Get to know: The Deviant
We are back for our next showcase event on the 11th of August at the Dark Horse in Moseley, and we have our next artist ready to introduce to you. The Deviant has been part of our community since the early days, and his enthusiasm for music and producing is something we have always appreciated. He will be performing at the upcoming
showcase, and after the recent release of his new album – Shepherds Delight, we are really looking forward to hearing him live in action!
Introduce yourself – who are you and how would you describe your music?
My names Tom also the Deviant. Been producing tracks running events DJing and doing radio for a long time and still love it. I make hip hop / beats but I like all tempos.
How did you get started with music production?
I got started with an SU-10 sampler a small Yamaha Groove Box type thing. It came with zero sounds so everything had to be sampled into it. One night at DJ Cro’s house we were organising an event or radio show and the most known emcees in Birmingham were there. They absolutely loved the tracks I’d made and it gave me the confidence to keep going.
What would you say are your main influences – musically or otherwise?
David Axelrod, Roy Ayers, A lot of late 60’s and 1970’s sounds a lot of east coast hiphop and some west and I love beats and trip hop. Anything with a soulful or jazzy vibe really. I was raised with very broad music my dad would play me early De La Soul and Detroit Techno just to name 2 things.
Tell us a little about your production workflow – any software or hardware you use, any special techniques or sources that are indispensable to your sound.
I own nearly 4000 vinyl records so I dip into there regularly to get started and then also play my own riffs in Garage Band. It all goes into the MPC 2000xl and then back out into Reaper where the real work starts and I can start EQing and arranging and adding compression and any other things I feel need doing for that track
What do you do when you’ve lost your musical mojo?
Currently when that happens I am watching ridiculous late 80s or early 90s action / sci fi/ thriller type films. Plus some of those films have great soundtracks!
What are your favourite and least favourite BPMs to work at?
I don’t restrict myself with BPMs a lot of hip hop producers will stick at 90bpm for all their tunes. I like all! One thing I can’t do though is make a Jungle or DnB track I really struggle with that speed of tune and still make it sound like one of mine.
When you make music, where do you start?
It will generally start by me hearing something I like I will either sample it or try and replay it. It can come from anywhere! It’ll generally get sampled into the MPC 2000xl just so I can play around with the sample.
If you could go back to when you first started out and offer your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t put so many restrictions on yourself! There is no set way to make music or rules you have to follow. Also don’t get disheartened when someone releases a track with a sample you were going to use. Keep going. Also be more punctual. The amount of opportunities I lost in my youth due to poor timekeeping / not meeting someone was unbelievable haha!
Can you tell us one thing you really appreciate about the Birmingham music scene and one thing you think could be improved?
I appreciate the fact that these days venues and people are more willing to work with anyone regardless of scene. Also we need money from the council being invested in more music and the arts. Yes there has been a bump recently with the games etc. but it’s not consistent and we have such a deep and rich musical legacy from Jungle with Goldie, Rock with Led Zeppelin and Sabbath and SO many great Reggae artists who’ve come from Birmingham it needs to be celebrated and made accessible to people in the city I think they’d really enjoy it and it would be a massive boost to tourism and student applications.
I personally appreciate the warmth and friendliness I have experienced over the years and events and pirate radio giving me a shot at DJing.
When you’re not making music, what other interests and hobbies do you have?
I run Royale Retro with Taste and Liquor and am hoping to branch out to my own events this year. I try (with my partner Sue) to offer the best possible retro gaming experience to people of all types and ages using original hardware. The response has been amazing. You can check it out for yourself at The Mill on the 20th August celebrating Jamaican Independence Day.
Do you feel Listening Sessions has helped you progress as an individual artist?
Yes 100% from learning about other techniques off other artists who have attended to making lifelong friends who have given my tracks and projects so much love and support it’s unreal.
Hip Hop producers can be very stuck in their ways so it was great to meet producers from other genres who really embrace all the newest tech software and ideas.
Which other Listening Sessions producers are you feeling at the minute?
Yilan, always (check out our collab on my album) Rawtrachs, Slaine, Analias and also Delta. Delta is great he reminds me of myself when I was younger properly hungry and just wants to make things happen. Keep going!
Where can we hear more of your music?
Check out my album I released this year here!
I am currently working on my second.
Do you have any upcoming releases, events or other stuff you’d like to promote?
Watch out for the second album and come get your dance munch and game on here on the 20th August!