Into The Drone Zone With SB81

The next release on DROOGS sees Metalheadz regular SB81’s debut for the label. Inspired by artists like Boymerang and the glory days of No U Turn, expect plenty of sci-fi atmospherics and chopped breakbeats. We caught up with the producer to discuss his past, DROOGS, Headz and remixing J Majik’s “Your Sound”.

“The Blue Room/Drone Zone” is released on UVB-76’s sister label DROOGS on 7th August 2020, available on 12″ and digital.

Downloads can be pre-ordered from the labels Bandcamp now.

Some people may not know but you used to record as Nolige, can you please tell us a bit about your background and journey up to now?

I’ve always loved music from as far back as I can remember really, but when I first heard tracks like Inner City “Good Life” on Top of The Pops as a kid I switched onto that rave vibe. Also Prodigy’s “Charlie”, that one stands out a lot; the good vibes, very themed and colourful music. By 1991 I was fully hooked by early Reinforced, Production House, Brain Records, etc. The main thing I was fascinated by was the breakbeats, especially amens, but generally breaks that had that real funky bounce to them!

After listening to all this wicked music from the early to mid-’90s, it was a natural progression for me and my mates (Skitty being one of them) to take things more serious and get deeper into actually being involved in this music thing.

In 1998 I started buying vinyl pretty much every single week, that was before I even had turntables. Ed Rush & Optical’s “Wormhole” album was what really did that for me, I just had to own that. I then started learning to DJ around a mates house who had a pair of turntables. After being so inspired I got “Music 2000” for the Playstation a couple of years later, just for a mess around really; I think that program did a lot for me, it showed me some of the fundamentals into how to lay out breaks and how a track is put together. Around that time Skitty and I used to get studio time from a local hip-hop guy, 2003 was when we all got our studio setups. At this time it was all being done in the box, without spending tons of money on outboard equipment.

In 2005 I got one of my first fully finished tracks signed to Bassbin; massive thanks to Rohan for taking me on! That one gave me a lot of confidence to get on the right track. I have to give a big shout out to Loxy, Ink and Bailey as those guys used to give me a lot of love in my early days. Loxy and Ink always used to give me feedback and advise, and Bailey used to play a lot of my stuff on Radio 1/1Xtra, which was a big boost!

Around 2010/11 was when my life was taking on a bit of a different direction outside of music with a lot of changes happening, so I took about a year or so out. In 2013 I changed my name to SB81 and I intentionally approached making music a bit differently, more stripped back and modern. I had a new perspective on things after a long break and my first Metalheadz release showed that change of direction from making very ravey/Jungle influenced DnB to a more fresh take on it; I felt like I wanted to get back to being more creative and looking more into the future as an artist. I just wanted a change and getting on Metalheadz to kick start it was the best start I could have ever wished for!

Apart from Headz you’ve recorded for some of the most respected labels in the scene, namely Sci-Wax, Foundation X and Narratives. What has your experience in the music scene been like and give us an idea of some of your career highlights?

I’ve been very lucky early on in producing music to be accepted by those labels, I appreciate it greatly. They are labels I’ve always wanted to be on as I feel we share the same vision in this music. My biggest highlight so far has most definitely been getting signed to Metalheadz. That was a big deal to me as that was my main goal pretty much from the get go. Headz always felt like such a far reach due to my lack of confidence in my music and just the heritage of the label. Goldie has given me that extra push I needed, not only for letting me express myself as an artist on that label but the advice and encouragement I have been given along the way. With Goldie being from the same city as myself, I’ve always felt a big connection with him and the label, so for me, it has always been something very close to my heart.

Talking of Headz, you remixed “Your Sound” by J Majik for them, how did that happen and can you tell us a bit about the remix process? Fun or daunting?

I like a challenge to remix an old classic now and again (sorry!), but on this occasion it happened as an accident, to be honest. If I remember I was going through a folder of Oldskool sounds I’d recorded years ago and there were a run of samples from the original and the remix of
“Your Sound”. Before I knew it, it was all finished and laid out, it flowed and came together very quickly. I did have in mind halfway through that I wanted to keep it very close to the original, but with a modern twist, which is the switch after the first initial drop of amens. It was fun more than daunting producing it because I didn’t intend for it to get released. The daunting part kicked in when I sent it Goldie, ha! I didn’t actually give it to him until about 6 or 7 months after I’d made it because I wasn’t sure about it. If I remember I’d sent over my “Blueprints” remix first, which Goldie and Ant both liked so I thought, lets just see how my remix of “Your Sound” goes down, and so they both came out on Razors Edge as a 12″.

