Interview with Ill & Natti & Night Tracks 019: Guest Mix

Today we’ve got an interview with the Reggae-tinged Dubstep duo Ill & Natti, who’ve also put together a dub-filled guest mix that you can check out at the end. Make sure you check out their soundcloud for a few free downloads too. Read on....

NT: Hey, can you give an introduction to those who haven’t heard of you yet?
I&N: We are Ill & Natti…next question. No haha, we’re a reggae/hip-hop influenced dubstep duo based out of Iowa, USA (but don’t tell nobody). It’s Ill, DJ/producer and Natti, vocalist/producer.

NT: What came first for you? The reggae or the dubstep, and did liking one help you discover the other?
I&N: Good question. This happens to be a combination of opposites; Natti has been into reggae since day 1, and wasn’t much interested in electronic music until he heard the Bassnectar remix of Kingston Town. Ill on the other hand, went through phases of punk rock and then electro house and then migrated towards dubstep in 2008, and then the reggae influenced dubstep after that.

NT: On your Soundcloud profile, it says that you are “influenced by Damian Marley and Tupac as they are by Rusko, Distance and Youngsta.” Rusko aside, that last group of artists doesn’t have a particularly high profile stateside. How did you pick up on those producers and DJs?
I&N: One of the first tracks that we ever heard and liked in the genre was ‘Traffic’ by Distance. It was such a good jam that we had to find more, and so over the years we’ve always come back to Distance as one of our all time favorite producers. Youngsta is a different matter.
In 2009 and early 2010 it is safe to say that we went through a “brostep” phase where we were into the heavier side of the genre, but it passed, and we started probing the underground for a different take. We found GetDarker and Youngsta and have been avid fans of the sounds that they push ever since. Also from a DJ’s perspective, Youngsta is someone to look up to as his transitions and selection is top notch.

NT: As a production & vocals duo, can you explain a little further about how you put together a track? Does the instrumental come first or the vocals?
I&N: It’s both. Sometimes it’s the music first and Natti will drop some vocals. Other times we’ll remix an old unreleased vocal track that was made back in the day. For new songs though it’s generally the instrumental that comes first. We’ll usually sit down and write a 32 bar riff that we really like, then build it out, add vocals, and change details like drum fills and whatnot for a finisher before we mix it down.
NT: Do you produce any other styles of music?
I&N: Natti has his own side project where he does Reggae/hip-hop acoustic stuff, and Ill has done some House work as DJ Reevo.

NT: What’s the dubstep scene like in the mid-west? Anybody that you think we should be looking out for?
I&N: The scene in the Midwest is young. It’s passionate but a little uneducated. Most of the clubs and bars around here don’t know much about dubstep, and those that do play the heavier less melodic and less listenable side of the genre. However, we are slowly educating people all over the Midwest by pushing the dark, intense and strikingly mellow sounds that we’ve come to love and resonate with. We are optimistic about the future out here.
As far as other talent goes, we are digging everything DJ Nickel-B does. He definitely pushes similar sounds to us, although he’s more East Coast. Also Pah Je from St. Louis is a good producer and probably one of the most underrated DJs around. We also don’t want to forget about our home-boy Mastarr, who we have high hopes for.

NT: Do you have any releases planned in the near future? Anything else you want people to know about?

I&N: Yes. We have an upcoming EP release, and have been working on several tracks for it for the last 8 months. No planned release date, but we’re hoping sooner rather than later. Also we have a radio show that we do every Saturday at 10pm BST (4pm central time), and anyone can stream it live.

NT: Finally, if you had to pick your three favourite “Night Tracks”, what would they be?
I&N: 1. Rob Sparx – Broke
2. Josh Osho – Redemption Days (Distance Remix)
and…(maybe it’s too easy to pick this one, but we’re gonna do it anyway)
3. Loefah – Midnight

NT: Thanks for your time! Check out their radio show here (archives here), and check out their recommendations, DJ Nickel B and Pah Je and of course, listen to their guest mix below.

01. Ill & Natti - Get It On [Dub]
02. Radikal Guru - Strong Dub
03. Stinkahbell - Under The Sun
04. Rob Sparx - Broke feat. Roqqert
05. DJ Madd - Pitch Black
06. The Bug - Jah War (Loefah Remix)
07. Tunnidge - Decay
08. Benton - Videodrome
09. Josh Osho - Redemption Days (Distance Remix)
10. Cyrus - Looking Back
11. Von D - Love Music feat. Phephe
12. Ben Verse - Flip The Coin
13. Lil Wayne - Walk It Out (Ill & Natti Rub) [Dub]
14. J:Kenzo - The Roteks
15. Ill & Natti - The Dark Distance [Dub]
16. Kromestar - Family Apart
17. Hatcha, Lost - Albarsha
18. Breakage - Callahan
19. Kromestar - Mental Universe
20. Damian Marley vs. RSD - The Mission (DJ Nickel B Mash) [Dub]
21. DJ Madd - Good Old Days
22. Ill & Natti - Fear [Dub]