As this blog continues to cover what’s happening in Chicago, it’s only appropriate that there be content on what’s happening on the other side of the pond. Addison Groove aka Headhunter caught my attention with this year’s Footcrab, which I figured was about some kind of disease you get from dancing. It’s sort of tongue-and-cheek outlook translates the energy of DJs like Rashad and Spinn into a speed more accessible to the dubstep crowd, giving comfort to people who aren’t yet ready to learn how to footwork. The man behind the track was nice enough to answer a few questions I had about the interests brewing in Europe right now, including what the hell a footcrab actually is…
Who is Addison Groove vs Headhunter?
It’s not really a vs thing…one part of me is Headhunter…that’s more the deep dubstep side. The Addison Groove side is, I guess, a bit more fun. It’s just a different sound.
Addison Groove seems to heavily revolve around drum machines, what are your favorite machines which have inspired this project?
Yeah, Addison Groove stuff is definitely drum machine driven, with samples added to keep a soul. It’s the 2 kings, the 808 and the 909 that really inspired the sound. I actually own an 808 now. It was either a new car, or a 808, and my car is sounding like a tank right now. I’m in almost desperate need of a new one.
Well hopefully your 808 sounds like a tank as well
When did your interest in juke & footwork begin, and what aspects of the music are you most interested in?
Years ago I heard Perculator by Cajmere. I knew it was something I liked but because I was so into other music at the time I never really got that into it, I just knew i liked it. I guest at first hand I was really into the ghetto house stuff. A while later I happened to find footwork videos on Youtube, the dancing was nuts but the music was something I’ve never heard before, similar to how I got into dubstep originally. In 2005 drum-n-bass wasn’t hitting the spot for me any more and dubstep came by which gave music new life for me. A few years later, juke did the same. What got me was how the guys making this music were using drum machine samples in a completely new way, and they were sampling all types of shit and putting it at 160 bpm, and the shit had soul. I was never out to make juke music, and I don’t think I ever really will, but it’s from juke that I had the ideas to use a totally new sound palette.
Is being pinned down as a juke producer due to the success of Footcrab an annoyance?
It doesn’t’ annoy me, if anything it’s nice to have a slight association. What is kind of annoying is when some people claim whatever it is I’m making to be a certain genre. I just like to say it’s drum machine music.
What were some of the seminal juke/footwork tracks that influenced you to move in this direction?
Rather than tunes, I’d like to point out two producers, DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, because those guys were not just about crazy beats they also make the ghetto house sounding stuff astonishingly well. They did these radio shows (Bang Tha Box) for like a month or 2…it was on those mixes I got to hear a lot of tunes, various guys doing shows, with just bonkers music on them haha.
Did you get to interact with them when they came out to Europe a few months ago?
Ironically, I was in US at the exact same time they were in the UK, so no, not that time. Typical.
Is the surge in influence of juke & footwork with some producers in Europe something you see as a passing fad, or something healthy of the evolution of music?
It’s hard to tell what’s going to come from it, but it’s definitely giving the UK bass scene a new angle and has kept things pretty interesting. It seems as if Footcrab, Work Them and various other tracks like I.R.L. by Girl Unit have kept things fresh in the underground.
How are European audiences responding to all this?
Very well, I get a better response in mainland Europe than in the UK really…I seem to only get booked at dubstep parties in the UK, with a few exceptions, so it seems the crowd wants the dubstep more so than the 808’s. Mainland Europe and the US seem to relish it all, which makes for a much more interesting DJ set.
With footworking in Chicago being such a localized, learned dance, what approaches do you take as far as playing tracks in a club full of people that probably don’t know the steps?
Haha, I’m pretty sure 90% of the crowd has no idea what footwork or juke actually is, so when I DJ, I tend to play the Rashad and Spinn stuff that you can just rock to. Sometimes I’ll drop something really offbeat, but it’s difficult to pull that off when people have come out to dance, and when I say dancing I don’t mean footworking.
You ever catch anyone trying to footwork during one of your sets?
I don’t think I have, and if I did, I’d be impressed if it was pulled off well.
What can we expect in the future from you?
The biggest thing coming up is a live show I’m doing as Addison Groove with my 808. I also have some good dates lined up, one at Fabric, one at the Decibel festival in Seattle, and one at this German club called Berghain, which is one of the best clubs in the world, if not the best. Well it’s the best one I’ve ever been to at least.
Last question, what the hell is a Footcrab? People in Chicago are scratching their heads about that.
To this day I still have no idea. I was making the tune and I found this “footcrab” sample and I was like, “that’s kinda funny”, because it kind of relates to footwork.
The whole thing is really sort of a joke, It’s not to be taken seriously at all, but the tune has worked on dance floors all over the world. I’ve even had some of the biggest names in techno and house music play it, like Villalobos and Mr. Scruff who play to big crowds. I can see some people finding the track annoying but I’ll be honest, I never expected it to ever do as well as it did. It sat on my hard drive for months until a friend picked up on the tune and told me it was crazy. That spiraled it, and with help from Loefah who runs the Swamp 81 label, it just went massive.
Any last words?
Thanks to Chicago for producing great music over the years, and to Rashad and Spinn, those guys did a lot.
Be on the lookout for Addison Groove’s upcoming EP Sexual b/w Work It on Swamp 81 records