Addison Groove – ‘Footcrab VIP’
This time last year, you probably knew Tony Williams best for his dubstep work as Headhunter.
Fast-forward 12 months, and he’s Addison Groove, the ghetto-house disciple whose ‘Footcrab’ helped usher in juke’s arrival as an influence in the UK underground. Next month, Williams plays at the Bloc Weekend festival in March; to whet your appetite, we spoke to him about footwork videos, skanky half-step, and why Croydon is more like Chicago than you think…
Prior to the Addison Groove project, there was a slightly nomadic vibe to Headhunter – obviously that was made explicit on the Nomad album, but you were also releasing on a fair few different labels (the main one of which, Tempa, wasn’t based in the same city as you), using a lot of different styles, you were the only guy you’d find playing juke at nights like FWD>>, etc. Do you feel that you’ve found your niche more since the birth of Addison Groove?
“There’s always a place for both them sounds for me, the Headhunter stuff gets me to being a geek using synths, EQs and compressors whereas the Addison stuff is more groove based so I don’t have to nerd out on technical stuff. It just seems like a natural progression to go into doing something else. I like it all, I often get asked if Headhunter is dead, and it certainly isn’t, last week I made a new beat for Youngsta just ’cause I had an itch to make some skinny half-step. then the day after I was back onto the drum machines.”
Were you surprised at the impact ‘Footcrab’ had? It seems that every third producer in the UK is using 808 drum packs right now.
“Yeah if everyone just stopped using them, then I’d rise and conquer… ha, just kiddin’, I think it’s great , I’m getting sent beats with cowbells on, rim shots , all of that… new licks to an old sound. And when I dig the vibe I’ll play it, everything from stuff by FaltyDL, Ramadanman, Julio Bashmore and more. It’s working within many scenes – house, dubstep, techno, whatever else.”
How did you first get into juke and footwork?
“I was passively into the ghetto-tech stuff around 2006/07, then I started seeing that footwork shit on YouTube. Reminded me of the first time I heard grime in many ways… the music was secondary to the dancing and less emphasis was on the DJ. But the actual sound was like it came from Mars, like aliens got samplers and did things with them. I just really wanted to play this stuff but getting from 140-160 was kinda difficult so I made ‘Footcrab’ so it can be a bridge along with some other tunes I made at the time that were more 150bpm.”
Have you managed to get out to Chicago yet to see any of the shows, or had much interaction with the guys over there? We had Spinn headline in London recently and he tore the place up.
“I’m in touch with the guys out there, Murderbot, Spinn, Rashad, but I’m yet to visit the place. I get the impression its similar to how Croydon is to dubstep, people think it’s a holy grail but you get there and you’re like… wow this place is ghetto. I’d love to witness the dances tho – I did play out there as Headhunter back in ’08 which was really good.”
You’re working on an Addison Groove full-length, right? How far down the line is that, and how do you think it’s gonna sound? The recent bits I ’ve heard in sets sound really ‘80s electro-influenced…
“Er… not really a album, I’m making tunes, hopefully towards the end of the year I’ll have a few to put out on Swamp… it’s always changing what I’m making, some days I’ll do a 130 techno riddim, one day I’ll do a 160 tune.. I’ll keep making stuff and add it all up and see what I have.”