As Kepler, Matt Farrow has developed a solid name for himself for producer of club sounds. Midway through 2019 this was solidified further as new UK Garage influenced productions appeared through his 0113 alias. Even during the months since this interview there has since been a second EP launch on Instinct as well as a self released 0113 Bandcamp special. Combine this with his latest Kepler release on new label Discotech and it's fair to say 2020 has been a great year so far. We caught up with him earlier in the year to find out a bit more ahead of the launch of the Higher EP.
Hi Matt, hope you’re good and thanks for taking your time to answer a few questions.
Hi - no worries, cheers for having me!
Firstly, for those that don’t know, where about's in the UK are you from and where are you based?
So I'm originally from Nottingham but I've lived in Leeds for about 7 years now.
As Kepler, you’re very well established in the minimal scene. This past year has seen significant crossover between minimal/tech house and UKG/2-step. What do you put this down to and how has it influenced your transition between Kepler & 0113?
I've always loved garage so I was buzzing when I heard people making stuff with a UKG flavour. I actually made a lot of garage when I was about 17/18 because I absolutely loved the swing and syncopation. I think that had an influence on the style of minimal I was making anyway.
How did the alias 0113 come about? What’s the meaning behind the numbers 0113?
0113 refers to the Leeds dialling code and I wanted to represent the North because there's so much focus on London for the sound, and rightly so as that's where it was born. For me, Leeds is my home. I'm all about trying to be versatile as a producer. I'm into all sorts of genres and I also like to make lots of different styles or I feel it gets too stale. I'm currently experimenting Detroit-inspired Electro and some jungle at the moment.
What was your earliest experience/introduction to UK Garage music?
I grew up through the 90s and 2000s and my parents were young back then so there was a lot of dance music being played in the house and lots of CDs and tapes for me to listen to. On top of that I spent time online where I'd search for stuff I'd heard on late night Radio 1 and Kiss shows. I guess my first experiences would have been the usual commercial stuff! It wasn't until years later I was able to discover some of the proper underground bits.
Being from Nottingham, there was a big scene for bass-driven music. When I was a lot younger, I went to Detonate a lot and clubs like Stealth where I heard lots of UK styles like garage, drum and bass, jungle, grime and dubstep.
What was your first Garage Record?
Can't remember exactly but I've picked up a lot of speed garage from charity shops over the years. Had some excellent bargain bin finds. An early one that springs to mind is a record by G.O.D. (Jeremy Sylvester) with a track on it called 'Watch Ya Bass Bins'. Absolute speed garage warper.
Your EP on Instinct was probably our favourite of 2019. How did that come about? Was it a brand new body of work or had you been sitting on the tracks for some time?
I was massively into the INSTINCT sound and I've been sending music over to James (Burnski/INSTINCT) for a couple of years now, he's always been dead keen on listening to new stuff and giving feedback. I'd been playing with a garage vibe in the studio for a bit and I'd sent some stuff over to him, he picked up the first track and then I banged out the other 3 in a couple of days. My creativity hits me in waves, I know that sounds like a cliche but there's so many factors that can contribute to writers block. For me I have to be relaxed and inspired, and if I am I can work really quickly and knock out ideas super fast.
Buzzing to say that me and Burnski have been in the studio making some heavy garage recently - we have an EP due to land on INSTINCT in July.
What’s your studio setup and preferred DAW?
I don't have anything too special really but it works for me. I just invested in some Adam monitors which was a great shout. I have a Behringer RD8, Roland Juno, Korg ER1, Behringer TD3, a Mackie mixer, couple of vintage synths and some effects units and odd other bits. DAW wise for me it's Ableton and has been for years now, amazing piece of software.
Talk to us about the Leeds scene… once upon a time it was the epicentre of Speed Garage, how has it developed since the revival?
Leeds was a big part of my taste developing. Going to clubs like like Mint and Wire meant I got so see some amazing DJs when I first moved here. There's a great DIY culture in Leeds and a lot of great crews such as MASS, Butter Side Up, Albion, Social Hours and Vanilla that operate in Leeds. Distrikt is also one of my favourite places to go - wicked basement bar with class DJs (and it's always free entry).
Other than Peaky Beats, Pinder, Soul Mass Transit System crew (Baby J & D Jason) and yourself, who else should we be aware of that’s pushing the sound forward in the north?
All great mentions. There's a lot of great producers up here such as Zac Stanton, Tristan Da Cunha, Bobby O Donnell, Wheatley and Jack Wickham! A special mention to Alex T who was always pushing the UKG sound up north until he sadly passed away recently, this was a big loss to the city.
Congrats on the new EP on Discotech, it’s been a long time coming from the well established platform. You appear to bridge the gap between Kepler and 0113 on this one, whilst man of the moment Instinct comes through with a heavy 2-step remix. How did you go about choosing which alias to put this release through?
This EP actually came before my Instinct release. I think it fits better as a Kepler release as it still has that sound. I wanted to reserve the 0113 name for the full-on UKG tackle. Pleased for Jordan, he's been wanting to get the label off the ground for a long time and I'm happy to be the first release.
Quick Fire Three
Three records from the past 12 months?
Martin Bond - Liquid Echos (Repress)
Hearlucinate 002 - Ron Obvious, Freakenstein, Tristan Da Cunha
Josh Baker - Y-EP (Sukhumvit)
Two to watch:
One record that never leaves your bag?
Get Fucked - Wet Dreams
Higher EP by Kepler is now available to pre-order