These days Steve Bishop (AKA Oneman) is something of a household name. From his early sets playing dubstep and garage on Rinse FM, to his (now) eagerly anticipated Solitaire series, Bishop is an original selector with an authentic style. Some DJ’s seek out the rarest dubplates as their weapon of choice, and that’s not to say that Bishop doesn’t have them in his arsenal, but unique blends or taking the time to put together his distinctive DJ tools is what sets him apart from the rest of his peers.
Whilst Bishop is often referred to as a ‘party DJ’, the tag does him something of an injustice. That’s not to say that he can’t get a room on their feet within a few tracks of stepping to the decks but he is equally at home piecing together a headphone mix of stoned out sad boy beats as seamlessly mixing four to the floor crowd pleasers for a packed out club.
His sets are eclectic, without feeling forced, draw on mainstream influences, whilst still appealing to the heads. On the other hand, his Solitarie mixes showcase left of centre rap and grime alongside heavy hitting Atlanta staples. Mix this with a heavy dose of London bass, the sickest artist you’ve never heard and the odd pop hook thrown in here and there for good measure and you start to understand why Oneman runs in a league of his own.
Having fully established himself in the UK, Bishop has recently been making the rounds elsewhere with a tour of Australia and New Zealand under his belt as well as multiple gigs across Asia. His recent summer mix, released in anticipation of a hectic festival season, features the likes of Four Tet and Jacques Greene as well as plenty of exclusives from the man himself (a sonic assault in the form of Mumdance and Soulja Boy being a particular highlight). It will undoubtedly serve as the soundtrack for many pre-parties over the coming months and shows that Bishop has no intention of slowing down.
We got in touch a while back to find out what he has been up to and until a few days ago – where a surprise unread e-mail turned out to be just that – we had assumed that he hadn’t had time. However, we’re happy he could take a moment to fill us in on his recent happenings, the process behind his Solitaire mixes and the importance of standing out as a DJ.
How have you spent your 2015 so far?
Well after a great two NYE sets at The Nest in London and Stealth in Nottingham, I went on a solo tour of Australia and New Zealand to promote the Solitaire Vol III mixtape, which was 5 club dates and 2 shows supporting Rustie, In April I also did a tour of Asia.. Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea. I’ve been doing my monthly show on Rinse FM every second Tuesday of every month, and am currently ready to release a mixtape for everyone to play this Summer!
What is the process of choosing tracks for a Solitaire mix?
Just like any other of my planned mix projects, making sense of different genres of music in a way that conveys a journey through cross-genred blending. The difference with Solitaire I guess is that I don’t necessarily make them particularly ‘clubby’.
With the most recent, why was it so important to have tracks on there that were produced especially for the tape, and how did you go about choosing those collaborators?
It was just to have some creative control over some of the music. I don’t really produce but I do feel I have something to give when it come to making music, I wanted it to be half studio based and half tracks out there already. The way I chose them was pretty simple really. It was all funded by Red Bull and they gave me access to their studios to record worldwide. So in every city they have a studio I wanted to pick my favourite producers from each one, Example being using Sam Tiba and Canblaster in Paris, Tom Trago in Amsterdam, Todd Edwards in LA.
Last year you dipped your toe into the remix game with a few that you’d obviously crafted as DJ tools – are more Oneman remixes on the horizon? And can we expect an EP?
Yeah I am more interested in making DJ tools I guess, and edits, rather than remixing, I can’t say about an EP! That’s a long way off right now.
Do you think it’s important to do this to try and make yourself stand out in a time where everyone’s trying to be a DJ?
Of course, or you just blend in. I was lucky because when I was buying dubstep records I already had a huge collection of UK garage both dark and feminine. And creatively I would mix those two different records together and at the time not one person was mixing the sounds, it was all about dubplate culture and dropping the newest dubs, where as I never cut dubs, I bought records at shops and took them home, and tried to make sense of a Distance track and a El-B track in the mix…
Do you feel there’s a certain pressure to do wildly eclectic DJ sets, when people may only know you for some of your jaw dropping early Boiler Room stuff?
No not really because Boiler Room is a totally different platform you know, the vibe inside is different, the people watching aren’t standing in their rooms dancing or going off, so I don’t ever feel pressure to play a certain type of music, but my DJ sets are often eclectic anyway, so the pressure is cancelled out.
You’re playing W.A.R X Rinse this summer (w/ Skepta + Novelist), are you looking forward to it? Do you enjoy playing the festival circuit in the summer?
Yeah I always look forward to playing for Rinse and Ibiza Rocks, it’s always a lot of fun, and a lot more punters from our scene are going to Ibiza now so this year should be a good show. I do enjoy Festival season but sometimes it can be a technical nightmare u know, it’s always safer playing in a club. No purpose built stages or bad weather to contend with! But saying that festival crowds are by far the best vibe, everyone is happy and wants to party.
Is there anybody who’s playing you really want to see?
Do you still go out to clubs and nights as a ‘punter’? When you’re not ‘working’?
Not often at all. But I do miss it. If I have a weekend off I generally want to lay in bed watching movies ha.
Check out Oneman’s Summer Mix.
Photos: Ysa Pérez
Oneman plays Outlook Festival this September, in Croatia.