London based, Paris born BIG DOPE P is making bass fuelled waves, emerging as one of Europe’s premier DJs and producers in his field. Touring worldwide and working with some of the biggest names in both dance music and rap – including Basement Jaxx, Kaytranada, Duck Sauce, Rustie, Pusha T, Todd Terry, Maya Jane Coles, Lil Wayne, Todd Edwards Ryan Hemsworth, Crookers & many more his signature sound blends footwork, house, hip-hop and electro, creating dynamic and memorable tracks that punch hard and linger long in the memory.
After a string of successful EPs & singles, P has now announced his debut album MEHLISH (“Don’t Worry”/”It’s OK” in Arabic) . MELISH features collaborations with a wide range of singularly talented artists, including TT The Artist, DJ Slugo, Karlito (from legendary french rap band Mafia K1 Fry), Mighty Mark, DJ Jayhood, Feadz and more. Infused with that instantly recognisable Big Dope P sound, the LP packs in influences from Chicago Ghetto House to French Hip Hop via Footwork, 80s Funk & US/UK rap across 11 distinct and dynamic tracks.
Thanks for talking to us. We know the last year hasn’t been the best in terms of travel, but have you discovered any new locations that you’ve enjoyed visiting?
As travelling abroad was not possible I discovered a few places within the UK like Wales or Newquay which I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to being able to travel overseas again next year. I cannot wait to go back to Japan especially. I discovered incredible places last time I went there to play and would love to come back for a holiday trip or something.
Is travel a big part of your life under normal circumstances?
Definitely. I started touring at a very young age so I’ve been travelling pretty much all my adult life. It’s been very weird at first not moving at all for months but I learned to appreciate it too.
Do you have any bits of tech or home comforts you never hit the road without?
I love playing games on my Nintendo Switch when I travel and when it’s possible, I try to bring my MPC Live too.
Your label Moveltraxx releases a wide range of music, but has a really consistent level of both sound and quality. What are some of the things you’re looking for when you sign new music and artists?
I try to keep a balance between originators and new talents. The OG’s help me share the authentic sound of the genres we defend to our audience so people know the real deal. When it’s a new talent, I’m looking for fresh ideas that still respect the roots of the genres they were inspired by. At the end of the day I simply sign music I love to hear and want to play.
When did you start recording tracks for your new album MEHLISH? was the plan always to make an album?
In 2016, I started recording a lot of demos for a first album. I ended up having way too much material so at some point I had to decide what my first LP should be about. I tried to capture the essence of what those past 15 years running Moveltraxx and releasing music as Big Dope P were like but still wanted to explore some directions and include more intimate things while keeping things fun.
MEHLISH roughly translates to ‘don’t worry / it’s ok’… is that a mantra you subscribe to? And if so, do you find it easy to start positive?
Where I came from, being positive wasn’t a choice to be honest, you either do that or you drown. It’s a mindset and to this day it’s still how I operate. It’s not always easy of course but it helps you relativize things.
Were there any other specific artists you took inspiration from when writing the album?
I often thought about Mr. De’s album ElectronicFunkyShit and Armand Van Helden’s 2 Future 4 U during the making of my album. There are countless hits and amazing records in our scene but not so many classic albums. Those 2 definitely are classics for me and have been an inspiration to make the best debut LP I could.
You’ve said the album is the one your 16 year old self would have wanted to hear. Do you think your tastes have changed or developed over the years at all?
I still love the same things but now I love more things. Travelling and meeting new people, you just constantly learn and expand your horizons so of course my tastes developed but at the same time I launched Moveltraxx at 16 and the first releases are very coherent with what we do today.
Will there be any music video landing for any of the singles?
Yes we have a crazy video coming for JUMP OUT featuring TT THE ARTIST that I am really excited about. It took months of work so I am really excited to share it with everybody very soon.
Do you think footwork gets its due when compared to other sub-genres, or manifestations of house?
It’s in constant evolution. The genre has unlimited potential to reach new people in my opinion. It’s not as established as house and techno but it’s younger too. We will get there. People have careers, record deals and tour the world out of this, it’s already a big evolution since its early days.
You put out a tribute mix to Paul Johnson who sadly passed away earlier this year. What kind of a character was Paul? Do you have any particularly vivid memories of working with him?
I met Paul in Paris in 2011/2012 but we only started working together a few years ago. Receiving music from him was always surreal and I enjoyed talking to him, planning releases and laughing with him. I miss the man, I miss the artist, Paul was a genius in many ways and I’m honored to be a small part of his musical journey and incredible discography.
Finally, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time in the music industry, that you would pass on to others just starting out?
Do it because you love it. Leave your ego at the door. Do your own thing. There will always be temptations to change because it seems easier to fit it but trust your vision and keep doing you. Build a catalog you will be proud of, be consistent and I swear you will win in the long run.