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Exclusive Guest Mix & Interview: Sicknote

Hey Lewis aka Sicknote!

How did you end up producing tracks, being a drum&bass DJ and also being a part of G.H.O.S.T? Tell us the the full story!

Hey!! Thanks for having me!

Has been a little while now, haha! I have been Djing for about 17 years and making music for about 8 or 9 years I would say. All started in Bournemouth for me, listening to tapes and then buying records from destiny and Avid records and then finally going out to raves when I was about 16/17. One of the first nights I went to was Destiny at the old fire station and I remember seeing Brockie and Mampi Swift for the first time and being fully in awe of those guys.

First memory of buying records was in Avid and Destiny in Bournemouth. I think the first record I bought was in Avid, DJ Zinc – reach out on True Playaz. Me and my mate used to start at Avid and then walk across Bournemouth town centre to Destiny and some times stop of at Standout on the way as well. Always remember Destiny, they would have music blaring out and you could hear it as you walked up the street. Good times!

As time went on I managed to play at a few nights in Bournemouth and put on a few nights myself with friends but nothing too serious. Around this time I was getting really into the heavy stuff, Current value, limewax and the whole therapy sessions sound. Me and my mate DJ Beast were playing at a few nights in town and abroad in Belgium for Mindsaw and I was keen to start making some tunes to play out. Started to play around with cubase and was also going to college studying music technology. 

After finishing my music technology course I moved to London to do my degree in sound engineering. By this time I had thought of selling all my records and concentrating on recording bands and making other electronic music but through the friends I made while studying I fully got back into drum and bass and bought my decks and vinyl up to London and started fully getting my head down into my course and making drum and bass. This is when the whole G.H.O.S.T project started. G.H.O.S.T originally was a 5 price crew which then later went down to being a 3 piece. Big shouts out to Tom, Will, Ben and Mathias! And that kind of brings us up to now where I’m mainly focusing on solo tracks and collabing with other artists and producers.

Where did you get the name Sicknote from?

My name comes from one of my favourite records by ed rush & optical on virus – sicknote/watermelon. My mate had the record at the time and we were playing it a lot when we were learning to mix on his belt drives & blue dog mixer set up on a old plastering table, which you had to climb underneath to get to the decks haha. Big up Dave!

What do you enjoy the most; producing, djing or raving?

I would say I like them all as much as the other, Haha. For me they are all a big part of the scene and the music we are into. I get the same buzz from Djing or being in the studio as I would if I was out at a rave.

For me the main thing that I enjoy is meeting and being with people in the scene. Whether this is in the studio doing a collaboration, out Djing or in a rave with all the crew at Launch or Rupture.

Do you have your own studio or how’s the set up like?

Yeah, well I have a studio setup in my bedroom. One day I will have a separate studio, maybe (that would be sick!)
I use a combination of computer software/plugins and out-board gear. 

There are some things I can do with my out board gear you just cant do in the box. I swear by my Mackie desk and EMU for certain sounds, especially on bass and drums it really does give this crunchy gritty sound I struggle to get in the box. Also at the same time, there are things I can do on my computer that is harder to obtain with gear (unless you have a endless budget for new hardware) so using both simultaneously is giving me good results at the moment.

What inspires you to make music?

Hmmmm, lots of things really. Films are always a good one for inspiring me to make a certain sounding track or a sound or sample I will hear in a film will make me think ‘yeah, I could use that or make a whole track out of that’.
Another one is going out to raves, this always inspires me to go in and try and make something like I heard out that night.
Also other people’s music from all genres. This always inspires me especially if you hear something and you think; ‘I can sample that and make a tune with it…’

Do you prefer to collaborate or making music by yourself?

I think I would say I like collaborating more. It is good to have two heads in the studio in terms of direction and making any decisions on wether and idea is any good or not. Along with having multiple skills and abilities in the studio to draw on.

Also it is just more fun in general than being sat in the studio on your own.

Not to say I don’t like writing solo tracks I just feel some of the best music I have worked on has been in collaborations up until this point.

What’s the hardest part of collaborating?

The only downside sometimes is when the person you collaborate with doesn’t say if they like what your doing or not. I prefer it if someone tells me if what we have made is shit or they are not feeling the vibe. This helps push the track forward and also can change the direction of the track completely.

Also good cups of tea got to be able to make a good cup of tea in the studio.

What else do you do with your life?

My life is taken up with music 24/7 at the moment. I work at SRD, which is an independent record distributor. I work in sales selling records to the independent record shops up and down the country. SRD sell drum and bass from the likes of virus/Dom and Roland/spearhead and Shogun audio to name a few along with a range of big techno labels such as Tresor/Ostguton/Kompakt. They also distribute everything from soundtracks and folk music to Punk and Metal. 
When I am not at work I’m either in the studio working on music or listening to records at home. Collecting records is a big passion of mine so I’m constantly on Discogs looking for records or when I can I will hit reckless and sister ray down in Soho to feed my addiction.

What did your family & friends think you’ll end up doing when you were a kid? What did you think yourself?

Haha! Not sure actually. I trained to be a carpenter when I finished school so I always thought I would do something with that. I was also a French polisher for a while but never carried on with it. When I quit that job, this was around the time I started college and decided that I wanted to take music a lot more seriously.

How would you describe your music?

I would say generally my music is quite breaks heavy and loud. Heavily influenced by the late 90s, from the likes of Dillinja, Optical, Technical itch and Dom and Roland to name a few. These guys are personal favourites and have definitely influenced my sound I think.

What’s in store for you in the near future?

I have a 12” coming out on Silent Force around March time and also a track on the next Dope Plates 12” which is out around March time as well, super excited to get these out there! Big shout out to Mark Cox and Alex Soul Intent!

I have a few more releases lined up for later in the year on Detrimental audio but I am not allowed to go into detail on them at the moment. Big up Will Token!

I have been collaborating with a lot of cool artists as well recently and hope those tracks get to see the light of day soon. Main goal this year is to work on as much music as I can.

What music do you listen to when you’re being ‘just’ Lewis?

I listen to a lot of techno when I am at work. Really into the Drexyia sound and the older Detroit techno from Juan Atkins and Jeff Mills, Shed is a sick producer, and his early albums are really good, the last Steffi album on Ostguton was amazing and I listen to that a lot. I really like the Empty Set releases epically Re-cur on Rasta Notton which is sick label to check out if you like experimental music.

Obviously I listen to quite a lot of Drum and Bass, haha. Lots of old skool DJ sets and tapes; these really inspire me to make music along with keeping up to date with the full spectrum of releases coming out.

Where and when can we see you play out?

At the moment I don’t have any bookings lined up, but I am sure something will come along soon. I would like to say big thank you to all the Promoters that have booked me recently though!

You’ve also done a mix for us, what can you tell us about that?

In the mix I have tried to play a mixed bag of music ranging from the mid 90s right up to the latest releases along with a couple dubplates that I cut recently. The Whole mix was done on the fly as I really don’t like planning mixes and I always try to play old and new records in my mixes as there are so many old records that don’t get played anymore that deserve a re-visit from time to time.

Hope you enjoy the mix!

Any famous last words?

Haha! Just to say thank you to you and Marry-Anne and big shouts out to everyone that has been supporting my music and me, means a lot. Too many names to mention but massive big ups to you all!

Special shouts to Will & Tom, G.H.O.S.T, Dissect, Mikey Soul Beat Runner and Rico

Follow Sicknote on Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter Instagram

Paws Recordings

Skeleton Recordings

Exclusive Interview: Subtle Audio.

Subtle Audio began back in 2005.

A record label dedicated to Breakbeat D&B,Jungle & Drumfunk.

This record label hosts shows on http://jungletrain.net

There has been some serious releases from producers like Equinox,Senses,Fracture & Neptune plus many more talented producers.

Here is a detailed Q & A with Subtle Audio manager Conor O’Dwyer

 ( aka Code )

 

 

Well over a decade the record label has been treating us to some great releases…Since 2005!
How did it all begin?

 

It all began long before that really – back in 92/93 at the beginning of my teenage years when I began to hear dance music on Irish radio and got a loan of The Prodigy Experience album from a friend at school.

This was exactly the music I had been waiting for – electronic sounds and strings over heavy, energetic beats.

I cained the Prodigy album for the best part of a year before eventually getting 4th or 5th hand copies of sets from the likes of LTJ Bukem (Dreamscape 5), Dr S Gachet and DJ Monk from the same friend (a friend of his had a cousin who lived in London or something!).

The music on that bunch of tapes was a step beyond what I’d heard on the Prodigy album and was even more alien and mysterious – that was it for me.