DROOGS/UVB-76 has the same vibe to me as Headz, completely different in style but always pushing and striving to create something new and not afraid to take a few risks. How did you hook up with the label and what influence did this have on the tracks you produced for them?

Yeah, DROOGS has that Headzy vibe going on with that old but fresh sound. It’s the more rufige/breaksy side to their labels, which is what I like. I’ve known those boys for years, way before the labels started. Me and Skitty were booked on their early Abstractions nights in Bristol when they started those. Since Nick and the boys started UVB-76 Nick has been asking for me to get something over to him for quite some time now, but like most things, I guess it’s all down to timing! I wanted to get the right tracks over and at the time I was writing a lot of music for Metalheadz.

The previous releases have been purely for the dancefloor, contrasting the more techno/halftime sound of UVB-76, “The Blue Hour” is one of the deepest and progressive tracks DROOGS have put out. Can you tell us about it?

“The Blue Hour” was actually made around 2008! Around then I made a lot of tracks that were a bit different to what was coming out at the time and I think that was one of those, which is maybe why it didn’t get picked up. Those were the times when I was still experimenting with production, just before Skitty’s Foundation X label started and we delved more into the Jungle sound. Around that time the Dubstep thing was in full flow and it was crossing over into DnB, hence the halftime kind of flow in the track. I think Gremlinz has a bit of a soft spot for this one, he’s played it out a fair bit over the years. I’d recently rediscovered a load of WAVS of my previous tracks from a hard drive that didn’t get a release, so it felt like it made sense!

The track we are premiering today is called “Drone Zone”, reminds me of the classic Blue Note era and the Boymerang sound, tech-step but with lots of layers and atmospherics. What was it about this era you find influential?

I love the mixture of atmospheres, the dark jazziness, the breaks and musical elements from those times, there’s just something about the energy that struck a chord with me I guess. With artists like Photek, Optical, Matrix, Jonny L, Goldie, Krust, Dom & Roland, Boymerang, Deep Blue and all those Grooverider Jeep remixes, I feel like DnB had something really special going on with a futuristic sound that still resonates with me to this day. A lot of those tunes were way ahead of their time. Listening back to “Drone Zone”, it has a Dom/No U Turn vibe going on, which wasn’t intentional at the time of making it. Generally, I do try to do my own thing with production, but sometimes I do strongly gravitate towards my early influences. Hopefully, my vibe comes through the music as much as my influences!

As mentioned earlier, you are also a DJ. I know you enjoy putting together 90s sets, what era do you like mixing the most and why?

I started as a DJ, that was my first passion in music. I do love to mix Oldskool now and again, especially on vinyl AND live streaming it, ha! Now that keeps you on your toes! Particularly the very early 90s. 1993 is my favourite year to mix I’d say. That was a special time for me, there’s just too many classics and as the Blue Note era, it was another breakthrough year for the darker, slightly more technical sound from the more ravey sound of 1992.

What effect does DJing have on you when making music?

I guess DJing has affected my production over the years but it’s not really something I tend to think too much about, especially these days. I’m very much a process led kind of producer and I just like to go with the flow. It’s something new I learned about myself in uni when I did my Fine Art degree. I like to get in there and work through the process rather than have a set plan as such. It has its advantages and disadvantages I guess. It’s probably the reason why I haven’t written an LP yet because my idea of an album is for it to flow throughout and have cohesion. If I don’t bang out many tracks in a short space of time, I tend to have lots that all sound a bit different from one another. I love to get completely lost in music to the point where I don’t know what I’m making, which normally turns out to be the stuff that is not geared towards the dancefloor, but I’m happy with that!

I’m curious as to the effect that Lockdown has had on the music producers are currently making and what direction it might take the scene. Has it made a difference?

I don’t think I’ve really noticed anything, personally, but these days I’m a bit lost in the world of Drum & Bass anyway, I like to just get my head down and do my own thing. I haven’t really changed my process, let’s say that. I’d like to think it has shaken a few things up for the good, though. Maybe DJ’s who used to be amazing producers can get back in the studios again. Maybe it’ll give producers more time and the thought process to delve into themselves and put some real soul back into the music. Now and again I think we all need a bit of a change and a shake-up, in this case, it’s not necessarily the best kind, but hopefully, musicians can think outside the box and find some kind of strength from these challenging times.

Going forward, what’s next for SB81?

After my DROOGS release, there should be another Metalheadz EP by the end of the year, all being well. There are a couple more things in the works for some nice projects coming in the near future, which I’m really excited about! In the last couple of months I’ve also slowed the tempo down between 130-160bpm which has really inspired me so hopefully, I can get something to the right people for those to come out, possibly even start something myself, hmm, we shall see!

