Hungarian-born producer Peter Simon also known as DJ Madd’s musical output is based on reggae music and his powerful releases since 2008 to present were featured on widely known record labels such as Black Box, Osiris, Wheel & Deal or Moonshine Recordings, to name a few.
Also, many white label releases went out over the time under the WAR series and since the launch of Roots & Future in 2013, some of Madd’s music got released under his own imprint.
Without further ado, let’s start the chat with the man himself.
Sebastian: Greetings Pete,
Pete: Hey man good to catch up!
Sebastian: First of all, tell us how it all began, your journey into the bass music scene and what was your impression about the scene more than 10 years ago?
Pete: I started out as a local dnb dj in Hungary. I got into making beats around that time and it all started from there. It was obviously very different times but tons of fun. I really wanted to make it in dnb, but I didn’t really have the technical knowledge, and I needed way more time to learn production. When dubstep started to reach Hungary I was instantly excited about it. That was around when the bigger names in the scene were people like Martyn and TRG and that broken, almost breaksy sound with techno chords really got my attention. I think it also helped that I didn’t listen to it constantly like I did with dnb, so when I wrote a couple tunes they were very losely based on dubstep. Some of the tunes got picked up by Mary Anne Hobbs, Skream and WAR and everything else stemmed from that.
Sebastian: Since the start of your music career until present, you’ve moved a lot. You lived in Japan, in UK and also in the United States as of now. I can only imagine that having so many experiences around the world has to play an important part in your inspiration. Can you tell us a bit about every one of these experiences?
Pete: Yeah I think its a mix between wanting to experience different places while also trying to find my own place so to speak. The move to Bristol was purely for the music, and since then I just kept packing up when I felt like I did everything I could do at a certain place. Japan was unforgettable obviously, I am struggling to describe it every time someone asks the question. Amazing culture, people and the food is probably the highest quality I ever had. So far USA has been really fun, I have been here for 4 years and I feel like I haven’t seen most of it! I still need to reach South-America and Mexico and really want to reach the Caribbean as well.
Sebastian: Your very first release under Roots & Future was “Never 2 Late” with the vocals of the Japanese singer G. Rina and the B-side “Murder Dub”. It came out 5 years ago. It was the first vinyl release on your own imprint. Now that was a big step, how was it on your side?
Pete: I was planning to start a label for ages before I actually fired it up. I always told myself If I ever start a label it has to start with vinyl releases. Since then I had to make the choice of slowing down with pressing records, mostly due to me being very bothered by a “new release” being a year old music. I will definitely still press records, but I am much more selective with it and I try to prioritize having music out quicker instead of having everything on vinyl.
Sebastian: Let’s not forget about your visit to Romania which happened in 2012 at Club Midi in Cluj-Napoca alongside Matt-U. Six years later, many things changed, you climbed up the ladder but that show from 20/October has a little place in the memories of us all. Do you have anything funny to mention from that night? I can only mention that we were a crew which came to the party from 200 km away just for that night. Maybe we could see each-other again soon? *Hint hint*
Pete: Oh yeah I remember that! Bit of a bittersweet memory, as Matt-U has left the game since then, but hopefully he will be back one day! I usually don’t have a lot of time in the city where I’m playing, but I do remember going to the Cluj-Napoca Botanical Garden which was really-really awesome! Great that you guys made the trip, I am constantly amazed how much people travel for music in the United States, and I have been hearing from my friends that they are more willing to make long trips in Europe too. I would definitely love to play in Romania again, unfortunately it has been really tricky to plan my tours because they are usually a bit last minute, but I will do my best to make it back there soon!
Sebastian: Now let’s open up the box and speak about your latest releases: “Gone Like Fool” & “Badboy Selection” came out three months ago. These would mark the first release of 2018 under the Roots & Future label. How’s the feedback from the people on these two? I know I got them as soon as they came out.
