Q&A – Altered Perception [Alchemic Breaks]

Alchemic Breaks are busy gearing up for their first release later this month, so we thought it was high time to find out more about the operation from bossman Altered Perception. Read on for the low-down on the new imprint, his thoughts on the deeper side of D&B and how he came to be at the helm of no less than four labels!

DNB Dojo: Hi Sam! Thanks for taking the time out. How are you today mate?

Altered Perception: I’m all good thanks man.

DD: Care to introduce Alchemic Breaks to our readers? What’s the label’s focus, and what sets it apart from the plethora of D&B imprints out there?

AP: This label is going for a mixture of the deeper end of drum & bass. Half-step, minimal rollers and jungle/breaks influenced music. I think for most labels with only one release out to date it would be hard to say how we differed from other imprints but our first release spans a very wide spectrum of Drum & Bass. From the hard, Dub Phizix-esque steppyness of Xsetra’s Quantum, to Automate’s rolling breaks and sludgy bass on Breaksrus, through the tribal half-time vibes on Jaydrop’s Camo to Mystic State & Hidden Life’s ambient (and very trippy) Defrost – its all there.

I think we are hitting the ground running and our first release really demonstrates that we are all about pushing innovative and forward thinking tunes, which also sound great on the dancefloor. So far we’ve managed to gain support from names such as Iris, Hyroglifics, Dexta, Philth, Memro, Mauoq, Kyrist, Kmag & many more so I think we are off to a great start.

DD: You’re already involved in running Terabyte, Transmission Audio and Sub:mission Audio, no mean feat! What drew you to running a label, and how have you become involved in running so many?

AP: The first label I started, Terabyte, is run with an old mate from school (Auzi). This will always be my main focus, so much more time and effort has been poured into that one as its been running over a year longer than any of the others. We started it up in 2012 when Auzi approached me after another project with someone else wasn’t going anywhere (also there was some legal issue over the name but thats another story), so two and a half years of straight grafting has gone into that, and I think it shows. Transmission started because I have a deep love for big, bad tech monsters that Auzi doesn’t share so it didn’t really feel right to push that kind of stuff onto Terabyte, but luckily a friend who lives near me in Leeds (Peak) does so that’s how that started. Sub:mission was born out mine and Peak’s love for deep and techy liquid and I really wanted an outlet for that too.

I feel Transmission is really starting to get to a great point, our catalogue is very strong and we’ve got some fantastic stuff in the pipelines (TA012 pre-orders have just gone up as it happens). We had a great response to the four track Dark Matter Vol. 1 so we will be releasing a second volume around next March – watch out for that. We also have a remixes EP coming out soon on Sub:mission with one track from myself on it and remixes from Quatermass & Colossus. I guess I just really love releasing good quality music, this is all I ever want to do and whenever I’m not working I want to be doing musical things, running four labels means I’ve constantly got stuff to do. It’s all about having fun at the end of the day.

DD: For Alchemic Breaks you’ve teamed up with Chimera and Peak, how does that dynamic work within the label?

AP: I think it works really well. Chimera is just like me and Peak. He’s really, really passionate about Drum & Bass – a great DJ, dabbles in producing, loves the rave and just straight up knows decent tracks. We’ve all kind of naturally assumed different roles as the idea has progressed and it flows really well – we’re all happy and thats what counts really.

DD: So on to the first release, you’ve got four tracks from five different producers, how did it all come together?

AP: I’d already had my eye on Breaksrus and Quantum as possible release material for Transmission but when we decided to start Alchemic it became apparent that a) we obviously needed music to release and b) they definitely fitted the vibe we were trying to go for better than they did Transmission. Jaydrop and Mystic State/Hidden Life’s tracks came from dropping them a message on Soundcloud. They’re all really nice guys and got back to us very quickly and we’re glad that they did and hope to get some more material from all of them further down the catalogue.

DD: With the focus of much of D&B so firmly on the dancefloor, do you think the deeper end of the genre gets the recognition it deserves?

AP: Dancefloor, tech bangers are all the rage right now with lots of previously more minimal labels like Critical and Shogun releasing much harder and techier sounding material – I would say that it is saturating the variety of stuff being released in D&B a little bit from the bigger labels’ point of view, but there are loads of great labels out there pushing the kind of stuff we are going for. Just to name a few: Nurtured Beatz, Cylon, 31 Recordings and Diffrent Music are all labels I’m really digging at the moment.

DD: With the first release all primed for release later this month, what’s next for Alchemic Breaks? Anything you can tell us about signings or future releases?

AP: We’ve got a great selection of stuff in the pipelines from artists linked to Flexout, Cylon, Proximity & Diffrent (I won’t mention who yet though, all will be revealed in the not to distant future) and again it spans a very nice selection of 170bpm music. Got some free downloads in the pipeline from myself and Automate and I think me, Peak & Chimera are going to get working on one at some point too.

DD: Any shout outs or final thoughts?

AP: Shouts obviously to Auzi, Peak & Chimera – I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you guys so I’m obviously very grateful for that. Shouts to all the artists we’ve released so far, I tallied it up the other day and by the start of next year, across all 4 labels we will have had 40 releases so far in 2 and a half years so I’m very proud of that and all the people involved. Final thoughts I guess are I love where D&B is going at the moment and I’m glad to be a part of the progression of the music and the scene I love so much, big up all the D&B heads across the globe!

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