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Nottingham born, turned London resident, Laurence Matthew Blake aka Citizen, is definitely one to look out for in 2013. Being placed as ‘one to watch’ amongst the likes of Disclosure, Karenn and South London Ordnance, we wanted to see what Blake had in store for the year ahead and how he managed to get to where he is now as Citizen.
Were there any projects that you were working on before the Citizen alias came about?
A pretty rowdy house and new jack swing night at Dalston Superstore, sound-tracking friend’s fashion shows and some pretty decadent after after party shenanigans in Sloane Square town houses and Shoreditch lofts.
So how did the Citizen name start?
The name is actually derived from a film called Akira – One of the characters, Tetsuo, has this bike with a bunch of stickers on – one of them says ‘CITIZEN’ in my favourite font – Whilst sleazing away on the first few tracks I didn’t have a project name down because I didn’t know how I wanted to present it. Plus I’m awful at naming things.
With us both being from Nottingham, we wanted to find out what influenced your move to London and put yourself out as Citizen there?
University, Love, Death, Inspiration. Nottingham is a small town – I kind of did it, all. I still love the place but it’s changed completely now.
XLR8R mentioned you as one of their best new artists of 2012 alongside with others such as Disclosure, Karenn, South London Ordnance and Locked Groove. How did it feel to recognised and placed amongst such unique and rising artists?
I was stoked when I found out. Really happy. It made me think maybe this year I’ll try a little harder. So non-stop writing has begun.
With house music becoming more and more popular and acquiring a lot of new listeners, how would you say your sound is different to what’s currently out there?
I wouldn’t really – my tracks are super personal and I try not to listen to a lot of what’s happening right now – but there’s always going to be that shred of influence from somewhere – the scene is great right now – It’s being pushed in a really interesting direction. I’m learning a lot by doing, half of the concepts for my tracks are homage’s to a particular party I was at or friend I knew the other half is just experimentation.
In 2012 we saw you work with three rather interesting labels; Love Fever, the exclusive party brand turned record label, Madtech Records, Kerri Chandler’s sub-label to Madhouse and Five Easy Pieces, an East London experimental pop music label. Are there any other interesting labels or projects planned that you’ll be working with in 2013?
A whole bunch – the new W&O Street tracks and Love Fever record are the next releases followed by the next Madtech Release. A bunch of other releases that I’m not allowed to talk about are also scheduled.
You also run an online magazine called Ribbed, could you tell us a bit more about that?
We just wanted to make something interesting on the web and it turned into a bit of a mover and shaker in the fashion industry – We’re now currently working on the next edition and chapter in Ribbed’s enigmatic lifespan. Exciting times.
Is there anybody that you have down as a ‘one to watch’ for 2013?
A.Z and Tor – Alisha is awesome and has so much depth along with Tor’s soulful production. Really vibing with them at the moment
Palace – Just sent me some tunes which are sure to cause a few people some serious problems.
Silk 86 – are really doing it for me now too.
Citizen’s next release will come as a remix of the title track from Waze & Odyssey’s forthcoming EP Be Right There which is due for release on Madtech Records which you can read about here. To get more of an insight of what you might experience from a Citizen DJ set, check out his 40 minute Boiler Room session below.