The last 22 months for NLMT have been nothing short of exciting for himself and listeners alike. From posting teasers on Lengoland to seeing heavy rotation from DJ’s across the scene, NLMT sat down with us to chat everything from his Dad buying his first DAW to his adolescent Dubstep duo with Darkzy. You can find the interview in full below:
Q: Ey up Bassheads, it is my unrivaled pleasure to welcome a fellow Bradfordian to interview today – it’s NLMT! We’re gonna jump right into it and ask: how is it you got involved in bass music to begin with?
A: So I’ve been listening to bass music since I was about 10 years old – I remember getting the old Danny Bond CD’s…
Q: Oi! [Laughs]
A: You know the ones, it had all the organ tunes on it! It’s also worth mentioning that I went to the same school as TS7… He was one of my biggest influences growing up – big up TS7 he’s a sick guy and one of the best people I’ve met in Bassline. Around Bradford Bassline’s a big thing and everyone’d Bluetooth each other the latest tracks and they’d be titled like ‘Niche – Track 4’.
Q: Those back-of-the-bus ones.
A: Yeah, on the Sony Ericsson w810i’s. One Christmas I remember going into Maplin (Rest in Peace, I ended up working there actually!) And I saw a copy of Sony Acid for about £40. I begged my Dad to buy it after persuading him for about an hour and I remember just messing with loops for about 2 years before discovering I could actually make sounds for myself. When I turned 12 or 13, I’m gonna be honest, I cracked a copy of a DAW which I won’t name to protect myself legally.
Q: [Laughs] let’s be honest who hasn’t done it?
A: [Laughs] I remember messing about with sound design and started putting Bassline out on YouTube which got me a bit of a following on there. Eventually that led to me making Dubstep and it went from there…
Q: I know you’ve mentioned people like TS7 and Danny Bond – who would you say your biggest influences have been musically?
A: A lot of the heads round Bradford were huge to me back in the day – TS7 and [DJ] Q from Huddersfield who’s pretty local. From Dubstep I remember loving Emalkay, which spawned the Fabrication Bootleg, which went way bigger than I ever could have imagined. There are just too many names – Rusko was massive and I remember when I was younger on Sony Acid watching his producer masterclass… Of course I always respect the roots but I would say that Dubstep has had more influence on my sound than old-school Bassline has. I like going in on a melody and that shows on my EP I feel – tunes like Prisoner and Back and Forth in particular which has got that really catchy – [hums Back and Forth melody]. Complete fluke by the way!
Q: It always happens that way man I swear you’ll sometimes just nudge something one way or another or paint a note in by mistake and you’ll think ‘shit, actually, that’s really good.’.
A: Exactly man. I’d also say old school Dubstep like Skream, Benga, Coki and Digital Mystikz have had big influences as well as people like Flux Pavillion, Doctor P, Excision and even Skrillex. The guy’s shaped EDM into everything it is today and you can’t tell me otherwise – one of the best producers on the planet for my money.
Q: Of course man and love him or hate him you’ve got to recognise the various offshoots and influences that have spawned from his production style.
A: Exactly, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites changed the game, in the same way that the Arctic Monkey’s first album changed the game for Indie Rock bands. A lot of people forget how revolutionary Skrillex was! Even with tunes like ‘Chicken Soup’ now – every DJ has dropped that tune.
Q: In a way, particularly with that tune and that sort of stuff more generally, you can see where the lines between UK Bass influenced music and EDM influenced music begin to converge.
A: That’s exactly it and it’s the love for Bass that brought me back! Makes a change from not releasing a tune for 2 years! There came a point where I lost all confidence with it and I was making like Deep/Future House at the time… From the year before I started Uni up until about my second year I only put 1 tune out and it did alright locally – a few local DJ’s picked it up, but it didn’t get anywhere near as much traction as my tunes get now. I fell out of love with it and I got to a point where I felt like I was gonna give up but that’s when my mate Darkzy steps in.
Q: That segues us nicely into my next question actually! I have to ask because we spoke about it before: Darkzy and yourself have something of a history, could you go into that a little bit?
A: [Laughs] yeah man I’ll give you the full story. Back when I was 13 years old I thought I was a bit of a big man and Eliott will tell you this himself: I had the worst ego. I was doing like YouTube tutorials and I’m not telling any man where these can be found… The only people who know these exist are Darkzy and Claybrook – if either of them open their gobs slaps might have to be dished out.
Q: [Laughs] are they still public or are they unlisted/deleted now?
A: They’re still public because I don’t know the password and I can’t pull them down.
Q: Let’s just hope people don’t go digging eh?
A: Aw mate [cringes behind microphone] Eliott will out me anyway. Speaking of, the first time Eliott reached out to me was when I made a Dubstep tune in 2009. He asked a few questions on MSN and we just got talking and we both released we were both proper into our Dubstep and we were on a wavelength, so we decided to start making tunes together.
Eliott’s always had a knack for making these proper grotty basslines and he’s even better at those now, so I’d tend to take care of the melodic bits (though not fully) and he’d go HAM on the drops. When they needed tweaking, I’d tweak them and this worked nicely for around a year. Dubstep at the time wasn’t exactly dying but the standards were getting so high that I felt as if I was a way off and I started to get disillusioned with it and wanted to make melodic stuff.
I don’t know what Eliott was thinking at the time but I think he wanted to stick with the dirty, bassy stuff because that’s always been his bread-and-butter. Next thing I know, I’m in that rut I mentioned and Eliott messages me saying he’s making these dirty bassline tunes and asks me if I’ve still got these old Reason producer packs. Now he knows I keep everything so I sorted him out and I saw he started to do bits. Fast forward a little bit, one day we were just chatting and I told him I was feeling a bit disillusioned with it and he just asks me: ‘have you heard of Lengoland?’
