Don’t play with fire… Lessons don’t come much more classic than that, right?
But what if Fire was actually a massive banger from Donae’O?
And what if it was free for you to play with from your very next set?
You can grab it right here
Clearly, in this particular instance, playing with Fire isn’t just encouraged… It would be criminal not too. GetDarker caught up with Donae’O to find out more about this new bass venture, his forthcoming album, He Man and, madly, how he almost retired from the game for good!
Tell us about Fire!
I started producing my new album The Forest Of Zephron last year and I really wanted to do some dubstep tracks. I’ve been inspired by the sound for years so really dug deep into the studio and learned how to make it. I also wanted to fuse it with hip-hop and do something special.
How long have you been producing?
Years! I’ve produced or co-produced pretty much every song I’ve done. That’s important for me; being able to understand both sides of the studio.
If you HAD to choose one role, which one would you do?
Studio. All day long.
Tell me about the remixes…
I made the dubstep one and the Afro Beat one. The Prototypes did a remix, too, which I’m absolutely buzzing over. We’ve also got an Elias Shepard remix which is electrohouse, there’s a deeper dubstep one from SheaNoo and we did an acoustic one, too.
It’s a bold move to be giving them all away!
It had to be done. I wanted to really push these sounds out there and get them to as many people as possible. Hurry, though; there’s only a few weeks left of freeness then they’ll be on sale. I’ve also put an accapella out there for young producers or DJs. It’s very hard for new producers to find vocalists to work with due to budgets and everything else, so it’s nice to give that option to people who want to use it. Back in the day accapellas were on loads of releases, that’s how we learnt how to produce with vocals.
Not every vocalist would agree with that. A lot want control over where their vocal is used. Your stance a bit more progressive…
Yeah you’re right, but I always find when I put my accapellas out there something special comes from it. It might take a year for it to surface but hearing everyone’s twist on my vocals is always really interesting. You’ve got put things out to fate sometimes.
Definitely. So this is your first release since Not A Saint. That went mental didn’t it?
Yeah! My first charting single! I was very happy with that. So now there’s Fire and there’ll be another single late May / early June before the album comes.
When’s the album due?
End of August, I reckon.
Cool. Now on your site you talk about making the transition between MC to rapper. We’ve always considered you more of a singer…
I’ve done so much, everyone puts their own twist on what I do. I rap, I host, I sing, I produce. It’s just a case of making sure people know what I do. With the singing it was harder to establish myself as singing was always seen as a bit too soft for a man to be doing! With Fire there’s more of a rapping, singing, hip-hoppy edge. The fusion of rapping and singing is what I love; like Fly, Party Hard or Fire.
Riot Music, too…
We read you were considering retiring recently. What’s that all about?
Yeah I did for a bit. I just wasn’t feeling the music so much and wanted to be more in the background, on the business side of things. A few things that have happened recently have given me more of an inspired approach. I’ve found a new spark. I’ve found my fire. Sometimes when you’re upset about things then you think about them more than you do.
It’s hard to be constantly inspired…
It’s very hard. For the last few years I was surrounded by numbers and marketing stuff. It drains you. You forget why you’re making music in the first place! Are you making it for your soul or are you making it to make money? I always made music for my soul then worked out ways to sell it but sometimes you get caught up in the business. Hanging out with people who just want to sell the music can be a bit soul destroying. They’re like ‘you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that’ and I got tired of it. I’d temporarily forgotten about real music and real musicianship.
Tell us about the album concept for Forest Of Zephron. Zephron is your business name. We’re guessing the forest is your head. Were you lost in your own head? Is this you making clarity of things?
Kind of. The forest is in my head, yes. But I wasn’t as lost as you make out. It was more from a chat with a marketing person; she said I speak a lot but I don’t let people see how I think and how I get to the ideas that I have. She thought I should expose more of that side to myself. The forest is where I go inside my head where the creativity can be found. I hope I express it clear enough on the album.
It sounds like your pushing yourself and your musical communication more than ever before…
Yeah, I hope so. I hope I always am. This album is much more aggressive than Indigo Child. I was in much more of an aggressive frame of mind when I wrote it. The last one was a lot more house oriented but this has more variety; there’s more upfront, club-focused sounds. Trap, dubstep, D&B.
Finally: You were on about He Man and Thundercats on Twitter. Discuss…
Haha! I just wanted to know what people are interested in. I watched a few He Man episodes on YouTube and wanted to know where everyone else was on it. My favourite character? He Man all the way!