Jason Cambridge (aka A Sides) has been producing music since 1990 and has released well over 500 tracks to date across many of the scene’s biggest labels making him one of the most prolific and versatile artists in drum & bass. Over the course of his extensive career, A Sides has never limited himself to a single style and has proved to be a highly capable selector whether drawing for dubstep, hip hop or old school drum & bass.
Our Product Specialist Jon Dennis used to create music with Jason so got in touch with him to see what he was up to these days only to discover that he’s a great fan of Spectrasonics plug-ins! Of course, that meant there was no question that we had to interview him…
You’ve been producing music since 1990, how did you first get into it?
As a kid I took drum and trumpet lessons at school. I used to live in a flat and had a drum kit in my bedroom which never went down well with my neighbors so I finally sold it. I have an Uncle who makes Reggae music (Jah Free) and at the time he set up an 8 track recording studio and employed me on a youth training scheme. I learnt the basics there and he had a Roland TR505 drum machine which I used to borrow and I learnt how to program. That was the start of things I went on to getting a 4 track recorder and turntables and used to build looped based mixes. After outgrowing those I got introduced to a friend who had a home studio so there I got introduced to the Atari ST and Midi. After watching him I decided to buy a Roland W30 sampling keyboard and I learnt how to sample and sequence on that but unfortunately it supposedly got stolen from my friends studio so I ended up taking out a bank loan and buying my own set up. A Studiomaster 12 channel desk, Ensoniq EPS16+ Sampler, Alesis Microverb, Atari 1040 ST with Creator and a Korg M1 Keyboard and from then I have never looked back. I just moved with the times.
Over the years, you’ve released more than 500 tracks, which ones stick out most in your mind and why?
My first release is important and it was a big landmark for me having track on vinyl for the first time. It was called Burning Up and was released on white label from De Underground Records in Forest Gate. After that I would say the first release on my own label “Eastside Records” as it was a start of a new journey for me and then profile wise getting tracks signed to Goldies “Metalheadz” label was a huge deal for me. I worked with New Zealand based Jazz musician Nathan Haines under the alias Sci Clone and we had 3 12′ releases on Metalheadz and I really feel that was something special also because of the fact that we were fusing live Jazz with Drum & Bass and no one had really done that before so it was groundbreaking and still sounds fresh today 🙂
Back in the 90s you did a lot of work with our Product Specialist Jon Dennis, tell us about those days. Any funny stories that Jon won’t appreciate being digged up?! 😉
Yeah me and Jon used to work together with Mark Ryder at Strictly Underground Records back in the day. He was this guy from Devon who was making sick beats then he used to come to the studio in Romford and blow me away. Have to admit he had some skills back in the day I used to love his production. Was always giving me a kick up the ass too 🙂 Unfortunately I don’t have any dirt for you but I wish I did have!
Can you remember your original gear set-up?
Atari 1040 ST
Studiomaster Diamond Mix 16 Desk
What’s your hardware set-up today?
Macbook Pro Dual 3.06
Samsung 50″ LED Screen
8 Tb Drobo S
Korg Wavestation SR
Access Virus Rack
TL Audio Fat Track
TL Audio Ivory
Focusrite Liquid Saffire Pro
Focusrite Saffire LE
Roland TD12 V Drums
Novation Remote SL
2 X Technics 1210
Which software/plug-ins do you use most frequently?
I am a die hard Logic Pro user. When it comes to Synths I have Spectrasonics Stylus RMX, Trilian and Omnisphere which I use frequently as well as Komplete 7 by Native Instruments, Mood Modular, Minimoog, Arp 2600V and the CS80V by Arturia and also like to use Albino 3, Blue, Octopus and Predator by Rob Papen. I love all of these synths.
For processing I would say Izotope Ozone 4 for tweaking my final mixes and Waves Komplete for dynamics. I love the Sound of Camel Phat for disortion and for filters i use the TBK1 from Sonalksis and the Filterbank3 from Tone 2. Audio Damage have a bunch of interesting plug ins as well like Dub Station, Diskord, Dr Device, Replicant, Ratshack Reverb and Kombinat, You can get some crazy effects from those!
For chopping beats I will use Propellerheads Recycle every time and for editing I love Bias Peak.
You’ve been using Spectrasonics Stylus RMX for several years, what is about the product that works for you?
I think the sound library that comes with Stylus RMX is incredible plus the refills are good too. I love the way you can just create beats quickly and on the fly and then drag the midi part onto you arrangement then edit it if need be. I also love the feels it has, I find myself using the MPC and SP1200 grooves a lot. I really need to start using the sage convertor and import my own library across too. That would be the icing on the cake 🙂
As you’ve already mentioned, you’re also a Spectrasonics Trilian and Omnisphere user – what are the features of these virtual instruments that are most appealing to your way of making music?
I just love the quality and diversity of the sounds that both Trilian and Omnisphere provide. The Library that these plug ins come with is incredible and there are heaps of sounds to choose from which can easily be found using the browsing system. If I place these sounds alongside most of the other synths that I use I can immediately tell the difference. More power and depth!
Trilian and Omnisphere have incredible presets and they sound real. I find I can apply them to many situations I work in whether it be some Atmospheric Sounds or some Acoustic Guitar for a TV Advert project or some Nice Upright Jazz Bass or some Deep Sub for an authentic Drum & Bass workout!
What would be your Top 3 production tips for budding DnB producers?
I would say to try learn as much as you can for yourself then maybe look on youtube for tutorials. Learn your sound and make it sound good loud and quiet. Always undercompensate rather than over compensate and try and keep versatile if you want longevity in what you are doing (That’s 4 lol).
Finally, what’s happening in the world of Asides right now? Anything you’d like to plug?!
This year i have been spending a lot of time in Miami working on my new label Basshead and some alternative collaborations. Look out for a collaboration album between myself and DJ Wreck Called Live 2 Kill which should see release in 2011.
Another recent project i am working on is with Richie Booker who is Bob Marley’s younger brother. I am collaborating on some new material for his next album and working with him alongside Paul Fakhourie who is an incredible talent and has worked with Nas & Damien Marley, Lauryn Hill, Eric Clapton, Dennis Brown, Sly & Robbie etc so this is an exciting project for me.
I am still touring the world as a DJ and working on Drum & Bass too and would like to release another solo album in 2011 if I have time. My current release One DJ has had huge success and is now available on DJ Die’s label ClearSkyz 🙂
You can follow me on twitter as djasides or stop by my facebook page for more updates and free mixes 🙂
Or come stop by at www.bassheadmusic.com