Artist2Artist is our fresh series where we invite creatives to interview each other as we creatively capture and provide insight with an edge. Following the release of their latest track 2bad, Paragon get chatting to featured artist Ddark
TOM to DDARK: What is your earliest memory of you in music?
Ddark: Um, the earliest memory of me in music is playing piano when I was five.
Tom: Do you still play the piano? I’ve seen you do stuff every once in a while…
Ddark: Now and again I’ll touch the keys (laughs)
DDARK to TOM: What attributes do you feel defines your music style?
Tom: That’s a good question… to be honest, coming from a drum perspective and drum background, beats, for me, are really important as well as the rhythm elements of the track. Combining with Sam, as Sam’s a sax player, it’s very crucial to what Paragon does. So, I’d say that, yeah, the beat side of it and the rhythm aspect are the attributes that defines our style.
SAM to DDARK: What have you learnt about yourself from doing music?
Ddark: When I come to touch the mic it’s no games (laughs) and I’ve learnt about hard work and work ethic in music because when I really want to do something I put my mind to it and I make sure that the job gets done. Like, when we did the track I went like BOOM (claps hands) and sent that back. So yeah, make sure everything’s on point and everything’s go go go.
TOM to SAM: What’s the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Sam: I did a massive thing in Wembley Park a while ago as a sax player and just walking out to like 25,000 people and not knowing [what I’m going to be playing]. I’m just jamming with the DJ and honestly don’t really know what the DJ is going to play or what’s gonna happen with that many people just looking at me standing there like ‘er… what’s going to happen here’.
DDDARK to TOM: If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?
Sam: (laughs and points to Ddark)
Tom: (laughs) well obviously we’ve got one of our collaborations right here —
— Ddark: Jesus! Trust me! Madting! BOOM!
Tom: To be honest though, Ddark was one of those guys on our radar that we had for a while and we randomly met. Yeah, it’s one of those ones that was really quick. I think if you have that person in mind that you want to go with – stylistically we knew what you [Ddark] were about and where you [Ddark] were coming from and we obviously have a strong identity of what we’re about and where we’re going, so that was perfect. But we have quite a few good collaborators coming up as well that we won’t mention at the moment as it’s early days but we’ve got some really cool artists coming on board. But in terms of like a… Sam help me out with this, have you got anyone that you’d like to work with? Like, I mean there’s so many people. There’s… —
— Sam: I know you want to work with Craig David, don’t you (all burst out laughing). Yeah, so Craig (points to camera lens). I’d love to work with like a good female MC, like Sticky and Ms Dynamite’s track Boo, maybe someone like that you know.
Tom: Also someone with like a soulful voice. I really like Kwabs and people like that. To be honest we’ve got so many people we are kind of working with that we’ve wanted to work with for some time of different types of reaches and audiences. But, that’s the thing about Paragon, you want to make sure that whoever we’re working with, whatever style it is, it’s got certain genre and elements that make us what we are but also collaborating with people we believe in, like yourself [Ddark], that takes us to the next level and smashes it every time. So yeah, lot’s of people. Think people should just hit us up and see what happens really, because there’s so many people we wanna work with and experiment some stuff with.
SAM to DDARK: What kind of effect do you want your music to have on others?
Ddark: I want it to have a positive effect, like good energy, good vibes, excitement, just to live life to the fullest and enjoy the music, enjoy the vibes. The track we’ve done is very energetic so when someone hears it they can jump up, jump up in a festival, jump in your house, jump up in the car, nahmean, anywhere you go. Jump up on the bus, you name it, know what I’m saying. So have a good feeling, good vibes and just enjoyment because life is short and you want to enjoy every moment.
Tom: That definitely comes through in your live performances when I saw your birthday [set], even just the energy you had. To be honest I can’t wait to perform the track live, it’s going to go mental. Live house and grime is going to be mental, so watch this space – we’ll be hitting some clubs up near you definitely.
TOM to DDARK: What song do you love to perform the most and why?
Ddark: Me again? (laughs). Yeah, I’m looking forward to performing our track because the energy and vibe, and we haven’t performed it yet so I’m really looking forward to that so that’s definitely on the list. Um, my other track Be Smart, which is in the Brotherhood movie, I like to perform that one a lot because it goes down well with the crowd.
Tom: You also bring loads of MCs on as well, don’t you, like Ms Banks and Flava D as well.
DDARK to SAM: Have to listen to one song forever or never be able to listen to a song you love twice?
