Fresh Kicks 98: High Class Filter

Since launching at the end of 2017, Reprezent Radio resident High Class Filter and Definite Party Material’s Ian DPM’s Scuffed Recordings label has been going from strength to strength.

Having released EPs from breakthrough artists like DJ Ronald Reagan, Chungo, Stones Taro, as well as their own productions, the label has been championing an off-kilter sort of techno that draws lovingly from UK garage, dubstep, grime and breakbeat. Tracks from the label have been gaining plenty of traction, with the likes of Skream and HAAi being just some of the renowned names to pick up gems from its steadily growing catalogue.

High Class Filter – real name Will Gulseven – does much the same with his sets and productions, swerving from fierce hard drum to warped garage and techno and back again. His musical evolution, however, developed pretty far from the dancefloor.

“Growing up I was a massive metalhead and was obsessed with playing guitar,” he tells DJ Mag. “I was actually pretty good at it and played in a couple of bands, and I still write a lot of melodies and chords for my tracks on guitar. I also played video games a lot as a kid, and I think that’s had a big influence on me too; definitely some of those catchy theme tunes to games like Castlevania and Monkey Island, and then soundtracks to games like Wipeout and Tony Hawk which opened me up to a lot of new music.

“I’ve been DJing about seven or eight years and started taking production more seriously in the last couple of years,” he adds. I see myself as a DJ first and foremost so I’d say my approach to production is basically whatever will work best in my sets. I play a lot of different genres (which I tried not to go too wild with in this mix!) so I often write music that will work as transitions between genres and tempos.” 

A core member of London’s mighty Reprezent Radio crew, the independent station has done much for growth as a DJ and producer, as well as linking him up with like-minded individuals who share his determination.

“Sounds very cliché but there’s a real family feeling at Reprezent,” he says. “It’s a proper hotbed of new talent, and there’s so many people involved there that are doing incredible stuff both in and out of music. Also met so many great friends and artists through the station, gotta send particular shouts to Naina, [previous Fresh Kicks selector] Sherelle, Dobby, Mo, Benteki and anyone else I might have forgotten – you know who you are anyway!”

Looking forward, both Scuffed and Gulseven himself have a lot in the pipeline, with new artists set to release on the label as well as new signees and a first foray into releasing on vinyl.

“One of the things I’m most proud of with Scuffed is that for a lot of our artists, it’s been their first full release – I’m really happy to be able to give people that platform, whether that’s support from DJs, press coverage, or just getting paid for their music”

“In the next couple of months I’ve got a track coming on Moveltraxx, and a collab EP with Leda Stray on Symbols – you can hear tracks from both releases in this mix. I’m also planning another solo EP on Scuffed, but the downside to releasing on your own label is that you can let the deadline slide!”

For his Fresh Kicks mix, High Class Filter has served up an hour of supercharged rhythms, off-kilter bass and percussive UK techno with a frankly superb Ariana Grande edit thrown in for good measure. Dig in.

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