Q&A – NC-17 [Mainframe Recordings]

Toronto’s NC-17 has racked up quite the rep with a string of releases for the likes of Viper, DSCI4 and Renegade Hardware, showing a versatility of style and the sort of attention to detail that elevates D&B producers above their peers.

His latest EP for Mainframe Recordings continues that trend with a diverse array of tracks and some nice collaborations. Ahead of the release we caught up with him to find out about his hookups with Ray Uptown, his favourite techstep tunes and the Toronto scene.

DNB Dojo: The title track from your EP features some really slick vocals from Ray Uptown, how did that collaboration come about? 

NC-17: To be honest I don’t really remember how we hooked up. I know I had heard some of his work in the past and I thought his material was very interesting & unique especially from his leftfield approach. I know we linked up on Facebook and talked about potentially working on something together in the future. A few months had rolled by and I received a message on Facebook Chat from Ray letting me know he was headed to the studio. Luckily I took that day off work and was working on something that I had laying round for ages which was a leftfield minimal Hip- Hop influenced DnB track. I had been trying to finish it for a while but I always felt it was lacking the vocals that the track truly deserved. So I sent him the WAV & the rest is history!

I let Ray know my that my  Hip-Hop influences growing up were mainly the West Coast sound, especially from artists like MC Eight, Ice Cube, Spice 1, Ghetto Boyz, Easy E, Too $hort and others from the early to mid 90’s. I let him know exactly what I was after. Then literally 2 hours after sending him the WAV he had a clip of what he had done and I was in love. Literally he hit a home run out of the park! Once I finished it I felt it was it was a perfect fit for Mainframe for the EP I was working on. When I sent it to Disaszt he fell in love with it and we both felt that ‘Sex, Drugs, Lies, Alcohol & Video Tape’ was a perfect title for the EP.

Ray Uptown is a seriously talented vocalist and it was a pleasure for me to work with him. We also just finished two other tracks, one which is forthcoming on a major label which I can’t talk about just yet.

DD: Sleaze Disease sounds like a nod to the old school techstep sound of late 90s Virus releases. What’s your favourite record from that era?

NC: The late 90’s & early 2000’s are easily my favourite time period for the techstep sound in Drum n Bass. I think mainly because back then tracks had a lot more soul & funk. I feel a lot of today’s tech step is missing that. If I had to pick one record that captures that era perfect it would be Funktion by Ed Rush & Optical. I think that record captures the true essence of that era & it gives me chills every time I hear it. Also, it would be a crime if I didn’t mention the Matrix Sleepwalker LP. From the first track to the last its pure brilliance, definitely the soundtrack to any Jedi!

DD: How’s the Toronto scene these days? I understand there’s quite a thriving ragga jungle scene in the city, does that crossover with the more modern D&B scene or is it quite segregated?

NC: The Toronto scene can be up & down. There’s no doubt the promoters out here love their old school, which makes it really hard for artists to get work, especially some of the newer producers/DJs coming up. But I must say it is slowly getting better, especially compared to a few years back. More promoters are starting to think progressively, even though some promoters cherish and will never let the past go, no matter what. But, to be honest, we have so many great promoters now that this is less of a problem than before.

I also want to add that, at the moment, Toronto has been producing a lot of great artists such a Marcus Visionary, Rene La Vice, Nusense, Stranjah, Artifice, Statistic & many others.

DD: NC-17 used to be a duo but I believe it’s down to just Peter these days, how and when did that come about? Do you miss the partnership?

NC: Yeah, we actually haven’t been together as a group for quite a while now. I started the group in 2005 and had a few releases on various labels and Korosiv was part of another group and jumped ship to NC-17 in 2007. To be honest, from 2007 to 2009 we worked very well together, but after a while both of our tastes in music started changing and it became a struggle for both him and I. Every year we would work less frequently together and our musical differences just took their toll on both of us. For a very long time, at least for me, it didn’t feel like a group. Both of our sounds were totally different to a point where very little music was getting done together. Not to mention that both of us were also at different points in our lives. We kept holding each other back creatively so we decided it was best not work together. Being in a group is very much like a marriage and some times it just doesn’t work out for whatever reason.

I don’t miss the partnership because now I am free to make whatever I want to make without having to have someone else’s approval on everything I do. Partnerships are great when both artists are on the same page creatively, but when it’s the opposite it can be a creative nightmare. Since being solo I have been able to make five times the amount of music I was making before. There’s no room for being lazy because it’s all on you!

DD: What’s been your highlight of 2013?

NC: The highlight of my year was my time spent working hard in the studio. There is so much in the pipeline I can’t wait to announce all of it.

DD: Any Christmas tips from the NC-17 household?

NC: Stay safe and remember to always to help the less fortunate. Christmas is a time where I find people don’t stop to think of people who are in way worse positions than us, so if there is anyone reading this, even if its some thing little like buying some one a sandwich or donating to the Salvation Army, please help people who are going through a tough time through the holiday season.

Check out the clips of the Sex, Drugs, Lies, Alcohol & Video Tape EP and watch out for the release dropping on Mainframe Recordings from December 16th.

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