I think that as a medium of DJ’ing, phonograph records have the most pleasant sound and feeling on a sound system. The experience behind it, the fact that it’s a dying art, the excitement you get when your box of dubs shows up in the mail … it’s getting me stoked even talking about it!
Boneless (born Brody Ledingham) has been active in the Calgary dubstep scene since 2011 and has been quietly building system knockers since; Joe Nice championing his tunes early on and even Mala himself cutting his tunes to dubplate. Late last year, he was invited to spin atop the mighty Tsunami Bass system in NYC and has been slowly raising his profile. With a forthcoming release on Fill Spectre’s new label and Distinct Motive getting signed to Navy Cut, underground dubstep is healthy as ever in Canada. We at TRUSIK figured it was time for a chat with the man.
So Brody, hope you’re well and enjoying 2017, for our readers can you tell us a little bit about your musical journey, from discovering underground music, to learning how to DJ, your interest in dubstep and the motivation to start building beats?
Thanks man, you too! Well Caspa and Rusko’s Fabric live 37 mix was pinnacle around 2008 / 2009 for me for sure. The rawness of the sound and how it made my head swing, couldn’t get enough. Definitely a bit of the brostep when it was first getting lots of hype but the lack of substance and originality got real boring quick time. Underground music has been important to me since I was a teenager, I was into a lot of weird shit – and I don’t think that’s changed (an example – I went and saw death from above 1979 by myself when I was in grade 7 (laughs), just lots of weird soundsystem music now, instead. I actually got interested in and started producing before I knew anything at all about DJ culture, or anything about DJ’ing really. Always been a nerd so wanting to figure this stuff out was inevitable. Once I was listening to mixes and tunes on their own my brain started to figure everything out and I decided to start DJ’ing.
I know that you were (or still are) into metal and hardcore music, I’m curious as to your favourite albums or bands past and present?
Sorry just had to think for a bit haven’t been listening to shit for a while (laughs); I think I need to get in touch with my roots a bit more again. I haven’t been listening to a lot but the immediate classics that come to mine for favourites are Dangers – Anger, Circle Takes The Square – Decompositions #1, Converge – Jane Doe and Spawn of Possession – Cabinet. I got to see Outbreak a few times in my hardcore days too and that was fucking sick, one of the best live sets. Anyone into that kind of stuff is stupid to not critically acclaim it.
You pride yourself on mixing exclusively with records and dubplates, with the ubiquity and relative accessibility of CDJs, why?
I think that as a medium of DJ’ing, phonograph records have the most pleasant sound and feeling on a sound system. The experience behind it, the fact that it’s a dying art, the excitement you get when your box of dubs shows up in the mail, the pleasure of first plays and labelling, the interactive aspect of playing live – it’s getting me stoked as fuck even talking about it (laughs). Something about it that just stuck like glue and I haven’t looked back, the cost doesn’t bug me when I’m getting fulfilment. Oh and not to mention so much music released exclusively on vinyl.
Where do you get your dubplates cut at?
I cut my dubs at DubStudio with Henry. Man is hands down a wizard.
What’s the scene like in Canada, I mean the country has had its fair share of brosteppers like Excision and Datsik, but can you enlighten us on some crews, parties, and producers (I mean Distinct Motive just got signed to Navy Cut) that are keeping the underground healthy and strong up north.
It is really weird to be honest, I don’t really dig it. There isn’t much consistency and focus on dubstep in Calgary, lots of crews are all over the map which is fine really, doesn’t change where my heart is, but the dub shows always pop off when they do happen so it’d be tight to see more energy towards that. Lots of jukey and footwork stuff and random future beats shit here.
There’s no one at all though??
As for Canadian dudes making rad beats though; Daega Sound, Taal Mala, Self Evident, Fill Spectre, Living Stone, Distinct Motive, Abstrakt Sonace; All I can think of off the top of my head right now.
You recently played on the Tsunami sound system, how was that? I know and have felt the frequencies Andrew and Zoe push, so it must have been an honour.
Oh man, no words can express. I had the pleasure of attending the Reconstrvct 3 year anniversary a couple years back, so I had experienced the system but getting to rinse my tunes on it was something else. The most fun I’ve had playing a set. Andrew and Zoe are dons, wonderful people. Hope to get back out there this year at some point!
Can you give us a rundown of your process and workflow? How does inspiration strike you?
Random as fuck. Sometimes I’ll hear something, sample it, then a tune just unfolds itself from there on, but I usually just play with sound until one thing leads to another and I’m building a tune. I have a notepad I like to take notes for ideas and mixdowns, once I’ve got an idea started I am always trying to listen to it when I’m out and about doing shit so I can bring new ideas back to the drawing board. I have a 2008 MacBook with a 2.2Ghz duo core processor (really shit) and 4 GB of ram, Logic 9 using Sennheiser HD 25 1-II’s and an interface to make beats. The computer’s CPU loves to bottleneck in Logic and projects become kind of dodgy near the end so it doesn’t inspire me very much to always be on top of things. I plan to upgrade my setup in the latter of the year though.
You have a couple forthcoming releases, care to elaborate?
Well! Actually just one set in stone at this very moment coming out on Fill Spectre’s new imprint Discowreckords. Roughly 300 12″s gonna be pressed, two tunes of mine Sound The Alarm / Pressure Pop due around late spring / summer as far as I know. I’m also in talks with Infernal Sounds, planning to work with them when the time is right, patience is a virtue.
Your tunes have had DJ support from legends like Mala, Joe Nice, Jack Sparrow, District, and Compa, how did those relationships come about?
80% of the time I just hit people up with my tunes, see if they wanna swap ’em and start chatting but you really gotta be confident in your stuff. Believe it or not, Mala reached out to me after Joe Nice had showed him some of my stuff, and nobody had really hit me up personally for tunes yet – he was so humble and chill on the approach, very admirable.
What does 2017 hold for you?
Saving money, working on music, improving myself. I just applied for a really really sick festival called Basscoast that takes place July 7th-12th in the British Columbian Rockies. My fingers are double crossed, would be so stoked to bring my sounds out there. Otherwise just rolling with the punches as usual, one day at a time. Cutting more dubs probably (laughs). Need the bookings too though.
Can you take us through the mix you recorded for us?
The process of building it, I just grabbed 20-30 percy records and spend a few hours seeing what works best – I don’t have my own technics right now so it makes it a bit of an inconvenience to have to record not having the freedom to jam for a few days and whatnot. A big focus was playing as much of my original material (that I’m feeling at the moment) because I haven’t been able to in the past – I’ve been slow on cutting new dubs.
A track… by your favourite new artist: Samba – Malignant you’re currently opening your sets with: Silkie – Boogs Noogs you give the rewind treatment every time: Jack Sparrow & Core – Backer you would like to remix: Foamplate – 7.5 grams (missed the record too, I’m gutted)
Shouts to Saule, Malleus, Headland, Barom, Sectra, Inyoka, Tetrad, Samba, Fill Spectre, Distinct Motive.