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Friske On His Different Perspective, Metalheadz And Goldie

I’m not going to lie, I have found it quite hard to connect with new music for the last few months. I’m lucky to be sent promos from a variety of labels and PR companies, a lot of which turn out to be unoriginal 2-step foghorn “bangers” designed for the dancefloor with barely enough of an idea to progress beyond four minutes. There is always one label that I know I can rely on and anticipate their new releases with genuine enthusiasm and excitement, Metalheadz. “A Different Perspective”, the debut album by Friske, recently managed to lure me out of a dark pit of despondency with modern DNB so I jumped at the chance to talk about the LP, working with Goldie and releasing music on Headz.

Before we get talking about your debut LP, could you tell us a little bit about how you got into producing and your journey up to now?

I have been learning, playing and making music from an early age. My Dad has been my biggest influence behind my musical journey and played in a band in the ’70s so it’s in my blood. He bought me an Alesis SR16 drum machine as a birthday present one year around the age of 10 or 11 and I would spend hours and hours attempting to recreate the drum beats I heard listening to the radio and such. My Dad then took me to keyboard lessons with one of his old bandmates, Buzz, who taught me some extremely valuable knowledge at a young age. I’d learn how to play each individual part of entire songs, he always used to call me a ‘bass freak’ because learning the bassline was always the part I wanted to do first.

I grew up in Essex/Southeast London in the ’80s and ’90s and started finding out about jungle when it first came around from the older kids at my school who all had the Slammin Vinyl, Unity and Bangin Tunes jackets and record bags, I became intrigued. My sister, who is a few years older than me, gave me a Kemistry and Storm mixtape which I then claimed as my own as I was obsessed with it. I was always into hip hop, but I eventually clocked that the two genres were connected by breakbeats. Then I discovered “Inner City Life” by Goldie and “Circles” by Adam F, this spiralled my love for hip hop and drum and bass onto a whole other level. I got into djing and bought my first pair of decks around 16/17 years old and bought my very first records from Vinyl Conflict in Bexleyheath, which was run by Special K, and very quickly learnt how to mix. After a few years, I managed to secure a graveyard slot on Kool FM around 2003, located in Bromley by Bow, this was my first experience being within the scene and I met many known names during my time there. I only held the show for around 6 months or so, when I had the opportunity to go and live in the USA in Toledo, Ohio, which is about 45 mins from Detroit where I played on quite a few occasions. That is when I fully got into producing and writing my first full-length tracks and working out how to make a tune. I returned to London at the end of 2008.

Your time in the scene has seen you release music on some of the biggest labels for well over a decade, including Renegade Hardware and Warm Communications. What have been some of the personal highlights from your career and what was it like working with those labels?

Working with Hardware is where I met my long time comrades Loxy, Ink, Gremlinz and Nolige/SB81 etc. We formed a crew called “The Horsemen’ and were militant in our approach. We all share similar tastes and values when it comes to DNB and being brought into the fold around 2004/05 by Ink and Loxy was a dream come true for me. They really gave me encouragement and feedback about tunes, both good and bad which taught me a lot. After sending them quite a few tunes over the space of a year or so, “Troublesome” became my debut release on the first Horsemen album, “Apocalypse” in 2005. This was where I had several of my early releases and was my first experience dealing with a label, it was all a learning process.

I hooked up with Heath and Warm Communications around 2015 to produce “Sustain”, “Cold Signal” and “Marksman” for the label, which was released in 2016. I see Warm Comms as highly respectable with very tight quality control and was more than happy to sign with them.

How did you hook up with Metalheadz and what did that feel like?

I remember first speaking to Goldie after I sent him “Venture”. That was the tune that got his attention, he originally wanted it for “Platinum Breakz 4” and then I sent over a folder of tunes, one of which was “Covert”. I remember being at my girlfriend’s cousins house when I got another call to say he wanted “Covert” and “Venture” as a 12”. Goldie was an icon to me and probably the sole reason I got into drum and bass as he bridged the gap between hip hop and DNB. Headz has always been the ultimate label in my eyes so it was kind of a dream come true in a way. I was at a pretty dark time in my life at that point, I had a couple of situations occur and was technically homeless, so it was a massive boost and it gave me belief again. I’d already been active for around 7 years by then, I had my struggles, so this was really the breath of fresh air I needed, and being encouraged by someone who I admired was a blessing.

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I described the LP as the perfect blend of sci-fi and B-Boy culture, it’s certainly got a Headz vibe to it but not in sound, you’ve managed to avoid the iconic palette of sounds many producers use to replicate that Headz style. I mean more in the approach, it’s epic and full of personality, unpredictable and varied. What was your approach in putting your debut LP together?