I began a mission to find out more about the people behind the music and after picking up a few editions of Generator magazine and reading an interview with Goldie, I had a list of names to go on : Fabio, Grooverider, Randall, Doc Scott, Kemistry & Storm etc etc …

Luckily I came across a Reinforced tape mixed by Randall in the local music store and followed that up with a few really good compilations of hardcore / jungle on Kickin Records.

I was quite influenced by those label compilation albums from Reinforced, Kickin and some others like the XL Recordings 2nd Chapter / 3rd Chapter series etc.

I guess the strong label logos stuck with me as did the ideas of curating music and presenting a collection of tracks in an interesting way with an overall theme.

I got my first set of turntables at the end of ’95 and once I was old enough (in ’97) I started going to clubs and trying to get involved with the DJ’ing side of things.

I got a few gigs and eventually hooked up with some other local D&B Dj’s and after doing a few one-offs we started our first regular night early in 2000.

Fast forward to 2003 and I’d made quite a few contacts both in Ireland and internationally with people who were making really good beats – unfortunately, a lot of this music wasn’t seeing a release as it was to breakbeat heavy and ‘choppy’ for a lot of the established labels at the time.

I was still highly influenced by the beats I’d heard all the way through the 90’s and wasn’t quite feeling the new direction in D&B since the turn of the century. So I thought, why not start my own label and help to get some of the unheard gems out into the public domain?

I started work on the label that year and 2 years later we were ready to go with the first vinyl releases by Alpha Omega and Equinox / Senses.

 

Whose involved?

 

In the running and promotion of the label it’s mainly just me.
I do all the A&R and have an input in the art side of things.

I’ve always sold the Subtle Audio releases directly from the website but we always had partnerships with distribution companies as well – Nu Urban (2005 / 2006), ST Holdings (2007 – 2014) and we’ve been working with Unearthed since 2015 now.

Stacks (Conor O’Riordan) does all the artwork for the 12″ singles on Subtle Audio and then Louisa (my missus) does all the cartoon drawings for Bustle Beats (she also does the album / EP sleeves and any CD releases on Subtle Audio too).

The local Wardance crew in Limerick are a great help whenever I need to do a release party or label showcase – we’ve collaborated on a few events in our hometown of Limerick.

Tamen does some overseas promotion for the label – he was Dj’ing and representing D&B / Jungle in Barcelona for many years and has recently re-located to Australia where is he’s active on the Melbourne circuit and represents the breakbeat side of things when he plays out, including plenty of Subtle Audio material.
He does some distribution of the releases too.

Artist wise, some of the main contributors over the years have been Equinox, Alpha Omega, Enjoy, Dissident, Macc, dgoHn, Nebula, Sub, NCQL, Nic TVG and Irish artists such as Polska and Mecca.

The next batch of releases on Subtle Audio will introduce new artists that we want to spotlight such as Drummotive and Scale and I’m also launching a new label for hometown Limerick related beats called ‘Treaty Treats’ (Limerick is known as the Treaty city).

The music on this imprint will mainly come from myself and long-time friend and increasingly prolific producer K3Bee.

How did you make the decision to run a record label mainly focusing on Breakbeat D&B, Jungle & Drumfunk?

Well, that was easy – it’s the music I love.

As I mentioned already, the early nineties hardcore / breakbeat / jungle style was a huge influence on me and my favourite stuff from the mid to late nineties was a continuation of that sound.

The decision to focus on this style on my own label was made easier with the direction the scene took in the early noughties, that made me even more determined to try to represent my favourite style and help to bring the breaks back.

 

The location of Subtle Audio is in Limerick Ireland.
Due to your location does it have any negative effects on how the label performs due to majority of producers being based overseas?

 

No, I don’t think so.
I grew up in an era when flights were becoming much more affordable and Ireland is only an hours flight from London.

I made the trip plenty of times back over the years, especially between 2000 and 2010.
I was already in touch with quite a few producers online before I met many of them in person at different nights over the years.

One of the main meeting places was the Technicality night run by Chris Inperspective.
I first went there to hear Breakage, Senses and Bailey play around the end of 2002.
I got talking to Chris on the night and told him I’d bring him and a few others that were playing Technicality over to Ireland for a show.

In the end I booked Chris, Equinox, Breakage and Senses.

One of the tracks I got on a demo CD from Equinox when he came over ended up being on one of the first Subtle Audio releases 2 years later – ‘The Phantoms’.

I was able to catch up with artists fairly regularly by booking them to play our night (or when playing abroad or catching a show in London).

There are only a handful of artists on the label that I haven’t met in person.
The only draw-back over the years has been not having as much presence in the UK clubs as I’d like – especially since I was living in Canada for 4 years between 2011 and 2015.

I’m working on that though, so there might be some kind of Subtle Audio night in the UK soon all going well.

 

 

 Has the use of social media made it more easier?

 

Yes, definitely !

Social media is a good platform for promotion – especially for a label like mine where we do most of the distribution ourselves.

Even before the likes of Facebook and Twitter, internet forums were a good place to post mixes and release info.

Have to give a big shout to the Subvert Central forum (which is still going strong!) – A lot of positive things happened because of online interactions within that community.

It was a great place to throw out ideas and to meet like-minded artists / Dj’s etc.

Subtle Audio has a great reputation, providing unique releases from talented producers.
How do you find these producers for forthcoming releases?

Well, sometimes I find them and sometimes they find us!

I mentioned earlier about the hook up with Equinox and how that came about – that first release led on to many more and we’ve become good friends over the years.

It’s funny because one of my favourite compilation CD’s from the early days was ‘Jungle Dub 5’ on Kickin Records – it had a track by Bizzy B & Equinox on it called ‘Brain Records Crew’. Little did I realise at the time that we’d become good friends and that I’d get to release his music on my own label years later.

A similar scenario played out with Enjoy – I played at his night in Italy early in 2008 and he was playing me some demos that sounded really good.

We were on the same page musically and now, ten years later I’ve put out quite a few tracks by him and I’m just about to do an album release for him on Bustle Beats.

I got to know Macc initially via the Subvert Central forum and then eventually met him in person at Technicality – he ended up playing his live drum set at our night in Limerick in 2004 (with his good friend dgoHn in tow). They both became a big part of the label in the years that followed.
At this stage, now that we’re more established, a lot of producers know what we’re about and come to us if they think their style fits.

I get a lot of demos sent via Soundcloud / Facebook etc.
Other times I’ll hear an interesting track from a producer on another label and I might approach them about doing something for Subtle Audio.

 

There’s been plenty of releases on Vinyl now I’ve noticed you’ve began releasing more on MP3.
Is this due to more high demand and quality purposes?

 

Actually, we’ve always done digital download releases – usually a few months after the vinyl release, but we’ve done them since the early days.

I kicked off a sub-label for digital only releases back in 2006 – Subtle Audio Digital.
Time and financial constraints mean it’s impossible to get every track onto vinyl, so it’s good to have the option of just doing a digital-only release sometimes.

Even though I love vinyl myself, I acknowledge that not everyone wants to listen this way.
As for the sound of digital VS vinyl, that’s a subjective one – I’m not getting into it, haha.

My main objective is to make sure the music is available to whoever wants to listen, so we’ve always catered for vinyl lovers, the CD fans and the digital download crew.

To my knowledge there hasn’t been a Subtle Audio Tour for a very long time.
Will you be planning one in the near future?

Yeah, you’re right about that and yes I am looking into the possibility of doing something in the UK soon.

Apart from Limerick, I got as far as Dublin to do a ‘Decade In Breakbeat’ party at the end of 2016 – we had Equinox, Mecca, Earl Grey, Aroma Nice and myself on the bill, but that has been about it.

Before that I was in Canada, so the opportunity to do a tour on this side of the world hasn’t been there.

The release schedule on the label is quite full for 2018, so it would be good to get out there to promote the sound a bit.

I have some ideas, so lets see what happens.

 

Any big forthcoming releases we need to know about?

 

We just did a collaboration release called ‘Elysian Boundary’ with 7th Storey Projects and Scientific Wax which (at the time of writing) is still available from the 7th Storey Projects website.

All profits go to charity.

Apart from that there are 3 new releases in the works at the moment – I just got the testing pressings back for all 3, so things are on course for a late April / early May release via the Subtle Audio site.

Have a few digital only releases lined up too which should be available via the Subtle Audio Bandcamp site a few weeks before the new vinyl bits go live.

The next release on Subtle Audio itself is from a Dutch producer called Drummotive. A very talented guy who has had a few releases on Infest’s Next Phase label already.

It’s a 3 track vinyl – with 2 D&B / Drumfunk style tunes and 1 live sounding jazz track.

I’m very happy with how the tracks work together (it’s always an important consideration for every release) and I think it’s something a bit different to what’s doing the rounds at the moment.

