Predator Prey are a Northern trio comprising Dave Rodgers, Jalporte and Ben Fawce. Alex Humphrey caught up with them to discover the full low down on the group, including their influences, how they came to get together as a group and what they are currently up to.
First things first how did you get into music?
Jalporte: Been into music ever since I could reach the radio. Long story short was that I started writing seriously and performing when I was about 16. Kept writing, kept performing one way or another. Eventually I hooked up with Dave and it became a lot more serious and articulate.
Fawce: Ever since I could hear, when I was a kid I’d always be hearing my Granddad on the keys playing jazz. The first instrument I took seriously was the drums and percussion when I was 11, then later on I took to the decks and production. It’s all got a bit twisted.
Dave: I grew up with music. My parents always encouraged me at an early age in to playing instruments. I got introduced to Hip Hop when I was nine and it gripped me. I did the whole school band thing but when I reached about 17, me and a couple of mates moved to making beats on a 4-track Tascam using anything we could get our hands on.
Growing up in your area what was your childhood like?
Fawce: It was mischievous, imaginative and inquisitive. Lots of Pink Floyd (Careful With That Axe Eugene – I’m sure that made me write dark stuff).
Jalporte: In short was good and I learned a lot.
What influenced you in the development of your style and what is your favourite album?
Dave: My main influence is really the 1980-90’s Hip Hop. I always try to keep my stuff as raw as some of the original tracks from back then. Hip Hop has changed so much over the decades so I try to keep that era strongly in mind with my music. On the DJ side, DJ Q-Bert is all I can say. My favourite album has to be Liquid Swords by the GZA.
Jalporte: Favourite album is a tough one cause there are so many. More then likely it would be Dark Side Of The Moon. My rhyme style was heavily influenced by Wu-Tang earlier on. As I evolved as a person Can-I-Bus became more prevalent. It's a different story with regards to live shows, the biggest influence there is The Prodigy and Linkin Park.
Fawce: A lot has influenced me, including films. As far as music goes stuff like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, right through to Deftones and RATM. Big hiphop tunes such as Cypress Hill’s Illusions and abstract beats by the likes of DJ Krush. The Prodigy have also been a heavy influence as has a lot of more obscure DnB and Dubstep. Favourite album – it’s only one of them, but Entroducing DJ Shadow’s way up there.
Predator Pray is a collaboration between Dave Rodgers, Jalporte and Ben Fawce, how did that come about?
Jalporte: Myself and Dave joined forces to become Predator Prey. Much later when were mixing down The Snake I heard a beat by Ben Fawce, at the studio where we were mixing. Loved it, did a demo to it and recorded it. Finally met Ben and it turns out we shared a lot of common goals. Full steam ahead from there on.
Fawce: Like loco it progressed well and we all found that we could get on and compliment each other’s skills.
What does each of you bring individually to Predator Pray?
Dave: I do a mixed bag of things. In the background on the production with Ben, DJing / scratching and MCing at the shows.
Fawce: My skills are mainly on the beats, but I drop in a few other skills here and there when the beat’s not live and in the studio. Bass and Virus duties. I love to write, produce and phatten up the sound.
Jalporte: Personally I would like to think that I bring a solid frontman vibe to the surroundings. Possibly even a few half decent rhymes. But that's for the fans to judge.
You have said ‘Predator Prey is a new style of thinking’ what does that mean and what do you guys hope to bring British Hip Hop?
Jalaporte: Well that’s the thing, we want to start looking past UK Hip Hop. Perhaps even disrespectfully so I don’t think we want to just be stuck doing Hip Hop. Especially if we are planning to be here for while. New style of thinking to me personally means that we are trying things that others may not have the aptitude to try.
Fawce: I hope that we gain a good amount of ground by trying something different, still catering it for the dance-floor and inspire others to go there. A fresh extension of the DJ / MC format.
You also describe yourself as the ‘hardest working in the industry’ do you ever get a break and if so how do you guys relax?
Fawce: Chilling has its place for sure, but I always feel you’ve got to keep the ball rolling. Been times where you leave a track too long and loses its pace. I can’t chill without blasting the drums too it’s a wicked form of therapy!
Dave: At the moment I’m hooked on the Nazi zombie level on C.O.D 5.
Jalporte: Normally by turning the TV off and listening to someone else's music. Let them do the hard work for a change. Either that or spend all day in bed.
What kind of studio set up do you have and how do the three of you usually go about creating a track?
Jalporte: Well me being the thicko technophobe, I get the easy part. These two send me a beat and I write to it. Ben and Dave do all the hard work. I just stand around winding people up.
Dave: I’ve moved on a bit from the Tascam. I’m using a Mac G4 Power PC, running Logic Pro7. A couple of Decks and a load of vinyl. A couple of Guitars too.
Me and Ben work it out between us really. Either he comes up with a start or visa versa and we just roll with it. If it’s good we usually have no trouble finding inspiration. We always get Jal involved through the sessions so he can feed back.
Fawce: I’ve got a laptop set up with Cubase, pushing some nice VSTs and a Virus TI synth for those dirty noises and plush pads. My baby is a Roland TD20 Drum Kit, brilliant for triggering sounds as well as creating them. I have Serato setup on the 1210s too for spinning mixes etc. I’ve also got an electro-acoustic guitar and Dave’s 5 String here at the moment as well. It’s due back!
In terms of making tracks, either Dave or myself will start and we’ll pass it about adding each of our flavours until we all agree. We have honest quality control.
What do you think of the scene here in the UK and what other British artists do you rate?
Dave: For me it really has to be the crews I was into when I was deep in the UK thing. Rodney P, Taskforce, Jehst etc. These days I’m a bit embarrassingly out of touch with what’s out there.
Jalporte: I think we still have a good scene here. It's a shame that some acts that were big a few years ago didn't make it to the mainstream. On the whole this is a difficult question to answer simply because I feel that a lot of acts show so much promise and yet fail to deliver. As a result I tend to not to comment any more on other acts. As far as British acts go though The Prodigy, Kasabian and of course the mighty Oasis.
Fawce: There’s some wicked artists out there and the scene is good. My man The Petebox is kicking festivals to pieces with his lipstrumentation. There’s also some wicked club nights like Detonate, based in Nottingham – they’ve held some brilliant nights, which I’ve had the pleasure of DJing at some big parties for.
You have played a lot of live gigs which gig was the best and why?
Jalporte: Fair few were good. The best one we had recently was Supersonic Buddah hosted by Nerm from Radio 1. Awesome people, good guy and a fantastic gig.
Fawce: True that. I’m hoping it’s gonna be exponential.
Dave: The best gig me and Jal did before we met Ben, was at a small Pub in Derbyshire. I’ve never seen a place that small, bounce like that. Astonishing.
You have a pretty swish web site. How important is the Internet these days for music?
Jalporte: Very important. Simply because I know personally I wouldn't have had some of the opportunities that I have already had. It's helped but has also saturated the market. In the end though the good stuff will rise above.
Dave: Well, it’s put record labels out of the picture. Maybe not today, but in good time it’ll all be internet and hard drives.
Fawce: Yeah, the internet is vital. It’s the perfect tool to promote your sound. It’s made some big changes to the industry as whole though and it is still evolving with it. Piracy has been a big issue, but my feeling is that it only makes the live performances more important – good for the likes of us.
What’s next for Predator Prey and what can we expect from you in the coming months?
Fawce: We’ve got an EP we’ve been working on for USA too. The label has been growing solidly and there’s gonna be some interesting collabs happening, shouts to Mr Petebox, Gary at USA and of course yourselves!
Thank you for your time.
By: Alex Humphrey