Dubspot Radio Podcast: Compa + Exclusive Mix and Interview!

This episode of Dubspot Radio welcomes Compa, a recognized bass music DJ/Producer from Manchester, who has been releasing music with a number of notable labels including Deep Medi Musik, Boka Records, his own vinyl-only WX/WL white label series, and many more. Tune into Compa’s bass-heavy mix featuring his own productions, and some forward motion records and dubplates he plays on tour. Compa also sits down with us for an exclusive interview and talks about his music background, his approach to production and DJing, future endeavors, forthcoming releases, and much more.



Exclusive Interview w/ Compa

Q. Tell us about the state of Dubstep today? Has the genre endured? Splintered? Where is the sound headed? 
A. The state of Dubstep at the moment is splintered in a really healthy way. Producers are taking the sound in some interesting directions. Commodo in a Grime direction, Gantz in almost a Beats/Hip-hop direction, Argo in somewhat of a Trap direction, Bukez Finezt in all kinds of directions, etc., it’s a really interesting time for the music.

Q. Where is your personal evolution of sound headed?
A. For me I have a lot of influences, and I think my forthcoming records will highlight this. All four tracks on my new EP walk a different stylistic path, they’re club influences in there, Reggae/Dub influences, tribal influences, and, of course, influences from the roots of Dubstep right back to when it was strictly, to quote Skream, ‘Beats and Bass’ which is the sound that inspired me to start writing my own music a few years ago.

Q. Why do you prefer to play vinyl and dubplates as opposed to digital methods of DJing?
A. When I started DJing, roughly nine years ago now, there were no CDs or USBs in use by any DJs I was surrounded by at the time, it was strictly vinyl. I just never changed. When everyone started gravitating towards digital formats, I didn’t feel comfortable making the change. I want to stick to what I believe in and what I love, I’m very passionate about collecting records, cutting dubplates and releasing my music on vinyl. The physicality and tangibility are important to me in a world where not a lot is really ‘Real’ anymore.

Q. Can you tell us about your white label series, WX/WL?
A. Back in 2011, I made a remix of Mavado’s ‘Dem A Talk’ track. After playing it on my Sub FM show a few times someone ripped it then put it on YouTube, and it took off. Everyone from all over the world was asking me for it, and it was being supported by some of the scenes most respected DJs. No label approached me to sign it, so being as obsessed with a D.I.Y ethos as I am, I decided to release it myself, and that’s when WX/WL was born. The letters stand for Wax White Label. At the time I used to run a club night called Wax (Named that because we all strictly played vinyl) and it made sense to evolve that into a label, but because this was a bootleg I couldn’t begin an official ‘Wax’ label, so I thought up the synonym WX/WL instead and began using the label to release my remixes.

Q. Tell us about your journey since releasing your Deep Medi debut until now. 
A. When the record was released things really picked up, I started playing more and more shows, being asked to do more and more remix and production work and I’ve just generally got busier and busier ever since. I can’t wait to release my next record on the label in a couple of months; it’s definitely the most solid and well-rounded representation of my music that I’ve put out so far.

Q. Where did music begin for you?
A. I started DJing at youth club when I was about 14 years old, and then when I was at college studying Media production a few years later I found out one of my teachers was a Hip-hop producer on the side. I asked him to teach me how to make music on break times, and it all started there.

Q. How did you find Dubstep music?
A. Coincidentally at around the same time I started writing music I found Dubstep music through a friend who I was buying some of his records from and came across Skream’s ‘Midnight Request Line’. We all played Drum & Bass at the time. When I found the record, I asked him ‘What is this slow Drum & Bass?’, he explained it was this new music from London called Dubstep. I became obsessed with the music and naturally, as I was just starting to write my own music, I started writing Dubstep and never stopped.

Q. You’ve recently toured Asia playing in China and India and tonight you’re playing the final show of your North America tour here in New York, what’s been the most influential show of recent?
A. The most influential show I’ve played recently has to be the show I played in New Delhi in India. It was unreal to play so far from home and have people react so intensely to the music. They knew the tracks, and the show went off. The energy was unreal. Definitely, one of the best shows I’ve ever played, although the Old Monk dark rum certainly also helped.

