You just need to trust that you’ve got what it takes to create something interesting and original from what’s in your head
DLR has worked long and hard crafting Your Mind for Metalheadz, his debut for the label. So much so there’s a short film planned… that’s the level of creative richness within. Or should I say ‘rejiggerooney’. Yes: such a word exists, at least if you read on…
Can you talk us through the construction of Your Mind and what inspired the title of both the tune and ep?
The title of the track is an easy one to explain: it’s as simple as the sample that appeared after Steve Mako cut up a load of speech from the show Hannibal and then put it in a sampler, for us then to find the ‘Your Mind’ sample which seemed to effortlessly fit into the project… after a bit of fiddling with the pitch mainly.
Initially the track was called ‘Imagination’, which was the first version Goldie had so he perhaps thinks that track is called ‘Imagination’ However it wasn’t really an appropriate name for a lead track on Metalheadz as the name has been used a number of times, more specifically by some of the original masters of the scene.
From the point of changing the title track’s name, it became obvious that had to be the name for the whole project as it captures the feel of the project well, and gives it a good simple stand out name that offers good ideas for artwork and a theme that works well.
I’ve done a small documentary about the creative side behind the production of the project, it’s featuring the man like Mako, and filmed at my studio with us breaking down the process of creating the lead track.
I hope this can give some good insight into the construction of the project. The film will be available soon, so def keep at least one eye peeled…
On Your Mind, I love ‘Sense of Wanting’… and the particular soul it’s got. Is this one of the more ‘typically DLR’ tracks of yours, for someone new to you?
Yeah I agree that you could say that: it’s got some shuffley groove, it’s not complex, it’s quite stripped back, with a little bit of soul: this is my semi signature sound I guess. It’s hard to tie me down to a certain sound at times, because in my head things vary around so much, but when it comes down to it and I am sat in front of a computer, which is what most of my life consists of.
When I start creating a piece of D&B inevitably it starts to take on some of my signature style and sound, it’s hard to avoid, and as someone who is very conscious of this, it’s something I’ve started to try and embrace instead of fight, as I built my reputation on my sound and so it seems obvious to me that to a certain extent this is what people want to hear if they go looking for a new track by myself.
… and makes me want to ask (from listening to it): what influences have you got in D&B?
I rarely spend time listening to D&B these days, a quick skip through promos, or maybe when I’m mastering, and of course when I am in the club I’m being hit by great music every min, I find this is enough to keep me inspired but not make me too disheartened about what I am doing.
It’s easy to go from being influenced by a piece of music to directly trying to copy it, which is never going to lead to the creation of something original. However everyone has their own way or style, but I believe that once you reach a certain level, and if you’ve been listening to the music for 10+ years then it’s in your blood, you just need to trust that you’ve got what it takes to create something interesting and original from what’s in your head.
Of course there are other pointers and techniques from how you can use a track to directly inspire you, like perhaps a particular Photek break and pattern which you feel is a good basis for an idea, sometimes it doesn’t matter, it’s all about if I can feel inspired as a producer and so sometimes it takes little tricks and methods to reach that point of inspiration. However mostly it’s keeping my distance from the scene that helps me feel creative and inspired.
That leads me to jump to the question about Tips For New Producers…
Trust yourself more; don’t always do what everyone else wants you to do: if you’ve loved the music and worked hard at what you’re doing, you have the knowledge and vision to realise your own goal instead of someone else’s. It’s important to realise this goal and not become distracted by the 7 million distractions faced on a dally basis, not letting this stuff get you down, and believing in your own ability is vital to the music world.
I hear that you MASTER tunes as well so how have you built up your studio/technical expertise and is it something that you learn (ie from courses) or acquire from solid real world experience?
