TReen Interview (April 2014)


We first came across TReen a couple of months ago through mutual friends and were instantly blown away by their vast hardware set up, their open minded attitude to music production, incorporation of mutant sounds, and of course their celebrated live performances. We’re thrilled to have gotten a chance to interview both Dave and Lou, learning more about TReen and their approach to music!

IA: Okay so the first thing we all wanna know about is the set up! What’s striking about the stuff you guys do is the amount of hardware you use – I know the likes of Karenn and TM404 share an extensive love of hardware, along with British Murder Boys and innumerable others, but the scope of what you guys have is very impressive! What’s in the studio?

Lou: Where to begin?!

The set up.  Two samplers, one each – a Korg ESX and an MPC 500; a changing line up of synthesisers, at the moment it’s a xox box, an Access Virus Ti and a Bass Station 2 (but we’ve had a Moog Little Phatty, Yamaha TX7 module and a Korg Volca Keys along the way and just about to swap the Ti for a Snow); effects boxes – a Korg Kaos Pad and an old Echorder.  All of this goes into a MIDI patch bay so all the machines can communicate and keep in time by running off the same MIDI clock – which is provided by the ESX, so that’s the start of the chain. All the signal goes into a 14-channel mixer, with the ESX kick drums being split off into their own channel. Finally the signal from Auxiliary 1 on the mixer goes into a 266XL DBX rack compressor to form a side chain compression, and that has its own channel on the mixer as well.

The stay-at-home MOTHER of them all is the Roland TR-808 which doesn’t come out to play (oooh except once! – when we played a set on Al iLLEagle’s original Terrahorns. We’ve sampled the fuck out of the 808 and use the noises through the ESX cos them lush ESX valves mean the sound is reproduced really faithfully to the original.

IA: So how long have you guys been making music together, then? What were the beginnings of TReen? 

Lou: We’d been making music together since 2010 as Emily Davison vs The Tigerforce.  Dave kicked it off when he bought the Virus Ti, I thought he was mad to spend so much money on a synth and then I heard it.  It was just one of those Damascene moments; they don’t come around often, so you should grab them when they do. I was like, “Eeep! We’ve got to do a live set!”, there was no question; it was just obvious. We changed the name to TReen a couple of years later – because it would fit on flyers better basically! The capital “TR” is a homage to the studio backbone of our set-up, D’s modded Roland TR-808 drum machine.  He bought it before we got together, back in the mists of time when 808s were neither as fashionable nor as expensive as they are today.

Dave: I’d been noodling on computers since all my old hardware packed up thru over-raving around 2003. When Lou suggested it, I thought, “Let’s do this properly”. I already had the 808 from a chance offer from a mate in Rotterdam but I didn’t really play out with it.


Emily Davison vs the Tigerforce

IA: What’s the least amount of gear you have done, or could do a show with?

Dave: It depends on the show, it’s useful to have two sequencers that you can mix the beats back and forth between like a traditional DJ set-up and then anything else can be patched via our midi split. We have a machine dedicated to the sub (Bass Station 2) and it’s good to have a couple of other synths on hand if one goes down, I bought a TX7 for £60 that exact reason and we’ve used an ipad in a similar way. Computers crash, hardware fails, that’s just life.

At one of our early gigs my MPC500 was placed dangerously close to a proper oldschool 70’s bass guitar amp belonging to the hardcore band ‘100% Beefcock and the Titsburster’; the magnets from the speaker drivers totally wiped the flash memory leaving me with only the midi data (stored on the ROM, geek fans!) so Lou had to basically do the gig on her own whilst I played the occasional live bassline from the Novation (BS1) and a couple of midi patterns. I had a Wavedrum that I hit a bit but they’re pretty shit-sounding so I held back out of embarrassment. But an ESX and a x0x on their own can still provide some tearing acid and Lou fucking stormed it. I still had an annoying hippy come up to us afterwards and tell me that we weren’t really playing live because they weren’t real instruments – despite my actually playing live on two instruments.

IA: It could be said there are advantages to having a laptop in a live setting, was the move to hardware prompted by anything in particular?

Dave: I started on hardware in the late nineties because computers couldn’t do very much and were really expensive, I yearned for a laptop so badly and got one in about 2001. It had 128mg ram and ran Reason ok but not well enough to trust dropping stuff in and out live.

