60 Seconds with… Est8
Back with another stunning collaboration with Spiritchaser and vocalist Emily Cook, we grab 60 Seconds with the talented purveyor of emotive dance music, Est8.
How did you first get into producing music and what was your first release?
My first commercial production was a remix of Blu Cantrell’s “Breathe” (Ed Funk and Drok mix). I got an early pre-release Acapella and restructured the vocal, laid down and new bassline and myself and Ed worked on the beats with some vocal edits from Askillz, BMG/Arista took the mix and used it on the flip side of the release which went No.1 in the UK in 2003. Prior to that I’d been drumming in various bands, signed a deal with Some Bizarre and worked as a session musician.
Describe your sound in 5 words…
I look for empathy.
Your music is quite emotive and balearic, who or what inspires your productions?
It’s a cliché, but that is a difficult question! Growing up in the Great Britain I’ve been exposed to a huge variety of amazing sounds and music.
I’ve been influenced by different music and artists at different stages in my life. I find myself enjoying stuff I used to hate and visa versa. As a teenager I loved LTJ Bukem and the D&B sound, the smokers delight album, Saint Germain…lots…and lots. Also, a huge amount of influence from my closest peers, friends & family, and those passionate about art, design, science & Music, life and creativity.
Your new single with Spiritchaser ft Emily Cook ‘Because I Knew' has just come out on Guess Records, which we love, how does it sound?
Thank you. Hopefully like a record that that relates and, provokes an emotive reaction. Emily has a soft and beautiful vocal that compliments a delicate and beautiful song.
There are also remixes from Bamo and N’Dinga Gaba, what did they bring to the table and are you happy with the results?
Love them both. Bamo’s got a great minimal vibe on the go and N’Dinga has taken a totally different and excellent twist on the song. It’s always exciting to hear fresh approaches to original ideas!
You’ve also made a solo remix yourself, what can we expect to hear?
I’ve tried to connect with and support the vocal. The lyrics are written by Bamo and always come from the heart, so I’ve tried to create a vibe that lets them speak.
How did you first link up with Spiritchaser aka Richard and Mark and what’s your relationship with the Duffnote and Guess labels?
I’ve been friends Richard and Mark for years. Myself and Richard set up Duffnote in 2003. Mark and Richard already had a bunch of great releases as Spiritchaser and we launched Guess Records a few years later. Myself and Rich both love South American and African rhythms and vibes so set up One51 as a vehicle for that style of music as well. Our first production together as One51 was called Si Weka and featured a vocal from a good friend BK – we were going to use this as the first release on our new label but Marc Pomeroy and Brian Tappert heard the release and signed it in for Soulfuric Deep.
So tell us more about the Duffnote label and the label’s key artists and releases?
Wow, there’s a lot… Duffnote’s sound is heavily based around Richard’s Soulful sound, both original and remixes. Nearly all our relases feature a remix by Richard, he’s a machine when it comes to production, but one with soul and passion, lots of it! Artists we’ve had the pleasure of working with include Danny Clark, Justin Michael, Christian Alvarez too many to list here (see repertoire list of Guess, One51 and Duffnote on Traxsource) . As a company we delve into other production sounds too and have worked on music for various TV, Games and Film. More recently we’ve produced music for Bear Grylls, CSI, BBC and Sky Sports. Our Publishing has been looked after via Bucks Music Group in Camden since 2004 and they’re always throwing alternative challenges our way.
You’ve worked on a few releases with Spiritchaser and also Emily Cook including 'Yesterday’s Gone’, ’Two Sides’, 'Liftin’ Me High’ and 'These Tears’, have you got a particular favourite?
Yes, has to be “These Tears”. I love Bamo’s lyrics and the original mix. I finished my mix and played it for the first time to him on the way to see Richard perform for the launch of his Solo Album “In Time” at the Jazz Cafe. Bamo’s reaction was “[Intro] Yep…[drop] yep…[Piano re-intro]…Yep…love it! Nice one mate!” The record went on to be one of our most successful to date achieving No.1 in South Africa in 2013 and being signed to Sony. And then re-used by Kwesta on his No.1 Single “Spirit” this year.
When In the studio, have you got any rituals or bad studio habits when writing your music?
Rituals, keep things tidy, keep things clean. Bad habits, probably jamming over a chord sequences when I should be developing and arranging the initial idea…seriously…I’ve wasted hours playing about!
Any plans for an Est8 album in the near future?
What was the first dance record you bought?
When I was 10 living in Redbourne in Hertfordshire, I walked in to my local independent Record store and purchased a record I’d heard on TV; Chakka Chan “I Feel For You” – I purchased it mainly for Melle Mel’s amazing intro rap, as me and my mates were very in to the Electro Vinyl releases, breakdancing and early forms House Music that was making its way over from the USA. Stevie Wonders Harp solo in that record absolutely influences me to this day – Richard and I gave a massive nod to that in our version of Tony Vass’ – Fly Me Higher (Duffnote).
Who was the last DJ you saw playing and where?
Probably Earnshaw and Bamo at a bar! I don’t get out as much as I used to…
What do you like to listen to when you're not in work mode?
I’m very Eclectic nowadays. I often let playlists throw tunes at me. Here’s a few artists; The Cult, Danger Mouse, The Clash, Ninja Tune, Wretch 32, Zero 7, Jungle, Gorgan City, Jonsi, Zack Hemsey, Childish Gambino and lots more.
What else should we be looking out for from you in the next few months?
We’re working on a fair few projects right now… watch this space!
'Because I Knew' will be released on Traxsource promo on May 11th / Full release May 28th on 2018 on Guess Records.