Default Recordings Q&A

Following on from our catchup with QST we caught up with the Default Recordings crew to hear about their plans for the label.

DNB Dojo: Biggups on your first release! What made you want to start a label, especially given how many small D&B imprints already exist out there?

Default Recordings: Default Recordings first came about back in 2003 whilst Flapjack was experimenting making tunes with Coolhand Flex and vocalist Cat Knight in his home studio and getting advice from them on music production. In the early days they made many tunes together but never actually got round to releasing them. Flapjack already had vinyl releases back in 1997 on Dj Rap’s label Proper Talent (Dj Rap & Flapjack Rumble Remix) and sub-label Unique Muzique (Gulfbreeze/Lucid Dreams) and Desire’s label S.U.S. Recordings (Final Solution/Reverb) and thought the next step is to have his own label and continue to hone his producing skills.

Flapjack set up Default Recordings to have an avenue to release our music without having to conform to the restraints of other labels and also having more control over what we released and when. For a while Default Recordings was on hold as Flapjack had a full time job and not much time on his hands but always had the intention to re-launch the label at some point in the future. Flapjack recently met up with Piercey and found out he produced tracks, he then got introduced to IDC and he saw a lot of potential in them both. With this in mind and the other artists he had on the label previously (Coolhand Flex, QST & Cat Knight) he decided to re-launch the label with Piercey & IDC lending a hand.

Having two others on board has helped a lot financially and in spreading the workload. Over the past couple of months we have all worked hard in getting the label up & running again. Having a few of you with the same goal works really well as you can bounce ideas off each other to do with the label and also when it comes to producing music.

DD: I understand the Default crew hails from Milton Keynes, what’s the scene like there?

DR: The scene in MK has always been a bit quiet in terms of D&B, maybe with it being so close to London, people tend to look to the music and clubs down there instead. Not many nights are put on here and when they are, there isn’t much of a turn-out unless you get hold of some big names to get people out. Years ago, there used to be a big presence in the city with the likes of the Sanctuary and various other large clubs which unfortunately are no longer, they are all shutdown to make way for too many of these cheesy bars/pubs which don’t really cater for D&B and more towards house and RnB.

The only real place at the moment for DnB nights is the SnoBar which put on regular DnB nights with the likes of Steppers and Jungle Massacre. These are run by the boys behind Filthy Business and Delicate Beats, a couple of other labels which have been born in MK. When the label gets more established we will look to getting a regular Default night up and running in the area as it need something new and fresh for the people of MK who are into the scene. They just need to come out and represent the music!

DD: What are the plans for the label? Any upcoming releases you can tell us about?

DR: The main focus for Default recordings is to not stick with one DnB sound. Default wants to reflect the whole 360 degree spectrum of DnB and hopefully you will see that coming through with our future releases. We don’t want to be pigeon holed into having one style. All our artists presently on board have their own individual style, so with each release you can expect something different from the last.

The plan for the label is to keep releasing tunes on the regular. Hopefully people will like our stuff and the label will grow and mature over time. We are always looking for new and interesting artists to get on board, so if you have any demos please get in touch with us via our Soundcloud page. We listen to all demos and will give feedback..

Our release schedule over the next few months looks a bit like this: DEF002 will be from the legendary Coolhand Flex with Master and Soundboy. These 2 tracks are very different from our first release. If you know Flex from back in the day, this is his sound all over, truly a couple of dance floor smashers! This should be released early July. DEF003 will see the debut release from IDC. From there, we have releases coming from Piercey and also DSP. We will also be looking to have a label launch party sometime in June/July. The venue and date are still to be confirmed. Details will be available on our website. All the Default artists will be appearing alongside a very special guest….so keep an eye out for that.

DD: Any plans to release tunes on vinyl, or is the label sticking to digital only for now?

DR: For now, we are looking to keep the releases available through download stores only. Hopefully if the demand is there in the future then sure, we would love to release our tracks on vinyl. At the end of the day, all our artists come from vinyl backgrounds and that would be our ultimate goal. Nothing beats vinyl, but you have to move with the times…

DD: If you could sign a tune from any artist, who would it be?

DR: There are too many to mention. I simply couldn’t list them all. Someone like Calibre would be amazing. The guy is a genius.

And for those who need something more than words, here’s a mix from Default-er IDC which shows off the label’s vision with a tidy mix of smooth liquid. Check it out and grab yourself a free download!

