Suicide Dogz photo by Chris J Overend
I recently got together for a chat with up and coming producer Suicide Dogz – responsible for killer beats on Miss Odd Kidd tracks – to discuss all things music and Claudia Winkleman….
Slutty Fringe: Suicide Dogz is quite a unique name to choose, what’s the story behind it?
Suicide Dogz: It came about after the London bombings a few years back, me and a mate were chatting about it and he said they would be using dogs soon to blow
things and people up.. I was like bing!!!!
You come from quite a musical family, how influential have your siblings been in shaping the music you produce?
Really influential, my eldest brother was into rock music, big on Nirvana and Oasis. Then my other brother was a jungle mc, listening to hardcore. I’ve always had an open attitude to music, and my brothers probably helped that
How has your production developed since you started out?
I’m still quite new with my style, I’m still trying to find my feet more or less – I’m sure it will change for the better in the future when I incorporate more live instruments into the equation
What instruments can you play?
I can play guitar, drums, bass and keyboards….
A one man band right there!
Haha yeah a jack of all trades, master of none – I’m more accomplished on the guitar than the others but I can bang out a beat, but if you can play a guitar you can pretty much play a bass and keys I’m starting to learn a bit more, by the end of the year I want to be able to play the piano properly
What’s your studio set up technology wise?
I’ve got a new G5 imac, a little G4 ibook which I’ve been using for the past few years, I’ve got an MPC and I use Logic with all the plugins that’s where I get most of the sounds from.
But I’m definitely gonna build it up, for so long I was just using my MPC which was the first bit of kit I bought – I got to know how to use it properly and did all my little ideas on it. Then getting a computer totally broadened my horizons on my production, using soft synths and stuff.
Do you use a lot of samples ?
Erm I don’t really sample that much, it’s not a conscious thing, I sample exerts of peoples beats like if theres a really clean sounding snare, I’d definitely sample it – Dr Dre man, he’s got some wicked sounds and if you capture them free you can chop them up and use them
Miss Odd Kidd tipped me off onto the stuff you were doing, how did the two of you hook up together
Natalie? I met Natalie about a year and a half ago through a friend of mine who’s since gone mad – he was a rapper, but one of those British guys that raps in an American accent so me and him really couldn’t work that well – we were more mates than anything. He said he knew this chick that was looking for a beat – so we hooked up she came over played me some of her stuff. Told me that most producers she works with hit on her which thought was great for a first meeting hahaha it was brilliant and that was that we jus kinda hit it off from there, she’s wicked, super talented, very very funny and totally insane.
She’s quite an important person for me in the sense she’s one of the first people I worked with closely and seen them go off and do other stuff and watching her go and do her thing now is wicked. I was on youtube and there was a clip of her performing Ooh Ahh I Lost My Bra in Copenhagen – seeing that was nuts as we wrote that tune in my bedroom, and 6 months later she’s in another country performing it and all the crowd are singing along.
I was doing some research (well searching on google) and read a comment some kid left on a forum describing you and Natalie as the UK Timbaland and Missy Elliott – What do you think of that?
It feels good hahaha
Tell me some about some of the other artists you’ve been working with?
I’m working with Bumps, the producer of Swallow, on a few things. He’s somewhat of a veteran of the British House scene, been producing stuff since the early nineties. He’s a wicked guy, taught me loads of stuff. We’ve just set up a new project, Dogz N Bumpz, we’ve only just started talking about it but hopefully we’re gonna set up a production company, get a label sorted and put out some eps and compilations.
I’m gonna be producing a rock band called The Severes which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve known them for a while and we kinda did a few things together that weren’t really working out so they went off and started this band and they’re really good, they’ve had some interest from a few labels. So I’m gonna go into the studio in a few weeks and do a proper punk thing.
Apart from that I’m doing some stuff with Goldielocks and Lisa Moorish and I’m going up to Scotland soon to hook up with Black Affair, nothing serious just get some time in jus studio and see what happens. And after that just working on my own stuff really – I might get on the microphone….
Have you done some rapping already then?
Yeah I used to do verses when I was a kid that’s how I got into music – mcing on pirate stations like Scandal FM – my brother used to mc on pirate stations too. It’s pretty much my background but I kinda fell out of it as I grew up and got more involved in other things.
I dunno I’ll give it a go and see what happens , I mean when you’re making beats and stuff and vocalists aren’t there it’s quite frustrating and a lot of my friends have said to me ’why not just do the vocals yourself?’ So yeah who knows…
You seem quite tight with Black Affair – how did that come about?
Myspace, when I first got on it he sent me a msg saying (adopts Scottish brogue) “Hi this is Steve Mason, I used to be in The Beta Band, you might not have heard of me…..” I‘d definitely heard of him! One of my favourite bands! Anyway I did a remix of the track Kwangchow from his King Biscuit Time project that came out on Poptones and we just kept in contact – been out to a few of his gigs, hung out a bit and became mates – he’s just a wicked guy.
I think he’s one of those musicians that’s gonna be spoken about in a decade when music gets retro cos some of the stuff he’s done with the beta band and on his own is fucking great, it’s the sorta thing that everyone has ripped him off – blur, noel Gallagher – one of those people that never gets the recognition he deserves – The Black Affair stuff is amazing
When you’re working with people, is it a case of you contacting them through myspace for example or vice versa ?
