Decoder & Substance: Red Zone

Decoder & Substance: Red Zone


Decoder & Substance: the name is synonymous with so many inextricable elements woven through what we love about D&B… scything, unexpected samples, random atmospheres and pure crafted beats as a glance at their Discogs attests. And this isn’t even touching on the mainstream success achieved by their work in Kosheen… an entirely different chapter. Right now the focus is on ‘Red’.

Decoder & Substance! What are you up to at this minute?

In the studio right now! We’re busy on a few music project at the minute, it’s always good to stay fresh. And back into it after this interview!

Let’s go straight in on ‘Red’, and the involvement with Jakes…

Jakes came down to Breakbeat Culture when we had the studio there and put down his vocals. We had this track kicking around for a while and then Susie Ledge came up with her bit, and it seemed to gel nicely together. There’s a few more in the pipeline along these lines.

So you must go back with Jakes.

Yeah man! Jakes is my brother, long long time from the very first Ruffneck days, he started out as Megatron’s right hand man and definitely blossomed into this international rude bwoy. Makes me proud every time.

Tell us about Susie Ledge. Was there a Kosheen connection?

Susie is an amazing songwriter and we’ve known her for a long time. She supported Kosheen on one of our tours, and I thought her songs were great .

She worked with a lot of dance producers, but it’s hard to correctly capture what she does. We’ve got a few more tracks from Susie coming and think people will be surprised at the depth she has.

There’s remixes here too and I know the Document One mix has been played a lot on Radio 1.

Document One and Kronology have done a great job and we’re looking forward to some more coming soon, there’s some great fresh talent around. It’s nice to reach out.

OK, you mention your studio can you enlighten us about how you work? Changed over time?

It’s changed and morphed so much over the years. The main thing is we’ve gone from living practically next door, to living in different countries! So the internet plays a big part now. We’re not that often in the studio together as such: we have two studios but we visit each other for studio sessions.

And how do these work?

Like most people we start our own tunes and then play them to each other and vibe on what’s working and then notch them up to the next level… it’s always good to have someone to bounce off. There’s a lot of duos out there which means it’s a good dynamic.

As for the actual music production techniques: you never stop learning and experimenting, that’s why we love it so much!

Speaking of… Technique: how did the linkup come about?

Colin my main man from Knowledge got in touch with Simon at Technique and boom. We’re very happy.

We’re so busy with our musical projects it’s great to be working with a top label we trust. Big up!


You mention certain things to come so what other Decoder and Substance material is in the works right now?

We’re writing the follow up to ‘Red’, we’ve got two or three possibilities, then we’ll get some remixes done. We want to get on a roll and release some new material… it’s a process.

We’ve also got a compilation album in the pipeline, featuring the Breakbeat Culture catalogue of vinyl only released stuff and unreleased tracks with some remixes, really looking forward to that.

Most of the stuff we released in the late 90s early 2000s isn’t available online, so we’re excited about that and especially the stuff from the vaults I found on our DAT collection.

What’s an example of something we might find on there? Or from your rather extensive back catalogue in general?

Ahh so hard to pick a track! But ‘Jazzstation’ from our forthcoming album: vibes!

Now to sum up, if you had to give advice to someone entering the industry what would you say?

Keep on perfecting your art, and make it happen! It’s up to you: nothing’s put on a plate for you.We had to start our own label and do our own night. Don’t expect people to book you because you’ve had one tune out, it takes years!

But it can happen for you.

Any shouts?

Too many.

Bristol Crew, Tech Itch, Jakes, Distorted Minds, Long time crew, Fabio, Bukem Grooverider, Frost, Krust, Donovan Smith, Simon Smith, Die, Roni, Mickey Finn, Loxy, Marvellous Cain, dBridge… the list could go on all day!

Decoder & Substance discogs

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