Skinned #11: Jeen Bassa [22a]
The youngest of the Deenmamode bros steps up to the plate and smacks it clean from out of left field in his mix for The Skinny. Leon Thomas, The Last Poets and James Brown all make the cut...
As a core member of the 22a family, Jeen Bassa posted two first-class mini albums on the label at either end of last year. The more recent of the two, Time Waves, landed at the end of November just gone, and is one of the most tightly arranged records to come out of South London in recent years.
Knowing no boundaries, Bassa meshes strands of hazy jazz and soul with the gritty bounce of hip-hop, while making ripe use of spoken-word snippets from across the Seven Seas. His nimble-fingered approach proves to be an extended lesson in groove at a range of tempos – give the guy a hand and go get it.
But first... yer man has been gracious enough to send through a mix that covers a hell of a lot of ground in just over half an hour. More than that is the slick, off-kilter feel that pervades so many of his productions, which leads the listening experience here too. Give it a spin at theskinny.co.uk/clubs/dj-charts. To put it bluntly, it's just damn good. Oh my people!
The Skinny: Time Waves is sounding class. Where did you record most of it and what gear did you get the most out of?
Jeen Bassa: Thanks brother! I recorded the majority of it in my house. I got a lot out of drum machines, microphones, records, and bags of herbs!
Do you find yourself basing ideas for a track around vocal snippets or are they a later addition? (Discotheque, for example…)
It can go either way, really. All depends on the day!
When did you start producing music?
I've been clapping my hands since I can remember, but I've been recording those claps for about ten years now. I mainly play drums and percussion.
From the outside, growing up with two super-talented bros seems like a blessing for your own productions. What was life like growing up in the Deenmamode household – musically and otherwise?
Family is a blessing for anyone's creativity. We are a close family, and our parents always listened to good music. Listening to music was exciting when I was growing up, and that excitement has undoubtedly carried on.
Are you lot into football? If not, any other shared common ground?
I lost interest in sport years back, to be honest, it's just a distraction. The general public (including myself) put a lot of analytical, critical and creative thought into talking about trivial entertainment which doesn't really help us as human beings.
Is there a story behind your name, Jeen Bassa?
Jeen comes from my birth name. My bros would call me Jeen 'something', and the 'something' would always change. Bassa appeared one day as the second part and I guess it just stuck. The word Bassa has various meanings in many different languages and slang.
What are you working on this year, releases and otherwise?
I'm working on a few things. I've been listening to a lot of bhangra so we'll see how that plays out!
Fun one: your top three hip-hop producers of all time?
J Dilla, Kankick, Q-Tip.
Tell us a bit about your mix...
This mix is a compilation of old music and new music, which I have been listening to over the past month or so!
Time Waves LP is out now on 22a, check it out on Bandcamp – 22amusic.bandcamp.com/album/22a-008
Jeen Bassa plays at Gottwood festival, Anglesey, Wales, 9-12 Jun, gottwood.co.uk