I wanted to make something that’s not all necessarily for the dancefloor, something people can actually listen to, with depth and potential longevity. Most drum and bass LP’s these days are not really albums, just more like a collection of random tunes which is exactly what I did not want to do. In my opinion, an album should be a journey for the listener and that’s what I wanted to create. The order of the tracklisting was carefully chosen and the titles tell a story in itself. If you look at the titles, and the order they are in, the album begins on the lighter side of things and ends dark and moody.

This is not an LP for plug-in nerds, or anyone who wants to hear an album full of “bangers”, if you were looking for that then your gonna be disappointed. I personally don’t give a fuck about current trends, making dancefloor “bangers” or trying to appease the sheep. This ain’t for you.

When I grew up on jungle/DNB, it was the sound of the streets, the inner city. I used to go raving at places like Stratford Rex so the street element of this scene is its roots and that’s where I want to take it back to. I also wanted to make something that could potentially appeal to people outside of the scene who maybe once were fans of the genre but became alienated when the sound changed in the early 2000s. This is actual music, with soul. Something that is seriously lacking these days or, has not been getting pushed rather, as it should be. People want the genre to be more diverse, including myself and its gonna take looking at doing things a bit different for that diversity to come to fruition in my opinion.

I hear ya on that front, back in the early days when the scene was beginning that diversity was everywhere! As mentioned, I get a strong B-Boy vibe when listening to your music. Especially the graffiti elements. Is this something you are involved in or influences you? That Skeme sample bought a nostalgic smile to my face.

I have always been influenced by hip hop culture from an early age, the 4 elements. I started to get into graf at around 11/12 after seeing tags around my way and after watching “Style Wars” which has probably inspired me more than any other documentary, I’ve sampled it many times over the years and there is probably still more treasure to be found. I did art at school, one of the few subjects I was good at and was actually interested in, my sketchbook was full of graffiti pieces but I never really got to the point of getting really deep into it because my main love is the musical element and that’s what I chose to focus on. When I saw “Juice”, which is probably my all-time favourite film, it made me get into DJing. After I got into that, everything else took a back seat, I’d found my calling. Music is my passion.

I remember watching “Bombin” on TV while growing up, it was like our version of “Style Wars”. There has always been a close connection between the two artforms to me and people like Goldie certainly seemed to apply the process of subverting the standard to create something fresh and complex, whether that was letters or drum edits. I saw you thank Goldie for supporting you as an artist and guiding you through the process of putting the album together, what can you tell us about that experience?

It was a long process over a couple of years. The first track that was chosen for the LP was “Destination. After I sent that was when talk of doing an album began. It gradually took shape over the next couple of years and was formed slowly piece by piece. I’d sometimes get a phone call from G about, “extending the breakdown of this tune”, or “make the drop come in earlier on that tune”. That kind of thing but mostly the tracks were accepted as they were. I was given total creative freedom, something that is extremely important to me as an artist. I grew up looking at Goldie as a true icon, so I was very inspired to make this album and wanted to draw from all my influences and create something I can look back on and be proud of.

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I have a few stand out tracks from “A Different Perspective” I’d like to ask you about. Can you tell us something about these? I’m really curious to hear how they took shape, any direct influences and what your production process is like.

A Different Perspective: This is probably my personal favourite from the LP. It stemmed from the main pads I laid out that gave me a feeling of ‘freshness’ in a way. Then, as it took shape, the vibe really gave me the feeling of “a new beginning, a fresh start, a different perspective” like I get the image in my mind of an early morning in the city, its just been raining and the sun starts to come out and there’s a feeling of optimism. I would say this is one of the more uplifting tunes I have made.

Untitled Piano: This track started with the piano sample, one that I’ve had in my collection for a long time, one of the very first samples I got from my Dad’s record collection when I first started producing and collecting samples. I laid out the piano and then decided on the break and everything else fitted in quite easily. It was definitely one of the tracks that came together quicker than others on the album.

Urban Decay: This is a very personal track for me. I wanted to capture the vibe of living in a city like London these days. It’s a very tough environment, and there are many struggles and hardships for people including myself. The sample “Imagine life” is like a message to try and persevere through the hard times, to strive, hope and to never give up and have faith.

I took a Sade sample, done some processing and this became the main pad that you hear in the intro and throughout. I then brought up a nice pad sound on the midi controller and played the keys along to it and came up with the extra pads and everything else. The drum pattern kind of wrote itself, then I added the bassline. The track gave me a very strong vibe and the vocal snippet I used tied it all together nicely in my opinion.

