Aaaand, we’re back! For the first interview of the new decade, we have Sheffield based producer/DJ and UK Jungle resident Supa Ape joining us for a chat!
SSC: In your own words, who are you and what do you do?
SA: I’m David aka Supa Ape. I produce and mix jungle music.
SSC: So, how was the journey? What started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?
SA: I’ve been making music pretty obsessively since I was a kid, playing in bands and doing all kinds of stuff. I actually had lessons on a few instruments from a young age too. When I discovered the UK bass music scene it kinda struck a chord with me in so many ways and I’ve never looked back really. I definitely fell in love with the sound systems, the free party ethos and the kind of music I was hearing at those parties (dub, dnb, 4×4 bassline, jungle).
Jungle became my main creative outlet pretty quickly. Then I guess I locked myself in a room for about 4 years (not literally..) until I started to feel satisfied with what I was producing – when I think back to those days I really didn’t do much else with my spare time and it wouldn’t be unusual for me to spend 60 hours a week making music. I started to get some attention on Soundcloud and managed to get a few releases on digital and vinyl. The ball started rolling after that – I joined with UK Jungle Records in 2016 and the rest is history!
SSC: Who are the main influences for you, doing what you do?
SA: I’ve been influenced by some jungle artists and I’ll try to list a few in a sec, but honestly I find inspiration hits me in all sorts of situations, not only when listening to music. Actually, I don’t tend to listen to any music on days when I’m producing (unless I’m purely mixing or mastering), I suppose I find it can dilute the ideas I have and I don’t like to imitate anyway. When I do take inspiration from other producers, it’s in a less conscious way which is more fun for me.
Some jungle producers: Sixteenarmedjack, Feyder, Dillinjah, Chopstick Dubplate, DJ K, Champa B, Kid LiB, Krinjah, FFF, Spinscott needs a mention, HoT, Selecta J-man, Spongebob Squarewave, Baby Demo, Vocoda, Breakforce One, Faul, Dwarde, Stazma, Humb, Pastaman, Serum, Bladerunner, Tester, Capital J, Ray Keth, Remarc, DJ Zinc… loads I’ve forgotten….
SSC: What do you consider to be the highlight of your music career so far, and why?
SA: Getting my track ‘What You Want ft. Lady Soul’ played on BBC Radio One was a good feeling. The most fun moments have to be the festival takeovers with UK Jungle Records, especially performing with Lady Soul live. Some festival highlights would be Boomtown, Balter and Illusive. The music video for my track Pressure Cooker by Morphic Productions I’m really proud of.
SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?
SA: Not really but if you spend years working hard on something, trying to improve, then you are inevitably going to encounter a lot of stress and frustration at times.
SSC: At this point in your career, it’s fair to say you’ve been about a bit! How does the jungle scene compare in other countries to the UK?
SA: Jungle is a really really niche scene, relatively speaking. The UK scene is probably the biggest in Europe by far. Really though its an online community, so a kind of international thing. I’ve been lucky enough to perform in a few countries, and I’ve been genuinely amazed and humbled by the passion and dedication that promoters and fans show – even when they run the ONLY jungle night in their city… or their country!
SSC: Who should we be keeping an eye on? Any artists or DJs standing out to you right now?
SA: Jungle-wise, just off the top of my head (and I have a terrible memory); Charla Green, Jahganaut & Duburban are making sick new stuff. Simply Dread are consistently killing it. Slim Sinna, Papa Shanti, Marvin Blue, P-Tay, Sariuo, Matica from Liverpool has been sending me some really impressive stuff so watch out for him as well. Plus all the UKJ crew. Call be bias, I don’t care…
SSC: Other than bass-driven music, are there any other genres or artists you’re feeling at the moment?
SA: Yeah, at the moment I’m listening to a lot of 70’s stuff – Funk and Soul (don’t forget disco…) mainly which is great for sampling ideas. Plenty of early 90’s Hip-hop too. To relax I love my reggae (obviously) but also Jazz or Classical – especially because I’m composing film music on and off so that really inspires me. Some new bands (new-ish to me anyway) that I’m loving are The Comet is Coming, IDLES, Fontaines DC, Khruangbin and Sleaford Mods. Too much music to mention really but a couple of my favourite songwriters are Lou Reed and Paul Simon, and producers like Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, Daft Punk. Very difficult to give a short answer here.
SSC: What’s on the horizon for Supa Ape? Anything exciting coming up?
SA: For Supa Ape, festival bookings for 2020 are coming in and that’s always exciting. I’ve got a couple of tracks lined up for vinyl release early next year already so that’s wicked as well.
Aside from that, I’ve been quietly working on some multi-genre projects which are totally different from the Supa Ape stuff which I will be revealing under a new alias in 2020. Also, I’m working on music for a short film so I’m excited to see where that leads.
SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be?
SA: Keep going, especially when feels like hard work. Trust the first idea that comes into your head. Be kind to yourself.
Big thanks to David for taking the time to speak with us. Keep up with all things Supa Ape at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/supaapemusic/