Stealth presents the latest episode of the Subtitles Music podcast, dropping a tidy selection of beats from the likes of Hybris, Ulterior Motive, Enei, Octane & DLR, Icicle and Ivy Lab. Deep, dark and rolling, just how we like it!
Leeds-based Dispatch Recordings have been a steady part of the D&B scene for well over a decade now, with a well deserved reputation for releasing tough, rugged tracks from some of the best names in the scene. Never compromising their integrity in favour of current trends, the label has truly gone from strength to strength over the past few years with a couple of massive LP releases and a slew of singles and EPs to boot.
Early releases on the label saw tunes from the likes of Hidden Agenda, NOS and Q-Project taking centre stage, not to mention a rather tasty collaboration between Chris.Su, Stress Levels and Ant TC1.
Having gained this momentum, 2008 saw the label step up a gear with their first release from the mighty Break (collabing with Survival on the Sick/Warnings 12″). From here on in the discography speaks for itself, with a massive selection of great tracks from the likes of Hybris, EBK, Amoss and Octane & DLR (who’s 2012 LP Method in the Madness was widely hailed as one of the albums of the year).
All of this brings us up to the present day and the rather excellent release last month of Survival & Silent Witness’ LP In From The Wild. Every bit as high quality as the Octane & DLR album last year, and lavishly released on both vinyl and CD formats, the tracks below speak for themselves.
So if you don’t know Dispatch, sit down and have a browse of the back catalogue!
Symmetry Recordings, the label owned by drum & bass legend Break, have been gearing up for a while now to release The Other Side, the label’s third album and the first to feature tracks from artists other than Break. Ahead of the release we caught up with Break for a quick Q&A about the album.
DNB Dojo: Since this is a collaboration album, who would you do a collab with if you could pick any musician alive or dead, and why?
Break: Its very hard, the list could be very long…would love to work with Marlena Shaw or Sade, they’re two of my favourite singers.
Ooh or Seal if it was a guy!
DD: Was there a deliberate decision to shift the output of Symmetry away from your own productions and onto releasing more tunes from other producers, or did it just evolve that way organically?
Break: A bit of both…I have been releasing tracks from other artists for a little while, but so many great tracks were getting sent, it seemed right to do an album. Could probably do another one soon, there’s so many good producers Im feeling at the mo.
DD: What’s your favourite track out of everything you’ve ever written? For me it’s probably between Is This What You Want and Too Much, though I also have a lot of time for Our World (from the Breakout EP you did for Eastside back in 2003)
Break: Bit like the first question pretty hard to say. Pleased you remember Our World, that was one of my favourites at the time, sounds a bit gnarly now, but the vibe is rolling. I really like Let it Happen, Last Chance Remix, Love So True, and Evil Twin. Lightspeed also gives me goosebumps everytime…there’s not many DnB tunes that do that for me…Think I’m more into the musical ones with heavy bass, my favourite combo.
DD: What’s next for the label after this album? Any exciting future plans you’d care to tell us about?
Break: We will be releasing some exciting remixes from the album, and there are several tracks that I’m trying to get my hands on, so a few more singles to come soon as well.
Ive been working on a non Dnb album with the singer Kyo, the band is called “Degrees of Freedom”, watch out for the first single coming soon. I’ts basically everything we’re into that isn’t DnB.
DD: The album features a nice variety of styles from more liquidy stuff to the really hard hitters like Kicked To Death. Which styles of drum & bass do you find it more fun to write, and to DJ?
Break: It kinda is 6 of one half a dozen of the other…Kicked To Death totally smashes it in every rave I’ve played, but it was designed to do that, after working on that in the studio for a while, can give you a bit of a headache… it’s so loud and lairy…whereas working on Who We Are, which is one of the more liquidy tracks on the album, I find more enjoyable and satisfying… basically I’m more into piano than synths!
DD: Any tips for budding drum & bass producers? What can make a track great rather than just good?
Break: I think there is an element of hit and miss. Not every tune can be amazing….you can’t expect to be able to do that…..whenever I try and make my best ever tune it’ss totally rubbish and contrived! When you nail a vibe that you’re really into, that usually will come through in the music. Often less is more….I find that all you need is 4 or 5 tracks in your arrangement to have a killer….any more is usually just filler.
