Loxy & Ink interview: lockdown, new music and their hip hop roots

Fresh off their recent release on R&S Records, I sat down with Loxy & Ink to talk about lockdown, the Phoenix Rising EP and future projects.

The five-track EP offers a fresh slice of variety, spanning three different genres of music. Woven with familiar and new sounds, this is just what the scene needs as venues start to reopen across the UK.

How long has this EP been in the works, and how has it been to be collaborating over lockdown?

Ink: The EP in its first creation was actually Give Me a Dubplate, about 2 years ago. There was no talk of it being in the format that it’s become now. It’s evolved over time.

Loxy: Back in the day production had to be done together in a studio, but now with modern technology, we can bounce tracks between each other, so lockdown wasn’t a hindrance.

Ink: On the other hand, we found seeing each other in person meant we could more naturally roll on to new projects.
We have a lot of the same interests – Gremlinz, Resound, Loomis, Pessimist, Overlook, Clarity and ourselves. It’s like our extended family.

We end up at the same gigs or see each other around the city. You see someone out, and before you know it, you’ve hooked up to do a tune.
We’ve been able to negotiate the territory but you want to be out high fiving and getting a drink.

Loxy
Loxy

R&S have such a variety of sounds and artists, how did that link come about?

Loxy: I’ve got a good friend, Meriton, who runs Mentality in Belgium. He’s friends with the guys at R&S and was the driving force behind us making that link. He started passing over our music and things lined up from there.

Ink: Back in the day I remember seeing Wax Doctor on this label with a horse on it and I remember thinking that they had some dope tunes, and even before that with Plastic Dreams.

Listening through this EP, my first surprise was to hear an opening hip hop track, ‘Manifested Visions’, that you both spit on. Where did this idea come from?

Loxy: We’ve actually been doing hip hop as long as we’ve been doing dnb. When I first started DJ’ing I used to MC for myself on Chillin FM and Pulse FM or down at  Eruption FM. After that, Ink, MC Rage and I had a group called School of Mad Thoughts and then that was followed by another group called Fifth Element. To others, who don’t know us well, it’s been a surprise.

Ink: I remember being in the Sixth Form College and hearing all the hardcore music and wanting to be part of the scene. I thought the best thing for me was to pick up the mic and start MC’ing for DJ Kwest who at the time was mixing at the school. From that, I got a taste for it and my focus was initially the mic.

I came up with Justyce MC who now rolls with Sigma. Back in the day, on Defection FM it was the Prospects Crew. So I was trying to get an in by going on the mic at Roller Express but my passion for playing music eventually took over.
Once I linked up with Lox we were already doing the hip hop anyway. It was second nature but we didn’t release it.

The timing is right now, Sway was one of the first in the UK to burst the bubble, as it were, and paved the way for everything in the UK scene. He said that back then Fifth Element was ahead of its time, and it showed as only the committed kept with it and supported. Right now, the changing climate has meant that people are now ready to hear what we’ve got to say.

Phoenix Rising is returning to more familiar ground, a real set-opener. Does the name carry any profound meaning for you both?

Loxy: We’ve been doing this a long time and we’re always coming with new work. Sometimes people think that someone in our position might be out of ideas, you might get counted out. So, the title represents that we always come back with something that makes a ripple in the scene and rises from the ashes.

Ink: When we make music, we always give it that further meaning. There are always levels within what we’re doing. If you take time, you can identify that meaning.
The style is what we’ve nurtured over time. We’ve always been that schizophonic style, where it starts in one place and ends in another. You’re never sure where it might go. But we’re also known for the rollers, so what we tried to do for Phoenix Rising was bring that rolling element with the schizophonic movement.

Ink
Ink

To finish the EP you’re hit with another surprise – a dub track, ‘Get Back Up’. Can either of you see yourselves pursuing a future outside of dnb?

Loxy: We like music in general, so this just comes from another influence. There’s a lot of music that we haven’t released that people are probably unaware that we do and they’ll be more surprises down the road. We’re big into dub.

Ink: Tha Lion has been a friend for a long time and he’s like family, so it was a no-brainer. Initially, we did something on the Architecture label and then laced up some vocals. I liaised with Lox but we didn’t have a soundtrack for it. He’s chatting like a DJ from back’a yard but then he goes into rap. It’s not quite dub and not quite Manifested Visions. You can hear the lyrical content and it’s got more of a structure.

What can we expect from you both in the future?

Loxy: We’ve got an album in progress for R&S, you can guarantee that we’ll have some more hip hop on there. Also, some other bits that people will be less accustomed to hearing us release but nevertheless we’ve been working on it in the background for many years.

I’ve got Cylon Records and Ink’s got Architecture, so expect releases on both of them.

I’ve got a few gigs this month, playing a Boiler Room night in Poland. There’s a backlog of gigs over the last year so there’s going to be an influx of events. The lockdown has removed the culture of ‘rinse and throw away’ because there have been no clubs to play in. People won’t be as hungry for the newer tracks as DJs will be looking back across the last year for pieces they’ve been wanting to play.

Ink: We’ve both got releases coming out on Dispatch ‘Blueprints’, both dropping this year. We’ve got a Metalheadz release which is a revisit to that nostalgic sound, that essence. It’s the reason why we were first interested in this music. We’re also both playing at Hospitality events in the late summer.

Any shoutouts?
Jodi Lulati, Miriam Safo, Tha Lion, Meriton, Gremlinz, Resound, Loomis, Pessimist, Overlook, Clarity, Kwest, J. Dub and S-Capade.

