Influences: Plastician


Croydon-born Chris Reed, aka Plastician, is the man you go to if you want to shed some light on what was happening in the UK underground at the turn of the century.

Shying away from the anthemic pop side of things, there was a strain of UK Garage that started to warp into something darker. Something reflecting the grubby side of London. Plastician (then recording as Plasticman before Richie fucking Hawtin stuck his nose in) crystallised this dark 2 step sound, and later became one of the DJs to most successfully bridge the gap between grime and dubstep – his was weighty dancefloor music that also had the requisite energy and structure for MCs to spit over.

Next month he's playing on a heavyweight bill at David Rodigan's Foundation Sessions, repping for grime alongside bass pioneers Zed Bias, Hatcha, Iration Steppas, Randall & Kenny Ken and loads more.

If you've tuned into his Rinse FM show recently then you'll have heard Plastician supporting a youthful Internet-based scene called 'Wave', which I can tell you now is well worth checking out. Right now though for his Influences picks, he's taken things back to the early 2000s. Tracing the development of 2 step into grime and dubstep, from Dem 2 and Reservoir Dogs to Wiley and Skream. Listen below.

Plastician plays David Rodigan's Foundation Sessions at Electric Brixton, 15th October, tickets available here.

De Souza Ft. Marcell Duprey - Keep It Coming (Dem 2 Twist Up Dub)

This was one of my favourite 2 step tracks, as were a lot of Dem 2’s productions. I love the percussion particularly. When I started out producing grime I used to want to make my tracks have a bit of skip in them like their tracks.

  • De Souza Ft. Marcell Duprey - Keep It Coming (Dem 2 Twist Up Dub)

    This was one of my favourite 2 step tracks, as were a lot of Dem 2’s productions. I love the percussion particularly. When I started out producing grime I used to want to make my tracks have a bit of skip in them like their tracks.

  • M Dubs - Over You (Breakbeat Mix)

    Absolute classic 2 step. Pass the champs, iron my Iceberg Jeans, pick up the Moschino from the dry cleaners (cos my Mum shrunk my £160 Mosch knitwear, I ain’t about to make that mistake again), and put on my Patrick Cox. I’m off to Camden Palace.

  • Dea Project - Casual Affairs

    Being a fan of ’80s music, I always loved this as I recognised the vocal. But the pizzicato string used to get me so excited when I heard it creep in at clubs / at home listening to pirate radio.

  • Reservoir Dogs - Buddha Finger

    This was literally the time when 2 step REALLY got dark and I was so interested in that. It’s when I was DJ’ing in a crew with MCs on my first experiences on pirate radio, stuff like this was exactly what I was playing for them to spit over around 2000 / 2001.

  • Dj Narrows - Saved Soul

    Even though I didn’t produce a lot of 4×4 stuff, I definitely remember trying to base a lot of the stuff I was making when I first got hold of Fruityloops on this track. Was definitely an influence on my first ever sketches which gladly didn’t make it out into the public!

  • Musical Mob - Pulse X

    This has to go in because when this was getting played in UK Garage raves, the old guard were up in arms, but it gave a young generation the inspiration to start kicking the doors down and have a go at producing ourselves. This was what made me realise I could produce something for MCs and get my foot into the scene.

  • Big$Hot - Stomp

    When I finally got to grips with the basics of Fruityloops, I started out making 8 bar grime tracks. I liked this one because it took the basic 8 bar idea but built it a little more interestingly with variations on the patterns, even though they were very subtle, nearly every 8 bar has something slightly different from the previous, like filter rises / the addition of a riff every 32 bars etc. I learnt a lot about structuring my 8 bar tracks by basing the production of ‘Venom’ (my first ever release) on the structure of this track.

  • Dj Oddz - Strung Up

    Not so much an influence on my own productions as it was so musical (way ahead of me musically back then and still now!). But this was a massive staple in my early sets. In fact, I can tell this YouTube clip is of me playing it because the beeps on the intro are from ‘Mammoth’ by Benga (the video has been made from a radio rip or ripped out of a mix and looped up) and I would have been the only person on the planet then who had both these dubs. Another cool bit of trivia – I named this track for Oddz over a conversation on MSN.

  • Wiley - Avalanche

    This was one of my favourite Wiley instrumentals – I loved the beat on it so much, it definitely influenced the way I built my percussion on some early tracks – I think ‘Sandstorm’ shows this most evidently.

  • Wonder - What

    This was not only an influence on me but I’m pretty sure all the Croydon lot who were making Dubstep in its early days started making stuff in half time after this track dropped. If you listen chronologically, you’ll notice that before this, the UK Garage swing was still evident in a lot of productions by Skream / Benga / Horsepower etc. But when this tune happened that’s when we started to get the half time stuff, like Loefah’s ‘Horror Show’ which I think was one of the first half time bits I heard after this came out.

  • Dom P & Dynamite - Hungry Tiger

    When Slimzee asked me to produce a B-side for ‘Venom’, I came up with ‘Shockwave’ which was heavily influenced by this – as you can hear right away in the bass and the claps particularly. In fact it’s almost a straight rip off really. The VIP mix of this one has one of the best basslines to ever grace a grime record.

  • Skream - Kontrast

    This track was one of my favourite tracks from Skream, a good few years before he got his first vinyl release on Big Apple. You can hear that 2 step swing still in effect as I mentioned before – this is from 2002, before Wonder – ‘What’ dropped and we all went half step.

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