Pete: The feedback has been amazing really! I have been raising the tempo recently, being closer to 170 means dnb heads dont have to speed up the tracks too much and I think that puts me in a bit of a different category than with the 160 beats. I also want to write some ‘proper’ drum&bass, but funny enough, now that I have the ability to do it I keep putting it off. It almost feels like something I have been building up for since the start of my career, and it will have to be something amazing. Hopefully it will come naturally soon.
Sebastian: The most recent release and the second of this year under Roots & Future would be represented by “Level Di Vibes” & “No Justice”, two halftime/drum and bass tracks but nothing less then we were expecting. You’ve started your musical journey around 140bpm but got fast into these new halftime beats and these creations are the best explanation of your musical evolution. Speaking of 140, the Back Off remix out now on MS041 is rinsing all of my djsets since then. Can you tell how it feels to be such a versatile producer and where do you get your inspiration from? Even 140bpm, 160 or 170, your sound has the same power and feeling. What do you consider your greatest asset as a producer?
Pete: I think my greatest asset is – as you mentioned – I can write different tempo beats and still have my sound. Maybe the truly greatest asset is that I am now thinking less about how and where these tracks end up and just having fun with it. I just write the music and see where it goes naturally. I always had a lot of tracks that made me feel like they dont really fit in the big picture, and I had to realize all that is just in my head and it doesn’t matter. I am now making a counscious decision to release much more different tempo music, because thats where my heart really is.
Sebastian: Changing the subject, honour us with a short list of 5 (or more) all time vinyl favourites. Might be dubstep related or not.
Pete: This is constantly changing but here are 5 essential albums which I think always deserve the full “start to finish” listen:
Dillinja – Cybotron
RSD – Good Energy: A Singles Collection
Kryptic Minds – One Of Us
Congo Natty Most Wanted Volume One
Roni Size / Reprazent – New Forms
Sebastian: Now, speaking of vinyl releases, an all-time favourite for me would be “Simon Says”, part of your white label releases under 1Drop back in 2016. That tune is immortal in my opinion. Any fresh music to come out as a white label in the near future?
Pete: One big news I am finally able to share is the return of the WAR series this year. That is something I have been planning for a while but kept pushing back until I had the music for it. The previous owner was generous enough to let me take over and reboot the series so I am very stoked to get that rolling. Those are the plates that really put my name out there and thats exactly what I would like to do for other artists. WAR020 is being pressed right now, will be sharing more info on that very soon!
Sebastian: Now getting to the end of this interview, any words for the fans? Any special announcements to make for the bassheads?
Pete: Like I mentioned, the return of WAR is probably the biggest news for me at the moment. I am also starting up a side project for my label “Roots & Future Limited”, where limited will mean the beats are around 120bpm – a tempo I always wanted to explore more, but haven’t really had the platform for it up until now. The first release will be 2 dark garage tunes coming out mid June.
Sebastian: The last question would be something rather unpredictable, as we often do in our interviews. Let’s imagine you as a teacher. You’re teaching a class of 5th graders and they don’t know what dubstep and soundsystem culture is. How do you explain to them?
Pete: Interesting question! I would probably talk less about music specifically, and try to approach the subject from a more general viewpoint. Talk about the importance of communities, being able to decide for youself what is important for you in life and stick to that. Soundsystem culture to me means you made a choice to be a part of something that will be a lot of work, with no guarantee it will ever take off. As long as you accept that, and put all the energy into it, it shouldn’t matter if your choice of music is dubstep, techno or any other genre.
Sebastian: With all these being said, it is a large pleasure to chat with such a great artist and we hope you enjoyed.
Pete: Thank you, hope to see you in Romania next time I’m over!
Well, easy everybody, this is it. We can only wait for the announcement of DJ Madd’s renewal of the WAR series and in the meantime the latest release on Roots & Future should pe poppin’ next month. If you haven’t followed him already, go check his profiles and stay tuned around for more news and interviews!