10 Questions - Jimi Needles
Yes yes you lovely lot! We're back with another dose of 10 questions; lightly grilling another talented muso on the inner workings of their mind! This time round we have the rather talented London based 1s & 2s scratching, DJ maestro, drummer and producer Jimi Needles - representing Rocstar & our lovely friends at Volksfest Bristol. Let's do this!
What’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?
My name is James Hassan aka Jimi Needles. Originally from London but now live in Rochester, Kent. I'm a freestyle DJ and producer, but musically leaning towards the funkier side of things. And I scratch a bit too. I also have a backing band and we play shows quite often.
How would you describe your sound?
As long as it's funky. Funky music can be found in any genre; D&B, Hip Hop, Breaks, Motown... you name it. I'll always show recognition to oldschool music too, especially remixing, live mashupping and scratching the new with the vintage. Unlike Tony, I never went down the battling avenue but always feel comfortable on the cuts when we both rehearse or play live. I play a lot of my own edits and remixes, it's becoming an even bigger feature in my sets now where I can rock up and play a DJ set that's like 50% my own material, always a good feeling seeing a crowd go nuts for that.
Who / what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your music?
As a drummer, most probably Homer Stienwiess, drummer from Daptone Records. He's played on a whole bunch of Mark Ronson stuff too so you have probably heard him without realising. On the turntablism front, DJ IEmerge for aggressive battle routines, and DJ Radar for pushing the boundries of creativity (using looper pedals, for instance). James Brown, Quantic, Cut Chemist, Les Claypool, all as musicians in their own right.
What’s the proudest moment to date for you as an artist?
Opening Glastonbury's Heaven Stage, 2016. As it was the Thursday, none of the main stages had opened yet, and Shangri-La was just ready to party, so we did! Sometimes you never forget a show.
Do you have any advice for our readers who maybe trying to play the mad game of music?
Be on time. Be likeable. Nurture as many contacts as you can. Rehearse!
Name 3 people you would love to work with and why?
Krafty Kuts, we spoke about doing a best of oldschool funk breaks mixtape but he's touring schedule is almost permanent! Our studios are only 5 miles apart! One day!
MXXWLL - Check out his music, then you will know why.
Gramatik - Some of my favourite beats of all time have come from this guy, it's a no brainer!
What have you got planned for the not so distant future?
I've just finished my debut solo album, so I'm now in a great position to find a home for it. I've got a few EPs lined up with Jungle Strikes, they are a bootleggy D&B label that I've had 3 releases with now, it's always fun putting out unconventional party bangers that sample the oldschool and familiar samples whilst creating something new at the same time. While this has all been going on, I've also been rehearsing hard with my new Jimi Needles LIVE band, we're hitting a few festivals this summer and are playing the majority of my album tracks live.
What’s the album you’ve played more than any other?
I'd probably have to mirror what Tony said about DJ Yoda's mixtapes, they were so integral to my music taste while growing up. They had humour, turntablism, wrong but right mashups and some great tunes. However, I've probably played Quality Control by Jurassic 5 the most though! Timeless.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? And where?
I was lucky enough to support Dub Fx on his tour on several dates a couple of years back. The show hand's down just blew my mind and rocked the crowd, especially at the show in Koko, London. As he was doing something so incredibly unique with his beatboxing skills, it really me thinking about how to incorporate my dj skills into a band setting. Mind blowing!
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
Coffee. The Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Night Tube
Any last words/shoutouts?
Shout out to my London DJ Residencies, Mirth Marvel & Maud, Big Chill House, Barrio, Trapeze Club and Dogstar, you guys rock! Big ups to my man Tony! Seeing his skills in the flesh is something to behold, and we can't wait to bring the party at Volksfest!
Head here to find out more about Jimi.