that next level. So, yea, Never Say Die is a big influence at the moment. All those guys are just fucking killing it.
How did you come up with your name?
After I made my first song, I was sitting around with one of my oldest friends, and if I was going to start producing I needed a name. I wanted to have something that was not so serious but not so stupid at the same time. Do you remember pogs (aka milk caps game)? I just loved pogs, as a kid, so I said fuck, I’ll be called “p0gman,” the character was called pogman, and so I’ll probably get sued one day, until then it’s ok… I put a number in it for some reason, because it was cool.
We recently just rebranded everything, that went really good [sic]. (The number 0 has been modified with a large “X” overlaid on top). I got myself a new manager about eight months back, and that guy’s killing it as well, so it’s really good. The zero thing ended up paying off.
Is there a particular track that makes your set or do you feel that there is a particular influence in your set?
Well, the thing I have tried to do on this tour, is because obviously I am really enjoying that new sort of sound, the Never Say Die stuff. A few years ago I wouldn’t have really played that stuff because it was too heavy for my style. But now, on this tour what I’ve tried to do on this tracklist is from straight down to the old school riddimy sound that I use to make straight through Skrillex [and new released] tracks, just trying to cover the whole board. I am really enjoying it ’cause I think as dubstep has come along, it’s become much more energetic. So you need to keep that energy in longer sets and that’s where that new sort of style helps because it’s energetic as fuck.
There’s really not one sort of track, maybe the one I enjoy playing the most is “Wooboost” by Rusko, I fuckin love playing that track ’cause you can play it anywhere in the world and people just know it straight away, it’s nice to just put a little bit of that old school back in there… especially somewhere in Denver where I know, for a fact, every single person in the crowd is going to know that track.
What is your favorite venue or festival you have played at so far?
I played at Rampage in Belgium last year and that was fucking unbelievable, that was crazy. But I am also into the small intimate sort of venue, that’s why I really like Webster in New York, it’s got a nice crowd, Denver’s exactly the same. The reason I like these sort of crowds is that you guys are here to listen to the music and that’s what good about it, they really appreciate it. Sometimes it’s better to play to 200 people opposed to 2,000 people because I would rather play to 200 people where every single person is enjoying it, than 2,000 where you have people [completely immersed in the music] up front and the rest of the crowd is dormant. One of my favorites in the whole world is Perth, in Australia. I played a show at a place called Bassment, that was actually where I met my manager. It’s fucking unbelievable. There’s like 1,500-2,000 people there, but they are all about the music, so it’s like an intimate show on a bigger level. It’s fucking amazing, so sick. There are lots of places, the first time I played in LA, in Hollywood, it was my biggest show and it blew me away. As long as people are enjoying the show, I don’t care where I am playing to be honest.
Do you have a piece of advice you would give producers?
When I was telling guys at the clinic earlier, a big thing that changed my outlook on everything was I would work on a tune and get to a point where I fucking hated it ’cause I would listen to it so much. Then something clicked in my head, I was like, “well, I’ve listen to it for days, but nobody else in the whole world has heard this song.” So I started getting to the point where I was putting it on my Soundcloud to see what the reaction was like. Some of the songs that I didn’t necessarily think would do that well, ended up doing really fucking really, really well, so I think you really need to believe in what you’re doing. The beauty of music is that it is not wrong or right, just do what the fuck you want to do, and believe in what you want to put out. Don’t be worried to put something out if it’s a bit different because it could open a whole new fanbase that never liked you before. If you’ve got true fans as well, they will stick by you with whatever you do. Just keep pushing, keep fucking exploring the sound and everything, don’t worry about not putting something out because only a few people might like it, because yes, 10 people might think this is a bit different, but 100 people might think “this is fuckin sick!”
Sub.mission’s mission statement is to “move people through music not hype,” what is your mission?
My ultimate standard for everything is, if you believe [in yourself], you can get it no matter what. That’s what I did all the way through. I always said from day one, I am going to be on the big stage one day and I am going to be pushing my own records and it’s gonna happen. But I think if you’ve got enough passion and enough belief in yourself, you’ll fuckin do it, no matter what anybody tells you. If somebody tells you, you’re shitty, don’t even listen to that. That’s in any walk of life.
I tell myself every year, I set myself goals on what I want to achieve that year, sometimes it doesn’t happen, sometimes it does and you just gotta keep pursuing, to not be scared; just take a leap into something that you may not be that comfortable with. If you think it is going to progress you in the right way, then do it, definitely, fuck yea.