To celebrate reaching 4000 followers on Soundcloud, here is an exclusive stream of a remix made for John’s appearance at Rupture in June 2019.
Fusing the original 92 track “Dubbing You” by Foul Play and an unreleased VIP of Dom’s track “Exit 13”, the end result is a dancefloor-friendly mash-up of the two tracks titled after the Motorway junction to Northampton.
“Elevations” is taken from the debut release on new atmospheric drum and bass label, Constellations. The four-track EP is produced by label bosses Ben Kei (Dalston Chillies) and Fushara (7th Storey Projects). The digital files are on sale now, with a full vinyl release available for pre-order.
Heading into winter is normally a time for dark drum and bass to prevail, the harsh bite of colder climates and less sunlight personified perfectly by Reece basslines and tense strings. This year seems different, whether it’s the fact that the globe has witnessed so much tragedy and heartache or simply that producers are turning to the mood of Good Looking for inspiration in a time of eternal doom, the rise of atmospheric drum and bass heading into 2021 is an exciting moment in modern jungle music.
The launch release of Constellations is a perfect example of the GLR style of DnB done right. Ben Kei knows a thing or two about the golden years of drum and bass, running the popular Dalston Chillies label focusing on the sounds of the 90s, with releases by jungle luminaries Equinox and Tim Reaper. Fushara has been pushing the emotive side of drum and bass for well over a decade now, with music featuring on 7th Storey Projects, Pinecone Moonshine and Criterion to name only a few. This combination of producers resulting in the perfect pairing to launch such a project.
Featuring four tracks of finely edited breaks, warm basslines and melodies to soothe, the EP is perfect for escapism and inspiration.
The Decibella remix of “Good In My Soul” is taken from the second release on Disrupt Records, the “Decisions EP” by Charly Says. Released on both digital and vinyl formats, the four-track EP will be available on December 4th direct from the labels Bandcamp. The digital version also features an exclusive remix of “Right Decision” by Ben Kei (Dalston Chillies) and Pesk.
Disrupt Records was set up earlier this year by the crew at “The History Of Jungle Show”, a weekly stream on Dejavu FM where the team champion jungles rich past and air future music from modern producers. Recent guests have included Dwarde, FFF and Thugwidow.
The “Decisions EP” is jungle in a classic 94/95 style, with the two original tracks constructed around a solid collection of vintage sounds and samples, a nerds paradise of jungle history that will invoke hazy memories of nights past. “Right Decision” captures the spirit of the era perfectly with its rare groove and sax intro, before launching into frenzied chops and a ragga vocal drop.
The intro of “Good In Your Soul” opts for a dreamy approach with the think break, soft pads, Rhodes and RnB vocals. This soothing atmosphere is soon disrupted by fierce amen edits, which when combined with the pads and vocals later in the track create a beautiful balance of rough and smooth.
Artists on remix duties are FFF (7th Storey Projects/3AM Eternal), Decibella (Diamond Life/AKO) and Ben Kei (Dalston Chillies/Constellations) alongside Pesk (History Of Jungle/Disrupt).
We recently caught up with the producer to discuss his early days making music alongside Silver, his studio set up, the LP, video games and a variety of other subjects.
The interview will be published later in the week, until then you can read an extract below where Sonic talks about the track we are premiering today, “Prince Of Cambridge”, a gritty take on the early Good Looking sound.
We asked Sonic about his priorities when making music…
“I think the vibe is most important, much more so than polish. I guess it’s a reaction to that period of DnB where everyone had to have Pendulum snares or whatever, haha… Also the goal of keeping things different, never settling comfortably into producing more polished versions of stuff done previously. I most admire people like Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Herbie Hancock, who never let things get stagnant, who always searched out the new.
As I mentioned I’m using an entirely analogue setup these days. A lot of the tracks are even sequenced on the Amiga, sometimes I literally just record the output direct to stereo off the desk. “Prince of Cambridge” was made that way for example. It’s the Amiga doing the breaks, layered with late 90’s EMU bells and strings, and an analogue synth or two, recorded direct. The title is a nod to Traumprinz aka Prince of Denmark who is an artist I find hugely inspiring. Like Four Tet, he makes what he wants to make, genres are not important. I often speak with Four Tet about my stuff and he always reminds me not to get too caught up in genres. That became a credo for me.”
