Bristol Spotlight: Facta

We don’t normally post about dubstep and grime, but when we heard the sounds of Facta, we knew we had to delve in and find out more about the relatively unknown producer. Making sounds since his mid-teens and currently studying Philosophy, the twenty-one year old London-bred, Bristol-based producer is very much a product of the musical honeypots he’s lived in. Amalgamating influences of grime, 2-Step, dubstep, hip-hop and applying his own experimental touch. Creating tracks that are fairly peculiar and highly hypnotic, listening to his music feels like a lucid B-boy breaking their way out of Inception. Be it the more mellow beats of Loveless and Lisbon, or the haunting and frantic Ghost, Facta’s productions are surreal and sublime.

Some clear milestones of his success in Bristol include: being approached by Young Echo’s Kahn to play B2B after mere months of arriving in Bristol; collaborating with Hodge; and his recent debut EP Montpelier selling out in a week at Idle Hands. In a city that is re-imagining the genre it helped form a decade ago, Facta is helping to prove that dubstep is still alive, kicking and ever evolving.

As well as making his productions, Facta runs a new concept night, Elephant, which brings DJs to the decks to play music that they never normally do, resulting in a total party atmosphere. Facta is also a resident for Bristol based night Piff, playing alongside game-changers like Roy Davis Jr and Pinch. Despite all this and currently writing his dissertation. Facta has created a mix for us, which includes much of his own material and that of other new-wave dubstep producers. Apart from the intro and outro, the mix consists of 100% unreleased material

Download Facta’s Bristol Spotlight and follow us on Soundcloud  to get updates about the tracklist, when it goes up in a few days. For more info about Elephant’s party this Friday, and a pick of Facta’s favourite tracks at the moment, head over to his Top Five

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what influenced you to work in music and live in Bristol?

Sure – my name is Oscar, and I produce music and play records under the name Facta. Regarding my influences, I’m sure mine are the same as those common to pretty much everybody – I spend most of my time listening to music; so do most of my friends. It wasn’t much of a life decision to get involved, as that’s always been the case in one way or another. My involvement has been centred around Bristol for the last few years as I study here – but the reason I study here probably has more to do with the city’s musical draws than those of the university.

Your productions are pretty unique stuff. What would you say are your influences and how do you go about making your tunes?

I’m glad you think that, although I could definitely point to a number of other producers making stuff that I would consider similar in sound and direction to my own. It’s more that you’re not likely to hear this stuff played out quite so much – these sounds have been slightly out of fashion recently in favour of those that lean more closely towards house and techno. Whilst I appreciate a bunch of stuff within 4×4 club music, I’ve always been drawn more strongly towards broken up stuff like 2-step, dubstep, grime and hip-hop. Stuff that’s maybe a bit weirder both rhythmically and sonically, and stuff that’s quite rugged. Of course, techno can come pretty close to that too at times, and that’s where I’d say my tastes crossover. A lot of the stuff that I’ve found most appealing in UK dance music over the last four years or so has been the stuff that has explored this gap – first people like 2562 and Peverelist, and now people like Beneath and Livity Sound.

Does your production convey how you are feeling at the time of making? Does the mood or mindset you are in significantly affect the music you make? 

I’m not sure it does to be honest, as the music I make tends to be quite dark and moody yet I wouldn’t say for a minute that I’m a particularly dark or moody person. I’d say this simply comes down to my preferences in the music I make under this particular moniker – when it comes to dubstep or garage or whatever I prefer darker stuff. If I want to make upbeat, pretty music it tends to come about in the form of a separate project.

When DJing requires an understanding and receptivity to the crowd’s mood, do you find the act of making music to be very different to spinning music?

For sure, and as a result my approach to playing records is very different to my approach when making music. I think that the concept of ‘playing to the crowd’ is unfairly maligned within DJing. Obviously playing music that you don’t genuinely love or want to play is unforgivable, but I think being able to accept the differences that exist between crowds can actually be a completely liberating approach. No DJ’s music taste is limited to the music that they produce or would perhaps standardly play to a discerning crowd, so it’s nice to be able to use different crowds as a platform for selecting from completely different sounds and styles. I used to just play straight minimal dubstep regardless of the crowd; now I can’t think of anything more boring.

A distinct element of your productions are the vocal samples. First off what are they and secondly do you think humans interact differently to human versus non-human sounds? Do you therefore feel inclusion of vocal samples has a different impact on your productions?

I guess I do use vocal samples quite a lot, but I don’t see them as particularly distinct from my use of sampling as a whole. They definitely have the benefit of adding an element that can be latched on to, and can obviously be one of the most immediate ways of communicating a mood or tone. But I tend to just use them in the same way I’d use any other percussive, dynamic or melodic element.

You’ve said yourself that you like listening to ‘weird’ music. Do you think a lot of the music put out is too safe?

I don’t think I’d be so bold as to disregard other music as safe – I’m aware it’s just my preference. Plus I do like plenty of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily be described as weird or particularly out there. But yeah, over time I’ve definitely been drawn towards music that places greater emphasis on rhythmic complexities and exotic use of sound, and this is why I think my music might seem weird to people with different tastes. You’re not likely to find much of a melody to latch onto, for example. But that’s just the way my music has gone. I often wish I could write more melodic or danceable stuff, but it just doesn’t seem to be my forte.

You run your own night called Elephant in Bristol. Can you tell us more about that? 

I run it alongside my mates Kaio and Ody. There’s not much thought behind it other than the fact that we wanted to throw some parties where we didn’t just have to book big names at big venues to play fashionable music in order to draw a crowd. We thought it’d be cool to have a low capacity night where people can just come together and have a dance. We didn’t want it to be about big promo or big names, so we barely do anything to promote the thing – people come because they know us personally or have heard good things and hopefully trust our judgement, and not because they care who’s playing or whether we’re playing HOUSE – TECHNO – BASS. We ask DJs to come down and spin party tracks of their choice, asking them to stray away from the sort of stuff they’d perhaps normally be expected to play. It hopefully makes a nice change for them, and hopefully makes for quite a refreshing session.

What have been some highlights since moving here and becoming a part of Bristol’s music scene?

My involvement with Piff has been wicked. Although the music I play is pretty different to their standard music policy, they’ve allowed me free reign to do whatever I feel and have backed me from the beginning, giving me a platform to play to lots of open minded people and trusting me to do my thing. That’s quite rare I think.

On top of that, connecting with the community: collaborating with producers and playing out alongside DJs who I have a huge amount of respect for; having my first record in Idle Hands and seeing it sell out within a week. Humbling stuff that I would never have expected before coming here.

Can you tell us about any Bristol producers you are particularly into at the moment?

Long lists – the dark techy stuff coming from Hodge, Alex Coulton, Pinch, Livity Sound, Punch Drunk, Idle Hands, Tectonic and Cold Recs etc; everything coming from Young Echo, Hotline, Peng Sound, No Corner, Bandulu, Sureskank and the rest of that lot. The new grime wave like OH91, Breen and Boofy. Plus, looking back, the entirety of Bristolian dubstep – this was the place as far as I’m concerned.

Finally, what’s coming up on the horizon for Facta?

I’m currently in the wake of the release of my first 12”, which came out earlier in October on Badimup. The next Elephant is tomorrow (Friday 25th October) at Take 5 Cafe, where we will host Ossia from Peng Sound plus a special guest who cannot be named, as he’s playing the next day at Subloaded and will get in trouble with his agent. I have another 12” set to drop early next year, which will be a 140 excursion featuring Zodiak and 36th Chamber. Other than that, I host a show on Sub FM alongside K-Lone on Sundays 3-5pm.

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