There is so much freedom with laptops nowadays, they are amazing.  You can design tracks so they can be mixed together and never be performed the same way twice and Ableton seemed to get its shit together after version 7, as did the reliability of usb connections for controllers but it’s not the same as having a buffet of sound machines. I find latency thru usb can still be a bit looser compared to the feel of analogue especially on knobs and sliders. Basically, I think analogue signal is a glorious thing, it IS the sound of electricity and I love that fact.

Lou: I always wanted to do a hardware live set because DAW’s do my head in; I found them really frustrating to use when I was first working out the basic architecture of electronic music.  Using the ESX-1 changed all that; maybe I’m just a tactile learner or maybe I just like flashing red buttons, but I learnt more about how decent tunes are structured from having to work from within the confines of the ESX’s framework than I ever managed when I was faced with a blank screen song file: I just never knew where to start.  Plus, if I am being brutally honest, I think that when peeps play out on laptops they look a bit like they’re doing their accounts.


TReen live at the John Peel Centre

IA: On average, how much preparation goes into a performance? Are there pre-programmed sequences that you save beforehand, or is it all created from scratch?

Dave: When we play live we have two sequencers running a maximum of an 8 bar loop (usually 2 or 4 bar loops to keep the sequencers running to the same bar count) then everything is punched in and out live, either on mutes or faders on the desk. One song can have 20-30 layers and the combinations of each layer provides the build ups and drops. We try to keep key elements to certain pads (top right pad on the mpc is always the sub on the bass station for example,) so if it is dark or we are a bit confused(!), there are areas to ground or remind us what could happen next.

Other live tricks we use if we’re feeling confident, is the playing of improvised parts on the synths or messing around with the analog delay echo in a dub style.

Lou: A decent monitor set up is our main requirement as we tend to spend the first 10 mins in a blind panic troubleshooting the mix.  When possible, we use the teknival method of playing in front of the rig and just using it as a very big monitor: best fun ever.

IA: You’ve got quite an eclectic output, we’ve seen you hammering out acid techno, footwork, even stuff with a real ska swing to it – I’m guessing when you guys start making tunes it’s an anything goes approach? Or do you tend to focus on a specific sound or sounds from time to time?

Dave:  We’ve always been committed to getting people up and dancing. We’re both always listening out for samples and things we like that we can incorporate into the set, be it a style, a sound or a trajectory. It must be spirited in some way. No imitating – stealing outright is fine though ;)

Lou: Haha! It’s not stealing, it’s just re-contextualising stuff and bringing it into the unique hardcore/breakbeat folk tradition of the UK!

IA: If, for some reason, you had to abandon your entire record collection and could only save three items what would they be?

Dave:  In the apocalyptic scenario of which you speak I think I would leave it all behind and just go on the rampage until I met with a swift death.

Lou: Haha I stupidly lost/gave away all my records to random people in a squat I was living in just off Old Street in 2003 because I “…didn’t want to be tied down to earthly things”. Perhaps if I could just have Rah Digga’s Lessons of Today back? That would be great. Cheers. :)


TReen and MC Gigante live at Maui Waui Festival

IA: Do you have any up-coming gigs you’d like to mention?

The Waterfront, Norwich this Friday 28 March. After that we’re taking a rest from live shows until Lou’s “Hyper-On Birthday Gala Experience” on 24 May.

Huge, huge thanks again to Lou and Dave for sharing their time with us! We strongly encourage you check these guys out, as you can see from the videos posted here they are extremely talented and very creative. You can get their EP’s “Footwerk Makes One Free” and “4 Trax 4 Electro Skankin” through the links below.



Young Smoke Interview (March 2014)


After dubstep broke and reforged the garage template last decade we’ve been waiting to hear some new paradigm shifting music once again. While a lotta great new music is undoubtedly emerging in the UK, Chicago (the birthplace of House music, once upon a time) has been shattering paradigms of its own. Though Footwork/Juke has been around for a while much of the world is only just recognising the sound as a vital and potent movement in the upper tempo stratosphere. With this said, we’re incredibly excited to have had a chat with Young Smoke, the real deal all the way from Chicago – we hope you’re feeling!

IA: So we really appreciate you sharing your time with us today at Inorganic Audio. Shall we start off with the basics? You go by the name of Young Smoke and you hail from from Chicago, the home of footwork. How long have you been involved in the scene over there, and when would you say footwork began? Who are the pioneers?

