Today’s instalment of Juan Reviews we’re taking a different approach for a special cause. In honour of World Environment Day we present to you the ‘Earth Cry’ EP by Cid Poitier - with a premiere of ‘Amygdala’ over on the YouTube (shout out the juanimator Matt Marshall each and every, this one is extra spicy). Released today, the ‘Earth Cry’ EP explores a multitude of different emotions and tropes relating to life and the world we live in, providing an accurate representation of ‘hybrid of organic textures and instrumentation with sound system weight’. True to his sound, on his own label Sub:Clef, Cid Poitier has sculpted another cinematic, sub-heavy piece of music, and we are gassed to have the honour of hosting such a moving piece on our platform. Instead of just a review we thought this time we’d hear some of the artist’s own words about the EP, especially due to its nature (unintentional I promise).
Before we jump straight in with the release, let’s hear how you embarked on your 140 journey?
My first real exposure to 140 was the infamous Caspa & Rusko Fabric 37 mix along with a few sparse experiences being at jungle raves and hearing a form of “Slow Jungle” being played. Didn’t have a name for it then but I knew for sure it sounded fresh. This sent me into a wormhole of discovery. I used to have a hook up to get into RAM and Hospitality events and they would often host dubstep in the second or third room. Had some really memorable nights in those dark smoky rooms, but it was Outlook in 2010 which was a key catalyst that contributed to my journey into the world of production. Before this I was simply a bedroom DJ with absolutely no aspirations to do anything more but spin music that I loved.
I see you were heavily influenced by Jamaican dancehall, how did that come about?
Although I grew up listening to the predominate black music played in my household which was made up of an eclectic mix of calypso, reggae, rhythm & blues and soul to name a few, Jamaican dancehall found me in my first year at secondary school and became the first genre that I actively chose to listen to. Collecting ‘sound tapes’ became somewhat of an obsession until it was eclipsed by the birth of Jungle which is a whole other story. I won’t bore you with the full journey (Including my deep passion for Neo Soul, R&B, Hip Hop & Reggae, but I’ve definitely seen a pattern with some of the older 140 heads and their strong connection to Jungle. I still listen heavily to these genres amongst others which have inspired my productions.
Without further ado, what made you choose Sub:Clef to release this EP on?
Sub:Clef was an unplanned baby. It was born out of necessity because I was producing a sound that had no obvious home. A hybrid of organic textures and instrumentation with sound system weight, soulful vocals (collective gasp!) and often no big drop. I draw heavily from the deeper meditative journey of music and love the healing nature of letting the music just take the mind and body on an unknown journey. I often joke that I’m a ‘non-market driven producer’ (to my detriment!) which means I have absolutely no desire to supply an obvious demand for a specific sound. I love the freedom of just doing whatever I wish to do, and Sub:Clef lends itself to having an ethos of providing something different with depth and emotion being a core value. The nurturing of a sonic aesthetic is what I hope will ultimately drive this label, not popularity.
What led you to use the term (Sub:Electronica) to describe one of the tracks on this release?
As much as it’s become increasingly popular to say “f*** genres” I do believe they are an important tool to help a listener navigate closer to a sound that they actually like. I coined the term Sub:Electronica because of my experiments with a digital sound unrestrained by formula and a clear emphasis on sub bass frequencies. The first track on the EP “Arrival” personifies this deep, slow digital/organic journey. The low end goes all the way down to 27hz and the track is literally swamped with bass. I wanted to find a distinction from using the word “bass” as a catch all term as it just means way too many things in music. I really like how Joker named his sound “Purple” and it just makes sense and is very distinct. I’m not particularly aiming to do that, but simply tried to provide a signpost that didn’t exist that distinguishes this sound from things with a similar name. I typed “electronica” into Spotify recently thinking I might be able to find some similarities to my music and had to refrain from throwing up in my mouth at times!
So, what made you decide to dedicate a release to World Environment Day?
Earlier this year I witnessed my first “Earth Hour” which is a day dedicated to collective solidarity for our planet in which individuals & businesses are encouraged to turn their lights off for one hour. Admittedly, my experience was underwhelming as hardly anyone participated where I was located at the time but it did put significant days which are dedicated to a good cause on my radar. Fast forward to my completed Earth Cry EP which was rooted in an emotion of the organic and natural world, I wanted to marry the concept with something bigger than the music. I’ve found it a really rewarding experience to be able to shine a spotlight on something other than solely the music, and instead raise awareness to something much bigger and more important.
What can we expect from you next?
Good question. With a hard drive full of half-baked ideas and a lot of imaginary projects in my head the future looks bright. I’ll be putting out some of my deep 170 releases either later in the year or early next year that I’ve been sitting on for ages as this tempo is where my love of dancehall and reggae is mostly channelled. As for 140, I’ve got some deeper and more spiritual cuts lined up that need finishing. I wish to create an EP centred around spirituality, another which is a selection of my deepest cuts and also wish to do a follow-up to the Sub:Soul EP. No firm release plans on the horizon at the moment, but watch this space.
To wrap this up, what advice can you give to an upcoming producer in today’s scene?
I’m an up and comer myself!! I’m definitely not fully qualified to answer this but I guess I have 8+ years production behind me and a fair share of life experience so I have a little bit of wisdom to share. Just be patient, and I mean REALLY patient. The notion of the 10 year overnight success is very real. Artists that seemingly appear out of nowhere and are “blowing up” have put in OBSCENE amounts of work in their craft for many many years. Check your favourite artist’s back catalogue and you’ll very likely find a treasure chest of musical breadcrumbs that have brought them to where they are today.
Another point is to listen to music from outside the genre you are producing in. It’ll give you a much fresher perspective on your productions. If no-one gets your sound (assuming you’ve put the necessary time in to reach a decent standard with regards to quality), create your own platform and develop your own sound. Many high profile labels were started by producers because nobody understood their sound – believe in your own sound and ignore what everyone else is doing. Last point is to remember that music (and life) is a marathon. If you nurture and prioritise inner contentment and happiness from your musical creations without looking for external validation then half of the battle is already won.