Listen to the Phoenix Rising EP by Loxy & Ink, out now on Spotify and available for purchase.

 

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World’s Collide: An Event for the New Era of Raving 

A brand new jungle / drum & bass night is coming to North London venue, The Cause on Thursday 22nd July with an enormous line-up. 

Chase and Status will be headlining the day party alongside Rage MC for an exclusive 90-minute set, alongside pioneers Fabio and Grooverider, with support from energetic newcomers Kara, Jappa and Zoro. 

World’s Collide is the official launch of a new ongoing collaborative brand between The Cause and venue residents, Motive Hunter and Modern Funktion.

This mammoth lineup does not stop there, as the party will continue into the night, with sets from Randall, Particle, Paul T & Edward Oberon to satisfy fans of darker drum & bass.

It is an exciting time for The Cause, with new parties supporting emerging talent and new developments within the venue that you can expect to see on 22nd July. 

But also keep your eyes peeled for World’s Collide, as this is not a one-off event. Expect a monthly party to fill your drum & bass void and slowly, Thursday will become the new Friday.

TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE

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Get To Know: Das Booty

Those that have been following Das Booty from the start know that they can throw a proper party. From their inception in 2018, they have come far and have established themselves as a staple event at South London’s Venue MOT. They have also expanded into a music label, with releases from Samurai Breaks, Shawn Cartier, Polo Lilli & Luke’s Anger. 

If you haven’t heard of Das Booty and you appreciate an eclectic mix of genres and dynamic lineups – this one’s for you. “Another thing I love is that Das Booty represents a multitude of genres, which I guess suits my style perfectly. I think Rory curates lineups that reflect that there’s always a lovely melting pot of styles and tempos throughout the night” says resident Osc Kins. 

A distinctive feature of Das Booty regulars is their zest and camaraderie, “If I had to pick two words to summarise Das Booty ravers, they’d be energetic and friendly. There’s always a lovely mix of people in from various branches of society and it’s really grounding to walk away from a rave with a touch more faith in humanity”, added Osc Kins. 

You’ll also find with Das Booty ravers that they have stamina and are there until the very end. In Osc Kins’ words: “To date, I think the best gig I’ve ever played was January last year; closing Venue MOT in the early hours of the morning to a still completely packed dance floor” 

We caught up with founder Rory on the current rave scene and what’s in store for Das Booty. 

 

How and when did Das Booty start?

The first Das Booty was in December 2018. It was a party for friends with all mates DJing – shouts out to Jerome Hill, Louse +1, Hughesee, Dave Shades, Boycey,Titus and Tensor! I wanted to do a party with all the music that I loved in one party as there weren’t many mixed genre parties at that time. It was Techno, Oldskool Hardcore, Jungle, UKG, Bassline, Ghettotech all in one night and it was banging from start to finish.

Over time the sound has evolved, as a younger bunch of DJ became known to me and it was very interesting to hear what they were into and how it could fit into Das Booty. Big ups the Hard and Nasty crew!

The 160/jungle footwork/turbo scene has also started to feature very prominently in our lineups. It’s very exciting as the scene is relatively young and the rules are still being made. It’s fresh and unpredictable which I love. It’s very important to me that Das Booty pushes things forward, while also holding a firm respect for the past. 

 

How did you get into the rave scene?

I was hugely into music as a teenager and snuck into my first club in 1996!! It wasn’t until 1998 or so that I went to my first ‘proper’ rave and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s been a whirlwind of warehouses, clubs, squats, after parties, fields and festivals ever since. I’ve slowed down a lot since then, but it’s still the main focus of my life.

 

What has been one of the most memorable events you’ve been to? And the most memorable Das Booty event?

I guess my most formative years were spent in London squat parties, which definitely shaped my ethos of what makes a good party! Although to be truthful, memories are a little erm… hazy lets say… 

The Steart Beach rave was very impressive! Coin Operated at The Lord Napier in Hackney Wick was pretty mind-blowing. Don’t and Distant Planet are always consistently amazing.

I suppose the most memorable events were ones where we would get a rig and do a private party out in the countryside. All the ‘serious’ music was played in the night with the fun music coming out in the morning. Shout out to ASNS. Good times.

There’s been plenty of memorable Das Booty moments. January 2020. Warlock had been playing 2 hours of break step as part of a 2-hour rag & bone retrospective. The place was absolutely packed and it was like a pressure cooker in there. Mark ‘Turbo’ Turner came on to play a dance mania set…… and the whole place exploded. People lost their minds. Literally bouncing off the walls, humping the speakers, girls getting on guys shoulders, people just going berserk. It was like a medieval battlefield. That shit was bananas. 

Another was Dave Shades at their first birthday. He had just walked in the door from playing a set in Berlin. He smashed out a ghettotech/booty set throwing tracks in at breakneck speed, the whole time cutting, scratching, and beat juggling doubles at 170 bpm. The first 5 mins alone were mind-blowing, and he just kept ripping it up from there. You couldn’t stand too close to the decks, the energy was too overwhelming. That was the best set I’ve ever seen. It was ridiculous.

And of course, a special mention goes out to RRRitalin’s record-breaking spinback. 

 

What cultural changes will we see in the nightlife and events industry as clubs start to reopen?

There’s been a lot of talks of promoters supporting local artists over the big DJs. That’s something we’ve always tried to do anyway, as I think clubs should be about community rather than getting down whoever is famous that week. I guess we’ll see whether that comes true. 

