Q&A: Salary Boy
London based producer Salary Boy makes his Leeds debut with Loop this week. The former Manchester Uni student has already carved out a place for himself in the contemporary dance scene, making the kind of chilled disco-laced deep house beats that might fool you into thinking ‘lo-fi’ – but as that term gets dirtier and dirtier, Otto Jakobson’s sound remains well within the realm of “cool”.
Your Facebook page keeps your identity quite cryptic. Is this intentional? Could you tell us where are you from and when you started making music?
“haha – yeah its been getting more and more private over time. I have some fairly serious colleagues at my day job so I try keep a level of separation between my work and private life! I grew up just outside Stockholm in Sweden but came over to study at Manchester Uni where i got sucked into the whole music thing. It was mainly about going out back then but I was always interested in djaying so started saving money to buy some decks. Eventually bought a pair of technics and a xone 23 and got really into recording mixes (mixtapes are still my favourite medium!!). This in turn lead to me wanting to make my own tracks and edits to put in the mixes, this was like 3 years ago.”
Your music is quite sample heavy – where do you generally find your samples, and why did you opt for this style of production?
“I find samples all over! I don’t really think there’s a good rule of thumb to follow because many of the ‘easy’ areas have already been used lots. Like for instance loads of classic house samples come from Philadelphia soul records so if you start digging through those discographies you’ll have plenty of ‘aha’ moments but probably not that many great new samples to use. The best samples seem to appear in the most random places I actually make my own original stuff as well but I don’t really think it fits with the current Salary Boy vibe so I’ve been sitting on it for now.”
“Disco edit” is how you could describe your sound – is this fair? The disco edit is at the bedrock of a lot of house music, and helped to give rise to club culture as we know it. Do you music production heroes also make disco edits or are you influenced by other sounds? Are there are producers in particular that you take cues from?
“I don’t really mind what people call it to be honest! I think many young/upcoming house producers are used to being described as a whole range of different genres by now (lo-fi anyone?) I’m mainly inspired by older garage house and french house + some 2nd wave chicago stuff (DJ Sneak always gets a shoutout) but also draw inspiration from 90s hip hop and more current house producers like Dj Steaw and Brame & Hamo who’ve been killing it for a while.”
There are similarities between yours and the Steel City Dance Discs sound propounded by Mall Grab. What is your relationship with these guys, especially Loods who recently released on the label?
“Elliot and Jordon are both super close friends of mine! I got to know Jordon through some mutual friends (Dale/Annie/Joel❤️) and ended up living with him for almost a year while he was over for his first 2 European tours. When Elliot moved over to pursue music more seriously we met through the same friends and hit it off straight away! The fact that I’ve been able to get feedback on my tracks from peeps like Jordon/Elliot is a huge part of why I’ve got this far.
I’ve got a record coming out on Steel City later this year and me and Elliot also run the monthly Steel City Radio slot on Netil radio – check it oooout”
Why do you think Mall Grab’s style has become so popular over the last couple of years?
“Because it is good fun and sticks in your head!”
What does your studio set up look like?
“I started out producing everything in the box but have recently picked up an mpc 2000xl with modded audio outputs + a mackie 16 channel desk so I’m hoping to incorporate them in my production over time. I monitor on a pair of yamaha HS7s and also have a focusrite audio interface as well as the above mentioned technics turntables that i use for sampling sometimes. Its all squashed into my tiny London room so in terms of looks its all pretty cramped haha.”
A lot of your tunes are pretty laid back. Do you make music for the club or home listening? Do you play your own tunes in DJ sets?
“The tracks currently online are laid back but I mainly produce for the club! And yeah all the time, its scary as hell but probably the most satisfying feeling ever when you get a good crowd reaction!”
Have you been to Leeds before? What is your favourite place to go and dance in the world?
“No! I have been meaning to come up for ages since my brother studies in leeds but this is my first time
Dingy Fallowfield basements for life ❤️ also a huge fan of london party inner u – look it up.”