Following the release of the EP, with a suitably banging session at Mixed Bizness in the Art School, Shallowrave tracked down S-Type to grill him about taste, 'net audio and scottish hip-hop. We haven't asked how he plays a keyboard with those great big hands.
You obviously come from a broad musical background, tell us a bit about your career so far?
I've been making beats for about 10 years now. I put out a 12" single called Soul For Your Stereo, featuring Finale, from Detroit. That was back when I was 18; I put it out on my brother's label Surface Pressure. Since then I've worked with a lot of rappers from all over the UK and US. Obviously I've just released the Medusa EP, which is a slight change of direction for me, as it's all instrumental and more synth based.
What does your studio set-up look like? Do you favour MPCs, fruityloops, ableton or analogue?
I used to use an MPC 2000 with Cubase for years, but I found it too limiting. Now I'm strictly Logic for Mac. I've got a few plug-ins and a midi controller. That's about all I need right now, it means I can make beats wherever I go. I like to work on the move, on train journeys and that. The great thing about having such a portable setup is I can sketch ideas when I come up with them. If I'm lying in bed and I think of a melody or something, I can just reach for the laptop and play it in and not forget about it.
Tell us about some of the rappers you’ve collaborated with, and some of the people you’ll be crafting beats for in the coming months?
Some names people might know are Tek (Smif n Wessun), Sheek Louch (D. Block/LOX), Prince Po (Organized Konfusion), Reks, Laws, Jay Rock and Emilio Rojas. I've recently sent some beats to my favourite rappers in the world, which is a crazy feeling. I'm still waiting to hear back on that. Fingers crossed! My manager is constantly sending beats to vocalists for me and my boy Jaisu (amazing producer, type his name into youtube and you'll see what I mean). But right now I'm trying to concentrate on my solo projects. Doing beats for rappers' mixtapes and albums is good but I don't really feel it's helping push my career forward as much as I'd like. It's time for me to try and make a proper name for myself now.
Do you have specific criteria about which rappers you work with?
Not really. They don't have to be particularly well known or from anywhere specific, as long as I like what they do. I've worked with both known and relatively unknown rappers from all over the world.
You fuse a great number of styles on Medusa; from crunk, footwork and hip-hop to dubstep and garage. How would you categorize or define this very broad style?
Well I wasn't really thinking about genres when I made the beats for the EP, and I still wouldn't really like to try and categorise them. That's for the listeners to do. When I was working on the EP, I was listening to a lot more club and synth based music. I still think it's somewhat hip hop, but more club orientated. The next project I do will definitely be hip hop, but for the club.
Will you be releasing another solo EP any time soon? Do you have solo plans in general?
Yes, I've been asked to do an EP for a label who I very much admire, and are getting a lot of attention right now. I don't know if I can really talk about this too much yet, but the project should be out before summer 2011. I'm very excited about it.
So, why Phuturelabs?
I've known the Phuturelabs lads (Phuturelads) for a while now. They approached me last year to do a digital EP for their new label. They put in a lot of hard work and have some great contacts so it made so much sense for me to do the project with them. They just want to push good music and help people like me get more recognition, and that's exactly what they've done. Can't thank them enough, great guys.
You’ve fairly strong ties with American MCs, what’s your opinion of Scottish hip-hop, grime etc?
It's the same as any genre from any country, there's good and bad. I'm good friends with some of the best rappers and producers from Scotland, and I'm not just saying that because I know them. Look out for The Being MCs. Gasp and Depths made it to the Don't Flop battle final this year, you can watch that via this link. As for Scottish Grime, can't say I've heard much to be honest.