I think clubs will be swamped as more people who aren’t so into regular clubbing will be itching to party too. I’m hoping that there will be a drive to have more interesting and exciting music than before the pandemic since people will be more open and positive about going out again. But equally, it could go the other way if promoters end up catering to a more mainstream audience. I guess time will tell.

I think there will be more diversity in lineups which I think is great. While we don’t have an actual policy of focusing on diversity, I think it’s always interesting hearing what a DJ has to ‘say’ with their music. And by now I think we’ve all heard what straight white males have to say. Let’s have some variety eh.  

 

Will raves have the same impact as they did throughout the summer of 2020?

I think that perhaps they will have more impact. People are really gagging to go out!  While we had some great parties over summer 2020, the police were breathing down our back the whole time which meant people couldn’t really let go.

We had a lot of positive feedback over the parties we managed to squeeze in over the limited time we had last summer. People were really grateful for the release. Even so, I don’t think anyone would describe them as mind-blowing – the restrictions were too much to truly let go of.

But this summer people will go nuts! The feeling of freedom will be phenomenal. 

It’s very interesting too if you look at the artwork most rave promoters are using for their flyers. Very positive rather than ‘edgy’. We’re all wanting to get on the dancefloor again.

 

What’s in store for the rest of the year?

We have a night at MOT coming up on the August bank holiday, with Tim Reaper, Samurai Breaks, Shawn Cartier, Polo Lilli, Angel D’lite, Osc Kins and Mixtress playing. 

We have two more parties locked in at MOT later in the year and possibly an NYE party somewhere else too!! We got a couple of smaller under the radar parties in the works as well so keep your eyes peeled for those. The label has a bunch of releases on the horizon too, which I am very excited about. 

 

Their next event is on 28th August at Venue MOT.

 

‘Can’t wait for the next one I’m buzzing’ – Osc Kins.

If you haven’t checked out our label you should….  https://dasbootyrave.bandcamp.com/

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/dasbootyrave

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The Label Machine book helps you start, run and grow your own label

Whether you want to start a record label, self-release your own music, or are just an avid music lover, The Label Machine: How to Start, Run and Grow Your Own Independent Music Label will give you vital information about the business of music. It’s the first book to give music artists practical step-by-step comprehensive instructions for setting up and running an independent music label to successfully distribute and market their music.

Author Nick Sadler has produced, remixed, and toured as the artist Mobscene and co-founded Never Say Die Records, and Disciple Recordings. He also has experienced all aspects of artist and label management, working with artists such as Skrillex, The Prototypes, Zomboy, Eptic, The Freestylers and Flux Pavilion, gaining valuable insight into building artists careers.

“With so many modern artists starting their own music labels,” he says, “and with no book that covers this subject in detail, I wanted to write a practical guide that allows anyone to build their own successful music label to bring their music and talent to a worldwide audience.”

The book features a detailed breakdown of how every part of the industry works together, including copyright in the UK and US, record label set-up, record releases, and royalty collection. It also provides in-depth guides on marketing, covering; traditional PR, Facebook and Instagram advertising, Spotify playlisting, and fan growth. Includes templates for record label and management contracts, marketing and promotion schedules, press releases, and fan email automation.

If you’re in London on Thursday 22 July then look out for The Label Machine launch party on the amazing roof terrace of the CLF Art Lounge in Peckham. The free event will start with a music industry panel discussing Are record labels relevant for artists in a Spotify dominated world? Afterwards, there will be DJ sets from DJ Segal, Kyries and a special guest until midnight. You’ll also be able to buy signed copies of the book for £12 (cash) or £13 (card) instead of the usual £14.99.

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Label Profile – Pick The Lock

While Brighton based artist Nick The Lot and his label Pick The Lock are outwardly associated with an immediate and very British comedic overtone, when you delve a little deeper into their back catalogue it becomes instantly recognisable that the music coming out of this stable is deadly serious.

With a steadily growing global roster, the label is picking up a dedicated fanbase that relies on the quality of the music coming through. With a brand new six-track EP ‘Back Of A Lorry Volume 1’ out now, we touched down with Nick to talk a bit more about the label.

So, firstly tell us a bit about how you got into D&B…

I’ve been listening to D&B since I was back in school, which then led to going to raves. Then I got myself a pair of decks and started buying vinyl, which I became addicted to! I used to go by the name of DJ Lockdown back then, which sounds ironic now!

Are you primarily a DJ, producer or artist (or all three)?

Initially, it all started off on the decks as a DJ, and then I was given a CD of Cubase not long after, which led to a new addiction to making tunes, so I’d class myself as a DJ/producer.

Your first two label releases were free downloads. What was the idea behind that?

The final touches were still being made to setting up the label, so I thought it would be a good idea to get it moving on Soundcloud with some free tunes. We will always be giving out a lot of free music along the way, as it is part of the Pick The Lock brand.

You use the label as a platform for your own music, but also for other new artists breaking through, from the South American producers Yatuza and Dunk to Germany’s Cramz, to homegrown talent like Brighton’s StillZ and other UK producers. How do you link up with these artists in the first place? Is it a case of keeping one eye on the inbox? 

Well, I had already been chatting to a few of the artists like Yatuza and Dunk, and a lot of the other lads got in touch, sent over folders of tunes and we’ve gone from there really. This has happened a few times now with some wicked tunes coming in thankfully. I already knew StillZ from living in Brighton, but I also hunt through Soundcloud, finding some great producers that are or will be released on the label in the near future.

From the outside looking in, I’d say you were making a conscious decision to champion up and coming talent?

