​Bass and space: Eich is bringing her UK underground influences to a new generation

today03/01/2024 8

share close

How did you get into DJing?

I’ve always been really into going to raves. I grew up in Norwich and there was a little basement club there where everybody used to go on Thursday nights.

It isn’t really a thing anymore, but I used go there a lot and it’s where I properly got into dance music. There was a night called 808 which got me into Swamp 81 and all those kind of sounds. People like Zed Bias and Paleman would play there, DJ Zinc even played one time I think.

That was the introduction kind of how I got into the sound and the music that I make and play now and from there I discovered people like Hessle Audio.

Read this next: Midweek Fever Pitch: Platforms is bringing rave spirit to Tuesday nights

I moved to London seven years ago, landing a little box room in Miguel’s house in Homerton. Miguel now works as a radio curator and strategist at Rinse FM as well as the booker for FABRICLIVE, and I had actually met Miguel before at an after party at Hutch‘s house where I was with Chloé Robinson and a couple of other people that I know and we had ended up chatting about music then too. On the first night that I’d moved, we were having drinks, chatting about tunes and he told me that I needed to learn how to mix. It blossomed from there really, I learnt to mix on Miguel’s little set up in his living room where there were decks and by playing at house parties. I was probably playing at house parties for two or three years before I even played out. The rest is history, and he’s managing me now in a full circle moment.

It’s been almost a year now since your first EP came out and 18 months since your first track came out on Woozy, how did you get into production?

I started getting into it during COVID, a lot of people had so much time then. I really wanted to learn and spent three years locked in working on Ableton. It took me a long time to actually be able to finish stuff. I met EMA, who runs Woozy, when we did our b2b for Keep Hush two or three years ago. Our set was amazing and she came back to mine after the show and I showed her some music that I had been working on. There was one track where she was like “this is sick, you need to release this.”

A week later she tells me that she’s putting a Woozy compilation together and that she wants me to be on it. I had two months to finish the tune and, having never put anything out before, it gave me a bit of a push. I feel like I need deadlines for these things. Otherwise, I just get lost in it and I just will never put anything out. So yeah, that’s how ‘Induction’ came about.

The More Cowbell EP was weird to be honest as it was quite an easy one to finish, it was all a bit of a blur. I think the tunes were sitting on my laptop half finished for quite some time when I showed them to my boyfriend, Charlie, and he told me I needed to put it out. ‘Red’ came about first which is the A-side on the EP.

Read this next: Eich to release debut EP, ‘Red’

I really like this sound in it which has that kind of old school Paleman kind of vibe, who’s a massive influence to my production. I felt like I was getting somewhere with the sound that I wanted to create, and it was actually quite a quick one to finish to be honest, which is unusual for me.

I knew I needed to have something alongside ‘Red’, and that’s how ‘Untitled’, the second track on the EP, came about. That track is really inspired by old Boddika and Joy Orbison, with really fast, perky stabs in it. I just thought they went together really well and decided to self-release it on my own, which I’m glad that I did. I’ve always wanted to release on my label.

I can definitely hear the Paleman influence, it sounds like you’re drawing a lot of inspiration from the groovier side of old UK bass or whatever you want to call it. This is especially pertinent on ‘Bleak’, the track that came out on Rinse this year. You’ve said that you’re paying homage to your early formative days listening to the station, referencing shows like Hessle Audio and Swamp 81.

Yeah, the first show that I ever used to listen to on Rinse was the Mark Radford show. He would play what almost sounded like tech-house but felt like deep house too, it was very dark. It was quite similar to what Swamp and Hessle were doing at the time. Me and my mate Jordan used to drive up to Norwich from where I was living to go to this club and we’d listen back to Rinse shows in his car, I still listen to those shows now to go back and dig out old dubs.

How’s running More Cowbell been going?

Really good yeah, we did a party recently at Pickle Factory with Client_03 and Solid Blake and it went really well. I have a thing in my head about the parties I throw where I want them to be a very specific thing. I want them to be at dark little basements and I want there to be a headsy crowd, which can be especially difficult in London with so much competition and all that kind of thing. I went away from the Pickle Factory night and I was really pleased with the crowd and the venue and everything. Everybody was just there for the music which is what I exactly what I want.

As I mentioned before, I started going out to this night, 808, where everybody people would turn up religiously every single Thursday. You’d bump into the same people every single Thursday and I wanted to emulate that a little bit in the More Cowbell. I started with these parties at Spanners, a wicked venue in Brixton with little TVs that show the waveform of the tunes you’re playing. The people that own it are absolute gems.

For the series we had a special guests for each night. Kode9 for the first one and then Mosca and Ikonika for the next two, which was amazing. I don’t know how we managed it, but it was really cool with a super headsy crowd in the perfect kind of space. We do have more parties coming up next year, which hopefully should be announced soon in London, and we might have something going on in Manchester next year as well.

Events is only one side of More Cowbell: it’s also a label which has been putting out releases since 2020. What made you want to start running your own imprint?

I’ve always just been really interested in A&R, I think that I’ve always wanted to do that from a career perspective and also just a personal perspective. I’m quite specific with the sounds that I like and I wanted More Cowbell to be the one place that you can get this sound. I didn’t ever want it to be a multi-genre label. I was listening to an interview the other day with Loefah, Youngsta and Sgt. Pokes where they’re talking about dubstep, UK bass, techno and drum ‘n’ bass. They spoke about how, even though these genres are all so different, they all have one thing in common: bass and space, which is something that I to highlight in all the More Cowbell releases.

Read this next: New photobook Drumz of the South will celebrate the golden years of dubstep

I started it in lockdown, probably not the best considering clubs weren’t open in hindsight, maybe I probably should have started a little bit later. More Cowbell originated as a community page on Facebook where a lot of the artists that we’ve eventually signed were on there chatting about tunes. The label is basically a bunch of mates.

The first release we had was from Monir, a Manchester artist who goes by Mercy System now, and then Spektralsound and PAS1. We’d had a few free downloads and that kind of thing in between and then, post-lockdown, we started releasing more regularly with myself. We just had a tune out with Berwick, an amazing live artist from Bristol. I just saw some videos of his live set at The Love Inn the other day and it looked crazy, he’s a really wicked producer.

We’ve got another artist from Manchester releasing with us in January and then another release lined up for March. I’m hoping to do another release on the label next year too, pending I finish anything!

You’ve given yourself a deadline so you should be alright.

Haha, yeah. I’m also looking to do parties more regularly as of 2024, but it’s so tough in this climate especially in London as venue fees are so expensive and DJ fees are through the roof. Once you’ve sorted that it’s not even going to guarantee you ticket sales with all the competition that is here.

It’s funny because we’ve been chatting to another brand in Manchester for the party we’re doing there and what works in Manchester and what works in London are two completely different things. Together we’re going to do one with us here, and then one with them up there.

Read this next: “Experiment and develop”: Korzi’s soundsytem-inspired music accepts no limits

It’s a really tough climate for independent promoters right now. There’s all these massive companies just pricing everybody out and it’s scary for the underground. I don’t really know where people go from here, DJ fees are rising and it seems like you have to have two grand in your bank just to put on a party.

I’d love to be doing a monthly party but, to be honest with you, it’s just not financially viable anymore. I do wonder how much it used to cost to throw a rave.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

Rate it