Rock Star EP by Specimen A – OUT NOW
After the last few releases that Specimen A have unleashed onto the planet we have seen quite a bit of variety in comparison to how the forthcoming ‘Rock Star EP’ is in comparison to the hugely successful ‘Forgot About Breaks’ which was released just a couple of years ago. The progression has seen the act; develop, learn, and learn to develop. So with this intake of experience combined with their own classical training in their upbringing, are we now looking at a new Specimen A? I had a chat with Phil Jones about the upcoming barrage of beats, tunes past and present and whether he likes his music to be clean or not.
Is this your year then is it?
Yes! I was born on a 13, so it has to be my year if only in a superstitious way.
A lot of attention seems to be surrounding your work recently – mass increase in Soundcloud followers hitting almost a quarter of a million – do you think coming away from the Breaks scene your work is now being more appreciated?
I like to think that all of my work was appreciated. If anything the Breaks fans probably appreciate us more now than they did then. As for new followers on Soundcloud, I did post online that we got massive support from Soundcloud as they featured our profile to new members. We were kicking around 35 to 40 thousand and then we just started gaining them rapidly. We had to know why and that was the answer. As much as I would like to say it’s all due to my music, they helped us massively with that.
How many Specimen A releases are out at the moment because I’ve lost count!?!?
Well, we put out the ‘Slam Dunk EP’, then we had a few remixes with Cutline and Fleur ‘Broken Mirror’, we also did a remix of Far Too Loud, ‘Firestorm’. We also remixed Skibba’s new tune ‘Never Gonna Break’ for Viper and we just put out ‘Shut Your Trap’ for free download too and then our ‘Rock Star EP’ is out today.
What would you say has been your most popular track to date? Not including your freebies such as the recent unleashing of ‘Shut Your Trap’.
Our most popular tune to date? This is really hard to call. In our breakbeat days the first big ones were ‘Exodus’ and ‘Freak In Us’. Then when we slowed down our Breaks and our other two big ones were probably ‘Just a DJ’ and ‘Forgot About Breaks’. These two I maybe bring to mind because they got the number 1 Beatport spot twice in a row, and really ‘Forgot About Breaks’ is a bigger tune than ‘Just a DJ’ in my opinion. Then there has been some bootlegs that spring to mind. ‘Cold as Ice’ – free download here – which we got a lot of DJ and radio support. I heard reports of that tune being played 6- 7 times a day in a dubstep festival in Croatia with lighters in the air. We also had great support with our Daft Punk re fixes we did with James D’ley, so the most popular? If you search YouTube, the numbers would point you to our uploads on UKF, but in answering what I think our most popular tune has been, well I don’t know!
Do you think your forthcoming ‘Rock Star EP’ will excel the rest because I’ve heard the feedback has been almost overwhelming?
The ‘Rock Star EP’ is probably our most original release to date. Three out of the four tunes on the EP are vocal features and the ideas and content are all original. It’s a strong release for us without a doubt. It covers many genres so we are able to hit a lot of DJ’s with it, and with previous support and growth of our brand the recognition is there behind the scenes.
Are you allowed to say which is your favourite track on the EP?
Haha, well! I haven’t been told I can’t tell you what my favourite is but I don’t have a favourite. That is like asking a parent which one of their kids they love the most. Our intentions was for the EP to be ‘All or Nothing’, then Calyx and Teebee put out there ‘All or Nothing’ album on Ram Records and it was evident that we couldn’t call it that. With Rock Star being the most in your face party lyric and the fact that it was in the whole 110 sound which is very current, it quickly came to the top of the pile and led the whole EP. An obvious choice, and from the feedback we got, we were right to do so.
Do you like having a touch of controversy surrounding your work?
If the record doesn’t have an element of danger or excitement in releasing it then what is the point? Statement records are fun to do. When I had Suffice in the studio for ‘Rock Star’, I remember saying to him, “I want a tune that you are ashamed to play to your Grandmother”. It’s an immature and fun lyric. The main focus of the record is around the feeling of wanting to let loose. Most of us do it in excess every weekend, it’s nothing new. If people don’t see the irony in the lyric then who cares! Whenever you feature any vocal talent, some will like it and others won’t.
With the musical background of Specimen A and the talents that are possessed, where do you see Specimen A going into next? What are the current goals?
I have been thinking a lot about my classical roots recently and I love to work with visuals, so later on in my career I want to aim towards the film industry. This excites my classical side of who I am which I could express more freely than within dance music. For now the desire to conquer the globe is still top of the list and that’s my main aim. We will be working with the more main stream side of production and the games industry too, so there are many avenues to explore yet.
With fans coming in from across the globe nowadays, are you looking at bigger tours now? You’ve done Oz twice now?
Yeah, in playing a territory you get a sense of accomplishment. You know what to expect next time you go. I have a lot of desire to see Japan, so that is something I am working towards. I have a map in my studio for this with pins in the places I have played. As good as I’m doing there are still a lot of places that don’t have pins in them.
What’s next step for Specimen A?
Next steps and projects we have are these. I am planning on doing some international collaborations with artists and people with the aim of bringing it all together into one package. My brother has been making a lot of Drum & Bass at the start of this year, so we will being finishing those. We have a great 110 release we are putting together for Excision on Rottun Recordings right now. Then there are a few other beats with vocalists on such as Miss Trouble, Virus Syndicate and Afro Whitey, these are more trap based hip hop tracks and there is also my cousin who is writing some great music which we are developing too. I nearly forgot an EP with Suffice that we have ready to go too, there is so much music I can’t even remember it all myself!
Never a dull moment in the world of Specimen A. Nor do I think there will ever be.
‘Rock Star EP’ by Specimen A is released by Funkatech Records and is out today
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