Joshwa on his transition from professional football to music production, ‘Bass Go Boom’ and advice he would give to young artists

Although music has always been Joshwa’s passion from an early age, he pursued a career by becoming a footballer. The underground house music artist, legally known as Josh Dickens, had trials with several UK teams such as Chelsea and Brighton before being taken to play abroad in Chile at the age of 18. In his early adulthood, Dickens moved to South America to live out his dream of becoming a professional player. However, music was always at the forefront of his mind.

“I think looking back, music was always my passion,” he says. “I think of countless times growing up and putting everything into myself [soccer], I would always find myself coming back to music and wanting to work on songs and practice my DJing instead of concentrating on playing. I’d be in the car just flipping through music looking for new sounds.

While music played a big part in Dickens’ life, he thought football was where he should have gone. He was so dedicated that he left his family and friends behind to move to Chile, learn Spanish and adapt to a new culture. The music producer played for the Deportes Concepcion U21s team. But it quickly becomes clear that music is his true calling.

The biggest hurdle he faced was making the move at a young age. Although he wanted to succeed as a footballer, moving to the other side of the world proved to be a challenge. He adds that no one spoke English in Chile, but he was able to learn the language after living there for a year.

Music may have always been his passion, but leaving the world of football behind didn’t come without its challenges as he had to learn to transition from being a professional athlete to being a student at Loughborough University. He also had to switch from sports to working a “normal” job as an insurance broker, and this job gave him extra drive and determination to succeed in music. Although this change in direction may have been difficult, it turned out to be worth it for Dickens.

The UK-born producer boasts an impressive career to date, with singles such as ‘Take Me’ with Martin Eakin, his anthem ‘My Humps’ with house music veteran Lee Fosse, his record ‘Magalenha’ on Spinnin’ Deep and his single “Miracles” on Chris Lake’s Black Book Records. His latest project, Bass Go Boommarks a new milestone for Dickens as it is released by Jamie Jones’ esteemed Hot Creations imprint.

The EP boasts pounding and bouncy bass lines, funky and swirling synths, funky beats, garage drops, catchy lyrics and more. Indeed, Bass Go Boom turns out to be a home heater.

According to Dickens, the EP was inspired by UK genres, particularly garage and grime. Although the lyrics are prepared by a rapper from the United States, they have a UK feel to them. It was important to him to give a UK feel to the two track work.

“I wanted to really hone that sound and show my roots in terms of where I’m from and the music I listened to growing up,” says Dickens. “For me, grime and garage was a big influence on me growing up, so obviously I can show shades [of them] at this point in this EP, I think it was very important to me.”

The EP’s title track is Dickens’ favorite song, which he even made because of the meaning behind it and the sounds it was able to create for a house band. Bass Go Boom is proving to be a milestone for the UK-based producer since it was released by Hot Creations, one of the first labels to get him into house music. The artist notes that this is a “full circle moment” for him.

Dickens’ introduction to dance music came at an early age, as his father played classic trance and his mother was a lover of 70s and 80s disco. He adds that there was always music in the house, which exposed him to electronic music during his formative years.

Looking back to when he first started making music, the advice he would give to his younger self is to enjoy the journey and not rush it.

“I remember when I first started, I was downloading all the latest plug-ins like that and trying to make all these crazy sounds and trying to put too much into one project,” he says. “But really, if you strip it back, you want to have a project with fewer sounds and all sound great together. Sample selection is also really key. If you’re working with bad sounding samples, your song won’t sound great.”

“I would say to people who [are] you’re just getting into the industry or starting out, I’d say really honing your sound and getting it to a stage where you’re like, ‘Okay, this is great,'” Dickens adds. “Obviously send it to your friends and people you trust to get their feedback, but I wouldn’t start sending stuff to labels and other big DJs right away. I think I kind of made that mistake when I first started, while in hindsight I wish I had waited a bit.

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