INTERVIEW: Instant Graham



"Midnight Cowboy" brings together strands of UK Funky, IDM and Grime to create a unique take on contemporary percussion club music. Informed by DIY black music cultures like Dancehall and Techno, Instant Graham pays tribute by sampling genre-related voices, percussion, and found sounds.


The EP positions the listener as the 'Midnight Cowboy', an absurd avatar that experiences a series of spaces designed to create disorientation, introspection and catharsis. A restless sound design palette and hard-edged samples stretches over a series of rhythms ranging from blocky syncopated rhythms to landscapes of tension and release.


We have had the pleasure of speaking with Instant Graham and this has been the result.


Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from / how did you get into music?


I came to producing very early, which is sad as I was not at all precocious and am only starting to release music at my big age. At the start, I was only motivated by curiosity of how the music I was listening to (which at the time of me first getting Ableton was probably Rusko and Flava D) was made, rather than really doing my own thing. I think what I lack in talent I partly make up for in single-mindedness, so after many years of dabbling I felt it was time to it more seriously - just a bit. I’m not particularly musically trained, although when I was young my Mum taught me to play guitar.


How is your sound evolving? What artists and genres do you enjoy mixing right now?


I’m always drawn in 10 different directions at once, but my mainstays are UK rap music and ‘forward thinking’ electronic music, so you’ll always hear those strands in what I make and play as a DJ.


How do you feel that your music influences or impacts your listeners?


I think very minimally! Recently I had the surreal experience of watching clips of my track being played at a festival (by one of my fav DJs, OK Williams), and it was really comical seeing people bop to the silly noises I had made on my computer. I’m sure this is a familiar feeling to many producers.


What projects are you working on right now? What can you tell us about your last job?


I’m trying to expand my portfolio of Rap, Drill, and Dancehall beats right now, but I also have a constant stream of club track ideas bouncing around my head that I’m waiting for the right time to get down.


Where are you and what have you been doing now?


I’m at a swish coffee shop called Mughead Coffee, a short bus ride from where I live. At home I tend to get distracted! I’ve come off working a lot of long shifts in the kitchen I work so it’s fun to pull out the laptop in public and cosplay as a freelance legend. Lately I’ve been trying to spend time with family.



Has that sound changed a lot in recent years? What is your musical criteria?


I think my sound has never really settled, although I’ve been told (by my brother, who has been forced to listen to more of my music that most could stomach) that it has a certain familiar element to it.


I often think that people tend to have a melodic sensibility that is often present, even when the nature of the sound changes - that might be true for me. An example of this might be one of my favourite artists AG Cook - there is a certain melodic turn in many of his tracks, even though he is always developing as an artist.


Do you feel safe now to play a more experimental sound?


I think that experimental music is very welcome right now, but experimental can have a lot of different meanings, it’s not neccessarily just abstract or dissonant. Any music that is honestly seeking to ask new questions in some way can be experimental, and it it’s successful in articulating those questions it will find an audience.


We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected creativity?


The more the means for making and sharing music are democratised and the barriers for entry are lowered, the better. However, limitations can be a creative tool, and some artists use them very effectively in their choice of practise.


Can you tell us what your present and future projects are?


At this time I’m scoring an experimental opera piece covering the life and work of.


BUY