S: I’ve been Involved on the footwork scene since 2006 when I first started footworking with a group called Bang Squad that alone is when I first started making tracks. Footworking began on the west side of Chicago I think around the early 90’s it came from the projects when they used to throw house parties but it so many different stories of where it started from you would be confuse and I don’t know who are the pioneers.

IA: So like many people in the UK we first became aware about this Chicago sound from the footwork-influenced “Footcrab” tune which Addison Groove put out on Swamp81 back in 2010. I know Planet Mu had put out Bangs & Works Volumes 1 and 2 as well which are considered a big part of the footwork sound spreading globally. Had the music spread beyond Chicago at that stage or was it still a local thing?

S: At the time it was a local thing but now it is spreading world wide with different sounds.

IA: And it must be pretty sweet having your own album out on a well-respected label across the world! How did the album come about, and are there any plans for more?

S: Well first off I will like to thank Mike Paradinas for giving me a chance for my sounds to get heard. He saw something in my music that a lot of other people did see or hear and that’s how it became about me releasing my first album The Space Zone.

Actually it was a blessing for me at a young age to have my first album put out on Planet Mu it was a big surprise for me and I still get a lot of feedback from the fans that still listens to it so I want to thank Planet Mu for giving me a chance to get heard world wide. I have plans for this year for the new album release in 2014 call the Futuristic Arcade its basically going to be little bit more focus on stories telling’s like action movies, Lounge music and video gaming soundtrack all in one mix. I’m trying to make it have the feel like you’re sitting at a movie theater or playing the game.

IA: The thing that strikes me about your tunes is that they’re very, for want of a better word, “musical” – there’s a greater emphasis on melody and harmony in your stuff than with a lotta footwork material we’ve heard. I’m thinking particularly of tunes like “Let Go” and “Space Breeze” which I feel are really blissful/bittersweet tracks with a proper “4am” kinda vibe. What kinda tunes do you appreciate outside of footwork, or what musicians, if any, do you see as having an influence on your sound?

S: I have a couple of influences outside of footwork I like Liquid Stranger, BlueTech, Solar Fields, Mystical Sun, Lemon Grass, Solar Empire I like some of Net Sky music I listen to a lot of Lounge music because of the mellow feelings. That’s about it.

IA: How do you feel about footwork going global, and when did you first start to notice the sound spreading?

S: I actually think that’s good thing that the Juke sound is spreading and having a influence on new artists to come hopefully soon it will be bigger than what it already is.

IA: Can you tell us a little about what is meant by “the footwork lifestyle”?

S: Footwork Lifestyle title came about on reminiscing on the older footwork days from the year 2006 before Juke and Footwork became what it is today it was taking a trip back in time to show and let people hear how far it has come until this day.

IA: In an interview with Fact Magazine, DJ Rashad mentioned folks from the UK showing him people like Goldie and those guys who were pioneering their own up-tempo sound back in the 90’s. Over here right now it seems like Drum & Bass and Footwork are coalescing a bit – like Alix Perez just debuted a collab with Spinn and Rashad on BBC Radio, while Om Unit did some footwork-inspired versions of old Drum & Bass/Jungle tunes as Phillip D. Kick. Is there much going on in Chicago to do with DnB/Jungle or is it not really that popular there?

S: Not really I don’t hear a lot of Drum and Bass and Jungle music getting play out here in Chicago probably in certain parts of Chicago I hear people talking about the music but it’s not that popular as far as city wide.

IA: What do you produce your tracks with? Do you use any hardware or do you tend to stick with software?

S: I use FL Studios I make a lot of my sounds from VST plugins. I try my best to be different to stand out and make what’s going to be  hot in the future.

IA: I know a lotta the media focus on footwork tends to centre on Teklife and that crew, and we’re feeling what those guys are doing too, but do you perhaps know of any less well known producers who you’d encourage people to check out? Any up-and-comers who you’re feeling?

S: At the moment I’m still giving every one a ear to see who I like but none at the moment.

IA: And finally! We’ve seen the vids of people footworking, it’s crazy! And I hear the dancers over in Chicago take it real seriously. Do you dance too or just make the tunes?

S: Yes I dance I was dancing before I started making tracks but the music that the DJ’s used to play at the events is what started me to make tracks.

