Vinyl Junkie Interviews – MAD VIBES
Hi Mate. How’s things and what have you been up to??
hi man ---- all good … I can’t complain as I’m very busy in the studio working on several music projects and business is doing well, too.
Can you give me a brief bit of background on yourself. Where you were born, where you grew up, what school you went to etc… and what did you do for work before you started producing music?
I was born in Germany; my dad was an US Soldier and my mum German. I grew up in Frankfurt Germany and I also went to school near Frankfurt. And I am still living in that area now a days.
I was always into music and started doing music in my early teenager years when I was still in school. I started university then, but never finished it, because I got so deep in producing music and DJing that I’ve decided to do that full time. But sometimes that didn’t really pay all the bills back then, so I started working in a local music store selling pro audio equipment to studio customers – and that’s when I also started building my own studio.
So musically, let’s start right at the beginning… Going way back, before raving and Moving Shadow and all that good stuff… What is your very earliest musical memory?
Probably when I got into Rap music in the late 80ies ….
When you were growing up, what music was likely to being played in your house? We’re your parents very musical? In other words, What was the soundtrack to your youth? And how did this music effect your future?
Even though my dad left us very early, he did leave his record collection. Which was all reggae, funk and soul. And as my mum was into that kind of music, too – that´s what she was playing all day .. and we had AFN, which was an US military radio station, where we would listen to the programs with soul and funk. So, it was all black music for me when growing up. That all lead to listening to rap and hip-hop, and as my stateside family is from Detroit, there also was some electronic music in the late 80ies which caught my attention, but it took until ´92 when I heard some stuff coming from UK which had something like a “fast hip-hop beat” instead of 4-to-the-floor bass drums 😉 … and that’s where it was clear for me where the road would lead to …
What was the first record you ever bought and how old were you?
C.O.D. – In The Bottle. That was in 1983 and I was 6 or 7 years old. As a matter of fact, I did not buy the record, but I worked for it. We were living in small apartment above a record shop, and I used to go in there and look at all the records every time I got home from school. I knew I was not allowed to touch the records or the record player at home by myself – so I thought: I need my own record, that I can play all day when I want. And so, I asked the owner if I could “work” for him to buy one record. He smiled at me, gave me a small package to deliver to the post office (which was literally next door) and that way I’ve “earned” my first vinyl.
What was the first rave you ever went to? And how did affect your life!!
I have to pick a certain club night which happened in Frankfurt in ´93 … I’ve been to party’s and raves before, but that night was the opening night of a club in Frankfurt called XS and it was the first night in Frankfurt ever dedicated to “breakbeats”. I remember Bassface Sascha being one of the DJ’s and even though I’ve heard that kind of music on tapes before – it was that night where it all started. Less than 1 year later in ´94 I’ve released my first record ever and it was called “jungle life” … I think that describes it quite well what happened afterwards 😊
Where do you think you would be now if the drum&bass scene never happened?
I have no idea as its part of my life for so long now … but the nearest possible would probably a pro-basketball player as I was quite good in my younger years and all I did was practice and play ball.
When did you first start learning to produce and are you self-taught or did you go to college… In other words, how did you become such an awesome producer?
These credits are going to my 2 mentors from back then. Most important Rebel X, he was a hip-hop producer from New York and worked as civilian for the us military and he took me in when I had some trouble in school and stuff. He had a super small studio in the barracks, and he would let me work in his studio on beats instead of getting into more trouble – he showed me how to use an Akai sampler and how to do music with very limited options. We had 9 seconds of sample time in total – so for everybody who is not into producing – that means that all elements of a song combined can’t be longer then 9 seconds - so if you sample a break which was 4 seconds long, that means half of your time is gone already and you would have to choose wisely on the next elements. So, we used techniques like speeding up the turntable we sample from and then slowing it down in the sampler again – that way we could save up precious seconds hahaha … oh – and there was no disc drive, so we were not able to safe anything – it had to be done in one session, record it to DAT and that was it …. No changes possible … and if you were not fast enough and left it on overnight – chances it would be gone the next day was very high … that’s how I learned the “soul” of production. And with my 2nd mentor Marcus Darius I learned the “body” of production – the actual technical side of everything … he had quite a big studio with proper equipment, big mixing desk and huge monitors. I used to just hang around as a kid and look above his shoulder when he was producing and mixing down songs for different artists. And then after his working day I was allowed to stay a bit longer and that’s where I build my craft on being an engineer by pretty much recreating what I saw during the day … that was also the place where I’ve made my first records with Marcus being the engineer.
and getting to know all the analogue equipment back then was a big help and lead me to building my own studio later.
What other producers did you see as your Influences back then?
Hard to tell, when I first got into breakbeats Jungle and such, all I had to get inspiration from was tapes recorded from uk pirate stations or raves and I wouldn’t even know the names of the tunes or producers back then. And in the early 90s it wasn’t so easy to get a hold of those records anyway.
Can you remember the first time you heard one of your tunes played at an event by a known DJ? Who was the DJ and how did it make you feel seeing all those people going mental to something you had made?
To be honest I don’t remember – it’s not that all my music got played by big name DJ’s all the time. but I honestly don’t remember … but I do remember I big moment for me, when DJ storm came up to me on sun and bass a few years back and thanked me for constantly making good jungle music. That really meant something to me and motivates me to keep going.
How has production changed over the years? Are you still a hardware man or have plug-ins taken over?
All analogue hardware again. I used to work in the box for quiet some years, but then returned to hardware, because you just can’t beat the sound and workflow of high-quality outboard, and I am in that very lucky situation to be able to use the best of it.
What DAW do you use, and have you always used that one?
