Uprise Audio has hardly been out of the spotlight the past six months. From the very first record, a engineering masterpiece of powerful grooves driven by intelligent bass, the label was bound for success. This meteoric rise, driven by the enduring passion and tenacious mindset of Seven and Verity, has been exclusively documented by the continually supportive blogs of Bassweight Society, FatKidOnFire and Hedmuk to critical acclaim. And the coverage of UA004 is no exception. Presenting the future of Uprise Audio and perhaps some of the most talented producers currently writing experimental underground music, the record is a testament to the artistic vision and musical direction the UA imprint set out to deliver. For one individual, this release serves as his debut appearance on the label, who until now, has remained fairly low key yet pivotal in promoting the sounds of Uprise Audio beyond the borders of the UK. With the highly anticipated Uprising EP only a matter of days away from digital release (official release: May 27th), I tracked down this mysterious being who once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, was a hairy household name.
TRUSIK: To introduce yourself, what is your name, where are you from, and how would you describe your sound?
Chewie: My name’s Stuart and I’m originally from the UK but currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I’d describe my sound simply as Chewie. I make everything from scratch and like to put my own vibe on things. In terms of the style it’s Deep, Dark and Minimal Dubstep with a cheeky vibe and something that’ll make you move.
T: With your first solo release landing only last year [and a collaboration with Dubtek back in 2011], your presence in the scene is relatively new. Looking back over the past couple of years, how have you progressed in your approach to music production? How much of this has contributed to the development of your current sound?
C: It’s definitely changed over the last couple of years. I originally started out experimenting with various different styles from deeper material to heavier dance floor orientated tracks but I’ve found that the heavier style just turned very commercial and really wasn’t very appealing to me as an artist. It became more about making noisy robot patches in synths than making music and it just wasn’t fun to mix with. It’d be 32 bars then drop, rinse and repeat style. I prefer Dubstep when it is more minimal. The tracks can be worked together to create energy and movement. Not just drop go, drop go like charlie sheen or something. So I’d say yeah my style has changed. I write tunes now that are strictly for DJing. I want to get back to the vibe there was when tunes were like mixing weapons like early Dubstep and DnB in the late 90s.
T: Prior to producing electronic music, did you have any previous musical endeavors?
C: I play guitar, I’m a massive Jimmy Hendrix fan and used to play guitar in some bands back in my school days. I’m also a grade 8 drummer and used to play jazz and funk back in the day too. I’ve been DJing for 15 years now, since hearing Wormhole by Ed Rush & Optical. I’d say that album pretty much changed my musical life in terms of going from organic instruments into electronica but it wasn’t till around 2006 when I heard dubstep that I started producing. I’m also a massive fan of old school hip hop, soul, funk and reggae. I’m a very keen 45 collector and have a few thousand records lurking around here in Melbs and back in the UK. I’m also a turntablist at heart and used to do a lot of DJ battles back in the UK and whilst I was living in New Zealand a few years back.
T: Music aside, what other interests / hobbies do you dabble in? Do any of these activities inspire you creatively when returning to the studio?
C: I’m a huge movie buff. I can pretty much sit down with most films and reel off the dialogue (much to my partner’s annoyance). I’m also into surfing in a big way and a huge fan of the Walking Dead Comics, not so much the TV series. Movies and Comics definitely inspire me when it comes to the mood and vibe of the tunes I write. Surfing not so much, no beach boys tunes coming from me trust.
T: You’ve been handpicked by Seven to join the Uprise Audio family and received enormous support from one of the most important DJs in the circuit. Taking into account that Youngsta is very picky when it comes to playing out tracks, how encouraging has it been to hear your music in his sets, and how important is it for you to have your tunes remain in his record bag?
C: It means a lot to be getting recognition for all the hard work I’ve been putting in over the last few years. Producing takes up pretty much most of my time so it’s good to see it finally vindicated. There’s something pretty special about seeing footage of Youngsta wheeling up my tunes at SYSTEM after the crowd completely losing it. I definitely have the dance floor in mind when I write beats and I’ve been massively influenced by the minimal monday session on Rinse over the last couple of years. Youngsta’s top of the game in that respect so it’s very important to me to get him repping my tracks and to hear his feedback. Him and Seven have been instrumental in shaping my sound over the last year.
T: Being signed to Uprise Audio hasn’t been your only accomplishment lately. Would you like to share with the readers your other music related success, and how it came about…
C: I was contacted by Electronic Arts last year as they’d heard some of my tracks and wanted to put some in their games so they signed a track I did with Triage called Tesseract which came out on Real Racing 3, a couple of months back. That was great exposure and I look forward to getting involved in some more of their projects in the future. I’m a huge fan of movie and game soundtracks. Sound design and synthesis is one of my main interests and I can literally spend half a day on getting one sound right sometimes.
T: Let’s move on to the bass music scene in Australia. Are the Aussies more responsive to the deeper, foundation sound or the tear-out commercial sound? Are there any Australian artists we ought be paying attention to, or are coming through, and deserve some recognition?
C: The heavier “brostep” sound seems to have pretty much disappeared over here in Melbourne. A lot of those guys have been drawn more towards the deeper sound of dubstep or the likes of DnB and Techno or jumped on the rehashed crunk music bandwagon (sorry Trap music errrr). The deeper sound is definitely still here and going strong. There’s a few shows coming up this year in Melbourne. I must admit though that after spending most of last year back home in the UK I miss the hustle and bustle of London and I’m moving back there at the end of May. There’s so much going over there at the moment it’s crazy. In terms of Australian artists, I’ve always been a big fan of what Boot, Sook, 3rdeye and Droid Sector have been doing. Definitely worth looking up.
T: What can we expect from Chewie in 2013, is there any forthcoming material, or other interesting projects in the pipeline?
C: Yeah busy year this one. I’ve been working hard in the lab. My first release on Uprise Audio will be out on the 20th of May on the Uprising EP, a collab with Dubtek called Primitive which has been getting rinsed by the likes of Youngsta, Vivek and Truth. I’ve also got some more tunes coming on Uprise Audio but my lips are sealed at the moment. Let’s just say Uprise are going to be making some big moves this year.
T: How did the mix, which you recorded for us come together?
C: This is a showcase of some of my own tracks, Uprise Audio family and other artists that I’m feeling. There’s so many mixes coming out all the time on Facebook etc. that I thought I’d make something pretty special here so yeah, lots of double drops and some cheeky scratches thrown in for added effect and Joe Raygun on the mic! I’d say my style of DJing is a mix between my two biggest influences; Andy C and Ricci Rucker.
T: What are your five favourite tracks at the moment…?
Truth – Devil’s Hands
Quantum Soul vs Lamb – Strong Root
Icicle – Caffeine
Seven & Youngsta – Masai Mara VIP
SP:MC – Declassified
T: Finally, any shout outs?
C: Seven, Verity, Youngsta, Toast, Joe Raygun, Dubtek, Nanobytes, Spec, Wayfarer, Taiko, Quantum Soul, Klax, Disonata, Asylum , Ben Verse, Boot, Sook, Droid Sector, Perverse, 3rd Eye, Seth Norman and all the fam back in the UK and Australia.