Crime In The City: I wanted to take it back to the raw elements with this one and make something reflective of the times, and there is always crime in the city. I found the Skeme sample, another of which I’ve had in my collection for years, laid it out and the idea just flowed. Sometimes I can find a sample and it instantly paints a picture in my mind and I can envision each element, which is easier said than done to translate into logic but I managed to get it sounding just how I wanted it with this one, which is not always the case. The last piece of the puzzle was the “Nautilus” sample that fitted in nicely and, to me, gave it a grimy, dark texture that I was looking for.

Rebel Force: This was actually the last tune I made for the LP. I wanted something with a more classic dark Headz vibe without trying to copy anything else. I laid out the Apache break and the dark pad chord on my midi controller. I usually try and come up with a chord or 2 that resonates with me, then I have the notes to write the bassline and other parts. I sent it to Goldie not thinking that much of it, to be honest, and was a bit surprised how much he liked it. Sometimes I make tunes and don’t think they’re my best but then I’ll hear back from G or Ant and they say it’s my best work, I never really know how something is going to be received, one of the obstacles of being a solo artist perhaps?

I for one have found it quite challenging to get fully submerged in new music recently but “A Different Perspective” really struck a chord with me, I love the beauty and optimistic first half then the darker elements of the second. I always think the time an LP is released can really help define its legacy, with everything that’s going on around the globe right now, how would you like it to be received?

I wanted to create the sound of an urban landscape, where the music paints a picture in your mind. I would love for it to be looked back on as a classic, timeless album, this was my goal, whether or not I will achieve that remains to be seen, but I would say it contains the elements and has the potential for that, hopefully. It’s up to the public though, at the end of the day, all I can do is try.

I also wanted to show people, especially outside of the scene, that drum and bass can be respectable music. It does not all have to be the same 2-step beat, wobbly bassline and/or a foghorn. This is real music from the heart with little to no plugins at all. I wanted to make something authentic, never, ever synthetic. I have never ever given a fuck about trends in any walk of life, if you’re an artist you’re supposed to be expressing yourself, not trying to sound like someone else and if you just follow the latest wave then you are not a real artist. This album was not intended to impress plug-in geeks or anyone looking for an LP full of “bangers”, this is for deeper thinkers. I wanted to express myself fully and made this with the intention of touching peoples souls… and hopefully make someone’s favourite ever tune. But I’ll have to wait and see about that…

A Different Perspective” by Friske is out now on Metalheadz.

Recommended: RDG – Hypnotica (Circle Vision)

“Hypnotica” by RDG is taken from the “Planetary Sound Fiction” album, available now on Circle Vision.

The LP contains a mixture of tempos, moods and grooves drawing on influences ranging from jungle to downtempo and dubstep to drone.

Including contributions from Rider Shafique and London based MC Killa P, known for his collaborations with artists like The Bug and Pinch, “Planetary Sound Fiction” is a sprawling collection of both vocal tracks and instrumental rhythms, providing moments to dance as well as time to pause and reflect.

With over twenty-five releases to his name and a decade of productions behind him, now is a great time to delve into both the LP and RDG’s bass-heavy archive.

“Planetary Sound Fiction” was mastered by Beau Thomas at Ten Eight Seven and is available now on double vinyl and digital, the physical version contains a poster of the futuristic turntable cartridge spaceship designed by Freshcore.

Buy: circlevision.bandcamp.com

Dubplate Selection: Presha C/O RQ

A few weeks back, over on Dogs On Acid (yes, a few of us still visit/post there) a conversation started around which dubplates we have in our possession.

Not plate rips, actual dubplates. Quite quickly, RQ (jon_blak) posted an image of him cleaning a Marcus Intalex Music House dub in his kitchen sink, followed by a comment about him having around three creates worth.

It turns out that he is looking after them for Presha, Geoff from Samurai Music. Ryan, RQ, has taken images of a handful of these acetates and Presha has very kindly documented their history, getting wistful about the days when cutting a plate was the only way to play music upfront…

All images courtesy of RQ, words by Presha

Dubplates!

Living in New Zealand, we were a long way away from where the action was and prior to CDJ’s and reliable internet the idea of having fresh dubplates was a goal we all aspired to but really had very little chance of attaining. I managed to become friends with a few of my favourite producers and label owners from organising tours for them in New Zealand and was being offered / sent tunes, but how was I going to play them without any way to cut them?

Anyways, CDJ’s didn’t exist yet and even though MP3’s were created in the late 90’s, it would take a while for DJ technology to catch up with them. Obviously now I had the tunes, my drive to get these cut sent my organising / begging skills into overdrive and my first plates were 31 Records dubs (including M.I.S.T – How You Make Me Feel) cut very kindly for me at Music House by Kemistry and Storm and brought out to me in New Zealand when they came out on tour.

