Rollz returns to our playlists this month a string-soaked dedication to all things sunny and soulful. Available exclusively on the rather tasty UKF Summer Drum & Bass album, Give It Time features the seemingly unavoidable Katies Ambition. It’s been a while since we last spoke to Rollz – seven months and one week to be precise – so we thought we’d call him and see how his summer’s shaping up. Turns out he’s busy working on an album! But first, Give It Time…
What the devil have you been up to? Last time we spoke was the Firepod EP…
Yeah, it’s been a while! It’s been a weird year; I’ve been busy with my studies in the week and doing loads of shows in the weekend.
Nice and busy! Plans for the summer?
I’ve just finished building my studio. I’m really happy with how it sounds. Fingers crossed I’ll finish my album by the end of the summer. I’ve always wanted to do one but the timing has never been right. It feels right to do it now, though.
An album? Wasn’t expecting that bombshell! What can we expect?
It’ll be focussed on drum & bass. There might be some electro bits in there as well. I’ve been doing lots of different styles and I’m still unsure about trying an alias project with my other genres. It’s open at the moment but I’d say the album will have all the Rollz styles but with a heavy emphasis on the D&B side of things.
I think people expect lots of styles on an album more these days than before…
Definitely. My last EP had some electro on it and it was fun to do, but everyone kept saying ‘where’s the drum & bass?’ I guess people get more excited about Rollz D&B than other genres I’m doing at the moment.
Aliases definitely seem to be an efficient way of avoiding confusion…
Exactly. There’s so much good music about and so many people are making it. It’s beyond saturated so you have to have a very clear message about who you are and what you do.
Definitely. So has the new studio inspired you? Got any new cool studio toys?
No new toys but I’ve definitely been inspired. Actually, I’ve just got some Adam A7 monitors which are great for near-field monitoring. I’ve been using them a lot which has helped. I’ve treated the room properly now; I can get super geeky with mixdowns again. It’s such a hard one… You’re never sure whether what you’re making sounds good or not. I’m a bit OCD with mixdowns, I get precious about it.
I’ve not interviewed a producer who isn’t precious about mixdowns! You wouldn’t be doing your job properly if you weren’t!
Haha, yeah I guess. It’s a difficult balance to get it right; you don’t know how well a piece of music is going to do until it’s out there. If you spend too long on a mixdown you’ll never get it out and never know if it’s actually worked or not. You have to draw the line somewhere.
You do. Let’s talk about Give It Time. It’s got an old school Hospital vibe about it… Was that an influence?
Subconsciously, yes. I didn’t directly think ‘oh I’m going to make a Hospital influenced track’ but I’ve always been influenced by that sound. Logistics was one of my first favourite artists when I first got into drum & bass. High Contrast, too. Actually, he was the first DJ to play one of my tunes.
It was Plugged In…
Nice. Was Give It Time written with the summer in mind?
No, I wrote it over Christmas! It is totally a summer tune, though. Like with all of my tracks; I sit on them for far too long worried about mixdowns. In this case the wait paid off.
Indeed. Let’s big up Katies Ambition. She’s everywhere right now… Such a distinctive voice!
She’s great. Such a good voice and very professional to work with. It’s hard to find a singer with that type of colour to their voice. She’s a great songwriter and recorded it all herself. It was easy to work with her and we’ve done a few more since. She understands the process.
Great, you’re not the first artist to tell us that actually. So, what comes next?
The next thing will be an EP that will comes out in August. I’ve got so many different tunes, it’s a case of working out what’s best. If you want to hear two of the tracks that will definitely get released on the EP check out the mix I did for Risky’s podcast the other week. There’s Blue In Grey which is a standard Rollz track and another one called Burn Up.
‘Standard Rollz track’… Don’t underplay these things!
Haha! I guess what I mean is the drop is similar to how I’ve done other tunes. I’d like people to go ‘ah yes, that’s a Rollz track!’
Ah…. A trademark motif!
Yeah that’s more like it.
UKF Summer Drum & Bass is out now. Listen and download.