Q: [Laughs] The Infamous!
A: [Laughs] So I ask him: ‘I’ve heard of it, is it like a label you and your mates have set up or something?’ and he says: ‘Nah it’s like this forum, you should get your bassier stuff in there because you were so good at it before.’ So he puts me in Lengoland and it must have been about 3 months before I posted anything. Anyway one day I thought: ‘you know what, I’ll give it a whirl.’ I found an old Devilman vocal and put together my tune ‘Talk to Me’ and it got support like I’ve never got before. Now back then I was sneaky and I’d ask for email addresses…
Q: Nah do you remember those days…
A: [Laughs] I needed to bump the post up to get my name out there! So I sent it to Project Allout records asking if I could get it out as a free download and they put it out. It got some sick numbers, better than I’d ever got. The next tune I made was ‘Body Language’ and that ended up on Deeprot and got some good numbers too. I felt like for the first time, personally, in my music career, that I was starting to get a bit of traction. I was talking to Eliott a lot more and he was starting to flourish and that was so sick to see; he’s worked his arse off for it and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be making music or be anywhere near as big as I am now. Big up Eliott, big up Darkzy, I love you to bits.
Q: It’s so nice to hear your journey has been helped along by someone you had an early connection with.
A: Yeah exactly and he even helps me with stuff now.
Q: Can we expect another Dubstep EP from you two?
A: You’d have to ask Eliott – reunion in 2019, I’m on it! Maybe not Dubstep though, maybe we’d do Bassline this time.
Q: I think everyone would be genuinely gassed for that, if you decided to do a Bassline EP together.
A: One tune would be enough for me! He’s got some sick music on the way you know, keep your eyes peeled!
Q: How would you day Bradford as a city influenced your music and your development as an individual?
A: It’s a good question actually! There are some sick artists from Bradford and I’ll subtract myself from this conversation: TS7, Shaun Dean, Ussy, Krissi B etc. Krissi B knows everything about everything man and doesn’t get as much appreciation as he deserves. What I want to see now is more producers coming out of Bradford, because there have always been people in BFD wanting to spit lyrics but not as many people want to make riddims. I wanna hear some more riddims now because there must be someone in their bedroom right now making bangers! If you’re in Bradford and you’re producing bangers send me bits!
Q: I guess part of the problem is finding a home for these Producers/DJ’s making bangers because the scene at the minute in Bradford is –
Q: Exactly – dead.
A: There is no scene at all in Bradford. I don’t know if he’s got residency there but Shaun Dean has been a regular feature at Village, but that’s it. There’s never ever been a healthy scene in Bradford. There are clubs with sick soundsystems that don’t even open on Fridays or Saturdays – people would rather go to Tiger Tiger in Leeds than engage with their roots. The last show I did in Bradford there were about 30 people there and it was on New Year’s Eve.
Q: Wow. With that in mind, what’s the best event you’ve played?
A: I really enjoyed playing the Dark Knightz tour with Darkzy. That was the first big gig that I did. I also enjoyed Bass Collective and as a leftfield choice I really enjoyed playing Boombox Circus in Leeds. I remember they had Hatcha who was one of my biggest influences but Leeds doesn’t go mad for Dubstep and the room wasn’t too busy. I was on after Vital Techniques and the room got rammed and it ended up one of my favourite sets. It was one of the first times that all the people, who’ve seen me do the music thing and laughed, saw that I was making something of myself.
Q: Have you got any advice to any new producers?
A: To young producers out there: ‘don’t take rejection and twist it into bitterness.’ Livsey said that in a tweet and it’s so true. Use rejection to improve, the amount of times I’ve wasted making tunes that are shite and then I’ve banged out the tunes of mine that have gone down the best in about two hours. In fact the main idea in Back of Forth was down in about 2 hours.
Q: And to corroborate that I remember reading that ‘Archangel’ by Burial was apparently written in 20 minutes.
A: Exactly. I mean it’s not to say that all the best tunes are gonna be written in 10 -20 minutes but if you get good vibes off a tune then stick what you’ve got on it and get it finished! Also just so it’s said, I don’t want to make tunes like anyone else and any producer worth their salt and they’ll tell you the same. It’s why the frontrunners in the scene are at the top of the game – because they’ve got a distinct sonic signature. If you’re making bangers the world needs to hear them!
A lot of what motivates me now is teachers and friends telling me I couldn’t make anything of my music. I hope that the relative success I’m having now is the first part of what shuts them up. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but if you doubt me, I’m going to show you what I’m capable of achieving and more people need that attitude.
Q: Is there anything else you want to get out there whilst we’re here?
A: I want to hear people continuing to be positive about bass music! I don’t want to hear any of that usual negativity – let’s just enjoy the tunes! If it’s not your bag don’t say unnecessary stuff because a lot of people work really hard at this. It’s not exclusive to bass music – Ben Suff Donk gets some heavy insults on Twitter and it’s so undeserved! Obviously these same man are going on about mental health and all that. Don’t slate someone on a public forum if you care about that, belittling someone’s craft and disregarding the effort that’s gone into their work.
Q: Thank you boss, you’re a legend and I look forward to hearing what you’ve got in store for us in the future!
Another massive thank you to NLMT for taking the time! If you want to stay up to date with NLMT’s releases, shows or future projects then be sure to check out all his socials below!
Words: Jordan Moussavi