Occasionally artists would leave me dubs as they left to go home after a tour (thank you Dillinja / Lemon D, Scotty, Total Science, Marcus, Calibre) but after getting these first dubs actually cut for me, I knew I had to get more serious about it.

It wasn’t long before I was standing in line at Music House chatting to Spirit as we were the first ones to arrive for the days cutting. I’d flown myself over to cut dubs, visit people and even play a few gigs, all organised for me by Storm (legend!). Jayne introduced me to Digital and between him and Spirit, old friends Total Science, Marcus Intalex, Doc Scott & Calibre, plus people I met at Music House like Klute, I was getting absolutely loaded with tunes to cut. I played Metalheadz Sunday Sessions at Camden Lock that year and I think Movement as well thanks to Bryan G. The actual cutting had become a total addiction, and as I reluctantly went back home to New Zealand, I knew I had to find a way to keep the dub flow going so I arranged with Leon at Music House to stockpile some dubs and have them collected by a courier every few months.

The vibe of Music House was so infectious, it’s really hard to explain to anyone that wasn’t there. The politics / hierachy of dubs maybe got a little deep but then someone you knew would show up and break through it all and hand you a CD to cut that made it all worthwhile. The absolute hunger floating around that room for new music and the delight on peoples faces when they cut a tune for the first time. It’s really something I am very glad I witnessed and took part in. I visited again, I think the second time was in 2002, but shortly after technology started catching up and the slow shift to CDJ’s / Final Scratch etc began.

There was a dubplate cutter in New Zealand for a short time in the early 2000’s. I even took Dillinja and Lemon D to meet him. He was really getting the cuts just right but unfortunately while this was happening, CDJ’s began taking over and the demand disappeared. A few of these photos are of plates cut in New Zealand during that time.

These are photos of my dubplates that have been in the care of RQ (thank you Ryan!) in NZ since I moved to Europe. I miss them dearly as they are memory fuel for a time I don’t want to ever let go of. I don’t think most people who were there cutting dubs do (except for the expense). It’s a time / feeling we can never get back with the bristling pace of technology as it is, but it doesn’t stop us trying. For those of you who haven’t ever held a dub, try and get near one to see what they smell like. For me that sweet aroma is like a time machine, man I miss it.

Presha (February 2020)

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Dubplate Sleeves
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Music House Dubplate Sleeve
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Calibre – Untitled (Music House Dubplate)
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Unknown – Reborn (Jah Freedom Dub Studio Plate)
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Unknown – Mistical Dub (Stonesthrow Mastering Plate)
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Calyx – Morphology (31 Records Plate)
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Bad Company – Breath/Fixation (Music House Plate)
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Total Science – Rated X (JTS Mastering Plate)
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Reinforced Dubplate
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Metalheadz Dubplate
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Nasty Habits – Liquid Fingers (31 Records Plate)
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Boymerang – Still VIP (Jah Freedom Dub Studio Plate)
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Metalheadz Dubplate
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Unknown – Dubplate Remix
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Ed Rush And Optical – Watermelon (Virus Dubplate)
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Dillinja – All The Things & Trinity – Foxy Lady (Heathmans Dubplate)
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Unknown Dubplate
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V Recordings Dubplate
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Unknown Dubplate
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M.I.S.T.I.C.A.L – Swing (Music House Dubplate)
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Trace And Nico – Amtrak VIP (Dubplate)
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RQ – Cleaning the plates

Favourites: Seba And Paradox

To celebrate the Metalheadz release “Hexagon”, Seba And Paradox gave us a rundown of their favourite productions by each other. Taking these tracks, and adding a few of our own choices from their back catalogue, we have then blended them to create “Favourites”. Think of it as a playlist to showcase their music rather than a full-on DJ set.

From the B-Boy funk of Paradox to the spaced out bliss of Seba, the producers have delivered some of the finest moments in drum and bass history over three decades. Recording for labels like Moving Shadow, Good Looking and Metalheadz, their own labels, Paradox Music and Secret Operations as well as a new joint label, the duo have a vast discography to draw from so putting this list together must have been no small feat.

“Hexagon/Love Or Death” captures the essence of both producers and is the first release on Metalheadz for the duo. Available on both digital and vinyl now, the record comes housed in a full artwork sleeve.