Q. What can be expected of you moving into the new year?
A. On top of the releases I have forthcoming at the moment on a couple of labels, plus the remixes I’ve had commissioned recently that will be appearing on various labels as well. I’m touring extensively as possible worldwide, and I’m also finally launching my own official label W-A-X (In reference to my club night and my love of vinyl) which I’ll use to release my own official music and potentially other people’s music too. I can’t wait for next year to happen. I’ve never felt this inspired in my life.

Q. Tell us about the podcast you’ve recorded for us.
A. The podcast is basically a representation of the sets I’ve been playing recently while touring; it’s me drawing records and dubplates right from my record bag and just having fun playing them as I always do.

Q. Give us a little insight into your production setup. What DAW do you use and what other gear have you been using in the studio? Are you producing mostly in the box? Do you use any hardware, synths, drum machines? 
A. My production setup is modest; I’ve tried to keep it this way because to limit the equipment I have to interact with aids in my creative process. I use a Mac, Yamaha HS8 monitors through a Focusrite Saffire Pro, an Alesis MiDi keyboard, and work solely ‘in the box’.

Q. Tell us about your creative process. How does a track begin and how do you know when it’s finished? 
A. I have a few ways of working. I’ll either start with a synth, in which case I’ll dig in and experiment until I can write a synth line and then build up a track around that. Next, I usually add drums then bass, pads, atmosphere, and so on. Sometimes I’ll start with a vocal if I’m building a vocal track or a remix and build the track around the vocal, or I’ll start with a sample, be that a sample was taken from another track off a record I own or from a synth I’ve sampled from online. Well, a sample can come from anywhere, and then I’ll build up a track around that sample. Basically, I try to find a source of inspiration that sets off ideas in my head which I then translate into a piece of music.

Q. What do you do to stay creative? 
A. I just remind myself music is about fun, both making it and experiencing it. I listen to music all the time and lots of different types of music and then when I’m feeling inspired I hit the computer, grab a beer and try to zone out and just experiment and have fun and just see what comes out. These days I’ve also been trying not to think of an end product, I just write music, enjoy it and hope for the best. It’s working thankfully.

Q. What new music have you been listening to?
A. Too much to say! Everything from Trap beats, which have been really inspiring me recently, over to Grime, South American Rap (Amber London’s music has been on repeat recently) to a ton of Rinse FM podcasts from the likes of Surgeon, Plastician, Youngsta, and Icicle, right down to recent Boiler Room sessions from Mala and Seiji then right over to Gregory Porter’s Liquid Spirit album. I also listen to lots of House music while I was recently on holiday in Spain. One hell of a mixed bag.

About Compa

Following his debut appearance on Get Darker TV in March 2011, Compa released his inaugural 12″ single with one of Dubstep’s foundation imprints Boka Records (Tracks ‘Sentence’ and ‘Beginning’), and his infamous bootleg of Mavado’s ‘Dem A Talk’ which sold out worldwide within one week of its release. At the tender age of just 21, he’s newly signed to Mala’s Deep Medi Musik label, perhaps the most revered seal of approval in underground Dubstep circles.

The Compa sound has received acclaim from across the board with key influences like BBC 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson & Nerm showing praise, as well as Toddla T and B-Traits on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, not forgetting J:Kenzo, Jay 5ive, Plastician, and N-Type amongst others on the prestigious Rinse FM. Tracks have even found their way into the record bags of scene pioneers Chase & Status (Ram, Mercury, Renegade Hardware), US Dubstep Ambassador, Joe Nice (Dub War, Reconstrvct) and, of course, Mala (Deep Medi, DMZ) who has now signed Compa to his seminal Deep Medi Musik label.

In addition, to performances in The Netherlands, Croatia, Belgium, Russia, Portugal, Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey, Poland, Estonia, Greece, China, and India, Compa has also toured Sweden, Canada and North America twice-over since the start of 2012.

…and yet despite his tour schedule and between studio time, you can still hear Compa play live on Sub FM once a month, Monday 6pm-8pm GMT.

Connect with Compa Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud | Website


Open House in NYC: Sundays 11am | Guided Tour of LA

Ask questions. Watch demos. Test drive workstations.

Visit our New York and Los Angeles locations! Ask our Admissions Counselors in-depth questions about our programs, curriculum and philosophy. Watch live music production and DJ demos, and test drive our student workstations. If you are still trying to decide what you are looking for, stop by one of our Open Houses in NYC or schedule a tour in LA to find out more about the learning process at Dubspot. We can also help with scheduling details and payment options.