Last week saw Black Sun Empire drop their first release of 2017 – a colossal collaboration with Noisia entitled The Veil, along with the news they’re releasing their 6th studio album this year…
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, they’ve just unleashed yet another monster collaboration with Pythius. To celebrate the release, we caught up with the Dutch titans to find out more, and got their top 5 collabs of all time along the way. Dive in…
Thanks for joining us fellas! A huge welcome back is in order! You’ve been a bit quieter in terms of releases the past year, was the break essential while working on the upcoming album?
Yeah absolutely. We tend to be busy with running the label, signing and developing new talented people, running the webshop, playing lots of gigs, drinking coffee and tea, talking to people on Skype about why they are slacking or why we are… Have endless political discussions during lunch and make lots and lots of sounds and beats. When we have enough (too many) rough ideas we start to finish things and shape an actual album. This takes a lot of time, but it has worked for us in the past and we like this way of working.
Your first release of 2017 is nothing short of EPIC. Collabs with Noisia & Pythius… Was it a no-brainer deciding on who you wanted to work on these singles with?
Yes almost no brains were involved in these decisions! We always enjoy working with Noisia (as anyone would really) and Pythius well… he’s just always here as he co-runs the label, so you sort of have to collab! Haha just kidding, they are both among our most valued producers. And we are lucky to have so many of them on our label, really talented bunch!
It’s no secret you have a long-lasting relationship with Noisia – describe an average day in the studio for you guys…
Well we don’t get to work with them so often, so there is no average day really. We have always worked in different pairings (never all six at the same time!) and in different studios. Our workflow is not extremely different from theirs, but it is scary how much they know about underlying theory and how certain sounds work. We can get very involved in the technical side of things ourselves, so it’s really one big geek out!
The Veil is cinematic… Heavy… simply badass. How do you guys approach the logistics of having so many people working on the one tune?
It’s never been all six of us at the same time so the logistics are not too dissimilar from doing collabs with, for instance, State of Mind. You just have to let go of your ego a bit and hope they do the same! It will usually start with one person having an idea and the rest just building on that. And showing each other lame stuff on the internet.
Catalyst with Pythius is an absolute monster. Is there a backstory behind the tune/ did anything in particular inspire it?
Thanks. Nothing in particular, just bouncing around little sounds and samples until something sticks!
Can we expect more epic collabs on the album?
There are more collabs certainly, whether or not they are epic is up to you!
This’ll be your 6th studio album – how do you approach such a mammoth project? Is there a method to the madness, and does it get easier over time now you have so many albums under your belt, or does it get more difficult exploring new concepts/ ideas and staying fresh?
Part of that is answered in question 1. It’s a little of both. We have enough experience to know that we can finish albums and to know that we enjoy doing them. Of course there is the question of ‘what are you going to do that you haven’t done before?’ We try not to overthink it and just have fun in the studio, keep working on tracks until we are all happy with it. The only thing we actively do is look for hooks, whether in the form of a sound, synth or a vocal. You have to stand out, not only between our own stuff, but also between the huge amount of music that’s being made these days.
Anything else you can reveal about the album at this stage?
Not yet. We understand we have kept people waiting for a long time, but it’s not going to be long before all is revealed!
Can’t wait! Kicking 2017 off with such a huge release got us thinking about other epic collaborations. Give us your top 5 collabs of all time…
Hive, Gridlok, D Bridge, Silent Witness & Break – Standing Room Only
Almost too many people to be any good. But they did it anyway, classic tune…
Black Sun Empire & State of Mind – Until the World Ends
Our collabs with State of Mind are always our favourites, there have been many. Maybe because we know each other so well, but we always have so much fun, which you can always hear in the track, or at least we can anyway! Until the world ends was a particularly good one we think.
Tech Itch and Kemal – The Calling
These guys were among our favourite producers at the time and when we first heard this tune our faces melted off and more cliches like that…
Black Sun Empire & Concord Dawn – The Sun
Our tune with Concord Dawn called The Sun. Every morning (more like noon) he would go out and buy one or two dutch sausages called ‘frikandel’. Google it, it’s both the best and the worst thing you can eat, but the fact he would go and eat them for breakfast every day would crack us up… And people liked the tune as well 😉
Noisia & Mayhem ft. KRS One – Exodus
This really became an anthem for them, and it’s easy to see why…
Immense selection! Any final words/ shout outs?
We just launched a new Black Sun Empire T-Shirt, people so far have been loving the new design, check it out for yourselves here.
People can also send us new music, as we are always looking for new talent, especially for our Evolutions series!
The Veil/ Catalyst are forthcoming on Blackout Music on the 17th of Feb, get them here.