Interview with Darq E Freaker


Acclaimed English grime and electronic music producer, Darq E Freaker (born Jeremiah Valentino Ntéh) is cool and confident in his work – and for good reason. The DJ is best known for his work with Danny Brown and Tempa T. With his new 5-track EP ADHD slated for an April 15 release, Darq E Freaker has wasted no time giving listeners a taste of what’s to come. The EP’s lead single “2C-I” features an overload of trippy, sultry textures and with an appearance across the ocean set at SXSW, the South London technological mastermind is poised to take North America by storm.

Northern Transmissions: When did you first get into producing and what about it appealed to you so much?

Darq E Freaker: I got into music production when I was in school, I reckon about 16 or 17. I did it for fun when I started but then over the years as I made tracks, I made maybe one or two standout tracks that got picked up on and I’d give to someone to rap on. My life changed from there, I would say. The appeal was that I just wanted to hear my music loud at a rave. I used to go to raves, and I wanted to hear the music loud. That was the appeal.

NT: Your new instrumental EP ADHD drops in April. What can you tell us about this EP? How does it differ from works you’ve previously done?

DEF: This one is just straight instrumental. Any stuff I’ve done has vocals on the tracks, but this one is a predominant instrumental tape. It’s not designed for a rapper to go and rap over, it’s like a journey. It’s like a trip – it’s like a long trip. Like the title, ADHD, it’s quite energetic, quite intense, but then there’s slow bits as well.

NT: Do you feel pretty excited coming into it’s release?

DEF: Yeah, I feel excited. I hope the world understands what I’m trying to do. I hope people get it. Sometimes you get in your own zone and you’re too into your own depth and creativity that it’s not general enough. Not that I care, but I really want people to get this. I want it to get out there and for people to hear.

NT: You recently signed to Big Dada for this record, home to artists like Run the Jewels, which is pretty cool. How have you enjoyed being part of such an impressive roster?

DEF: I’m happy to bring my energy and colour and flavour to that roster. I think it’s something different for them. I’m not saying it’s bland or anything like that. The label’s got an aesthetic to it but I’m adding some next shit to it, so I’m happy to do that.

NT: Did your work with Danny Brown help to bring you greater exposure in North America?

DEF: Hell motherfucking yeah. Great exposure. I guess it was a jewel, bonus package – he got more exposure out of European ways, and I got exposure in America which was cool. I don’t think I capitalized on it as much as he did.

NT: Who or what influenced you the most during the making of ADHD? I’ve read that you take more influence from experiences that you’ve had, rather than other music.

DEF: Yeah. Stuff I’ve been raised onto, stuff I’ve watched on TV, experiences. All trying to interpret a mood or feeling or zone I’ve been in, and interpret that into a song so someone can be in the same place I was.

NT: Are there any festivals in North America that you would ideally love to play?

DEF: Pitchfork Festival, or something like that. That comes to mind. I’m playing SXSW, which I haven’t done before, so that’s cool. I’m not really familiar with the big festivals in America.

NT: Do you hope that this new EP will gain you greater exposure? Are you looking to bring your type of grime to other parts of the world?

DEF: Oh yeah. I’ve been getting a lot of American press, so I think it’s going to be good for America. I want people to hear it. You know how there’s pockets of music and you think, “my music sits in that pocket of music but I don’t know how on earth I’m going to get there, or if I’m ever going to get there.” I guess this is that specific thing I’ve released that’s going to get to where I think it needs to be.

Interview by Ava Muir