On Bustle Beats there’s an album project by Enjoy due very soon – it’s a 3×10″ release with 6 tracks.
Being on Bustle Beats, it’s got more of a oldskool / jungle sound to it with strong grooves for the dance floor.

I’m delighted to have the honour of releasing an album for Enjoy – he’s a great talent and it’s great to see him getting more recognition these days, he’s also had vinyl releases on AKO Beatz and Transmute in recent times.

I’m also kicking off a brand new sub-label called ‘Treaty Treats’. This is for music made in my hometown of Limerick or by producers that have some kind of connection to the place.

The first release features something from local producer K3Bee and then there’s something of mine on the flip-side.
We’ve been working on remixes of an Irish indie act called Audrey & The Icons and those should see a release in the future too.

There’s even a mad (non D&B) remix by Naphta (he’s not from Limerick but we’re thinking of giving him a pass as he lived here for a few months and he DJ’d in Limerick before!)

 

Obviously last question from us here at Drum+Basics..
Any special mentions, thanks?

 

My main thank-you goes to the supporters of the label who have kept us going for over 12 years now.

Many of them have been with us since the very first release and without that hardcore support, there would be no Subtle Audio.

Thanks, of course, to the artists – again, without them, there would be no label.

Want to give a big thanks to Beau and Bob Macc who are the nicest and most accommodating mastering engineers you could hope to have – they’ve both really helped to make us sound good over the years.

A huge thank you to Conor (Stacks) and Louisa for their great artwork over the years.

Big thanks to Manny (Deepcut) in Limerick who has been really helpful with promoting and staging Subtle Audio related nights in Limerick over the last few years.

Shouts to all the regular listeners to the Subtle Audio Show on Jungletrain – they’ve put up with countless technical issues over the last few years but still come back for more – lol.

Really though, the chat-room crew make it much more fun to play and because they are so into their beats, they help to remind me that there is an audience out there for this stuff.

Shouts to Chris Inperspective, still soldiering on after all these years.

Shouts to Simon @ 7th Storey Projects and Marlon (Equinox) @ Sci Wax – was great to collaborate on the 3×12″ release recently – respects.

Shouts to all the local Limerick crew!

Big thanks to Drum & Basics for doing this feature on the label and big shout to anyone I’ve forgotten.

 

Many Thanks Conor.

Check out these links for more info & releases you need to purchase from Subtle Audio…

http://www.subtleaudiorecordings.com
https://en-gb.facebook.com/subtleaudio/
https://www.discogs.com/label/42042-Subtle-Audio-Recordings
https://subtleaudio.bandcamp.com

Exclusive Interview: Compound Audio.

Compound Audio provide a full range of post production services to suit any requirements their clients have when developing a wide range of media products.

 

Founded in 2014 Dean Pratt aka Dapz has been supporting artists with audio mixing, mastering and post production requirements.

 

Compound Audio was founded in 2014.

What were you doing beforehand?

 

Without going into a lengthy bio.

At 13 I took up Dj’ing Drum & Bass and by 16 I progressed onto producing my own music productions in 1998.

Between 2000 & 2007 I sat many qualifications within audio engineering which gave me the necessary skills to further my career / knowledge within music itself.

Throughout my time Djing & producing (1996 to present) I have gone under various aliases such as: Dapz, Special X, Strugglaz (Crew of: Myself, Slipz, MC Bomma & MC $pyda) 1 half of the duo: SLiPZ & DaPZ and also 1 half of the duo: Silent Code.



Under these names I have had the pleasure to Dj not just in the UK but all over Europe as well as producing / remixing for some of the biggest names / labels in the business.

Before Compound Audio, I have always been mixing and mastering for myself and others from 2008, but at the time I never thought of turning it into a business.

The idea evolved when I was in partnership of running a record label and I was doing the in-house audio mastering, since then I went from strength to strength using skills that I never knew I had, this led to clients returning purely for mastering and here I am today working studio full-time.

 

You’re a qualified Teacher.

Does this help with organising your business?

 

For me, I feel that without organisation it be would chaotic as doing the job in the studio is the fun part, the admin side of things is not so fun.


Though this needs doing, having had the teacher training it helps me put things into priority order and working allocated days.



Planning ahead works for me I guess…

 

With 20 years of experience, you have worked across the whole board

( T.V Companies,Hip Hop Producers ).

You have worked with many Drum & Bass Record labels too.

 Last year you mastered Dj Futures Remix of Babylon which was nominated for Best Jungle Track of 2017…

What has been the most enjoyable project to master so far?

 

Hmmmmm!

Good question.

Although I have been blessed with not only meeting but working with some amazing people from around the word, I have learnt a lot about different types / styles of music and how certain key aspects in one genre might not be the right thing to do or apply when mixing / mastering in others.



I was stoked to be given the opportunity to master Futures Babylon remix as this track is huge and I know it has massive support from major Dj’s.


The original is one of my favourite jungle tracks from when I used listen to it on the tape packs (showing my age).

With that said, I have no preference, I give 110% on all music projects that are submitted to me but if I had to choose I would say… when I mixed & mastered over 4 hours of audio content for the computer game called…

(Dambuster – Homefront The Revolution).



It’s not something I get sent on a regular basis but this project took just under a year to complete.

The job itself had to be very strategic in order for the final audio masters to work with the “in-game-play” on the various sections of the game so that the trailer music does not clash with the narration and Foley sounds.

Mastering is not all that you do you also work with Audio mixing & any post production requirements.

What do all these entail?

 

At Compound Audio we are specialists in Mixing, Mastering & Audio production.

We provide a full range of post-production service’s to suit any requirement’s our clients have when developing a wide range of media products.


We try to cover many areas of “Pre & Post Production”.

Over the last year I broken down audio mastering into different types / styles to suit the needs and budget for the Clients giving them the choice to choose from digital mastering, analog mastering, vinyl mastering, mastered for iTunes and our newest service, Algorithm mastering.

This is not a plugin or a pre-set, its works similar to another well-known company out there (not saying no names) this can be a cheaper alternative yet still achieving a great result.

Other services we provide are…

Mixing | Stem Mastering | Trailer music / Game audio processing | Artwork | Audio Sample packs | Merchandise and more 

you can get a full break down and description via the website: www.compoundaudionet 

 

Artwork and branding is also something you specialise in.

Do you think that branding now is something that really needs pushing and needs to be focused on more?

 

Branding and merchandise have been around for years, it is more easily excessible these days and we have kept the mech to a minimum, I fell that it’s a great way to promote your company / business, not only is it for the musicians and beat makers, you can also sell the clothing to just the listeners / followers.


It’s not a necessity to push branding but if you have a following or maybe a promotion deal, it’s a great way to get people interacting.

As for the artwork, we have a motto, “You got sound, now get the look!”
.

Again, being able to do the audio post production, some labels or artists like to get the full package and have artwork made for their release or CD cover, we have in-house graphic designers to cover all this, and more.

 

 What can we expect from Compound Audio in 2018?

 

This year we are planning on putting together a record label using the platform that has been built up over the years, so much great music gets sent to us un-signed.

It’s kind of having 1st dibs on some tracks.


Also, as we provide vinyl mastering, we want to be able to follow this up and press / cut the mastered product onto vinyl for our Clients, 

as always we will continue to push promo’s and discounted deals throughout the year via the website.


Watch this space.

 

Final words,any special thanks?

 

I would like to thank yourselves Drum+Basics for giving me this opportunity to talk about Compound Audio and I hope for those that have never used us before feel the need to give us a try.

I would like to also thank my Wife, Ania, family and close friends.


A massive thank you to all of the artists and record labels out there that use Compound Audio for your post production needs, without you we wouldn’t be here today.

To all the up and coming / un-sung heroes, stay positive, keep aiming towards your dreams and don’t give up!!!

Behind The Event – SINE…

SINE an event hosted in London U.K has a vision of supplying diversity within Drum & Bass & making sure Djs/Producers have extended sets to showcase their talent.

 

Over the last several years we have witnessed some major line ups across the full spectrum of D&B & events dedicated to record labels.

 

Drum+Basics got in contact with the main man behind

  SINE

Andy Wade & asked him a few questions.

 

 

 

 Do you think you have accomplished supplying D&B diversity, since the first event?

 

I think we’re definitely doing something a bit different, pushing boundaries, using venues that haven’t been used before for DnB events, plus having artists play longer sets is giving them the room to be creative and take you on more of a journey.

 

When and who was on the lineup at the very first event?

 

The first ever SINE event was at Fire in London on 17th April 2015.

 Headlining we had Bad Company UK, A.I, Storm, Cern, Zero T and Source Direct, with Lowqui & Visionobi on hosting duties and InnerSoul in Room 2.

It was a banger!

 

 Running an event must have its ups and downs.