Mako, Villem & Fields – Whatever Whatever [Warm Communications]

Warm Communications returns after a 6 month hiatus with a tidy little 12″ from Mako and friends! Whatever Whatever sees him teaming up with Villem and Fields to deliver a masterwork of skittering breaks and growling, warped low end. Seriously schizophrenic percussion is definitely the highlight of this tune!

Over on the flip Mako serves up a solo outing that dials back the breaks in favour of pure groove and hefty sub hits. Tasty half-step banter for the heads. Watch out for these dropping June 3rd!

Double Helix – Leviathan / Microgravity [Deep Field]

DFA 002

Double Helix returns with his second single for Deep Field Audio and fans of the gritty sound of modern neurofunk certainly won’t be disappointed with the release. Leviathan lives up to its name with some pretty huge bass underpinning a classic sci-fi infused neuro roller, with some exceptional attention to detail on the percussion, particularly in the back end of the tune.

Over on the flip, Microgravity piles on the atmosphere in the intro pared before dropping into a slightly more pared-back roller with some excellent Phace-esque bass texture.

Check out the tunes below and look out for these dropping June 24th via all good digital outlets!

Calibre – Spill [Signature]

The almost annual event that is a new album from the legendary Calibre is always a treat, and his 9th full length release keeps the quality high without falling into overly formulaic territory. Tracks like Think On, Key Flix and Simple Things provide the rolling, understated liquid we’ve come to know and love from the music man, while Cully Bridge explores slightly funkier territory with some interestingly treated vocal samples and Running adds a wee hint of samba with a great little guitar lick.

Elsewhere Sick Of It All explores moody, ethereal half-step, Keep Control superbly blends orchestral flourish with a tough, stepping beat and Wilderness sees an effortlessly soulful collaboration with vocalist Steo. Perhaps the most stand-out track on the album however comes in the form of Start Again, which sees Calibre teaming up with MC Chimpo to deliver a gritty, half stepping number that oozes atmosphere. Dark, oscillating bass, tight hats and deep, Mancunian tones; yes please!

Unfortunately only two previews of the album are up online so to hear the rest you’ll just have to buy yourself a copy from Surus, but trust me, you’ll not regret it.

In The Mix…Lenzman & Dan Steno

Lenzman teams up with vocal partner in crime Dan Stezo to deliver a lush liquid mixtape in advance of his appearance at Outlook 2013. True to form the mix is packed full of smooth rollers from the likes of Calibre, Artificial Intelligence, Marky, Random Movement and Lenzman himself. Check it out below and grab yourself a free download!


Ahead of his debut release for Default Recordings we caught up with QST to chat about his new tunes and plans for 2013.

DNB Dojo: Firstly biggups, really feeling the new tunes! Can you give us a bit of background on how these came together?

QST: Cheers! These tunes are from my back catalogue of unreleased stuff, Flapjack dug out Yellow from the vaults and asked me to use it for this release so I unearthed my old PC and transferred the track to Logic (with difficulty) and added a few synths and there you go. Red Dwarf is one of my later ones, I gave the demo to Flapjack a while ago, so when I was told it was needed for release I went back in the studio and finished it off. Red Dwarf was inspired by watching a documentary on the solar system.

DD: How did you hook up with the Default crew?

QST: It was about 8 years ago when I went to Raindance and had a couple of CDs of my tunes to give out to DJs, I saw Flapjack chilling in the Jenkins Lane room so I gave him a CD. He called me the next day saying he loved it, and he was feeling the one called “liquid funk”. Looking back at that tune it was pretty original as I went from a 4/4 time signature to 6/8 on the break down and back to 4/4 which gave the illusion of slowing down the track but it actually stayed at the same BPM. Might dig that one out and remix it especially for Default.

DD: How did you get started in the scene? Any nights or labels that gave you your first breaks?

QST: I was introduced to early house/hardcore/breakbeat by my older sister who used to listen to the pirates like Green Apple and Touchdown so I got my first taste of the new “Rave” from hearing it coming from her bedroom.

When I was 16 I did a Hardcore mix tape which I was really proud of under my old name “Quest”, I sent it to Eternity Magazine and won best mix tape, on the back of this I got my first DJ booking at the legendary Labyrinth Four Aces Club in Dalston which was on my 17th birthday. I played 3 sets, Old School in Main room, Jungle/Drum & Bass in the basement and a short Happy Hardcore set upstairs in the loft, for me that was the best birthday ever.

