I will be bringing you eight fresh, inspirational interviews with an array of underground music artists. From people that pioneered certain music genres, to the new wave of young producers, DJ's and MC's.
The second installment is with music producer and label owner Jack Flynn-Oakley (JFO). I've been following his work rate for quite some time now and I'm very excited to see what he's got in stall for 2017. Here's what he had to say...
Easy Jack, how you doing today?
"Yes yes, all good over here! And you?"
I'm good man cheers, so for the readers that don’t know you, can you just explain who you are, and what you do?
"I'm Jack Flynn-Oakley (JFO) and I'm a producer / DJ, making music mostly at around 140bpm. From Rochdale (large up), but currently living in Crewe whilst studying 'Creative Music Technology' at MMU. I dabble in other things, such as Drum & Bass from time too time but my sound seems too lie within Dub, Dubstep and Grime. 140bpm is such a versatile tempo and 90% of the time is what I set my DAW too."
Yeah I agree man, it's a very versatile tempo. So how long have you been DJ’ing and Producing for? What first got you into this kind of underground music?
"I've been DJ'ing (live) for only around 2 years at the moment, though I've been collecting records for considerably longer. It took me ages to afford a pair of 1210's, so I would just play my records on a shitty Hi-Fi at home. I actually got my first dubplate cut before I could even mix it on decks haha. I've been producing since I was around 15 - 16, so getting on 6 years now. I've always used Logic and still have some off my first projects, though I cringe when I hear them.
I was originally a lot more into my Dubstep / 140 stuff. I first discovered the 'dungeon' sound that people such as 'Youngsta' were pioneering. Artists' such as; 'Biome', 'Kryptic Minds' and 'SP:MC' too name a few, where the guys making the stuff that I was really big into (And still are). I started getting into the grimier side off things through artist's like 'Kahn & Neek'. I remember first seeing the video of them playing 'Percy' in a car and thinking this is sick."
Yeeess I remember that video in the car, it created so much hype around that tune. So what were your first influences at the beginning and what are your current influences now?
"I grew up listening too metal, bands like 'Lamb of God' and 'Machine Head' along side loads more. I think that's why I'm more attracted too the heavier side off bass music. Metal and Dubstep can share a lot in common in terms off rhythm and other things, I think that listening too other artist's, for example: the badman 'Distance', that they realise this also. Currently I'm big into my 140 stuff, I'll always love Grime, but this resurgence in the Dubwise / Dubstep stuff is just me all over. Guys like 'J:Kenzo' and 'Youngsta' again are just killing it week in - week out with this sound and I love it."
Yeah man, I fully agree. So, we’re here mainly to talk about your E.P. coming out on your own up and coming all vinyl label and to talk about the label itself, can you tell us a little bit about it?
"Sure, It's a project I've been wanting to start for the longest… I always knew that the first release would be from BFM (myself & Sativa), It was just thinking of a name for the label and getting the money together to get it started. Originally 001 was set to be 'War Riddim" with 'Pulse BFM' on the flip, we get quite a lot of people asking for those two, so I figured it would be a good way to kickstart the label. However, being the eeeddiat I am, I somehow managed too loose the projects for both. Since this, we've rescheduled the release with two other tracks, which shall be reviled very soon, trust me they're big!"
Ahh, what a killer you lost the projects, I bet that was annoying. Yeah I've had the pleasure of listening to both tracks for the 001 release and I agree they are seriously big. So what's the Label called?
"Crystal Recordings. It took the longest too think of the name, I went through so many. Everything 'good' is taken, I had all my mates trying too help me out and everything we came up with was already in use. Eventually, in wetherspoons, we came up with 'Crystal'. The idea being that each releases artwork, features around a different gem stone. I'm a big fan of artwork, especially on the labels of records, luckily my man 'J. Whiteside' came through with some wicked ideas and really got the ball rolling on the art side off things. He's a good mate of mine and a wicked graphic designer, he also happens too have a very similar musical taste too, so when I told him what I wanted, he instantly knew what I was going for. I'm really pleased with the outcome. It was always going too be a vinyl operation also, I may branch out too the digital format in the future, but for me there is just something about the physical format, actually owning a record."
Yeah wicked it sounds like it was a very organic way of working and to collaborate with friends is always a plus in my eyes, so how did the BFM partnership come about?
"Me and Sean (Sativa) have known each other for years, we met at a metal youth club when we where younger (believe it or not such a thing existed in Rochdale, big up the Back Door Music crew), then sometime later when I came up to uni it turns out he was already there! Similar to me he'd also got big into the 140 sound, obviously being both massive music fans with very similar tastes, as well as being mates, it felt right to make a few tunes together. We originally just put a few tracks out together on Soundcloud under 'Sativa & JFO', but as we kept on making more and more music we decided it would be best too create an alias for us both, BFM was born… I still crease when I hear that name."
Haha nah bro, I think it's a great name still. With regards to your music what's your preferred genre to both produce and play out?
"I know that Seans very big on his Drum & Bass and where both massive Dub fans, but again, Dubstep and Grime is definitely our thing. We both spin wax also, so it really helps that we have similar taste."
What artists and MC’s within the scene are you rating at the moment?
"There's bare, too many to mention. I can say that the underground is thriving at the moment. It's great, producers who aren't necessarily 'big' names are coming out with constant heat, the whole underground Dubstep / Grime scene is absolutely packed with talent. Gonna have to give a big shout out to the Rochdale gang also, man like 'Glix', 'Ron D' and the 'Lidster'… Make sure you check these guys out!"
Yeah, I'll defo check those artists out man, with regards to your own production, what's your favourite tune you have produced? If you have one.