Did you aim to be a promoter/event manager or did it just all happen naturally?

 

Yes it does have it’s up and down and I reckon every promoter will tell you the same and how difficult it can be but you take the rough with the smooth.

It was never my intention to run parties professionally, I kind of fell in to it via running illegal raves up north and some quite  questionable student parties when I moved to London but then later came to start working with legends like Doc Scott, Ant TC1 and Digital who have helped hugely.

Now we’re looking quite far in to the future (no pun intended) and have a very clear idea of where we want SINE to be. 

 

 

Is there any positive advice you would give to those wishing to start within the promoting game?

 

Find your ‘NICHE’

No matter how big or small and nurture it.

Don’t try to go too big too quickly.

Prepare for the long game.

 

 There’s been plenty of events at various well-known clubs in London.

Now you’re using warehouses to host events.

Why & what’s the aim of doing this?

 

The main aim for SINE is to hold events in unique spaces not used for parties or at the very least at venues that have never held a DnB party before.

Warehouses were the original setting for a raves back in the day, so we’re just wanting to revisit that part of the scene.

We will be doing a lot more with Scotty’s Future party and Dispatch Recordings.

So watch this space for more on that….

 

When is the next SINE Warehouse event?

 

Our next warehouse rave is on 10th March at this wicked underground venue called Hoxton Basement, right around the corner from where the Blue Note used to be.

Amongst others, we’ve got Lenzman, Halogenix, Monty and Taelimb & Conscience playing on the night. 

 

 

Do you see the events continuing in maybe 5 years time?

 

100%.

We’ve got some big plans, both short-term and long-term, so all being well we will see you in 5+ years.

 

Any final words?

 

 Big shout out to everyone who’s reached our events over the last 12 months and everyone behind the scenes, its been a bit of a game changer for us and the support has been incredible. 

 

Many Thanks Andy.

Also Luke Baker Photography.

Here’s the link to get hold of a ticket before it sells out!

TicketTailor

 

 

Exclusive Interview: Ronin Ordinance.

Ronin Ordinance is a record label focusing on the deeper sounds of Drum and Bass.

 

The label has been slowly building up and has support from Loxy,Doc Scott & Amoss.

 

Producers who have had previous releases on the label are Corrupted,Concealed identity & Antagonist.

 

Here’s a quick Q & A with one of the record label founder/manager Benjamin Pearson.

Ronin Ordinance is a fresh record label with some unique artists.
How was the record label originally founded?

Ronin Ordinance founded early 2015.

I was helping out with another label at the time and felt i should branch off and do my own thing as I have always had a different flavour and vast selection, i thought i could have it all in one place not only that but a lot of great artists always fly under the radar.

I decided I should give them the exposure and credit they deserve.

We originally had some killer music signed at the start with an EP from Coma which featured Sense Mc and Arkaik there was also a Kolectiv release but the distribution service I was with at the time gave me issues and things got held back resulting in me not being able to put out releases.

I then took a year to gather up more info and knowledge then relaunched in November 2016 and things are now steady and stronger than ever.

Are there any other record labels that have inspired you to create Ronin Ordinance?

I think it was mostly smaller labels which gave me the spark in the beginning Halogen Music, Nurtured Beatz, Different all doing completely their own thing.

I saw an opening for Ronin Ordinance. It’s a great community we are involved in but focusing on the deeper darker side of things.

The labels I look up to are Cylon, Metalheadz, Cosmic Bridge, Architecture, Utopia and Ingredients.

What is the main aim & sound of Ronin Ordinance?

The aim is great beats consistently and to give  artists we love  that push and exposure.

The clan is forming incredibly right now we have alot of flavours which is what a label should have today.

Sound is deffo grooving deep dark and atmospheric however dont just always expect this as we got plenty covered coming into 2018.

Will there be any other genres of music on the label?

Yes!

We are not shy of taking things on a different tip. I’m a massive garage head so anything is possible but we will have to see.

I do have ideas for a 140/Bass/Techno series but that’s way down the line for now.

We’ve got loads of jungle lined up (i treat it as different genre to dnb).

There’s one track forthcoming from Medika that is certainly not normal, I’m excited to see the reactions, her EP is an absolute monster trust!

Can you see the record label being a huge success & grow bigger over the next few years?

It’s definitely something i am working up to as this is the only thing that keeps me going.

We already have a loyal following which is really humbling, some of these guys have been with us since day 1 and its great to know you get people excited for music that’s coming.

I’m also a great fan and know how it feels when you see a new release from an artist or label you really like!

Will Ronin ordnance Artists be having their releases on vinyl?

2018 shall be the year!

It’s something I would like to take a lot of time with because it’s a big deal for me to be able to do vinyl runs as im a black crack junkie myself, also cool for the artist as they can see their hard work in physical form.

When we do start them it’ll probably just be small units of 100 to see how it goes.

Will the record label be hosting any events within Europe?

Hopefully if all things go to plan i’ve already had discussions with various connections including a night in Bristol and one over in Munich so you shall be seeing us coming to takeover your city at some point.

Will be amazing to get the clan together.

Can you give us an insight into 2018 releases?

So rounding off the end of this year we have Vortex with some atmospheric jungle, kinda has that Dead Mans Chest feel to it.

Kicking off 2018 we have Australian based Fuj, he has been about for a while now and has had a string of good releases and has a lot of big ones in 2018 so watch out for him.

There’s a Belgium producer and a part of our team Solace with some more dance floor orientated techy bits.

Mark Kloud out of the US expect Experimental dubby goodness then throughout the year you an expect artists such as Sicknote, Medika, Pulseye, Out Of Fuel, Akinsa, Conspired Within more Antagonist.

There’s also a fresh up n comer by the name Hanlon (deffo watch out for him).

Any final words?

Thank-you for your time and a massive thank-you to all the fans and artist for your interest, support and love for Ronin Ordinance.

I’m so excited for the next year and hope you guys can enjoy the journey also and remember….drum & bass is a mission, not a competition!

Exclusive Interview & Guestmix: Natty Dub Recordings.

London-based Natty Dub Recordings was established in 2012 by Cabin Fever UK.

Natty Dub became a success due to having #1 chart spots on DNBarena and Juno.

Natty Dub Recordings is still growing strong.

Let’s find out some more info with a quick Q & A with Sam Frater.

Natty Dub Recordings.

 

2012 the label began.

Why not before 2012?

I had in fact run labels before 2012.

I didn’t really push the labels at the time as I was concentrating on production.
We were developing our own unique sound.

Natty Dub came about through necessity, the unique sound of our collective Cabin Fever needed a home.
Natty Dub was only ever set up to release our own music.
We believed in the music and wanted to push it, so we did.

As Natty Dub grew so did the sound and it evolved into what the label pushes today.

Does running the label take over everyday life?

Yes, it does at present, a very small but loyal team run Natty Dub.
Myself & Regina do most of the day-to-day work so yes can be very time-consuming.

We have and still are privileged to work with many artists, they keeps us busy.

Never a quiet moment here at Natty HQ.

There’s been a few familiar producers have releases on Natty Dub but saying that….
Do you wish to push the more under rated producers forward with releasing their production on your label?

We may have had some big names grace the label, like Bladerunner & Serum. Saxxon, T>I, and Jaxx amongst others on the label all making waves.

We recently signed Feline, who has recently had his first release on a various artists EP Ammo Box V4, a guy from Germany, Busterd, who also had his début single recently .

So yes, I believe Natty Dub is a label pushing new talent.

What’s lined up for 2018?

We have a lot lined up for 2018.
Off the top of my head there’s music from Saxxon, Suv , T>I , Jaxx, K-jah , Suv & Hoogs.

We are building the Rise of the Soldiers pt 2, that will hopefully be finished this year.

There will be an unveiling of the Illuminatty but that’s as much as I’m willing to say about that project.

Lots of exciting projects in the pipeline.

 Have you had any or planning any Natty Dub Events ?

This year was the first year we branched out into events.
We now have enough on our roster to offer promoters in 2018.

We have been privileged to work with some great promoters that have fully supported.

We are already in talks and planning a lot more Natty events for 2018 .

Watch This Space !!!!

Final words, any special thanks?

Firstly I want to send love to my better half Regina for the help and support she gives me with the label, without her I would go mental haha.

Sblendid Selection for his work behind the scenes.

Special thanks to the Natty squad for all their hard work and putting Natty Dub on the map.

Saxxon
T>I
Jaxx
Suv
K-Jah
Coda
Dub General
Feline
Busterd

I’m eternally grateful to you all.

To everyone else that has worked with the label over the years, Thank you .

To the supporters, without you guys there is no Natty Dub.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, your continued support drives us on.