“The Eye Of Jupiter” by Sonic can be pre-ordered here:Bandcamp
The late 90s and early 00s, which this album was inspired by, often focused on a paranoid, dark vision of the future dominated by global power and AI. As we approach 2021, we find ourselves living out the harsh reality of a world where technology grows more powerful and gains more control over our lives every day. As a result, BTK’s “Hollow LP” seems a fitting soundtrack to current times.
BTK fuses human and electronic elements to create a futuristic, twisted alchemy of funk infected by technology. Organic drums and percussion sit loud and proud behind a deluge of digital bass. Vocal tracks are filtered and processed to further the human/electronic fusion.
Featuring collaborations with Gremlinz, Ink and Jumpat, the album is dedicated to his long term production partner, Ed Optiv. The title, “Hollow”, reflecting the sad sense of loss felt by BTK and each track a poignant and a powerful tribute to the producer.
The album is released Friday, 27th November exclusive to Beatport and the Dispatch store with its general release, 11th December.
This second instalment of remixes from the Akuratyde back catalogue is a much more positive and celebratory affair than the darker tones of the labels debut release “Redesigned Volume 1“.
The Method One remix, premiered here today, is an upbeat take on the original. A thoughtful and bright reinterpretation perfect for the dancefloor with its exuberant beats pitched vocals and jubilant harmony.
Elsewhere on the EP are contributions from Random Movement, Kharm and the wonderful Margaris Kid.
We asked producer and Modern Conveniences boss Akuratyde to describe this new set of remixes and how they came about…
“The Random Movement remix was a web design favor. The rest were all producers that reached out to me and wanted to do a remix. I’m friends with Method One in real life, every time he comes to LA we hang out and the last time he was here we got brunch and talked about him doing a remix of “Lost Summer”.
I’d been pestering Kharm for years as I’m a huge fan of his stuff. Every year I’d message him and ask when he was going to write some new music. That eventually lead to our tune “Enamoured”, which we released on Microfunk earlier this year, and then he decided to take a crack at “Into The Sea”. I love the way he flipped it into an autonomic tune. I really like when producers change the tempo of a song for a remix, it gives it a completely different feel.
The Margari’s Kid remix came about from us chatting on Facebook. I love how stripped back his remix is, it’s also got such a different vibe from the original. I tried to be really thoughtful about the way I grouped the remixes on Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 because I waited until all of the remixes were complete before deciding on the tracklists. Vol. 2 is definitely a bit brighter and more joyous and that was by design. I wanted to have a nice contrast between the two and I’m really happy with how they both turned out.”
Akuratyde “Redesigned Volume 2”, is released on Modern Conveniences Nov. 20th, 2020.
“Half In” by San is taken from the “Subject 9 EP”, forthcoming on Rua Sound. A collection of breakbeat dominated tracks, 70s movie score style keys and FX’s laced with anxiety and uncertainty.
In an era of promo campaigns and press shots, it’s incredibly refreshing when a new artist emerges with little to no info publicly available. All we know about San is that it’s an alias for a Bristol-based techno producer. Shrouded in mystery, this is clearly an artist who is well-versed in breakbeat culture and extremely proficient on the controls.
The “Subject 9 EP” contains four tracks of unadulterated breakbeat science, drums are dismantled with the precision of a surgeons scalpel then reassembled into complex aural assaults. “Half In” sounds like a collaborative work of 70s Lalo Schifrin and 90s Source Direct, the whole release raises the bar significantly for odes to the golden era of drum and bass.
It’s hard to know whether the EP is a love letter to the 90s or a series of diss tracks aimed at second-rate, formulaic drum and bass releases designed to cash in on the jungle resurgence. Either way, it serves as a warning from the shadows that producers and labels need to up their game.
Metalheadz just keeps going from strength to strength! The latest in a serious year of releases is “The Rain EP” by Jem One, featuring six tracks of classic Headz darkness. We caught up with Jarrod to discuss the EP, graffiti and being part of the Metalheadz family.
