Interview with ‘As I Am’
Growing up in South East London, As I Am began his musical education at a young age, listening to 80s disco, mixing cassettes and playing keyboard. He soon developed an interest in House and Garage, rushing home from school to listen to local pirate radio stations.
It’s no surprise then, that As I Am was a label owner by the age of 17, founding various club nights since 1998 at the infamous seOne, Koko, Cable, Crucifix Lane, Meantime (now Studio 338) and Boat Parties on the River Thames – with releases on Defected Records, Azuli Simma Black, Get Twisted Records, Whore House, Hed Kandi, Bar grooves, Ministry Of Sound, Arch44, Colombia/Sony.
His most popular track so far ‘Saving Grace’ released on Defected made Best Track on DMC Daytime Buzz Chart at ADE 2014 spending nearly 4 months in the Beatport charts and featured on many compilations like Ministry Of Sound, BBC, Toolroom, Most Rated and SubSoul.
We chatted to As I Am about the music industry, his songwriting process, and people that pay to listen to Chris Brown…
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Chilling with a cold cider in the garden, catching some sunshine.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
My sound recently has adapted from house with piano stabs and clean crispy percussion, to more of a gritty tech house sound whilst trying to keep the housey elements.
What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?
Daft Punk – Homework, Michael Jackson – Thriller, MYLO – Destroy Rock N Roll, Oasis – Definitely Maybe & The Beatles – Sgt Peppers
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
I’m loving so many artists right now, Sante, Andrea Olivia, Waff, Patrick Topping so many names but Pawsa is always in my bag his stuff sounds so gritty and tough I love it!
Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?
No really to be honest, I’m using The Korg Minilogue & Diva quite a lot. But I do have an Access Virus which I am starting to use to create weird sounds and effects.
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
When things are going good it snowballs, when things are bad it melts pretty quick. In a game which is massively influenced by social media I believe a lot of guys are spending too much time looking at others and questioning their worth or self criticising themselves too much. This leads to stress, anxiety and depression which I know a lot of guys suffer from although their social media looks amazing.
Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?
I don’t really, I do take notes sometimes when ideas pop into my head. I also record voice notes if a riff pops into my head. Often people look at me like I’m nuts humming into my iPhone.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?
Not really, I often start with an idea or a voice note, I will sit for a few minutes in silent, reflect and imagine the track. Begin with rough idea on drums then create a loop adding the bassline, slowly arranging the layout until a have a strong structure. Finally adding the final touches.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
Honestly it was Room 3 at Cream in Liverpool. When I came on there was around 15 people and it was the last two hours. It looked like touch and go weather the room was to be closed. I thought fuck this shit the other rooms were playing quite commercial stuff so I started playing warm tech stuff and built it up to quite a tough tech house sound. I managed to build the room to around 250 people who was absolutely having it large. Wasn’t the biggest crowd I played to and the room wasn’t packed but we went on a journey that morning and I loved it!
And the worst?
There was one place, can’t say where but I actually had some dick come up to me and try to hand me 500 euros to play Chris Brown..
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
Glastonbury would be my dream gig, but I would have to be lead singer in a band haha, in the real world it would be Ibiza for Ants at Ushuaia what a place!! Every time I go I feel lifted and inspired.
If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be?
I would love to be a back up dancer for Stormzy
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Yes I have a lovely track called ‘Vaquero’ coming out on Smiley Fingers on 23rd June. It’s different and has a great tribal feel to it, proper Ibiza sun set sessions, also music on Jump Digital & Audio Rehab. I am playing at Proud Camden for Select Radio on 17th June and various Wednesdays Ibiza across the summer at Eden with Audio Rehab.