 

To find out more info regarding future releases follow Natty Dub here….https://www.facebook.com/NattyDubRecordings/

 

Exclusive Interview & Guest Mix: Monita

We are extremely excited to post this interview together with an amazing guest mix from the one and only DJ Monita. No need for an introduction, let’s just put that mix on while reading!

I usually start from the beginning to get to know a little bit more about your background as an artist, and how you ended up doing what you’re doing now. Tell me how it all started.

It all started around late 1991 I think, when a guy from my estate approached me. He knew I was a DJ into hardcore/rave and said he had just got some sampling and sequencing software for his PC and if I fancied taking up some vinyl to his to sample.
I took a bunch of vinyl up there and started sampling some breaks and noises. We got as far as looping up a break and throwing some noise over it, but he didn’t really know how to use the software properly and I got easily bored after a couple of visits. It really gave me the bug though and I wanted more, so an old friend introduced me to a guy (K-Rox) who had quite a decent studio set up in his home bedroom.
That basically was the beginning.

I know you started the label in -92, what made you want to start your own label?

After a few sessions at K-Rox Studios I ended up with two completed tracks, ‘System Crashed’ and ‘Luv Ta Luv Ya’. I had a little bit of money and was really keen to try to get them pressed to vinyl. So rather than approaching labels, I enquired about getting 1000 copies pressed up myself.
Originally, I was going to go with a standard white label with a hand stamp on each, but someone showed me a logo that they saw at a car show of a skull & cross bones which I quite liked the look of and after a few little changes, the original Skeleton logo was created. All hand drawn!

Where did the name Skeleton Recordings and Monita come from?

Back in them days I used to knock about with a bunch of skinny guys that had the name the Skeleton Krew, so Skeleton Recordings seemed very fitting to match the logo. It was that simple.
Monita was actually something that an old friend and I came up with. I had been DJ’ing for about 3-4 months when she said I needed a DJ name. We both sat down on her bed, pen and paper in hand and started coming up with some names. Some really bad names!!
Monitor was favourite choice for us both, but I decided for one reason or another to spell it incorrectly like I did with Luv Ta Luv Ya. It’s caused me a few headaches over the years though, as quite a few think it’s pronounced Mon-ee-ta, which to me sounds like a European female DJ!

You stopped in -94 due to personal and financial reasons, was it a hard decision?

Not really, as I was pre-occupied with my eldest child by then and had started full time work. I got taken for a ride by the distribution company that were supposed to be selling / pushing Skeleton and they ended up just sitting on the last two releases (SKEL012 & SKEL013) which caused me to lose money.
Also, I didn’t really understand and appreciate just how much the label was recognised back then, so I didn’t think it would be missed much.

20 years later you re-launched with the 20th anniversary release of The Razors Edge but before that you had releases on Moving Shadow. Was it difficult to balance being a family man, working and also producing tracks together with Dom&Roland?

Yeah, it was very difficult. Working and earning regular money was my priority, as I had to look after my little family.
Dom was local to me, so we used to get together to work on bits as much as my time would allow. He is an absolute legend, as we know and it was always fun working on beats with him.

Has it always been drum&bass/jungle for you, or have you explored other genres as well?

My love for Drum & Bass comes originally from my 80’s electro days when I used to be a breaker. It certainly was the foundation for what has become my love for D&B.
I am quite open to all kinds of music. 70’s soul, 80’s and 90’s Hip-Hop, as well as some other stuff from some bands. I’ll probably get slated for admitting this, but I’m quite fond of Coldplay.

Exciting project for you and Skeleton to celebrate the 25th anniversary, what can you tell us about it?

Basically it’s 20 tracks spread over 5 vinyl releases to celebrate 25 years of Skeleton. The whole project took around a year to get to a finished state and ready for release.
The plan was to release the project over 4 months. Volumes 1 & 2 in September, Volumes 3 & 4 in October, the final part Volume 5 as a picture disc in November and then the digital release in December.
I wanted to do something for the vinyl collectors and decided to do some sort of collector’s piece. The artworks from Volumes 1 to 4 when pieced together make up one big piece of art of the original Skeleton logo. Also, giving exclusivity to the people that buy vinyl by me not releasing the digital versions until after all five volumes have been released.

How did you find the producers you wanted for this project? You’ve included some lesser known names on the first four volumes, did people recommend producers for you or did you go on a hunt for them?

Some of them have had their own release on Skeleton and I now class as friends rather than music associates, so had to have them be a part of it.
Everyone on there I rate as a producer and don’t get me wrong, it was hard work cracking that whip on some of them to get stuff finished and the track sounding right for both myself as well as them.
Yeah, each of the first four volumes do have an artist on that I felt just needed a little push. So, in my eyes, including them into a project that includes some household names from the scene was the right way to go about it.
They were people I was already in contact with anyway and were already sending demos over to me. There were more artists I could’ve gone for, but I chose the guys I thought fitted in best with the plans of the project.
There’s not one bad track on this project in my opinion and the lesser known artists really held their own.

What do you enjoy the most; djing, producing or running a record label?

Easily DJ’ing. I like being able to test out any new bits for the label and get a nice crowd reaction if things are going well during a set. People make me laugh when they say I look moody and not enjoying it when I’m behind the decks. But I love it. That look they see is my ‘focused’ look, not ‘Moody Monita’.
I haven’t produced for many years now, but always did enjoy being in the studio and having made that finished track that you and others can finally play. Maybe next year this will happen again. There’s been plenty of offers, so who knows?

What’s the hardest part of running your own label? What’s the best part?

The hardest part is definitely having to deal with the stuff to make the end product right. Tracks not mixed down quite right, pressing issues, delays in manufacturing when you have deadlines to meet etc. These are the things that most of the public don’t see.
The best is seeing all the posts, photos and comments from the supporters and also getting feedback and recognition on releases from some big names in the scene. To know that people appreciate the end result really does make all the issues that were dealt with to get that result worthwhile.

Do you ever go out raving when you’re not playing?

I try to go out as much as I can to support and network, although it has been known that I do actually shake a leg now when out.
Problem is that there’s so many good events on now that I do have to choose wisely or I’ll be out every weekend. The main ones I try not to miss are Rupture and Metalheadz events as they are always good nights for hearing quality music and socialising.
There’s a nice little group of people around at the moment that are always to be found at one event or another, so even if I go out on my own there’s always people I know in the venue.

Do you have any Skeleton nights planned?

I actually had an event in August which was done alongside Repertoire. We held it down in Rye Wax, SE London, which is a nice little intimate venue with a capacity of around 120.
Myself, Law, Dead Mans Chest, Tim Reaper, Future and Charlie Turbo were on the line up as these have represented either label with a release. The night seemed to be a success. A lot of the crowd have been asking when we are doing another one, but I haven’t thought too much about it yet. Maybe next year. Who knows?

You’ve also made a mix for us, thank you so much for that! What we can expect to hear?

You’re welcome! I quite enjoyed doing it to be honest. It’s a short 40 minute mix of Skeleton tracks which are all vinyl releases.
There’s a couple of older bits in there, quite a few selected from the XXV Project and also a couple of VIP remixes to be released in the near future. A little exclusive for Drum+Basics.
One of the remixes being a VIP of my ‘Nightmares’ which has been done by Ricky Force, this is being pressed to vinyl. The other is a rework of another of my tracks, ‘Smart Kid’, which has been done by Threshold and Theory, which again will be coming out on vinyl alongside something else which I’m not going to say too much about at the moment.

When you’re at home and want to relax, what music do you listen to?

I tend not to listen to music at home to relax. I try to catch up on movies or TV as I’m surrounded by music for most of the day.
Other styles of music I listen to though are old school 80’s Hip-Hop and 90’s rap. They are my favourite outside of D&B.

What 3 things would you bring to a desert island?

This is an easy one. My 3 kids. I couldn’t survive without them. Although I’m not quite sure they would feel the same!

What’s next for Monita and Skeleton?

Just planning and scheduling for 2018 now. The final part of the XXV Project has just been released, with a double CD of the full album coming in the next couple of weeks.
I have a nice little vinyl release out in December.
Januarys release, which is SKELR11, has just been mastered and cut and I have already finalised the releases for SKELR12, 13 and 14. Plus a few things to tie up for a couple of other releases. So 2018 is all go at the moment.
I also want to start gigging on a regular basis as I’m really enjoying it when I play out. So if anyone is interested, then you can get in touch through my social media or email info@skeletonrecordings.co.uk

Any famous last words?

Of course I would like to thank all the fans and supporters of the label. There has been a lot of love and support shown this year and I really do appreciate it.
Thanks to each of the artists that have appeared on Skeleton releases over the years, especially those on the XXV Project that I gave a lot of stick to to get things right and finished on time.
Thank you also to Jenny Jo and Mary-Anne for asking me to do this for Drum+Basics. It’s been an honour.