Check the premiere of “Shadow” below, which is taken from the digital version of the EP that is available now from the Headz site and Bandcamp,
Hi Jarrod, cheers for taking time out to talk with us today! Your latest release, “The Rain EP”, is out now on Metalheadz. What can you tell us about it?
I suppose it features various tracks from a period where I was experimenting with my style a bit. Before Headz, my tracks were very amen/breaks influenced, quite retro-sounding and in this period, I was trying other things out. However, my sound is retreating to its original roots once more.
It features six tracks in total, all with that distinct dark Headz vibe. Seems pretty fitting for these uncertain times! How did these tracks take shape?
They were made through a desire to explore different shades within my music. However, they all contain that darker Headz vibe as that is really the core of my being. There’s also a vulnerability that I hear within the music as well, this I feel is due to the stress and anxiety I felt when getting signed to Headz. Obviously for me to get onto Metalheadz was my dream and when I finally did, I instantly began to feel pressure as the quality of music is exceptional, to be honest, I’m only just relaxing after three years.
I hope you feel in a better place now, it’s refreshing to hear such honesty. Does producing music help you to deal with the anxiety or does it put more pressure on you?
I’m much better thank you. It can be a double-edged sword. I’ve realised it is all about the ego and acceptance. When we make music, we put our heart and soul into it? and then we either gain acceptance or rejection. This goes even beyond getting stuff signed, even now when stuff is released to the public, I can fear what people may think of it, worry that I may be judged, that people might think that its shit. However, there’s also the other side of the same coin, whereby I may get my ego stroked a little and that can be very empowering believe it or not in the way that gives you confidence. But, over the last 6 months, I’ve finally learned to let go a little and just let be. It is what it is. I’m not afraid of these feelings, or about talking about them, they are part of the human condition and I think that vulnerability within my self and the music I make is an integral part of the sound I create.
Do you have a favourite from the EP?
Yes! Monkey man. This track was made straight after a bout of sleep paralysis. During the episode I was aware of this skinny tall being with no face just staring at me around the corner of my door, I couldn’t move, and I was freaked! When I awoke, I was full of fear and went into my old studio to take my mind off the feeling and wrote the basis of this track over the next few hours. Still to this day when I hear it, I can feel that ‘being’ caught within it, I find that fascinating.
Do you often use music/art for cathartic purposes? Are they other examples like Monkey Man?
Yes, I have done. Sometimes they might not be full tracks, they can be parts within a track like say a string section, or even an aggressive bassline/ beat structure. I often use emotions that are within myself and express them through sound. I’m sure that sometimes I don’t even realise that I’ve done it and it’s a subjective experience. However, there must be a release in a healthy way for emotions that may be in me at times in my life. In days gone by, I would have used other means to exorcise my demons through bingeing on alcohol or food, or through anger or other negative means of trying to express pain, but that just creates a loop of pain that goes on to feed into the emotions that are already needing to be expressed. Nowadays, I meditate, I have done for about 10 years, but over the last few years, its become my lifeblood, that and my partner, Sarah and my close family. Through these positive things within my life and by allowing myself to express through art and music, I’ve been able to gain a deeper understanding of myself as a physical and spiritual being and I can better navigate strong emotions that may befall me.
What do you want people to feel when playing this EP?
Well, I’d like them to enjoy it! Lol. To be fair, I hope they catch a vibe and at least feel something if they feel nothing I’d be worried haha.
We’ll get into your art in a minute, but I feel your musical style is very much like visual graffiti. While the beats are bold and upfront, like graffiti, the background is equally as important with sounds morphed from their original form adding depth and colour to your tracks. How do you go about producing your music?
Yes, I can defiantly see the connection between Graff and writing music, to me, it comes from the same place. Everything starts with a feeling, a concept and a loop. I can’t create anything without a vibe as a solid foundation. From here, I usually start with the breaks and begin to layout the pace, flow and step. Then will come the bass and ill maybe chuck in a few samples or a pad and begin to create the overall vibe. From here I’ll use these building blocks to create the arrangement and it’s here that I begin to see the piece as a whole and see where it needs balance, detail, shape and space.
This is the third year in a row now you’ve released an EP on one of the Headz related labels, how did you originally hook up with them?
