London town has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days – with co-signs from left and right, the trickling crossover of Grime and a plethora of unique talent rising from the other side of the Atlantic is undeniable. Among this sea of flourishing artists comes 26-year-old DJ and producer, Cadenza, aka Oliver Rodigan. Born into a multicultural home (British father and Jamaican mother), the young producer tapped into his artistic calling at a young age thanks to his older brother who introduced him to Fruity Loops at age 14. Weaving both cultures into his music, his signature sound is a fuse of reggae and dancehall with down tempo hip-hop (ragga jungle if you will). His distinctive sound has led him to collaborate with the likes of Stylo G, Busy Signal, Lily Allen, and Sean Paul. He’s also toured the world with none other than globe-trotting heavy hitters Major Lazer (no big deal).
Cadenza released his latest EP earlier this month titled No Drama, a four track bass heavy banger, with the lead single aptly titled “No Drama”, featuring U.K. rapper Avelino and Jamaican dancehall star Assasin. The EP is a cohesive body of seductive island vibe rumbles and dance-floor ready tempos. As summer begins to approach, we’ll be jamming to Cadenza’s feel-good vibes while sipping on something fruity and hopefully as juicy as this compilation.
We caught up with Oliver over a few questions to get you all better acquainted. Welcome Cadenza to REHAB and don’t forget to stream No Drama below.
How did you become interested in producing music?
I played violin and piano from around 6 and took part in all musical aspects of school life but it wasn’t until my brother brought home Fruity Loops when I was around 14 that I got the bug. I remember really getting into watching videos of other producers I looked up to and realized I was definitely more interested in the actual process of creating music rather than the artists who were singing it.
Having parents from two vastly different countries (UK & Jamaica), how have both countries/cultures contributed to your music style?
It’s been great to be able to dip my feet in both cultures. My brother put me on to jungle and garage when I was a kid here and when we went to Jamaica I got see a whole other side of music. But musically the two countries are very similar in terms of their sound. UK music has constantly borrowed from Jamaican culture so it’s just good to have an understanding of both when it comes to producing music.
How is the dance/electronic music scene different in the UK than the US?
I think the US is just choosing to consume that kind of music in a different way and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Thousands of kids are getting together and listening to music they like and that’s a good thing. The UK has always just been more insular and that’s why it has been responsible for breeding very specific sounds which are unique to where it was created.
How did your latest EP No Drama come about? Can you tell us about your creative process?
The EP was made between London and LA. I went to America last November as there were a couple of people I really wanted work with, one of which was The Renaissance. They are a collective of producers: Napolian and the twins Tairiq and Garfield. We locked in and made the basis for 2 of the tracks on the EP. No Drama was done in London and then Assassin cut his part in Jamaica.
You toured with Major Lazer for a bit. What are some valuable lessons you learned on the road?
The most important thing I learned from them was about stage presence and dedication. They make a lot of unique edits for the shows so that you hear tracks you know but in a totally different way. Diplo has built that project from the ground up and now it’s larger than I think he even imagined it could be.
What’s on your playlist these days? Any artists you are excited about?
A few people. I have been listening to the new Commodo album a lot, then there’s Sunni Colon, Jorja Smith, A. Chal. Another producer from Canada called Foxtrott is doing some really original stuff too.
What piece of advice would you give to a young aspiring producer wanting to succeed in today’s music world?
Write as much music as you can since you will probably make a lot of crap before you get into your stride.
What’s next for Cadenza in 2016?
There’s gonna be some shows. I’m setting up a new event situation in West London, new music from artists on The Full Hundred. All good things.