Hereford man Notion, known to his family as Rob Penny, has been making strong waves on the hallowed ground where Grime clashes with UK Funky. His experimental mindset and bass-heavy production aesthetics don't adhere to either scene, though, as his forthcoming EP on Champion's Formula imprint illustrates. We caught up with the rising star for a chat ahead of his performance at Butterz & Hardrive here at Cable next Saturday.
For those that are new to you, could you tell us the basic details about Notion (i.e. Age, Location, Music Style and any other interesting tidbits)?
Yeah, I'm 18, from West Midlands and I make music with a sound somewhere between Grime, UK Funky & Bassline. I try to do my own thing but I take influences from everything I can.
How long have you been producing for and how did you get started in music?
I've been doing music for as long as I can remember. My family are all musical so when I was young I used to write and record music on any instruments I could get my hands on. I learnt to play drums from about 8 so I suppose technically, that when I started making beats, but I have been a dedicated 'producer' for 3 or 4 years.
You're from Hereford, not necessarily the epicenter of the electronic music, so have you found it hard to get your music heard?
I've been lucky - theres only really one club in Hereford that promotes producer / MC based music genres and I built up a lot of contacts playing there and things have led on from that. I wouldn't say that it was really hard to promote myself, but some things have been made difficult because it's so detached from what's going on in London and other parts of the UK so big up everyone who's helped me get to where I am at the moment. I do think there are probably good things about being from a smaller place as well though. I'm moving to Bristol in a couple of weeks though, so I want to see how that will change things.
How did you link up with Champion's Formula Records imprint?
I met Champion through a booking he had in Hereford. I was already starting to work with some other DJ's like Andy Jay & S-Tee, who were helping me to push what I was doing. I gave him a CD of my productions, he emailed me back a couple of days later saying he was interested in what I was doing and it all started from that.
There are similarities in the raw, percussive elements in both of your styles, what would you say makes yours stand out?
Yeah I've heard that from a few people. I like to keep ideas simple and focus on taking one thing, a beat or a bassline or a sound, and building a tune around that. I try to make my beats say whatever they're saying, as well as I can. If you get me? Taking one idea and just building a vibe. Hopefully that stands out in my beats.
What would you say is your musical guilty pleasure?
I don't know if i've got a musical guilty pleasure but more time when I'm by myself I'm listening to a lot of Reggae, Hip-Hop or Soul. Probably cheesy R'n'B vocals would be a guilty pleasure actually.
This is your first appearance at Butterz & Hardrive so what can we expect from your debut set at Cable?
I've been working on a lot of things recently, not all of it in the same styles you've heard from me before, so hopefully some new bits. Probably a lot of Bassline and UK Funky though still.
Any things we should be looking out for in 2012 from you?
Obviously, the Digits EP lands 4th July so I'm looking forward to that. I'm always producing so I I want to keep pushing new beats that I'm making and I also want to work with some more vocalists and MCs too, so we'll see what happen.
We Fear Silence present Butterz & Hardrive
Saturday 7th July at Cable, London
Acts: Newham Generals, Trim, Logan Sama (Garage Set), Terror Danjah & Riko, Swindle, Elijah & Skilliam, Champion, D.O.K, Mr Mitch, Notion.
Info / Tickets
Notion - Icicle
Free track download for Mixmag