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Interview with Justice

For anyone who hasn't heard of Justice, he has been involved in music since the early nineties. His musical output covers a host of genres such as hardcore/rave, jungle/DnB, nu jazz/broken beat, house/techno and hip-hop/beats. Personally, what I find interesting about Justice is that although he has released some timeless classics, he doesn't rely on that success. Plus he's a really down to earth guy willing to give advise :)

The last time I interviewed Justice was in 2013 for Futurepast Zine #4. A lot has happened since then, so below is a short interview, and also he has provided an awesome mix to listen to:

FPZ: What have you been up to since the last time I interviewed you for the zine? I know you've set up 'Muj beats', how did that come about?

JUSTICE: MUJ came about as an outlet for putting out a beat tape that I was really enjoying at the time. It was from a friend of mine Nappa, who is a UK hip hop legend best known for his Phi Life Cypher productions. He had laced together a journey of beats, skits and film clips and called it 'Late Night Beats' which really summed it up, although to be fair its banging in the day also! Anyway he had done the audio for it and we had spoke about doing it on a cassette, so I got some tapes, Scott Metro got on the design and the concept was formed. I hand dubbed about 75 copies in total, sprayed tape labels and stuck them on and Scott cut out stickers and folded inlay cards and presented in a plastic bag. It looked great and sounded great. We did a few CDs also, same hand made style and MUJ was born. If I am honest I had been looking for a change in direction musically, I had been digging and buying records and becoming more in tune with that whole ethos again of hip hop and beats and instrumentals. For me it was going full circle, going back to where I started. The whole tape thing as well seemed to really strike a chord, so we decided we would continue with it as our main format along with limited, collectable vinyl releases. It's been a really exciting time and has re-ignited the music bug, I think sometimes you just need a change of angle to keep it fresh.

FPZ: It was definitely a wicked beat tape! And you've put out a few more too. What made you want to release music on vinyl too? Also, you mentioned about crate digging, what have you found recently?

JUSTICE: Thanks, yeh we put out Late Night Beat Tape 2, which was Nappa and myself, Co-Op Beat Tape which was a bunch of us all putting beats in. We started this year with a 45's inspired tape by me and have just put out the HBSMA guys 'Shed Beats' tape based around their You Tube digging show from their shed. We have plenty more lined up and in development too. The vinyl releases came about because at the heart of what MUJ is, we are all diggers and record buyers. This coupled with finding a guy who hand cuts really small vinyl runs gave me the idea to translate the beat tapes as a few heads had asked about the possibility. It makes it nice and collectible, limited and touched by the human hand which is important to everything we do, it's all a labour of love.

I am always digging, so there are always 'recent' digs. I do try and focus on certain stuff, but that often goes out the window! I try and stick to hip hop, funk, jazz, bit of rock, soundtracks, allsorts really.

1. Just-Ice- Back to the old school.
Some classic Mantronik produced hip hop, contains an all time fave track of mine 'Cold gettin dumb'. This is the music I grew up, I had bits and pieces off this LP but never the album , so I scooped it up a week or so back. I mean just look at the sleeve alone.

2. The Music of Mandigo, Tiger in the night- Mandigo
This is some Afro funk styles from the 70's. A proper collision of instrumentation, my man Chris from HBSMA hooked me up with this one.

3. Kings of the Wild Frontier-Adam and the Ants
As a kid growing up I used to love Adam and his Ants. It was the first music to really capture my 7 year old self in 1980 when this came out. I got loads of their 45's and dare say I had this on tape back then, so when I saw it I grabbed. Brings back a lot of memories. I guess that's the thing with digging you never know what's going to turn up, you can go looking for beats and samples and nostalgia turns up along the way.

4. Night Child- Oscar Peterson Quintet
This is one that I got really for the beat on one of the tracks which then goes into a nice bass line as well. Yeah lovely drums and bass on this one.

5. Got to be tough- MC Shy D.
I mean , again, look at the cover alone. More classic hip hop from 1987 on the infamous Luke Skywalker Records. The title track was a big tune and has a classic Earth, Wind and Fire sample teamed up with some 808 beats , scratching and Shy D Rhyming. I am trying to myself off buying 80's hip hop but it's difficult.

FPZ: This year you released an album by Betamax Heard via your MJAZZ imprint. Will there be any more releases on MJAZZ for 2015?

JUSTICE: On MJAZZ this year we will be doing a few different things. It was nice to put the Betamax Heard LP out as it's something totally different and that's the label ethos. In that frame of mind, we have a digital 12 inch out soon which is Metro, Momentum and myself doing some proper extended dance mix stuff. There were some tunes we had started doing and one of them Metro turned it into a 10 minute epic. So when we did the flip side we made that into an opus also. Both the cuts are different again and call on funk, electro, soul, house and wicked mid tempo beats. It will be just a digital single for now. It was great to do, in the drum and bass heydays we used to do 7, 8 or 9 minute tunes so it kind of took me back to then. It's drum and bass at a slower tempo. It the labels 20th year so we may do something around that also, but it could well happen on its 21st....!

FPZ: The last Modernists compilation you released (which featured a couple of Brummies) was the fourth in the series. Do you think there will be a 5th?

JUSTICE: There seemed to be a Brummie takeover on Mod 4, you're right! There may well be a fifth, I never rule anything out, but I just think we had done four solid editions, you know, hand done, tapes, all sorts of time consuming elements and that it was just time for a rest, plus we were putting together 'Works' which went back over the first 18 years of MJAZZ. Other things come up and start happening as well so the label, or myself as an artist also might go off on that tangent for a bit. So I never say never, if a bunch of tunes present themselves then Modernists 5 could well happen.

FPZ: Yourself and Metro have recently released an album on Omni Music, how did that come about?

JUSTICE: I had just done a track with the artist Enjoy who has worked with Omni quite a bit in the past. We had just hooked up and did a track which came out on a vinyl EP they were putting together. I have always had chats with Chris the boss man from Omni over the years as well. So when Metro and myself started to record 'Dischord' we had the idea that we wanted someone else to put it out, we could of put it on MJazz, but we just wanted to do something as artists, record it and hand it over to a label to release it. So it all just fell into place, things often happen in this way and I like the whole organic way things can just happen.

FPZ: Have you got a top 10?

1. Only for the headstrong-Psychotropic
2. From Russia with love LP- National Youth Jazz Orchestra
3. Anything EP- A Guy Called Gerald
4. Chicago Transit Authority LP- Chicago Transit Authority
5. Dreams of you (funky technicians remix)-Rising Sons
6. Gotta be tough-MC Shy D
7. Jupiter Masterdrive 7 inch ep-Soccer 96
8. Funky Nassau-The beginning of the end
9. Kuartz beat tape- Matt Kuartz
10. Dollar Bin Beats- Mic Legg

FPZ: You've got a lot of history with music, specifically your contributions to UK dance music. Have you got any advice or nuggets of wisdom for any one out there looking to get involved with music?

JUSTICE: I would say to anyone looking to get involved in making music, if you love it, do it, follow your dream, be individual and unique, be prepared for a few knock backs, sample from records it will give you warmth and crackle. Do it yourself if you have to, set up a label, but put out quality, make it special and individual, put out something you would want to buy. Stay true to yourself, please yourself and aim for longevity.