We wanna give a huge thanks to Young Smoke again for agreeing to answer our questions! If you wanna hear more you can check out his album The Space Zone on Planet Mu or you can hit up his Bandcamp page at the links below!

Inorganism 025 (March 2014) - mdX

Inorganism 025 - mdX

mdX delivers our 25th podcast, offering a taut selection of hard edged lower-tempo movements.

Wen - Lo-Fidelity [South Fork Sound]
Dark Sky - Shutter Speed [50 Weapons]
Addison Groove - I Go Boom [50 Weapons]
My Nu Leng - Remember In U [Black Butter Records]
Peverse - Tesla [Artikal Music UK]
Daega Sound - Fox Wing [Black Box]
My Nu Leng - Damp (Last Japan’s 4:44am Remix) [LNUK Records]
Nphonix - Getting Run Down (Slow Mix) [Shifting Peaks]
Nomine - Nomine’s Sound [Tempa]
DJ Madd - On Top [Black Box]
Walton - Homage [Keysound Recordings]
Thefft - This Way Down [Fulcrum Records]
MJ Cole - 39 Step [Prolific Recordings]

Diffrent Music Interview (February 2014)


Dexta has been the backbone of Diffrent Music since 2010. Perpetually focused on bringing stripped-back, head nodding music to the world, he’s been responsible for breaking many new artists into the scene. We caught up with the man himself to give us the lowdown on why Diffrent will always be different.

IA: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us at Inorganic Audio! First of all, what are the challenges you found in compiling the tracks for the album compared to an EP release?

D: To be fair I am surrounded with artists who are making loads of great music all of the time, so getting the music together was kinda natural and really easy, having things tweaked and finished was another story but happened with no falls outs! Mastering and Paperwork was the biggest chore, but it all got done just in time for the release date - so again no love lost.

IA: As a label owner and producer, is it difficult striking the balance between business and creativity?

D: The label is my number one commitment so the music making/studio/creative time is just for me a hobby or pastime, for it is just art. I’d never want to jeopardise my lifestyle or rely on direct creativity output to live on with, so I think that balance is forced deep down into my DNA. However, there are times when I’m involved in a music project that involves other people and deadlines and I’ve had to switch to/fro Label/Artist which is quite odd feeling, but it’s what I live for so its not too hard or awkward (yet!!)

IA: How does Diffrent set itself aside from the myriad of other labels?

D: I can’t blow my own trumpet but I’d like to think that the success of the label comes from the hard work put in, from all of the artists in the studio to the DJs on road and all the people who are supporting the music and releases. From an artistic point of view, I’m always on the hunt for new and experimental sounding things, once I’ve heard something done a few times by few other people It bores me, so this level of quality control kinda shines through with the output on Diffrent Music.

IA: Diffrent always have very striking designs, how important is branding to its success?

D: It helps a lot especially when it comes to us small labels who are trying their hardest to become noticed. There’s been a lot of great designers and artistic input to the brand and back catalogue of sleeve design who have all made the label what it is today.

IA: If Diffrent Music was a food, what food would it be?

D: Imagine your favourite gourmet burger place started doing medium/rare giraffe steak sandwiches with authentic jungle flavoured potato wedges.

IA: In your opinion, are physical sales still relevant? Or should labels look for other sources of income through to keep themselves afloat?

D: It’s really hard to shift the physical stuff. Most of the new DJs have not even got or used a real turn table, and a lot of the older DJs from pre-digital or cross-over period have made the big switch. Personally, you don’t own or ‘have’ a tune unless you have a copy of it that you can look at, hold, touch, feel, have and build a lasting memory with. As a label, I feel that you’re not really a record label until you’ve actually put a label on a record. But they are just personal opinions. Diffrent’s happened very organically, it was set up from pocket money from the ground up and along the line a few risks/chances were taken and luckily you can go out and buy the tunes physically which I am very proud of, and I know loads of people enjoy, so big ups all in support of the vinyl movements!

IA: Do you have any alternative creative outlets other than your music?

D: I like to scream and shout in the bath, do a few little random doodles, and a little bit of design - but nothing that makes me feel the way I do after working in the studio.

IA: What are your plans for 2014?

D: Hopefully the Christmas madness won’t break the world in half so we can crack on. Some big changes in the logistics of the label from a release point of view, but cannot reveal just yet, but music from all the album artists, also some stuff from some new names too, which I will be programming into the next GiraffeCast!