Default has given me my first release break so big ups to those guys, looking forward to seeing the label grow.

DD: What are your influences, both Drum & Bass and beyond?

QST: The most influential artists since the beginning have been Krome and Time, Omni Trio, Slipmatt, SS, Seduction, Pendulum, Noisia, Seba, Tech Itch to name a few, outside of D&B I get a lot of influence from film scores and old 70’s artist like Lonnie Liston Smith, Quincy Jones, Roy Ayres etc.

DD: One for the producers out there, what one piece of hardware or software can’t you live without in the studio?

QST: If I go back through all my tunes in the last 5 years Rob Papen Blue probably pops up the most, or maybe it’s the EXS24 Sampler as I think I use it in all my tunes. I can’t make up my mind here, sorry.

DD: What else is in store from QST in 2013?

QST: This year I’m looking to get back on the radio and do more DJ work as the last few years I’ve been working shift work so couldn’t commit to DJing or the Radio as my shifts were all over the place. My second release after Yellow/Red Dwarf on Default will be on my best buddy DJ V and Solutionsounds’ Label Subliminal Cuts Recordings, Connections will be released alongside DJ V’s Rasta Man in June/July sometime. Oh and I’m planning on a big lottery win too.

Check out the brand new single from QST below and look out for it dropping June 10th. Watch this space for a second round of Q&A with the Default Recordings crew.

And as if that wasn’t enough here’s a mix from the man himself! It’s packed full of techy belters from the likes of Optiv, BTK, The Upbeats and Telekinesis, and definitely worth a listen. Stream and download below!

GDS – The G-Quadruplex / Earthshine [Wyatt Noise]


Summer is almost upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with a dose of warm liquid! GDS turns in the 5th release for Oxford-based Wyatt Noise Recordings and it’s a bit of a treat. Oddly named A-side The G-Quadruplex keeps things light and airy with crisp, rolling breaks, floaty pads and great use of piano flourishes. The brass samples and guitar licks after the drop along with some subtle vocal echoes give the tune a slightly Samba-esque vibe, reminiscent of the likes of XRS Land or The Funky Technicians. Infectious and irresistible in equal measure!

Over on the flip things move into ever-so-slightly rougher territory with a slightly jungle-infused break and a bit more growl on the low end for the equally worthy Earthshine.

Check out the tunes below and watch out for these dropping June 10th.

Dose – What Lies Within / Simultaneous [SGN:Ltd]

Dose’s first single for SGN:Ltd left me a little disappointed; I’ve been a big fan of his releases over the years and his two 12″s for Subtitles were top notch, but Face Your Fears lacked the usual punch that I associate with the Kiwi producer. This latest pair of tunes shows that the man hasn’t lost his edge though, pulling out a veritable pair of dancefloor destroying neuro badboys!

What Lies Within wastes no time heading straight for the build up, with big squelchy bass building to a massive drop with a tasty main hook. Simultaneous on the flip strips things back a little, hitting in with a varied drum break and a sub heavy, morphing bassline.

To celebrate the release Dose has cooked up the second in the SGN Mix Sessions series, throwing down 30 mins of hard hitting neuro including tunes from The Upbeats, Calyx & Teebee and Teddy Killerz. Noice! Check out the mix below and watch out for the 12″ dropping on May 27th.


Emperor – Begin EP [Critical]

The mighty Emperor drops his debut EP for Critical! Opener Begin features beautiful melancholy synths and a great vocal from Georgia Yates (who many will recognise from her appearance on the Enei LP last year) followed by a healthy drop into some dirty bassline action. Over on the flip of the vinyl release She Said delivers a stepper with some serious groove and an utterly infectious main lick.

The digital exclusive tracks don’t disappoint either; Emperor teams up with partner in crime Centra for the absolutely massive Solar, while Radar and Precursor both deliver insistent, semi-hypnotic beats in that Critical style we know and love. Check out all the beats below and grab a copy from your favourite outlet now!

In The Mix…Hydro

To celebrate his forthcoming 12″ with War and Mateba for Horizons sub-label Inside, Hydro has put together a tidy wee mix for the horizons podcast series. Full of deep, dark, tribal beats, atmospheric sound design and tasty new dubplates, this is definitely one for the heads. Check out the mix below and watch out for the Black Light 12″ dropping soon (or grab yourself a white label test press here).