Interview: Catching Flies

Interview: Catching Flies

Catching Flies is an enigmatic UK musician whose empyreal beats have enraptured and intrigued the hearts and minds of many around the world. With The Stars EP release and various remixes, his music has come to occupy a distinct area of the beat movement, floating aimlessly in the spaces between artists like Flying Lotus and Bonobo. We took some time to chat with him about his music, influences, and plans for the future.  

Greetings Catching Flies. First of all, who are you, and where did the name Catching Flies come from?

I’m a producer from London (UK), 21 years old. My favourite activities include train spotting, going to the post office, and sometimes making music. Catching Flies came about for no real reason. I had finished The Stars EP and wanted to throw it out into cyberspace and I was like oh shit, I need a name.

What do you use to make music?

Anything and everything. It all starts on Logic Pro (and a number of plugins/vsts). I have a load of VSTs loaded into Logic but always find myself gravitating back to the same select few. What I use and how it starts depends on the song I guess. Sometimes a tune will start with some chords I’ve come up with, sometimes I’ll sample a record I’ve picked up from a charity shop, sometimes I’ll record myself making sounds with my mouth and then turn them into drums, sometimes I’ll record a water bottle being scrunched up (it’s all over ‘Let Your Hair Down’!).

You have taken some more unusual samples or source material (Coldplay, Mt. Wolf, Jill Scott, Corinne Bailey Rae) and created distinctly unique original tracks and remixes. What are some of your favourite songs that totally re-imagine samples?

Haha, yeah it was never a conscious decision to use ‘big’ name samples such as Coldplay and Corinne Bailey Rae on the EP. Guess it’s lucky I didn’t have plans to put it out on iTunes, as I would probably have a few scary lawyers knocking at my door. Those two both happened by accident actually. I had come up with the chords for what came to be ‘Let Your Hair Down’, and I had this four bar loop going round and round. I do that quite a lot. Make a four bar loop and just zone out on it for a while, which also acts as a bit of a test. If I like it half an hour later, then it’s a winner.

Anyway, so I was playing it round and round, and for some reason the chorus of Corinne’s ‘Put Your Records On’ came into my head. So I found the acapella, put it in, chopped it up, and there it was… My favourite songs that totally re-imagine samples? Errr, it changes all the time I guess. But at the moment probably Floating Points – ‘Love Me Like This’. It’s a sample of Real To Reel’s track of the same name. Both versions are wicked (I love a bit of 80s disco). But I think the way FP flips Real to Reel’s sequence, re-invents it and takes it on a completely different journey of its own is pretty special.

What is the best beverage or snack to accompany music making?

A piece of mouldy cheddar cheese and a glass of tap water.

Flying Lotus is often labeled as being the figurehead of the experimental beat movement, which release from his discography is your favourite and why?

Only one?! Hmmm…‘Getting There’ off the new album has to be up there. But my all time favourite is ‘Tea Leaf Dancers,’ the tune he did with Andreya Triana.

What is a song you heard recently that blew your mind?

Hmmm… that’s a tough one. Lots of stuff, but off the top of my head; (and it wasn’t that recently) Portico Quartet ‘Ruins’. I first heard it a year or so ago, and then saw them perform it live at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival last summer. Hard to explain but hearing that tune in an amphitheatre looking over the Mediterranean at sunset was pretty special. Haha… sounds like a press release for the festival and very clichéd, but you get my drift… And also more recently, the Captain Murphy stuff. Some of that is amazing. Can’t get enough of this tune, ‘Between Friends’  and the Fatima EP, produced by Floating Points, Follow You.

So far you have released one EP and a few remixes which have generated quite a buzz. What are your plans for the future?

There’s a lot coming, I’m working on a number of different projects I’m really excited about… I’m also doing another EP which should be out sometime in the summer. I have a new tune coming out in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes and ears open for that! I’m also working on my live show. Look out for Catching Flies in a city near you soon…

What are Catching Flies’ favourite 5 songs at the moment?

Blu & Exile – Ease Your MindBonobo – CirrusChasing Kurt – Money (Tom Ellis Remix)Andrew Ashong & Theo Parrish – Flowers, and Letherette – Yeah Yeah Love.

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Kamir Hiam (USA) has been obsessed with hip hop culture since discovering rap as a child in the mid 90s. As curator of The Find's Stay Thirsty podcast, he is an obsessive crate digger, always looking for more dope music. Other hobbies include travel, reading, fitness, and science.