From Fiddling On Fruity Loops To Major Lazer, This Is The Making Of Cadenza...
The 'Electric Blocks' producer introduces himself to MTV...
Make way for a brand new breakthrough producer because Cadenza has got us very, very excited.
Getting support in the clubs and on the radio from the likes of Diplo, Zane Lowe, Toddla T and Shy FX, Cadenza, aka Oliver Rodigan - yes, of the David Rodigan birth line - we cornered him before he blows up about growing up with a legendary tastemaker, life on the road with Major Lazer and interning for Diplo.
But first we'll let him do introduce himself...
“Hey, my name is Oliver, but I make music as Cadenza. I have been producing for a few years now, but I started out on the piano and violin from around six years old. My brother introduced me to production when I was about 13. He brought home a copy of Fruity Loops from his school and I got hooked on it pretty quickly. I then started to dig through my dad’s soul records and I would loop up little bits and add drums to them.
“That process became slightly repetitive, so I started trying to make music for the club; but I found myself always trying to imitate things I was into at the time. I took a step back for a while, and one night linked up with a mate and we made this track ‘Gyal Town’, which came out on Mad Decent.
“For me, that was definitely the start of developing my own signature style within my music. Since then I have been working with loads of different people like Jus Now and Mele, on the more club stuff. In terms of artists, I’ve been working with Kiko Bun, Tala, Stylo G, Loyle Carner.
“Last year I went on tour with Major Lazer across America and Europe and now I’m back in London focusing on my next few releases, working on Kiko’s first album and scouting new artists for the full hundred.”
Oliver's latest release Electric Blocks is a meaty dancehall/grime/electronic exploration featuring South London musician/rapper/songwriter Fem Fel. Having remixed for the likes of Ella Eyre and Wiley and producing Ryan Leslie's album, Oliver told us what he looks for in a collaborator:
"I like people who are assertive about what they like and what they don’t. Fem came to me with a clear understanding of the sound he wanted to achieve on the track, and we were able to make that happen.
"As long as I’m proud of all the music I make, I’m not fussed about whether people think it’s underground or overground."
And how was life on the road with the Major Lazer clan? “It’s non stop," he said. "Jumping into that world was a real gear change for me as I had only been playing small club shows before that point and I suddenly found myself at Roskilde closing the main stage after the Arctic Monkeys, in front of 80,000 people.
“I knew Diplo because I was actually an intern at Mad Decent a few years ago. We kept in touch and I would always send him music and refixes I was working on - so we just maintained that vibe."
He added: "I learnt a lot about how to make a set unique in terms of creating edits and transitions, which keep people guessing. Diplo knows how to jump around genres without making it sound like a train crash."
...and, with a dad like the legend David Rodigan OBE growing up must have been a musical masterclass right?
"If I’m honest I had no idea what he really did till I was about 11," he revealed. "I just thought he was a radio broadcaster, I had no idea he was going to Jamaica and murdering sounds.
"I think his passion for music definitely rubbed of on me, and more recently he has definitely opened my ears to some great records, which I have used in my productions. Pearson Sound was definitely a big influence for me. I was always impressed as to how much he could do with just a few elements without becoming boring."
Last year Papa Rodigan joined forces with Chase & Status, Shy FX and Rage in their deadly Rebel Sound collective. But if Oliver could start one up who'd be in his? "Good question. Well if it’s a clash then I’m gonna need Super Cat out front on the mic and then behind the decks maybe Mala and Mighty Crown. That’s probably the weirdest team ever built - but whatever."
Electric Blocks Ft. Fem Fel is out now on iTunes.