IA: First album?

D: “Evolution Of The Giraffe LP” go and buy it now on CD, Vinyl or Digital Downloads ( [Ed. previews embedded above!]

IA: Guiltiest pleasure in music? (Something you love but probably shouldn’t).

D: Die Antwoord

Thanks again to Dexta for agreeing to be interviewed. If you didn’t know about Diffrent Music already, you can get at them online through the links below!

Inorganism 024 (January 2014) - Sublogos

Inorganism 024 - Sublogos

Sublogos presents our first podcast of 2014, coming with a 34 minute vision of the contemporary bass-continuum and beyond.

Download available.

Objekt - Agnes Demise [Objekt]
A Made Up Sound - Extra Time [A Made Up Sound]
Logos - Seawolf [Keysound Recordings]
Kamikaze Space Programme - Black Lagoon [Deca Rhythm]
Akkord - Rocendal [Houndstooth]
SS/S - Siglo 2 [Jealous God]
Visionist - Snakebite [Leisure System]
Kamikaze Space Programme - Cassini [Deca Rhythm]
2562 - Brasil Deadwalker [When In Doubt]
South London Ordnance - Harrier [Audio Culture Label]
Zed Bias - Ye [Swamp81]
Paleman - Etch [School Records]
Laurel Halo - Chance of Rain [Hyperdub]

DOOR! Jeff Derringer (Amsterdam, 24th August 2013)


In the industrial outskirts of Amsterdam there lies a small village named Ruigoord which was originally abandoned in the 1960’s to make way for a planned expansion of the city’s harbour (which is very close to the site upon which Ruigoord sits). The village became a squat for artists and, though legal troubles are now apparently a thing of the past, the artistic flavour very much remains with Ruigood playing host to various poetry festivals and music events.

On our hazy jollies over to Amsterdam we happened upon a techno event hosted by DOOR! which is held in Ruigoord’s former church (a welcome bit of heresy to get things going). We had some idea of what we were in for before we attended, though upon arrival the place had exceeded all of our expectations.

To get to where the party is you have to walk down a darkened path towards the glow of a big dance and the unmistakable thud of 4x4 drums (which relentlessly battered the church windows until 8am). Perc Trax’s Jeff Derringer found his way onto the line up all the way from the US, promising a maelstrom of sparse industrial techno which did not dissapoint:

The DOOR! residents were a spectacle unto themselves and made it well worth the journey, keeping the cavernous dancefloor packed from start to finish. An interesting touch is that they often record and upload sets from their events to their mixcloud page (see above and below), giving you the chance to indulge in a nostalgia kick, post-party.

Though what sets DOOR! apart from other bass music events is the atmosphere, a large part of which is down to the village itself. A festival-like feeling imbued the whole thing, as smiling faces crowded around a bonfire outside while some sat relaxing inside a cosy wooden hut brought to life with psychedelic decor. Totem poles adorned the large field outside the church, softening the industrial landscape which surrounds the village and lending power to the notion of Ruigoord as a kind of cultural bulwark.

Though as cliche as it sounds to say it, “the people make the party” (cliches are often cliches for a reason!) and this was especially true at DOOR! Age-wise it was a very mixed crowd and everyone was extremely positive and very welcoming (we were the only English in attendance and our national reputation abroad hadn’t quite caught up with us). The party pushed on well into sunlit hours with crowds of techno legionnaires still finding the energy to lose it in the darkened church while the tortured windows were still just about holding up.

If you ever swing by Amsterdam, you should definitely experience this place. We’d consider it a wasted journey if not!

Inorganism 023: Couch Sesh (August 2013) - Soek

Inorganism 023: Couch Sesh - Soek

Eclectic mix from Soek featuring plenty of his own original productions, constructed in its entirety on a dirty old sofa and tinged throughout with Boards-laden nostalgia.

Download available.

