Ahead of the first release on his brand new label CO:RE, we caught up with Chris Octane to talk about the label, his musical approach and his dream collaborator.
DNB Dojo: I was kinda surprised to hear that you and DLR were going your separate ways after the success of the Method in the Madness LP. Was this always the plan, to use the album to launch solo careers, or did circumstances conspire to keep you apart?
Chris Octane: It was a crazy time after the album. It was never the plan to split. We didn’t have a plan. The Method LP was the pinnacle of OD and we put everything into it. Throughout the process we explored a lot of new ideas and territory and I think we grew in different ways. That naturally led to us playing with new ideas outside of the OD project. DLR moved to Bristol to be nearer family and I think having a break from each other actually pushed the solo side further. It all seems like natural progression and I’m happy we left OD on a high. We’re both open to working together and we still have our Cymatic project. In the not too distant future there’ll likely be new material as a duo but we’re both really enjoying the freedom of solo work right now and we’re pushing our own boundaries as individuals which is what we needed to do.
DD: Tell us a bit about your plans for CO:RE; what prompted you to launch a label of your own, and what sort of stuff can we expect to hear from the label over the next few months?
CO: CO:RE is a little place for me to experiment. The label is about my journey through sound design and music. I’d thought about it for a long time before the solo project started but after speaking with Ant TC1 and James DLR after the OD split, now seemed like the right time to dive in. I’m still very much part of Dispatch. We’re all good friends and it’s great to have the support. I can’t imagine that would be the case in any other industry!
DD: The first release on CO:RE sees a certain disparity between the two tracks, with the A side providing more traditional drum & bass kicks while the B side sees you off exploring more experimental territory. Any plans to move away from traditional drum & bass, or will one foot always be on the dancefloor?
CO: Synthetics is aimed more at the floor on first listen but it is quite deep when you study it. It’s entirely built from Synthesis and the vocal fits the idea that nothing is as it seems. I’m trying to put more depth and meaning into my work as well as a heck of a lot of engineering and hopefully some listeners will appreciate that. Gaia’s Dub has a lot in common from a design perspective but I wanted an opposing sound. Something to show my exploration and a bit of my obscure design side. It sounds quite minimal but the way everything is chained is the reason for that. It’s designed to push and pull itself and everything interacts. To carry on the natural theme I arranged it live and left in a lot of the natural hiss and pops from the circuits it went through.
Both tracks actually sit at the same tempo. I don’t think I could move away from D&B entirely. It’s engrained in me, but I’ll definitely try to push the boundaries of the norm with CO:RE. I’m also aiming to push collaborators outside their usual comfort zone. I have a few great collabs lined up and it will be brilliant to see how their artistic minds work in a no holds barred environment!
DD: Sound design and texture have always played a big part in your work both with DLR and on these new solo productions. Care to give us an insight into your creative process? What do you draw on for inspiration and how do you get from an abstract sound design to a more structured overall tune?
CO: I try to find a theme or a kind of story in the new work. Not that it’s always apparent to the listener but it gives a little more definition to the path the music will take. I have to be able to imagine what the sounds represent otherwise they’re pointless to me. It’s a nice way to explore my own mind and make music artistically. Something I can only do as a solo artist with my own imprint. But then again sometimes I can just hit something with a stick and it sounds really good.
DD: If you could pick any musician to collaborate with on a future release, who would it be and why?
CO: Aphex Twin. It would be nice to feel like I’m a little less obscure in my writing than I do now! After writing for so long as a duo / quartet it’s quite unnerving to finally be baring myself like this. I have no idea where I’ll end up or how people will react but one thing for sure is that I’m really enjoying writing and being myself entirely. I’m expecting mixed reactions to some things but I think I need to be myself. I’m putting a lot of work into the music but I don’t want CO:RE to be anything more than my journey through everything I love about music / sound.
Check out Chris Octane’s brand new single below and watch out for it dropping via his new CO:RE imprint on May 6th!