Yeah I’ve done a lot of production, mixing and mastering on other peoples’ work: Submotion Orchestra, Jack Sparrow, Gentlemans Dub Club, plus mastering for labels like
Dispatch, Integral, Horizons, Metalheadz, Pressed Records etc… My expertise is in music production, and so I think it’s sensible to try and use these skills to make a living, it’s very important that I work hard to try and make a reasonable living, as the scene owes me nothing and I have to work very very hard to try and get enough to enjoy day to day life.
I love what I do, so it’s no chore in the slightest. I’ve been at it for over 12-13 years now, learning from myself when I was young, with no internet, to then working with others, and learning at college, to then realising the potential of the internet and how good it is for learning pretty much anything you want, and going to university to study music production.
However in the end it comes down to me, and giving up most of my life to pursue a crazy dream. The people I’ve met and worked with along the way are invaluable and have taught me shitloads to this point, now its down to me to put this stuff into practice practically, and make a success of myself.
Back to the ep, ‘Seek Knowledge’ is a total knockout and features the mighty Mako, how did the collaboration work between you, are you of a similar mindset? I know you go back (and also with Fields for eg)… do you live near each other?
I think it may feel to you and to myself that I have known those guys forever.. especially Mako, but they are all guys I met in the past few years, and since then we’ve all been really good friends as well as working closely together. Currently I live in Bristol, which is pretty much my original home town.
‘Seek Knowledge’ was a track that we created at Steve’s in the Utopia HQ studios: he’s got an amazing setup, two lovely kitty cats, and endless vibes. At the time I was utilising his sofa on a regular basis as I was living 20 miles south of Bristol at home with my parents for a year, getting my shit straightened. I had a lot of great sessions with Steve at that time, it was definitely the honeymoon period, always a great time to work with someone, now we have got more used to each other and have become more focussed, back then it was a little more relaxed and we did whatever we felt appropriate.
We still do this now, just especially with ‘Seek Knowledge’ it was a really nice calming experience writing a piece of bass meditation music such as that, especially on his setup which has plenty of sub, we just tried to be open to taking the project in whatever direction it led us whilst enjoying the ride. We then got Rider on at a later date to round it all off because that is exactly what the piece of music needed!
To sum it, I felt when I heard Your Mind that you must have gotten the tracks together, stood back from it and really felt good about it as it’s really a unique ep with a massive variety… is that the case?
Not so much, I rarely feel this way about my work… luckily this EP consists of some collaborations, which enable me to stand back from the project a little and appreciate it for what it’s really worth. I hope that when that final copy of the EP arrives on my doorstep, featuring the incredible artwork from Tobi Edwards (definitive & Plasma Collaborative) that then I can really stand back and appreciate the whole package.
How did the hookup between Heads and you happen and what’s it like to be part of the gang?
Writing music that was appropriate for Headz was obviously key to this whole process.. However Knowing Ant well from Dispatch as well as him being a good friend (sometimes, ha ha) was very important. Headz was going through transitional time a year back, Ant stepped in and has done a very good job with others like Khan, to re-establish the label as THE finest label in our scene, and so all I can say is of course I am absolutely loving being part of the ongoing revolution, it’s an honour.
All I’m focussed on now is making sure that myself and Steve can really create something very special that compliments the catalog of endlessly good music featuring on the label already.
What shouts and forthcomings have you got?
Right now pick up – Mako, DLR & Fields – Old Soul / DLR – Bridge the Gap – Utopia Music
Hybrid Minds ‘Halcyon’ (DLR Remix) on Spearhead
Quadrant & Iris ‘Convergence’ (DLR & TC1 rejiggerooney) on Dispatch
Xtrah & DLR ‘Direct Approach’, Dispatch Dub Series
Gerra & Stone ‘Backhand’ (DLR remix)
DLR ‘Outta Time’ on Horizons
Cern & DLR ‘Patterns’, Dispatch.
Of course watch out, listen up for my solo album ‘Seeing Sounds’ and some sneakiness from myself and Mako on Metalheadz in is purest of forms… thanks for the endless support!