Charged up with Arnone and Mollie Collins

Charged up with Arnone and Mollie Collins

Jamie links up with Mollie Collins and Arnone to chat about their forthcoming release on Mampi Swift’s legendary Charge Recordings label.

Arnone, you recently had to switch out the Rushmore name – what’s the story here? Mollie tells me your surname is Arnone hence the new name choice. Will people be able to link the two together?

Arnone “I decided to change the name to have a more original profile, there is a few different Rushmores floating about and I was just a bit tired of the confusion! One day it kinda clicked that I should be called Arnone and that was that really. I still play a couple of my Rushmore tunes in my sets of course.”

Your joint bootleg of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ seemed to go down well in plenty of DJs sets this year. Back at the start of the millennium drum and bass bootlegs of hip hop and r’n’b were all over the place and it now seems to have done a full circle. Why do you think bootlegs are so popular with the crowds of 2017?

Mollie “I think especially with bootlegs of songs which aren’t originally drum and bass it works so well. You drop the start of the tune and they recognise the banger and then boom – the drum and bass twist comes on and it 99% of the time goes down!

I seem to play a lot of bootlegs in my sets because of this reason. Our ‘Shape of You’ bootleg was perfect for this because we made sure we made it at the time Ed dropped the original and then it was number one within a matter of days. We had already done the bootleg so for a while it was fresh and did the job perfectly.”

Arnone “Bootlegs are always great for the crowd to relate to the tunes they hear on the radio, at work or college but with a more familiar drum and bass switch on it. I did a bootleg of Redlight’s ‘9TS baby’ quite a while ago and still play it in my sets sometimes now and always seems to go down well.”

Talking of bootlegs, how do you feel about other artists making unofficial remixes of your tunes? Is this healthy for new producers to experiment with or something you don’t agree with?

Arnone “I fully support other producers writing bootlegs of anything. I feel making bootlegs are a really good way to test your technical ability without having to spend too long finding a vibe (depending on the tune of course) because the vibe of the track is kind of already there. I’ve learnt most things from writing bootlegs and doing remixes. Also remix competitions were essential for me when I only knew the basics.

Mollie “I don’t see the issue with it at all, however, I only really play bootlegs of non drum and bass tunes that turn into drum and bass because usually if you bootleg a drum and bass tune  you have to change it to a complete different sub genre so I don’t really see a point myself!”

Charge is obviously a well renowned label in the drum and bass scene with plenty of releases under it’s belt. ‘The 1’ and ‘Jaws’ probably being the label’s best known or maybe for the younger heads the likes of ‘One Finger’ or ‘Mr Elastic’. What do you think you both bring to the label? Will it ever recreate the success of ‘The 1’ with future releases?

I think it would be quite a bold statement if I was to say I’m going to write the next ‘The One’ but I really have given everything I’ve got in this EP and it’s gone down better than I expected too.

I’m constantly learning and I like to think I spend plenty of time thinking outside the box in terms of ideas. The past year I have been working with Mampi Swift quite a bit. He’s helped me find my sound and we have written a couple of tunes which seem to be going down really well in the raves and festivals.”

Mollie “Mampi Swift has made some absolute bangers in his past but all of the releases coming on Charge are insanely good too! He’s also sitting on his own album so I am sure that he has a few tunes within that that will be just as successful. As far as what Arnone and I bring to the label, it’s about freshness I think. We have qualities within each other which means we can help each other wherever we can!”

Most long standing labels in the scene seem to have their own sound. What would you class the Charge Recordings sound as?

Arnone “I think it’s been ahead of its time from way back when it was all vinyl right up to game changing tunes such as ‘Invaderz’ by Turno. Charge isn’t afraid to release some unique sounding tunes… I mean they are brave enough to take me on board!”

Mollie “I would have to agree with Arnone. Charge has a good ear for different sounding heavy drum & bass.”

On that subject, what defines the Mollie Collins and Arnone sound?

Arnone “Our sound first of all is mainly fueled from eating a fair amount of cheese on toast then the ideas generally start flowing! Mainly we just make sure whatever we write we’re gonna want to play it, there’s no real boundaries we stick to really. Anything heavy and catchy.”

Mollie “Ha ha my brother had to bring the cheese into it… Arnone is a very skilled producer and I like to think I have a good ear. Together we made minions in a very small amount of time, we didn’t want to go too hard on it because it does the job by itself.”

Rewind to when you first hit the studio, how did you both learn the basics?

Arnone “For me 5 years ago I started by just using YouTube tutorials and my knowledge of playing drums in bands had definitely helped (and still helps) when I’m programming drums. Also in that time I attended a couple of weekend long seminars once a year armed with a notepad and pens and just went there and learnt as much as I could and met some awesome people.

One of the best things I’ve found whilst learning to produce is to never be afraid to finish a track and move on as most of the time a new project brings new ideas so you use different skills.

Mollie “A lot of YouTube and Google as well as help from Arnone & Mampi Swift where possible. I’m still learning and with the way technology carries on I think I will be forever learning. I had a music tutor for a while one to one basis, this helped me understand things on a wider basis, for example if side compression is good on a certain drum or not for example.”

