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SPOTLIGHT: Silent Witness

SPOTLIGHT: Silent Witness
Jack Smith

We spoke with the one they call Silent Witness after featuring in Symmetry’s latest various artists LP, The Other Side.

Greetings Silent Witness. You’ve been affiliated with Ant TC1’s Dispatch Recordings for quite some time now… How has the relationship with the label enabled your sound to develop over the years? I would say it has been a resoundingly fruitful one, considering your album ‘In From The Wild’ with Survival is reportedly only round the corner…

It’s great working with Ant, he’s a very nice chap and best of all he really likes my music! I don’t really make tunes for any label specifically, but Ant is very supportive and I seem to be playing a hell of a lot of Dispatch stuff too!

There’s very little information about you as an artist on the web, is this social exclusion pre-meditated? Does it allow you to concentrate more on simply putting out tunes rather than the general riff-raff that comes with being communally active?

I’m just a studio nerd, and not as drum n bass centric as I once was, if ever. I am not intentionally being mysterious or anything!

Having released through your own label Triple Seed, what can you tell us about the transition from concentrating solely on the music to juggling label management too? Has the experience strengthened your outlook on the scene in general?

Doing the label has basically taught me to enjoy making music more! It’s kind of hard to sit still without wanting to just make noise. But will be getting an overhaul very soon. I’ve got some tunes that need to come out!

Can you tell us exactly what your studio setup is right now (DAWs, keyboards, moniters etc) and how it’s evolved since the early days when you first got into producing? Do you prefer a software or hardware-focused output, and where would you place production within a spectrum of importance in your life?

I’m using a PC/Mac, RME Babyface and Ableton Live. Listening on Dynaudio Bm6a monitors. I’m one of those old guys that used an Atari and sampler in the beginning. For me, Live is like the culmination of all that old sampler/sequencing technology, but with all the advantages of new computers. I would have to say producing music it is still very much something I love cos of that!

Tell us about how your track ‘The Hills Have Ears,’ with Break in collaboration became part of Symmetry’s new VA The Other Side LP. Was it made specifically for the album?

Yes it was. I drove up to Charlie’s place in Bristol with my computer setup, plugged into his mixing desk and did the whole intro using a midi guitar and some synths, and we took it from there.

Producers always seem to have there own set of core fundamentals regarding production technique, like Resound and colour-coding, Rockwell’s use of limiters etc. What about yourself? Any elementary procedures you always abide by?

Just to make sure the gain staging is set up well. Trying to get the best mix you can before using the limiter on the end seems to be the best thing to do in my opinion. But I guess it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

You’ve mentioned previously that you have a side project – Bolo Music – contributing music on a more commercial tip for film and TV. How does this musical contrast influence your production within the realm of Drum & Bass? Would you say it has improved your approach towards the genre?

I am always doing different music. Producing and DJ’ing come 2nd and 3rd to playing guitar in my musical history, so in that regard its nice to lay down something completely different to the fast heavy beats i’m known for. It has definitely made me pick up the guitar more and use it in the dnb stuff. I’ve got a few more melancholy, guitar driven pieces pending release.

Finally, what’s the one Urban Essential you couldn’t live without?

A proper Turkish grill house!