Five Steps: Need For Mirrors
Following on from the release of his remix of Skittles’ ‘In For Me’ and Emilio N4M’s solo departure from the name (who is now operating as HLZ), Joe Need For Mirrors is showing no signs of letting up moving towards the dark depths of 2013 with a string of high profile releases on Commercial Suicide, Horizons and V to name just a few. Naturally we thought it apt to get in touch and Joe duly obliged… we’re very proud to present his Five Steps, from his early days in South Island NZ to his first release on Presha’s Subtronix through to the Skittles remix and beyond.
Step 1: Origins
I grew up in a world of music, my mother was in a punk band and my dad collected records and had a passion for music and art, so it was all around me. I have early memories of playing electric guitar and piano, making pause tapes for school. It was not until i was in high school and getting heavily into my Hip Hop that I decided I wanted to learn how to mix records and scratch. I wrote raps but I wasn’t a good MC, and i couldn’t breakdance so it was graffiti and DJ’ing which worked for my two realms. Coming from South Island, New Zealand and pre-internet, getting turntables and learning to mix was very difficult and I was a teenager so magazines and TV or videos was the only way I could learn and I knew nobody at the time doing what I was doing. I saved my money and while all my friends went off snowboarding I bought turntables and perfected my art. I would go to the record stores on my lunch break and hunt out as much music as I could afford.
I knew once I had those decks, that i wanted to make music to play on them. But at the time it was impossible to have a sampler or monitors or any gear as it was to expensive and nobody knew how it was made. So I set out to make this my career. I started on local radio, then DJ’ing in clubs to putting on my own parties, moving to a bigger city and doing the same, plus putting on international tours and touring NZ and Australia, till i packed up and moved to the UK in 2003.
Step 2: Introducing
The very first track I had released on vinyl was as DJ Mosus, ‘I Like It Ruff’ in 2002 on Subtronix which was run by Presha (Samurai) that was a collaboration with Killjoy (formerly of Concord Dawn). It was written on Fruity Loops on a PC, with Yamaha NS10 monitors in my lounge. That tune was referencing Dillinja and it took a day or two to write. As for techy brand of DnB I’m not very techy at all, I write all kinds of drum and bass music, more on the funk or soul vibe. It’s all just DnB to me.
Step 3: Foundation
The tune that set off Need For Mirrors could be one of 3 tracks depending on who you ask but maybe either ‘Poison Apple’ on Chronic or ‘Skip Rope’ on Symmetry. Both tracks came from a 6 month period where me and Hlz where learning a a lot of techniques and referencing late 90s steppers and rollers. Both tunes did not sound like anything about at the time. Both where dirty organic and had the funk.
I was working at V at the time trying to get ‘Poison Apple’ on V but Bryan G was not having it and it worked on his Chronic label so that’s where it ended up. ‘Skip Rope’ floated around a bit on dub and nobody took notice and then Break herd it and signed it to symmetry. And then a lot of people took notice of the tune, it was his co-sign that got people aware of ‘Skip Rope’ & Need For Mirrors. People started to recognise the Nfm sound but this would change and adapt over time.
Step 4: Present
I had some tracks I was already working on so I thought his vocal and the music would work perfectly with this. The first version was cool but it was a basic stepper and Skittles wasn’t feeling it – he pushed us to come with something totally different. So we flipped the beats and b-line but retained the structure and ended up with something special.
Step 5: Future
‘Voltaire’ is taken from the new Need for Mirrors release on Commercial Suicide. It sounds very different to everything else about but I’m not sure if I would call it future, I find it hard to come across any drum and bass that is future but this is futuristic for Need for Mirrors. I feel its up to the people to put relevance on my music and hear its worth and importance, I cant judge its importance to the scene.
Out next I have: a 10″ on Dispatch – ‘Slingblade’ (ft. Hlz) & ‘Grapefruit’ – with an extended version of ‘Grapefruit’ on digital. Then ‘Warning Signs’ (ft. Hlz) will be out on Horizons Dream Thief 4 and then 2 colabs on Liquid V Club Sessions 5 with Villem, Hlz & Alys Be. Then there is the ‘Gunga P’ EP on V and ‘Rotor’ EP on Horizons and singles on Spearhead, Warm Communications and 117 before the end of the year, probably more but this is what is confirmed. Check my Facebook page or Twitter for gigs and all other news.