The new EP is certainly a full on jump up assault on the senses. Was the aim to make something just for the dancefloor generation? Do you think we will see a deeper project from either of you in the future maybe touching on other genres for example?

Arnone “Both our DJ sets are always high energy so the label and I felt for a first EP I wanted to showcase the more heavy and catchy sounds, I’ve got a couple of different vibed tracks, one in particular includes vocals from my talented cousin Mark Palmer. These tunes are finished and ready to go. I love loads of different genres, I also love my half time stuff so I have no doubt at all that I will be making another genre in the future.”

Mollie “I would have to agree! My sets are all about energy and to expect the unexpected. Arnone’s new EP is full of energy for sure. Who knows where I will be in 10 years time? I am drum and bass first and foremost but I love other genres of music too so you never know what could happen production wise.”

It’s now not uncommon to witness a whole crowd humming along to the midrange bass notes of jump up tracks these days. Why do you think this has become so popular? Is it the simplistic, almost nursery rhyme style key structure that provokes a sense of childhood enjoyment?

Arnone “Everyone loves karaoke right? If the crowd is just as involved as the DJ then they’re having a good time which is why they came out in the first place. Jump up for me is fun, the older style and the newer stuff, It’s become popular because maybe it doesn’t take itself as seriously as something like techno (I like that too though).”

Mollie “I can’t lie, I love it! Not only does it show they are having fun, it also shows their appreciating the song you are playing. If you don’t have a MC then let the crowd speak.”

Do either of you arrange tracks in such a fashion in the hope that it becomes the next big ‘singalong anthem’?

Arnone “To be honest if you force it, it ends up crap. Any time we’ve been in the studio the ideas have flown and we’ve just had fun with it. If they sing it, cool, if not, no drama!”

Mollie “Yeah man I don’t think you should ever try to force it, if it happens it happens. I don’t think we expected it with minions, but it’s happened quite a few times!”

‘Minions’ has been heavily supported on the DJ circuit on virtual dubplate for a while now, do you think the title of the track mimics the style of those crazy, lovably characters? It’s as if I’m seeing a dozen or so Minions raving whenever I hear it!

Arnone “Oddly enough I actually had a track entitled Minions which just lives in my hard drive and Mollie came up with the name for Minions for our tune and it suited it far better than the other tune I’ve got so that one is untitled for now..”

Mollie “It has yeah! In all honesty I’m just obsessed with Minions. This tune is defo energy filled and happy, I just thought why the hell not, straight on the phone to Arnone, dude we have to call it minions…”

I’m willing to bet that a reworked VIP is kicking about of this tune…?

Arnone “Ha ha! You would be (partly) right… A half time VIP has actually been knocked up but it’s not been played out yet.”

Mollie “This guy is studio mad – he’s already started working on a half time yeah! We might even jump in and do something else aswell for a dub for ourselves!”

‘Sabre Tooth’ contains some wicked ideas from both Arnone and Trimer. The snarl combined with that mashed up breakbeat roll really works well. How do you create new ideas in the studio? Is it a case of trial and error or do you have a pretty solid idea in mind from the start?

Arnone “Trimer and I work really well in the studio and on the decks (I like to think anyway!) He always comes with fresh ideas and I love to spend time making drum edits so it just works. Personally I don’t have a set working pattern or particular BPM to stick to, each tune is a new animal so you gotta treat it differently. Some days I spend solely making new drums and new synths so I can use them when I’m next inspired.”

What’s next in terms of production for you both?

Arnone “We are planning on hitting the studio again real soon to make something, we don’t quite know what though yet! I’ve got a couple of collabs with the Charge boss in the pipeline which he’s been playing in his sets and seem to be going down a treat. On top of that I’ve just finished off a bootleg of a Massive Attack tune and quite a few new originals.”

Mollie “We are defo going to be linking and doing more stuff together, we work well and there is no I in team when it comes to us both. Im also working towards my first own EP, which I am sure will feature an Arnone on a track!”

Do you have that one producer aside from each other who you would really love to work together with?

Arnone “For me it’s got to be Annix. Absolutely love their individual styles as well as their combined style. They’ve got a uniquely heavy sound and they’re so consistent with quality. My DJ sets have a lot of Annix tunes!”

Mollie “Jheeze I’ve never thought about this to be honest. I think doing something with Macky when I’m at his production level would be sick, the guy is a wicked DJ & Producer and I have always sort of looked to him for advice or somewhere to aim for music wise.”

Any shouts or big ups?

Arnone “Yeah! Big up Mampi Swift and all Charge crew, Shimon and the AudioPorn guys, Trimer, Pastry Maker and Mark Palmer!”

Mollie “Of course big ups to Mr Swift & the Charge team for the release of minions, and of course you Jamie bro for another great interview.”

Purchase the new Arnone album from Beatport here.

You can follow Jamie Section 23 on Twitter, @JamieS23
Jamie S23 is part of the editorial team at Drum&BassArena, has a huge collection of vinyl from the 90’s and spends many hours wishing music still came on cassette. He’s stupidly into fitness and most importantly, a devoted Dad. Reminisce about air horns, lighters and The Sanctuary with him via Twitter or Soundcloud