Rob Swift - Dope on Plastic [Asphodel]
Alix Perez - Contradictions [Shogun Audio]
Boards of Canada - Turquoise Hexagon Sun [Warp Records]
Zero T - Goes Around [Shogun Audio]
Boards Of Canada - Untitled (Live at ATP) [N/A]
June Miller & TMSV - Lost Cause [Black Box]
Jehst - Run Hard [Low Life Records]
Wisp - All His Might [Hymen Records]
Livewire - Mash It UP VIP [Nitrous Oxide Records]
Alix Perez - Just Memories [Horizons Music]
Cursa - Feel It [Buried Audio]
Defenders of Style - Pray on the Weak (feat. Minas & Phoenix) [N/A]
Braintax - Godnose (feat. Farma G) [Low Life Records]
Soek - Afterserat [N/A]
Instra:mental - Watching You [Nonplus+ Records]
Alix Perez - Suffer in Silence [Shogun Audio]
Boards of Canada - Kaini Industries [Warp Records]
Soek - The Musical Spectrum [N/A]
Fingathing - Just Practice [Grand Central Records]
Soek - She Was Russian [N/A]
Soek - Irreversible [N/A]
Boards of Canada - White Cyclosa [Warp Records]
Soek - pH 1 [N/A]
Soek - 247 Cemetery Road [N/A]
Infiniti - Game One (Rennie Foster Remix) [Night Vision]
Soek - Passed Tide [N/A]
Boards of Canada - Corsair [Warp Records]

BIOS Recordings Interview (July 2013)


IA: Thanks for chatting to us at Inorganic Audio. BIOS is looking set to make some waves with the forthcoming LP. How long has it taken to get this far?

B: We took a step back, reflected and restructured. D&B is on a high this year, we feel we have returned at the right time to take back our part in pushing quality music again… The LP took nearly 8 months to complete… well worth it I’d say.

IA: In your opinion how different are the roles of label boss in comparison with that of a standard producer? Can anyone set up a label or do you need something a bit more than just musical talent?

B: Good question. I’d say anyone can get a label up and running, there’s not much to it really. BUT, if you want to stand out and not be a run of the mill label you would have to bring in alot of knowledge and know how the scene works with a good team of talented producers and promoters.

Having a standing as a producer would definitely help a lot, also you’d have to have a good ear for what could be a big tune or who could be the next hot artist.

IA: Why should people buy records from BIOS? What do you do that is different from the plethora of labels that exist?

B: Our motto is quality over quantity, theres too many rubbish labels out there. That, in my eyes, helped ruin the market in the last years. Sure it’s not only the labels but the distributors aswell. For example Nu Urban, who had to shut down, they had no proper quality control. It was inevitable that they would shut down.

We take time and carefully select tunes that will be released on BIOS. We can look back on our portfolio and safely say that each track deserved to be released!

IA: The LP is enjoyable but diverse. Did you take a considered approach to the tracklist or did it build over time?

B: Haha, you say enjoyable but diverse - I think its very important to be diverse. I compiled the CD as I would a DJ set of mine… I want to take people on a journey. Wouldn’t it be boring if you went to a club and the DJ would play the same style all night long? In my opinion it;s the diversity that makes the LP what it is - something special.

IA: Do you feel that labels have to be more diverse in the way they distribute music nowadays, or will a strong track always shine through?

B: Yeah you have to move with the times, you have to be on as many platforms as possible, to be accessible to people all over the world. One has to remember not everyone has or even wants to be on the internet.

IA: What does the future hold for BIOS?

B: We have one more Compilation LP planed for this year, the follow up to BIOS Input/Output Vol. 1, this time mixed and Compiled by Sol. iD (from Autumn) aswell as an album by the legendary Edward Oberon. Digital solo EPs from Locksmith, Marte, Survey, Submatic, and Dan-e plus some more exciting 12” singles.

IA: First gig?

B: Damn, thats about 15 years ago, I think it was a birthday party in a venue where I had to bring along my own decks.

IA: First album?

B: I have not released an album yet, its in the works but I’m not rushing it

IA: Guiltiest pleasure in music? (Something you love but know you shouldn’t)

B: Haha good question, hmmm well I used to listen to Billy Ocean, does that count?

Thanks again to BIOS Recordings for agreeing to talk to us here at Inorganic Audio! You can follow BIOS on Facebook and Mixcloud to keep up with all the latest.

Chemical Ally/Rooted Recordings Interview (July 2013)


Rooted Recordings is a drum & bass label which has been gathering momentum recently. Based in London, the label is organised by the Wales-born producer and DJ known as Chemical Ally. We caught up with Chemical Ally recently for a chat about Drum & Bass past and present, and the future of the Rooted Recordings label. We strongly encourage you to check the label out!

