Digital Farm Animals – Exclusive Interview
They say man’s best friend is a dog, but I’m pretty hung up on this weird looking pig. My love for Digital Farm Animals was instant. Maybe because Adore You is one of the most instantly mood enhancing tracks of the year. The euphoria in DFA’s synths and Ofei’s vocals won me and my smile muscles over before the chorus had even begun. And since the release of his Bugged Out EP, this crush is going to last.
I met Nick Gale – the man behind the digi-pig logo – a couple of weeks ago and I felt pretty sure I was talking to someone who’s going places. He’s pretty damn confident, and when you consider he’s self taught, it’s hard not to be in awe of his creations and his ambitions. This is a guy who is in control of his future.
One EP down, we chatted about his hopes of becoming a household name, Radio 1 airplay and his love for ‘proper songs’…
RB: Your older stuff had a very different dubby kinda vibe. The Bugged Out EP feels like you’ve found your sound?
DFA: Yeah, I wasn’t really putting music out back then. I was just learning. I used dub step as like a learning curve. When Skream and Benga were making music i the beginning it was a lot more dub, as opposed to the heavier wah way stuff… For the moment I’m where I want to be. I love working with this kind of synthy electronic stuff. I’m sure it will all change. I’m working on so many things and the moment and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve pulled out a lot of 70s and 80s records listening to their production techniques.
RB: Tell me about Adore You; it’s such a great track that appeals to both music folk and top 40 types. And Ofie’s performance on it is incredible…
DFA: I made the beat on it’s own first. I was listening to loads of Art of Noise, Cindi Lauper and Tears For Fears at the time. Loads of nu-wave/synth stuff as opposed to disco….which is the direction the track went. My manager manages Ofie as well so we ended up working together. It was a bit of luck it turned out way it did. We went crazy and had fun with it. We’ve had some radio one play with it too which is great – Rob da Bank has played it a couple of times.
RB: Are there going to be any pig outfits? You did promise me you’d be in fancy dress today…and you’re not!
DFA: hahaha, there will definitely be some mad outfits involved. The end goal is to have people walking around with pig shirts on…
RB: Aim high! So do you see yourself in the fun, approachable category like Rudimental and Disclosure?
DFA: I would hope so. I want to enjoy the music at every point. I’m not going to make a track just because it’s whats big at the moment. It want it to be good quality music. The thing I like about Rudimental and Disclosure is that they’ve had the opportunity to work with so man big manes but still put their stamp on it. I can imagine the DFA album being similar. I like songs at the end of the day, not just beats.
RB: I guess that’s what takes a track into the commercial arena …whacking a great vocal on it! Do you leave lyric writing to who ever sings on your tracks?
DFA: Yeah it makes it a lot more exciting. Song writing is fun. It’s a shame there so many great instrumental tracks out there – I think they’d so much better with a vocal. I actually write lyrics and sing too, I’m the voice on Crazy Love. I feel like there are better singers out there than me and I want to work with them. On Bad Idea I work with Holly P; she’s wicked. She wrote a really cool top line. I love writing vocals but I often find it easier to write them for other peoples’ music.
RB: What vocalists would you like to work with?
DFA: I’ve been listening to Solange loads at the moment. She’s awesome. As a producer I’d love to work with Dev Heins.
RB: Who are you listening to for pleasure at the mo?
DFA: London Grammar. I went to uni with Dan the guitarist. Lorde’s pretty cool too. I’m always listening to Radio Head and Art of Noise. I listen to loads of stuff from pre 2000. People made reals songs back then. They put time into their music.
RB: So how do you start when constructing a song? What comes first?
DFA: I usually start with listening for a couple of hours. There might be something that stands out and it goes from there really. I play very basic keys and guitar and once I’ve got a kind go 8 bar loop, I work around it, get a groove to it. I spend hours just playing around with sounds. I use Logic a lot these days. But I started out on FL Studio, which I still to program drums and synths; it works for me – I’m self taught!
RB: So the future looks pretty cool for you. What can we expect from DFA ?
DFA: Prep for the live shows are taking up a lot of my time at the moment. Live, DFA is myself on production and another guy DJing. I want to make it a lot more of a show – we have a good set up and we want to make it more musical – synthesizers, effects and amazing visuals. We’re slowly getting there. Now that Bugged Out is out, I’m working on a couple of other EPs. There’s lots going on!
Download Digital Farm Animals Ep, Bugged Out here.