Arkaik: Tough Love

Arkaik: Tough Love
3 Sep, 2015

‘Really we are all the same family making 170 music’

Arkaik‘s new ep for Flexout is an extended course in Expecting the Unexpected as you don’t know from which direction it’ll hit you. Turns out that this applies to his personal life as change has been afoot.

Arkaik this is ep is great and so tough: I feel bruised after listening to it. What sort of life events lead to it?

Well, funny you should ask that as over the past year my whole life has turned upside down. I started the EP back this time last year when I was living in Farnham, Surrey. I got a job offer to move to Shanghai, so I took it, ‘moved on’ over here to china in September, then had to start fresh again as I didn’t really know the scene in China or what the people are like or even know any of the language, so it been a pretty steep learning curve the last year.

After being here a few months I decided to get married to my long term girlfriend of seven years (Cursed) then within the same week went on a tour of China with Bredren – big shout outs to MIST/The Drop & SweatShop for having us. Recently after playing in Shanghai every few weeks I’ve now become a resident at ‘Sweatshop’, Shanghai’s longest running D&B night, so the last year has been pretty mental!

All these situations have led to the style and mood of the tracks.

I know it sounds like an obvious question but what artists influence? or is it a case where NONE influence at all: it’s purely what comes from YOU.

I have been listening to D&B for over 13 years so I have along list of influences that have inspired me over the years such as Data, Spectrasoul, Icicle, Dylan and Loxy.

And in regard to producing right now?

I think for this EP I wanted to push the more rolling side of my style, recently I have been influenced by artists such as Amoss, Bredren, Fre4knc, Fearful, Halgenix, Hyroglifics, Ivy Lab, Kasra, Signal and Tom Small.

‘Moving On’ is just Pure D&B… it feels great to be in the midst of the tune with phones on, so when did the tune come about?

‘Moving On’ came about as soon as I found out I was moving to Shanghai, at the time I was really loving the bouncy 808-esq bass and really clean stripped back sounding drums. I wanted to make something that sounded a little different but had a D&B heart to it.

I’m really happy with the final result, I think the whole mood of the song is about the transition to a new unknown place, the fact we only found out that we were moving a month before we did meant we had so much to do so I think the pace of moving comes across in the tune.

And this continues with the vibe of the title tune which is lethal! I love that ‘naive’ key sound in the breakdown Mixed with the vocal: pure 2000-era.

‘My Love’ came about as I wanted to make a proper roller, when normally my style lies is the odd ball ‘half time’ bracket. I wanted to push the skills I’ve got and make something a little more dance floor. I love mixing and playing out so really wanted to showcase some tracks in during the prime time of my set rather than as fillers.

‘Doppelganger’ is pretty much the most ‘alarming’ on the ep to me. It’s jagged and if it was a plant you wouldn’t want to touch it as would sting the f*ck out of you.

Since being in Shanghai I’ve wanted to write some more half time bits as there isn’t much knowledge for experimental 170 music over here.

I think this track came about because people didn’t know that much about that style of music so I wanted to show them some powerful, sloppy half time.

The ‘Doppelganger’ theme made me think of films and images too, old expressionism. Creepy things that just follow you with no real awareness of being alive. So what films do you check?

My all time favourite film is “The Warriors”, I love that film but I’ve been watching a lot of kung fu at the moment, I’m a big fan of Donny Yen… Ip Man, Hero, I watched Grandmaster the other day too, great film, slick cuts, great fight scenes.

I also been loving AI films like Chappie and Ex Machina and a bit of comedy, you have to watch Tucker & Dale vs Evil, a film I have watched many a time.

Do you feel a part of D&B as such or is it all so fractured now that it’s all ‘170 music’?

I feel part of D&B as I have always been in the loop with what’s going on in the D&B scene in London and have good friends in and around the scene. D&B is fractured into so many sub genres but really we are all the same family making 170 music.

When do you like producing, what time of day?

I like producing when I have some inspiration… which generally comes to me around midday when I’m at work and I can’t make beats.

I always have some ideas bouncing around my head the day after a rave as well so I try and get in the studio as much as I can at weekends.

Where do you go out to check D&B?

When I lived near London I used to try and reach most Renegade Hardware nights at The End/Cable/Area/Electric. I also used to enjoy Critical Music nights at Fabric and of course the more underground stuff such as the Flexout Audio events in Brixton.

Now, living in Shanghai I mostly hangout at a club called The Shelter, an small, dark, abandoned bomb shelter with low ceilings and loads of bass.

I also go to bars like Dada and URVC as they are also the good places in Shanghai to find good D&B.

What dates you got coming up?

I will be in Shanghai for another year or so, so I’ll be playing as a resident once a month for Sweatshop at The Shelter. Another tour of China is possible for 2016 and there maybe a little Australia tour on the cards.

Other than that I’ll be back in the UK this time next year for some more shenanigans!

My Love

You can follow Damian B on Twitter, @DAMIAN___B
D&B for some time now; studied at institution of Fabio & Grooverider.