Oct 13, 2016 3:40:10 PM ⋅ Shanghai
By Sebastian David
Bio note by Conrank
1AMJOY.COM had the pleasure of catching up with UK-born, Shanghai-based producer / DJ Conrank. Conrank specializes in experimental, future-tinged 808 bass music. His latest EP "Hemispheres" was released on DJ Shadows imprint Liquid Amber and received worldwide support. Following his breakout performance at 2010's "Secret Garden Party” in the UK, he's spread his music around the world touring consistently in Europe, Australia and Asia including Strawberry Music Festival (China), Storm Festival (China) and Le Trois Elephant (FR) . On the production end, Conrank has worked with a wide range of artists such as DJ Shadow and Chinese superstar SaDingDing on a project for Universal Music Asia. His past releases have been featured on Nest HQ, Insomniacs, XLR8R.com, Run The Trap, Trap City and have received support from headlining DJs like Gaslamp Killer, Wooly mammoth, DJ Craze, G Jones, BUKU and N-Type to name a few. With a 26 date American tour already in the bag, and a run of American and Chinese festivals booked in for the summer plus a host of releases on DIE HIGH, Stylss, Wakaan and Saturate on the way, 2016 is expected to be another huge year for Conrank.
How did you get into music?
I’ve been into music since I was a kid, I played a lot of instruments, but I owe it all to my parents, my dad is extremely musical. He writes music and plays so many instruments, and my mum used to constantly have Rolling Stones or Tom Petty on the stereo, so I was exposed to music from a very young age. Then when I hit 15 I bought a pair of decks, and met Killa Kelaand the rest is history.
When did you arrive in Shanghai and how was the scene then compared to now?
It’s really grown; the amount of festivals, producers, DJs, clubs and fans has grown rapidly. It’s amazing to see. It’s such a shame that Shelter which is a staple in the scene is closing. China is definitely on the up regarding electronic music, and I’m really proud to have been a part of it.
Are you mostly a producer or a performer?
I would say a producer, but I do love to perform, but if someone introduced me, I would think “producer” would be the best word to use, I spend most of my time in the studio.
How would you describe your music and your particular sound?
Bass music, to put it simply, it’s a mix of a lot of influences. Dubstep, Trap, DnB, hip-hop, Grime, Garage, Jungle… the list goes on.
What’s “Boy Tell Em” about?
There’s no real story to the track, not enough lyrics to create a story, but I can tell you how I came to write it. I was literally on a high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing, very very hungover and tired, I was playing around with a house beat I had been making a few days before (hence the house style intro and breakdown) and suddenly the main drop came out of nowhere, I literally finished the track there and then and played it out that night in Beijing.
How has your music evolved from “Danger Rank” to “Exhale Therapy” to the present day?
It’s evolved a lot, I would say in a way it’s matured a bit- A BIT!...(laughs). I’m still proud of those releases and I still play some of the songs from those EP’s out, but, I’m massively excited about my new stuff that's about to drop, it’s a lot more progressive and detailed.
What made you choose Shanghai as your base?
I had already toured Asia and I played Antidote in Shelter about a year before I moved out. I just decided I wanted a break from London, and I had a couple of friends here and that was it. I bought a plane ticket and came out here to see what China was all about. 7ish years on and I’m still here.
Where do you DJ in Shanghai?
I don’t DJ regularly anywhere, I don’t do residencies, but mostly I either play festivals here, or Shelter, Arkham and Dada.
You’ve done gigs all over the world; which country surprised you the most?
Going to America was a big shock, travelling across the world and finding out I had a fan base there was a huge shock, I couldn't believe it to be honest. Also although it’s not a country, going and playing in Kunming for the first time was a big surprise. I arrived at the airport, and thought I knew what to expect, I then turned up at the club to play, and it was jammed wall to wall, the kids knew their music and danced for hours, it was amazing, something I will never forget. I still play in Kunming a few times a year; it’s one of my favourite places to play in China.
Thanks for your time!