When I first got a myspace, I actively searched people out like Cock n Bull Kidd and Jack Penate – wanted to work with him but he blew up pretty quickly. Was gonna work with Lily Allen, she came over spent a day and a half working on a tune that never saw the light of day and then she went Massively famous almost over night
Are you gonna release it?
Nah I can’t really, and she didn’t do much on it to be honest just sang a few vocal harmonies and a few words. We were discussing how to take the track fwd over the space of a few weeks and then she blew up and it was hard to get in touch with her. Sometimes shit like that happens in music.
So yeah I don’t really search myspace for people to work with anymore, the novelty has kinda worn off
Which production are you most proud of?
To be totally honest, none of them. I mean I know my stuff is good but there’s definitely room for improvement. You’re always striving for that perfect beat, and cos I’m relatively new at making music, still finding my feet so I think I’m a long way off doing something I’m totally totally proud of.
But if I could take one it would probably be What’s The Reason Why? Cos it’s pretty cool, it’s not even that kinda produced as a track, it’s quite simple but I just think the elements sit quite well together
Did you do all that yourself? Cos it kinda sounds to me like you’ve taken another song and messed around with it
Yeah yeah, I did the beats, Stuee Love played the guitar and we chopped it up and arranged it – Alan Mcghee said he thought I had sampled a song for it but it’s original – Stuee’s in a band called The Social who are gonna be big – and he sang the vocals on the chorus, the first time he’s ever sang on a track, I had to do some badgering but it came out brilliantly, sounded dope! Hopefully I’ll be doing some stuff with his band in the future
Which other musicians/producers have been a influence in how you do your thing?
Timbaland, Neptunes definitely, Liam Howlett, Bjork, Quincy Jones , George Martin definitely – that’s the thing about the beatles, everyone goes in about them but a lot of the great stuff is all mono and to actually get the dynamics he did using those methods back then is just great and also a lot of the classical orchestration that went into their songs is definitely his doing and I’m well into all that. Switch, Mr Oizo, Dj Funk – I love his stuff
As well as being a dab hand at production, you’re also quite an in demand DJ and aspiring promoter – Let the people know some about what to expect from a Suicide Dogz gig..
All kinds of stuff, I try and mix it as much a possible depending onwhere i’m playing and who i’m playing to…. Anything from the kinks to newham generals!!.. It’s all about going on a little musical trip innit..
And whats the idea behind Slum Drum (killing dancefloors in Shoreditch and Brixton soon)
It’s just me and my mates who either make tunes or dj plus the odd guest (we got Goldielocks djing on the 28thApril @ 333) It’s well cliquey out there so i decided to do my own thing.. The nights at 333 are more dance orientated..grime, house ect, whereas at the Dogstar were gonna get live acts down and that..
You’ve done a few dj gigs abroad – Copenhagen with MOK and Italy with Death Disco, how do you find it in comparison with playing out in London?
Milan was shit to be honest with you, and you can put that on record!
Denmark is great though, loved it out there. With regards to how it compares to London, everyone in London (especially the so called Shoreditch scene) is a dj or a producer or in a band and has a “impress me” attitude which is a bit shit really, and I’m probably guilty of it myself – But abroad people are a bit more into it and appreciative which is nice, they might hear something their not that familiar with and really get into it.
I mean over here’ its great there’s lots of good music getting made but it’s quite hard to go out and find a really good vibe in London clubs.
Did you hook up with Death Disco through the remix on Poptones?
Yeah kind of, after that I got in touch with Alan McGhee’s son, Dan who runs wax records and started doing some djing with him and then did some gigs for Death Disco, went to Italy and did Death Disco Milan
Now for some silly questions, Is Claudia Winkleman still your favourite slutty fringe?
Claudia? ah man definitely everytime, hahaha she’s got the greatest fringe – it’s brilliant
If you could remix or produce anyone who would you choose?
I’d love to do a tune with Bjork – I wanna do a track with Liam Gallagher and Dizzee Rascal definitely
How would you do it?
I dunno man something fucked up, something electronic probably with Dizzee on the verses and Liam on the choruses and that would be an amazing bit of music…
If you were a professional wrestler what would your name be?
Bleeding Gums definitely haha
Finally, what lazy NME sub genre would you use to describe the music you make?
Scizophrenic Psychobilly Powerpop!
END OF INTERVIEW >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
As a wee bonus, Suicide Dogz gave me a track of his to post called Frontier that got some airplay on the Essential Selection a few times – a nice lickle house ditty with some basement jaxx-esque touches to it
You can catch Suicide Dogz DJing at the following this month:
Friday 20th April – Hot Sauce @ 93 Feet East
Duke Dumont, Rowdy Superst*r, Zombie Disco Squad and John Power in the main room
Tonypoland, Lone Wolf and Suicide Dogz in the Pink Bar
28th April: SLUMDRUM PRESENTS… “WAY TOO LONG” @ 333
GoldieLocks (DJ SET)
SuicideDogz Vs tonypoland