Uproot Andy :: Interview + Free Tropical Bass Remix Download + Video + Que Bajo?! Dance Party

Andy first began making beats during his single digit years as a kid in Canada. This early passion eventually grew into a lifelong dedication to music, drawing inspiration from an eclectic selection of styles he has exposed himself to through the years – as discussed in this interview – as well as his classical music education at NYU.

Two years ago, Andy joined up with the Dutty Artz crew. He now runs a weekly at Santos Party House – the Que Bajo parties, hosted with Geko Jones  – and maintains an incredibly busy touring schedule, along with a steady flow of production projects. One of his newest works, a remix of Los Rakas ‘Abrazame,’ is tearing up the internet and the clubs as we speak. Be sure to check it out and download it – yet another tasty feature of this artist interview provided below…

Why did you start making music?

I made my first recordings with my neighbor in Toronto when we were 9 or 10 years old. My parents are musicians so there were always instruments around, including a synth and a drum machine, and we would just set up a tape recorder in the room and my friend would work the drum pads while I rapped and messed with the keyboard. So I guess I’ve always had the impulse to make music, but it was really important that I also had the means.

Which artists influenced you the most when you were young?

At that time, when I was very young, I was back and forth between rock bands like Led Zeppelin and rap like Naughty By Nature and MC Hammer, anything that was popular enough to get to my ears. By high school I was listening mostly to hip hop, Wu Tang Clan being maybe the most significant, and exploring jazz, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out was big for me and probably one of the main reasons I started looking for different sounds. Then when I moved to New York I started studying classical music and started hearing all kinds of world music and my tastes have just continued to develop and broaden since then.

You are a true full time DJ in addition to your production/remixing work – how do you balance the two?

I wish I had some good advice about this to follow myself, this is one of my main struggles. One of the things I’ve had to do is to limit the time I spend searching for new music in favor of actually making new music. Of course a DJ has to spend time looking for new material and even for a producer it is important to listen to the new things that are coming out, but with the internet you can really get lost down the rabbit hole because there’s always something else to check out, you never cover it all. In the end I think you have to let go a little bit of that urge to be up on all the new stuff if you ever want that new stuff to be yours.

How does DJing, and the music you play in clubs, influence your remixing?

The atmosphere in the club is very different than it is at home; music sounds different when you have a bigger sound system and a room full of people. The obvious example is that you feel the frequencies more, especially the bass, and so DJing teaches you to pay close attention to that low end when producing. But a maybe less obvious example is that even time feels different in a party atmosphere. So musical gestures in club music, kind of like make up on an opera singer, tend to be more broad and drastic. Sometimes I listen to a track at home and I feel like its a little over the top, but that same track in the club might really land in the right way. I might not always be producing with the club in mind, but if I am it definitely changes my approach.

Which styles of music are the primary influences on your productions? What parts or aspects of those musical styles do you draw from the most from?

Well its hard to narrow it down, since I try to let anything that I like into the kitchen. But afro latin percussion has been a huge influence on my production. Aside from actually remixing this type of thing, I draw on these rhythms and textures for my own productions to try and make electronic music that that has a non-programmed feel at times. I’ve learned, by remixing a lot of folkloric music, the ways in which some of that music is swung off the beat in different ways, and now I use the same types of patterns when I program beats on the computer. I also draw a lot of influence from the UK’s dance music and especially its use of synthesizers.

How do you identify/decide if a song is good for remixing?

Mostly if I choose to do a remix its because the song is just beautiful or powerful or just makes me want to share it with people, but is lacking something for it to stand up to modern dance music in the club. I usually just start out with a simple idea of how to tune it up, usually adding a kick drum to begin with, and then I usually get carried away from there until its become a more involved remix. The most important thing is that I love it. The second is that I can imagine how to make it work in the club.

Uproot Andy’s Remix of Los Rakas ‘Abrazame’

Can you tell us a little bit about the process of the Los Rakas ‘Abrazame’ remix? How long did it take you? What did you use (software/hardware) for the project?

I had spent an afternoon starting to rework the ‘Hold Yuh’ riddim when Los Rakas were passing through New York and Rich told me he was doing a version as well. After that I probably spent two more work sessions on it and tried to take it in this pan caribbean direction by mixing Indian percussion with reggae dancehall, which happens in different ways in a lot of caribbean music. I mostly use short single note percussion samples that I pull from recordings and chop them up and layer them right in the Logic arrange window. This way I usually get a more messy but also more natural sound. And then to contrast this I made the bass and melodic parts with a Juno 60 analog synthesizer to get that round digi-dancehall sound. Then they sent me the acapella they recorded back in California and I just dropped it in and adjusted the form and order of things a little to fit well with what they had recorded. Download Los Rakas ft. Faviola “Abrazame” (Uproot Andy Hold Yuh Remix)

Footage of Andy DJing at Switch Club in Cordoba, Argentina

How is your European Tour going? Any highlights so far?

The tour has been great so far, every night has been different, but always fun. Highlight so far would probably have to be playing at the Distortion festival in Copenhagen with Douster and Schlachthofbronx. The whole city was raving all day and night, it was a party from when we arrived in the city until we left for the airport and we never even made it to the hotel.

Tell us about your Que Bajo parties with Geko Jones?

Geko and I started Que Bajo about a year and half ago to create a space where we could play all kinds of music that we liked, especially new electronic music from Latin America, that otherwise had no place in New York. Now we’re at Santos Party House, weekly this summer, monthly otherwise, and its really turned into a super fun all out dance party with a really diverse crowd. We also host a lot of great DJs in the global bass scene when they come through New York, and once and a while a straight up live cumbia band.

What advice do you have for those learning to produce and DJ?

I guess I would just say to jump in and start making tracks. The most important thing is that you have ideas for what you want to make. If you have those ideas then you just need to learn certain things to be able to realize them. But most of the time it isn’t necessary to know everything about a machine or a piece of software to make something good with it. I still don’t know all the ins and outs of my software and I’ve been using it for 10 years. It’s greatly helpful the more you learn about the technical side of producing but you shouldn’t wait to just start producing. If you have an idea go for it and see it through. And then when you’re finished, start something new.

  • Tweets that mention Uproot Andy :: Interview + Free Tropical Bass Remix Download + Video + Que Bajo?! Dance Party | Dubspot Blog -- Topsy.com
  • 6/22/2010

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Santos Party House, UPROOT ANDY and dpaolag, Dubspot. Dubspot said: @UprootAndy is interviewed and profiled as Dubspot featured artist – check it out + download new tropical bass refix http://bk.ly/sti [...]

  • Oz
  • 6/22/2010

Nice one! Andy’s work always gets the dancefloor goin! props!

  • DUTTY ARTZ » Blog Archive » New Andy Interview
  • 6/22/2010

[...] of the growing legion of Uproot Andy supporters you should head to the Dubspot blog for an indepth interview with the man [...]

  • Mijanur Rahman
  • 6/22/2010

Hey opps! Nice blog. I love the Music. You can get more information here.

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