Absolutely. I’m all about that. I’ve been releasing tunes for nearly three years myself now, so I know how frustrating it can be to get people to even listen to a demo, let alone get it out there. I also like to keep it all sounding fresh and new artists are essential to that.

I love the DIY feel to the label artwork. Was that a purposeful touch to the label branding?

Well,  I had ideas for the artwork but nothing I was paying for at the time was coming back right, so I decided to have a crack at Photoshop myself, hence the DIY feel. I feel that it really works and each release/producer gets their own theme. I also really enjoy doing that side of it now.

Tell us a bit about the concept behind the ‘Back Of A Lorry’ series and if you can, a bit about the artists themselves. 

I needed another tongue in cheek name to fit with the brand and Back Of A Lorry fits nicely I think. All the lads smashed their tunes on this EP, starting with Nury aka Amplify,  a 23-year-old producer from Newton Abbot who has released on many labels including Ram and Subway sounds.

Amplify
Amplify

Joe aka Stillz, is 20 and from Brighton and has been a regular on the label with his sound since we started. He is currently working on his next EP.

Stillz
Stillz

Next is Metal Work, a 29-year-old producer from the Lake District. He’s been making tunes for nine years and has been previously known as Envenom. He and Nury also are the label managers of Gradient Records.

Metal Work
Metal Work

DisKrete is an up and coming producer from Cardiff and has had a few releases with the label so far.

DisKrete
DisKrete

Cramz, is a 21 year old coming from Leipzeg, Germany. He had his debut EP on Pick The Lock and has been on many Various Artists compilations, including Born On Road.

Cramz
Cramz

Lastly Reece, aka Kormz is 22 and a recent addition to the label. He’s been producing for about four years and is already crafting his own quite unique jump-up sound.

Kormz


What other plans do you have for the label then, and is this series set to continue?

There are loads of plans coming up for the label and plenty of projects are being worked on right now by various producers, including myself. We will also be returning with Back Of A Lorry Vol 2, which is almost complete. After this crazy time, we’re all going through is over, I will be putting on some big Pick The Lock Nights too.

Finally, then, Pick the Lock is a label to keep a close eye on?

Yeah! The first Pick the Lock Remix EP is coming next. Most of the producers signed up so far will also be returning with new projects. I’ve also signed some new artists who are already well known in the scene who will be bringing their own sound to the label, and there will also be a 6 track ep in the next few months from myself.

There’s plenty going on so watch the label and keep an eye on the free downloads that will be popping up on Soundcloud! Back of a Lorry is out now on Pick The Lock.

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S.P.Y RELEASES ‘DARKMTTR – EP’

We caught up with S.P.Y about everything to do with his newly-launched label – DARKMTTR. The long-awaited debut EP for the label releases at midnight, 2nd July 2021.

 

KMAG: When did you initially think about starting a label?

S.P.Y: 2016 was when I seriously began thinking about starting my own label. It had always been something I’d wanted to do, but at the time I felt that I didn’t have enough knowledge or experience to confidently make the leap. Back then I had already decided on the name DARKMTTR because I have a love of science fiction and anything to do with space and I knew I wanted my label to tie into that. It’s been a long time coming but I’m really looking forward to seeing how the label grows and develops.

 

KMAG: 100%.  So do you think your work with Hospital has influenced the way that you’ve done the label?

S.P.Y: For sure, I’ve learnt a lot working with Hospital. I got to see just how much is involved in running a label and the amount of work that goes into each release. There is so much that happens behind the scenes! I wanted to make sure that when I was setting up DARKMTTR that I laid a really solid foundation for the business so that I’d have something strong to build from. I wanted to make sure the back-end of the label was as professional as the visual aspect.

 

KMAG: Setting up a label is a process, one I’m sure was aided by the free time during the country’s various lockdowns?

S.P.Y:  It has taken me some time to set up the label, mostly because I’ve just been so busy! Being at home because of the lockdowns meant that I finally had the time to really get stuck into setting up the label. There’s a lot involved and you’re right, it is a process, I honestly don’t know how I would have been able to do it if I was still touring.

 

KMAG: Absolutely. I mean, your label should be an embodiment of yourself as an artist really.

S.P.Y: Exactly. I’ve been trying to do as much of the initial branding and artwork development as I can too, I’ve got a really clear idea of how I want everything to look so I’ve been busy creating graphics as well as getting the first releases ready.

 

KMAG: Of course, you’ve got a graphic design background! 

S.P.Y: I do! I love graphic design and I’m starting to learn how to do 3D animation, but as gigs and touring starts coming back I’m not sure how much time I will have to spend on it.

 

KMAG: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. When you have a concept for a label or a brand or anything, it’s just quite hard to let go and outsource.

S.P.Y: Well it’s your baby isn’t it, it’s an idea that you’ve grown and developed right from the beginning. You work so hard on it that it can be difficult to relinquish some of that control and have confidence that what you do outsource will be done to a good standard. I think it’s also important to acknowledge where your strengths and weaknesses lie too, it can actually be beneficial in many ways to outsource some parts of the business instead of trying to do everything yourself. I’ve been quite conscious of building a really solid team around me that I trust and that I know their work. Hopefully, it’s going to build a strong foundation for the label.

 

KMAG: If you look at the artists and DJs now that like are the forefront of their label, they are a representation of that label. Promoters know that their label’s sound will get carried on to their sets and so on. So right now you have now this incredible task of being able to create whatever sound you want to be a representation of DARKMTTR.

