Drumsound & Bassline Smith took time out from a hectic schedule to give us the lowdown on their world right now: remixes, compilations and of course the project known as 2DB… plus some history, studio talk and key names to watch.
Hi, it sounds busy with you considering your various projects and of course the Technique compilation…
Yeah we’ve been pretty hectic so far this year, it’s been non-stop.
As you mentioned the 15 Years of Technique album has been another huge milestone for us, and a really big project for the label and all the artists involved: it was the best way to kick start the year.
A collection of 18 quality tracks covering the full spectrum of Drum & Bass, something we are all really proud of.
Also keep your ears to the ground for Part 2 – Summer Selection dropping in the coming months.
Another remix we’ve done which has also been doing the rounds recently is on a track called ‘Something About You’ by TC4.
We also have collaboration with Tantrum Desire on their forthcoming Diversified album, which we are really pleased with, again that will be dropping at the end of June.
And finally we’ve been in and out of London recording vocals and mixing down a forthcoming single, which we’ll hopefully be announcing sometime very soon.
Back to the label, can you tell us exactly when Technique actually started?
Technique Recordings first release was late 1999: Future Tech ‘Future Tech’, another alias we used back then. It was a really exciting time for us all and the whole D&B movement for that matter.
Looking back, it was a totally different way of life, in all aspects; the internet was in it’s infancy, so no social networking or instant hype or news that we’re are used to today.
ATM & Knowledge/K-Mag, the Jungle and D&B monthly magazines was how news spread back then, and by word of mouth of course. And then there was the ‘dubplate culture’, a whole different concept to the way music played and filtered down to the masses.
The buzz and hype it created seems a world away from how music is marketed these days, if you wanted to hear the latest tunes, you had to go out.
So what’s a great standout memory of your time in D&B? No pressure!
Wow, it’s difficult to pin point one to be honest, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a few.
Definitely when ‘The Odyssey’ blew up back in 2003/4: Grooverider was championing it on Radio 1, which was the first big one for us. It was a moment in our journey as Drumsound & Bassline Smith, the moment that kind of said we’ve arrived and catapulted us right into the limelight.
I heard a rumour about a remix of this great tune?
Over the last month or so we been working on a remix of ‘The Odyssey’.
We’ve been testing it out at every gig and tweaking it here and there. We played it last tune at the Fabio & Grooverider 25 Years event and we’re really pleased with how went down, great response during and after the show.
Rider hit us up and a few others have already been asking about it, but it’s not finished yet. No idea what the plans are with it either but it’s been going down really well at the shows!
What are some other highlights over time?
I guess we could fast forward to the last few years as well: the two Top 40 singles with ‘What Can You Do For Me’ with our good friends Utah Saints and ‘Through The Night’ featuring the extremely talented Tom Cane are among the most memorable too. Good times.
Now, to this 2DB project: to many it is going to be mysterious: is it a reference to decibels or is it an artist name, what does it mean?
Yes, we get asked this quite a lot on the road actually. It has a double-barrel meaning, decibels & 2 D(rumsound)B(assline).
How does it differ from Drumsound and Bassline Smith as such?
It’s difficult to describe how it differs to be honest. We very much work in the same way for the most part, occasionally it’s a conscious effort to make a ‘2DB’ tune, and sometimes it’s a happy accident.
It’s also hard to put into words the difference on the sound and vibe though, but we’re pretty sure there is a subtle one.
To ‘Check Out The Bounce’: I feel this is custom-crafted to create impact…
Yeah, suppose so. Sometimes when you go in the studio you’re just in the mood the make a certain kind of tune. We had a few ideas before hand and the vocal sample pretty much set out the one from there on in.
It just all fell into place quite nicely.
What’s next for the 2DB on the release-front? Is there an album of this material to drop?
No plans on an album but hopefully have something for the 15 Years of Technique – Summer Selection album later in a few month’s time.
I think of you guys really hitting the road hard, so what parts of the world are strongholds for your sound?
There are a few to be honest. We’re really lucky actually because the crowds we tend to play to are really open-minded musically: that’s a big bonus for DJs and artists to be able to express yourself and have that kind of freedom when performing.
Some of our favorite places are in Russia, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Belgium and the USA scene is really starting to blow up.
Soundsystem-wise, we played on the infamous PK Sound System at Motion Notion Festival, Canada last year, it was immense.
We’re really pleased to be heading back out to there this summer for the mighty Shambhala Music Festival where the PK Sound System will be doing it’s thing, we’re seriously looking forward to it.
Live-wise, what is the setup: do you DJ off decks, stick or what is the preferred medium?
Over the last year or so we’ve all pretty much migrated from Serato to USB. Setting up is now effortless, and to be quite frank, it’s so much more enjoyable using USBs: we can’t believe we didn’t switch sooner.
Speaking of technology: looking back over the last decade, you guys have been at the forefront of the big ‘digital’ sound and I always wonder what sort of space you produce in… where is the HQ and what’s it like?
We all have our own studio spaces and we’re based in our home tome of Derby. They’re comfortable, relaxed ambience & all the tools we needs for a productive, creative working environment.
… and has it changed over time, with new technology?
The only thing that’s changed for us over the years is that we all work ‘in the box’ now, all software. We still have a bit of outboard gear knocking around but it’s just gathering dust unfortunately.
The same rules apply to getting a good mixdown in regards to audio spectrum, but most the tools have changed & the processes are made 100 times easier. But it’s a never-ending learning curve and the boundaries are constantly being pushed, creatively and sonically.
You learn something new every day.
… and any advice for new producers?
The best advice to give it’s to simply work hard and put as many hours as possible into your studio time, you will improve in time. Other than that, be original, be yourself and carve out your own sound.
What producers are you checking right now that are either established, or are new and bringing fire to a very healthy scene? People like Mefjus, Misanthrop etc must fit in with your style I would have thought.
Yes we are big fans of Mefjus & Misanthrop: their engineering and production skills are breathtaking.
They’re very talented guys alongside a whole lot of other across the scene, too many to mention to be fair.
For new producers in the scene right now, check out Kronology from LA. They have a couple of releases under their belt now and are showing huge potential.
Tantrum Desire never fails to impress and their new album Diversified is a gonna blow, it’s technically flawless and every track delivers something special.
Next up are the Document One guys who’ve come on leaps and bounds with their D&B production. We play ‘Jazz Club’ every set!
Any shouts as we sign off?
Yes, we’d like to thank you guys first for having us, it’s always a pleasure.
Secondly, big shout out to all the Technique family, Tantrum Desire, Crissy Criss, L Plus, Document One, Kronology, Erb N Dub, Max NRG, Infrasonic, Youngman & Biggie & last but not least, all the promoters and junglists worldwide doing their thing, your support means everything to us.