IA: I understand you’ve been around the UK rave scene for quite a long time and that you actually immersed yourself in various strains of early 90’s techno initially. Do you have any particular favourites from that era? And what is it that drew you to techno in the beginning?

CA: In 1990 it wasn’t so clearly categorised as it is today, for me it was just ‘rave music’. By ‘93 there was more definition of these sub genres. I’m 34 now, and at the age of 12 I got a set of decks. To pinpoint what it was that drew me towards one particular sound is difficult, maybe teenage angst combined with a surge of testosterone. With regards to particular favourites, labels such as ‘Industrial Strength’ and ‘Rising High’ really had an influence on me.

IA: It’s easy to see how someone might develop an interest in the techier side of Drum & Bass having come from that kind of background. I can hear the influence of techno quite clearly in this side of Drum & Bass – it is thematically very similar. Is it fair to say your movement into Drum & Bass was a natural extension of that original interest?

CA: Definitely. Drum & Bass really appealed to me when the beats tightened up and the sounds were more stripped back, and this is where I feel it’s similarity with Techno lies.

IA: As the 00’s went on we witnessed a lot of experimentation with older forms in bass music. Of note was a resurgence of the “tech/neuro” sound in Drum & Bass (which also palpably influenced a definite strain of dubstep from the latter part of the last decade). For you, who were the biggest innovators in the early days of this sound?

CA: The producers who stood out for me would be Ed Rush and Optical, Ram Trilogy, Stakka and Skynet, to name but a few. The production skills demonstrated by the artists I’ve named where what really pushed the sound to a new level.

IA: Alright let’s talk a little bit about your label, Rooted Recordings. Do you have any particular vision for the label?

CA: For me having a record label is similar to being a DJ. As a DJ you have an artistic licence to take people on a journey. I see Rooted as an extension of this ability to express my musical interests. This then makes it difficult to have a set vision for the label, as my musical interests are constantly evolving. Quality not quantity is what I’m really looking to achieve.

IA: With the proliferation of communications tech it’s become a lot easier for people to participate in music in a lot of ways, from getting your beats out there through to creating a label or radio show/station – how do you make a label stand out against such a noisy background?

CA: Standing out isn’t really my objective. Staying true to the sounds I believe in, and those that appeal to me are far more important. I suppose some level of consistency is needed, if people can rely on you to put out good music at a certain standard over time the reputation of the label will build.

IA: So how did the Total Science remix come about? Was it a request or simply a track they were feeling?

CA: I asked them if they could remix ‘Cargo Dub’. I had two objectives here, firstly to have Total Science and their years of talent add another twist to what I feel is an absolutely blinding track by Ed:it. Secondly, raising the profile of Rooted by employing such industry heavy weights. On receiving ‘Cargo Dub’, I was happy to learn that they really liked the tune, as was Ed:it.

IA: How do you go about searching for tracks for the label? Do you listen on the go throughout the week, or clear some time in the diary and have a good session with it?

CA: This part of the process is completely random. I tend to listen to tracks when I’m at my computer, and then if there’s something that stands out I’ll listen to them in the car over the course of a week. It’s important to really get a feel for a track, something that isn’t fully understood by some aspiring artists. The internet has created a very fast form of communication for us all, but it in some it has created a need for an instant response.

IA: And the final stretch! Any plans for 2013 you can share?

CA: Not really….I’m just aiming to keep some momentum and put out good sounds.

IA: First rave/gig?

CA: In 1992 I played at a free party in west Wales to around 100 people, proper early days car crash set!

IA: First album?

CA: Probably ‘Mixed Up’ by The Cure.

IA: Guiltiest pleasure in music? (Something you like but know you shouldn’t)

CA: I don’t believe in a “guilty pleasure” when it comes to music. One persons “guilty pleasure” is another person absolute obsession. I don’t feel any guilt for music that appeals to me.

We wanna extend a big thanks to Chemical Ally for speaking with us today. As I said earlier, we seriously recommend heading over to soundcloud and having a listen to the label previews. We’re confident you’ll find a gem or two for your bag or USB. We should also mention that you can follow Rooted Recordings on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest.

Rooted Recordings:



Lee Sanderson & Andy Sowerbeats - Thinking of You EP (Dusk Underground Music)

Our friends at Dusk have now released the first EP on their own Dusk Underground Music label. You can check out previews above. Available now at Beatport!

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