S.P.Y: I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next, I just want to release music that I love and hopefully people will like it. I really don’t want to rush or force the growth of the label, I want it to be as natural and organic as possible. I want DARKMTTR to reflect me as an artist and my vision musically and creatively. Releasing other producer’s music and curating which artists and tracks to sign to the label is such a big responsibility and one that I’m not taking lightly!

 

KMAG: Yeah absolutely. I can imagine you want to leave some mystery with the label as it’s early days. Do you see yourself doing events and everything? Or is it just digital and physical releases?

S.P.Y: If everything goes to plan it would be nice to run DARKMTTR events. I think that’s a key part of the natural growth of a record label in drum and bass.

 

KMAG: That would be amazing, I’ll look out for that!

S.P.Y:  Let’s see what happens, hopefully as the label grows and things with the pandemic get a bit more back to normal we can start running some label nights.

 

KMAG: Are you looking to put any Brazilian talent on the label?

S.P.Y:  Yeah, I’ve been talking with a few Brazilian producers. The first few releases on DARKMTTR will be mainly my own tracks though, as I have quite a big backlog of music I want to get out there into the world, but as the label grows I’d love to release some music from Brazilian artists.

 

KMAG: You haven’t released any solo project for two years right?

S.P.Y: That’s right, my last album release was Dubplate Style in 2019. I can’t believe it’s already been two years! Lately, I’ve been doing remixes and tracks for compilations but have been saving my new solo projects to release them on DARKMTTR.

 

KMAG: I listened to Bad Monday, that was really good. I remember Randall playing it at the DNB Arena BBQ in 2017!

S.P.Y: Yeah, I did that track quite some time ago. The version that has been released is a much more up to date version though, that I feel kind of feeds on what’s happening right now in drum and bass.

 

KMAG: Picking up on the trying to do something different, it does feel like right now that it’s quite a saturated market in drum and bass?

S.P.Y: There’s definitely a lot going on in the scene at the moment, but I don’t feel like that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s great to see drum and bass thriving as a genre, with so much new music around. It does reinforce the need for everyone to carve out their own space though.

 

KMAG: Yeah, absolutely. The platform is so accessible now based on what used to be back in the day.  I mean, if I can work out how to do it, I’m sure everyone else can!

S.P.Y: So much has changed in the music industry in terms of how music is listened to, how artists are promoted and where the money is made. The influence of digital downloads, streaming and social media have completely altered the ‘traditional’ set up and it’s given artists much more control, not only of their own music and how it’s released but also control over their own brand. I won’t say it’s easy to start your own independent label or to release your own music, but there are many more different options available to artists now than the traditional pathway of trying to get signed to an existing label.

 

KMAG: I think we’ve got a good understanding of the basis of your label now, thanks for that! Before this what was your career highlight?  Obviously, the founding of a label is a massive part of an artist’s career, but what do you think the step was before this that was the milestone?

S.P.Y: I think just becoming part of the drum and bass scene. To move here from Brazil without even speaking the language and not knowing much about music production. I knew how to DJ, but I had no idea how to produce a track. It was such a great feeling to be welcomed to the scene and for people to appreciate what I do. That, to me, was always the biggest milestone, being part of the whole scene collectively. Not just to know my heroes, but get to be known by them. For your heroes to come to talk to you and make you feel welcome and support your music – I think that was my biggest milestone. I used to just read about these guys in Knowledge Magazine!

 

KMAG: Absolutely, It’s been a staple. What was your first memory of seeing Knowledge in the scene?

S.P.Y: I think it was back in Brazil actually. There was this record shop that sold some of the magazines, of course costing a fortune, it was the equivalent of about £50 for one magazine. It was so expensive back then to afford to buy a magazine like that, sometimes you had to get all your friends to chip in and then share it. I remember when I moved to the UK and I went to a newsagent somewhere on Oxford Street, they had all the magazines there and they were only a few pounds or something. I could actually go and just buy a magazine and read it on the bus – I still love to.

 

KMAG: Yeah definitely. What has lockdown taught you?

S.P.Y: I feel like lockdown has taught me a bunch of things actually, the main thing was probably that I need to make time for new projects. During lockdown, I started a bunch of new projects, including starting the DARKMTTR label and my SPY Beats sample packs, and they’re all things I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. But when you get busy with album deadlines, touring, studio commitments etc. everything else gets pushed to the side. Moving forward as we come out of lockdown and back to a more normal life, I’m going to make sure that I make time for these other creative outlets. I don’t want to wake up years down the line and regret not taking the time to try something new! I think lockdown has also taught me just how fragile our world is and how much we need to take care of it and each other. When something like this pandemic happens it really brings you down to earth and makes you realise what’s truly important. Hopefully, we can all come out of this stronger and more resilient.

 

Connect with DARKMTTR: https://linktr.ee/darkmttrrecords

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Shadre & Salvage release EP on Shadow Demon Records

The north has had a foothold in the rave game since the very earliest days, with the infamous Blackburn raves in ‘89, 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald, K-Klass and WARP records, all whom played an essential part in the growth of the UK rave scene that spawned what know and love today the world over.

Shadre & Salvage are continuing to add that Northern spirit to the scene, with releases on labels as numerous as Grid, Zombie, In The Lab and their own imprint, Short Circuit Records. Their music is as inspiring as it is diverse and ranges from full on foghorns to off the chart riff laden dancefloor bangers. Making music as a duo since 2016, they have forged a solid reputation for making high quality music across the majority of D&B genres and are showing no signs of letting up any time soon.

