S.P.Y. was into hip-hop in the early '90s until he started hearing some life-changing dance music. “I heard The Prodigy 'Music Reach' and Jonny L 'Hurt You So', and I was just blown away,” the Brazilian DJ/producer tells DJ Mag. “I think because the breaks were similar to hip-hop, but fast. So from there I have been following all the jungle and drum & bass evolution ever since.”
It was on some of these missions to seek out early drum & bass music that he first met DJ Marky. “I don't think he will even remember that, but back in 1993/1994 Marky used to work in a record shop called Up Dance Music, in São Paulo in Brasil, and I bought most of my hardcore and jungle records from him,” he says.
Fast forward a decade or so, and the two met again at one of the 'LK' man's Marky & Friends nights at The End in London. S.P.Y. had just had his first tune released on Goldie's notorious Metalheadz stamp, and they vowed to make music together in the future.
In between, S.P.Y. had moved to London, which was a difficult decision as he had a secure job as an Art Director and was leaving behind all his family and friends. “My intentions were to just stay in London for one year, study English, do some courses in graphic design and then go back to Brazil,” he says. “I had to really go back to basics — all my savings that I was hoping would last for at least a year lasted two months, so in the beginning I had to work as a cleaner, flipping burgers at McDonald's, as a waiter — just to be able to pay for the bills and food. The little I had left I used to save to buy vinyl.”
Luckily though, following his dreams paid off. He soon started signing his tunes to drum & bass labels like Med School, Critical, Spearhead and Marky's Innerground. He changed his DJ name from Spyder after discovering an American producer had the same name, becoming S.P.Y.
Equally at home exploring old skool sounds as bang up to date junglist vibes, from jazzy to techy, S.P.Y. has found a good home for his debut album 'What The Future Holds' – Hospital Records. Opening with the soundtracky 'You', he quickly skirts into Photeky polyrhythms for 'Analogue Dreams'. Edgy, nervous Source Direct beats, a Boymerang bassline and a Bad Company growl certify 'Back Again' a tech-step roller, but then 'Love Hearts' is almost like an emotive jazzy love paean. 'Infiltrate' is growly and gnarly, but then 'See The Light' uplifts and shines like an EZ Rollers or High Contrast classic. The gorgeous Bukemy title track boasts sweeping filmic strings, and 'Hammer In My Heart' with singer Diane Charlamagne (“I've been a massive fan of hers ever since Goldie's 'Inner City Life', it's an amazing feeling when you manage to work with one of your heroes”) becomes a hype grinder bass-y thang.
Why does he like to switch up the styles so much? “Because it's like having a PlayStation and playing the same game over and over,” he says. “I need to keep challenging myself all the time so I can keep enjoying what I'm doing, otherwise it would get really boing. Making music for me was the way I found to express my feelings. I don't really like to talk about my personal life or about my problems, so I put everything into music, so each track transmits a different feeling and each track on the album has a story behind it.”