track-by-track: preditah’s new ep, blank canvas

The Birmingham producer breaks down his ebullient new EP, "Blank Canvas."

by Hattie Collins
Mar 7 2017, 11:25am

Known for crafting creative grime tracks, including Wiley's willful return Back with a Banger, as well as Solo 45's chant-anthem Feed 'em to the Lions, Birmingham beat-master Nathan Gerald, aka Preditah, has now released his own offering.

The cerebral Blank Canvas delivers five distinct tracks, each unlike the other: from unadulterated 140, to the skippiest of skippy garage, Preditah's twisting tempos showcase the producer's intuition for all moods. Opening with the super sub-lo "Touch Road" featuring Pred's brother C4 and his "picky afro like Skepta," the EP closes out with effervescent instrumental, "Tango."

Here, exclusively for i-D, Pred talks through each of the five tracks that forms Blank Canvas.

"Touch Road" ft. C4
"I composed the instrumental back in October whilst I was on my Australian tour. All I had was my laptop and headphones rather than loads of hardware to play around with and software that I have lying around in my studio. The instrumental was originally named 'Cricket' [laughs]. Anyway, I sent C4 a clip of the beat through Whatsapp, because C4 grew up on garage and grime instrumentals so he understands a good, simple beat. C4 came to my studio in January this year and he had already had the first 16 bars and chorus of 'Touch Road' over a beat he made. I loved the lyrics so much that I asked him if he could feature on my EP with it. He was up for it and we spent a few hours going over new beats I had made and we tried and tried but we couldn't find a beat that matched the vibe of his lyrics. At the end of the session, I played the 'Cricket' beat that I made back in Australia and C4 was in the background messing around, spitting the bars of 'Touch Road.' I turned the beat up and he spat the lyrics louder and in that moment, I knew we found a winner! That's how 'Touch Road' came about accidentally on purpose!"

"I composed 'Caveman' back in April 2016. If you've been following my productions from when I first started, you'll know that I am a huge fan of using strings and orchestral sounds within my compositions. 'Caveman' is pretty much an orchestral sounding beat that captures my mood at the time. I wanted to make a simple but angry beat. The drums are hard-hitting and if you close your eyes and play this beat loud, you'll hear the passion behind it."

"I was in my studio with a few of my mates last November when I made this. I made the beat whilst they were watching. I purposely wanted to compose something that was 'left' and not my usual style. Progression is what I'm all about and this beat shows just how versatile I can be as a producer. I don't know what genre of music I'd put this under. It's a garage tempo but it has a warehouse vibe to it. I would play this type of beat at one of my Ibiza shows during the summer at Sankeys or Amnesia. It's a dark but bubbly beat."

"I made this beat back in August 2016. This is one of the first tracks I composed when I moved into my new music studio. This is another simple production of mine that's focused on the riff melody more than anything. This beat could have easily been a [Nokia] 3310 ringtone back in the day and although that may sound silly, there's something powerful about a melody that you can remember or reference to people to describe how a tune goes."

"In December I was going through some of my old beats like 'Solitaireand 'Cookies' and those beats inspired me to compose 'Tango.' It's a skippy grime beat that would suit an MC set perfectly. It's fun and just keeps going on and on, in a good way of course. It showcases my love for strings and it's got my well-known bounce. It's a personal favorite for a lot of people that have listened to my EP — this is probably because it's the sound they know from me the best!"

Blank Canvas is out now and available here.


Text Hattie Collins