With the release of their latest Creative Minds EP out now on Shadow Demon Records, we caught up with them to talk about their output so far and to get the low down on their latest release.

So Ben, starting with you initially, you own and manage Short Circuit Records and have done since 2013. How’s that been for you? What’s your music policy?

Yes, the label has been a massive learning curve over the years. Initially, when setting it all up I already had a good foot in the door with other producers and label owners from around the North West, so gaining help, support and advice was easily accessible. Understanding the workings behind the label has had its challenges over the years, but I wouldn’t change any of it. As for our music policy, we’ve always been very open to different styles of Drum & Bass. If it’s catchy and we love it then we can fully push it and support it.

You’re a drummer and cite Rock/Heavy Metal as one of your first influences. Tell us how playing live music has influenced your electronic music-making.

When growing up my chosen instrument was the drums. Not many people will know this, but I was in several Rock and Heavy Metal bands. The pace and energy of the music are really what drew me towards it. Performing in bands, understanding mic setups and mixdown techniques has helped us massively in terms of driving for a more natural sound, which can be rather difficult to achieve in the electronic music industry.

The Neuro/Thrash crossover is particularly fascinating and so full of energy. What’s your take on it?

To be honest, we love it all. There are a lot of sub-genres and artists who over the years have particularly embedded themselves as leaders in these sub-genres, but to us, it’s all Drum & Bass. From the early Jungle rhythms to the 2000’s Jump Up & Tech Step era and onwards into the more commercial aspects of the scene. We too as artists have to be incredibly open-minded. We love the heavy distorted sounds that come from Neuro and of course that can be heard in our own productions, as we like to take influences from all aspects of the scene.

Unlike many producers out there (who are often self-taught) you are trained in music technology. Has that helped you on your journey? Is it something you’d recommend to others?

Yes massively. We have both attended Higher Education and it has helped us understand the processes undertaken when making music. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being self-taught. There are so many reliable sources these days at our fingertips that learning never stops. I feel University gave us a deeper understanding of all aspects of the music industry, from production, theory, marketing and much more. It has helped us grow over the years for sure.

More importantly, how was your music received during your studies? Did you find your teachers sympathetic to the sounds of D&B?

During university, the tutors were incredibly supportive of the music we produced, taking a deep interest in the methods we used in order to create the music. From sound design to compositional and rhythmic aspects, it was well respected due to the intricate processes involved and we could convey that through written critical analysis.

And onto Shadre. Tell us a bit about your journey into D&B.

When growing up I was exposed to the early electronic music that was being pushed through at the time from artists such as Mr Oizo, Aphex Twin, Oxide & Neutrino, Mr Scruff and many more. This was further fuelled with video games such as Wipeout, Grand Theft Auto III and Midnight Club which we’re big at the time, as they all featured heavily electronic soundtracks. This aided my discovery of notable record labels such as Moving Shadow. From there I went down the D&B rabbit hole!

What’s the usual protocol when collaborating?

It’s a religious thing. Generally every Thursday we dedicate the day to meeting up and entering our creative thought bubble and that’s where the magic happens!

What did your journey into Drum & Bass look like?

I started making various genres of music when I was younger, starting with dubstep and moving onto various styles such as electro house and venturing into trap, but I realised that Drum and Bass appealed to me the most and I sort of went on from there. Firstly releasing on Short Circuit Records with the ‘Bounce With the Riddim EP,’ and from then on our partnership blossomed as artists.

You’ve both had a good selection of releases now as a duo. You must have reached a steady way of working now. Do you tend to have specific roles?

The creative elements are all done in house as a pair, however, Shadre’s strongest abilities lie deeply within Sound Design and Synthesis,
whereas Salvage has more of an understanding with mixing down and mastering. This makes for an incredibly quick & creative turnover.

So you’re both representing The North. Is there a close core of artists and producers in that part of the UK that you associate with, or is that not really a thing?

The North has seen many talented producers over the years, people such as the late Marcus Intalex, Chimpo, Rowney & Propz, Trigga, North Base and non-D&B acts such as The Mouse Outfit. We as Northerners are incredibly polite and we don’t feel as if there are barriers in place when we have reached out to our peers for support and guidance over the years. I wouldn’t say we are associated with anyone in particular because we strive for our own sound.

You work with Manchester-based Diligent Fingers a lot, and he features on the latest EP. How did that collaboration first come about?

Diligent Fingers is a brilliant musician and vocalist, his talent is incredible. From producing hip-hop to DJ’ing to MC’ing and of course poetry. Working with him over the years has just been a natural process, we buzz off his talent and he respects our craft as much as we his. When he hears a tune and he catches a vibe it writes itself. We both respect each other’s passion for the music and that really shows within our collaborations.

I have always loved their sound and their passion for what they create, regardless of us being friends for a long time. That’s what’s important for me when approaching collaborations. Their sound design and grooves have always caught a vibe with me which makes it effortless when writing lyrics for their music.

“Dem call me di assassinator, devastator, place all your bets, I’ll be the safer wager.“

Diligent Fingers

Charla Green also features on the EP. Her output ranges from D&B, Dubstep and UKG. She’s one to watch?

Charla Green’s definitely on the radar for big things in the future, no doubt about that. Another versatile vocalist and producer whose style has grown leaps and bounds.

Growing up I was influenced by artists like massive attack, Morcheeba, Burial and also a lot of Dub.  I linked with Shadre & Salvage through a friend who knew they were looking for some vocals and put them in touch with me. They seemed like good heads and I vibed off the tune when they sent it, so I wrote some lyrics for them.   – Charla Green

Tell us a bit more about this six-track EP you’ve just released and your association with Shadow Demon Records.

