15 questions for... GotSome: "The one thing I’ve learnt over the last few months: forget the super-club and the big raves, we’ve got to get back to where this s**t started."

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The track Bassline put Bristolian producer GotSome on the map in 2013/4, after being championed by Annie Mac and others. Following that, the Just A Feeling EP led to collaborations with Wiley and AC Slater and remixes for Sub Focus and Craig David among many others. 

More recently, Adam has been dabbling in other genres including house, but it seems the bass has always been with him…

1. How did you get into production?

“The key thing for me was being young and being from Bristol when drum & bass was big – being around that and hip-hop. Bristol had the cream of the crop in the underground scene, and I just wanted to be involved. I just wanted to save up for some turntables and learn how to DJ on vinyl. 

"Back then I used to hang out with a bunch of other DJs, guys from Full Cycle and Kosheen; we were all pals – they were all like big brothers to me. They took me to a lot of parties that I shouldn’t have been at. Then I started producing and enrolled in a music school and realised I was much better at music production and started a garage alias with my pals called Forget Me Not. 

"We did an EP that got picked up by DJ EZ, then things dispersed. So, Alex [Holmes] and I started GotSome. That’s when Bassline came about and things blew up.”

2. And you DJ as well as production?

“As a DJ it’s wanting to be inspired by the music I play whether it’s new or old. It has to tell a story or make you feel a certain way. With recording, I come from a hip-hop background so sampling is everything – I spend most of my time listening and searching for samples. 

"When I hear a new song on the radio and recognise a sample, I’ll spend the day trying to find out where it’s been sampled from, what artist it is and what era it’s come from. I also go as deep as to find out what the artist was into or sampling at the time when they made the song!

“I’m a very simple and hands-on producer. I love a vibe, a loop and stacking sounds. If I don’t get a vibe from an idea within an hour or so, I’ll move onto a fresh idea. I want to work quickly and easily. Also, I’m not a mix engineer in any way and I’m useless at mixing down – I’ve never had the patience for it. 

"I’m super creative and I’ve always found mixing down stunts my creative process. I get help with my mixdowns and always have done. I find this process allows me to work fast and focus on my skillset.”

3. How did you specifically get into computer-based music production?

“This is a funny story actually. I had that job working at a record store in Bristol called Chemical Records. One day one of the bosses came in and sacked me. A day later I was feeling really down and my self-esteem was rock bottom. My pal [drum & bass producer] Danny Byrd rang me up and told me to buck up and jump on the bus to Bath. 

"We jammed in the studio together and ended up writing a song called Planet Music which later came out on Hospital Records. This spurred me on and a few weeks later I enrolled on a music tech course at Weston College. So a big shout out to Chemical Records for giving me the push. Gutted to hear it closed its doors a few years later.”

4. So the college course spurred you on?

“As soon as I went to college I picked up Logic and wanted to play around on synths and compressors. I didn’t really have a plan. I just wanted to explore noises and soundscapes. All these techniques I learned at music college I use now in the way I produce my music.”

5. Tell us a little about your studio gear

“I share it with two other producers, so there’s also new equipment to play around with. I’m currently messing around on a Roland Boutique SE-02 synth, a Moog Voyager, a Waldorf Pulse 2 and an Elektron Analog Four.”

6. What are your five favourite plugins and why? 

Cable Guys Shaper Box: “I got this two years ago and used it as a side-chain for beats and basslines, but then I delved a little deeper and started using the TimeShaper function. It is so much fun, when you put full samples in and mess around with grooves and shuffles. I love this function so much because you never know what you’ll get.”

Valhalla VintageVerb: “My go-to reverb at the moment, as it’s so easy to use. I love the lush Concert Hall mode and the three colour modes, and I always draw for the blue pink 1980s sounds – so sexy. I usually put one on the drum and vocal bus right at the start of opening any new arrangement. It always makes everything melt into each other.”

Black Box HG2: “I got this around 18 months ago, and the first time I used it I put it on the drum bus. The drums I had were a little clean and I wanted to drag them through a hedge backward and this is the plug to use. I love the Air knob and the Density dial; love the raw tube sound. Be careful not to go overboard as you can over-saturate your mix.”

TAL Chorus-LX: “When I wrote The Message, I borrowed a Roland Juno-6 to write the bass, but came to the studio to mix it and there was an edit of the bass that didn’t have the right amount of chorus on it. So I needed a vintage chorus plug that could give me the same classic sound and stumbled across this brilliant free plugin. It’s so easy to use.”

