We caught up with Sepia and he kindly answered some questions in-between his busy schedule of U.S tours, production and booked out events. Here’s how it went down.
Theo, thanks for speaking to us – it’s certainly an exciting time for you with Last Chance Saloon having just been released, together with Awaken having come out a few months ago, not to mention your Deep Dark & Dangerous set at Outlook which we witnessed in awe!
What has been your personal highlight of this year and how do you think you have progressed your sound?
Ah man, It’s been a pretty crazy and long year, going to be hard to condense it down to a singular moment or memory so will have to pick a top few.
I embarked on my 2nd tour of USA back in April which was a wild time. Also playing a 4-hour cross genre set at Boom Festival in Portugal (which is notoriously Psy based) was a really dope experience, the whole crowd seemed to really enjoy the dubstep, grime, footwork and ambient I played over the duration of 4 hours. Was seriously not expecting that.
Outlook was the true MVP of the year though. Got to play 3 boat parties and a stage and had a lovely time in scorching hot sun in the Adriatic Sea with friends from all over the world.
In regards to my sound, I personally don’t think it’s progressed in that sense. It still sounds like dubstep haha. Maybe a little different to the style of it I was making say 3 years ago but the essence of it is still very much the same. I’m sitting on a lot of different type music at the moment though, but I’m not quite ready to release it into the wild yet.
Have you come across any particular new musical influences? Not only are you incredibly prolific with your releases but the sound is always diverse. Where in your day to day life do you draw inspiration from?
Thanks bro. You know what, most influence to my sound doesn’t actually come from music, it comes from film, literature, nature, personal experiences, dreams. And when it does come to music influences, my biggest ones are not even in the electronic music scene. Bands like Explosions In The Sky, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Sigur Ros are the prime of my influence. Electronically, will always be Boards Of Canada, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Burial, Phaeleh, Mala & Vivek that remain at top of my influences. But saying that, there’s loads of great people in the scene right now I look up to but I try to just keep my own sound and ideas in my mind instead of listening to others because then I’ll just end up comparing my stuff with theirs and deleting every project file from my hard drive haha.
Are you constantly producing music or do you tend to react to specific events?
I produce a lot but definitely not constantly. The only songs I’ve made which were related to specific events was Amber, Voodoo & Laid To Rest. The rest are very much in the moment or when I’m in a certain frame of mind.
Having Killa P jump on mic during your set at Outlook was something special. How did this come about?
Hahah. I’ve worked with him before, the whole DDD crew did last year also. But if you’ve been to Outlook you’d know he magically appears and shells it. He’s hardest working MC at the festival. I’ve seen him shell 4 boats in a day 2 stages all in the same night.
We’re a big fan of your early footwork production as we mentioned in our earlier article, in particular Too Much. What got you into footwork in the first place?
Ah wow, big up. I made that back in 2014. I made a lot of footwork prior to and after Rashad’s death. I was always into it but never tried making it because it sounded too complex and also felt was no point attempting when had such heaters from Teklife crew. But when he passed, something just clicked in my brain and I started flipping loads of tunes then making originals.
I did actually release a footwork EP on band camp of my lost dubs from that era. I’m working on a fresh footwork EP for a label at the moment but it’s very much early stages right now.
You are 1/5 of Chonk Mob, consisting of yourself Chokez, KOMA, RYGBY and Samba. Tell us how you guys first came together, do you find you influence and inspire each other’s sounds a lot? Can we expect any more releases from you guys under the CNCPT Collective next year? (The Keep Hush set was live by the way!)
I actually only met Samba in January 2017 in Vienna. We instantly clicked and became best friends. Rygby & Koma I’d met already through living in Bristol. Chokez I met when we both played a show for CNCPT.
We basically had this group chat between us all, and CNCPT had booked us all for a b2b. It would have taken up a huge part of the flyer naming us all b2b so it was a natural decision to come up with a name.
The name Chonk came from a joke between us lot. One of us misspelt Chokez on the chat as Chonk so we started using the word as compliments, insults, everything. We named the group chat Chonk Mob and the rest is history.
Yeah we have a lot on the horizon, unsure what I can say right now, but expect music from us very soon and even more shows…
As for CNCPT, that’s our friend’s collective from Bristol (shouts Harry, Seamus & Jayden). They got a lot happening, including their first LP, which myself, Chokez, Rygby and Koma are featured on.
As fellow Bristolians, we really appreciate the sound that you and others such as Sir Hiss, Bengal and Bandulu are pushing out of the city and the UK. What do you think really makes Bristol such a fertile ground for this particular sound?
I’m not too sure. Maybe there is something in the air or in the water? Haha. Nah, but on a real, I think Bristol has a better quality of life for us lot, so we tend to be more creative. I spent most my life between London, Brighton and Isle of Wight. And I can safely say the years I’ve spent in Bristol have been my most creative and positive yet.
Tell us more about your experience of dubstep and sound system culture more generally in the U.S – it’s crazy how you have such a growing fan base out there! Would you say the vibes are very different to the UK?
People seem to have a misconception about USA thinking it’s all brostep and EDM. And of course, I can see why, because Dubstep did get bastardised around 2011 with that kind of sound. But if you look into the history of dubstep in USA, it goes back just as far as DMZ does here.
Sub.Mission for instance, have been throwing parties for almost 12 years now. Nicole was single-handedly the first person to book ALL the elders out in USA back before dubstep was even blowing up properly here. There are also so many great producers out in USA (from back in the 06 days all through to now) who have carried on and championed the sound, without exploring the bro/edm side. So it’s not all that much different.
We can’t overlook the fact that there are some insane systems out there (Basscouch, Hennessey, Tsunami Bass) which rival UK systems for sure. I’d say the vibes are very much similar/parallel (at least the shows I have attended and or played over there.
Obviously one of the biggest U.S (and N.Z) influences that has come across the Atlantic is Truth’s sound and label Deep Dark and Dangerous. How did you first come across those guys / what is it about their particular sound that you enjoy?
Yeah man it’s insane how Truth have connected people from all over the world. DDD is literally a cult and a family haha I’ve seen people live and breathe it. It’s crazy.
I’ve listened to Truth since I first heard Fatman and saw them play a tiny club in Brighton in 2009 I’ve been sending Truth tracks for quite a while. Was around 2015 that Tris hit me up and we began speaking more. After I sent him Lurking he said they wanted to do a whole EP on vinyl so that’s how Eclipse came around.
Fast forward a couple years and now we’re good friends and have toured round UK, EU and USA together. I’m wrapping up a special project for them at the moment, but more news on that soon.
Any final shout outs or comments you would like to include?
Way too many to mention but you all know who you are. Respect.