When writing the music we wanted to make sure that the tracks were popping in the raves prior to the pandemic. This was a long process, but once we were all happy with the music we sent it over to Trigga & Rowney for consideration and were really excited that they loved the project enough to release it.

What are your plans post-pandemic then? You must be looking forward to getting back out with a crowd?

Once the restrictions are lifted we are looking forward to just getting back onto the circuit and playing our gigs just like old times. Everybody has been missing getting onto the dancefloors and seeing the ravers get hyped, especially with the bag of new tricks we’ve got ready to play with!

Diligent Fingers will be looking forward to showcasing his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills because he is here to protect the women because ‘they just wanna dance.’ Hold tight Inja. 😂

Finally, when listening to your back catalogue, your music is pretty diverse. Away from the studio, what styles do you both like currently?

In terms of non-Drum and Bass, we’re heavily into Rock music, House & Garage, Breaks, Grime, Jazz & Classical, as we can formulate a lot of ideas from different styles of music and incorporate them into our chosen field of Drum and Bass. We feel this is advantageous as the versatility of the genre allows for many different styles to influence our creativity when producing.

From within the Drum and Bass community artists such as Bassbrothers, Noisia, Jaydan, Hazard, Emperor, Annix, Dom & Roland, Zinc, Hype and Break have been massive influences over the years as well.

As for the rest of 2021 what else can we expect in terms of releases from you guys?

Well at the moment we are putting together the final touches to a Remix EP for Grid Recordings. Respect to Jaydan, BassBrothers, Dunk, Coda & Sano. They have each delivered amazing work. Super excited to get them rolling out.

We also have a four-track EP scheduled to drop on Heist & Benny Colabs label ‘Calypso Muzak’ and are currently working on a Liquid EP project for them featuring Sahala & Diligent Fingers.

Amongst a few singles, we may just drop another EP on Grid Recordings before the year is up too.

The post Shadre & Salvage release EP on Shadow Demon Records appeared first on Kmag.

Dom Whiting to make bike streaming debut in Manchester

This Sunday (27th June) Dom Whiting, aka the bike streamer you’ve seen across social media, will be making his maiden voyage around Manchester. He’ll be joining Beavertown Brewery’s “Ride and Rave” travelling festival, bringing his geared up selection to the Northern home of drum and bass.

As part of its series of upcoming summer activities, Beavertown is promising to bring summer rhythms to city streets, making up for a year without festivals, live music and parties and encouraging us all to let loose together in the sunshine.

The two-wheeled DJ will be starting his journey at 2PM from Media City Dock10 and taking the following route:

  • Media City Dock10
  • Northern Quarter
  • Piccadilly Gardens
  • St Peters Square
  • Oxford Road
  • Platt Fields Park

Expect an afternoon of electric atmosphere as the festival makes its way around the city and Dom handpicks the wickedest selection of drum and bass and jungle to a peddling crowd of cyclists.

Want to find out more about Dom Whiting? Check out our interview with him.

See Beavertown’s other upcoming events here.

Can’t make it tomorrow? Head to Dom’s Youtube channel to see all his streams.

The post Dom Whiting to make bike streaming debut in Manchester appeared first on Kmag.

A chat with Chimpo

 

At Knowledge we have been a big fan of Chimpo for a long while and are always excited when he drops something new, so when we found out he had a forthcoming album in the pipeline we had to reach out to him to find out more.

First up thanks very much for agreeing to the interview. We are loving the new single and looking forward to hearing more of the new album.

Any word on a title or release date yet?
In July. Not giving you a date yet though because I might just Beyonce it out without notice.

Did I see that it’s being released through Drum and Bass Arena or did I imagine that?
You defo imagined that. it’s on Box N Lock.

Any other singles dropping before the full release?
yes got another loaded up. Also we might have accidentally ended up with a couple remixes of ‘Keep U Round’ who knows….

How did the idea for the video come about? Are you big on golf?
I was supposed to be in all black with a bowler hat like Megaman from So Solid.
The bowler never arrived though so we went in Sports Direct because my mate Mo does security and hooks us up. Dogger was like “what about this golf gear?” and I said “lets do it”.

You’re best known for your eclectic production and DJ sets but they all seem to have that underlying Chimpo sound. What can we expect from the new album? Are we going to hear more vocals from you?
Yeah of course. Like my first album all the vocals are by me and I’ve got a few dons guesting. It’s all DnB this one but it’s sort of not DnB too. It’s just some gangster shit for barbequing n stuff.

How have you found the last year and a half? I know for the scene it’s been a real nightmare. Have you managed to make the most of it in terms of productivity? More time to work on the album?

Yeah I’ve done loads of music and learned some stuff and got a bit healthier. otherwise its been shite obviously.

Did you have any lockdown essentials that kept you sane?
I just walk about outside and listen to G Funk, 80s soul and new west coast rap mostly. That might explain my album when you hear it.

Would you still say you’re a Dj first and foremost? Or is it more of a balance between hosting/rapping/DJing?
I don’t know I’m just an artist I guess. I just do whatever I feel like at the time which is good and bad but I don’t get too bored. I don’t really host though. I just make tunes and rap on them and DJ.

