A significiant part of my early online life: Poj Masta Interview Pt 1
After the wondrous Go Home Productions, seems only right to have the ridiculously talented and ridiculously young Poj Masta as the next interview. He was still at school in those early days of 2001/02.
1. How the devil are you? And what’s the weather like in London?
I’m good thanks. London is drizzly, which I am finding oddly appealing. Controversial opinion, I know.
2. How did you get involved in bootlegs when you were still at school then?
Well, when I wasn’t hogging the internet connection playing computer games, I was starting to amass a highly illegal mp3 collection through things like Audiogalaxy. I distinctly remember having friends over and asking what their favourite song was and promising we’d have it in half an hours time.
Anyway, I read an article on the bootleg phenomena, think it was in a broadsheet although I can’t remember which. They sounded like my kind of thing, so I investigated, found boomselection, Evolution Control Committee, Dsico, GYBO, started downloading everything I could find… and fell down the rabbit hole from there.
And yes, I was still at school. I was 15 I think.
3. I don’t know if you’re very keen on mash-ups these days. But how did you get involved in doing them?
I very quickly realised I could make them if I got the right tools. I was studying music at the time and meshed with dsico’s guide (I think?), that was all i needed really.
I started messing around with Acid Pro, made all sorts of weird things. Glitch Pop and Bootlegs went hand in hand (in my head at least), so I did both. Glitch stuff actually really helps you learn about what music production software can do, how certain effects are made etc. I think if you listen to people like Skrillex now, you see those ideas continuing. And the appeal of that sound to the youth is still clear!
The first things I actually made first were long mixes for parties. I would spend a week or two putting other peoples bootlegs and anything else I liked in hour long mixes, burn them to a CD and take them to house parties. I think I wanted to see how people would react to glitch stuff, bootlegs etc. I knew that none of them would have heard them before, so that was interesting. My CDs usually got wrestled off for something else after 20 minutes.
At a certain point I decided to stop playing computer games and dedicate the time I spent on the computer messing around with music.
In terms of being keen on them, I still think they are great when they are unexpectedly brilliant. I think I saw an article recently about some analysis of pop music becoming increasingly based around similar chord progressions, so mixing new with new is increasingly straightforward. But when I DJ, I still play the ones I like – Ben’s (Soundhog), things from DJ Hero I liked, my old ones. Like many, I find the term ‘mash-up’ a bit horrible, but I am a bit of a linguistic snob so thats inevitable.
4. What role, if any, did Boomselection or GYBO (in any of its various guises) play?
Seriously important. GYBO was originally a good place to hunt for strange or new things. Those early days when it was a very utilitarian white background/blue links type of place I was probably more of a spectator, but it was good to read about the emergence of bootlegs into the wider world. The odd mention in the press, the Bastard nights etc. It later became a much more active community, a great source of feedback for anything you’d made and actually probably quite a significant part of my early online life. I posted my exam results up on there!
Boomselection was the main source of mp3s in the early days and acted as a benchmark of quality as well as charting the rise of the things. I think there was a section on me and my bootlegs in one of the final Boom’ updates, which I was pretty proud of. It’s influence on the whole world of online music as one of the first mp3 blogs is amazing too.
Coincidentally, I ended up going to the same university as Dan (Sheldon, the_dr), so we’re still good friends.
5. Are there any bootlegs of yours that you think have withstood the test of time (don’t say, none)?
The Scummer mix still stands up in its entirety I think. And it has ended up leading to lots of things – gigs, jobs etc. I still play some of the bits from it when I DJ.
I also play a lot of the bits and bobs which fell out of my work on DJ Hero.
Honestly, I still see merit in everything, but I suppose don’t mind hearing my weird mistakes or things that sound very DIY.
Poj Masta – Foo!