by Paul Rodgers
Location, location, location. A common real estate trope, but when it comes to musicians, geography can really make a big impact. Take long-time dubstep, and more recently halftime and jungle producer DJ Madd, a.k.a. Peter Simon. Originally from Hungary, he has lived in Japan, the United Kingdom, and is now in a tiny area of Pennsylvania.
“We had to move here due to my girlfriend’s job,” Simon tells BeatRoute. “There isn’t much going on here in terms of music scenes, but we live in a house and I have my first dedicated studio room, so that’s exciting enough for me. We are here temporarily and not sure yet where we are heading next. The end goal is most likely Canada, but that is still a while away.”
He explains that the move has definitely affected his output.
“If nothing else, the constant changing of studios has been a wild ride to say the least. This is actually the first time I don’t have to worry about neighbours and landlords.”
While the move to Canada may still be hypothetical and a ways away, Simon’s experience in the Great White North has been “nothing but positive.” He says that while he’s spent more time in the area around Toronto, he hopes to visit the west more often. His performance at Shambhala in 2016 was his first real introduction into the “actual, giant” festival world.
“I had an amazing time there, and it was great to see how people are constantly looking out for each other. That seems to be a Canadian thing as much as a Shambhala thing.”
In terms of his music, Simon quickly rose to prominence in the bass music scene in around 2008, with releases on labels such as Wheel and Deal and Black Box. Since then, much of his music features a strong reggae influence, and while a good portion of his back catalogue is in the 140 BPM range, he’s also deft at bumping up the tempo to the blistering 160 footwork sounds, or the 85 BPM half-time D’N’B realm.
He says that his favourite zone to produce within is always changing and lately house and techno music have actually been the biggest influence on him.
“I spent a good amount of time these past couple years exploring those scenes both from a producer and a listener perspective,” he says. “I think a lot of bass music people (myself included) ignore those scenes simply because we don’t know them and have no connections to them. I put some tracks under the microscope and have been learning about different approaches to mix-downs and arrangements. It has been eye opening and really fun.”
So no matter what part of the world or what tempo he finds himself working in, DJ Madd’s music can always be counted on for its consistent quality due to his ability to pay keen attention to the finer details in the music.
Catch DJ Madd alongside Vancouver’s Handsome Tiger at Sub Chakra’s Dubfounded, taking place at Junction on April 13.DJ Madd