Drum&BassArena 19 Years: Rockwell’s Top 10
Renowned for his attention to detail and forward-thinking productions, Rockwell has been an exciting fixture in the scene for years. With a slot at our 19th birthday celebration this Sunday and an album cooking in the studio, we took the opportunity to catch up with the man himself and scored his top 10 D&B tracks along the way…
Tom you big ol’ legend. Cheers for joining us. What were you doing 5 minutes before this interview?
Sat on a train trying not to spill coffee all over my laptop…
Yikes.. Keep that cup on lockdown! First things first… Word on the street is that you wont be releasing any more music before the end of the year as you’ve spent the last 9 months working on 1 bar of percussion…. How accurate are these allegations? 😉
I think my release schedule has ground to a halt over the last few years, but even though my releases have been few and far between it’s because I have been working on an album which will surface later this year. I think it’s a running joke that I write really fucking slowly – but I listen to the work of producers who I know write quickly and it sounds like they should spend a bit more time on it if I’m honest! Quality over quantity is definitely an important way to look at things in my opinion.
Oh, absolutely! Agreed. Now jokes aside, as you mentioned you’ve been working on an album… Safe to say the D&B-sphere rejoiced at the news! What can you tell us about the project?
It is probably not the album that your mainstream drum and bass fan will be expecting to hear and double drop in his bedroom, but it is the album I wanted to write. If you have liked any of the music that I have written, from my first release to the last, there will probably be something on there for you. But it isn’t 15 trap bangers, or 15 minimal tracks, or 15 neurofunk tunes. It’s a very musical LP that I have worked very hard on, and that I am very happy with, and to wheel out an awful cliché – it is hopefully something you could listen to at home and also something that works in the club.
Can’t wait to hear it in its entirety! Any ideas when we might hear the first material off the LP?
If you come and see me DJ. I’ve been playing some bits out for a while and they seem to be getting a great reaction.
Any collabs on there?
I’ve been working with some of my closest friends and also producers that I really rate and respect, but as the tracklist isn’t complete it’s too early to give that away!
Has your approach to production changed since starting work on the LP? Perhaps allowing you to be a bit more experimental than you would on a single release?
With writing such a large body of work it was easy for me to get into a mindset where I had to write 12 separately creative tracks, and thinking too much about things in this respect really slowed down my writing process – I think I was definitely trying too hard to be too clever and in an album context everything was sounding too disjointed. It was only really until I decided to just let the tunes be what they were and I relaxed into the writing process that I began to make progress.
You’re helping us celebrate 19 Years in the game at Heaven on Bank Holiday Sunday in May.. What have you got in mind for your set? Reaching for classics or dubs?
Not the kind of guy for a whole set of classics to be honest, I would rather play some fresh music from myself and other producers that I’m feeling at the moment.
What were you doing 19 years ago? Did you expect to be as immersed in the scene as you are today?
Not 19 years ago as I was a long way off even being let into a club legally!
What did you originally want to be when you ‘grew up’?
I wanted to be a musician, but in a band.
Do you remember when Drum&BassArena first appeared on the scene?
Honestly, I was far far far too young.
You’re making us feel old… 😉 Oldest memories of the brand then?
I used to use the message board a lot (when drum & bass was still discussed on there) and also the dubplate section to find out the names of new tunes, that was my main memories of using the website back in the day.
After 19 years it’s hard not to get a bit nostalgic.. What are your top ten screw-face inducing, gut churning, d&b tracks of the past 19 years?
10. Amit – Anything off the Never-Ending LP on Commercial Suicide
9. Ed Rush & Optical – Kerbcrawler
8. Wots My Code – Dubplate (Total Science Remix)
7. Pendulum – Vault
6. Clipz – Cuban Linx
5. Noisia – The Tide
4. Rockwell – Drums
3. DBridge – Anything off the Monochrome EP
2. Bad Company – Planet Dust
1) Adam F – Brand New Funk
BIG selection! So what’s coming up next for you, what’s planned for the rest of the year?
Put the finishing touches to the LP and then taking a bit of a rest from writing music. Pass my driving test as it’s getting a bit embarrassing that I can’t drive… Make some time for socialising and take a break from the studio.
Catch Rockwell at our 19th birthday THIS Sunday. Tickets available here.