The hit-making electronica DJ and producer shares a selection of culture-shifting tracks that shaped his life and career
I first heard it on the radio in the car quite late at night, it was 2am, we were driving around doing God knows what, and I’d never heard anything like it.
It has a very unique and distinct sound rhythmically, with a hip hop kind of element, while the vocals aren't hip hop at all.
And then the outro has that brass section, it's just such a unique piece of music—and that bassline! That arpeggiated bass, you know, I could talk and talk about it. It was a really influential song for me that shaped quite a bit of the music I made after hearing it.
Flying Lotus' 2010 Cosmogramma album
At the time I heard it, I was coming from an electronic music background and I was listening to all sorts of stuff, from happy hardcore to trance music and proper techno… [I was] running the gamut of electronic music.
And then all of a sudden, I stumbled across some J Dilla. And then from J Dilla it went to Flying Lotus, and I went through his whole discography.
[Zodiac S**t] is two songs in one. The start of it sounds really different to the second half, but Flying Lotus was super influential for many reasons. This song in particular was fascinating because it was like a combination; the song completely morphed into a completely different song by the end.
And that was my first time hearing that and being like, woah, a song doesn’t have to be one vibe all the way through; you can have two songs in one or have it evolve into something completely different.
I think the second half [of the track] was even in a different key. On my new record there’s one song that does that and I think that was influenced by listening to music like this.
So I would’ve heard this in 1999 when I would’ve been eight. And it was one of the first electronic trance tracks I heard.
I had a neighbour who I was best friends with. I would go to his house all the time, and his older brother was 18 or something, and he had all these dance music CDs, like Ministry of Sound, and just a huge range of good dance music. I heard this song at his house and it just blew my mind, I didn’t know about this type of music before.
And then I just proceeded to get him to burn me CDs of his stuff. My dad would bring home blank CDs from work and I would bring them over to his house, and I’d be like, “would you please burn me some music?”
He’d burn me some stuff and then I’d get a pen and write down the names of all of them and bring them home. That is how I discovered music outside of the mainstream music that you would see on TV, and that definitely sent me down a path.
SOPHIE was just one of the most brilliant minds. We would always have the most interesting discussions about the state of music or anything. [She was] completely original. [When I heard] that particular song is where I actually met SOPHIE for the first time.
I went to a party, my booking agent was there and we’d just arrived in the States.
I’d never heard about SOPHIE and then that song came on, and it has one particular sound design moment at the start that sounds like bubbles and I heard it on the PA and I was like, what the f**k is this? I’d never heard that sound in my life.
I met SOPHIE after the show. She was in a dog collar and looked insane and was playing the most insane music I’d ever heard in my entire life.
And ever since then we kept in touch and became good friends. I was lucky enough to work with SOPHIE on a whole multitude of music over the years, and [we] toured together. She’s given so much to music in general and shaped culture.
I was just genuinely inspired by what I heard that night.
I actually do rip that pretty hard today still. It’s an ambient one, it’s just a few chords, but it makes me feel things.
Hearing [#3] was one of the first ambient pieces that really struck a chord with me, and opened my eyes and brain to ambient music in general. All these things float from that.
It’s crazy how big ambient music has become. It was never mainstream by any means. But because of all these meditation apps [Calm and Headspace] there’s all these ambient playlists, and people are like, I could put this on for the whole day and create a nice vibe.
The main lyric is essentially, ‘true love will find you in the end’, and over the years, going through different relationships, it’s just been a lyric that has always stuck with me. It’s been really comforting for me over the years. I think it has too for quite a lot of people, because Daniel Johnston is a real cult hero.
It’s always something I think about when I’m feeling down. Whether it’s friendship or romantic relationships, that lyric has always comforted me.
So that song has had an impact, in a really positive way, on my life. It’s such a beautiful song. He’s not a perfect singer by any means, he’s very rough around the edges but [the song has] this beautiful charm to it.
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