I originally signed a few tracks to the old Ruffige label back in 2007, 2008? I knew Goldie from years before that in the local Graff scene. He lived in Walsall, West Midlands at the time, and ran with a mutual friend ‘Dez’ (RIP). However, the Ruffige things never came out. It was three years ago about that I began to chat with Script from Scar and we became close. He passed some bits to Ant for me and Ant thought a couple of things had potential, so I then went on a mission writing a shit load of music until they found some tracks that they wanted for Methxx, they forged the basis for the first two EPs.
Did you get one of those calls from Goldie I often hear about?
Haha, yes! I still do and they are always a highlight. The only problem is they are always at God knows what time in the middle of the night. I blearily answer the phone and hear maybe Yoda or some other madness chatting at me for 20 mins, lol.
What was that like!?
Goldie is an absolute legend man. Back in the day, Id stand watching him when he painted in awe, he was just the king man, I can’t explain how we looked up to him. Now, I’m an adult, I’m still in awe of his genius, however, I also know my own self-worth now and I see him as a guiding influence. Sometimes he just calls to give you strength, to send love and show his support, other times he calls and gives you the benefit of his knowledge and musical guidance. I’m not ashamed to say that he’s part of the power that drives me to create.
One of the things I’ve always loved about Headz is the sense of community, similar to Reinforced and Moving Shadow the label had a group of artists that helped shape their sound. What does it mean to be part of the Headz family?
Its surreal, and I still can’t fully accept within that I am a part of that legacy. The label is one of the most professional labels I have worked for. You are looked after every step of the way and nothing is forgotten. Goldie, Ant and Tom and all the others behind the scenes, run a tight ship and it’s a pleasure to be on the label. I am so very proud of every artist and release on the label. I’ve made a really good friendship with Script and I thank him for being integral in my reintroduction to the label.
I think it’s probably fair to say it’s most producers dream to have a release on Headz. What is it about the label that’s kept them at the forefront of drum and bass?
In my opinion, it’s the sound and the vibe that it offers. There’s something about a Metalheadz track that hits you in all your senses. It’s the B-Boy mentality within the music, the forward-thinking experimentation. The freedom to create whatever the artist wants. There’s also a reflective aspect within the music which nods to the forefathers of this label and you can hear nods to the past within all the tracks that come out.
Their artist roster is now worldwide, demonstrating the reach of drum and bass and the allure of the label. Who are some of your favourite artists?
Man, I love all the artists on the label to be fair, it is hard to pick favourites. I’d say Dillinja, Adam F, Source direct, Goldie. And more recently Friske, Blocks and Escher, SB81, Scar, Rolodex, Fanu, too many to mention.
Do you have any stand out releases from the last few years?
The Blocks and Escher album, “Something Blue” was just wow! And The recent Friske track “Untitled killer”… what a fucking tune.
Talking of community, I mentioned your art earlier. We both share a passion for graffiti. I see you’ve recently been hitting the walls again, do you do that solo or as part of a crew?
I paint with my crew DZB (Double Zero Boys), we’ve been painting together for about 30 years and were all lifelong mates. I’m doing my adult nursing degree now and in training to be a nurse within the NHS, so we only paint at legal spots, however, it’s just great to link up again as a crew and paint wild style. Shouts to Media, Sane, Wingy and Attai.
Any stories you’d like to share from back in the day?
Ha, if you know you know. You’ll have to use your imagination.
There is a clear connection between taking a letter and transforming it and taking a break or sound and running it through effects, putting your stamp on the subject. What parallels do you see between the two artforms?
There’s no difference between them. The feeling behind twisting a letter to create funk and flow is the same as how I approach my music. It’s about putting that feeling that’s deep within me and using that to create the letterform or the breakbeat. Trying to be forward-thinking but having an eye on the past. Also, it’s that B-Boy mentality. Back in the day we didn’t have all the fancy caps and paint that we have nowadays if we wanted a skinny line we had to make adapters to put on top of the can or steal different caps off your moms household products, we had to overcome and adapt. Personally, nowadays, my music set up is proper ghetto. I have a laptop, Cubase 5, a soundcard, a Spirit folio desk and headphones, and I use what’s available to the best of my ability. For example, last week, SR and I had a studio session planned, but due to Covid 19 measures it was called off. However, we adapted and overcame, we linked up via Zoom audio and screen share and made a killer. This is definitely how we will work now in the near future.
