C@ in the H@ Interview

C@ in the H@: DJ, Producer, Remixer & Label Owner

C@ in the H@ (pronounced: Cat in the Hat) creates a fusion of early twentieth century swing and jazz, and chunky twenty-first century beats with bouncy electronic bass, we could call Electro Swing here!

Here are few questions I wanted to ask Richard and before we get started I thank him very much for his kindness and the amazing tracks he makes. Especially the one he did for our Exclusive Track series here on Electro Swing Thing!

Interview by: incontroL Date: 2013-01-25

Hi Rich! What drove you into Swing music? and why do you think Electro Swing is exciting ?

I first starting Djing Electro Swing in my DJ sets in 2010 after hearing it through a good friend of mine DJ Switch, I remember thinking how much fun the music was. However it wasn’t until summer 2011 that I tried my hand at producing Swing Music. As the rhythm is the thing that gets me most excited about swing music, it is what I wanted to focus on heavily in my music, and as I come from a Bass music background it was only natural that the bass would flow through my swing music too.

One of the things that keeps electro swing music so interesting for me is the fact that it is not limited to a particular tempo. Where say, for example, in Dubstep all the music tends to be 140bpm, give or take 5bpm, or DnB/Jungle 176-180 bpm, electro swing music is very varied in tempo, like jazz, and therefore is not limited by this factor, which allows for much variation and diversity in the genre. I also really love the swing beat, no matter what genre it is used in, it just feels more natural to me.
Another thing about Swing music I am really enjoying is the club scene. There really are good vibes at Electro Swing nights – i’m not really into events with lot’s of people standing around looking moody, we’re there to dance, party, and enjoy the music.

I know you’re in love with Reggae and Dubstep.  Where does your music come from? Let us know who you are…

I come from a musical family, so was playing piano from as far back as I can remember. I got turntables at the age of 18 and got into mixing DnB & Hip Hop vinyl – this is where I developed my scratching skills. I didn’t really get into Reggae till I moved to Birmingham in 1999 and started listening to the local pirate radio. I bagged me a copy of Sizzla’s ‘Da Real Thing’ album and backtracked all the decades of great reggae music right back to the 50’s. Syncopated beats, phat basslines, with great singing & mcing – Reggae has had a great impact on me musically.
My background is as a DJ (originally DnB, Hip Hop, & Rave music but then later Reggae, Dubstep, Breaks, & anything else which fits into the melting pot),but I started experimenting with producing music in 2007, mostly Dubstep. I felt that Dubstep music combined bass, intricate drums, and dub reggae sounds together so was a logical starting point). It wasn’t till 2010 that I really got the time to really get into production properly – we formed Brotherhood Of Filth, a Turntablism Dubstep DJ group consisting of myself, Malicious DJ, & DJ Switch, on 4 vinyl decks. Check out our track Green Fingers with Dezi Roots, which combines reggae, dubstep, and a swing beat. It was also 2010 that I started delving into swing (which takes us back to your first question).

What’s in your studio? Can you tell us about your workflow?

I don’t really have any hardware as such, just a midi keyboard and computer. I find when I’m making music I can’t sit down for just an hour or two, I have to be rooted behind my computer for as long as I can get, preferably all day. I start with making the beat – once I can groove to it I can start working on the rest of the track. I need to be happy to sit and listen to just the beat on it’s own for hours and not get bored.
When Djing I use 2 technics turntables, Serato, and a laptop – this setup is good for me as I like to scratch in my sets. I don’t mind if people are laptop Djs as long as they use skills to manipulate their equipment to it’s full potential.

I really love the track you are giving away for our Electro Swing Thing exclusive series. A remix of Peggy Lee “Hallelujah” vs a Ludacris acapella. How came the idea?

Thanks! I have made a number of Swing tunes of different styles but wanted to make a tune that would combine my Dubstep style with my Swing style, and not just the bassline influence. Peggy Lee has so much soul in this track, and Ludacris has such a powerful voice, it seemed a great match together.

I believe most producers realize how your sharp, fine and accurate your music is. Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?

Yes but it can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. I’d rather make less music that is of a good quality rather than just bashing out tunes for the sake of it. When making a tune, it is usually the basslines that I spend longest writing, editing, deleting, and then re-writing again.

You often play in the UK where you live… I know you came to Belgium and France too. How different is it? Is traveling to showcase your music part of the plan?

Crowds can be very different wherever you go, even in within the same country. When I played in France and Belgium they were great crowds, it was a lot of fun – we even had crowd-surfers when we came to Paris which was great to see.
I love travelling and definitely plan on spreading my music as far and wide as I can. As a DJ my priority is to get people dancing, and I like to put a lot of variety of styles into a set. I do play my own music when I play a gig, my heart and soul has gone into making the music and there’s no better feeling than seeing people dancing to your music.

What do we need to know about the UK based label called “Ragtime Records”?

This is a label I’ve started with Tom from the Electric Swing Circus to showcase the growing Electro Swing genre. Freshly Squeezed have done an amazing job of growing the Electro Swing scene with their label, but there really aren’t many labels out there for this kind of music – how many online record shops you know have an Electro Swing section?

We will be releasing our own music on this label of course, but there are other talented producers we will be releasing on the label. So if any producers out there are looking for a platform for releasing their music then please get in touch. Link: Ragtime Records

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m a bit of a music/alias slut really, so as well as my Swing music (& my other DJ alias The Doctor for Hip Hop and Bass music), I am part of a few bands/groups too… the Alternative Dubstep Orchestra (Live Dubstep), Brotherhood of Filth (Dubstep Turntablism) & The Silverbacks (Live Hip Hop).
I’ve had the privilege of working on new material with some of these musicians, aswell as other local musicians, which has been really exciting, so expect to hear some of this soon.
I do of course love sampling too though so expect plenty more cheeky remixes, and swing with the big bass sound!

Thank you so much Rich, keep it up…

C@ in the H@ Socials