How Steve Spacek Used Mobile Apps to Record ‘Modern Streets’


Singer/songwriter/producer Steve Spacek (a.k.a. Steve White) has been innovating during every step of his musical journey. Since the mid-’90s he’s been focused on designing a futuristic, post-everything dance floor sound informed by broken beat, R&B, trip-hop, hip-hop, African highlife and soul. During this time he’s led electronic band Spacek, issued an array of solo releases, collaborated with J.Dilla, Common and Raphael Saadiq, helmed Africa Hitech with Mark Pritchard and issued his Black Pocket project for his brother dBridge’s Exit Records.

On his first solo album in nearly a decade, Modern Streets, released under his Beat Spacek moniker, Spacek realized the soul-drenched, synth-dominated long-player not by working in a home or project studio but by producing songs here and there utilizing apps operating on his mobile devices.

Instead of Instagramming photos of his dinner or tweeting obligatory thank-yous to last night’s crowd for being so awesome, Spacek put his iPad or iPhone to creative use, laying down everything from 8-bit grooves, his whispered and falsetto vocals and sampling his kids and popping what they said onto tracks when situations presented themselves. Modern Streets is an album that finally fulfills technology’s egalitarian promise to make the recording process cheaper, easier and more efficient for artists.

“A lot of my music I hear is in my head — whether a bassline, vocal line or in a lot of cases the whole track,” says Spacek. “So the idea of being able to put those ideas down whilst out and about, in an airport or plane, where them vibes take me was always going to be a no-brainer!”

We talked to Spacek about what prompted him to take the mobile path on Modern Streets, and how the freedom he found will impact his future work.

Beat Spacek’s Modern Streets is out now on Ninja Tune. Continue Reading