Picturing Atlanta in the summer conjures images of rim-heavy SUV’s thumping with the bass of Outkast, or girls washing their cars in bikinis and heels with SoSo Def Bass Allstars on their boombox. “Is it really like that?” Dazed asked Drew Briggs, aka Divine Interface. “Bass is just a feeling down here, it’s something everybody loves,” he said, shortly following with: “It’s so humid right now, it feels like an armpit.”
In the midst of a swampy afternoon last week, the bass producer sounded at ease discussing his hard-to-place sound. His downtempo jams catch on to the nuances and rhythms of the more delicate end of UK dubstep, but bring a mastery of the laid-back, bass-obsessed feel of the South. Each dreamy soundscape holds a slightly different haze, feeling a bit like the soundtrack to a night drive through Atlanta with the windows down.
With a strong crew by his side, aptly named Ghetto Lo-Fi (a reference to Soso Def Bass Allstars) Divine Interface is hoping to bring new a new branch to Atlanta’s bass scene. Each Ghett Low member meshes different sounds and scenes – between analogue synth master Fit Of Body, sample experimentalist 10th Letter, DJ and edit head Black Box, and Drew’s own Kush Lord moniker (his “dream funk project”).
Divine Interface shared the inspiration behind his debut EP on North England imprint Spontaneous Rhythm (which features ‘Folklore’) and described living in ATL, with thunder and lightning in the background all the while.
Dazed Digital: Tell us about the story behind your ‘Color Ways’ EP...
Divine Interface: Spontaneous Rhythm heard some of my tracks on a blog called Verb Reverb, and we just got to talking. ‘Folklore’ really sums up how I was feeling at the time of making the EP. It has a sample off a compilation I found that’s a compilation of these prison recordings, these songs that these prisoners were singing. I grew up down south in a Baptist church, and I hated going to church when I was little, but when they’d sing those spiritual songs I’d just be blown away.
DD: Who are your biggest influences musically? You have an almost Southern take on the UK sound.
Divine Interface: I grew up on bass-heavy Southern Country rap - Cash Money Millionaire stuff, or Pastor Troy, or DSGB (Down South Georgia Boys), Three Six Mafia. But being a child of the internet, I was soaking in all kinds of media growing up - I was in a hardcore band, I was into jazz, I was collecting records. I remember once reading an interview with Flying Lotus and he talked about UK dubstep, so I got big into people like Burial and James Blake. Then I found all the LuckyMe stuff - Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, Lunice. Those dudes are really tripping me out, because you can tell they listen to rap music too. It’s all on the same page, just in a different city.
Kids in South London in what’s considered the hood are just making music with whatever they have - and it’s the same with the kids in Atlanta, making trap-rap beats on Fruity Loops. That’s essentially where the Ghetto Lo-Fi came from. When you listen to rap demos or rap mixtapes in the South, it sounds like it was recorded in someone’s living room. It’s got that rawness to it. But when we found all the bedroom pop producers like Ariel Pink and Washed Out called that “lo-fi” - to us, it sounded like the same thing. Same raw edge.
DD: How do you guys describe your sound to people in ATL?
Divine Interface: Oh man, we have so many jokes about that question. The whole ‘chillwave’ thing happened and we started making up genre names - “emotional dubstep,” “lovestep.” We have a fictitious dubstep group called The Wobble Boyz. (laughs) Really though, it’s just bass. Bass music. Southern lovestep, whatever you want.
Text by Danna Takako Hawley