A.M.C: Heavyweight D&B
‘I have thought about a possible alias called John McClane… ‘
A.M.C.‘s world is larger than life: widescreen and in surroundsound. Fitting then that the new ep on Titan is cinematically-themed… think grit, sweat, blood, ferocity, loud explosions and outpourings of energy rather than your typical rom-com type affair. We got in the ring and asked about Southpaw.
A.M.C. have to ask when you started writing the Southpaw ep?
I’ve been writing a lot of new music since the beginning of last year and I had about an album-and-a-half-worth of music written by February.
However, like most producers, I was super-critical of most it and decided to pick the best five in my opinion after testing a lot of them at events, so in the end the Southpaw ep came together quite quickly.
So what about the films unified to cause you to want a running theme?
Well, myself and the team at Titan thought the EP needed to gel together and the best way to do that would be to change the names of the tracks that were picked for it.
The original names were really strange ones as I had a thing for naming my tunes after Japanese gods.
‘Raging Bull’ for example was originally called ‘Raijin’ after the god of thunder but Im glad we made the decision to change them because as you said it creates a running theme.
Tell us abut ‘Southpaw’ and are YOU southpaw btw?
There are a lot of film references in the EP but the funny thing is the lead track ‘Southpaw’ was never intended to be one of those. I called it ‘Southpaw’ after watching Manny Pacquiao, realising I was the same when I did my boxing training and thought it fitted well with the structure of the track.
It was only a month or so after finalising the whole EP when one of the guys who runs Titan with me text me saying he’d seen a Southpaw film on a billboard in London. I guess you could call that lucky free publicity?
How did it evolve?
The tune evolved after I was messing around with my mates’ Virus TI synth making random basses and more. After that I made a cool little arpeggiator with a square oscillator in a Spectrasonics synth and then it kinda just all fell into place.
It was my favourite track to make out of all the tracks on the EP purely for that reason.
‘Southpaw’ has received some amazing support so far with Friction premiering it on his BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra Drum & Bass Show
A random boxing question given the boxing/action theme: if you had to go up against someone like Rocky, Apollo Creed or a heavyweight champ in general and had to last at least one round what would you do tactic-wise. And no… you can’t say ‘run’.
Ha ha er… just keep moving I guess. Jab, move, hook move and make sure I don’t get put on my arse.
And the mighty ‘Die Hard’: what about the film inspired? The film makes me think about bare feet and broken glass ha ha.
Brilliant! That exactly what we wanted the tracks on the EP to do.
So many people know the film references to the track names it kind of creates this immediate connection. I’ve also wanted to call a track ‘Die Hard’ for ages because I’m such a huge fan of the films – apart from the last one – and this EP was the perfect opportunity.
I make a lot of other genres of music and have thought about a possible alias called John McClane ha ha.
I can’t place the film reference on ‘Shade’, what is this? Is it the card hustling film?
I genuinely cannot remember why I called that track ‘Shade’ but I can tell you it almost didn’t make the cut for the EP.
The track was quite possibly the biggest pain in the arse in the mixdown process but after playing it at Let It Roll last year so many people were asking me what it was and if it was ever coming out, I thought it had to be on the EP.
I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s watched that set since it was uploaded… 126,000 and counting views is something I never thought would happen and everywhere I go people talk to me about it, so thanks all!
(clip toward end: strong language alert)
Can you take us through ‘Thor’?
‘Thor’ was loads of fun producing because when I was making it, I said to myself this sounds like an angry guy with a hammer. The next day it was called ‘Thor’ and everyone went nuts when I played it for the first time in Bologna, I think it was.
What’s a small but valuable production tip for new people?
Have sessions of just making sounds. For years I would sit in my studio and try to write a track from scratch. The best way I feel now is to make some drum elements this day, make some basses that day, make other random noises another day and then when you have a nice catalogue of everything tracks will just come together.
Any good road stories?
There was one event I was at and a lot of the crowd were climbing on to the stage and then stage diving. This one guy decided to do the same but wanted go one better and stage dived backwards. This time though nobody caught him and it was at a breakdown in the middle of a tune and the whole club reverberated with the sound of him landing flat on the floor which was immediately followed by the all the crowd saying “oooooh”.
He got up and brushed himself off and carried on dancing. The guy was fine but it was so funny. Every other artist on stage was killing themselves with laughter.
It’s been busy on the live front in general?
This summer has been crazy so far!
UK, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, Italy, Hungary just to name a few countries. Every party has been insane and to see the fanbase Titan Records and myself has gained around the world is truly humbling. Massive thank you to everyone who’s come to rave and go mental and also to the great promoters and organisers I’ve worked with.
So who inspires you in D&B… what DJs and producers?
My production inspirations come from loads of random sources and genres. In D&B it’s very extensive: Mefjus has been a big one for me recently as he seems to be pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible in D&B a lot these days.
I draw influence from a lot of the guys on my label as well. We have some super talented guys working with us like Hypoxia, A-Cray, Dub Motion, T-Phonic, Zaiaku and every time they smash it and show me their new music in the process for Titan it makes me want to up my game again.
As for DJs, it’s a little obvious but because I started out a just a DJ all those years ago I still look up to Andy and Friction because they were the guys I used to go see as a teenager and who made me want to start doing all this in the first place.
There are loads of other DJs that inspire me as well, like Marky, Hazard and more but that’s what makes D&B special in comparison to other genres because every body brings something different.
Can we find you playing out live?
I’m in London again this Thursday and then it’s off to Europe again on the weekend. I’ll also be having my first Australian tour in October but you can stay up to date with all my travels and events via my fb and twitter.
In general what’s next from you and Titan Records?
Holiday! It’s been a non-stop insane year so far and I need a break ha ha. Until then though more gigs, I have a track coming on Viper later in the year with Six Blade featuring Ayah Marar and then a remix I’m doing for an artist on Titan and quite probably another single on Titan by the end of the year.
As for Titan there’s some amazing music forthcoming: Dub Motion has his brilliant new EP coming soon, Hypoxia have literally made my ears explode with their new forthcoming single, T-Phonic has an absolute cracker of a single almost ready, A-Cray is working on his next single and we have some incredible new talent coming though called Glass Cobra and also S9.