Interview with Gage & Night Tracks 018: Guest Mix

Today we’ve managed to get an interview with the London/Bristol based producer Gage, who’s just released his Sharp Eyes EP on L2S Recordings and I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about him in the near future. There’s also a guest mix from him, packed with garage infused beats, and a few dubs and forthcomings to keep you happy. Check it out.

NT: Hey, can we get a quick introduction from you?
My name is Lewis Charles aka Gage, a 20-year-old producer living in Bristol for most of the year and South London over the summer. I’ve been involved in various music related projects since I was around 13 years old, but started producing around 3 years ago.

NT: Being based in Bristol and London, you're not exactly short of local influences. How much did this factor in your productions, and who were the artists that influenced you?
Yeah definitely, I’ve always paid a lot of attention to the local music scene. Growing up in London I grew up listening to a lot of the later garage and then following it into grime, music I still love to this day! Production wise I feel grime was at it’s strongest in the early days; producers such as Rapid and Plastician (in the Plasticman era) still influence my production massively. I moved to Bristol for university around a year ago now. It wasn’t a conscious decision, more a lucky choice. The scene there is completely buzzing and I feel it’s always easy to find cutting edge producers due to the vibrant and diverse music scene. I was taken aback by various sets I saw when I first moved there – hearing ‘Battle For Middle You’ by Julio Bashmore for the first time through a soundsystem is a moment that I don’t think will ever leave me. I’m looking forward to getting back there and getting more actively involved in the underground scene.

NT: How did it feel to release on what is probably the most prominent "future garage" label, L2S? Was there any interest from other labels, or did you always plan to get it released on L2S?
Back in March I made Sharp Eyes and then read a Whistla interview about ‘future garage’ – not a term I like to freely use to describe my music but in the interview he said some labels that he likes. I sent the demo to a couple of smaller labels and L2S as a long shot. When I got the email back from Whistla asking if I had anything else to put with it for a release I was over the moon! It’s a privilege to have a release on the label; it’s put out so many brilliant EP’s over the last few years.

NT: I noticed you used to MC when you were younger. What made you go along that route? Is it something you still do?
G: As I said before, the music around me has a massive impact on the sound and vibe that I create. I grew up in a house of varied music, my dad listened to a lot of funk, soul & rap, and my mum listened to a fair bit of pop and the more mainstream side of two-tone ska (I still go to watch Madness perform with her when the opportunity arises!). Then at school I had a lot of friends that listened to hip-hop and rap. When So Solid Crew started hitting the mainstream airwaves it was a sound I fell in love with, and grime took off for me. I had a bad habit of drowning myself in one sound for a while – not so much now – but once I found it I locked my ears to anything that was not grime. I never write lyrics anymore, haven’t for a couple of years, though after a few drinks old friends always try to badger me into MCing!

NT: Do you only produce garage, or a variety of sounds? Do you feel that your tracks are aimed at the dancefloor?
I produce whatever feels right to me at the time – I feel very comfortable between 130 and 140BPM, though I’ve started experimenting outside those borders a lot more recently. I try to stay as diverse as possible without being sporadic or too unpredictable. The stuff that I put online tends to fall into these borders, though I’ve even gone as far as programming a Menuetto by Bach into Logic and reworking it! A lot of my tracks I make with sets or the dancefloor in mind, but it all depends on what inspired me to make the song. No More Lessons for example was made purely because it was a sunny day and lectures finished early on Friday haha.

NT: Do have any releases lined up in the near future?
I’m talking to a couple of labels about various tracks at the moment, but there’s nothing concrete just yet. I’ve been getting involved with a few things lined up for the future, there’s a night that will be starting in Bristol called LFO which I’ll be playing at on a regular basis, and it’s safe to say I’ll be collaborating with Ollie Macfarlane at some point over the next month or two. There’s also a new Swansea-based label called Dench! Recordings that have been snapping up a lot of young talent for their first few releases and I’ll be getting involved with those guys.

NT: Can you give us a few words on your selection for the mix?
G: I consciously chose a few tracks by producers that may not be household names within this scene and chucked them with names that are, to show how much talent is bubbling right now – I still feel that every track stands it’s ground well in the mix. I threw the Delphic track in as they are extremely forward-thinking and quite simply the best band I’ve ever seen perform. Bank is one of the tracks I’m looking at releasing in the future and Sharp Eyes is getting a lot of positive feedback.

NT: Finally, if you had to name your three favourite "Night Tracks", what would they be?
Washed Out – Hold Out
Foals – What Remains

NT: Thanks for your time man! Check out Gage’s mix below…

Ollie Macfarlane - Shadows [Forthcoming Seeking Blue]
Gage - Bank [Dubplate]
Maribou State - Take Another Look [Fat! Records]
iO - You/Me [Dubplate]
I Killed Kenny - Leeches feat. Koder (Avrg Joe Remix) [Forthcoming Four40]
Dark Sky - Speeding Blue [50 Weapons]
Joy Orbison - J.Doe [Doldrums]
Jacques Greene - (Baby I Don't Know) What You Want (Ollie Macfarlane Remix) [Dubplate]
Nocturnal Sunshine - Can't Hide The Way I Feel [LMD SkunkWorks]
Snoe - J [Decarhythm]
Gage - Sharp Eyes [L2S]
Delphic - Clarion Call [Polydor]
Jamie XX & Gil Scott Heron - NY Is Killing Me [XL]

Gage on Soundcloud
Gage on Facebook
Sharp Eyes EP (L2S Recordings) on Juno Download