Oeksound Soothe: “I’ve been using this on vocal and harsh drum samples. I just whack a sample in and try and clear up the tops of the bottom-end rumbles. I sample from films and TV and I always find this is great to carve out low-end chit chat so all you hear is the main vocal. I use Soft mode as it picks up more cuts. I love the EQ options too.”

7. How do you put a track together?

“I start stacking loads of drums and synths to get a vibe. After finding a rhythm I’m happy with, I look for a hook, whether it’s something sampled or played in. Then I try and progress it, maybe with adding a lead sound or bass riff. 

"At this point I always have a fight with myself: does it want to be a kick lead tune or a bass lead tune? Then I usually start looking for a little vocal sample or hit. Sometimes I work with singers and sometimes I sample. I love sampling but recently it’s slowed me down. Waiting on samples getting cleared so they can be released is a stressful thing.

“After I’ve got this sorted I start arranging the structure. I’m firstly a DJ so I make DJ friendly tunes; a clean and tight intro and tight beats that are easy to mix into. Then straight to a hook leading to a powerful drop. Roll out either 32 or 48. Then back to the hook sample or vocal. 

"I originally started writing drum & bass so I love a good second drop. Sometimes I’ll add an extra bass or synth line or some extra percussion. I’m not a massive fan of long tunes. I usually want to finish mine off at somewhere between four and six minutes. I make dance music not film music or soundscapes!”

 8. Any specific production tricks?

“One is the way I use samples. Like with my latest tune, I sampled a kick from an old Bugz In The Attic record, percussion hits from an old DJ Gregory record and a hi-hat from an old Kerry Chandler record. Then I went about trying to make that beat into my own; chopping cuts and flipping rolls and processing and bouncing. 

"When you listen to a GotSome record, listen to the collection of samples: you can hear what I was influenced by at the time, be it late 80s house or a hip-hop jam from the mid-2000s. When I was a kid, someone told me to pick five of your best records, then find out what they were influenced by. It’s like a musical family tree of samples. It gives you the knowledge of the music you’re trying to produce.”

9. What is on your wish list gear-wise?

“I’m keen to try out all the new Behringer clones plus that new SSL SiX Desktop Mixer – that looks tight AF.”

10. What would you like to see developed in terms of studio technology?

“I love all the classic old synths but they’re all so expensive. It would be great to see more clones and replicas, more boutique-style synths for the kids to use for £200-300.”

11. Any advice from playing live?

“You can be the best bedroom DJ/producer, but the stuff you learn on the road is far more important than what you learn in the bedroom. So get out there and do it; failing is just as important as being successful.”

12. And from working in the studio?

“There are no shortcuts. Most people you look up to have been doing this for most of their lives, so don’t think it’s a walk in the park.”

13. And from the music industry?

“Carry on going even if you want to give up. Everyone struggles. This industry is full of ups and downs.”

14. Tell us about your latest release...

“It’s called River Ocean. I first heard this vocal when I was a kid on an old (Good Looking Records) jungle 12’ by an artist called Peshay. The song was Vocal Tune, the b-side to his classic hit Piano Tune. A couple of years ago I was playing B2B with my mate DJ Die. 

"He played me a DJ edit of the original song by Little Louie Vega & India and I never knew it was them; I had always thought it was a Peshay vocal tune. I found out it had gone from being a deep house record on Strictly Rhythm to then being re-sampled into a jungle record in the late 90s.

“I wanted to do something different to what Peshay had done on his jungle mix but bring it back to a house tempo so I could play it in my DJ sets. So I researched how Peshay had done his process. 

"I re-wrote the chords and re-sampled India’s vocals from the Junior Boys remix, where the acapella slips and there is an easy and clean sample gap. So this is my flip of the original song with a nod to my jungle roots and Peshay.”

15. What have you got coming up?

“I’ve been writing throughout the lockdown, so I’m keen to get back into the studio and lay the ideas down. Also, I want to start my record label, not necessarily solely for GotSome but for me and my pals to put music out – a simple grassroots thing and to do small nights to celebrate the latest releases, stuff like that. 

"The one thing I’ve learnt over the last few months: forget the super-club and the big raves, we’ve got to get back to where this shit started. Small parties with all your mates playing new music. I’m from Bristol and we’ve been top-draw at this for years, so watch this space!” 

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