Low Steppa has been making garage-influenced, jackin' bass beats since before it was trendy. Since he started making music back in the early 2000's, the UK-born and bred artists has created a record label to be remembered by in his Simma Black Records. Recently, he's been working on various releases through his own label as well as others like his latest "Take Me Up" on Armada Deep, collaborations with some of his favorite artists like Skapes, consistently pushing himself to make new music and now, embarking on his first ever US tour. In between releases and ahead of the tour's launch, we got to chat with Low Steppa on how things are going. Check it out below.
EARMILK: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Low Steppa: My parents were always listening to Steely Dan, The Crusaders, The Police. I was really into Nirvana and Green Day at school before I discovered hardcore rave, jungle, drum and bass and house music, then I never looked back. I still listen to all sorts though, from Thin Lizzy, Fleetwood Mac through to Spirit Catcher, Jimpster and Motor City Drum Ensemble.
EM: How did growing up in the UK shape your outlook on music?
LS: Well I think it was more so living in Bristol during my time at University that really shaped me. I would go see the likes of Roni Size and drum and bass parties, with Hype, Andy C, Randall etc and then at the same time I started hangin out with the house crowd. There was a nice vocal house scene going on and all of this together has basically shaped the way I see music. It was definitely a magical time for me discovering all this music.
EM: When you set out to make music, what do you aim for? Is there a certain feeling you're going for? A defining feeling?
LS: Most of the time I'm writing for the clubs and the dance floors so I'm getting into the vibe of being a punter and trying to feel it in that way. Sometimes though I just make music with no purpose and I really love doing this. I've made an albums worth of deep stuff lately doing this.
EM: "Take Me Up" is your first release on Armada - how has it been working with that label? What was the idea behind this one?
LS: They have been great to work with. They really pushed the release for me which was great and really into my sound and enthusiastic. The track kind of came about by accident but I better not say too much! I love the old feel to it, reminds me of the old Van Helden tracks from around '97.
EM: How do you approach making a record and making it different? Where do you look for inspiration?
LS: Well Low Steppa was all about drawing inspiration from old garage and house but it's kind of evolved now. I still like everything to have that vintage vibe but some of the newer stuff is house and some is bass driven. I try not to worry too much about trying to be different, a producer can easily paralyze themselves by worrying too much: I just do my thing and people seem to dig it.
EM: That's the dream, isn't it? Now you're about to embark your first tour throughout North America, what's your favorite type of venue to play? Do you like to use it as an outlet for your music or for your personal favorites?
LS: I quite like the smaller venues. I love low ceiling venues, for some reason they seem to create the perfect vibe rather than big high rooms. I like to test out my new tracks but I play lots of other people's music too, and I always love to drop a few classics.
EM: What artists are on your radar right now?
LS: So many great artists at the moment, right now I'm really into Skapes, Man Without A Clue, Ardalan, Wouter S, Bumpy Fool, so many, sure I've forgotten to mention someone crucial as always!
EM: What are you most looking forward to in 2015?
LS: Making even more music, working with some dope artists, throwing some parties for my label Simma Black and just enjoying it all!
Thu Jan 22 - Night Bass at Sound Nightclub, Los Angeles
Fri Jan 23 - Grasshopper Pub, Detroit
Sat Jan 24 - Slake, New York City
Fri Jan 30 - Red Light Lounge, Dallas
Sat Jan 31 - Late Night Social Club, El Paso