MANEKI MEETS: Distinkt
Written by Alex Frampton
As yet another year comes to a close on the UK underground music scene, we decided to sit down with one of the most exciting, up and coming artists in the UK. The Bristol based, Distinkt has built up a strong standing in the UK bass scene over the past couple of years years, having blown up with his 2017 release of Chinatown and finding success in more recent times with Shegs and his VIP of Slim Shady. We caught up with him on a rainy Saturday night outside of Studio 338, ahead of his debut at the venue for the massive 10 years of UKF show.
Maneki: Disinkt, how are you looking forward to tonight’s show?
I’m super excited and I’ve never played this club [studio 338] before so I’m excited to see what its’ like!
Maneki: It’s a pretty big line up tonight, how do you feel about playing with some of the other artists on the bill?
Yeah its’ a sick line-up. I Iive in Bristol and I’m playing with two fellow locals – Bushbaby and Notion. Notion lives on the same road as me and Bushababy used to live near to me. I’m super safe with both those guys so its sick to be playing with them.
Maneki: 2019 has been a big year release wise for you. What’s been the highlight in terms of productions and the success you have had from them?
In terms of my productions the highlight of the past year has really just been carving my own niche sound out of the bass genre. Trying new things and stepping out my comfort zone into new genres has got to be what’s made 2019 special for me.
LISTEN TO DISTINKTS NEW SINGLE '$PICE"
Maneki: Best show of 2019?
It would probably have to be Sundown in Norwich. It was a really crazy crowd with mosh-pits everywhere. The best part of it was that they were singing along to all the songs, which was really special and gave me a great feeling.
Maneki: Going back to your productions, some of the samples you use are really different and innovative - case in point being 3310. How did you manage to put that together?
Its from the beginning of a Japanese cartoon show; the name of the episode being You Are Already Dead. I really liked the sample and just had to use it. I was researching loads of old school Japanese samples and even though I can’t speak the language, I translated it and thought the words just fit!
Maneki: A lot of your tracks have an Asian kind of vibe to them, is that style a big influence in your productions?
I actually think it might be. I’ve made a lot of tunes which hold Asian influences – China Town and Kung Fu Kick being the prime examples. I guess it just comes to me as I don’t always mean to do it.
Maneki: Talking about styles that have influenced you, which artists where your main inspirations growing up?
I’ve gone through so many stages of being heavily influenced by one particular artist. The whole of the UK scene inspired me so much. SBTRKT, Bonobo and Chris Lorenzo all had a really big impact on me, and I was very inspired by jump up, particularly DJ Hazard and Hype. There’s so many I’ll probably think of more and kick myself for not telling you, but there really are so many different artists. I’ve merged what’s been programmed into my head into so many songs.
Maneki: How did you get into producing in the first place?
When I was about 11, I had my first electronic music production lesson and made a dubstep track. I went on to get a machine micro when I was 14 and started making a lot of hip-hop beats. I kept making music and it wasn’t until I moved back to the UK that I really discovered the rave scene here. Notion, who’s playing tonight, has quite a different sound to me now, but it was one of his songs - Talk to Me, that I heard when I moved back to England. It made me want to delve into the bass scene and I went with a friend to see him play at Sticky Mikes in Brighton. It was his influence in particular that really inspired me.
When you first start out, you put your tunes together in a way that makes them playable by certain people. You want to impress your influencers and make music which will wow the people that inspire you. Notion started hitting me up shortly after I started putting out those tracks and things went from there really.
Maneki: What would you say are your main tips for people that want become successful producers?
Make sure you are producing tunes everyday or you will be falling behind from your competitors. Obviously, it’s not a competition but it is a competitive market and you need to sound original. You need to know what is already out there, so you that know how not to make your music. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by someone else and always think big. If a record label approaches you with 5000 followers and you think sick, I only have 500, you should always think twice because there will probably be a better option with more benefit for you. Set your goals stupidly high and try to make sure that your friends are always laughing at you whenever you tell them your aims otherwise, they’re probably not high enough.
Maneki: You said you were really influenced by jump up and a lot of drum and bass artists. Going into 2020 are we going to see any Distinkt tracks at 170 BPM?
Yeah definitely you might see some. I’ve been making some DnB so you may well be hearing it from me.
Maneki: Now a big one to finish off! If you had to play all your gigs in the same venue from now on, which would you choose?
Fuck, that’s really difficult. Let’s just pause and give me a minute to think about it.
Mint Warehouse in Leeds is pretty sick so maybe that, but I might have to get back to you on that one!
DISTINKT - XTRATERRESTRIAL