The single with Salo is a summer banger for sure. I’ve caught a few of her sets from Bloc 2 Bloc is that how the colab came about?
Salo is the coldest. Her writing is so unique and her voice just carries bare feeling and emotion. It’s a blessing working with her.
She reckons she found me and asked if I want keys but I think she’s lying I think I found her. We’re making some more stuff that’s insane. I can’t say any more but its next level.

I clocked the trademark Banner ‘cheeky’ in the first verse.
Bloc to Bloc has definitely blown up and has been great at bringing through some new talent. How much of an impact do you think he has had on the Manchester scene? Anyone we should be looking out for?

Banner is my adopted uncle. That’s family family. I’m so proud of what he’s achieved cuz I’ve seen it from before the start.
Bloc 2 Bloc is the most nurturing, inclusive and family-like organisation I’ve ever seen. I love Banner and all the Bloc family and I’m proud of them all.
I’m not going into names cuz I don’t wanna be selective, just follow them all cuz it’s a beautiful movement.

 

Lastly we used to love the send tracks you would drop on SoundCloud. How did these come about and any more planned for the future?

Ya know what if I’m engaged in it I’m a little warmonger. I watch soundclash’s ever day and I love it.
I’m not warring anyone again though cuz I’m too good at it looool.

Thanks again for shouting me. much appreciated! Nuff love!

Our pleasure.

Watch this space for more from Chimpo and a review of the new Album when it drops.

-for bookings and equiries email : danny@earth-agency.com

The post A chat with Chimpo appeared first on Kmag.

Dom Whiting Interview, THE bike stream DJ

I sat down for a chat with Dom Whiting, the lockdown live stream sensation that has been rocking social media and even making it on to TV news. Why all the fuss? Because he mixes and broadcasts to the world whilst cycling through cities.

So far he’s made appearances in London, Bristol, Brighton (pictured below), Oxford, Beaconsfield, and this Saturday he’ll be making his debut visit to Cardiff.

Photo credits: @carl_reading

What got you started on this?
“Before the bike streams I did a couple of static streams, the first was on a roundabout.

I didn’t think it would come to anything. Maybe a couple of mates might tune in.

Everyone streams from their bedrooms but that won’t catch attention. A moving background that you can interact with is what was going to set me apart and it all stemmed from there.

I even did one at a McDonald’s drive-through.

One of my friends suggested the bike idea and the next morning I was hunting for equipment that would work.”

Talk me through the gear, what’s your set-up?
“Initially, I had a rig set up on the back of a bike so I wouldn’t have to cycle but eventually I decided that the self-cycling would be more unique. It keeps me busy.

Photo credits: @carl_reading

Now I ride a Christiania Bike (pictured right), which are popular bikes in Denmark. I also use a Pioneer XDJ 1, my iPhone with a lens and now I’ve upgraded to an RCA speaker and 60w battery. The battery life varies with how loud the speaker is, it can go the distance for 8 to 9 hours. Bit of overkill to be honest.

I bought a van to transport the bike, a 9-seater. I took some seats out and it gets the bike, my crew, and their bikes in too!

The camera was the hardest part, that was a long process of trial and error. I went through sleepless nights to sort that.”

Do you think lockdown has given you an opportunity to reach an audience you might not have had otherwise?
“It’s definitely helped me think outside the box and filled a bit of the live music void that lockdown created. I’d even say without lockdown I wouldn’t have built the bike.

If I’d started this at the beginning of lockdown the hype might have died off but I’m trying to ride this wave of energy out of lockdown. I don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder.”

Talking about being a ‘one-hit-wonder’ more literally, have you had any collisions?
“I’ve never come off it but I’ve definitely had some close calls! Brighton was a close call. When I brake it veers off to the left sometimes. I was going down this hill and speaking to someone on the mic. It was close. That would have been a fucking disaster.

Other than that, I almost tipped over in an underpass in Bristol.

Losing all the kit wouldn’t be worth the few seconds of viral content.

I guess having people cycling around you acts as a bit of a buffer to the traffic.

“Yeah, a few of them are doing photography as well but from now on I will be streaming from locations that have been chosen because there’ll be crowds.”

Have you had any legal trouble whilst doing these streams?
“I surprisingly haven’t, the police haven’t bothered me. It’s just a bike. The only thing they could do me for might be the music volume or the camera pole.”

If anything was possible, what would be your dream city/location to do a bike stream from?
“I’ve never actually thought about a dream location but I would like to go abroad. Hopefully, it’s going to happen and we can make something unique.

I’m surprised that no one else has beaten me to it. To me, this is nothing special. It isn’t special until I can’t do it, at which point I want to understand how I can do it. I’ve worked out how to do these ones, but my next challenge is taking this abroad.

If I had to name somewhere – Italy. It’s got that rustic look, that would be special. The scenery is important.”

I wonder what your experience will be like with drivers on the continent.

What can we expect from you in the future?
“I want to hit the big cities, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, etc. In the more distant future, I’m going to go worldwide. I’m getting the recognition now, but I have the hunger to take it further.

I’m also going to expand into other genres and stop any chance of things feeling similar. I’ve touched on techno a few times already, but I’m also going to be streaming house and disco too.”

Any shout outs?
“Definitely a big shout out to DNB Allstars and to the wider dnb scene that’s embraced what I’m doing.

Watch my socials for what I’ve got upcoming!”

Catch Dom doing his next cycling stream this Saturday in Cardiff, starting his route in Cardiff Bay. If you miss it, find it on his Youtube channel. For now, treat yourself to his live stream from Brighton.

 

The post Dom Whiting Interview, THE bike stream DJ appeared first on Kmag.

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