South London Ordnance


The Brit DJ hits up JB’s Lounge


Hailed as one of Time Out London’s DJs to watch this year, UK born-and-bred bass and dance music breakout star South London Ordnance has been on the rise for more than a year now, garnering a cult following on Sound Cloud and then quickly revving up in clubs before launching his own label Aery Metals Recordings earlier this year. Ysabelle Cheung finds out a little more about the up-and-coming DJ and producer before his JB’s Lounge gig with Yeti in the Basement and Sessions HK…

Where does the name South London Ordnance come from?

People always ask me this. I actually live in South London and I grew up here so, yeah, there's a bona fide personal connection. The ordnance is to do with the metallic perc sounds I use in my tracks – like ammunition or artillery: ordnance. Nothing to do with maps!

You started off DJing and then began producing. What triggered this transition?
It was just a natural progression. I’ve been DJing on and off since I was about 12 or 13 or so – just recreationally with mates in my room or whatever when I was younger. And then in small clubs in South London etc, and around Leeds when I was up at university there. I always wanted to do it – it just took me a while to actually get round to it. I’m still very much in the formative stage – still working on my sound, building my studio etc. I do have some decent bits and pieces now though...

Is there anyone who has really helped you boost your music profile or has helped you along your way?
Yeah, sure – people like LuckyMe, who reached out ages ago and got me to do a mix for them… that was great. People like Mary Anne Hobbes and Seb Chew who pushed me hard on Rinse and XFM early on. These were all really helpful in terms of getting my stuff out there. Then, obviously, doing a record with Paul Rose and Hotflush – that was great for my profile. And getting shootouts from Jamie XX and Hawtin along the way hasn’t hurt either – and then actually doing things like ENTER in Ibiza for Richie. That was great for opening me up to a genuinely international audience.

How has your ear for music and your tastes progressed during the time you’ve been producing? And what influenced these changes?
Mmm – I think when I started out I was a bit narrow-minded. I had an idea of what I wanted to make in my head and I just wanted to do that. You know, that kind of attitude when you’re younger – you think you know it all. Then, when you start playing gigs overseas and your eyes get opened to this whole different world – different clubs, different people – it just changes your approach. I think the music I make is potentially a bit more mature now – and it’s much less ‘UK’. I feel like it progresses a little better, sounds and ideas develop over time rather than 32 bars and we’re straight in the mixer. I mean I’m fundamentally a much better producer now, which does help! When I started out I really had no idea what I was doing – I was just fucking around with sounds… and I’m still doing that, but with a little more experience now on the buttons and out in clubs of all different sizes, all over the place.

Hearing a track in your room and then live in a club is quite different. What’s the weirdest reaction you’ve ever received from a track you’ve played live?
I'm better with my monitors now. I can pretty much imagine how something is going to sound in a club from the comfort of my bedroom. That just comes with time in the same space – but, yeah, I know what you mean. Weirdest reaction? Ha – I mean I’ve had tracks I’ve made and played out flop amazingly… people just looking confused and a little pained as this muddy mess of sub bass is vomited out of the speaker. Luckily it doesn’t happen too much these days. I got a message from Randomer, actually – or maybe it was Simon from TEAL – either way, when Randomer went out to play in Copenhagen, a couple of chicks apparently started making out in the breakdown to Pacific, that track I did on Well Rounded. I wasn’t there but I’ve certainly not had that particular reaction to anything I’ve played out live since. Must remember to use more uplifting string sections in my new stuff…

There’s surprisingly little to be found about you in the news or online, in terms of your ‘persona’. Was this a deliberate move on your part and what do you think about people in the music industry who find it important to market themselves (not just their music) in a certain way?
Mmm… I dunno about that really. I just prefer to keep stuff about my life private. It’s not because it’s ‘all about the music’ or anything – I just don’t see the need to share every moment of my life with the people who support my stuff. I have things like Instagram and Twitter and whatever, but I don’t really want to post stuff that’s too personal on those platforms. That’s the worst thing about our generation – people are always ploughing into the public arena with facts about themselves, and then they get upset when individuals they don’t know start commenting on the persona they’ve projected; when people start getting too familiar or straight up cussing them. You know, it’s weird enough when you politely thank someone who’s tweeted you support and the next thing you know they’re emailing you about getting unreleased tracks and getting on the guest list for the next show you’re playing! It’s bizarre…

What are you listening to right now?
Nothing, actually. My ears are a bit sore after a day of mixing down tunes so I’m enjoying some silence!

South London Ordnance
JB’s Lounge, Fri Nov 15, 10.30pm till late. Tickets: $150-$100.


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