It seems you release a batch of music at a time, do you have any other tracks in the pipeline to come out soon or do we need to wait another year?
The release schedule is huge I imagine, so there always going to be a delay from conception to release. However, there’s a couple of things that we made six months ago that Goldie and Ant were interested in, so now it’s just creating those other tracks that will fit nicely with them. SR and I have been working on a few things that we have nearly finished that we hope the label will love, so hopefully, that will wrap up another EP, but nothing is concrete yet. I will only release on Metalheadz nowadays and all my output goes to Headz first and foremost, but I have a couple of good mates with labels and if there are things that Headz don’t want I’m not against putting them out with those. SR and I also set up a personal Bandcamp to distribute more experimental sides to our music like techno, breaks and jungle, but we’ve yet to find the time to take that further.
Cheers man, been fascinating talking! Where can people find out more and connect with you?
My social media profile is pretty small; however, you can find me on Instagram under the tag @jemone_soultek.
The Constrict remix of “When I’m Over” by Dominic Ridgway, Stratowerx & Magugu is taken from the EP of the same name, available now on Dominic’s own label, Regression Media.
“When I’m On” is the first official vocal track produced by Dominic, after a string of unofficial hip-hop bootlegs, reinterpreted into atmospheric 170 dubplates.
We caught up with the producer to find out his favourite vocal DnB tracks as well as more about the release and the effects of COVID on the drum and bass scene.
I thought we could start by talking about vocal drum and bass tracks. Do you have any favourites? Say, one old and one modern…
Yeah, I’m definitely a fan of vocal DnB tracks, I do feel it has to be done right though. I think there’s a fine line before stuff can sound a bit cheesy.
An oldish vocal track I love is by Mr L (Jonny L) called “Oh Yeah”. Great summer vibes. Will never get bored of that track!
A much more recent one is a track off the 2017 album “Delusions of Grandeur” by Soul Intent called “Nearly There (Sula Mae Vocal Mix)”. Played it on a big rig a couple of times. Such a tune. Gets better with each listen.
So, what made you want to sit down and create “When I’m On”, your first official vocal track?
The original beat was just me and my close friend Stratowerx messing around, we were trying to make some sort of grime beat with no real intention of doing anything with it. I’ve known Sam for more than 10 years as we went to university together, he also runs a label called Caught London Sleeping, I feel we have very similar musical roots. More than anything, we were just trying to create something using both our influences.
I met Magugu last year in Croatia and have been talking about doing something together for a while. I sent him the beat on the off chance to see what he thought, I think within a week or so I had the vocals back from him. I have to give him massive credit for recording his vocals and adlibs etc, I could have just released the acapella as it was, extremely well produced! It all happened quite naturally, to be honest. This is the first real original vocal track I have made I think? It was a challenge but really enjoyable and well worth the stress!
I recently heard some of your bootlegs including Wu-Tang and the Fu-Gees, you’ve taken a fresh modern 170 approach to remix these. How did you go about producing them?
Bootlegging is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, I think it has been a big part of dance music in general. I’ve only ever bootlegged something I truly love, to be honest.
I think the biggest part of bootlegging is the availability of sounds. Whosampled is a massive help, not just for certain tracks but also as to how modern music works. The Fugees bootleg was all sampled off ‘The Score’ record. The intro was exclusive to the vinyl I think?
The Wu-Tang bootleg was a bit different as I used Whosampled to find the original samples they used and just repitched them to 170, as well as an acapella I had on my computer for several years. Bootlegging is more an exercise to see how much you can get out of limited samples and pushing them to be something else.
Is it much harder working with a pre-recorded vocal, especially well-recognised ones like these?
No, I don’t think so, stuff you already know is much easier to work with, both of the bootlegs you mentioned are fully dominated by the main vocal. My job there is just to create a rhythm track to the vocal.
I’ve often said that music should help capture the moment, as much as I love old-sounding stuff there is so much going on in the world at the minute that could be addressed through the music which isn’t. What do you think?
