Name; Spider J
Shoe size; 9
Biog and credits; Lee Scratch Perry, Fusion, Kano, Estelle
You’d be forgiven on meeting Spider J for wondering where his depth of experience came from. But beneath his youthful looks and softly spoken demeanour lies a 18 year career in the music industry, spanning many musical genres and continents.
In the 80s he earned his stripes as a musician in seminal UK pop/ska bands Madness and Bad Manners. His reputation for live performance grew, and it wasn’t long before he was fronting respected ska group Potato 5, then Acid Jazz band Night Trains.
Although happy to work across many genres, Spider’s heart and roots are in Dub/Reggae/Hip Hop. He has a long standing role of selector/vocalist &
keyboardist for the legendary Lee Scratch Perry, has collaborated with Mad Professor and Horace Andy (Massive Attack fame) and sung on early recordings for the award-winning Aswad.
Ever the humble audio alchemist, his gifted production techniques have been adding his magical touch to a slew of Top 40 records, including UK Apache/Shy-FX’s drum n bass anthem ‘Original Nuttah’, Beverley Knight’s ‘Whatever’s Clever’ remix, Estelle’s ‘Excuse Me’ as well as Fallacy & Fusion’s ‘Groundbreaker’. In fact, the latter song inspired a musical partnership with Fusion that has endured for years and has spawned UK urban classics like ‘Big N Bashy’ and ‘The Greatest Show’; collaborations with grime star Kano, reality rapper Klashnekoff & beatboxer Killa Kela; production for Dubwiser
and remixes for The Streets and Digital Underground to name but a few.
Production, writing and playing credits aren’t limited to the charts however: check the credits for Gary Oldman’s gritty UK movie masterpiece ‘Nil By Mouth’ and you’ll find him name checked as J. Etienne, writer and coproducer of the film’s lead track.
Spider’s collaborations span the globe: with artists from Camden’s Roundhouse Studios, across Europe, and as far afield as Australia/Japan, he is a much sought-after foil to artists looking for the timeless and unique sound in his production and writing input.
Is there an aspect of producing a record that you enjoy more than anything else?
Yes. What I call finishing. It’s when all the great ingredients are present & the whole thing has to now become a record. Adding bits & pieces then making it all shine.
Do you have a preferred studio and if so what makes it special for you?
Toe Rag Studio in East London. Very good natural room sound plus a studio filled with equipment unlike no other-plus it all works & all recording can be done there. We all like Compass Point & Sarm West but 1 must pay.
One for the geeks, Is there a piece of equipment or perhaps an instrument that you couldn’t do without?
Yes. My Moog The Rogue- what a sound!
What, for you, is the vital ingredient that makes a record special?
A fantastic melody or great hookline
If you had to have a lyrical line from a song tattooed on your neck, what would it be?
Who the cap fits, let them wear it!