“The MPC3000 just makes sound everything good. Even a donkey could make a fat beat with it.”
I’ve always had a keen interest in Phil Weeks. He first caught my eye online when I watched one of his first ‘Underground Chronicles‘ series, It was something like I had never seen before and it had me intrigued straight away to find out more about him. After a simple email and an introduction, I had landed an interview with Phil himself. I had no doubt it was going to be a very natural conversation, as he seemed so down to earth. We had chatted about some main topics; his love for marijuana; his go-to piece of equipment, the MPC 3000; and his collaboration with Ladybird Paris.
Q: Hello Phil! Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. How has 2016 been for you?
A: Hi Gareth, it’s been real good. I couldn’t be any happier right now. I’m living off my passion, travelling the world & being creative. I couldn’t be any happier.
Q: It’s clear you’re a big fan of marijuana. What’s your favourite strain?
A: I always try to have a few options at home for different times. If I have to choose one it would be Amnesia Haze but I also love the Cheese. At the moment I like to vape the G13 all day every day. And I keep The Green Cheese & the Amnesia when I need the extra boost in the studio, the extra creativity.
Q: Do you produce/DJ differently when under the influence of marijuana?
A: Oh yeah, it’s working big time for me, it’s like some doping shit. I feel like I’m using my brain to a higher percentage when under the effects of it.
Q: What started your passion for music?
A: Since I was a kid I’ve always been attracted to music. From the age of 12 and still to this day, I walk with my Walkman listening to some EPMD, Das EFX, Ice Cube, Public Enemy & more tapes.
Q: It’s clear the MPC is your favourite piece of kit in your studio. Where did the love for that machine come from?
A: It’s actually from my Hip Hop background. I didn’t start straight up with it (in 2010 only) because I didn’t know the sound that I love so much to this day, was going to actually come out of it. J Dilla was and still is the king of it. The MPC3000 just makes sound everything good. Even a donkey could make a fat beat with it.
Q: I’ve been keeping a close eye on your Facebook around your collaboration with Ladybird Paris. How did that collab come about?
A: We already made a few tracks together with Ladybird. I know her for years. She was part of “Soldiers of Twilight” & I’ve always been a huge fan of her.
About the collab, you’ll soon see a new Underground Chronicles episode where I show the whole process of making the track. To put it into shorter terms, I was working on a track using a classic sample. It sounded very good but I was thinking it could be dope to have the vocal on top from the original sample and actually make a cover, so I could play it in the club in my house set. I knew from the get-go it would be perfect. So then it was obvious to call Ladybird. The moment I mentioned the idea I had, she loved it and we made it happen.
Q: Do you prefer solo work or collabs?
I prefer to work solo, no compromise. Sometimes I need to listen to the same loop for 30 minutes, then I can finish the track 20 minutes after.Collabs are cool but solo is my favourite, me and myself.
Q: You also have your ‘Raw Instrumental 2’ release coming out on January 27th. What was your approach to this one compared to the collab with Ladybird Paris?
A: I like to consider “Raw Instrumental 2” more as a double pack than an album. I didn’t originally build and plan it to become an album. It was just tracks or songs I was making on a daily basis, then at some point I had so many tracks sitting there to push out and I didn’t want to do a few EP’s separately, I preferred to put it all together (after I selected 8 tracks) as a double pack.
Q: Speaking on more collabs. You’ve just started a project with Everpress printing t-shirts. Tell us a bit about it.
A: I had already started my own “Robsoul Clothing” project a few years ago. But at the time I was not as active as I wish I could have been. The reason I had no time was due to my career with music. Now with Everpress, it’s pretty easy. All I need to do is make the design, then they organise the rest of it for me. Doing it this way saves so much time.
Q: Talking a bit more on your label, when looking to take on new material for your label Robsoul what would you be searching for in an artist?
A: I don’t really search for anything. We have so many artists already on Robsoul, that just doing the follow up for each one is so many releases. I discover and sign one or two new artists every year which I really love. The most important part is the sound quality, though, they have to have the talent that I can hear through their music. But in saying that, it needs to be next level.
Q: With the sheer amount of demos you listen through your demo pool, you would get to hear trends before they come into action. Would you avoid signing these kinds of tracks?
A: I don’t listen to any demos. I got no time and I receive over 100 every single day. But when I get the time to go through some of it, so much is not even close to my taste. I have to protect my creativity avoiding listening to bad stuff. There’s still a way to reach me but I can’t say it here, unfortunately. Anyways, talent always comes to light.
Q: Any big plans for the year of 2017?
A: Keep on doing the same thing, making music, DJing & keep driving Robsoul.
I will also try to make more Underground Chronicles in 2017. I receive so many props everywhere in the world about it. People are asking me for more. That motivates me big time. I’ve got 3 episodes already planned in mind.