Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I forgot to ask him what TRG means!! ;)

Trying to pin down TRG's sound is a foolhardy endeavor. Once you think you have a bead on it, it slips out from underneath your perception and wallops you one in the chest, and you stop caring about what to call it and just start bobbing your head. If there is any one ingredient that stands out, it is a love for complex beat structures over a bed of face-pounding sub bass, but past that anything goes.

From the neo-garage of "Broken Heart", to the battering noise of "Horny", to the bubbling underbelly of techno and dubstep winding through his collab with Selector Dub U on "Losing Marbles", to the shuffled breaks of "Post Rave Blues Part 1", there's a little something for everyone's palate to be found in the TRG discography. His forthcoming release on Tempa includes the super sexy bleep-fest that is "Back In The Days", and trust me: it's a percy of a tune. His DJ set "vs." Martyn on Mary Anne Hobbs Radio 1 show has become a favorite amongst the bass-hungry masses as well, so you might wanna give the guy a listen if you are fortunate to have him gracing a soundsystem near you.

With so much going on, I am glad Cosmin sat down and shared a little bit about himself, his creative process, and random nerdy things that I was curious about. World, meet TRG.

What is your first memory of music?
At the age of 4, I managed to break a few needles on my mother's turntable scratching some Beatles records. I don't mean it in a Q-Bert way, I literally scratched the plates and had a lot of fun doing that...

When did you realize that music was something you needed to do?
Probably sometime in high school. Was listening to random electronica that was coming my way (Belgian hardcore, Orbital, etc) and I became fascinated with synths. The demo copy of Rebirth and a tape deck was my first attempt at a setup. Surprisingly it didn't work very well but it motivated me towards learning some basic computer music-making skills. I was into writing at the time (as in literature...) and I found out music was a better, fun way to express myself.

Did you play any other kind of music, or play an instrument first? If so, what? If not, why production?
I wasn't very musical to be honest; never played an instrument. It was just a case of hearing music that I loved, and trying to make beats myself. It took me a while to actually figure out a setup for doing that.

What led you to this crazy amalgamation of sounds known as dubstep? Was it a gradual process or an overwhelming one?
When I started to make music, I was doing this ambient, breaky stuff then graduated to drum and bass but I never excelled at any of those. There was an idea underlining the tunes, but I couldn't go past that. When dubstep came about I wrote a few tunes in a couple of days and realised this is my real playground; this is what I want to take further. I guess you can call it gradual 'cause it took me 4 years to get there but at the same time overwhelming 'cause it literally took 24 hours to turn to dubstep completely.

What song(s) are you most proud of and why?
I guess I'm still most proud of "Put You Down", that was my first proper 'future garage' tune and my first release. Some of the tunes I wrote after that sound quite poor in comparison, but I try not to think about it too much. I don't want to go back to that 'first' tune all the time; I have to keep going. Out of my most recent tunes, "Everything We Stand For/ Oi Killa" is a release I'm very proud of, and "Surreal(5AM)", forthcoming on Tempa, is probably THE signature tune.

You have a very eclectic sound, encapsulating quite a lot of moods, rhythms and sounds. Do you start out with specific ideas, or do they come to you as you go? Tell us a bit about your creative process. Does it start from a technical place of just building songs or is there some random inspiration or both?
The way I make beats is, I get inspired by random tunes in different genres, or moods, or vibes, places, people, and I feel the urge to start Cubase and start writing. I choose the beats and the sounds that capture my mood at a given time. I'm not very technical, I don't spend hours on a hihat, but I like to choose different, contrasting sounds and build up from that. I guess I'm eclectic 'cause my moods swing wildly, which isn't healthy, I know, but it probably makes up for it by being interesting :)

Dubstep has become such a worldwide scene. What advantages/disadvantages do you perceive being from Romania?
Disadvantages: Flights to gigs are longer, and I can't be in London for all the amazing parties. Advantages: Hmmm... I guess I enjoy a sort of creative freedom that allows me to go places in music without the restraints of a localised sound. So I can do my own thing without worrying I have to be part of a niche.

Do you have any other interests that you are obsessive about?
I am really into visual arts and I think design will save us. I also want to get back intro writing.

What achievement (musical or otherwise) are you most proud of thus far? What is something you want to achieve in the next 5 years?
Releasing for Tempa is something I wouldn't dream of when I started making music so I am most proud of that. Over the next 5 years...who knows? No idea if I'll keep making dubstep but I'd like to put together an album that really represents what I stand for. Gotta figure out what I stand for in the meantime, of course...

Dubstep has been taking many interesting directions as of late. What aspects of that growth and diversification do you find the most fascinating? What aspects do you find problematic?
The thing I like most about dubstep is that it's so diverse. There's stuff for chin-strokers, for lovers, for rockers, for the posh, for the ghetto... There really is no limit. Therein though, lies the risk, as some producers might think it's ok to chuck anything in there and make it incomprehensible. It's all up to the DJs in the end, the kind of sound they want to push. What I really love is the fact there are producers out there making good, quality bass-driven dance music. I like it deep and medi, I like it raw and sweaty, can't really go for one or the other. I think they complement each other really well.

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon. You have some beers, a comfy chair and headphones. What are you listening to?
Benji B and Gilles Peterson BBC Radio 1 archives. They play the best music in the world right now.

If you could collaborate with any musician (non-dubstep), alive or dead, who would it be?
D-Bridge in drum and bass is one producer I feel very close to in terms of vibes and ideas; I hope it's possible to work with him one day soon. The others would be Dan The Automator, Roots Manuva and Zoe Johnston.

And for fun, what is your favorite article of clothing that you own?
My orange Nike Hitops. Hehe...

Peep TRG's discography and listen to some tunes at


Vanessa said...

deep and medi // raw and sweaty ... i think i might pen a poem.

big up on the interview shiva. quality read. :)