Artist Interview: PAPA NUGS

Following the release of his sample pack for our Sine Artist Series, we caught up with London based DJ and producer, Papa Nugs to discuss his influences, favourite plugins and more.

How did you get into the electronic music scene and music production?


Spending my teenage years at the skatepark I was always surrounded by jungle, garage and trance being pumped out of portable speakers by friends. I properly fell in love with it and started mixing at the age of 18 after a couple years of watching those pals mix every weekend. I owe it to them 100% that I started collecting & mixing music! Then when lockdown happened I was in my final year of uni and really didn’t wanna write my dissertation so finally learnt how to produce and got super obsessed with it to the point I was doing about 10 hours a day at first. 


How would you describe yourself as an artist?


I would describe myself as a quite versatile artist as (hopefully) you can probably tell from the sample pack. I’ve always struggled with just remaining within one discipline/genre of music as I love it all. Now however though I’ve found myself really settling into producing mainly trancey/progressive leaning tunes as I’ve found they suit my production style quite well and it’s been the music I’ve been most passionate about for a while now. I always try and bring in influences of other genres that influenced my music taste from the beginning into these tunes now though to keep them fresh and exciting to myself and the audience. 


How do you feel your style as a producer and DJ formed over the years, and what influenced you towards the sound you have today?

I’ve always found myself bouncing between different genres with my production and DJing but there has always been one underlying genre that I come back to. A couple years ago it was garage/breakbeat but I found myself falling slightly out of love with it just because of how long I had been playing/listening to it for. Nowadays the main genre is trance but I still find myself darting to some old familiar genres during my set such as electro or old school breaks. As I said before though I love to add an element into my new songs that’s influenced by one of those genres I used to be into so heavily. For example a garage influenced bass sound, or a breakbeat section for a build up. 


Your pack has some truly exciting sounds in different styles and tempos. What was your process behind putting this pack together?


I wanted to make a sample pack that showed how much my style has changed over the years and allows people who have been a fan of any one of my tunes to make something similar. Wether it be an old breakbeat tune, a recent trancey one, or even something at 160. I thought that choosing just one style for the pack would end up leaving at least someone disappointed so I wanted to cover all my bases! I also was excited to hear how people would use them to create more genre defying tunes which I hope they have done. 


What do you think producers can get out of your pack?


I’m hoping they find inspiration and sounds that allow them to create songs different to what they have made before. 

What’s your production setup like?


Completely minimal. I only use my computer, headphones and a handful of VSTs to create all of these. I’ve always been really happy with the workflow that logic has and as of yet have never felt the need to use any hardware. I’d love to get stuck into a full studio setup at some point though. 


Are there any pieces of hardware or software you can’t live without?


Currently my two go to’s are Roland’s 303 VST emulator for my acid lines and occasionally basslines, and a stock logic instrument retro synth which is the best for all the 90s leaning trance sounds I use. 

How do you go about starting a track?


I always start with the drums, then usually the bassline comes after it, following this I’ll create all the different melody lines in an 8 bar loop then create the arrangement containing different combinations of all of the elements I’ve made. 


Lastly, how do you keep your creativity flowing?


Digging for tunes is always the best way for me to find inspiration. I get so many ideas for songs while finding music at record shops, or by digging on Discogs. If I’m ever having a creative block all I do is go for a dig or have a mix.