Couldn't be more excited to present to you the latest edition of our mini-mix series, featuring Handbook!
Nearly two weeks after him, RKZ and Supreme Sol released TRIAD via Stereofox (read, listen and download for free here), the York-based producer agreed to join us again for an exclusive mix and a brief interview (below). I've been following Handbook for a while and would definitely put him in that bubble of unique musicians that are not afraid to venture into different sounds and use their talent to create their place in them. From classically-inspired organic sounds, through raw hip-hop and futuristic beats to mellow and somber vocal tracks, Handbook has already shown an impressive range and I will leave it to yourself to judge the quality, because in this mix he has given a perfect introduction to his diverse and unique sounds. Hop on the mix and read through the awsome interview I had the pleasure to take with Handbook!
Also keep your ears open of the Stereofox-exclusive track "#FeelTheLove" and....well he said it best - "Feel the love"! Stereofox x Handbook
Hey Jake! Thank you for doing the mini-mix and this interview! Can you tell us a little bit about the person behind the Handbook moniker?
Hey! No problem. I really enjoy constructing a smooth mini-mix and I hope you guys enjoy it! So, besides making beats, I’m a teaching assistant from York, England. I work with teenagers in Secondary School and love it. I’m a food fanatic too -as my followers will have picked up on I love pizza, donuts, beer, tea, chocolate and all kindsa meat. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
I first found out about you through this awesome tribute you made for J Dilla – “February” and I can feel his influence in a lot of your work. In your own words, what inspired you to start producing?
Hahaa, you hit the nail on the head there. When I first heard Dilla’s music I thought “if this guy can make sounds like this all by himself, then I can do that too!” I had a gap in my life and new making music should fill it. I spoke to a friend who had an MPC1000 for sale and I went for it. I picked up a Microkorg soon after and got to it. Cats like Flying Lotus and Free The Robots inspired me to push the boundaries a little and form an initial ‘Handbook sound’. From then on, it was the good people of Soundcloud who inspired me and pushed my sound in a new direction.
You are part of the Rootnote Collective, which houses a number of creative artists. How has being in that family affected you so far?
Man, the camaraderie is awesome. I mean, despite the fact that I haven’t met a single one of those guys, I know they are more than happy to share what I’m making. And when dudes like Brock Berrigan repost my sounds, I feel that my audience widens almost instantly, and vica versa. If you’re sleeping on Rootnote, get them checked out!
Late last year you released Botanicals EP - I loved the chill atmosphere it creates with usage of organic sounds. Where did you draw the inspiration for that project – any specific places/experiences?
I wanted a really summery vibe, but something laid back and calm. From Spring to Summer, York is a really beautiful place. It comes into bloom so nicely, and the street I used to live on is lined with Cherry Blossom trees. I think around that time I was listening to Ta-Ku’s ‘Songs to Make Up to’ and those sounds inspired me too.
On other projects you have collaborated with a number of MCs (Jetpack Jones, Supreme Sol to name a few). When did you first fall in love with hip hop?
I’ve always listened to hip-hop and not really been conscious of what hip-hop exactly was. It wasn’t until about 2008 that I started to explore hip-hop in more depth and get a feel for the groove and the storytelling and the whole vibe of hip-hop. J-5, Nas, Kanye - people like that opened my eyes and I started to really get into rap music and the characters involved. Common, Tribe, Preemo. You name them - I’ll dig it. If the beats are on point and the content is right, I’m on board.
Speaking of Supreme Sol – you two, together with RKZ, recently released the TRIAD EP! Can you talk a bit on how the project came about and what it was like to work with these guys?
It’s a weird one really because I don’t think I can pin-point exactly how it came about. Both Sol and RKZ appeared on my album ‘Thank You’ and their performances (along with the man Marvolus) helped to bring the project together. I imagined that their styles would gel nicely on the same tracks and shared two tracks with them that I felt they’d both dig. That was it - the ball was rolling and it came together so fast. It was easy and natural and once the final beat was done we felt the project was there. Genuinely the most cohesive project I’ve been involved in.
Can you name one current artist that inspires you and would like to work with?
Just one? That’s tough. I’m gonna cheat a little. At the moment Bonobo and Bibio are inspiring me with their sound. I’d love to work with Kendrick, Gallant or A.F.R.O - you heard A.F.R.O? That kid is crazy.
To finish this off, any exciting plans for the remainder of 2016?
Plenty. Two albums in the works with one coming out on Rootnote. 3 EPs in the works. One with Jetpack Jones, one with J.Hurt and one with Supreme Sol. There are going to be a few tracks with people like Sophia Danai, Marvolus, Edamame (one of the dopest cats I know) and a few other pieces that I have in the works. Stay. Tuned. In.
Thanks again, it was an honor to have you here! Anything else you want to add?
Follow Handbook on Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook
Just to say thank you to Stereofox for hosting #Triad and for getting me involved in doing a mini-mix and interview - you’re good people. And secondly, a further thank you for all the people who support me, listen to, download, buy, share, attend, contact etc etc etc… just THANK YOU!