Pedestrian aka Jack Sibley, is fast becoming notorious for his intricate, crystallised production and instinct for DJ sets. With universally strong releases on Push & Run, 2nd Drop, Brownswood and Metalheadz, he flows over genre constraints with sounds that submerse; penetrating basslines, defined synths, organic audio sampling and crackling melodic harmonies. Unlike many DJs on the scene, with Pedestrian no two sets are the same. his passion for unique, meaningful sound saw him included in K Magazine’s ‘10 Bass Music Artists To Watch Out For In 2012’. Having released a stunning collabouration with Maribou State 'Rush Don't Run' On Southern Fried Records earlier this month, we caught up with the man of the man of the moment as he prepares to join 2nd Drop Records for their 5th Birthday celebrations at Hidden this Friday, along with Jimmy Edgar, Kyle Hall, Catz n Dogz, DjRum, Tessela and South London Ordnance.
How did you get into music? Was there a particular artist or scene that influenced you?
I guess I got into music, initially anyway, through a love for Hip Hop and started attempting to make beats in my early teens. Then I got heavily into D&B and later the whole 'Bass Music' and House side of things. Making tracks as Pedestrian happened when I started experimenting with tracks in the 115-140 BPM range. I couldn't say there was one particular influence, I draw inspiration from so many different genre's, sub-genre's, artists and bands so I couldn't pin point it to one or the other.
What was the first album you bought? What did you like about it? … Can you remember how much you paid for it?
It's pretty bad, I can't really remember what the first album I bought was! I'll hazard a guess at Eminem – The Real Slim Shady LP. I can't remember how much i paid for it, but i do remember having to hide it from my parents as they banned me from listening to it (I probably wasn't alone there). Haven't listened to that record in years and years, might have to give it a spin for old times sakes.
How have you developed your songwriting since the early years? Is the equipment you use now much different from what you used when you wrote your first tracks for Push & Run?
For me, it's been a gradual process of learning what I feel sounds right, and i'm still learning a lot. I often read articles, watch video's and talk to other producers about techniques, equipment and methods, which is hugely helpful. My equipment is pretty much the same although i've collected a few hardware FX units, random instruments and plug-ins in the time since then.
We very much enjoy your blissed-out bass beats but the word pedestrian has many meanings, including music that’s a bit slow or perhaps a little on the unadventurous side. Why did you opt for the title Pedestrian? Have you ever been described as producing “pedestrian” music?
There's a few reasons I opted for the 'Pedestrian' alias. I was living in Cambridge when I first started listening to stuff around 120 BPM and I used to walk to Uni or work listening to it on my iPod and it was the perfect tempo to walk in time to. I also like to include the idea of walking somewhere in my song structures. I mean that by ending up somewhere different to where you started and seeing different points of interest along the way opposed to going round and round in circles for 5 minutes. I was aware from the start of the word pedestrian can mean a bit boring and mediocre but I quite liked that as a challenge to do the opposite, which I have tried to do. I really was expecting to see reviews describing my music as pedestrian, but fortunately it hasn't happened yet! The only time I've seen the word play was in a review for something of mine a little while ago which said something like "…and this track is anything but pedestrian" which was a pleasant surprise.
If you had to give your music a personality, how would you describe it and has it developed any schizophrenia over time?
Wow… I'd say my music is a happy go lucky kind of chap, maybe with a slight case of narcolepsy. I think schizophrenia is a bit far but definitely a curiosity for different styles.
If you had to pick one act you had to see live this year, who would it be and why?
I'm really lucky to have seen a lot of gigs and some really high calibre bands, for instance my first gig was Rolling Stones at Wembley and my second was James Brown supported by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, which is pretty unusual I know! But one live act that I've been loving for ages and haven't managed to catch yet is The Black Keys. A few friends said they were amazing a few months back at Alexandra Palace, so I guess it would be them. I'd also go and see the live Bonobo show any time, seen it about 4 times and each time it is incredible and different, highly recommended to anyone who loves that kind of music.
What do you make of the emergence of big budget visual shows that artists now tour with? Some might say that they detract from really listening carefully to the music being played, making an average act seem far better than they deserve to be. Who have you seen who has got the visual element right and have you ever seen an act get it wrong?
It's a fair point to say that an average act seem better than they are, but at the same time if the act are incredible anyway it can only enhance the experience and make it even more intense. To be honest I haven't really been to any of these new hybrid shows although I hear Amon Tobin's is out of this world, the videos alone look crazy enough.
You were ranked in K Magazine’s ‘10 Bass Music Artists To Watch Out For In 2012’. Do you feel under any pressure to produce a certain kind of music when you receive plaudits like these?
That was very nice of them and I really wasn't expecting it. I don't really feel under pressure by it at all, I'm going to make what I want to make and I hope people like it. I'm not going to say, oh well they've categorised me as a 'Bass Music' producer so thats all I'm going to make. Hopefully the people at K Mag, the readers and listeners will appreciate that.
Imagine you were stuck on a desert island. Which album, movie, book and work of art would you like to have with you assuming you would be able to enjoy them all?
A desert island with a DVD player? Now thats my kind of being stranded! I'd take the album 'TM Juke – Maps From The Wilderness' because it is the most perfect album for on a beach or a sunny day and I don't think it will ever get boring. Assuming I was alone on this island, I would probably take a film of the adult variety because lets be honest, it could end up getting pretty lonely out there! The book I would take would be something with over 1000 pages at least, so once I'd read it I could use it as kindling for bonfires. As for the art, I'd take a large wooden art installation to try and make it into a raft to float back to civilisation. I think that would be a lot more useful than a painting.
If you had the opportunity to play one particular set at one specific venue, what time and place would you like to be?
I'm sure there are loads of absolutely mind blowing venue's around the world that I haven't seen, but for memories sake it would have to be The End when it was still up and running, say 2-4am. I loved going to that place and such a shame that it shut down and what has happened to it since then.
By Mike Barnard
Catch Pedestrian at Blink pres Glass Table with Jimmy Edgar, Kyle Hall, Catz n Dogz, Tom Demac, Ste Roberts, DjRum, Tessela and South London Ordnance at Hidden in Vauxhall this Friday.