Ones To Watch: Bailey Ibbs interview

UK Garage has been in the midst of a renaissance. Its latest surge in popularity has unveiled a new, morphed face of the genre that has crept closer to the club and its sound-systems.

Garage used to be garage. Its trademark hops and skips laid grounds for a soulful UK voice to riff its way through. In this new decade, garage is now nudging shoulders with the genetics of electro and bass music.

This club-facing synergy has spawned a new generation of pioneering DJs and producers who are fronting the charge on a fresh wave of UKG. One name that you’ll start to see is Night Service label head Bailey Ibbs. We caught up with the rising artist to dig a little deeper.

Hey Bailey, how was life under lockdown?

Life’s alright at the moment! I moved out of London and back to my parents’ house with the rest of the family so we’re all together which is nice! My parents live in the countryside so I’m able to go out for long walks/runs, it’s a great space for me to clear my head and focus on music!

How would you describe your production sound? Where does your music fall into place in electronic music?

I struggle to answer these kinds of questions because each month they change! You can catch me one day obsessed with champagne bubblin’ UKG, the next, heavy Techno or Gqom! I think the style people most know me for is that classic upbeat, fun Garage sound! I’ve recently started to steer away from that as I don’t really want to be pigeon holed as just a Garage DJ/Producer. Variety is the spice of life!

It’s been a year since you released your remix of YGG’s Strikers, which now has nearly 50k listens — did you have any idea it would go on to be as popular as it has been?

A year goes so quick! I had NO idea it was going to get the reaction and support it did! I just started out putting up free downloads because everyone loves something for free, it’s a great way to bring traffic your way and get your name out there, but not once did I think it would bring the attention it did! I’m incredibly lucky to get that, it’s really helped me get a foot in the door in the UKG scene! In terms of the track, it’s probably the most simple track I’ve made, I think it was only like 9/10 channels deep!

What does your production process look like? Do you have a routine way of creating music?

My process varies, I always see producers go on about having a set template in Logic or Ableton so they can get ideas down quickly and feel out how a track is going to sound as soon as possible. I use Ableton (9) but have no custom template whatsoever! (I’m super lazy).

I would usually start off getting the drums down first, people dance to the drums so it’s vital they bump! After that, bass-line to get the groove down early, followed by any melodies or chord stabs, then vocals and effects!

It’s quite simple stuff, my Ableton projects rarely push 25 channels! I’m also trying to get more into working with Audio instead of Midi, but in the future I’d love to rent or even build a studio, I’m currently just on a laptop and headphones! Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you need expensive equipment!

Do you regard your Keep Hush set as a milestone in your DJing journey? What was it like to play a set with a live stream setup?

For sure! Keep Hush have stapled a place in UK Music culture and it was an absolute blessing to have played for them! Especially for sure a big line up and occasion! Big up Fred & Freddy and the Keep Hush crew! It was a bit strange I can’t lie, as I knew it was going to be online for the world to see, forever. I decided to be a bit more meticulous with my track selection and I practised the first 20 mins a few times!

I always structure the first few tracks for any set where I’m nervous about playing, after that I feel like you can catch the vibe in the room and feel a lot more confident and comfortable behind the decks. It was also strange for me as I’m not used to being on camera, I think if you watch it back I smiled like once or twice as I was trying to ignore the camera’s so much!

Everyone has a ‘secret banger’ in their collection — what’s yours?

Good question! It depends on what kind of set I’m playing but here’s a few!

Can’t be giving away too many!

Which artists in the industry do you take inspiration from? Who would be your dream b2b?

My main inspiration would be Jacques Greene for sure, his early stuff is what got me into making electronic music! Besides that, most of my inspiration comes from the people I personally know in the industry. Izco, Frankel & Harper, Ollie Rant, Kobe JT, Tasha, Jossy Mitsu (I could go on!) I think it’s important to be diverse and I’m into so many different types of music. It’s lead me to meet loads of heads in different scenes and they all inspire me in different ways.

What can we expect from you in the coming months?

I’m currently working on some new music, some stuff that may take some people by surprise but like I mentioned before, I’m interested in all sorts of stuff and don’t want to be pigeon holed by one sound. I’m also working along side Lennox at DimSum to organise some parties post lockdown, I can’t give too much away but keep an eye on that! As well as that, me and my partner Paige, who I co-run Night Service with, are planning our next event with friends and family of the brand which always pop off so I’ll be sure to stick you on the list

Listen to Bailey’s latest release below, raising money for a cause close to his heart:

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