Interview with Spillz
I managed to catch up with a good friend of mine, Spillz, for a brief interview. Spillz, or Salvadore Spilligan Esquire, is Tom Heighington, a hip-hop producer from Southampton, England. We managed to defy the madness that is global time difference and I fired some questions about his music right at him. Here's the transcript…
Gav: Describe what you do and why you do it?
Spillz: Basically I dig through a lot of charity shops and select some old records which I think will sound real ill. Mainly judge them by their cover, if it has a dope cover with just a dude smoking a cigar on it or one of those ones with a chick at a beach walking out of the water, or has a mad spacey feel to it. I'm looking for some dope little sounds as well as samples I can use to make beats.
Everything I use comes from records, from the bass down to the drums. So I need to have some deep crates to push things to different levels.
There are a lot of kids looping up some charity shop wax. A lot more than you would think are trawling through all the Perry Como and the Johnny Walker plays-Irish-dancing-on-the-harmonica type records to find that Sun Ra wax, that just might be there.
I like to try and think I’m keeping one step ahead of them.
G: So essentially you use samples from records to create new tracks, much in the same vein as the late underground hip-hop pioneer J Dilla?
S: Yeah, basically. J Dilla is a huge influence to me. The dude had basically been on some next level tip since he first came out. I can listen to some of the records he flipped and I’ll be in shock for a week, but equally inspired
G: How would you describe the sound that you create and what (and who) are your influences, bar J Dilla that you just mentioned?
S: Creating my sound. That’s one of the key elements into being a producer. Making yourself a brand and keeping it on lock, which dudes can only look in your direction for, is the key to success. It's what I’m striving for. I can't really describe the sound I’m creating as I’m searching for it myself. You’ll have to listen to some music yourself.
Rza was a big influence, I listened to a lot of Wu when I was younger. You know, that off key soul shit that he's so famous for and obviously the cliché additions; Premo, Pete Rock, Tribe, Beatminerz etc… But at the moment I’m really feeling Madlib fully. He’s really changing things nowadays, bringing it back to when all you needed was some old records and some skills.
G: What about your setup? Are you a megabucks gadget freak or is it all very modest?
S: Well, due to a modest income I got to keep it street. All I got is some wax, a turntable, a pc and some herb. I like to keep things simple so I can get complicated on my own terms. I'm feeling I need to finish my apprenticeship on software before I start purchasing some boxes with flashing buttons and switches to hit. No doubt I’ll get deep into it and my rooms gonna look like a space ship’s cockpit.
G: I think that's a good ethos to have – so tell me bout the three tracks you currently have on your MySpace page, how did they come to exist?
S: Well that "She’s There Waiting” was made in my mate’s basement in New Zealand. I went abroad for a few months and I couldn't make beats the whole time. When I got to my mates house I jumped on his computer and cut up some Otis Redding and felt a lot better. The other two I made in the mornings before I started my nine-to-five grind. They are just a little glimpse of what I’m doing.
G: Personally I think they're great, plus it's a little scary to think that you're basically saying those were made on a whim and perhaps weren't the "real deal", which leads me to ask… What now? Are you working on something?
S: Well some ideas mainly. I really need to pull my finger out and sort out something that is fully mine. I mean I’ve made a handful of tracks with a few lesser known artists in the past, but what I really want to do is create something of my own just with that Spillz sound. I am working on a remix compilation at the moment though, but I’m keeping that pretty close to my chest at the moment
G: That's fair enough; I can’t wait to hear more. What are your thoughts on the state of hip-hop today?
S: Ah, the all important question, ha-ha. I think it's pretty fresh at the moment. There are hundreds of dudes going off in different tangents searching for original veins of the art form. There is so much stuff out there it’s incredible, but you got to really search for who you are, really feeling the scene and also be open minded. There are some wack cats out there nowadays, but their always were.
You just got to let the wack dudes be wack and listen to something you need.
G: Too true! Ok, well that about wraps it up, but before we go are there any messages for the readers or shout-outs to give?
S: Ok yeah; well it's serious times out there, so keep doing what you do and remain true.
Shout outs to Premo, Dilla, Extra P and your Mum for the fine hospitality.
G: Cool – oh and just so all you readers know, Spillz wasn't having a dig at my Mother! She let him stay at our house for a couple of weeks last year! Thanks very much for your time and I hope it all goes well for your future projects.
Spillz also fired me over an mp3 of a track he did with another UK fella by the name of JND, here it is…
JND feat. Spillz – Downwater Baby
>> download <<
This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 17th June.
Make sure you check out the Spillz MySpace page, those tracks are hot, specially the ultra-addictive "She's There Waiting". If you use MySpace yourself, then add Spillz to your friends list and let him know what you think of his music. I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more from him in the near future.