Buy: Bandcamp / Metalheadz Store

Favourites – Seba And Paradox (Tracklist)

Seba And Lo-Tek – Universal Music (Good Looking Records)
Paradox – Orion (Metalheadz)
Seba – 34 Alpha (Secret Operations)
Seba And Paradox – Hexagon (Metalheadz)
Seba And Method One – Eidolon (Commercial Suicide)
Paradox – Crate Logic (Samurai Red Seal)
Seba And Paradox – Love Or Death (Metalheadz)
Nucleus And Paradox – Azha (Metalheadz)
Seba – Can’t Describe (Secret Operations)
Alaska And Paradox – Planet 3 (Good Looking Records)
Seba – Dangerous Days (Warm Communications)
Nucleus And Paradox – Analogue Life (Metalheadz)

Seba’s Top Three By Paradox

Alaska & Paradox – Planet 3 (Good Looking)

Seba: “This track blew my mind when I heard it 22 years ago. The amen has a much lower pitch than most other tracks that came out at the time. It made it really punchy and heavy. The vocal samples with delay also sits perfect on the whole arrangement. I really love the Aphex Twin style chord that comes in half way through too.”

Paradox – Crate Logic (Samurai Red Seal)

Seba: “This track is all about the drums! I like the long intro in this track with cut up breaks in a Paradox style and old-school b-boy samples. It drops so suddenly with a completely different drumbreak that makes the track very intense. I´ve played this track since before it came out in 2013 and I still play it today.”

Paradox – Orion (Metalheadz)

Seba: “Much more steppier than most other of Paradox’s other tracks. I like this one because it fits really well in my sets as a contrast to my own music. It still has that b-boy edge to it with old-school hip-hop samples. It’s also very hypnotizing!”

Paradox’s Top Three By Seba

Seba & Lotek – Universal Music (Good Looking)

Paradox: “This is a bit of an old one with Lotek but it’s a title that reminds me of our first meeting in the UK at Ministry Of Sound at a Good Looking event in the mid 90s. We spoke and were into each others music and I probably mentioned Universal Music at the time. I’m a sucker for long searing pads that let the breaks breath and Universal Music captures the whole Good Looking vibe in a nutshell for me. It was a fruitful era for both of us.”

Seba – Can’t Describe (Secret Operations)

Paradox: “Seba saves his best output for Secret Operations and rightfully so. The Detroit house vibes in this track are great. I would have done the drums differently of course but that’s just me.”

Seba – Dangerous Days (Warm Communications)

Paradox: “Although this is an ode to Vangelis, it’s done really well and Seba can do this type of music blindfolded. The apocalyptic vibe of the track is good and the dark side of the breaks and bass puts this track in my top three.”

“Hexagon/Love Or Death” is available now directly from the Metalheadz Bandcamp and store.

Influences “Wagz” none60

For this edition of Influences, we return to the none60 stable as Wagz provides a rundown of music he finds inspirational. It may surprise you for an artist whose productions wouldn’t sound out of place on Good Looking that he cites Iron Maiden as an influence, such is the joy of these lists.

For those unfamiliar with Wagz we premiered his track “Hyena” with its classic Photek tinged melodies taken from last years none60 compilation “none of the above“, which can be heard here. He has also recently released an EP for the label titled “City Lights” with sweeping pads, warm bass and intricate drums.

That EP can be streamed in full at the bottom of this post.

Buy: Bandcamp

Black Sheep – Similak Child


There’s so much hip-hop I could have chose it was difficult to pin one down but this Black Sheep album brings back so many memories of being a teenager walking round Buxton with headphones on going round to my mates house. The samples and the sheer vulgarity of the lyrics appealed to me on this album, but the guitar hooks on this track always stood out.

U.N.K.L.E. Featuring Ian Brown – Be There


So many to choose from on Endtroducing/Psyence Fiction so went with the vocal version of this one. Again, it’s all about the mood/atmosphere and samples. I can’t listen to this track in the day time, it has to be dark. I feel like I’m cheating nowadays when picking samples with the technology at hand when you compare it to the time and effort that people like DJ Shadow put in on these albums.

Tangerine Dream – Love On A Real Train


Soundtracks are a massive influence for me, especially 80’s stuff. Even the shittest film back then could have an awesome soundtrack and this one is a prime example. I don’t think I will ever get bored listening to this. Proper 3am sofa business.

Wild Nothing – Paradise


One of my current favourite bands and this is the song which got me into them. Can’t think of a better song to get lost in the moment to. The breakdown is pure bliss.

Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name


I first heard this on Jamie Thomas – Toy Machine – Welcome to Hell skate video in the 90’s and became a massive Iron Maiden fan much later on through a good friend of mine who sadly passed away. This song got me through some difficult times – crank it up to full volume and run as fast as you can.

Stream/purchase the “City Lights EP” by Wagz below.

