Interviewed by: Luke Hickey
Today I caught up with Ramsey Tawil, one of the key minds behind The Deep End Collective. Born from the love of bass music and to share it with others, TDEC are slowly emerging as critical figureheads in the Perth bass music scene.
How did TDEC start?
Essentially it began just as a medium for myself and two other like-minded mates, Tyler Macrae and Josh Diable, to share deeper, more forward thinking/ minimalistic bass music with others. If we got other people introduced, then all the better. The idea of bringing people together through the shared love of fairly niche genres of music really appealed to us, which is probably what gave us the name as well. Starting as something constructive to do to kill some boredom, it really has taken off into something else since then, we literally started off sharing links through a Facebook page, and now we have about 20-plus people involved in our crew, as well as the coolest little cult following out!
So, how would you describe TDEC now?
We still have a big focus on sharing and showcasing both local and international talent with our community just through social media. Our Music Swap page on Facebook would be the most active in that regard, and what’s really great about that is that it allows people who are interested in the music we showcase to show off some stuff of their own, or maybe just something they think is particularly huge.
We try to have no ego in what we want to achieve; we’re not about being the biggest promotions company nor are we focused on revenue. We are basically non-profit. In some ways, that allows us a bit more freedom with what we want to do, and who we want to push opposed to other mediums because there’s no money changing hands, no one getting paid to be featured. Right now though our priority is more on holding our own events and parties in the near future, and I can’t give away too much, but we’re also in the development of something that should establish us as a one-stop for bass music.
What are the big wins for Deep End so far?
Locally, we’re getting a lot more exposure than we ever have before so that’s great. In addition to all the Deep End events we’ve hosted ourselves, we’re seeing regular bookings, one to keep an eye out for is an upcoming boat party that we’re doing with our mates at Circa Perth. We’ve also been featured heavily on RTR. Some of the programs we’ve been on include “Full Frequency” with Dart, “Basscheck” with Wil Bixler and ‘Train Wreck’ with Pussy Mittens. We try to really focus on the brighter talent Perth has to offer, and we’ve been lucky enough to have so much support back, we’re all about bringing everyone up together, Perth has so much potential, there’s definitely something in our water.
We’re getting some love internationally as well. We’ve brought over some serious heavyweights such as Ant TC1 and Cern from Dispatch Recordings, Om Unit, and Skeptical, we were lucky enough to cop a shout-out in K Mag (online UK magazine widely considered to be a drum and bass Bible), and have seen massive support from some seriously inspirational names over in the UK. We’re also working on our second compilation, which should be out before the end of the year, and who knows, that boundary might push itself a bit more, keep your eyes peeled!
Artistically or otherwise, who do you draw influence from?
Well, one of the great things about having so many people involved in TDEC now is that we have a lot of different things influencing us. There are guys who are more driven by grimier music, some are more of a dubstep persuasion, from jungle to hip hop, to drum and bass to house, we like to think we’re pretty diverse, but the beauty in itself is everyone’s taste revolves around the deeper darker side of things!
Personally I find myself, and I could probably speak for a few of us when I say we’re influenced a lot by dubstep, drum and bass, hip hop, as well as sound system and dub culture. Some may already be familiar with the story of the first dub plate: a sound system operator in the late ’60’s asks for a particular record to be pressed and the engineer accidentally left the vocal track off the final copy. This guy then plays the vocal-less record at a dancehall party anyway, and the entire crowd loves it. Soon rivalries with other sound system operators develop, as each operator wanted a different sounding track each time to placate this new audience. The whole present-day notion of each mix or version of a song being different essentially evolved from that.
That whole sound system subculture, where everyone is trying to bring something new to the table that no one knows, and that people will love, is a huge influence on us. It’s a very do-it-yourself way of showcasing artistry, I think that concept has the bigger imprints on what we do with TDEC. In terms of actual industry related labels, the list is a long one, I find most of mine revolve around names like Deep Medi, Tempa, Innamind, DMZ, Hotline Recordings, System Music, Exit Records, Metalheadz, Critical Music, we can go forever. Hip hop also plays a vital role in my influences, I’m a golden age boy, but again it’s pretty versatile, I love my A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Wu Tang, and Mos Def, but I’m a sucker for the loopier side of things too, Madlib, Dilla, Quasimoto, basically I froth Stones Throw. I also obviously have to include dub pioneers like Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby for pioneering what they did, and to look at the beauty of the hybridisation that has happened over the last 50 odd years can only leave one thankful, I don’t know what I’d be listening to today otherwise, those roots seep into so much of what I listen to today, and nothing makes me happier than being able to share that love with the best crew out!