Here’s to the next 25 years!!

If you want to download the mix, do it from here

Tracklist:

DJ Monita – Nightmares (Ricky Force VIP Remix)
Threshold – Don’t Ask Me Why
Gremlinz – Untitled Bleeps
Response & Pliskin – Ask Yourself
Threshold – Rumours
Steve C & Monita – The Razors Edge (mSdoS 2014 Re-Work)
DSP – Lion
K-Rox & Monita – Smart Kid (Threshold & Theory 2018 Remix)
Antidote – Dead Cities
Tim Reaper – Lake Volta
Future – Time & Space
Sicknote – SCM
Ricky Force – 147

Follow Monita/Skeleton recordings here:

Skeleton Recordings Bandcamp
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Mixcloud
Soundcloud

Exclusive Interview & Guestmix : Enjoy.

Enjoy  – music producer/Dj from Udine,Italy has been producing music since 2002.

Enjoy is becoming a familiar name to some within D&B but still a mystery to many.

Drum+Basics decided to interview Enjoy, as we all need to know more!

You have a forthcoming release on AKO BEATZ no.12.
This release focuses your ambient production skills & hard heavy hitting drums ‘ Just a vibe ‘ & ‘ Fragile ‘
( personal fave )

I’m definitely hyped for this, big love to the man like Stretch he always puts a lot of passion into his record label! 

That’s actually what I love about music in general : the rough with the smooth.

Really glad Fragile has a little part in your life, just to let you all know there’s a VIP floating around here…but cannot say anymore  than this…just stay tuned!

Did you ever think you would be having a release on an iconic record label?

I guess every dj/producer has a goal and I admit AKO BEATZ is one of them. 

I’ve been a fan of AKO since I spotted it in the late 90’s, collected maniacally every single release until now.

So yeah I dreamt of it then and I couldn’t ask for more now!

When and what record label was your first release on?

My first appearance leads back in 2004 as part of a collective called Juice Loosers, we released a tune with LTJ Bukem’s Earth Recordings on Earth Vol.7 (not bad for a start !!)

As a solo artist my first releases were on an Italian net label called Laverna in 2004 and on the Australian Materializm in 2010.Kinda jumped into the dark thing, I was experimenting basically so
what I considered  the real baptism was releasing 2 tunes from my 2 main projects (Enjoy and The Blunt Needles) on Code’s Subtle Audio Vol.2 in 2010 and just after that a split vinyl release with Nebula on Bustle Beats in 2013.

A special mention has to go to Eschaton, head of Omni Music for releasing my first ever LP in 2013 and for including me in a vinyl project along with artists like Dj Trax, Infest, LM1 and Justice (2013/2015).

Chris is a real talent scout…try and check out the Omni Music catalogue, you’ll find some usual suspects!
Anyways lets just say all of these releases were shared with other artists, so technically my very first solo vinyl is this years’ ‘Cloud/Empty Structures’ on Transmute.

 

Is it dominantly Drum & Bass you wish to produce in the future?

 Jungle/D’n’B is the core but I’ve always written down tempo and breakbeat stuff.
I recently had the chance to release those kind of sounds on Next Phase Records, thanks to Infest for believing in those old beats!

When it’s time for you to hit the studio, what do you focus on first with music production?
Ideas first!

It’s difficult to say where I start from because it really depends on what I have in mind, it should be a sample or a particular sound that fascinates me.

Anyway.. I quickly write a loop to have the idea there, then I work on the sounds to let them glue together,
then edits and edits and edits… I’m an edit addict (..and actually not sure if it’s good or not lol)

Any specific software?

Cubase, a little bunch of plugins and my 2 girlfriends : Roland MC505 and miniKorgXL, all the basic stuff anyways.

How long did it take to produce ‘Just a vibe’ & ‘Fragile’

I guess 2/3 weeks,difficult to say to be honest, as I jump in the studio whenever I have time from my daily work.
So it’s an hour here and there..I’m pretty slow after all.

Which do you prefer producing music or Djing?

Both of course, 2 parts of the same passion.

 2018 is approaching already, any other releases we can look forward too?

I’ve got a few releases lined up including 2 albums, 2 singles and a bunch of remixes.
I can’t reveal too much to be honest.

What I can say is to take a look at these labels…
Omni Music, Bustle Beats, AKO, Next Phase, The Dreamers and Tarantula.

Are any included in the exclusive guest mix you’ve provided for Drum+Basics?

For the mix tape I thought I’d focus on the HUGE quantity of quality beats that are out there at the moment,
there is a lot of wicked music like in the sweet old days so I gotta pay some homage to some of the people who I respect and whose music I love to the bone (despite the 1 hour limit…I could’ve done a 3 hour mix tape lol).

Anyways as well as ‘Just a Vibe’ and a very fave of mine Nebula’s ‘Spectrum of Styles’ , you’ll find a tribute remix I did for Stretch, Guyver business which i was at a crucial point  when I did it nearly 3 years ago and a special one by The Blunt Needles (me and my partner in crime and life Dany) which is still unreleased.

Hope you enjoy it!

Of course have you any final words,special thanks?

I’d like to thank you Mary-Anne and Jenny Jo at Drum+Basics for this opportunity, I definitely appreciate the passion you put into this work.

I’m feeling blessed for all the people who contact me just to give a shout or simply chat because of the music.I mean it’s something that makes my day and motivates me, I’m so grateful for this.

There’s really a lot of people to mention and I’m pretty sure I’m missing someone.

A massive big up for the support and the continuing energy goes out to Stretch, Code, Eschaton, Rob Strike, Infest , Nibbers, Maxist, Lu, Maurizio Ravalico, District, Dj Trax, Nucleus, Bob Macc, Equinox, Double O & Mantra, Greenleaf, Ricky Force, Rumbleton, MartianMan, Monita, Ricky Law, The Beautifully Crafted Jungle Crew, Dj Ardimann, Tode & Mother Inc. Crew, Neve and The Dreamers Crew, Stefano B, and of course my real muse : Dany!

Release date for Enjoy – Just a vibe & Fragile is 3/11/17
http://akobeatz.com

 

Exclusive Interview & Guest Mix – Headgear

Headgear is no stranger to Jungle / Drum and Bass; back in the 90’s he went under various artist names including Threshold.

Previous releases on Foundation X, Brain Records & Second Movement Recordings all under different artist names.

To save some confusion M_A decided to interview Headgear to get the facts & hear about his forthcoming release on AKO Beatz this month.

Was there any specific reason to change your artist name?

To be honest it’s not the first time I’ve changed or used different names.

Back in 93 I was featured on Plasmic Life Vol.2 (Brain Records – DOPE23) using the name ‘Alistar’. I was also part of ‘The TI Cru’ where I did the B-side for Tech Itch’s second release (TI002).

I then had a solo release on Tech Itch (TI005) and went under the name ‘Soundcraft’. ‘T.I.C’ was the next name I used with Mark Caro for our release on Back to Basics (B2B12023), I did the track ‘Rockers’ and Mark did ‘Too Fast’ on the flip.

After a short break from producing (can’t remember why) I got back on it and began using the name ‘Threshold’. I used this for my release ‘The Wire’ on Second Movement (SMR33).

I then did some work with ‘Ultravibe’ on some collaborative projects using the name ‘Logistics’. These tracks were put out on ‘Dubz’ (DUBZ001-3) a sister label of Back to Basics.

I than stepped away from the music for 15 years until a friend encouraged me to listen to Rupture Sessions on Jungletrain.net (Big up Rondema). I realised very quickly that I wanted to get back into making beats.

Anyway, to finally answer your question hahaha (sorry, it needed explaining.). I couldn’t go back to the name ‘Threshold’ as a certain someone (Forrester) had started using it. Funny thing is me and Forrester (new Threshold) are now good friends and we’ve collaborated on tracks since meeting at Rupture.

So now I’m HEADGEAR and I think I’m sticking with it….for now.

So you used to be part of Tech Itch in the 90s. Are you still in contact and will you be producing music together again?

I’d lost contact with Mark Caro (Tech Itch) around 95 after he moved from Birmingham to Bristol. Then, after nearly 20 or so years he gets in touch and is keen to work on something in the future. Watch this space, time permitting.

Do you personally think that you should have continued or has the long break served you well?

I definitely needed to step away when I did, I’d lost my love for the music, plain and simple. I wasn’t enjoying it and had many external pressures and responsibilities that needed my attention.

I’ve now come back to the music feeling excited like I did before. I’m not putting pressure on myself, I’m doing it for the love of doing it, and if any music opportunities come my way then it’s a bonus.

