The saying “good things come to those who wait” rings true when it comes to Mathew Walker. More commonly known as Julio Bashmore, the Bristol-born artist burst onto the house music scene six years ago and his base-heavy anthems have proved to be mainstay dance-floor fillers the world over since – there isn’t a single nightclub (good or bad) the UK over that isn’t guilty of blasting out “Au Seve” or “Battle Middle for You” at heart palpitating volume on a Saturday night and who could blame them?
Bashmore’s meteoric rise from obscurity is unsurprising, though. With the diverse diet of music the beatmsith grew up on (everything from Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, to Pink Ffloyd and Emerson, Lake & Palmer) thanks to his father, and the American sounds he became drawn to, thanks to his brother – Bashmore has managed to carve himself a desirable niche within an industry saturated with throwaway tracks that are surface deep.
What is surprising, is that Bashmore is yet to release an album. Until now, that is. Charted for release 7 August, Bashmore’s long-awaited debut – Knockin Boots – is causing quite a stir. Having recorded a large part of his debut in London’s Redbull Studios – who have kindly given us a preview of the album with their short film about Bashmore – there will also be an album exhibition at the studios from 27-31 July. Here, we catch up with Bashmore to talk erotic novels and dropping unforgettable beats.
Were you immersed in the Bristol club scene growing up or did you interact with music in a different way when you were younger?
Well I mean I’ve been doing a fair few interviews lately and it’s not something i had really thought about you know. Looking back now ice kind of realised I’ve always been into dance music from a super young age. My brother was playing it to me from when I was like four years old you know, I guess I’ve always appreciated it in a sit at home and listen kind of way, rather than going straight to the club where most people, I guess, hear it for the first time.
What else was playing in your house growing growing up?
Well my dad has a pretty traditional 70s collection, it was pretty nice actually, I remember he had this proper, brown leather record box and it had like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Brothers Johnson and then some prog rock – Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd – so yeah he used to obsessively listen to that.
So obviously when you started making music the Bristol scene was very bass heavy, how did you find yourself leaving more towards the house end of the spectrum?
Well you know basically I’m from south of the river where it’s like, you know, when people think of Bristol they think of this vibrant, diverse, eclectic music scene; but that’s all quite concentrated in northern Bristol around Gloucester arias and St Paul’s. You know, the area I’m from is a predominantly white working class area, so there’s always been a detachment for me from that scene but also, you know, that craving for something. I mean my brother started DJ’ing when I was about nine years old and I don’t know, I guess we had always been into really American stuff.
Yeah, you released on Dirty Bird didn’t you?
Yeah, yeah but from early on, when I was about six or seven, I remember my brother calling me into his room to listen to N.W.A. We played it quite quiet so my parents couldn’t hear it..
Hear the swearing?
Yeah, I mean in a Catholic house it’s probably not what they would have wanted to hear. That’s what’s so great about their records though, that they did do that. But yeah, so hip-hop and also The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy were being played to me. I’ve always listened to a really diverse mix of music, when my brother started DJ’ing he started importing stuff, well buying imports from funky American house labels – Chicago stuff – and I would go with him to record stores that definitely don’t exist anymore. So yeah, I’ve always had an eclectic taste in music but it was never Bristol focussed, because I wasn’t going to clubs or anything, I never really got he opportunity to pivot to anything.
So when you put out “Battle Middle For You” and “Au Seve”, did you know you were onto something? Did you expect the response you recorded?
Well basically if my brother says something isn’t shit or that it’s okay, or even that it’s good then I’m onto a winner. “Au Seve” and “Battle Middle For You” were “okay” so… I kind of knew they would do alright then!
He sounds like a good judge. You put both of those tracks out without any promo didn’t you?
Yeah I just stuck them out there.
How do you think they went so viral?
Well at the end of dub-step people got caught up with base music, that was huge, but that didn’t really last very long. Same as before base music and at the end of dub-step and grime there was UK funky. I had always been consistently making house music for a long time, even when dub-step was going on people would ash me what I was making and I would say: “house music”. I just think when “Battle Middle For You” and “Au Seve” came around a lot of different music things clicked into place. House music is a very established thing, but I think a lot of things came together at the same time. I suck to my guns and kept on doing what I was doing and it resonated.
What about when “Duccy” came out, you didn’t have the response you expected. How did you deal with that?
Yeah from getting signed to Dirty Bird, and before that from just putting tracks out on blogs and MySpace, my career just had this upwards trajectory and it was pretty intense to be honest. By the time “Duccy” came about – and for the record it’s a track that I’m still really happy with people were playing it in clubs and it was going down well – it wasn’t really about the track itself, it was more of a personal thing where I had been on this upwards trajectory and I had kind of been waiting for it almost. In the lead up to that I hadn’t been sleeping and I was super stressed out and I couldn’t out my finger on why, the pressure was so high at that point, and then when I got that reaction it was like a weird weight off my chest. I haven’t had a bad night sleep since. It’s really fucked up, I don’t get it. So yeah, ultimately I regret not releasing it. That’s my only regret about that, I should have stuck to my guns. But when people say good things about your music, you’ve got to appreciate it, music has it’s ups and downs and right now when people say nice things about the new album – it’s all good. I think I appreciate that even more now because of “Duccy”.
So what can we expect from the album then? How do you taking your time has benefited you?
Well you know I think I took my time over it just because an album is an important thing to me – they’re what I grew up listening to. That’s the thing with dance music and releasing singles, it’s a narrow insight into what an artist is all about. That related back to “Duccy” swell. I just put that one track up there and it wasn’t a huge anthem. But what you can expect is a lot of diversity within house music, because ultimately that’s what I wanted to show off.
From what we’ve heard, it sounds great. So one last question, your name is Matt, so where the hell did Julio Bashmore come from?
Well, I used to give people a short answer and say “my mum’s Spanish”, but that left people scratching their heads as I’m not Latin looking. So basically when I started out I was going to make a soundtrack for an erotic novel that I was going to write and I thought Julio Bashmore sounded like the author of an erotic novel.
He definitely does!
I know, album two man, it’s coming with a book. I’ve never written but it’s all in my head, I never really got a chance as the music thing took off, but I’m ready to put pen to paper. It’s still a work in progress.