Sam: Wait… I don’t know what that means… to have to listen to one song… or never be able to listen to a song… so I just pick a song I want to listen to forever?
Sam: Oh right. Do I still pick a song or just say which one? (laughs) ask me another one
Ddark: What is your 2016 jam?
Sam: I’m going to say our track 2Bad (laughs). I’ve been listening to it a lot and I’m still listening to it and enjoying it.
SAM to TOM: Is the music industry what you expected?
Tom: No, not at all. When I first started to do music it was literally the love of the instrument first and foremost and that was why and what I tried to get across, to get as good as I could at my instrument. But then you’ve got this other beast, which is the music industry. It’s massively different. I used to think, to be honest, if you were on like daytime Radio 1, all that kind of stuff, you’d have a Porsche, you’d have everything, you’d have a wicked house. It’s not like that anymore. There’s so many avenues and ways of making money, which is great; the internet has affected it a lot. But it’s changed in the fact of the work ethic. You can’t do music half time, it has got to be full time, you’ve got to put everything into it. If you’ve got relationships or whatever, sometimes you’ve got to compromise in every situation. You know, you’ve got to have some kind of balance obviously, but if you want to do it full time you’ve got to work all hours, every day and try and achieve it because there’s no other way to achieve it than 100%. So yeah, it has changed. The music industry is constantly evolving so you’ve just got to keep your level as high as it can possibly be but also have that belief in yourself and your product and see where you’ve got to be and get there by working hard. Hard work and talent, you can’t go wrong with that basically.
TOM to DDARK: Where would your dream place to perform be?
Ddark: Erm, dream place. Interesting question, got me thinking with that one. Dream place… would have been good if there was a few options (laugh)
Sam: How about Madison Square Garden or somewhere like that?
Ddark: Yeah, but I see that like that’s going to happen anyway, I don’t see that as a dream. Like, a dream place would be in the clouds and everyone has their own cloud and chilling in the cloud (all burst out laughing). That might be it, with like planes flying by (laughs).
DDARK to TOM and SAM: In an ideal situation where would you like your music to take you?
Sam: To Ddark’s dream place (all burst out laughing)
Ddark: Jeeeeez yeah that’s what I’m talking about! (fist pumps Sam and Tom)
Sam: (laughs) You go on Tom
Tom: To be honest, just seeing your music played no matter if we’re DJing or as our live act. I just want to see a club full of people going absolutely nuts to our music because me and Sam, and Ddark too I’m sure, in our own space and stuff we have our own personalities or whatever but when you jump on that stage, for me and everyone else here, that’s where we really come to life. Like knowing these guys and stuff, that’s where it really happens. So, just to be able to perform our music to massive clubs of people and have it on the radio so people can enjoy it and get our message out there through our music basically. So, I’d say just to reach as many people as we can
Sam: And just to be able to keep doing it, keep getting in the studio and getting up and writing music, doing that core of creating music. Just to be able to do that everyday
Tom: And to collaborate with as many artists as possible and just keep pushing boundaries with our music tempo wise, whatever it is, like soundscapes. What about you [DDark]?
Ddark: Exactly the same as what you lot said, yeah
Roisin: Can I ask a question? What’s the biggest struggle you’ve had as an artist?
Sam: In general, for me, just breaking through into music and get the respect you need to get people to listen to you or hear you, whatever it is, like booking you for stuff. That’s the struggle. And the world doesn’t really want you to be a musician. Everything’s pushing you towards the lifestyle you have to leave, as Tom was saying earlier about the sacrifices you have to make for it, you’ve just got to push through those and get to a point where people around you can see ‘oh yeah that’s actually something, you’re actually doing that, you’re not just messing about’.
Tom: Also with music I find whenever you come up to these kind of struggles as you say, whatever it may be, like trying to book shows somewhere when you’re first starting out, but I think it kind of is a struggle but I love music so much, and these guys love music so much, it’s not so much a struggle but ‘how am I going to get around it?’ There’s never a no, don’t accept that. There’s no such thing as you can’t do something. Like if you want to pursue that dream, you can do it, you’ve just got to make those sacrifices and find other ways
Sam: Yeah, you’ve got to bounce back every time. Like you will get knocked down, you’re going to get knocked down and you’ve got to bounce back. Probably when you least expect it as well, when you think ‘yeah, everything’s great’ and it just drops off, that’s when you’ve got to push harder
Tom: Yeah, it’s a constant fight with music but it’s the fight I want and it’s the way it is but I wake up every day and love doing it.
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