I’m on logic. After the Atari Cubase times it was always logic.
What is your most used plug-in these days and what’s so cool about it?
As stated above, I’m a hardware man hahaha … so it has to be the exs-24 sampler which I’m still using every time, because its super quick and intuitive. And I like certain delay and reverb plug-ins like the albarosi or UAD Lexicon.
What else do you do other than produce music? I heard a rumour that you are also a mastering engineer??
Yes – that’s what I do. I am a full-time mastering engineer. I used to have a recording facility I rented out as well, but that didn’t pay of well at the end, so I’ve closed that and kept the mastering suite only. So, if anybody is in need of high-quality full analogue mastering, drop me a line through my website: www.m3mastering.com
When did you start DJing and what influenced you to do so?
It was beginning of the 90´s and I think I wanted to be a rapper first, but I really sucked at it, so I decided to become a DJ to stay in the band hahaha …
What DJs really blew your mind back then?
When talking jungle dnb from the 90´s, I was always a huge fan of Bryan Gee for playing out all the tunes nobody had and everybody wanted, and DJ hype, because he was doing the scratching I knew from hip-hop (and was never able to do it myself hahaha …. ), Storm of course and I could name so many more like Fabio and Grooverider, Bukem, Mickey Finn and on and on and on …
Have you been DJing much lately? What gigs do you have lined up??
Not really, I got so locked up in my studio during the pandemic that just now I’m getting used to going out again – I did play sun and bass last year and will hopefully do so again this year … but I haven’t really pushed my DJ game very hard lately … maybe a good time to get back to it now 😊
Tell us a funny story from your DJ adventures?
Well – I’m quite tall (2,00m) and I remember playing somewhere in Italy and the decks on stage were sitting on a regular sized school table … so I told the promoter: I can’t be playing on my knees or sitting down in a chair – you must get a higher table … But there is no higher table in the venue – so I go outside and find an old mattress in the street, a large wooden board and a couple of bricks. I put the mattress on the table stabilized it with the board and the bricks – and there you go: a high enough table and now even decoupled from the wobbly stage…. Sometimes you just have to know how to help yourself hahaha
There has been a massive resurgence in vinyl sales lately with loads of old classics being remastered and repressed. Is this a good thing and why? Discuss….
Of course, it is … what can be bad about this? It shows that there are so many lovers of the music that stuck around for 3 decades and now buy vinyl again (or for the first time) and even lots of younger kids that are getting into what the foundation was … I see good things only!
Do you think the vinyl thing will grow or fizzle out? discuss your reasoning…
I know one thing it will not fizzle out … I still remember the times when the big record company were trashing their vinyl cutting machines in their backyard, because the cd came on the market, and they thought they would never need them again. And look now - 30 years later, vinyl is still there, and the demand is so high that you have to wait 6-12 months for a vinyl to be manufactured. Vinyl is just something special that not any digital format can give you. Its everything about it, the touch, smell, look, feel … it touches all senses… it’s the physical interaction with the music.
The sound of the early 90’s hardcore and jungle has come full circle with lots of young people, who were not even born first time round, adopting this sound, buying records, and even producing music in this style… It’s amazing… what’s your thoughts on this and how is it going to affect the future of the scene?
I love it !! and it’s definitely a great thing for the scene. Once a music genre goes full cycle like that it’s a sign that it will be there forever.
How does the newly produced hardcore / jungle compare to the original stuff?
Some of it is really great, its taking the ideas and vibes from back then to a new level, with all the possible production techniques now a days and all the knowledge accessible to anybody. And lots of older producer are getting back in demand now, too.
You have a release just about to drop on Ghetto Dub. Tell us about the EP!
It’s the “Ghostride VIP EP” which is a follow up to my first EP on Ghetto Dub from 2020. The idea to the title track came pretty quick after its original and then we (Ghetto Dub and me) had to find the right tracks and timing to finish this EP. It now consists of 4 Tracks which were all written in different time periods throughout the last 3 years. As stated, before Ghostride VIP is a follow up and takes the original in a rougher direction, definitely more edgy than the original mix. Insane is deep percussion driven roller, where I was more experimental with the whole beats and percussion section. And “Right Now” and “Luv Ur Music” are two straight forward jungle rollers, more that kind of sound I’m mostly known for.
The Ghostride VIP EP is available now as a pre-sale from Beatport. Full release is Thursday 16th March. You can grab it here: https://www.beatport.com/release/ghostride-vip/4045377
So Tony, what other releases do you have lined up???
There 2 more tracks signed to Ghetto Dub for a future release. And I’ve just signed a 6 Track EP to Digital´s Function Records, an EP for Outrage´s label Backlash, and I’m also currently working on some stuff for the German Label Basswerk.
Any final words or shouts??
I want to thank you John for having me on your show and believing in my music. And that goes to all the people out there, who believe in what I’m doing and are putting their effort in releasing my music – this is what is about for me – creating music and knowing there are people out there who enjoy listening to it
If you want to include any links or contact information, put it here.
Unfortunately, I’m not very good using all the socials, but you can still link up with me via Facebook or Instagram FB: https://www.facebook.com/tony.madvibes/
INSTA: Tony Madvibes)
And of course, through my website: www.m3mastering.com
I want to say a massive thank you and BIG UPS to Mad Vibes for taking the time to do this interview. You can catch Tony dropping a guestmix on my radio show tomorrow. You can listen to the show LIVE. Thats Thurs 16th March 10am - Midday (UK Time). Here is the link: https://www.mixcloud.com/EruptionRadioUK
If you miss it, it will be available as a podcast from here: https://on.soundcloud.com/dhaU5
and here: https://podcast.vinyljunkie.uk/