Cern speaks: exclusive track and interview
Cern is known for his firing, searing club sets – ask anyone in attendance at that recent Dispatch night! And so it rolls out that we have a tune called Seek The Truth from Cern himself that is extracted straight from his considerable live artillery. A track not destined for the album, but for you, right now, straight out of the box! And speaking of albums…
I believe an album is in the can!
The album has just been completed, yeah, it’s a relief to have it all done and in production now.
It’s due to be called Under Another Sky… what inspired this?
The inspiration is basically the musical journey of moving here from NZ – a change in direction. Living in London is a pretty big contrast from the other side of the world, even though the cultures are quite similar. I think being here has changed me a lot musically, and this album I think is a reflection of that. Hopefully it’s a maturing of my sound. At least that’s how I see it.
Let’s backtrack and talk about Dabs’ recent Constant ep. You were a big part of that, it featured two killer collabs between you and Dabs…
Yeah, Dabs is certainly carving his own path and doing really well at it. I’m not exactly sure how many collaborations we have done, but I think we work well together. I guess our styles of production compliment each other well and the results are fun to play out. Working with Dabs is always a good time, and I’m sure we will work together more in the future.
Can you talk us through the tune ‘Alter Ego’ off the Constant ep, in terms of the style you both fused together with, the way the tune came together in general?
I think the intention was definitely to create something for the dancefloor. I was really keen to get back on the vibe we were rolling when we did the remix for Octane & DLR’s ‘Back in the Grind.’ I loved the drums in that track, among other things, so we gave it another shot. I put together some sounds and a bass-line to go with one of the original kits from that remix, and then handed it over to Davide. The tune has been in our bags for a while, looking for a home, so I’m glad it finally came out on Dispatch for his EP.
Do you enjoy collaborating? I can list off a few I’ve seen you been involved with!
I was thinking about this the other day, and how much I have been enjoying the process more than the end result. I’m not sure that would be an accurate description of how I feel about every track or collaboration I do, but more recently from what I can remember, writing music has been a lot of fun. Collaborating on music has been a really great way to build relationships and make lifelong friends, so yeah I do love it. Some of the guys I have met on my journey through drum and bass are my best friends, and I think being able to make some music together is a big part of that.
What faves do you have?
It’s hard to put any down as favourites. ‘Scatter the Ashes’ would probably be the most memorable one for obvious reasons.
‘Back in the Grind’ remix with Dabs was really cool, because I think we did the original justice, and thats pretty hard to do when you are remixing guys of that calibre. I think there are probably too many good memories to mention for me – thinking back, you are right, there’s quite a lot!
How did you come to work with the Dispatch label?
It feels like forever ago now, I genuinely can’t remember how it all came about. Ant (Dispatch boss) will probably kick me for this! I think I just started sending him some music. The first few releases were collaborations with Dabs, so we must have sent him over the tunes when we did them. Since then, Ant has been one of my biggest supporters and working with the label has always been easy, and long may it continue.
And could you tell me the personal difference you have when you consider an album project, and when you consider an ep project, for eg? How do they differ?
This time I approached it differently to my first album in the sense that experimentation was probably more important to me than writing dancefloor rollers for DJs to play. I’ve been having more fun in the studio stuffing around, finding out how to use different gear, making mistakes which sometimes turn out sounding great, learning things. I think that makes it a bit more interesting as a listener as well. An album is a format where you can include enough content to tell a story, and that’s what I set out to do with this project.
Would you say your style’s changed over the years? In what way?
I think tastes change for any music lover and that would be true for any producer as well. Besides, it’s boring to stick to just one sound anyway.
I think my style has changed in the sense that there is possibly (hopefully) a little more depth to my sound than there used to be. That’s probably natural for any artist as they grow. Moving away from New Zealand has been a big part of that.
What else has changed you?
There are producers out there that really inspire you to challenge yourself, explore different directions, and keep the music fresh – a constantly evolving sound. More than anything, that is a huge factor.
There will always be guys out there whose sound design makes you step back and go “How the hell did they do that?” – but at the other end of the scale, a vibe is a vibe and sometimes you don’t need the newest toys to get on that. Just straight up raw groove.
So what sneak previews can we get re the new album, what vibe, what’s on there?
I’m not sure if we are allowed to post up any clips just yet (Ant?), but the sampler is not far off by any means. We have decided to make some tunes exclusive for the vinyl releases – I will be interested to see the reaction on those ones, but for the main part, if you are expecting an album full of deep techy rollers, then I think you might be surprised.
I got to collaborate with some of my favorite artists – Overlook, Gremlinz, Hydro, DLR & I was lucky enough to secure something Loxy and I did a while back as well. All in all I think it’s a good representation of where I’m at musically.
Finally what’s around that you’re into?
Overlook, Gremlinz, Fre4knc, Stray, Frederick Robinson, DLR, Metalheadz, Samurai/Horo, Exit and of course Dispatch are all going strong in the drum and bass world for me.
Outside of drum and bass, there is possibly too much to mention – ranging from blues to techno. I listen to a lot of artists like John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, BLO, Skudge, Darling Farah, Robag Whrume, pretty much anything on Eglo Records, Gold Panda, FIS, Marcel Dettman, John Talabot, CFCF, Monic and so on!
Cern pics by Chelone Wolf