Sonar’s Ghosts X Sun People – VIP’s And Unreleased (Charity Release)

After the success of our various artist compilation “Beyond The Physical“, which saw us donating over £200 to the homeless charity Emmaus in Bristol, we are set to unleash our second release “VIP’s And Unreleased” by Sonar’s Ghost and Sun People featuring four cuts of modern jungle on January 6th 2020.

You can read more about the EP and stream it in full below.

Modern yet reflective drum and bass from two of the scenes most interesting producers, merging classic jungle with footwork and techno the EP is brimming with creativity and musicality.

Sonar’s Ghost revisits the unreleased VIP of “Turn It Inside Out”, amending the intro and tightening edits for a magnificent B-Boy influenced take on the track, replacing amens with funky NT chops. “I Got Watcha Need” features a wonderful Domu style harmony and chord progression, soulful jungle for broken heads.

Sun People twists the original arrangement of “Going To” for this exclusive VIP version, chipmunk vocals and perfectly placed snares dominate as the track charges along at 155BPM. “The Great Escape” closes the EP with two glorious melodies morphing into a beautiful, uplifting hook pulsating with energy and emotion.

With all Two Hungry Ghosts releases, the proceeds from this download will go to charities who focus on homelessness, hunger and poverty around the UK.

Artwork: THG
Mastering: R. Peperkamp

Released by: Two Hungry Ghosts

Release date:
6 January 2020

Buy: Bandcamp

Exclusive Stream: Foul Play – Being With You (Army Of Ghosts VIP)

Originally put together for John’s Foul Play appearance at Rupture back in June, this VIP of “Being With You” was crafted by Sonar’s Ghost and myself as an exclusive for his set.

Also known as the Rupture mix this was made using stems from an old track we made for the blog several years ago, a remix of “Understand The Process” by Soza, and samples from different versions of “Being With You” including the Van Kleef mix John sent me on CD.

Essentially a rinse for a DJ set we hope you enjoy this exclusive stream as we celebrate 250,000 plays on SoundCloud and approach 3k followers.

Thank you for all your support.

Soundcloud: Two Hungry Ghosts / John Morrow

Various Artists – Beyond The Physical (Charity Compilation)

Today is the day our first Two Hungry Ghosts compilation is released into the world. 12th December is a special day for us, one we have marked for the last five years through our electronic label Sector 12/12. We use the date to remember the past and help inject some hope into the future.

I’m really proud of what we have achieved with this. I’ve seen pure positivity from all involved, with everyone using their creativity to support others in need. All proceeds from the download will go to homeless charities across the UK.

At times, I feel the need to rant about the exclusivity or expense of the music I love but feel it far more fruitful to instead put something out into the world that’s accessible to all. You can stream the whole thing for free via Bandcamp (all restrictions have been removed) and I’ll add to SoundCloud and YouTube over the next couple of weeks.

The album has been carefully considered and we recommend you play the whole release from start to finish through headphones for the best possible experience.

We hope you enjoy the music and if you can afford to support it by spending £4 on the download it will be very much appreciated.

Many thanks to all those who have already supported this release.

Emotive, experimental and expressive “Beyond The Physical” illustrates the community spirit that flows through the modern jungle scene with contributions from a range of artists based around the world. The producers all share a desire to push the envelope, extending the limits of what is considered drum and bass, returning to the days when each release was a mission statement and had a sense of purpose.

Featuring exclusive tracks from DYL, RQ, Sonar’s Ghost, Thugwidow, Shiken Hanzo, Entire, Paragon and Sicknote & Dissect the album is a balanced journey of breakbeat manipulations and raw techno fusion.

At a time where greed and self-interest appear to reign, “Beyond The Physical” aims to demonstrate the power a collective force of creative people can have on local communities with all proceeds from the download going to homeless, hunger and poverty charities across the UK.

Artwork: GMHA X THG
Mastering: R. Peperkamp

Released by:
Two Hungry Ghosts

Release date:
12 December 2019

Buy: Bandcamp

Recommended: Overlook – Misty [Law And Wheeler Remix] (Repertoire)

10 years is a long time for any label, and throughout the past decade Repertoire has seen distributors come and go, vinyl sales plummet, and interest in the breakbeat-led drum and bass wane. But steadfast in its ideals, the label has never strayed from its roots, and today goes from strength to strength as jungle’s golden age influences a new generation.

To celebrate this landmark we’ve tasked some of the most influential producers on the jungle circuit with re-imagining classic tracks from our back catalogue.

This is Repertoire 10/20.

Featuring remixes from scene trailblazers such as Dead Man’s Chest, Sonar’s Ghost, Double-O, Friske, AU & Jesta, and more. Repertoire 10/20 is a broad look at underground drum and bass as it is in 2019 and beyond.

Buy: Bandcamp

reperoire_10_20_mock_up