Having first dropped on our radar through the finely tuned 4OURS events in Bristol, we gradually became acquainted with Alex Crump’s name. Now that the 4OURS family have taken their momentary leave, Crump has remained a staple of Bristol’s musical diet.
After his fantastic remix of Admin’s ‘Sunday Loops‘, it’s good to discover that Alex is working on lots of new producing projects spanning the realms of grime, dub techno and house. Mr. Crump also runs dust.rhythms, a bi-monthly radio show on KMAH Radio alongside Elevator Sound (Marco Bernardi’s hardware and synthesiser store tucked away in Bristol’s Idle Hands). Crump also runs an event series under the same ‘dust.rhythms’ title, alongside Christian Newman and Jake Hodgkinson.
So, how did you get involved in music? Did your parents play a part at home?
To be honest, my parents aren’t that into music. They like it, but not on a level that I would say influenced me. I’m not too sure how I got into it. The first stand-out memory is making some cash selling CDs at secondary school. Some other kids sold chocolate and sweets, but I bootlegged and sold CDs! While that was going on, I got my hands on a copy of Fruity Loops in Year 8 or 9, and that became my entertainment. If I was bored, I’d produce.
Where do you place yourself musically now?
I make whatever takes my fancy. I’m needing to think of aliases to be honest, because I’d like all the different styles that I make see a release at some point.
Has there been an evolution in the music you’ve produced? What was this caused by?
As time goes on, I’m constantly exposed to more music, more sounds, more techniques and more experiences – it all influences me in both mixing and production. I look back to even just a year ago and I feel so much more tuned in to it now compared to then. I will always be learning and searching for new ideas and techniques. I don’t ever want to look back on the year just gone and feel like I haven’t moved forward.
How did you get into DJing, and how would you describe yourself as a selector?
My brother-in-law had some Technics and a room full of jungle/drum & bass records. Whenever he was over when I lived in Wolves, we’d have a mix. It took me a while to get it, but one day it just clicked. As a DJ, I approach every set differently. There are so many different things that can influence how I play any particular set, so it’s hard to say how I’d describe myself in general. I often play warm-up slots, so it’s about setting the right atmosphere for whoever is on after me. I’ve got loads of records that I don’t get to play out too often as they aren’t really suitable, but I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to play them.
Tell us a bit about the Bristol night you co-run, 4OURS.
4OURS was a fun experience, and it was an experience. To me, it ended up a bit lost in terms of what we were offering. We made some bookings that I’m really proud of, and also some that I’m not. Now I feel have much more of an idea of what I like and what I don’t, but I think I was still figuring that out during the majority of our larger events. 4OURS gave me a great insight into running a night and I learnt a lot of things from it but Ryan (the other co-founder) and I are moving on to different things now, which is exciting for both of us. One of the best things about 4OURS for me was that we clocked in some good residents, and that’s how I met Ryall and Christian.
What other musical things are you up to?
I did a Creative Music Technology course – the same course as Al Tourettes, Appleblim, Asusu, Bruce, Batu, Addison Groove, and others – which honed skills of sound design and sonic exploration. I’ve also been helping Marco Bernardi out with the Elevator Sound store in the back of Idle Hands, which has helped open the world of hardware to a slightly wider audience in Bristol, which should inspire budding producers to buy machines and make music. It’s been great to have access to all the kit and the guys in there are more than happy to help. I’m in very early talks of doing some sound for an art installation too, but it’s too early to say if that will even go ahead. I hope so though! I’m also hoping to re-open some more sound design focused projects after I’ve got this club based stuff going on at a steady pace.
What do you enjoy about living in Bristol?
There’s a laid back attitude and a lot of creative energy in the city. You don’t get that everywhere. Coming here from Wolves – via Bath for a year – was definitely a welcome eye-opener. In general, it’s great that everyone seems to know everyone, and it’s a definite positive how connected all the creative industries are in Bristol.
Who do you think is doing good things for the city’s music?
Chris Farrell (Idle Hands store and label boss) and Marco Bernandi. Livity Sound have used sublabel ‘dnuos ytivil’ to provide a platform for newer Bristol artists such as Bruce, Hodge and Batu to break through and go on to release on equally strong labels such as Hessle Audio and Hemlock. Banoffee Pies’ last two releases were really nice too, and I’m excited to see future installments from those guys. Team Love are putting on events that appeal to the wider audience, with Love Saves The Day expanding this year. Just Jack are breaching international waters which is good to see. Finally, the Bristol Spotlight feature you guys provide definitely supports Bristol’s music, and you’ve made some good bookings in this city, so I guess you guys deserve a mention too :).
What can we expect from your KMAH Radio show?
It’s a bi-monthly show on rotation with Elevator Sound, called dust.rhythms. Lots of loopy, deep chugging, swinging house and techno. It focuses on deep textures and atmospheres. Lots of repetitive, minimal tracks with interesting sounds and hypnotic melodies. dust.rhythms is also the name of a sporadic intimate event I run. It’s slightly self-indulgent, because it’s just me putting on a party for my mates and I to play what we want, although of course everyone is welcome to come and dance with us. The more the merrier!
Are there any up-and-coming producers/DJs we should be listening to more?
Christian Jay. He’s a good friend of mine but I promise this isn’t biased. He’s got this wonderful style going on: swingy, melodic, hip hop-inspired house music. It’s all 100% based on samples and it’s really, really good! Jake Hodgkinson is also a really decent DJ. He pulls out record after record that I’ve never heard before, but that makes your ears instantly prick up. Ryall definitely deserves a shout too. I’ve seen him do six hours straight sometimes after we’ve got back from a night out, completely in the zone and keeping the energy going.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you made for us?
Ryall and I often used to just meet up for a mix when he lived in Bristol. He was moving to Berlin a couple of weeks after we met up for this particular mix, so we decided we would hit record as it would be a while until our next. It’s recorded on two 1210s and one CDJ400. At first, we just played a couple of tunes each on the fly for about two hours and some of the mixes worked really well together, so we decided to start a new recording and began a new mix that incorporated the blends we liked, with a bit more structure.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Any releases or parties on the way?
I’m finishing off about four potential EPs. I haven’t really sent stuff to labels with intent for a couple of years since the Admin remix. Instead, I’ve been sitting back and trying to refine what I make. Each EP is about three tracks in at this stage, so I’m almost there – and sorry to all those people I keep saying I’ll send stuff too. It’s on its way I promise!