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The enigmatic house producer on shedding his electro past

2015 Dec 01     
2 Bit Thugs

His production CV may be fairly sparse so far, but this South Londoner has a long track record behind the scenes in dance music

He's best known for 2014's Saving Grace on Defected, but the man known simply as AS I AM has had releases and remixes on a string of other big-hitting labels, including Azuli, Simma Black, Great Stuff, Bar Grooves, Ministry Of Sound and Arch44. His discography, though, doesn't tell the whole story - not by a long chalk. Because he's also been promoting club nights across London since 1998, set up his first label at the tender age of 17 and launched online house station Select UK Radio, which is still going strong, back in 2002.

His latest single, All Away, comes on Get Twisted Records and gives his trademark contemporary, bass-heavy house a hefty injection of old school piano. Sure to see plenty of peaktime play this winter clubbing season, it's just one more step on AS I AM's road to global stardom.

So we figured it was time to find out more about this slightly mysterious producer from South London whose Facebook page lists his influences as "Daft Punk, Todd Edwards and Phil Collins". Here's what he had to tell us...

Tell us about your musical background - how did you first get into dance music and when did you start making your own?

"Pirate radio orginally sucked me into it, we always had radio stations setting up around where I lived. Me and my mates used to look up to the pirate DJs and text them on the radio. A few of my mates had decks when we was young so we used to sit around trying to teach ourselves to mix.

"When I was still at school, I used to promote a night called Pleasure with a friend of mine called Shaka... everyone locally knew it. I used to have school the next morning but nobody knew that, ha ha ha... I could talk all day about that!

"I first started making tracks after being invited to a friend's house, Paleface, because his dad had a studio. We was about 17: back then young lads couldn't afford studio equipment because it was so expensive, so we used to wait for his Dad to finish work and spend all night making music until he kicked us out in the morning."

What DJs/producers have inspired you the most?

"Daft Punk, Todd Edwards, EZ and Grant Nelson."

Are we right in thinking you used to make/play electrohouse, once upon a time? How did you get from there to signing tracks to the likes of Defected and Azuli?

"Yes I did... but I stopped around 2011 and took a year or so out. I kept my head down, and secretly changed my name so people wouldn't judge me on my past!"

Your current single is on Get Twisted- how did you come to hook up with them?

"Alex and Stef supported Saving Grace quite a lot on their Kiss FM show so I messaged them on Twitter and sent them the follow-up Better Place which they signed. All Away also seemed well suited to Get Twisted so it made sense to sign with them again."

Is house music in a healthy place right now, do you think?

"es, 100 per cent! There's lots of bickering over genres and what should and should not be done, but everyone's talking about it so it means people are still listening, too."

What other current producers do you admire or feel an affinity with?

"Isolee and Gorge are awesome, I love playing their music in my early morning sets. And I'm really loving Anotr - their music is on fire right now."

When you're not producing you also run Select UK Radio - tell us a little bit about the station and how it's doing right now?

"I co-founded Select UK with three of my friends in 2002. I don't do the day-to-day running of it but it's going really well, with 30,000 Android app users, and 25,000 TuneIn followers. All promo for it is organic: there's no PR, just natural word of mouth. 2016 will be a big year for Select, we're rebranding and another summer of sold-out boat parties is on the cards, too."

Finally, is there anything else the world needs to know about AS I AM?

"I used to play for Crystal Palace FC youth team. But I quit at 14 because I wanted to spend time with my friends."

All Away is out now on Get Twisted





Tags: As I Am, house, Defected, Get Twisted