Birmingham’s Low Steppa has been notorious for his bass heavy House beats. Named Beatport’s Artist of the Month over the summer and his Simma Black label just having its 100th release, we’re super excited to have him do an exclusive mix for 5 Magazine.
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It’s been 5 years now since you exploded into the scene and made a big name for yourself with your remix of Route 94’s “My Love.” Since then you have always been on the radar! How’ve you been holding up with the nonstop gigging and producing, have you taken any breaks?
In all honesty I haven’t had a break or a holiday for about five years! This summer I’ll be having a little holiday though. Some people probably think this job is a holiday but it’s not at all, always in and out!
Can you tell us a little bit about your Boiling Point event brand? These are parties where you hand pick certain DJs from your favorite clubs? How does this work exactly and who are some of these DJs and clubs?
With Boiling Point we started in Birmingham as that’s the area I’m from so we thought it would be the best way to kick things off. I called upon my pals Tom Shorterz, Marc Spence and Jackard to join me as they are some of the city’s finest! I didn’t know what to expect but it sold out, couldn’t have gone better. Definitely one of the best memories I have from my adventures as Low Steppa.
Your newest release “No Love” is gorgeous! It’s like you took the harder edges of your previous music and are now finding the more lush elements. Is this the gateway drug in the transition of your sound?
Well it’s almost like I kind of went back in time with it a little, I went back to my roots. Sometimes you can get caught up in what’s going on at the moment, but that’s really not what an artist should do. “No Love” was me being myself and enjoying it I guess.
I’ve been told you are now moving your sound from a more bass-oriented one to a housier one? What’s been moving you to do this? Do you feel like the glut of producers imitating this bass-heavy sound in the past few years has had something to do with it?
I came from house, soulful vocal house back in the day so it’s just been a natural thing. Low Steppa was never meant to be “bass.” It seems like people misunderstood me a little and it’s taken a while to get things straight. I still enjoy the odd harder set and I’m glad that I have the ability to deal with different situations but I think house and deep house are my passions.
Were you in the UKG scene growing up? I was reading up on you and didn’t really catch much about your earlier years, curious to know whether you were a rave kid.
I was never a UKG head as such – meaning 2 step: for me it was what came before it, early speed harage, 4/4 vibes, Tuff Jam, Grant Nelson, Todd Edwards, etc. I had moved into house really when UKG came about. I have bits on vinyl for sure but it was never my main thing. I was really into my d’n’b too back then, used to go to the raves in Bristol. I guess all these things go into my music now without even thinking about it.
How did you learn and get into production? You have this really cool hybrid of sounds that make you accessible to quite the gamut of music fans from straight up classic house to the hardest of the drum and bass heads!
Thank you! I started on an ancient Mac LC 475 and an Akai S6000 sampler (think it was called) in around 2002 in Bristol whilst in university studying Graphic Design, funnily enough, and not music. I started off sampling disco loops – Roy Ayers I remember was someone I sampled back in the day.
You had been talking about wanting to finish up an album since last year I believe. Is that coming to fruition any time soon?
I’m hoping to get a proper vibe with that later this year. Very keen!
You’re coming back to the States! The last time you were here I think you played Primary and then the Porn and Chicken party?
I remember Primary was wicked, I also remember drinking a lot haha! Yeah the USA has been very good to me over the years, it seems whatever project I’ve worked on it’s always brought me to the US, I feel very blessed to take my sound to other countries and get so much love. If it makes one person’s night and inspires them, then all the traveling is worth it for me.
Low Steppa will be at Spybar in Chicago on August 4 2018.