Check out previews of the album below and grab yourself a copy from your favourite shop on digital and vinyl, out now!
Last month Octane & DLR released their highly anticipated debut album Method in the Madness to the delight of drum & bass heads everywhere. We caught up with the guys for a quick Q&A about the album and their plans for the future.
DNB Dojo: The album includes a variety of styles, not just the drum & bass you’re known for. Was that a new thing for the album, or have you guys been writing other styles for a while and just not releasing them?
Octane & DLR: We’ve been writing more downtempo music under the name Cymatic for a while. The collective consists of the both of us, Octane & DLR, along with Ruckspin & Quantum Soul. It’s not a project we’ve wanted to shout about too much because everyone involved already has their own projects with their own workload already quite heavily packed and that doesn’t leave much time for us all to get together. We have released a few things. Most recently, Electric Church / Jungle Fever and Glue / Hound Dog. Both 12″s on Box Clever.
With the Method album we wanted to show all of our colours and it made sense for us to add some of our newer Cymatic material.
DD: What’s your favourite tune on the album? Or failing that, which one has been generating the most buzz?
O & DLR: We can’t give you our favourites because we’re completely numb to the whole album after spending so much time writing it! From what we’ve seen so far, the two clear favourites seem to be Murmur (ft. Break) and Set Up The Set (ft. Script). They’re both definitely the most dancefloor orientated tracks and we expected they’d be the tracks to make an initial impact but maybe people’s favourites will change in time. We’d like to think the album has the ability to grow on people too.
DD: What’s next after the album release? World Tour? Or are you gonna take some time off?
O & DLR: We thought we’d take a little time off but that hasn’t happened yet. We’ve recently remixed Stone & Gerra‘s Dronehead and Dabs‘ Who is Gonna Lead and written another track with Break for the Forthcoming Symmetry VA album. We’ve got a lot more studio work in progress and we’re touring with the album so I think a bit of time off is out of the question just for now.
EB: It’s been a big year for you, with releases on some legendary labels and tons of gigs all over the place. What’s been your highlight of 2012 so far?
O & DLR: Actually finishing the album within our lifetime and without killing each other and/or Ant (TC1). Then, on the gigs front, Outlook 2012 without question. For anyone who hasn’t been out there, you really need to make 2013 happen. Vibes are just incredible!
DD: One for the production geeks out there, what’s your studio setup like in terms of hardware and software?
O & DLR: We love our hardware. We’ve been through so much kit, it’s ridiculous (and expensive). There are pictures of our combined studio at www.exhaleaudio.co.uk (where we wrote most of the album). In all honesty though, some software lately has just blown us away. UAD, Waves, Airwindows, Brainworx and Flux are some of the best processors we’ve heard. It’s hard to believe how far technology has moved on and the new wave of inverse distortion plugins is really capturing the analogue inconsistencies that computer musicians were craving.
DD: Wanna tell us a bit more about the Cymatic project?
O & DLR: There’s the two of us [Chris and J] along with Dom (Ruckspin, Submotion Orchestra, Author) and Guy (Quantum Soul). It’s a strange project because although we all love it so much, we rarely all get the chance to be in the same place at the same time due to our solo commitments. When we do, however, there’s usually a few all-night sessions and we really tend to ‘go in’ on the music. The four of us all bring something unique to the sessions and we always manage to keep a vibe going. Having four heads involved is certainly a great way to stay inspired. 2013 will see more Cymatic material. There’s already more music in the works.
DD: Who are your favourite producers right now?
O & DLR: We don’t really have favourite artists. We’re both on the same page when it comes to this. We’ve always had the idea that we don’t want to sound like anyone or be influenced by anyone else. Obviously we’ve been influenced by everything we’ve heard and enjoyed and it must come through in our own works to some degree but to pin down a favourite artist/producer is near on impossible because there’s just so much amazing music out there.
DD: Lastly, what (in your opinion) is the best record ever? Any era, any style, any musician
O & DLR: I can’t remember what it was or who it was by but it was probably on a tape pack from 1994 and it went something like ‘da dee naa naaa dum dum’ and had loads of samples in it…that same rave scene inspired everything we all know as dance music now. We’re lucky in that we’ve had Drum & Bass for 20 years now!
Check out clips of the album below and grab yourself a copy from the Dispatch Store at Surus.co.uk.