I never thought I’d get back into producing after such a long time, so to have a number of digital and now vinyl releases recently gives me the confidence in my own ability which helps give me the drive and motivation to continue. The only problem I have is the lack of time I get in the studio. Life just keeps getting in the way haha.

Now to the present..

So Headgear you’ve only had a handful of releases since your gap in music production.

There’s a great forthcoming release on AKO Beatz.

Tell us more.

This forthcoming release is a nod to just some of my favourite producers that rekindled my love for this music – you can definitely hear their influence across all 3 tracks. I’m not going to say who they are… I’m sure you can figure them out.

Will you now continue producing music with no long breaks and get the releases flowing again?

I certainly hope so, I’ve got that music making bug again.

You’re obviously known to collaborate with other producers… Do you prefer collaborations or solo music production?

It’s hard to say which I prefer but I think at the moment I want to concentrate on getting some more solo work under my belt, mainly because my time is very limited so any time I do get in the studio I want to build up my own portfolio a bit more.

However, I do like the idea of working with other artists just to see what can come of it.

Anything in the pipeline?

Got some remix projects coming up which I can’t really talk about as well as a follow up to my release on AKO. I’m also working on something for the forthcoming AKO Album ‘Unknown Elements’ due in 2018.

Have you noticed any major changes in Drum & Bass from the 90’s to now?
i.e production, social media, the way releases are planned.

Where do I start? Haha.

It’s crazy to think how things have moved on since then. You now have almost limitless possibilities when it comes to sequencing and sound manipulation. This is obviously a good thing but can also be daunting.

Back in the early days having technical limitations shaped how you worked and what you produced. These constraints made artists really push their equipment beyond what was thought possible.

I still can’t believe how patient I must have been to produce tracks on Amiga’s, ST’s and hardware samplers. You had to make do with what you had until you got your hands on the next piece of tech.

Social media has become integral to the scene, it’s made the world smaller. Lets just say things are much easier now lol.

Any special thanks & final words?

Much love to all that have supported and believed in me over the years. There’s too many people to mention so I wont reel off a load of names plus I’m pretty sure I’ll forget someone. Near and far you know who you are, Big up.

P.S. thanks for the interview Drum + Basics.

Many Thanks Headgear…

Headgear  – Planet03EP ( AKOBO11 ) Release date: 1st November 2017 click the link for more info… 

http://akobeatz.com

Also many thanks to Thumbs Footage Photography.

 

 

Exclusive Interview with: Spline – Dispatch Recordings

Hey Spline, so you’re a new face to some within Drum & Bass.
Please introduce yourself…

Hello everyone.
My name is Andrey, I’m from Samara which is located on the bank of the Volga River in Russia.
I’m a DJ and a musician.
From time to time I take part in DnB music events, that take place in Samara and in other Russian cities.
I love broken rhythms and “bold“ sounds.

 

So you’re located in Russia.
Do you have many events, Djs and record labels there?

Yes, of course but we do not have as many record labels as in the U.K.
Also parties with underground DnB music are rarely held in Samara.
All events are mainly held in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Would you consider moving to the U.K just for D&B?

I have never been to the U.K.
Of course I want to visit your country, not only as a tourist but also as a DJ and a musician.
To be honest, I didn’t think about moving to England but who knows.

 

This Friday you have your debut on Dispatch Recordings.
Congratulations.
How did this happen?

Yes, thank you!
If we talk about how I got into this culture it will be a long story, that began in the year 2000.
If we talk about how my tracks were getting released on Dispatch Recordings, then I’ll say – it was simple.
I just sent the tracks over via email and Ant TC1 said that he likes it.
So everything was quite straight forward and easy.

 

Are there any other record labels that you really want to have releases on?

Yes, of course and there are so many record labels i wish to release on.
I don’t bind my creativity to some kind of labels but I will mark my tunes to fit some labels.
Metalheadz have  influenced me at a certain age & that would be a dream to release on that record label.

 

When it comes to music production, where do you get your inspiration from?

Ohhh … It can be almost anything that can give an emotion, a thought.
I can sit around sorting out sound banks, find some FX sound that has nothing to do with DNB and make a melody from it,with which everything can begin.
Or just experiment with Bass and BOOM!
Other music influences me a lot and this is not necessarily DNB.
This is something that can be from hip-hop, or jazz or whatever.
Also it can be a couple of sounds from a scene of a movie about robots and of course the most important generator is in my bathroom!
When I go into the shower, everything falls into place!
Then suddenly a new track appears.

Any big plans for 2018?

At this moment I have a lot of projects that I’m finishing and of course I have such a big task of creating music that will be more than just music!

 Final words…

Create, experiment, be strong and appreciate your loved ones especially those who help you!

Spline ” Injection EP ” release is out on general sale this Friday.
Click the link to purchase…
https://www.dispatchrecordings.com/product/disltd043-spline-injection-ep/

Exclusive Interview – Payback Promotions – Birmingham.

Please introduce yourself.

Hey big upz all the Drum + Basics ladies.hope all is bless.

I’m Andy Stringer founder and owner of Payback Promotions Artist Management Agency supplying established and fresh up and coming Jungle/Dnb/Oldskool and Reggae artists to events and festivals worldwide.
We also run Payback Events at Club Pst in Birmingham alongside the one they call my partner in crime the sheriff Kurt Kelly.

Payback promotions is a family affair many Djs/Producers contribute to the events in Birmingham.

Do you feel that the events will continue in Birmingham or expand into different towns and cities?

For real we at Payback have many artists repping us and contributing to our events not just from Birmingham but from all over the Uk and even internationally..

Our home for events is in Birmingham but we are always looking at opportunities to take the Payback brand and showcasing the artists on the agency and expand into other towns and cities in the Uk whether its hosting a stage at festivals to hosting a room at events Payback always brings the vibes ..

How have you as a  promoter/manager managed to keep residency at Club PST all these years?

We first started doing events in 2010 at various venues like Suki 10c and Plug in Birmingham then we came across Club Pst (PEOPLE STAND TOGETHER) in late 2010 and fell in love with the place,at the time the venue was undergoing refurbishment so we did the odd event there and at the other venues until the works was complete then we started using Pst for our events and not looked back since .

Club Pst is probs one of the best underground venues in the Uk the owners Specta,Pecka,Jake and all the crew are always so welcoming a proper family affair and the venue is so intimate and the vibes are always electric with good food,cheap drinks and of course quality events everyone who visits Pst always leaves with a smile on their face.

We are blessed to be involved with Club Pst and look forward to putting on events there in the future.

 

Do you feel that Birmingham is mainly dominated by Jungle & Jump up or has a mixture of line ups (sub genres)?

Birmingham is a very diverse city especially when it comes to underground events and music.

I would agree that Birmingham is dominated by Jump Up/Dnb nights but we at Payback and a couple like-minded promoters started to bring Jungle events back to Birmingham with a massive success and will continue to push it through our events for years to come.

Would you go out of your comfort zone on a line up or do you keep it to your personal style you enjoy and do you take on board what D&B heads request?

Yeah we have done Oldskool,Dnb and even Reggae as well as Jungle events in the past but the last few years has been all about the Nuskool Jungle.

We try to keep it with as much Jungle on the lineups as possible as there are enough Dnb/Jump Up events already in Birmingham gives peeps more choice.

Do you get overwhelmed by the events that you host?

Always lol, if you see me with a tear in my eye you know why!

I love it when a plan comes together and the smiles and reactions on people’s faces all having a good time makes me tick all about the good vibes trust.

Are you noticing the younger generation attending your events & their ears are being educated?

Yes, the younger generation are attending our events more and more and they are definitely getting educated.

We work alongside Kiran Bangerh (DUBGASM) and Huw (Dubsoc) who work alongside like-minded students in the midlands universities spreading the jungle and Dnb vibes after all they are the future and key to keeping the underground scene alive for generations to come same in places like Leeds,Manchester and Bristol the younger generation are attending more and more events.

What’s lined up for the rest of the year & into 2018?

Incoming for the rest of the year and into 2018 from Payback …

6/10 – BASS INVADERZ 2.0 – CLUB PST BIRMINGHAM

7/10 – JUNGLISTS RUN COME ( JAKES BDAY BASH ) – CLUB PST BIRMINGHAM

28/10 – JUNGLE JAM – MANCHESTER (co hosting room 2 with Bloc2bloc)

11/11 – RIZZLA BDAY BASH – CLUB PST – BIRMINGHAM

17/12 – PAYBACK FREE 12 HOUR XMAS PARTY – CLUB PST -BIRMINGHAM

7/4/18 – ARIES BDAY BASH -CLUB PST -BIRMINGHAM

28/4 – CHESHIRE CATS BDAY BASH – CLUB PST – BIRMINGHAM

We also do a PAYBACK LIVE RADIO session once a month which is open to the public on a Sunday 4pm-10pm live from Club Pst.

