Flying the flag for World Environment Day 2019, Cid Poitier has sculpted his ‘Earth Cry’ EP to raise awareness about global issues, raise money for charity, and of course raise pulses in the dance. The forthcoming four-track EP on Sub:Clef Records, released June 5th, blends orchestrated grittiness with raw emotion and wheels-of-industry rhythms. Unearthing the motivations behind his fourth release on Sub:Clef, Cid Poitier discusses the inspiring life events at home and in the city that affected the titling and purpose of ‘Earth Cry’. He also delves into his drive to balance sound system weight with organic textures to create deeply moving cinematic music.
Your music blends gritty weight with emotionally charged textures. Raw instruments dance with soulful vocals and heavily processed wobbles. When orchestrating ‘Earth Cry’, how did the subject matter of World Environment Day affect your process?
Like most of my projects, this one started with just a feeling and a vibe. Like a sculpture, I chipped away at it for the best part of a year which I feel gave it a special something from each of our four seasons.
The title track was originally called ‘Impartial’. When I was with some of my close friends, I played them a selection of tracks including this one. When I told them what it was called there was a collective air of dissatisfaction.
We got together again months later and decided to watch the masterpiece of a documentary, Baraka (1992). Just to let those who haven’t seen this know, Baraka is an incredibly well shot and emotionally engaging piece of cinema that uses only visuals and a musical score. This time we had the sound muted and our own music playing. When my EP’s title track came on, powerful imagery flooded the screen; the song perfectly captured the pain, destruction and beauty. In that moment, its name was born – ‘Earth Cry’.
As an artist I feel like music is only one piece of the artistic palette. It’s used to create so much healing, togetherness and love in the world that I really want some of my future music projects to have a wider social purpose. I’m quite reluctant to market my releases, especially when it’s solely on the basis of, “hey look at me, I’ve made some music”. A good cause is much more fulfilling. Shining a spotlight on issues that affect us all is very rewarding.
The focus of World Environment Day this year is air pollution, which is a major issue globally and particularly in major cities. I’m by no means an eco-warrior, but I’m known to be a pretty good tree-hugger at the best of times. One of the great things about a good cause is that even a tiny shift in behaviour from all of us can have a dramatically positive effect on the world.
There seems to be a shift in dubstep right now that values cinematic, immersive sound design. The intertwined, natural sounds scattered across the backdrop of ‘Earth Cry’ evoke dynamic, realistic environments. What draws you to this style of production?
Really? I haven’t noticed that shift compared to the boost in catchy melodies, 808 kicks and trap hats – I guess it’s down to what’s on your radar. It feels like every style exists everywhere all at once if you know where to look.
I absolutely love deep cinematic and immersive sounds, as they have elements of meditation and subtlety that require a patient, undistracted listener to become fully immersed in the journey. That being said, I also love a straight up banger, but a stripped-back, deep stepper will take me places a banger would struggle to reach.
I tend to try and strike a balance between musicality, organic textures and sound system weight in some of the pieces I create for Sub:Clef, but like a lot of artists, I experiment in many different areas of music – I’ll always have time for alternative sounds and tempos.
As the artist curating the sound of Sub:Clef Records, what do you strive to achieve with each new release?
The short answer is to bring dirt, weight and beauty in equal measure, along with something mystical and experimental whist still maintaining groove and rhythm. Sometimes I hear spectacularly produced music that lacks soul, feeling and character.
I believe we have an innate ability to distinguish between music which is made cerebrally verses that which is channelled from somewhere higher. It’s the latter that draws me in as a listener. Marrying the world of organic music with digital wizardry is often a match made in heaven when done right.
Why do you enjoy producing at 140bpm?
There is something special about 140 that I cannot put my finger on. It’s been said countless times about the space it provides, which is a definite appeal, but I think for me it’s the versatility. It feels like a language that has many different dialects, but all speakers understand it innately, regardless of the variance in styles.
All 140 isn’t equal as I tend to lean more towards the sound that has space with care and attention paid to creative uses of low-end frequencies, percussive intricacy and a preference for controlled aggression (think Phil Mitchell on a leash).
What inspired you to contribute to World Environment Day with music, your passion?
One of the motivating factors was the overall theme and vibe of the project. It felt like it needed to stand for something bigger.
Earlier this year in March, I was walking through Carnaby Street during what I now know to be ‘Earth Hour’. There were banners on the street advertising this special hour where shops, businesses and individuals are encouraged to turn off their lights between 20:30-21:30 in mass solidarity for the planet. I braced myself for the big blackout, and at 20:30 to the second… nothing happened. Yes, absolutely nothing. It was a totally underwhelming experience.
However, it did plant the seed in my mind that there are days and weeks throughout the year that are dedicated to us collectively doing something small and seemingly insignificant, which can have a big impact on the planet. This has culminated in my desire to raise awareness of World Environment Day, so great things came from Earth Hour in the end!
Earth Cry is released June 5th (World Environment Day) and is available from the Sub:Clef Records Store. All profits will go directly to charity.