drumandbassarena

In Good Taste: Win loads of stuff… PLUS a chat with Emperor!

In Good Taste: Win loads of stuff… PLUS a chat with Emperor!

Introducing In Good Taste: a new UK promotion crew dedicated to all styles of drum & bass… And beyond.

In Good Taste

Spanning the spectrum with due discernment while visually repping with cheeky vintage sexiness, they’re a breath of fresh air on the capitol’s D&B menu.

Last month they launched at Area with Crissy Criss, Rollz, Dimension and garage dons Artful Dodger. This month sees them engage the ‘next level’ button at Fire as Nu:Logic, Emperor, DC Breaks and Hamilton will all step up and deliver some serious goods on November 22.

Armed with a troop of dedicated residents, every aspect of In Good Taste has been considered with attention to detail, ensuring a precision planned D&B adventure from start to finish. Take a listen for yourself as Kritix have provided their first resident mix. With releases scheduled on Program early next year we anticipate big things!

While you’re listening to that, feast your peepers on this extensive interview we had with Emperor earlier this week. One of the many premiership D&B DJs performing on November 22, we found out what you can expect to hear from him on the night… And everything else he’s up to right now!

So you’re repping at In Good Taste… What can people expect from an Emperor DJ set right about now?

I’ve been playing a lot of the heavy stuff recently. I’ve found it goes down much better than the more melodic, held-back stuff. But I’m playing a bit earlier on this one so I might dig a bit deeper, go on a bit of a journey and build it up to a big climax at the end if you will!

Ha! What tunes have been working for you recently?

The new Mefjus EP has been going down so well recently. I’m really pleased at the reactions to my own new stuff lately too. You never know how they’re going to go down when you’re in the studio so it’s really cool when people react positively. Noisia’s Block Control VIP works for me every single time!

Always! You just mentioned Mefjus… You’ve been collaborating with him recently haven’t you?

Yeah we’ve done two collaborations together. I’ve remixed one his tunes and he’s remixed one of mine. Hopefully we’ll be finishing that off later this month. We both have a good mentality to music where we both do our own thing and try to keep it fresh. Martin’s a super-nice guy and he’s such a technical wizard in the studio, he’s inspiring to work with. As we’re both signed to Critical there’s been a natural link between us. Hopefully something really cool will come your way from this soon!

He’s just picked up the trumpet again… Would you be averse to a bit of Mefjus trumpetry on an Emperor track?

Yeah sure! The way things work in the studio you can process any sound into any other sound now, you could sample it and turn it into a really mad bass sound. I’d be up for trying that for sure!

Speaking of mad bass sounds…. Jackhammer got a lot of love this year. It came about through a live studio session didn’t it?

Yeah it did. I do them every now and again and I asked in the chat room what should I make. Someone said ‘make a trap tune’ so I eventually came up with this. I recorded it to my Soundcloud for a bit of fun and Inspector Dubplate commented on it and we eventually sorted a full EP for Inspected.

emperorAnd that’s all down to one person’s suggestion? Do they know they helped create this monster?

Haha! I think I would have tried a trap style tune at some point anyway because the sound’s been unavoidable this year and it’s good to experiment. But whether it would’ve ended up like this, I don’t know. Maybe I should let them know they’re responsible!

I think so. That one track inspired a whole EP of experiments!

It did. I love making drum & bass but it is nice to step away from that from time to time. You can only be so creative within the D&B template. It’s harder to convey emotion at something so fast and crazy. I’m working on another EP for Inspected so you can expect more.

A lot of people I interview explain making non D&B helps to inspire them with their D&B too…

Yeah definitely, it can really help when you’ve got writer’s block. You find yourself over-thinking stuff so you should take a step back and try something completely different. It’s all complementary.

Sure. Going back to how Jackhammer started, you’re big into passing on knowledge with your live streams and answering questions on Facebook. Is this important to your way of working?

Definitely. It’s nice to engage with people who support you. They are the reason why you are where you are. I never want to come across as someone who appears above everyone else. I’m always more than happy to tell people how I made things or help them with a production query or tell them when something’s being released. Everyone who produces music for a living started off with no knowledge, so to be able to give someone a hand and information completes the circle and keeps us all wealthy in inspiring new music!

I guess this feeds into the sample packs you’ve created with Centra…

Yeah. We thought some sample packs were a bit overpriced so we set ourselves up independently and sold them for a tenner a pop. They’ve done really well and people could empathise with what we were doing; they could see it was a labour of love. I’m so happy with how they’ve come about.

How much work goes into making them?

It’s hard to tell because we’ll be making sounds and just save them for later so the collection grows while we’re making fresh productions. I’d say each pack is built up over six months then we spend a few days editing them and polishing them up and put them up on our store.

Nice. So what else have you been up to? You seem to be busier than ever on the DJ front!

Oh yes, this has been my busiest time ever. It’s so cool to be flying to all these amazing places and meeting people from around the world. I love it.

You’re not about to start complaining about airports or delays or anything like that on Twitter soon are you?

Ha! Not yet. I actually love airports. I got stranded in Zurich airport for eight hours once and it was a very peaceful time in my life. People pay for you to go out to another country and they look after you, I think it’s rude to complain. I know there are examples when people have a right to complain but they are very rare. I’d prefer to be positive all the time.

What else have you been up to then?

I’ve just got a mountain bike so I’m hoping to get out and say goodbye to the studio tan I’ve developed over the last few years. I’ve also taken up photography as well. I think people are the most interesting subjects for photography; there’s so much depth, you can make your own meaning. I’ve been getting into that, which has been really cool. I’m not very good at it yet but it’s a cool hobby.

Nice. Good luck with it! So we’re coming up to the Drum&BassArena Awards… I see you’ve been asking for some votes yourself. But who have you voted for?

I’ve voted Critical for best label (naturally!), I’ve voted Mefjus for Best Producer because we were both in the same newcomer category last year so we’ve got a nice bit of competition between us. I’m loving Nickbee recently so he’s got a vote from me.

Nice. There has been a lot of solid D&B albums this year. Is there an Emperor one on the cards?

Not in the near future. I don’t want to produce my first one too early. I want to establish myself a bit more; you only get one shot at a first album. I don’t want to rush things! Maybe in a few years…

Wise man. Let’s wrap up with a shout for In Good Taste. What’s good taste in Emperor’s books?

Being polite to people and listening to people. Every time.

How about bad taste?

The worse thing for me is when you see people who don’t empathise with others. People complain about monitors being crap or not having all of their 50 bottles of vodka on their rider. It’s not on at all. I hate that attitude.

I find this attitude is less frequent in D&B…

Definitely. I think that’s because most of the scene is still very underground. But even with the people who’ve broken through to the big time like Netsky and Wilkinson and Camo & Krooked, they’re all still super level-headed, which is very nice to see. The same can’t be said for other genres, it’s nice to be part of a genre that doesn’t behave as badly!

Win Win Win!

Fancy winning VIP tickets and loads of cool D&B stuff? In Good Taste are offering Mefjus & Icicle Contempory EP Vinyl, Enei Liberations EP Vinyl, 5 Tickets for Regression Session NYD, 5 Tickets for Shed Echoes with DJ EZ 29 Nov, Assorted RAM Records and Hospital Recordings Merchandise! See here for full details

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Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.