Showcasing Payback artists and guests and a Payback boat party is also planned for 2018 follow Payback Promotions on FB for news on all forthcoming Payback events and to book any of the Payback artists for events/festivals check out the website for more info >>
www.payback-promotions.co.uk

Any final words?

I would like to thank Mary-Anne Hood and Jenny Jo at Drum+Basics  for the interview opportunity,big love!

Also shouts to all the artists repping Payback and all the artists who have played for us over the years big upz Kurt & Amanda,Specta,Pecka,Jake and all the Pst crew,Matthew Blick(flyers).

Aries,Chopstick Dubplate,Cheshire Cat,Kjah,Jungle Citizenz,Cautious,Rizzla,Ras Demo,Mono Paul & Paul Reynolds (sound).

Glenn Aston Jaytee,Jella,Patrick,Dimpz, Adi (GammaFunkula) the Manchester crew,Bloc2bloc,Kiz (DUBGASM) Huw (Dubsoc) all the Jungle Jam family all the Raiders of the Oldskool crew also shouts going out to Tenor Fly gone but never forgotten King.

Shouts to everyone working their ass off behind the scenes at Payback and lastly massive shouts to all the promoters booking Payback artists and each and every raver who come out and support our events without you all,none of this would be possible.

Many thanks,
Andy Stringer from Payback Promotions.

Exclusive Interview & Guest Mix: Distant Planet >> Louise Plus One & Hughesee

Hello Simon and Louise who run Distant Planet. Thanks for answering my questions and making a mix for us!

From what i gather, you’re both DJs & promoters. Are you involved with other things within the dnb/rave scene?

We also sell records online and at the Clashmouth D’n’B Record Fair, the next one is coming up on 28th October in Cafe 1001, Brick Lane in London. It’s a great opportunity for a get together with other DJs, Producers, Promoters and Label owners, not just for buying records but also to hang out and chat with out being at a rave. We only sell records so we can buy more. Lol.

How did you get involved with the raving scene and how did you end up together (if you don’t mid me asking…)?

Simon: We generally like to go out raving to the sounds that are important to us not to just attend events when we are booked we love the social aspect. We have guested on radio shows on various stations such as Originuk.net, Koollondon.com, Cambridge105.fm and Jungletrain.net to name a few.

Louise: I used to go to the odd rave from about 87, however, it was when I started going to squat parties in 94 that the rave scene took its hold on me. Within a few years I had bought some decks and started co organising events and put my own night on called Re-Rave-All in the Dungeons in Hackney. I used to put on a Sunday all dayer with Jerome Hill at a pub called the Pembury Tavern in the late nineties. I was lucky enough to play in some huge warehouses to massive crowds. Eventually I started playing on Interface Radio which I think was the first Internet Dance Music Station. and became aware of Simon. We would bump into each other at parties and 7 years ago we started to hang about together on a more regular basis, raving, doing radio shows and and eventually forming a relationship. Putting on an event together was a natural progression and we linked up with a few like minded people and formed Distant Planet.

What was the plan with Distant planet from the beginning?

Simon: We always wanted to achieve consistency in terms of quality music with decent sound quality at our events with a friendly vibe and I think we have achieved this. My main ambition for Distant Planet has always been to put on outdoor events in the countryside which is something we are working towards.

What has been toughest in running your own night and what have you learnt along the way?

Louise: The hardest bit about running a night is getting out of bed at 4am to go flyering in the middle of winter. However, I think this is essential to make a success out of an event. Hopefully we now have a fairly decent following so we still flyer but not to the extent we did. I have learned to be more confident about what we are doing. I think Simon and I have learned a lot from each other. He has taught me to be a bit more careful about the financial aspects of putting on an event and he I think he has learned about promotion and putting himself out there.

You’re both ravers I assume – what do you enjoy the most; djing, promoting or raving? How has the raving scene changed since you started going out?

Simon: For me DJ’ing .. simple as! Best hobby ever, I tend to say that quite a lot in conversation. How has the rave scene changed? Seems like it’s the same idea a lot of people coming together through music. The scene has changed in terms of new clubs starting and it seems like so many iconic clubs we knew and grew fond of in London closing down which is a shame. The structure of the more mainstream events seems more focused on digital DJing quick mixes and getting as many DJ’s on the bill but we don’t really go to many of them nights for that reason the nights we do go to seem to keep the core basis about what the raves back in the day were all about, good music, dj’s and great vibes!

Louise:
I love all three. But it’s fantastic being involved in an event and DJing at it. Putting on events is great as I have something to look forward to. I’ve seen the rave scene go up and down in terms of popularity, however, I am always optimistic and I suppose we are lucky here in London as there is always so much going on. The growing festival scene is a great sign that people do want to get together in a field and dance, which is amazing. I love the fact that festivals are popping up all over the place.

Best rave you’ve ever been too?

Simon: Too many to say one favourite so many parties different for different reasons. I would have to say Rupture seems to come up very high due to the consistent quality of DJ’s that play there and the awesome vibes of so many friends under one roof. There has been so many great free parties back in the day that I went to and helped with sound systems like the Oxford Ridgeway Moots they used to really kick off with sound systems from all over the UK great times!

Louise: Its very difficult to say as I can’t remember. I’d like to mention Rupture here as Indi and David put on probably the best underground event in London, if anyone reading this hasn’t been I recommend you check it out. Castle Morton Common in 92 was amazing. I wish I could go back and do it again.

Lots of clubs are closing down and it seems to be hard to find good venues, what do you think is going to happen with the raving/club scene?

Simon: In London it seems a way different place to rave then it was when I first started going out, so many iconic clubs have shut down or been demolished. It’s becoming more harder to put parties on you really have to go to some lengths to make it work so it’s good to see people putting the effort in. Perhaps a shift more towards festivals? isn’t that already happening?

Louise: There is a venue shortage, however, in London you can always find somewhere if you really think outside the box and look about, especially in London. It feels like I get invited to more things every weekend than ever. Although they might be smaller events there is a raving spirit still there. It does worry me the lack of stuff happening in some towns outside the big cities.

Louise; as a woman, do you think you’ve had to work extra hard to prove you’re a good DJ?

I seem to be fairly well respected as a woman dj, especially on the London Jungle and Old Skool scene, I have always had maximum respect off people. Whether or not I would get more bookings as a man I’ll never know. lol. I do hear about women not being taken seriously on other areas of the scene. Also on many of the lineups at bigger events there seems to be very few female DJs. I think the number of women DJs is increasing slowly.

When are you guys playing out next and when is the next Distant Planet?

The next time we play out will be at the next Distant Planet on September 30th which will be an all day event at The Royal Sovereign in Hackney. We will be focusing on 1992 and previous years musically. We have a treat in store as David Rupture who is going to be doing a 91 Techno set which is the era that he represented, playing at venues such as the Doncaster Warehouse back in the day. Simon and the staff are really behind our events we do there which is nice so thanks to them. We also have Morgan OSL who played on Rinse FM and Format FM back in the early Nineties. He is going to be doing a 90/91 Rave Set. Sharon Taylor coming up from Kent to do an Acid House set, plus Sherrine will be starting of the proceedings with a wicked 2 hour mix of Dancehall, Dub and Roots Reggae. Myself and Simon will be playing too. The pub is really chilled, and as always at Distant Planet Parties the vibes are really friendly. As its child friendly a lot of ravers can bring their kids and have a proper catch up with everyone. There is a big garden out the back and excellent Pizza.

How do you go on about choosing the DJs for a night?

Louise: I’m starting to realise how important it is to book DJs who are really out there doing their thing. It’s important they represent the music style we want and can play a good vinyl set. They don’t necessarily have to be a big name, just play quality music and promote themselves well. Also we favour people who come to our night as they will an understanding of what we are about and what we will expect from them as a DJ.

You’ve done a mix for us as well, what can you say about it?

In our mix we have included tunes that we love and you will hear us play out, many of them are Old Skool from 93/4, however, there is so much good stuff coming out at the moment so we have included some of the more recent stuff.

What’s next for you?

Simon: More Raving, DJ’ing and Production. We are really trying to push ourselves in the production area and we really like old hardware we have a fair few Synths, Samplers, Drum machines and Effects units that can make some really awesome sounds.. lots of fun.

Louise: I want really want to take Distant Planet to festivals. We are going to be knuckling down in the studio over the next few months and putting on more parties.

Any famous last words?
Shouts out to everyone we know, we started to make a list and it got so long and we were so scared of leaving people out.

Big up Jenny for your support.

 

Follow Distant Planet on Facebook, Twitter,  YouTube.

More info about the 30th All dayer: Distant Planet