Brazillian born S.P.Y. has risen to the top of the drum & bass scene in a very short space of time. His style easily flips between deep and dark beats to uplifting and explosive rhythms which in just 5 years have hooked him a spot at the top table with an exclusive signing to Hospital Records.
He finally dropped his eagerly awaited artist album last week and it is absolutely amazing, one of the best we've heard all year in fact. That's why we are very excited to present S.P.Y in our Guest Reviewer hot seat so read on!
Thanks very much for taking time out to speak to us! Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
Right now I'm back in London but lately I’ve been travelling a lot; in the past 7 days I've been mainly working on the promotion of my album and on the production of new tracks and remixes. Last Friday I played at my album launch party at Hospitality Brixton at the Academy which was an amazing night and then at the Traffic D&B night in Stockholm the next day!
Your album drops this week and contains something like 19 killer tracks. How long did it take from start to finish and what were your favourite tracks to work on and why?
It took about 3 years on and off to put everything together. I had really good fun producing this album and I have learned so much with it - each track was a different challenge but the tracks that I have most enjoyed to produce were “Love Hurts” and “What The Future Holds” as both tracks helped me to go through a really difficult time of my life.
We’ve counted around 15 original tracks and remixes that have been released by you over the last 12 months which is pretty good going compared to most other producers! What’s the secret to getting tracks finished and are there any tips you employ to keep the pace of production up?
There's no secret…I think all you have to do is love what you do. I'm not in this business for money or fame, all I want to do is to produce the music I always wanted to make and play it to the world. To keep the pace to finish the tracks I had to learn not to over work the tracks and let it go. I try to keep everything really simple but well crafted.
Talking about beats, can you describe your studio set up at the moment to the young producers reading this? What are the most essential bits of hardware and software and why?
I have an iMac i7, Adams 7x monitors and Adam 10 sub, UAD Apollo quad Sound Card and I run Ableton live 8 and Logic, I have few outboard synths like, Juno 106, Nord lead, virus ti2, tenori-on and few other bits, all in a fairly well acoustic treated studio.
The most essential bits from my studio are my reference monitors and sound card - they have a superb clean sound and at the same time gives you a nice club feel which gives you a really good vibe to reference how the tracks going to sound on the dance floor. Software I use a lot includes the NI Komplete 8, UAD plugins, Slate Audio. Camel audio plugins, and my favourite DAW is Ableton Live.
You moved from Sao Paolo to London 7 years ago. Were you really into DNB before you came to the UK or was it something you first experienced over here? What were those early days in London like and what were your first DNB experiences when you got into the scene?
Well I have moved from Brazil almost 10 years ago. I got into drum n bass back in the hardcore era and the first track I heard that got me into underground electronic music was, Jonny L – “Hurt You So” and The Prodigy – “Music Reach” and from that era I've been following the whole evolution from hardcore to jungle and drum n bass.
I was always really passionate for this music. Just before I moved to the UK I was working as a graphic designer in Brazil and a company offered me a really good job for which I would need to learn English and do some extra courses in my area. So I decided to take a break and go to study abroad.
In 2003, I decided to move to London and it was a quite difficult start; the money that I had saved that I had planned to last about a year lasted me 2 months and because I couldn't speak any English I had to work as a cleaner, flipping burgers at McDonald's and a few other jobs, just to be able to pay my bills and buy records.
The first experience I had in DnB was when one day buying records I found this flyer from a open decks night at Dingwall venue in Camden town. I sent a mix to them and I got selected to play at the night, after my set I got offered residency to play every Thursday at the clubs and bar, 6 hours set all on vinyl. It was a lot of fun.
Lots of young people dream of living overseas. What made you decide to come to Europe and were there any challenges you had to overcome to make it here? Any advice for readers wanting to give it a go?
Moving to England was always a dream, so when I felt that I was ready and I had the opportunity I just took my things and moved. To be honest I wasn't fully prepared, I was short of cash and I couldn't speak the language; the only thing that I would say to people that want to try and live abroad is to save as much money as possible, learn as much as you can about the language and culture of your destination and just go for it - the world is an amazing place and must be explored.
In such a short space of time you’ve risen to the top of the worldwide DNB scene rubbing shoulders with headliners who have been in the game for 20 years or more! What have been the key factors to your success and would you have done anything differently looking back?
I have never really thought about that…all I did was focus all my time into making music. I was never really worried if the music would take me anywhere, but I must to admit, it feels great to play on the same line up with some of my heroes. I have no regrets and I wouldn't change anything I did in the past.
Now all eyes are on you and your awesome album. We’ve seen your killer tour schedule to promote the release and it looks full on! What are the things you most enjoy about travelling all over the world every week, and what are the things about this life that you could happily do without!?
I really enjoy all the travelling, meeting new people every week, eating amazing food, learning about different cultures and seeing really amazing places but I could happily live without all the queues on the airport immigrations!
As such an accomplished producer, we guess that you love all kinds of great music, even just to appreciate it for amazing production and arrangement? Do you make other beats or if you’d like to, what would you love to experiment with?
I have been producing some experimental hip hop tracks which I have never played to anyone and also have been producing a little bit of techno and some sort of tech UK garage. But I'm just experimenting.
Finally, travelling the world with an artist name like S.P.Y. could be fraught with problems when entering some less trustworthy countries! Have you ever had to explain that you’re not really sent by MI6 and how did you manage to talk your way out of it!?
Thankfully I have never had any problems with it. But I think it could be quite funny. :-)
Sadly that is all we have time for, a big thank you to S.P.Y for taking the time out to speak with us.
Check out S.P.Y's very impressive brand new album below:
You can catch S.P.Y performing at Rinseout's 9th Birthday on Saturday 3rd November for more information and to buy tickets click here!
S.P.Y's recommended tracks below:
I have been playing this track since I've got it as a dubplate – it has such a beautiful melody, it's a really good track for you to switch the vibe of your DJ set and uplift your mood.
I love the old school vibe on this track, and the fact that the breaks are quite loose on this track it give it a really nice groove to it, it works really well in any dance floor.
Wicked remix from Inside Info; I can't stop playing this track. It's one of those that you can play on any sort of drum n bass night, from the biggest rave to the smallest intimate venue…this track just goes off.
I have been finding it really difficult to take this track off my selection - minimal, tech and funky all in one really good piece of music. Love it!
There’s a “Shadow Boxing” sort of vibe about this track from the Toronto Based producer Rene Lavice and this one has been tearing dance floors around the globe.
I have been playing this track since the original mix came out as it's one of my favourite tracks from Siren.
This is a collaboration I did with Total Science, Riya and Dam Funk. We tried to keep it really smooth and funky with a little Brazilian vibe.
Killer track from BSE, really well remixed by Jade; I have been playing this track quite a lot.
Really love this track - it has that sort of old Renegade Hardware feel and it goes off every time I play it out.