"Hahaha, see I'm a proper picky producer, It's literally all I do, so I'm constantly learning new things. I listen back to tunes I made a week ago and think that they sound under-produced, even though I know I went in on them. That being said, the BFM stuff with Sativa, as well as some off the new stuff with 'Noble' I do rate a lot. If I had to pick, me and Sean built a exclusive dubplate for someone under our BFM name, it's more than likely never going to see light off day, but I draw for it near enough every mix."
Yeah, the stuff your making with Noble is on another level. So tell us about the tracks that you've picked for the 001 release, have you been sitting on them for a while or are they fresh out of the think tank?
"For sure, I think that the A-side may of even been made before we had a name together, so a very long time. The B-side is reasonably fresh, but people have heard it for sure. Overall I think that people are going too like this EP, I've sent a few test presses around to DJ's and what not… every things been positive towards it so far."
Below is a preview of the 2 tracks on the release...
You can now pre-order the new E.P. by BFM through White Peach Records here. Its out on the 1st May and features the tracks Gully Side, and on the flip, Distant Riddim. 2 absolute heavyweight tracks combining both grime and dubstep perfectly.
Judging on a lot of your previous creations there’s no denying your very skilled in production. Can you tell us a little bit about the method you go about producing tracks Do you just go in blind or are the specific steps you go through?
"Big ups. I don't really have a 'set' way of how I go about things production wise, I just sit there and see what happens. Literally all my free time goes into making music, I'm constantly pissing off my mates by sending them snippets of tracks I've started and never finishing them, It's just a learning curve I think. However, there are many un-written rules too follow in production land, I feel that little techniques; keeping your sub in mono, turning down the reverb (as hard as this may be) and tuning your drums amongst many other things, is important for making your tracks sound big, whilst also not hindering someone from creating their own signature style / sound. Which is very important. I'm constantly beatboxing or humming something, while I'm no good at either of them, I'll find myself beatboxing a drum beat and thinking too myself; 'get that on Logic quicktime'… that's probably how most off my tracks start. But it can be anything really, I might hear a sample I like and what too base a track around that, or just go in blind like you said… I really don't have a set formula."
Yeah, that seems like an exciting way of producing man. So what’s made you want to start a Vinyl only record label?
"It's something I've wanted to do for ages, it just happens to be that now is the time I'm able to do it. Vinyl sales have been popping of late as well, I have good hope... hahaha"
Yeah, I hear you man vinyl is popping off at an alarming rate at the moment, its great. So what do you think about the new digital age? has it kind of devalued releasing music? The way someone can just put an e.p. together and release it online.
"Not at all man… Things come round then fade out, then come back round again, it's an endless cycle (personally I'm still waiting for the mini-cd / floppy disk movement - yes yes). I've always got too big up the physical format, but if you look say 5 - 10 years ago, vinyl was being slaughtered by digital sales. iTunes, iPods / iPhones amongst other things make it so easy for people too listen too music anywhere at any time, which is wicked. There's so much talent too be heard, if digital releases help that happen, why not? Pressing vinyl is also an expensive task. The only thing that pisses me off about digital releases, is that if it's a slammer, I have too fork out 30 quid too get it cut…. ;)
Oh and streaming, bun streaming."
I saw you were on the bill for the Slimzos Recording's night at the Nest with a whole host of big names within grime. How did that go?
"Was sick! Although the journey back was dreader than dread (roundabout 7 hours on no sleep)… It was wicked too just actually meet everybody in person, the whole Slimzos Recordings roster is absolutely mental at the moment. Guys like 'Nurve' and 'Trends', among many others are just smashing it right now, it was just cool too actually speak to them in person and chat music for the night. Dubs where poppin' also, trust me!"
Yeah, I bet it was a serious night man, now with Crystal Recordings, how are you going to go about choosing what artists you want on there. Will it simply be if you're feeling them you'll approach the artist? Or will other things come into play. Will you be going for a specific sound or is genre not an issue?
"Either or man, I'll work with anyone. There's no genre limits… I can see myself putting out more stuff at 140 don't get me wrong, but If I feel that somethings sick; regardless of a bpm or genre, there's a chance I'll release it. As it stands, I'm currently on Subtle FM bi-weekly on Wednesday nights (shout out the Subtle crew!), so I'm actually being sent quite a lot of material from various artist's already, which is wicked. I have my ideas for where I want to go with this label, but all I can tell people to do is send me music, if I like it, who knows!"
When can we expect the release then?
"Test presses for CRYS001 have been approved, all down to the press. The second I have a pre-order link I'll post the audio demo on Soundcloud. I've never been a big fan on people posting demo's before the pre-order date, which is why I'm keeping everything on the down-low until then."
Will the release be limited?
"The initial press will be yes. This is purely down too costs (I'm a student after all), 001 will have an initial press of 300 records with no digital at all. I'll never put a cap on the press, if down the line people want a repress and the demand is there, I'll repress it. But for the time being, yes.
All 180g by the way, this was massively important to me."
and is it gonna be strictly no digital releases?
"Down the line, I may look into it, I have nothing against digital at all, I may even look into giving away some of our lost BFM stuff digitally for those who don't do the whole vinyl thing. Vinyl is how I listen too music, the same goes for a lot of my friends… It just seemed right for me to keep everything in the physical format, no arrogance at all."
When can we expect the label to be fully operational?
As soon as. Everything is set and waiting, the second I get a date from the press, everything shall be revealed…
It's no secret that your sound is on my level. Directly bridging the gap between 2 of my favourite genres perfectly. One of my favorite producers at the moment and I am very excited to see what future holds for you bro, nice one for taking the time to do the interview, respect.
"Large up man, means a lot! Out to you for having me! Jack"