Etherwood: Forest Fire

Etherwood: Forest Fire

How did THIS happen? D&B: the genre famously populated by terminators & sounds of remorseless fossil-fuel-pillaging foundries spewing skyward clouds of killer bees into rust-coloured clouds which in turn endlessly drizzle acid rain. And now? Now we’re suddenly in the sun-dappled, centred & soothing forest clearing of Etherwood.

What’s next? Complimentary sachets of herbal bath lotions with each copy? Downloadable meditation pack? Bonus yoga video?

Such things exist for a reason however, let’s face it. And you only get stronger by tapping into your personal resources, your own seams of fossil fuels.

Which are derived from trees. Trees which purify and energise.

Trees then.

Sir that cover looks like a great place to be. And in turn it sounds like you effectively surrounded yourself with music that you wanted to hear. That you thought ‘what would be a great place to be in’. And made it.

Yeah, I think you’re right. The writing process is all a bit of a blur, which in a way is a good thing really. I was so immersed in the tunes and that helped the flow of things without getting too conceptual or contrived. It always amazes me how much your mood can affect your music and when you become so involved with a collection of songs they actually start affecting the way you feel. If you’re making music you want to hear, the whole process is really fulfilling!

Did you go out hunting for that cover shot?

Yeah the idea itself was pre conceived. I wanted an image that mirrored the sound of the album in a way; something natural and evocative. We stumbled upon that image and I knew it was the one! Props to Ricky Trickartt for nailing the final product.

I must say that the term ‘organic’ is overused but I’ll say it anyway about the album: organic, rich and like something that came together very pleasantly. Like cooking: something you put in the oven knowing it’d work, and when you took it out it was bang on.

Ha that’s a great analogy. The process really did come together very naturally. All the ingredients were there, it was just a case of using the right amounts of everything and not baking it for too long. I like the term ‘organic’ and it’s certainly very indicative of the album as a whole. Naturally, most songs are writtin on piano or guitar and everything usually builds around that.

I like the space between the instruments as well as the instruments if that makes sense…

Beats are generally on the lighter side. I try and use as little processing as possible and rely strongly on the strength of the samples. The liquid sound has always appealed to me since I was young and I love keeping everything as natural as possible.

It’s a great environment you create, perfect for unique voices to be heard: who are the vocalists? Let’s start with Georgia and Bev.

Georgia and Bev really nailed this track. Georgia has worked with S.P.Y and Enei amongst others and I’ve always loved her tone and delivery. Same goes for Bev; she sang on one of Netsky’s older tunes and it sounded beautiful. The original file I sent over was a lot busier but when I heard the vocals I decided to strip it back to allow the vocals to take precedence. Duets are fairly rare in this sort of genre so I was really keen to have both Georgia and Bev on the track.

… and Laurelle?

I was made aware of Laurelle through Jakwob who came across her project ‘Laurelle And Alexander’. This girl has a beautiful voice! She lives in Canada so it was tough to arrange a session but the vocals she laid over Unfolding were perfect.

… Rocky? ‘Disposition”s fab.

Cheers! Rock and I have known each other for years and he has, in my opinion, one of the strongest voices around at the moment. He’s so naturally musical that this stuff just flows from him like he was brn to do it. His vocals on both Spoken and Disposition are soo deep and these tracks really stand out as a result.

What’s a tune or two you’d talk us through? The tune with Nu:tone is a lovely growler, very nice. I think I heard Flight enthusing on this too.

That’s actually an interesting one. I’d been working on this sort of jungly amen tune which I loved but it wasn’t sitting together the way it needed to. We sent it to Dan Nu:Tone and within a day he’d totally bossed it. He really honed in on the essence of the tune. And that sub… crikey!

‘Weightless’ however took a lot longer to formulate. The piano drives the track and it was important that the other elements were individual enough but not so much that they began to fight with the keys. It took a little while to find the balance but I think we got there in the end.

Back to the cover and that encompassing VIBE, could you name three visual influences? Films, artists, even personal snapshots you like?

I love the countryside. A lot of the places we visited when I was a kid were full of natural beauty; The Lake District, Southern France, West Scotland – huge influences. A very talented guy called Max Palmer has made a collection of videos for the album, all filmed in various parts in Asia. The scenery is stunning and fits perfectly with the vibe of the album. Also Richard Linklater’s ‘Waking Life’ has been a favourite film and huge influence of mine.

You love the countryside. What else may we not know about you that is connected?

I’m a closet ornathologist.

What’s some D&B influences? Curious when it comes to tunes like ‘Amongst The Crowd’… that’s one of my faves right now as it reminds me of Senses in a certain way, the vibe of the beats.

Soooo many! Calibre, Photek, Aphrodite, London Elektricity, LTJ Bukem, Marky and S.P.Y have been massive influences in terms of liquid d&b. Currently I love what Technimatic, Hybrid Minds, LSB, Grifta, Stray and Frederic Robinson are doing to name but a few. Amongst The Crowd was inspired by that natural live kit sound that you hear a lot on D.kay’s ‘Individual Soul’ LP, another big influence

Any shouts? Thanks for a wicked album sir.

Shouts to Toni, Nel & Dave, anyone involved with the LP and everyone supporting!

Jason Turner Photography

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


Etherwood is the most recent signing to Med School and is undoubtedly one of the most promising young talents in the scene today. Originally from ...