I think its an extremely good point! Some of the best music and art have only ever been created through adversity. Music and art are supposed to reflect the society in a way that politics and words can’t do. Without question, some great art has (or will be) made as a result of what’s currently happening. There has always been a strong connection between how people consume music and how it ultimately sounds. I’ve seen a few posts recently about sit down clubbing and the effect of that. I think its a sad state of affairs but at the same time interesting.
Do you feel, like a lot of others, that the current pandemic has zapped your energy to be creative?
I don’t feel like it has zapped my energy but may be changed my energy. We are in a strange state of affairs right now but I’m convinced something good will come out of it.
I’m not sure that’s something I can answer! Lol. Hopefully fewer masks and more bass?
I’m not sure how involved you are with social media but it seems that different sides of the jungle scene are tearing into each other with their opposing views of COVID and illegal parties. What impact do you think this might have on our already small community?
The idea of divide and conquer in social media will always be prevalent! Its a shame it now goes so deep into a scene that is as small as it is. The COVID thing is a whole different conversation that should not influence the music people are making or consuming. Using that sort of thing to your advantage is just a reflection of the utter madness of what’s going on.
At the start of the year, before COVID, I commented online about wanting to hear more tracks with vocals in them. Seems even more relevant now. Do you think this could be a way forward as we approach 2021? Sounds crazy even just saying that…
Yeah, I think without doubt tastes will change as I said before. As to what that is we can only speculate about. Maybe we will get to a point of dub bingo where we all sit down with a card of pre-stated dubs and we can check them off on a piece of paper when they are played! As long as we are all sitting down…. Very sad state of affairs!
You’re releasing “When I’m On” via your label, Regression Media, what kind of stuff do you put out?
I generally release my stuff and some other bits around the 170 speed/ethos. I suppose most things are ethereal deep music that has to be felt and not heard. This release is something new for me and the label. Creeping much more into grime/dubstep.
You also run a sister-label, Regression Media Limited, which focuses on small run lathe cuts. What’s the philosophy behind that project?
The limited thing is more of an exercise to find more value in music I suppose? I’m releasing things that I feel should be released on wax purely so they hold some value, I’ve had issues and messages saying £20 is too much for a record, but in reality, most people would spend much more than that in a pub on a Friday. At least with a record, you get unlimited plays…..?
I have literally stamped RGNMLTD003 today which is available now.
What’s it like working with Lewis and Dexta from 1-800-Dubplate who cut that release for you?
I think we have a good relationship! RGNMLTD003 has taken a little bit longer to happen than I would have liked, but like everything this year things have been a bit wonky. They are both seriously driven people and I’m proud to be having stuff cut there, let alone being able to cut records from both of them for my label. Serious guys. Hopefully, 1-800 and Disc World have a great future.
So after these two, what’s next for the label?
The next digital thing after 019 will be a compilation of everything up to this date along with some new remixes and maybe a couple of the RGNMLTD things in a digital format of 20 tracks. None of this will be confirmed until next year now though I suppose.
As we enter 2021, what would you like to see more off?
I’d like to see more politicians held responsible for their actions.
One last question, why do you all this? I’m fascinated by people’s desire to create.
Lol, that’s definitely a question I ask myself every day. Even more so recently considering what’s going on. I feel a lot of what I do is about legacy and what you leave behind effectively! As to how that eventually turns out I don’t feel is up to me, but up to the people that enjoy my music and the label.
“Low Key” by Javano is taken from the forthcoming LP “The Drift”, released by Peer Pressure Records. The album will be available from Friday, 30th October 2020 on Bandcamp and Beatport.
The LP features eleven songs in total covering drum and bass, liquid and deep house. One of my favourites is titled “Low Key”, a fine example of dark, broken techno set around the 140 beats per minute mark. With scattered drums and a wonderfully murky bass line, “Low Key” is one seriously, infectious rhythm that would have sounded massive coming through the speakers at Plastic People.
A full review of “The Drift” will be posted next week in the ninth instalment of our “Under The Counter” feature. Until then, enjoy the full stream of “Low Key” and check out the LP below.